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once varies in spelling and capitals. The early marginal notes of F and F, are not to be found in Fı Readings vary in this way: oncevpon F, once on F1, 1. I. 160; bring him in F, bring him F, 1.1. 173; marching F,going F1, 1. 1. 181; a Barber, one Cutberd, F, a Barber, F1, 1. 2. 33 ; &c. All variants in these copies of the Folio will be found in their order in the text.
F has been chosen for the present edition, not only because it exhibits the most consistency and contains fewest apparent errors in reading and type, but because the Quarto of 1620 chooses it for reproduction. The selection of the text at that time must have been made either by Jonson, who among his contemporaries strove most earnestly for correctness in his published writings, or by Stansby, who was printer of both Folio and Quarto. The text here given may be called a reprint of the First Folio, with variants of all other important editions.
The Quarto of 1620 is a clearly-printed little volume, containing : Title, one leaf (verso blank). Dedication and Persons of the Play, one leaf. Text B-0, (verso blank), in fours. It follows F in all but details of typography and spelling, in these matters it is more like F than F, e.g. PROL. 27, F ordnaries, Fı ordinaries, Q Ord naries. Where F uses large capitals in the names of persons in the scene, speakers, and those addressed, the Quarto uses italics, writing also all other proper nouns in italics. Capitals are used profusely in the names of the deity, in titles-Sir, Madame, &c., and in common nouns, as Play PROL. 14; Custard PROL. 16. Orthographical variations are such as y for i: plaies F, playes Q PROL. I; praise F, prays Q PROL. 2 ; braines F, braynes Q PROL. 7. Interjection Mary F is sometimes written marry Q. Latinized form of pretious, physitian, &c., is generally altered (not in physitian, 4. 4. 58). True-wit is usually spelled Tru-wit. Abbreviations M. and Mr. are written out at length. Fonson is spelled Johnson.
The Folio of 1640 is a reprint of F, as is clear from its failure to reprint the marginal notes of the second Prologue and 1. i found in F and Q, but omitted in F. It follows the latter in such readings as those just quoted above, and in others : as parlees for preachings, 2. 2. 35; the omission of below 1. 3. 48, of for 1. 4. 40, and with 2. 1. 45. This Second Folio is a careless piece of work, responsible for errors copied from it into many reprints after its time. Such are the making of Mrs. Mavis, the La Haughties woman ; printing particle for article, 1. 1. 30 ; speake for spend, 1. 1. 36; master for mistress, 1. 4. 79; are for and, 2. 3. 122 ; pitch for pith, 3. 2. 45, &c. Spelling is modernized : floud and bloud F become flood and blood; furder F becomes further ; conj. adv. then F than 1640 ; pray thee F prythee 1640; final e is taken from words like seate, eate, &c.; windore F is frequently windowe 1640; hether and thether always spelled with an i; and meaning ‘if' is written an' as 4. 1. 140. Sometimes 1640 makes minor improvements, as when it takes a stray hyphen from common place-fellow (a misprint common to Folio and Quarto) and reads common-place fellow, 2. 3. 57.
The Third Folio, 1692, copies all the errors of 1640, and adds others, as in the use of quiet for quit, 1. 1. 161 ; difference for diffidence, 4. 1. 69. Spelling is modernized : do's becomes does, 'hem becomes 'em, and meaning 'if' uniformly an'. Punctuation is much changed, especially in the insertion of colons for periods, and in printing clauses as independent sentences.
A duodecimo volume, with no general title-page, containing reprints of Epicæne, Volpone, The Alchemist, and Shadwell's Timon of Athens, is an interesting link between the folios and the modern texts. The British Museum Catalogue dates it provisionally 1680, but it belongs to a time nearer 1700. EPICOENE, | OR, THE | Silent Woman | A | COMEDY. | First acted in the Year 1609. By the Children of Her MAJESTY'S | Revels ... By Ben JOHNSON. | Ut sis ... | LONDON : | Printed and sold by H. Hills in Black- | Fryars, near the Water-side | is manifestly a reprint from 1692. It reprints even such misspellings of the Third Folio as those in the Persons of the Play-Amarous for Amorous, Eugene for Eugenie. It follows 1692 in unique punctuation and readings. That it is later than 1692 is further evidenced by the form of three words: Cadiz, 1. 4. 61, shows a tardy recognition of the Spanish dental d, pronounced by the Elizabethans as a liquid and written 1-in this instance Caliz in all the old editions ; wind-fucker is written by H windsucker (cf. note, 1. 4. 77); tyrannes is first printed by H tyrants, 2. 2. 73.
The next edition deserving comment is Peter Whalley's of 1756. Though Whalley restores some original readings of the First Folio, as scratch for search, 4. 5. 24; lock for look, 4. 6. 39; divertendo for divertendendo, 5. 3. 73, he retains such readings of the later folios as quiet for quit, and makes 'corrections' which are unnecessary alterations of the text: talk to for talk, 1. 1. 64 ; than to follow for to follow, 2. 2. 32 ; next if for next that, if, 2. 2. 129, &c. Very carelessly copying 1717, he makes the first actors of the comedy The King's Servants. It may be noted that Whalley's system of punctuation is his own: he incloses all verse in quotation-marks, and rejects or retains Jonson's parentheses as he sees fit. In designating new scenes, he is the first editor to omit the word Act in all but the first scene of each act; he is the first to insert the name of the speaker who has the opening lines, and to run in Jonson's marginal notes either between the sentences of a speech or below in foot-notes. His spelling is more consistent than his predecessors', and reverts less often to old forms: and meaning 'if' is uniformly an', and 'hem with few exceptions 'em.
The most important modern edition of Jonson's works is that published in 1816 by the poet's aggressive apologist, William Gifford. Possessing profounder knowledge in classical subjects, and more critical acumen in text values, his edition far surpasses Whalley's. He is the first editor of Epicæne to adhere to the F imprint of 1616, and to consider quarto readings. He corrects errors that are as old as F, itself, restoring the marginal notes of the second prologue and 1. 1, preachings for parlees, 2. 2. 35, &c. He corrects Whalley's error in substituting The King's Servants for The Children of the Revels, and various textual errors, but reprints others : than to follow for to follow 2. 2. 32 ; have found one for have found 2. 2. 38; next for next that F, 2. 2. 129 ; a miracle for miracle 2. 4. 98, &c. He is freer than Whalley in making emendations, altering arrangement, and modernizing his text without comment ; he divides acts into scenes according to place instead of according to speaker, as was Jonson's custom, and follows Whalley in omitting the word Act before all but the first scene of each act, in printing the name of the first speaker of each scene, and in printing Jonson's marginal notes wherever they are most convenient. Moreover, he interpolates stage-directions and explanations of place and action. These changes have been deplored often enough by recent scholars, yet in their defense be it said that, though they stamp Gifford's publication as a popular rather than a truly critical edition, they make Jonson more intelligible to the general reader. The most valuable part of Gifford's work is his notes, which, in the case of Epicæne's classic sources, contain almost exhaustive information,
Gifford's alterations of the text may be exemplified by the following: he changes Persons of the Play to Dramatis Persone, alters the order of names, adds titles, calls Clerimont's Boy · Page,' &c. In modernizing the spelling and forms of words he writes the interjection I'ay’; past tenses 'd F, ed G; Ó'F, on, of G; ha' F, have G; 'hem F, them or 'em G; i F, in G; th' F, the G; do's F, does G; pickt F becomes picked G; God be wi' you G for God b’
W' you F, 1. 2. 67, 1. 2. 84, 2. 2. 140, 148, &c.; venter F is venture G passim ; hether F, hither G; pray thee F, prithee G. It is impossible to treat exhaustively Gifford's changes, but his text is easily accessible in his two editions, or in those issued by Cunningham. The last of these, printed in 1875 with 'Introduction and Appendices ', although the additions are what Dr. Herford calls 'perfunctory improvements ', is at present the standard for Jonson's complete works.
In the Mermaid Series Dr. Nicholson was to have edited three volumes of the plays of Jonson, but his labor went no further than vols. I and 2 issued in 1893-4. Vol. 3, containing Volpone, Epicæne, and The Alchemist, published in 1895, contains reprints of Gifford. The text of Epicæne is particularly faulty, departing from Gifford's reading with and M for are G PROL. 9; with mere potent M, more portent G, 1. 2. 20; only a fit M, only fit, 2. 1. 14; should M, shall G, 3. 3. 101 ; his M, the G, 4. 5. 28, &c. The Mermaid text is independent in its method of capitalizing, spelling, and typography.
2. Stage-Adaptations. In enumerating the various editions of Epicæne, mention was made of two adaptations for stage production in comparatively recent years. About the middle of the eighteenth century the Jacobean comedy lost its hold on the playgoing public. An altered society judged its situations objectionable, its language coarse, and its Latin quotations pedantic and unintelligible. For a revival of the play in 1776 Colman set to work to remedy matters. He began by cutting out the old prologues and substituting one of his own, the quoting of which will reveal better than much comment the spirit and method of the revision :