Above is the recently discovered acrostic to Thomas Watson, Marlowe's teacher
and friend. It appears in the precise line center of the Sonnets. Can you
spot it? Start with the forth line, the first letter is T, next line
starts with W, etc., ATSO for TWATSO. The missing "N" is the
sound value for the first word of the next line, which starts with
"A", i.e., "And...." This gives us TWATSON for
Thomas Watson. (:} ) Very clever this guy.
*The line center is
discovered by eliminating the one sonnet that asks to be left uncounted (136)
and then dividing the remaining total lines, by two. For a rider on a fast
horse, the center would lie in the middle line of 76, i.e., line seven: 154
sonnets, minus 1 = 153 / 2 = 76.5. However one sonnet is missing two
lines (126) and one sonnet (99) has 15 lines, so the line center moves from the seventh line in 76 to the
middle of the 6th line, the
line that holds the "A" of Watson's last name. So this acrostic,
which has been missed by Stratfordian scholars for all these many years, spans
the center point of the sonnets with Watson's name.
(:} ) Talk about a
hidden tribute to a dead friend. Indeed if we are to ignore the extra line
in sonnet 99 and a revised line that was or should have been crossed out, and
suppose the poet wanted us to make up the two missing lines in sonnet 126, then
then the middle is actually line 7 the line that reads: "That
every word doth almost tell my name."
I'd say that's an important line and one that the poet intended to be placed
dead center in the sonnets.
The Manuscript of Henry
What is the manuscript of Henry IV known as D? (Folger MS, V.b.
34) D surfaced in
the mid-19th century in the remains of the library of Sir Edward Dering (1598
-1644), in Pluckley, Kent, a small village near Maidstone.
in Pluckley, Kent
A Dering Funeral Bronze in the Pluckley Floor about 2' high
Dering's papers is the plan for his "widows" for his church in
Charring Cross, Kent.
Here are the "windows" partly covered with church paraphernalia.
Fortunately there are
no questions regarding D’s late 16th or early 17th
century provenance. So why isn’t D studied and celebrated?
of the Manuscript said to be in Sir Edward Dering's Hand by the
History of King Henry The Fourth as revised by Sir Edward Dering, Bart.,
University of Virginia Press, 1974, 5) Below is a sample of Sir Dering's hand. The two hands are not
even similar in styles. The hand in D, called A, is an Elizabethan
Secretary hand with no evidence of Italian forms. Dering's hand is an
advanced "transitional" hand, mainly here Italian, but with a hint of
the older Secretary hand still in evidence. Notice how Dering's "y"s
trail to the
as modern forms do, while Hand A's trail to the
as Secretary forms did. (Note: look in the
of the ms., the title and the heading are in Italic not Secretary, i.e., they
Like the Ashbourne portrait, D’s obscurity traces to the manuscript’s
owner, the Folger Shakespeare Library, which consigned D to a derivative status
striping it of any connection to Shakespeare. The evidence considered here shows
this assignment premature, unethical and false.
Professional ethics dictate institutions which house treasures not be
involved in the determination of their status. Such a authentication should
hinge upon the objective outside evaluations. Unfortunately the Folger
has relied exclusively on staff and paid fellows for opinions, while ignoring,
even libeling, independent evaluators.
Giles Dawson and Leatitia Yeandle, both long time curators of manuscripts for
the Folger, along with G. Blakemore Evans and George Walton Williams, who
brought out the Folger Facsimile of the manuscript under contracts with the
Folger in 1973, maintain D is dependent on printed sources dating to the
late 16th and early 17th centuries and thus, the claim,
lies outside the author’s provenance.
This opinion fails catastrophically when we realize the author, who was then
alive, could have relied upon these printed texts. Given the abundant evidence
provided by the First Folio versions of previously published plays, revisions
were made on the face of printed quartos, including, however improbably, the
1622 edition of Othello. (Greg, EP)
No one knows who made these revisions to Othello but the others, to Richard
II, Henry V, Merry Wives of Windsor, etc., are supposed authorial.
So it only stands to reason scholars must consider the possibility that
Shakespeare, working from the printed texts c. 1613, returned to this play and
cut it back to his original one part version, a play rich in history but short
on Falstaff. This would explain any alleged bibliographic parallels between this
play and the printed texts and still allow D to become the most important
manuscript in Shakespearian studies.
This fact notwithstanding, the Folger employees have, over the past half
century, maintained this unique manuscript was "copied out" c.
1622 by Sir Edward Dering (1598-1644) and his staff from printed versions of Henry
IV, I and II, specifically from Q5 (1613) of Part One and Q (1600) of
Initially they supposed this because a) the manuscript surfaced in his
library; b) they thought Dering’s hand was similar to one of the hands
evidenced in the manuscript, the hand designated as A; and c) because they cited
erratum from Q5 in D. None of these are proof that the manuscript was Dering’s
and not Shakespeare’s.
A) Dering’s library was vast and contained authorial
manuscripts of several plays including the extant Love’s Victories, now
at the Huntington. Love’s Victories isn’t Dering’s, but Lady Mary
Worth’s, Sidney’s other sister. So there is no reason to suppose D to have been
Dering’s just because it was in his library.
|Above is the opening scene
from Love's Victories, surely not in Dering hand. Nor is the
face of the page marred with changes and notations as is D. (HM 600)
Lady Mary Worth (c. 1586-1640) would have been 12 years Dering's senior.
B) Even if D contains evidence of Dering’s hand, this doesn’t imply Dering
responsible for the reductions. He may simply have glossed it or supplied a
missing sheet from a printed text, as was customary both then and now with
imperfect privately owned copies. There is, for example, a manuscript page
of Edward II supplied by an anonymous owner that looks very much like the
Italic hand in Love's Victories and in the so called "Aryan Heresy
Notes" said Marlowe's and held as evidence against him. So finding
Dering's hand in D doesn't mean D was his doing.
C) Any correspondence between erratum in D and Q5 may simply be
coincidental, since D is
different than Q5. (To this thread we shall
return later.) It is only when D follows Q5 closely that we can be sure
that D was transcribed from it. Since it does not, we have to looked
Eventually, after a payment from Dering to a "mr Carington
oute ye play of K: Henry ye fourth
" dated 27 February 1622/23, was
discovered by myself and, later, Laetitia Yeandle, the Folger cited this payment
as proof D was Dering’s own creation. (S.Q, 37 (1996) 224)
However that ledger records Dering paid for a transcription by the sheet at
the rate of "1d 0b." Since D is 55 sheets long, payment should have
totaled either 55d or 82d, depending on whether "1d 0b" meant 1d or 1
½ d as Yeandle claims. However as we have seen D is just 110 pages longs, so
either way this math is carried out D cannot be what Dering paid for,
since he paid just 4 shillings.
Indeed Yeandle concedes this when she writes "the number of leaves
presently in the manuscript does not coincide with then number implied in this
Below is an E-Mail touching on this Problem from Ian Haste, a scholar and
native born Englishman who went to the trouble to look fully into this vexing
To "John Baker" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject on account of...on pain of... 1d ob' p[er]
I think we might have
hammered the final nail into the 1d ob' coffin, and it would appear to
prove your point. By this reckoning there are 96 pages in the ms as the
ob' has no numerical significance. Therefore it cannot be the same
manuscript. Here is the exerpt from the email of my brother in England. He
spends his Fridays, by the way, researching family history in the Essex
Records Office in Chelmsford which contains many ancient documents.
I think I have found the
answer to the ob' mystery. As soon as I arrived at the Record Office I
asked one of the staff if he knew what the two letters signified, he asked
me to leave the paper with him and he disappeared into the room near the
reception counter. Fifteen minutes passed and he came to bring me the good
news. In his hand he held a slender volume containing hundreds of
abbreviations I assume were associated with ancient writing, this is what
he came up with,
For ob' he showed me the
1. on account of
2. because of
For the p[er] he showed
me these examples,
2. by means of
4. in the course
5. on pain of
But he thinks it was
used then, as it is described in the dictionary today, as a "Latin
preposition, in the sense of by or for."
Henry ye fourth att 1d
ob' p[er] sheete
Henry ye fourth att 1d
for throughout sheete ???
I will leave you to play
with this. My part is done! Have fun!
Good luck with it.
His earlier message is also of use here.
Subject 1d ob'
Problem Solved ?
I find it hard to come
to a conclusion until we define leaves; sheets; page
I am assuming the
following, is this correct?- 1 sheet is two pages. ("D is 55 sheets
long, D is just 110 pages long")
- And 1 page is one side
of one sheet
- 1 Leaf equals one page
Ms. Yeandle is saying
Fact 1 - Four shillings
(48d) was paid.
Fact 2 - Rate of pay is
one and a half pennies per sheet. (1d ob' = 1 1/2 d)
Therefore 32 sheets were
There are two pages per
Therefore there are 64
pages in the ms.
How can we resolve these 64 pages with the 110 pages known (or thought) to
Fact 1 - D is 55 sheets
long. At 2 pages per sheet, D is 110 pages long
Therefore there are 110
pages in the ms - assuming every single sheet had writing on both
How can we resolve the payment of 1d ob' per sheet with the 110 pages?
Fact 1 - Four shillings
(48d) was paid.
Fact 2 - Rate of pay is
one penny per sheet.
Therefore there are 96
pages in the ms
96 pages is not equal to the Truth of 110 pages - being 55 sheets x 2
The resolution depends upon the meaning of 1d ob'
I feel sure it means one
penny paid per sheet, if the obverse is also copied. Otherwise you
don't get the full 1d. To put it another way, each sheet if written on
both sides is 1d, but if written on only one side it is worth half a
If, of the 55 ms sheets,
41 were written on both sides and 14 were written on one side only, then
he would be paid as follows
41 sheets @ 1d equals
14 sheets @ 1/2d equals
Totals 55 sheets 48d
equals four shillings.
That is to say, although
there were 55 sheets, he was only paid for 48 sheet equivalents, or 96
This way shows there can
be 55 sheets but only 96 actual pages as some sheets were not written on
both sides. Note
this conclusion by Ian was false, since all sheets were two sided.
1. The meaning of 1d ob'
is 1d = 1 penny ob' = abbreviaton of obverse, meaning both sides of sheet.
The implication is, as
both sides of sheet cost one penny, one side costs half of one penny.
2. Ms Yeandle is wrong
in saying there are 32 sheets and 64 ms pages because 1d ob' does not
equal 1 1/2 d.
3. John is correct in
saying there are 55 sheets, but is not correct in assuming 110 ms pages
because it is impossible to reconcile 110 pages with payment of 48d.
4. Ian is correct in
saying there are 41 double sided sheets and 14 single sided sheets making
96 ms pages, as this is the only way the math makes sense.
Note this is correct but wrong since there were 110 folio pages, or 55
sheets double sided. The problem remains the math doesn't make
sense, so D isn't what Dering paid for.
I hope this is not too
presumptious of me, John, but it is one solution to a vexing problem
This is hardly the only problem. I traced Dering’s "Mr.
Carrington" to nearby Wootton Kent, where he was Rector. His hand, which is
a lovely and tidy Italian, is very confidently not that of the
transcriber, Hand B. Yeandle, after an exchange of letters with me, wrote,
"Carrington’s will does not appear to be in the same handwriting as the
play." (225) I add, nor do his church records.
|Hand B in D
a "Pure secretary "
Carrington's Hand in his Church Record is pure Italian.
So let us regroup. The Folger believes D a copy of the printed quartos paid
for by Sir Edward Dering as evidenced in his ledger, even though 1) his order
doesn’t match with D’s length, 2) the hand of Mr. Carrington does not match
with D’s and 3) D is not a copy of any printed material. Such is the power of
a well established paradigm.
That D is a not copy of Henry IV Part One, let alone of Henry
IV, Part Two, is obvious on its face. Copy means "the reproduction
of an original." However D is a
single five act play
which contains only
of the action of the
two-part ten act drama. To be precise, D contains
of Part One and 30% of Part Two. D is thus not a "copy".
To avoid this pitfall the Folger supposes D an abridgement and/or a
"revision" one that was simply transcribed from the printed materials
cited above, as the revisor(s) worked through it.
Against this viewpoint D isn’t anymore a "transcript" of the
printed versions than it was a "copy." If we take the word in the
broadest sense, "to write out," we would expect D to follow the
stylized aspects of the sources very closely. However D bears little relation to
the spelling, capitalization, punctuation, lineation or pagination of the
printed works. D is thus neither a copy nor a transcript.
What D looks
like is the pre-quarto version of Henry IV, when it was one part, not
two, as first suggested by the venerable Shakespearian scholar Hardin
Craig. To avoid this fact the Folger and its editors misrepresented what
Hardin had written about the manuscript, to make it seem Craig supported their
view that the text was dependent on the printed versions. Here's how their
While repeatedly asked to set the record straight, by merely a clarification
published as a note in their house organ the, Shakespeare Quarterly,
stipulating Craig maintained D was independent of the printed text and the
confusion was due to faulty grammar,
the Folger has steadfastly refused to cooperate.
Returning to the appearance of D, the anticipation is the copyist would set, at the very least, his number of
lines per page to reflect the printed text, so it could be followed line for
line. We also expect no evidence of indecipherables in the manuscript because
each word in the quarto would have been resolved and printed. Yet D evidences
indecipherables on nearly every page. Consider this muddle on f31r:
Moreover D’s lines vary from twenty-five lines (f19v) to 47 (f3r).
Obviously the printed text’s thirty-two lines per page fits nicely within this
range and Hand B would have had no difficulty following Q5 line for line and
page for page. Since Sir Dering’s account ledger proves he paid for the
transcription "by ye sheet," what copyist paid by the sheet would
reduced his remuneration by nearly half by doubling the number of lines per
sheet from page to page? Why would a contractor pay for substandard work by
the sheet? Why would the scribe use his own spelling and punctuation?
Generally only rough transcripts or authorial foul papers evidence this kind
of "wild" variation in lines. The Timon, ms., said a precursor
of Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens, and a transcript, evidences two hands
which used slightly different numbers of lines per sheet. The Malone editors
write, "B contrives to accommodate more lines per page than does A."
The Folger manuscript of the banned history, The Life and Raigne of King
Henrie IIII, by John Hayward, which is the work of a single scribe, as is
most of D. That manuscript has precisely 33 lines per sheet from front to back.
( Manning, Camden, 1991, 51)
All of this means that D looks more like an author’s manuscript and not the
transcript of a printed text, as first suggested by Hardin Craig and afterwards
by Louis Ule and myself.
Least the reader suppose Hand B was simply incompetent, as the Folger
authorities have, one must consider Folios 10 and 11 which are perfect sheets
and all the proof we need that Hand A was entirely competent. Indeed these two
sheet would have served Dering as examples of what the entire copy should have
looked like and he would have paid, surely, for nothing less.
These sheets prove Hand B’s problems were with his copy source not
his skills as a scribe. Indeed Yeandle eventually came to this same conclusion
when she noticed that he appears to have patched in without notice what is not
the division point of the two plays. This patching in accounts for the
great variation in lines per sheet. What seems to have happened is that B
frequently had a sheet already copied out. It began at a certain point, so he
would fall back, re-transcribe a few pages, packing or expanding his lines, so
the joint would work out and appear seamless. He was so good at this no one
noticed for a century.
If D was cut, how was the cutting achieved? Cutting generally requires the
construction of "bridge lines." But D evidences very few bridge lines
and thus was cut without them. No one knows how this could have been
accomplished. Indeed in the few cases where they are bridge lines they are
unquestionably superior lines. Such as the matchless "then fear gave
wings to flight" and the marginal note "I'll take say of
thee," given the Falstaff while sparring verbally with Prince Hal.
(f43; f20r) If Dering and his scribe could write like this
they were wasting their time in Pluckley.
Indeed a comprehensive study proves that the "bridge lines" are in
the printed texts. This is because an author when he re-enters a short text and
expands it, supplies bridge lines as he goes. These lines and in this case
scenes are obviously revisions, when seen side by side to D’s compact text.
Indeed they are clearly longer lines. So the case is clear: D is
the early version of Henry IV, before it became two parts. By
comparing D to the two-part version we can see how the author enlarged it, line
for line and scene for scene, as Craig first suggested.
So to review. So far nothing in D suggests that it was a transcript of
printed materials or transcribed by Dering. So why has D been claimed as a
spurious transcript of these
materials? Why would the Folger risk ethical and scholarly problems in doing so?
The answer lies in the nature of D and its potential impact on the Stratfordian
paradigm and thus on the Folger’s prestige.
Lets jump back to Sir W. W. Greg. Greg wrote, in rejecting Pollard’s thesis
that Shakspere produced what scholars call "authorial fair copies" of
his works, i.e., legible well organized manuscripts, like D, as opposed to
"foul papers," that Pollard’s proposition failed "for lack of a
connective link." (EP) Since Pollard’s opinion stemmed from the First
Folio’s own statements to this effect, Greg’s opinion set them aside also.
The implications are complex, but may be summarized as running counter to
orthodox treatments of Shakespeare’s life. According to the paradigm the
rustic Shakespeare simply lacked both the time and the skill to have produced
authorial fair copies of his works. Allowing that he did, would force a paradigm
So strong was the paradigm and its influence on its fellows that the Folger’s
facsimile edition was nearly rendered useless to scholars because it did not
furnish a true transcript of D. In its place is a "transcript" in
which they "restored," in many places, "silently and without
record," readings in the quartos! Their "reasoning" ran as thus,
since D was a copy of the printed texts it is acceptable to "correct"
muddles and mistakes of Hand A, "silently and without record."
is D's reading "for yowrs the good of heavon blighten it"
. "Blighten" would be a neologism and is clearly what was
meant here, since she is cursing Northumberland, her father-in-law, over
the death of his son and her husband, young Sir Henry Percy, or Hotspur.
is the Folger "transcript" which reads "For yowrs the God
of Heaven brighten it:" (f45v). The Folger editors have changed
"good" to "God" and "blighten" to
"brighten." Why? Notice also the added punctuation, two
full colons and the capital "F". Where did they come
from? Thin air?
These same scholars libeled Hardin Craig as we have seen. Years later
Craig returned to this view and wrote about how his discoveries had placed him
in "danger" in that they ran counter to the "theories"
of highly respected Shakespeare scholars. (Hamlet: The First Quarto; The Late
Quartos of Shakespeare)
Against Dering’s involvement in D is the fact that his hand, which was a
classic example of a transitional hand, one that evidences both Italic and
Secretary letter forms, does not appear to be Hand A, despite Folger claims to
the contrary. More importantly Dering, who harbored theological aspirations,
does not seem likely to have cut out one of the canon’s few nods to Christ and
to have replaced it with godless humanism, as evidenced on f1r in the lines
penned by Hand A.
How close were Hand A and Hand B? Did they work together or were they
independent? Let us consider f6r. From it we can see Hand B came to the end of
his materials and had nothing else to transcribe. Note the lack of a cue word
and the ending flourish.
Hand A then read the sheet, made several changes, as glosses, including
crossing over the "Enter Warcester" and Hand A then supplied the next
line "But I will lift ye downe - trodd Mortimer".
these changes were made, Hand B then transcribed the verso, which
would have been senseless without the additional line supplied by Hand A to the
This page alone documents that Hand B and Hand A were working
closely together and that contrary to the Folger’s position Hand B’s
interaction cannot have been that of an outside contractor (i.e., Carrington).
Even more disastrous for the Folger’s case are the presence of
discontinuous stints in the manuscript. Stints are by nature continuous runs.
However D evidences a stint in what is now the middle of D (f33) that can also
be found at the end of D on f55. This means D has been expanded by the process
of "interweaving" or inter-leafing where new materials are inserted
between existing materials. D gives us evidence of a version of Henry IV
where the ending came hard on the heels of the King’s victory at Shrewsbury.
A version that would have been slightly shorter than Part One now
is, i.e., about 91% of the present text.
This isn’t at all likely to have happened if the Folger view is correct,
but it seems likely enough if D represents the original go at these materials.
At one time Shakespeare planned on Henry IV ending shortly
after the battle of Shrewsbury. Now V, v, in Part Two, beginning with line 43.
The first 42 lines are missing from D.
Indeed D evidences dozens of individual stints. These stints offer us samples
of Hand B’s writing that seems to span many months, if not several years of
time, likely enough if D was transcribed as the author wrote it over a period of
several months. Here's Hand A correcting "trustful" to
"tristful," a neologism, not emendated until the early Twentieth
So all in all D seems most likely to be Shakespeare’s original version of Henry
IV before it became two parts. It might date to a transcription c. 1614
which relied in part on his original notes and in part on printed texts that he
had annotated and abridged. This possibility would account for any transcription
of q5 variants and still retain the authorial nature of D. It would also
preserve, more or less in tact, the Stratfordian paradigm. For it could easily
be argued that in Stratford in his late 40s and early 50s that Shakespeare had
both the training and the dilatory time to have produced this authorial fair
copy of Henry IV. A copy long on history and short of Falstaff and
a copy, judging from the hole in the First Folio, that was seriously considered
by the printers for inclusion in that most remarkable of all first editions.
Above is the First Folio's beginning of Henry IV, notice the
page number "46", which appears in the upper left-hand corner.
the end of Part Two set or numbered at page 100. So the
two-part version printed out to 64 pages plus an epilogue, or
Yet below is the opening page of Henry V which is contiguous to the
ending of Henry IV, Part Two. Notice its page number is 69.
This means the printers, having come to the end of Richard II, on page
45, moved on to print Henry V, while allowing a space of only 22 pages
for all of Henry IV. Part One required 28 pages and Part
Two 26 pages. However D, or something like it, can easily be fit into
that space or "hole."
The So Called Bacon Henry IV Manuscript Page
to John Baker's Home Page
Well, I still like Hardin Craig's point that it just doesn't make sense
to argue that the manuscript derives from the two quartos. It's got to be
the other way around. Evan's bibliographic argument is pretty bad. And since
the middle 1980s (after Mackenzie's Printers of the Mind) people are much
less impressed by such
Good luck with the paper,
Bill (W. R. Streitberger, University of Washington)
|A recent e-mail on the
Dering Manuscript from the University of Washington paleographic
authority, Professor W. R. Streitberger, Ph.D., who is currently preparing
Revels' Accounts for the Malone Society Edition.