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The Masque of Queens: Textual Essay

David Lindley

Eight copies of the quarto survive:

  1. British Library: C.28.g.5
  2. British Library: G.11211
  3. Bodleian Library, Oxford: Mal. 221 (3)
  4. Victorian and Albert Museum, Dyce 5356: D.25.A.90
  5. Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC: STC 14778
  6. Houghton Library, Harvard: STC 14778
  7. Huntington Library, San Marino: 62067
  8. University of Texas, Austin: Pforz 551

Greg (1939-59, 1.000) noted that in all surviving copies the title page, originally printed on A2, had been cancelled, and replaced with a new title printed on F2: ‘in some copies [F2] seems to have been originally folded round the back into its new position’. It is for this reason that A1 does not survive in most copies – it was probably removed at the same time that the cancel title page was inserted. H&S thought that the change had been caused by an error on A1, but Peter Blayney (1982, 293) argues that there may have been an issue of copyright arising from Bonion and Walley’s ownership of the text. Later the same year, Okes was to print The Case is Altered for Bartholomew Sutton and William Barrenger, in defiance of a prior SR entry licensing the play to Bonion and Walley. Blayney speculates that, if the situation with Queens was at all similar, the cancelled title-page may originally have carried the name of another publisher.

The collation of the quarto is: A1 blank (missing in all but 6 and 7); A2 title-page cancelled (no survivors); F2 title page, the verso blank; A3r-v the dedication to Prince Henry; A4r-F1v the text. B3 is misprinted A3. Collation of the seven surviving copies reveals only minor corrections on three formes, B outer and inner and D inner:

B3 state 1 state 2
r-t Of Queenes Of Queenes.

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