The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0562 Thursday, 18 September 2008
Date: Thursday, 18 Sep 2008 08:06:39 -0500
Subject: 19.0540 Hand D and Sir Thomas More
Comment: Re: SHK 19.0540 Hand D and Sir Thomas More
While delving into the mysteries of the _Book of Sir Thomas More_, I was looking
at line 144, which has three words, "how say you," crammed in the left margin
and two words, "now prenty," interlined between 143 and 144, like so:
seriant you are the simplest things that eu stood in such a question
Lin how say you prentisses symple downe wth him
I construe the lines to read thusly (others read differently and there are other
valid ways to do so*):
143) Sergeant: You are the simplest thing that ever stood in such a question.
144) Lincoln: How say you now, prentices? Prentices simple! Down with him!
However, while looking closely at a dense TIFF file of the line yesterday, I
noticed the "y" of "prenty" looked unlike any other "y" in the MS up to that
point. I reviewed all the words up to that point with terminal "y"s and "s," and
at line 131 found the word "prentizes."
Now in 1911 W.W. Greg took the interlined word to read "prenti" in the Malone
Society edition. In 1923 he changed it to "prenty" in his transcription of the
scene in _Shakespeare's Hand in Sir Thomas More_.
Looking at it closely, though, the last letter seems to me to be closer to "z"
than "y," and the tail that travels upward appears to be a mark of abbreviation
like the one following "eu" in the line before. It makes sense to me that an
interlined word would be abbreviated, and it appears to me that that is exactly
how it was written: "z" with a tilde to indicate "prent[i]z[es]."
If anyone would like to take a look at it and give an opinion, I'd be glad to
e-mail the files.
Lincoln: Now, prentices, how say you? Prentices simple? Down with him!
Lincoln (to sergeant): How say you now?
Prentices: Prentices simple? Down with him!
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