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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: September ::
Hand D and Sir Thomas More
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0562  Thursday, 18 September 2008

From:       Tom Reedy <
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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
                          now prenty
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.

TR

*Other constructions:

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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