George Villiers, second duke of Buckingham

Harold Love and Robert D. Hume (eds), Plays, Poems, and Miscellaneous Writings associated with George Villiers, Second Duke of Buckingham, Vol. 1

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pg 3Editor’s Note The Chances


1 'Chances', pp. 155–7.

2 Fowler (p. 152) has established that Q3 and O1 were both set from Q2 and 15wgv from Q3. We concur in his judgement that Q2 'supplies no reading which suggests an independent source of authority'.

3 Pp.156–7, 159–60. We accept that the play was probably composed in this way but doubt that this was the form of the actual printer's copy.

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Editor’s Note
These notes draw with gratitude on the very full annotations given in James Patrick Fowler's thesis edition (Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, 1978), which also considers numerous specialized issues of derivation and idiom which were not appropriate for inclusion in the present edition.
Editor’s Note
Fletcher's play was first printed in Comedies and Tragedies written by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher (London, 1647), henceforth 47ct. Fowler has established that it was this edition, not the second folio of 1679, that was Buckingham's source.1 The standard scholarly edition is that of George Walton Williams in The Dramatic Works in the Beaumont and Fletcher Canon, gen. ed. Fredson Bowers (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966–96), iv. 541–645. Buckingham's revision first appeared as a quarto (Wing F1338) dated 1682.
THE | CHANCES, | A | COMEDY: | As it was Acted | AT THE | THEATER ROYAL. | [rule 114 mm] | Corrected and Altered by a PERSON | of HONOUR. | [rule 115 mm] | LONDON, | Printed for A. B. and S. M. and Sold by | Langley Curti<lig.>s on Ludgate Hill, 1682.
Foolscap 4°: A2 B—14 $2 (-A1, A2)
Pag. [4] 1–9, 15, 11–14, 10, 16–63, [1]
A1r tp A1v blank A2r PROLOGUE. A2v blank B1r [double rule 117 mm] The Chances. [single rule 117 mm] ACT I. SCENE I. [single rule 117 mm] I4r EPILOGUE. I4v blank
S. M. is Samuel Magnes, who, on the evidence of publication dates, seems to have acquired ownership of a body of Beaumount and Fletcher copyrights around 1680 jointly with Richard Bentley. The pair were also responsible for the second edition of The Chances in 1692 (Wing 1339) and the fourth edition of The Rehearsal in 1683. Since no 'A. B.' then operating in the trade is a plausible suspect, it is likely that the initials are an error for 'R. B.'. There is no Stationers' Register or Term Catalogue entry for the edition. Quarto reprints of 1692 (Wing F1339) and 1705 and the octavo of 1710 are without authority and their variants are not listed in the present edition.2 The copy-text for the present edition is the Monash University Library copy of Q1 (*Sw Pam. 820.3 F613 A6/C). This has been collated, using transparencies, with Bodleian Library Mal. 66(7); British Library 11773.g.8; Cambridge University Library Brett-Smith 988; Folger Shakespeare Library F1338; Harvard University, Houghton Library *EC.F6353.682c; Huntington Library D/F/1338/111967; and Yale University, Beinecke Library Ij B862 882c. The only press variant affecting text is a font-correction first noted by Fowler:
Sheet C, inner forme
Corrected: British Library, Cambridge, Monash, Yale
Uncorrected: Bodleian, Folger, Huntington
C1v, l. 20: and his] and his
It is surprising that a play that had been in the active repertory for nearly two decades should only at this late date have made its way to the press. One possibility is that the prior owners of the copyright in Fletcher's version had been unwilling to authorize an edition until after the publication of the 1679 second folio (Wing B1582); another possibility, not necessarily exclusive of the first, is that the quarto was a fund-raising activity by members of the King's Company, by then in terminal decline and deprived by retirement of the services of its Don John, Charles Hart, or even by Hart himself. However, the text, which is of good quality, gives no obvious signs of playhouse provenance and must therefore have been set from an independent manuscript (scribal or authorial) or, as Fowler proposes, a marked-up copy of 47ct with MS supplementation.3 The quarto has been carefully set and printed but lacks the usual preface and dedication or an author's name. Both omissions are explained by Buckingham's rank, in which he gave precedence only to dukes of the royal blood. In addition, at this crucial stage of his political career, he would hardly have wished to risk the damage that such a light-hearted publication might have done to his laboriously constructed status as an elder statesmen of the Whig cause. His name was first publicly associated with it by Gerard Langbaine in Momus Triumphans (London, 1688 [1687]), p. 8, who lists the title under Fletcher with a footnote: 'Altered by the Duke of Buckingham, and Printed in Quarto. Lond. 1682'. The duke's name appeared on the title page of the 1692 quarto in the form 'By his Grace the Duke of Buckingham; Author of the Rehearsal'. Yet there is no reason to doubt that the edition appeared with his approval: it would have been a bold bookseller who would have risked the wrath of so powerful and vindictive a personage. In addition, Langley Curtis, the only stationer named on the title page, was himself a fervent Whig, publishing from a shop whose sign was the head of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey, the Popish Plot martyr. Only the extent of Buckingham's personal involvement in the publication process remains uncertain.
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