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Date and Authorship of the Original Text of "Sir Thomas More"

Did Shakespeare write Sir Thomas More?  Compelling new scholarship by Thomas Merriam suggests that he did.

Date and Authorship of the Original Text of "Sir Thomas More"


The second edition of The Oxford Shakespeare published in 2005 contains a version of the entire Sir Thomas More, “by Anthony Munday and Henry Chettle, with revisions and additions by Thomas Dekker, William Shakespeare and Thomas Heywood”, edited by John Jowett.  In the introduction to the play, the editors write “It seems likely that the play was written during the early 1590s and submitted in the usual way to the Master of Revels for a licence.”[1] Six years later, the Arden Shakespeare Sir Thomas More prepared by the same editor proposed a different date of composition.

The present edition argues that the Original Text [consisting of most of the edited play] was written c. 1600.  In contrast, most critics have argued that the play was written c. 1593 or c. 1595.[2] 

   What led the Oxford Shakespeare to advocate the earlier date and one of its editors to change his mind in a relatively short time? 

   It is reasonable to suppose that W.W. Greg’s careful original spelling 1911 edition of Sir Thomas More for the Malone Society set the scene for the dating of the Original Text in Anthony Munday’s handwriting. Based on Greg’s knowledge at the time, and in particular the play’s mention of Thomas Goodal, an actor connected with 2 Seven Deadly Sins of Lord Strange’s company (disbanded in April 1594), he favoured “some such year as 1592 or 1593…”[3]  In his 1961 supplement to Greg’s early introduction, Harold Jenkins found that Goodal had been “an actor as late as 1599”.[4] Nonetheless he supported the Malone dating of the Original Text because the book-keeper, named as the play’s Hand C, who had read the Original Text and the later addition to the original in Hand D, had left Lord Strange’s Men after 1594 to join the reconstituted Admiral’s Men by 1597.  Shakespeare, the assumed author of the three pages in Hand D and member of the Lord Chamberlain’s company, would not have contributed to a play written for its rival, the Admiral’s Men. 1594 hence was a watershed date as the terminus ad quem or last possible date for the text of Sir Thomas More in Munday’s hand.

   G. Taylor speculated as to a date before and after the watershed of 1594.[5] He noted that there were three dates for which the play’s handling of riots would have been both topical and subject to Edmund Tilney’s strict censorship: 1593, 1595, and the Essex rebellion of 1601.  The last would not apply for the reason that it was neither a popular uprising nor motivated by anti-alien feeling. Of the remaining two, Taylor rejected 1595 because the savage executions that followed the riots would have made dramatic reference to them dangerous in the circumstance. 

   Taylor alluded also to the argument based on Munday’s handwriting. E. Maunde Thompson (1915-17) argued that the handwriting of the Munday text of More resembled that of his hand in John a Kent and John a Cumber (1589-1596?) rather than that of Munday’s The Heaven of the Mind (1602).

   The editors of the Revels edition of More re-emphasised Thompson’s judgment of the handwriting affinity between the play and John a Kent, whose earlier date of 1590 was determined by I.A. Shapiro in 1955.[6]  “It is now generally accepted--with a few extravagant exceptions--that the original version of the play was written in Munday’s hand not later than 1593 and this view is supported by the topical relevance of the Ill May Day scenes to those years.”[7]  In addition, Gabrieli and Melchiori mentioned the findings of Scott McMillin that the original text of More contained a major speaking part of a length than would have suited only an actor such as Lord Strange’s Edward Alleyn.[8]

   The generally received view of the dating of the Original Text, as Jowett states above, was about 1593 and for the reasons sketched.  An encyclopedia published after the publication of the 2011 Arden Sir Thomas More states,

The play was most likely written to be acted by the Lord Strange's Men, the only company of the time that could have mounted such a large and demanding production, at Philip Henslowe's Rose Theatre, which possessed the special staging requirements (large-capacity second-level platform and special enclosure) called for by the play. The massive lead role of More, 800-plus lines, was designed for Edward Alleyn, the only actor up to that time who is known to have played such large-scale roles. After the re-organization of the playing companies in 1594, the manuscript may well have passed into the possession of the Admiral's Men.[9]

Enter the Ghost of Schücking

   In the Introduction of the Arden Sir Thomas More under the heading “Unroyal histories”, the editor states that “Sir Thomas More can be linked with a small group of plays dealing with the lives of the friends and advisers of kings”,[10]plays of ‘citizen virtue’ based on leading figures who are of consequence in the state but not of royal blood.”[11]  They are unroyal plays because they are not focused on monarchs. Their putative authors and dates are: 1 Sir John Oldcastle by Anthony Munday, Michael Drayton, Robert Wilson and Richard Hathway in 1599; the Original Text of Sir Thomas More by Munday and Henry Chettle in 1600 or somewhat before, as proposed by the editor; the anonymous True Chronicle History of the Whole Life and Death of Thomas Lord Cromwell c. 1600.  Sir Thomas More, 1 Oldcastle and Cromwell all deflect from the mainstream of historical events by presenting anecdotal and episodic accounts of the rise and fall of the man on whom they focus.”[12] If Henry Chettle’s non-extant, two-part Cardinal Wolsey, performed by the Admiral’s men in 1601, is interleaved with the More and Cromwell, it contributes “to a distinct sub-group of plays of around 1600 about Henry VIII’s chancellors.”[13]

   L. L. Schücking first proposed the association of Oldcastle, Cromwell, and More in 1912-13.[14]  He saw the three plays as related in commemorating their protagonists’ “citizen virtue” – “not of royal blood,” as he reaffirmed in 1925.

Now there can be little doubt that it [More] forms part of a group which shows in some respects a surprising similarity. These are The First Part of Sir John Oldcastle (1600) and The True Chronicle History of the whole Life and Death of Thomas Lord Cromwell (1602).[15]

      The first of the plays was Oldcastle which Schücking dated as 1599 and 1600.

If these conclusions are accepted, we get a firm date for our play [Original Text of More]. The Oldcastle plays [1 and 2 Sir John Oldcastle] by Munday, Drayton, Wilson, and Hathway date from 1599. The Wolsey plays, in which again Drayton and Munday were concerned, date from 1601. Cromwell used to be dated much earlier, but Streit already has made it plausible (The Life and Death of Th. Lord Cromwell, Jena, 1904) that it originated after Wolsey.  Sir Thomas More then must need date from about the same time, 1601-2.[16]

   It is notable that Schücking, the likely source of the dating of Original Text adopted by the Arden edition for similar reasons, is not cited by Jowett, - nor, for that matter, by Gabrieli and Melchiori, McMillin, or Taylor in his “The Canon and Chronology of Shakespeare’s Plays”.  Jowett writes, “…Shakespeare’s account of Mark Antony’s skilful manipulation of the plebians derives from Plutarch, whereas the scene in Sir Thomas More has no narrative source apart from the sketchy and crucially different details in Holinshed.”  The thought is Schücking’s. [17]

   The scene in question is 3Arden Scene 6 with 165 of its lines assigned to Shakespeare and 90 remaining lines to the Original Text.  Schücking attests in 1912-13 to five parallels with Julius Caesar, based on Plutarch, and available prior to an undifferentiated Sir Thomas More not by Shakespeare. First there is a parallel between those wishing to listen to Brutus and those wishing to listen to Cassius on the one hand, and  those wishing to listen to “The noble Earl of Shrewsbury! / Let’s hear him,” (6.36-37) and “We’ll hear the Earl of Surry,” (6.37) on the other.  

   Second, there is the unmistakeable parallel between Julius Caesar’s “Friends, Romans, countrymen” and  Surrey’s “Friends, masters, countrymen” (6.32).[18] Third, there is in Julius Caesar the Citizens’ “Peace, ho! Let us hear him” which is echoed in More’s Lord Mayor’s “Peace ho, peace” (6.33) and Sherwin/Williamson’s “Let’s hear him.” (6.36).[19] Fourth, there is the command “Room for the Earl of Shrewsbury! room there, room!” (7.133) which would echo “Room for Antony, most noble Antony.”  Fifth, there is the parallel between More’s ability to sway the mob’s opinion (6.83-160) and that of Antony in his well-known “Friends, Romans, countrymen” address to the people of Rome.

   These parallels, which underpin Schücking’s late dating for More, all pertain to the three pages in Hand D (6.1-165) with the exception of the fourth. The expression “Room for” (7.133) followed by one of the nobility, real or imagined, is used in Love’s Labour’s Lost (5.2.689) and in Henry VIII (1.2, SD after line 8) and is therefore not specific to Julius Caesar.

   I find it certain that the three pages of Hand D reflect the influence of Julius Caesar and its source, Plutarch’s Lives behind it. The transmission of “influence” from Caesar to Hand D was, as it were, from Shakespeare to Shakespeare, without the intermediary of a printed text that was non-existent until the Folio of 1623. Schücking’s five parallels with Caesar underpin Jowett’s correct attribution of Hand D to Shakespeare, although in 1925 Schücking confidently assigned the scene to Heywood.[20]

   The difficulty arises in Schücking’s ambiguity in 1912-13 as to whether he refers to the whole of Sir Thomas More or simply the scene that includes Hand D.  

   The lack of 3 Arden’s giving credit to Schücking is possibly due to the fact that he would strongly oppose the inclusion of any part of Sir Thomas More in a Shakespeare series. His essay of 1925 concludes emphatically,

If, then, we draw the conclusion from what has been put forward, the final judgment must needs be that Shakespeare’s authorship of the “147” lines is more than doubtful.[21]

 And since the Arden More is predicated on the Shakespearean authorship of Hand D (Addition II to the Original Text) as the basis for its inclusion in the Arden series, Schücking’s rejection of Shakespeare in favour of Heywood as the author of Hand D would require further explanation.[22] 

   Unease with Schücking, it may be said, goes further. He quotes a passage from the introduction to Pollard’s Shakespeare’s Hand in the Play of Sir Thomas More, which reads,

If these three pages [Hand D] were not Shakespeare’s work the dramatist to whom on the ground of style and temper I would most readily assign them (despite a difficulty about the date) would be Thomas Heywood. But Heywood is definitely ruled out by his handwriting, that is to say, that if Sir Edward [Maunde Thompson] was right, even to this limited extent, Shakespeare survives a test which excludes Heywood, and not only Heywood but all other dramatists of whose handwriting specimens are know to exist.[23]

Schücking omitted the strike-through sentence, thus subverting the meaning in order to support his previously held view that Hand D was “pseudo-Shakespearean”.[24]  One may be cautious in accepting a “firm” date for More from a scholar willing to use selective quotation in such a way.  

   Influential in urging Schücking’s late dating of the Original Text was the need to accommodate parallels, which in 1912-13 he perceived between the Original Text of More on the one hand, and Julius Caesar (performed 1599), Hamlet (performed 1600-01), Thomas Lord Cromwell (published 1602), Heywood’s A Woman Killed with Kindness (performed 1603),  Fletcher’s The Woman’s Prize (subsequently dated 1611-13), and Dekker’s The Honest Whore (published in 1604) on the other. Schücking saw the influence of these plays upon the non-Shakespearean Original Text as self-evident. He connected the Caesar-influenced three-page Hand D addition with its contemporaneous Original Text.[25]  Caesar’s parallels (both plays beginning with “scenes of public disturbance and political activity”, the threats of the mob to have recourse to arson rather than spoiling of property as in the pre-1593 Holinshed, Brutus and More compared)[26]  are also used by Jowett to place Caesar earlier rather than after the Original Text. Jowett regards the parallels between Caesar and the Original Text, however, as significantly less compelling than those between Caesar and the three pages in Hand D.  The parallels with the Original Text indicate influence rather than authorship.

It should occasion no surprise that Munday and Chettle should be influenced
by Shakespeare. By the late 1590s there were few rivals to Shakespeare in terms of currency both on stage and in print, and Shakespeare’s impact on Chettle is pronounced.[27]

The Hamlet echoes in More, given the 3Arden dating “in or around 1600”[28] , are less evidential of Shakespeare’s non-authorial influence on the Original Text for Jowett than for Schücking.  Whereas the parallels with Caesar are authorially probative, those with Hamlet are not. Jowett suggests that there is one possibly important echo of Hamlet in the Original Text (OT). 

It is even possible that there is an echo of Hamlet’s ‘who would bear the whips and scorns of time…and the spurns / That patient merit of th’unworthy takes… Who would fardels bear…’ (3.1.69-75) in ‘Under the whip, the burden and the toil / Their low-wrought bodies drudge in patience (OT3.19-20). But it would be unjustified build a case for 1601-02 on this sole evidence.[29]

Schücking did not of course build his case for the Original Text’s late date on a single echo.  He adduced parallels between the plays-within-plays, The Murder of Gonzago and The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom in More, the greeting of the players by Hamlet and More, and Hamlet’s and More’s roles as interpreters of the interior plays.  The word “distracted” meaning troubled or mentally confused is first cited in the OED (4) as occurring in Hamlet; it is found in the Original Text: “My searching eye did never entertain / A more distracted countenance of grief …” (OT 3.6)

   Referring to the lines “Under the whip, the burden and the toil / Their low-wrought bodies drudged in patience” (OT 3.19-20) Jowett seems to allow for Schücking’s later date extension. “Given a late date of composition [for the Original Text], this might be influenced by Ham 3.1.69-75”[30] [“For who would bear the whips and scorns of time…”]

   Schücking’s original dating 1604-05 for the Original Text is untenable.  In “Das Datum” he claims that Original Text’s Doll Williamson is an obvious (ersichtlich) echo from Fletcher’s The Tamer Tamed of Maria, who resembles Lysistrata in organizing a rebellion of women. The analogy is at best a loose one, and The Tamer Tamed or The Woman’s Prize is currently dated 1611-13 in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.  A date subsequent to 1611 for Sir Thomas More is not credible.
   Jowett’s date for the Original Text of c. 1600 is less extreme.

There is, moreover, a Shakespeare influence on the Original Text that probably extends to plays Shakespeare wrote up to 1599. This is not a sign of authorship, but relates to dates.[31]

    Jowett filters the cause and effect of Shakespeare parallels with the Original Text to non-authorial influence, operating up and including 1599, but not beyond.  Julius Caesar has pride of place because of its authorial contagion with 3Arden 6.1-165. “There are also possible [non-authorial] echoes of Julius Caesar (1599). At 15.46-52 Gough says:”

            This writing found my lady in his study
                This instant morning, wherein is set down
                Each servant’s name, according to his place
And office in the house. On every man
He frankly hath bestown twenty nobles,
The best and worst together, all alike,
Which Master Catesby here forth will pay ye. (15.46-52)[32]
Jowett compares More’s gift of twenty nobles to his servants with Caesar’s gift of seventy-five drachmas to every citizen (Julius Caesar, 3.2.129-243). 

…the parallel of situation between “This writing found my lady in his study” and “But here’s a parchment, with the seal of Caesar / I founds it in his closet” (JC 3.2.129-30) has no equivalent in Plutarch.[33]


The intervening influence of Julius Caesar is especially likely as the two plays share an unusual characteristic, found also in Coriolanus, in that they begin with scenes of public disturbance and political activity on the part of the city artisans.[34]

The filtering of parallels between those which indicate shared authorship and those which indicate influence of an earlier writer upon a later one is the object of further consideration below.

A Surprising Similarity

   Granted the Arden sequence beginning with Oldcastle and followed by More and then Cromwell, an anomalous feature of this ordering of linked plays is the sandwiching of one play, censored for favouring a non-doctrinal but politically dubious[35] Catholic martyr (“…the play puts forward More as a man of the City of London, and as a doctrinally bland figure whom it is almost unobjectionable to admire,”[36]), between two uncensored, anti-Catholic, and politically correct pro-royal plays, Oldcastle and Cromwell. The figure of the bishop in the three commands attention.

   In Oldcastle, as in More, the leading churchman is the bishop of Rochester. He is modelled on Thomas Arundel, the archbishop of Canterbury who was responsible for burning Sir John Oldcastle at the stake for heresy in 1417. Why did Oldcastle’s playwrights change the historical name of Arundel to that of an undesignated bishop of Rochester? A credible reason is that the archbishop of Canterbury in the 1590s was the Anglican counterweight to the Pope as trustee of orthodox religious authority. The first Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, was a Protestant martyr. In contrast to favourable associations of the archbishop of Canterbury, John Fisher, bishop of Rochester, was the leading Catholic prelate in England to be condemned by jury and officially executed for high treason. He was beheaded in 1535.

   It is stated in the Prologue of 1 Sir John Oldcastle that the play is a riposte to Shakespeare’s 1 Henry IV.  1 Sir John Oldcastle is a play for which the adjective pro-royal applies as well as unroyal. The playwrights’ intention was to vindicate the historical Sir John Oldcastle’s reputation for loyalty to the king against Shakespeare’s lampoon of the round-bellied, Bible-quoting Sir Jack of the Henry IV plays, “a scurrilously satirical representation of a revered historical figure”[37] 

It is no pampered glutton we present,
Nor aged Councillor to youthful sin,
But one, whose virtue shone above the rest,
A valiant Martyr, and a virtuous peer,
In whose true faith and loyalty expressed
Unto his sovereign, and his country’s weal. (italics mine)
                            (Prologue, 1 Sir John Oldcastle)

   In answer to the proto-Protestant Oldcastle/Falstaff’s mistress Doll in 2 Henry IV, Sir John of Wrotham, the venal Catholic priest in Oldcastle, has a mistress Doll.  Sir Thomas More includes another Doll, Doll Williamson, unnamed in the relevant source Holinshed. Jowett finds a link between the three plays, as the name Doll exists in only six plays of the relevant period.[38]  He does not draw attention to the name of Rochester, which is shared by Oldcastle and Sir Thomas More.

    The creation of Doll as mistress to Sir John of Wrotham in Oldcastle is a rejoinder to Shakespeare’s opening move in creating a comic lecher in Oldcastle/Falstaff. However, Doll Williamson’s sympathetic portrayal in a presumably subsequent Sir Thomas More refuses, as it were, to play the game.  Conventionally, she is a defender of marriage. “Take an honest woman from her husband? Why, it is intolerable.” (More, 1.106-07)  Given the editor’s sequence of composition, the reactive creation of a clerically-compromised trollop in 1 Sir John Oldcastle is followed hard on by the non-partisan portrayal of a faithful wife of the same name in More.  Anthony Munday is presumed to have been involved in writing both plays.

   David Scott Kastan has argued that the butt of Shakespeare’s ridicule of Sir John Oldcastle/Falstaff was not his Elizabethan descendant, the 11th Earl of Cobham, but the 14th and 15th century proto-Protestant martyr celebrated by John Bale and John Foxe.[39] John Foxe defended in thirty-four pages (1570) the view expressed in his 1563 Acts and Monuments that the Lollard Sir John Oldcastle was a loyal subject of his king. In so doing, Foxe was replying to Nicholas Harpsfield, who argued in two pages (1566) that Oldcastle had led a rebellion against the king.[40] In simple terms, Foxe represented the Protestant view, and Harpsfield the Catholic view of Oldcastle. Harpsfield’s earlier biography of Thomas More was later the main source for the latter half of Sir Thomas More. 

   Positive evaluations of the historical Sir John Oldcastle prompted offended responses to the negative ones, obliging Shakespeare to change Oldcastle’s name to Sir John Falstaff, and make an apology at the end of 2 Henry IV in speaking of Falstaff – “for Oldcastle died a martyr, and this is not the man.”

   They account as well for the defence of the Lollard hero in the narrative poem about Sir John Oldcastle by John Weever (1601) with the title The Mirror of Martyrs, taken from Munday’s The Mirror of Mutability or Principal part of the Mirror of Magistrates.  They go some way towards accounting for the anti-Catholic, anti-clerical 1 Sir John Oldcastle, The Life and Death of Lord Cromwell, and Munday and Chettle’s The Death of Robert, Earl of Huntingdon (1598).

    With respect to Oldcastle, the bishop of Rochester, in seeking the arrest of Sir John, demands of Lady Cobham that she reveal where her husband is hiding. She pleads ignorance. The bishop retorts, “Go to, go to, ye are an heretic, / And will be forced by torture to confess / If fair means will not serve to make ye tell.” (1SJO. 1798-1800) As for Oldcastle, Lord Cobham, “Your husband is a dangerous schismatic, / Traitor to God, the King, and commonwealth.” (1SJO. 1804-05)

   When religious books including the Bible and the metrical Psalms are brought before the bishop, he angrily exclaims, “Away with them, to th’ fire with them Clun, / Now fie upon these upstart heretics, /All English [as opposed to Latin], burn them, burn them quickly Clun.” (1SJO. 1952-54) The bishop of Rochester is an anti-Protestant villain.

    In the same year as Oldcastle or the year following, the Arden editor contends that Munday (or Chettle) had “the grave Doctor Fisher” of Sir Thomas More, actual bishop of Rochester, serenely state:

                                      …but in this breast
There lives a soul that aims at higher things
Than temporary pleasing earthly kings.
God bless his highness, even with all my heart.
We shall meet one day, though that now we part.
                                                      (More, 12.2-6)

The monarch, Supreme Head of the Church in England in 1535, was not pleased to be advised of the distinction between rendering to Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and to God that which is God’s. For Henry VIII, there was a single conduit of a subject’s devotion – to the king and through the king to God – as illustrated on the title page of the Great Bible, where the seated figure of the king is larger than that of God above.  Any dodging the approved route was potentially actionable as treason.

   The point to be made, nevertheless, is that the bishop of Rochester in the Original Text of Sir Thomas More is no villain, despite being regarded by Hall, Holinshed and Foxe as a “great persecutor of Lutherans”.[41] Like Doll Williamson, he declines engagement in the game of “sectarian” tit for tat.  Unlike Oldcastle’s bishop of Rochester, he expresses neither hatred nor anger. Vittorio Gabrieli observed, “Yet more striking is Munday’s unusual presentation of the bishop of Rochester as a mild saint.”[42] 

    There is an absence of partisan bandying in Sir Thomas More; no doctrinally motivated hate figure appears on stage. It is not a “sectarian” play because there was, in part, little dogmatic difference in 1535 between the King and More. There is however a doctrinally propagandist animus in Jowett’s other pro-royal “unroyal histories”, Oldcastle and Cromwell. In Cromwell, the villain is the anti-Reform bishop of Winchester, Stephen Gardiner, and special object of Foxe’s loathing. The play’s Gardiner suborns two false witnesses to ensure the death sentence for Thomas Cromwell as traitor.  Winchester’s blessing the two false witnesses with holy water is reminiscent of the Abbot’s blessing the Monk who volunteered to poison King John in the anti-Papal The Troublesome Reign of King John of the Queen’s Men.  Rochester and Winchester in 1 Sir John Oldcastle and Lord Cromwell are meant to be hated.

   The editor asserts, “Munday is best seen as an unfixable figure who repeatedly engaged in religious controversy but who was notable for the apparently contradictory nature of his involvement.”[43]  Whereas Anthony Munday engaged in religious controversy against Harpsfield, along with his collaborative playwrights (and Bale and Foxe), in defending a pro-royal heretic in 1 Sir John Oldcastle, his apparent involvement in the Original Text of Sir Thomas More entails no comparable clash involving its “doctrinally bland figure whom it is almost unobjectionable to admire”. The play was unacceptable not for reasons of doctrine, but for political non-conformity.  The Original Text was censored by Edmund Tilney on two main counts: its extensive treatment of an anti-foreign insurrection in London, and its inclusion of More’s and Fisher’s refusal to sign the 1534 Oath of Succession. (More, 10.68-109 with lines 80-104 marked for deletion) The oath stated, “Ye shall swear to bear faith, truth, and obedience alonely to the king’s majesty, and to his heirs of his body of his most dear and entirely beloved lawful wife Queen Anne.” (italics mine)[44]   

     Tilney’s second objection applies to treason, not doctrine.  It is an irony of history that both Henry VIII before his death in 1547, and Pope Pius V in his bull Regnans in excelsis of 1570, declared Queen Anne’s daughter, Elizabeth, illegitimate.  Whereas Parliament in 1558 conferred legitimacy on Elizabeth I de facto in recognizing her right to the throne of England, her legitimacy, as ordinarily construed, was never declared de jure.  It was treason to question it, for to do so implied, as made clear in the papal bull of 1570, that Elizabeth was not the legal heir to the throne. 

   Furthermore, it was anathema for the slightest mention of divided loyalty to church and state on the public stage.  In  More’s Rochester, the mention was there – as in the lines quoted above. (More, 12.2-4)  If indeed, “the attempts to defuse the religious issue [in More] are clear…”[45], then the gratuitous inclusion of Bishop Fisher of Rochester tells against that intention. The Original Text is not simply an “unroyal history”; it is “inflammatory”[46], and the most politically incorrect dramatic text which survives from the time of Elizabeth I.  The other “unroyal histories”, 1 Sir John Oldcastle and Lord Cromwell, are pro-royal and politically orthodox.

   Was Munday in actual fact “repeatedly engaged in religious controversy” from opposing standpoints? His involvement in religious controversy on the side of Elizabeth’s religious settlement is well documented, but where is evidence of his “notable” involvement against the established settlement? 

   The editor defers to Donna B. Hamilton,

Munday, in contrast, courted religious controversy. Recent scholarship has found various ways of coming to terms with his involvement in the play; it has not considered it to be incompatible with his other activities. Donna B. Hamilton’s revisionist account sees Munday as a covert Catholic in his sympathies throughout his life, and so overcomes this particular objection to seeing him as the author of the play.[47]

Hamilton provides examples of the way in which Munday courted religious controversy.

Like others formerly connected to the Catholic networks, Munday, too, jockeyed for continued access to the privilege and publicity of print, repeatedly adjusting his positioning so as to be close enough to the mainstream to stay legitimate. Significant for understanding this aspect of Munday’s public authorship, the repertoire of double-voiced strategies he developed allowed not only for loyalty but also for opportunities to reinsert Catholic ideology into mainstream and popular publications – writing that performed the cultural work of conserving and preserving, through licensed print in England, what others wished to eradicate.[48] 

   Hamilton offers examples of Munday’s appetite for religious controversy in presenting the oppositional Catholic viewpoint. In reference  to his A Discovery of Edmund Campion (1582),

Because Amilton provides no features of typography distinguish Munday’s voice from the material he quotes, wherever Munday continues one or another form of quotation over several paragraphs, as is the case with [the Jesuit] Parson’s words, there occurs considerable fluidity in whose voice one may hear.[49]

Should the subtleties of this degree of involvement in religious controversy escape the reader, Hamilton provides examples from the same work that narrates the execution of the Jesuit martyr.

…Munday again equivocates, offering yet another lacuna, when he concludes that “the outward protestations of this man [Campion], urged some there present to teares, not entring into conceyt of his inward hypocrisie” (G1v)…Again obfuscating what he could have made clear, Munday’s reference to Campion’s hypocrisy, seemingly a criticism – indeed, on one level an accusation of deceit – actually offers yet another way of representing and practising equivocation. Although he was the clearest of writers when he chose to be, Munday’s report on Campion aligns with the government’s position, but then, in the examples given here, also associates with the Catholics in spirit by practising the Catholic sophistry Munday has so thoroughly described earlier in the sections where he reports on the tactics used by the priests who have come to England.[50]    (italics mine) 

Hamilton’s view of Munday as a “covert Catholic in his sympathies throughout his life” hinges on a tendentious reading of pro-Catholic subtexts in his anti-Catholic polemical writings. The analogy between Munday’s manner displayed in his polemical writings of the 1580s and the Original Text of Sir Thomas More founders on the fact that the play has no overt anti-Catholic main text concealing a Catholic subtext of the sort found by Hamilton in A brief discourse of the takinge of Edmund Campion, the seditious Jesuit (1581), The arraignement, and execution of a wilful and obstinate traitour named Everalde Ducket, alias Hauns (1581), A discoverie of Edmund Campion (1582), and The English Romayne Life (1582).  The outline of a non-polemical, humorously pro-Catholic Sir Thomas More, devoid of hidden theological agenda, differs in substance from the pattern of anti-Catholic polemical writings containing real or imagined covert Catholic agenda.  It is possibly for this reason that Hamilton states, “If there has been a problem understanding how a Protestant Munday could have represented More so positively, that problem does not go away if one considers Munday to be a Catholic.”[51]  More to the point is the fact that no covert Catholic as circumspect as Munday would have offered the censor a play as imputable as the Original Text of Sir Thomas More.

   Granted the Original Text was written after 1 Sir John Oldcastle, a Protestant riposte to the anti-Protestant, or at least anti-Puritan, opening challenge represented by the debauched Sir Jack, then Sir Thomas More fails to provide a commensurate riposte to the Papist Rochester of Oldcastle.
   Shortly before Munday composed More (according to the Arden’s dating of the play c. 1600), he collaborated with Chettle in writing The Death of Robert, Earl of Huntingdon. The oily Abbess and Monk of this play attempt to persuade the virtuous Matilda into accepting King John’s adulterous attentions.  The hypocritical religious celibates are objects of hate - in political accord with the destruction of the English monasteries.

    At about the same time Munday is said to have contributed to Sir Thomas More, he collaborated with Robert Wilson, of “strong anti-Catholic sentiments”[52] and formerly of the anti-recusant Queen’s Men, not only in writing Oldcastle, but also in creating Owen Tudor and Fair Constance of Rome (1599-1600) – along with the other playwrights who shared in writing 1 Sir John Oldcastle. The presence of a single pro-Catholic play (“Sir Thomas More’s roots lie in Christian hagiography.”[53]) by the same playwrights who contributed to its four neighbouring plays, two of which are known to be anti-Catholic and three of which were part-authored by Robert Wilson, demands further explanation. The Arden More explains this irregularity simply by reference sto Munday’s “opportunistic vacillation”.[54]

    The premise that More is of a piece with Oldcastle and Cromwell, the three ultimately derived “from the medieval plays showing the lives of saints”[55], disregards Tilney’s prohibition, which stands out like a sore thumb in contrast to the acceptability of the other  plays.  It disregards the finding of Scott McMillin that only four plays written between 1590 and 1601 have leading roles with 800 or more spoken lines: Richard III (1593), Sir Thomas More (1593-1600?), Henry V (1598-99) and Hamlet (1600-01).[56]  Oldcastle and Cromwell are not among them. Sir Thomas More is more unlike Oldcastle and Cromwell than it is like them, and its dating is doubtfully theirs.

Jowett’s Refutation of Conventional Dating

The 3Arden dating of the Original Text 1596 to 1602 eliminates the possibility that the play was written for the Lord Strange’s Men as the company had ceased to exist after 1594. “Nor can the Admiral’s Men be countenanced, as Henslowe’s Diary provides a systematic account of payments to dramatists during this period but makes no reference to Sir Thomas More.”[57] This leaves two possibilities: it was written for the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, Shakespeare’s company, and rival of the Admiral’s Men for which Munday and Chettle in fact wrote; or it was written for the Earl of Derby’s Men, successor in part to the Lord Strange’s Men (briefly Earl of Derby’s Men) and which was partly authorized to perform for a few years at the Boar’s Inn Theatre and later the Rose.   

   The first of the two possibilities posits that Munday and Chettle wrote the Original Text of More for the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Yet neither wrote for Shakespeare’s company. “Doubts centre on the apparent implausibility of Munday and Chettle writing for the Admiral’s company’s main rivals.”[58]  If this possibility is eliminated, it leaves the Earl of Derby’s company as the only company for which the Original Text could have been written around 1600.

   Although Hand C has been associated with 2 Seven Deadly Sins (Strange’s Men) and later 2 Fortune’s Tennis (Admiral’s Men), there is no evidence that links him to the Earl of Derby’s Men. “… the possibility still remains that Hand C was a freelance scribe/play-doctor with no fixed tie to a single company.”[59]  This is an escape clause which allows the virtually essential off-chance that Hand C worked for Derby’s Men.  Similarly in the case of Thomas Goodal (Goodale): “Goodale too might have moved on, no matter where he was working some years previously.”[60] There is no recorded connection linking Goodal with Derby’s Men.  In short, Hand C and Goodal, formerly central to Greg’s case for their involvement in the same play for Lord Strange’s Men prior to 1594, are dispensed with as providers of evidence as to the company for which the Original Text was composed.

   An objection may be raised to the writing of More for the Earl of Derby’s Men due to the fact that William Stanley, sixth Earl of Derby, belonged to the Cecil entourage in 1599-1600. The favourable portrait of the Catholic protagonist More and the seditious undertones of the Original Text would not have appealed to the Queen’s Secretary of State, Robert Cecil. 

   Of the plays mentioned above in connection with Munday and Chettle around 1600, Downfall and Death of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, 1 Sir John Oldcastle, Owen Tudor, Fair Constance of Rome,  and Cardinal Wolsey were written for the Admiral’s Men. Only one, Thomas Lord Cromwell, was written for the Lord Chamberlain’s Men.  Both companies are precluded for the Original Text because of date and circumstance.

   Jowett answers Taylor’s suggestion of 1593, 1595, and 1601 as dates for the composition of the Original Text by extending Taylor’s objection to 1595 to all three.  It would have been too dangerous to write a play referring to civil disturbances in any of those years shortly after they occurred. Hence none of them are correct.[61]

The Arden terminus ad quem of John a Kent and terminus a quo of Sir Thomas More

   Because the Original Text of More is penned in Munday’s handwriting, its date of composition is linked with the dates of two other Munday manuscripts, John a Kent and John a Cumber and The Heaven of the Mind (1602). “Sir Thomas More is agreed, on grounds of Munday’s evolving style of handwriting, to have been written after John a Kent but before his script as represented in The Heaven of the Mind.”[62] The terminus ad quem for More is considered by Jowett to be “22 December 1602” as determined by The Heaven of the Mind, and dated in Munday’s own hand.  The terminus a quo, established by the date of John a Kent, is contrastingly uncertain. The manuscript of this play is given a date in a hand that is not Munday’s and which has been variously interpreted as “1590”, “1595”, or “1596”.  In the early 20th century E. Maunde Thompson and W. W. Greg read the inscription as “Decembris 1596”. I. A. Shapiro around 1955 re-examined the numerical date with the help of the Huntington Library.[63] His provisional conclusion was “1590”.

   More recently the date was inspected by MacDonald P. Jackson who determined that the original reading, “1596”, was correct. “It seems to me, therefore, that the old terminus ad quem [for John a Kent] of December 1596 should be reinstated.”[64]  He received assistance from members of the Huntington Library’s Manuscript Department, Gayle Richardson and Mary Robertson, who opined that the date was “definitely ambiguous”.[65] This was also the opinion of Anthony Hammond who found “room for doubt” in 1993 as to whether the final digit was “0” or “6”.[66]

   Although Jackson denies proof for dating John a Kent on the basis of reading the date as “1596”, the Arden More implies that Shapiro’s dating of “1590” was superseded by Hammond and Jackson. Jowett states, “However, more recent studies have reinterpreted the handwriting to read “1595” or “1596”.[67]  A footnote referring to the latter date states without qualification, “For 1596: Jackson, ‘Deciphering’.”[68]

   The terminus a quo of More’s Original Text for the Arden editor is accordingly the 1596 terminus ad quem of the prior John a Kent.  Continuing from the sentence quoted above, “The latter [1596] is the safer estimate of the earliest date at which the Original Text could have been prepared.”[69]

Associative likeness, Feminine Endings, Pause Patterns

   Jowett shows the presumptive date 1596 supported by circumstantial evidence. The city comedy, William Haughton’s Englishmen for My Money (1598), shared with More a focus on the London scene and its citizens.  A taste for history plays, some of which reject the monarch as protagonist like More, was revived in 1598-1600.[70]  The association of the 1517 Ill May Day in the Original Text with the civil disturbances of the earlier 1590s, an association which Gabrieli and Melchiori emphasized in their short discussion of dating the Original as 1593, is not probative.

   In his textual analysis of evidence for locating the Original Text in time, MacDonald Jackson remarks on the abnormally high incidence of feminine endings for a play written in the early 1590s (19% - Tarlinskaja[71]).  John a Kent (17% -Tarlinskaja) also has an unusually high percentage of feminine endings.  Jackson omits mention of the fact that Munday’s Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, written 1598-99, has a lower percentage of feminine endings (6.5% - Tarlinskaja) than either More or John a Kent. Nor does he mention that Munday’s The triumphs of re-united Britania of 1605 has 2% feminine endings.  At the same time, Chettle’s contribution to the Original Text according to Tarlinskaja went from 22 ½ %, to 5% in The Death of Robert Earl of Huntingdon in 1598-99, 3% in Hoffman in 1601, and 3% in Addition I (Hand A) of Sir Thomas More in 1603-04.

   Two charts can be plotted for the data depending (Fig. 1) on the early and (Fig.2) on the late dating of the Original Text: the first shows generally downward trends for both Munday and Chettle, given the former dating of John a Kent as 1590 and the Original Text as 1593. The second shows the same data using the Arden date of 1596 for John a Kent and c. 1600 for the Original Text.  Occam’s Razor recommends the simplest explanation as the most plausible until evidence is presented to prove it false.

Fig. 1  

Fig. 2
    Jackson’s further evidence for More’s later date consists of pause patterns marked by editorial punctuation and also, although less frequent, authorially-based split lines. Contractions found in More appear to indicate a date later than the early 1590s.
Munday’s manuscript of the original More is not so thickly sprinkled with the new forms that their evidence alone renders an early 1590s date impossible, but it does contain several contractions that are never, or hardly ever, found in plays of the early 1590s.[72]
   Jackson’s evidence is, in a sense, dispersed. A more methodical and systemic patterning of evidence for dating is provided by Eliot Slater’s tabulation of Shakespeare’s rare words from the early 1590s to 1613.  The method is set out in The Problem of The Reign of King Edward III ;[73] it is applied to the question of parts of Edward III, designated Part A and Part B, presently believed to be written by two main playwrights, the former thought to be Shakespeare.   The essential data are made up of three sets of paired columns or vectors which consist of: (1) observed words which occur (a) two to six times, (b) seven to twelve times, and (c) two to twelve times in all the Shakespeare plays, as shared between the target play and the remaining Shakespeare plays; (2) the number of times the rare words in question are expected to occur (a, b, and c) on the assumption of equal probability keyed to the magnitude of the plays with which the target play is compared.  The twinned vectors are compared either by simple subtracting the larger from the smaller value, or by a percentage of the larger observed value using the expected value as its base, or by the statistical chi squared test which gives an indication of substantive difference, unaffected by variation in the size of the compared values.
   In a footnote, MacDonald Jackson acknowledges the method’s potential ability to provide a chronological outline independent of authorship.
M.W. A. Smith, evaluating Slater’s work with the rigour of a professional statistician, confirmed that word-links could offer evidence for chronology but concluded that Slater’s method had not been validated for distinguishing authorship.[74]
Slater’s tables for each of the First Folio Shakespeare plays lend themselves to graphic presentation.  The cumulative sum chart for each target play is set at a horizontal baseline zero and ends by returning to zero. Between these two anchors, the chart progresses from the earliest play in the series to the last, excluding of course the target play itself.  With the Oxford dating, the progression is from The Two Gentleman of Verona (c. 1591) to Henry VIII (All is True c. 1613). Where the observed number of rare words linking the target play with others in the series is consistently greater than the expected number of rare words, the chart rises from left to right.  Where the observed number of rare words is consistently less than the number expected, the chart descends from left to right.
    The principle is illustrated in an example taken from 1592-93 and limited to the (a) 2-6 word links. Titus Andronicus is variously dated 1592-93. The cumulative sum chart in Fig. 3 shows a precipitous rise from 1591 to 1595-96. During this period, the observed words that occur between 2 and 6 times in the Shakespeare plays are in surplus (TGV to Rom). After 1595-96, they are consistently in deficit.  The conclusion drawn from the chart is that Titus Andronicus is a play written between 1591 and 1596. Jonathan Bate writes, “All this evidence suggests that Titus, at least in the form in which we have it, was written in late 1593 and first performed in January 1594.”[75]
   Cymbeline is a late play with an Oxford Shakespeare date of 1610.  Here the chart rises from 1600 to 1611.  Titus and Cymbeline are shown in the same Fig. 3 to demonstrate the ability of the cumulative sum chart to distinguish an early from a late Shakespeare play.

Fig. 3
The cumulative sum chart illustrates the major “points of inflection” where the chart’s slope changes from positive to negative or vice versa.  For Titus the point of inflection denotes a terminus ad quem of 1595-96, while for Cymbeline it marks a terminus a quo of 1600.  More important than the estimated dates themselves, however, is the positioning of the points of inflection in relation to each other: the terminus ad quem of Titus Andronicus predates the terminus a quo of Cymbeline by almost half a decade.
   Eliot Slater’s The Problem of The Reign of King Edward III makes use of a division of Edward III adopted by Kenneth Muir in which Part A includes Act I scene ii, lines 90 to 166, Act II, and Act IV scene iv. Part B, almost twice Part A’s size, consists of the remainder of the play.  Figure 4 superimposes the cumulative sum charts for both parts of the play.
Fig. 4     

The points of inflection show a terminus ad quem for Part A which is subsequent to the terminus ad quem for Part B.  This suggests that Part A was added to Part B.

   Figure 5 compares the chart of the Original Text of Sir Thomas More with that of Part B which constitutes the bulk of Edward III. Their points of inflection marking their termini ad quem prior to 1595, are virtually contemporaneous. From the evidence of the graphs, neither can be said to antedate or postdate the other.

    It is known from external evidence that the terminus ad quem of Edward III, including Parts A and B, is roughly 1595. If the date accepted for John a Kent by the Arden More is 1596, and if the Original Text postdates John a Kent with an OT terminus a quo of 1596 (“The latter [1596] is the safer estimate of the earliest date at which the Original Text could have been prepared.”[76]), then the cumulative sum chart evidence contradicts this statement by reason of the fact that More’s point of inflection nearly coincides with that of Part B of Edward III. 

Fig. 5

       The terminus a quo of 1 Sir John Oldcastle is fixed by the date of 1 Henry IV Q1 of 1598 to which it is the clearly intended riposte.[77]  The terminus ad quem of 1 Sir John Oldcastle is fixed by the date of its own quarto printed in 1600 by Valentine Simmes for Thomas Pavier.  1599 is the Arden dating of Oldcastle. Figure 6 compares the points of inflection of Part B of Edward III (terminus ad quem of 1595) with that of 1 Sir John Oldcastle (terminus a quo of 1598 and terminus ad quem of 1600).  The points of inflection (termini ad quem) of both plays are within two years of the dates externally established. The salient point is that 1 Sir John Oldcastle postdates Edward III. And if that is so, then 1 Sir John Oldcastle postdates the Original Text of Sir Thomas More whose terminus ad quem approximates that of Part B of Edward III (before 1595).

Fig. 6

   Although only 1209 lines (Acts 1 to 4, scene i) of Thomas Lord Cromwell are presently available for testing with the 2-6 Slater links words, Fig. 7 shows the major point of inflection coming later than 1600, approximately half a decade subsequent to the Edward III Part B template. The three “unroyal plays”, ordered by Schűcking and Jowett as Oldcastle, Cromwell, More, and Oldcastle, More, Cromwell respectively, are re-ordered in the cusum charts as More, Oldcastle and Cromwell.  Schűcking’s date for More (Sir Thomas More then must needs date from about the same time, 1601-2.’[78]) is further removed than Jowett’s (“The present edition argues that the Original Text was written c. 1600.” [79]) from that evidenced by the rare words. Both of the late dates are subject to re-appraisal in light of evidence which confirms the c.1593 date assumed for the play in the past.

Fig. 7

Sir Thomas More inevitably presents an anomaly.”[80]

Sir Thomas More is anomalous. Although penned in the hand of Munday who was a government agent, the Original Text is a censored play and is not acceptably pro-royal. Although allegedly composed by Munday and Chettle, who wrote for the Admiral’s Men and never for the Chamberlain’s Men, Addition II (Hand D) is by William Shakespeare, who wrote for the Chamberlain’s Men/King’s Men and never for the Admiral’s Men.[81]  

   Although More is a biographical play, its favourable view of a prominent Catholic is uncharacteristic of the biographical plays written around 1600 with which Schücking found it comparable.  Although the 3Arden dating of the Original Text associates it with Oldcastle, Cromwell, and Wolsey, this time of composition requires the play to have been written either for the Chamberlain’s Men or the Earl of Derby’s company, neither of which Chettle or Munday ever wrote for to our knowledge.

    The most radical solution to these anomalies was that of L.L. Schücking. By dating and associating the play with Munday’s collaborative 1 Sir John Oldcastle, itself a riposte to Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, and by attributing Hand D to Heywood in opposition to Pollard, he removed Shakespeare’s authorship from the picture.  This may have been Schücking’s motive in light of the extremes to which he went to oppose Pollard’s evidence for Shakespeare’s authorship of Hand D.[82]  In other words, he wished to save Shakespeare from being tarred with the brush of Sir Thomas More which he considered a sentimental play.[83] The main anomaly which Schücking overlooked was the censorship by Tilney which was the evident exception among the “unroyal” biographical plays.  This difficulty has since 1925 been addressed in two ways.

   Tilney’s two-fold main objections were to the insurrection scenes early in the play, and to the oblique reference to Rochester’s and More’s refusal to sign the Oath of Succession (or Oath of Supremacy). Editors and critics have emphasized the first and minimized the second, both because of its obliqueness, and the censor’s willingness to recommend the play for revision rather than abandonment.

   Second, the adjective “unroyal” (“Unroyal histories”[84]) provides a coverall term for the dramatic biographies, Oldcastle, More, Cromwell and Wolsey; it screens out the anomaly of More’s censorship for to its anti-royalism.  It is worth quoting, nonetheless, Jowett’s telling and interestingly complex appraisal of the nature of  More’s irregularity.

To take this line of thought a stage further, one might consider the relation between More as liminal figure in early modern England and the play of Sir Thomas More as a liminal text within the literary canon of Shakespeare. As an analogy it is not quite exact, and as a causal relation it is not quite straightforward. Nevertheless, there are significant similarities. More disrupts the discourse of early modern Protestant probity; the play disrupts the image of Shakespeare as a dramatist available only in print and in isolation from the agency of theatre. Since the publication of the First Folio in 1623, print has fabricated Shakespeare as a bounded, determinate authorial figure by effacing traces of contingency and collaboration that the lost manuscripts would have revealed. Accordingly, the position of Sir Thomas More within Shakespeare studies, like the position of More in Protestant early modern England, has been characterized by half-hearted endorsement if not exclusion.[85]

      The adoption of Schücking’s dating by the Arden Shakespeare removes Shakespeare from association with the Original Text because Shakespeare was approaching the mastery of his art by 1600; the pedestrian quality of the Original Text is not that of a playwright who had already written Romeo and Juliet (1595),
 Henry IV, Part 1 (1596-97), and Much Ado About Nothing (1598).  One of Schücking’s conceivable aims is achieved by Jowett – Shakespeare is removed from responsibility for the Original Text by dating it after Julius Caesar.

   Nevertheless, anomalies persist: why did Munday, a recusant hunter and opponent of the martyred Edmund Campion, write a play favoring a Catholic “traitor” to the Crown? Why did Shakespeare in Hand D (argued by Jowett as Shakespeare’s, thus siding with Pollard against Schücking) write sympathetically of the same “traitor”, and, so doing, collaborate with Munday who opposed his parody in Henry IV, Part 1 of the proto-Protestant Sir John Oldcastle?   Why did Munday submit a play penned by him, and recognizably by him, in the foreknowledge of its censorship? Why was such a play expected to be staged, even under James I who advocated the divine right of kings?

   To overcome the “dissonance” of the recusant-hunting Munday’s writing in favour of the Catholic More, two approaches have been proposed. On the one hand, there is Donna Hamilton’s thesis that Munday was a covert Catholic who nominally conformed to the Established Church and State.[86]  He wrote approvingly of More as a fellow Catholic.  The weakness of this line of reasoning is discussed above.

   On the other hand, More’s status as a Londoner celebrity was sufficient to guarantee box office popularity for his favourable treatment, irrespective of “sectarian differences”. “This enables him to be fashioned as a figure acceptable to a post-Reformation audience.”[87]  One difficulty in accommodating Shakespeare’s favourable treatment of More in Hand D lies in the fact that he takes the side of More and the foreigners, not excluding the suspicious Spanish and Portuguese. The Original Text by Munday and Chettle may well create a “More aligned with the City and its people, even at the expense of articulating anti-alien and muted anti-Court sentiments.”[88]  But 3Arden’s Shakespearean Hand D articulates thoughts sympathetic to the strangers.

    Hand D fails to satisfy the conditions laid down by Tilney for the revision of the Original Text.  Questions concerning the censorship of the Original Text are not addressed by Hand D.

   The joining of Schücking’s late dating of the Original Text with a non-Schücking advocacy of Shakespeare’s authorship of Hand D renders 3Arden More a hybrid. Hand D is quarantined from the Original, the two separated by authors having opposed allegiances to rival companies.  One may ask what was Shakespeare’s motive in bridging the gap by contributing to a censored play composed by Munday and Chettle?  The answer is always vague: Shakespeare came to the aid of fellow professionals in their hour of need.[89] Comes the time, comes the man - QED.

   The Arden Shakespeare ignores the complexity of many of the variables. The ambiguity of the dating of John a Kent, for example, is arbitrarily decided in favour of the last of three possible dates on its manuscript.  Inspection of the accompanying chart shows that advocacy of 1596 as date of composition for John a Kent is separated by a hundred years, 1911 to 2011.  The influence, authorial or not, of Julius Caesar on Addition II (Hand D) is the main point of scholarly consensus since 1912. The dating of the Original Text has varied from the early 1590s (Greg, McMillin, Oxford Shakespeare), 1593 (Gabrieli and Melchiori, Merriam), 1600 (Jowett), 1601 (Schücking - 1925), 1604 (Schücking – 1912-13).  The dating of Addition II (Hand D) has varied from 1594 (Greg, McMillin, Gabrieli and Melchiori), 1602 (Schücking – 1925), 1603 (Oxford Shakespeare and Merriam), 1603-04 (Taylor, Jowett), 1604-05 (Schücking – 1912-13).   Greg, Schücking, McMillin, Gabrieli and Melchiori favour the composition of the Addition II (Hand D) shortly after that of the Original Text, while others separate them by two to ten years. In short, the dating of the Original Text has yet to be resolved.

Surprising Similarity?

   Granted Schücking’s similarity in date and theme of the “unroyal” plays Oldcastle and Cromwell with More, there are more verbatim or near-verbatim echoes in the Original Text of More shared with the “royal” Henry VI, Part 2 than with the other two plays, and, for that matter, with The Downfall and The Death of Robert, Earl of Huntingdon by Munday and Chettle also.

   The verbal echoes of Henry VI, Part 2 shared with the Original Text are here listed in order of their appearance in the Original Text, using the Arden edition’s scene and line designations. The first four occur in the same sequence in the Original Text and in Henry VI, Part 2.

{1} 7.151 “here pronounce free pardon for them all”: 2H6 4.8.9 “here pronounce free pardon to them all”
{2} 7.152 “(flinging up caps)”: 2H6 4.8.15 “Fling up his cap”
{3} 7.153  God save the King! God save the king”: 2H6 4.8.19 “God save the King! God save the King!”  Also in Q1 (1594) at line 1921.                      
{4} 7.175  God save the King! God save the king”:  2H6 4.9.22 “God save the King! God save the   King!”
{5} OT2a.7 “learned clerk”:  2H6 4.7.68 “learned clerks”
{6} 9.127 “comes not at”: 2H6 2.1.151 “comes not at”
{7} 12.27 “i’ (originally “a”) God’s name go”: 2H6  4.7.103  “a God’s name. Go”
{8} OT3.45 “untainted”:  2H6  3.2.231 “untainted” Earliest instance in 2H6 of OED 4.
{9} 14.61 “hollow”:  2H6  3.2.65 “hollow” (meaning treacherously insincere in both cases)
{10} 17.113 “fly up to heaven”:  2H6  2.1.17 “fly to heaven” and 4.7.71 “fly to heaven” Also in Q1    (1594) at line 567.

There are 38 shared words in italics which are identical (plurals accepted) in context or in meaning. By contrast, there are 12 verbatim echoes for the four 1599-1600 plays listed in the footnotes to the Arden More. If John a Kent is added, there are 15 verbatim echoes in the Original Text shared with five plays associated by chronology or authorship.

{I} 1.7 “Hand off”:  Oldcastle 685 “hand off, hand off” and 693 “hand off”
{II} 1.9  ye dog’s face”:  Death 522 “ye dog’s face”
{III} 1.70 “coarse cates”:  Oldcastle 2399 “homely cates”
{IV} 3.43 “reason good”: Downfall 2783 “reason good”
{V} 9.228 SD2 “she offers to depart”: John a Kent 254-255 “he offers to depart
{VI} 10.12 SD “Enter …with purse and mace borne before him”:  Cromwell 4.2.37 SD “Enter…the Mace caryed before him”

With the exception of one of two instances of {3} “God save the King, God save the King” and of {10} “fly to heaven”, both printed in Q1 of 1594 and Q2 of 1600, the 27 remaining verbatim echoes of Henry VI, Part 2 in the Original Text (given the date of c. 1600) would have had to be retained in memory by Munday and Chettle from a performance of that play in the early 1590s more vividly than the twelve echoes of their own more recent Downfall and Death (1598-99), the part-Munday Oldcastle (printed 1599), and Cromwell (printed 1602) – in the 3Arden footnotes.  What is the rationale for cherishing such contextual small change over a period of eight years?  The conventional reasons given for the echoing Shakespeare by others is the prestige and popularity of his work, the relevance of a Shakespeare play to an imitative play, or the relevance of a Shakespeare play to one replying to it, as in the case of Sir John Oldcastle’s parallels with Henry IV, Part 1.[90]


The shared juxtaposition of the collocations {1} to {4} within 26 lines of the Original Text and within 82 lines of Henry VI, Part 2, in same sequence in both, would ordinarily indicate a consciously crafted “contagion” from prior to later play within a period of limited time. The date of the Original Text 7.151-75 should in this scenario follow on within an estimated memory span of Henry VI, Part 2, which was staged before the closure of the theaters in 1592.  The gap between 1592 and the Arden’s c. 1600 assumes a rationale for retention over time and accurate transcription of the words in question from Henry VI, Part 2.  However no motivation comes to mind for the gratuitous repetition {4} of “God save the King! God save the King,” which, besides 2H6 and More, does not appear in English dramatic literature [91]

    Daniel Kahneman distinguishes between a so-called System 1, the automatic and largely unconscious activity of the mind in making rapid associations, and a mental System 2 which entails deliberate thought. System 1 involves conditioned patterns and habits of mind, a mental “default mode”; System 2 involves the fully conscious checking and re-checking of facts for accuracy.[92]  The distinction of the two systems casts light on the matter of textual transference between literary works.

   The cognitive level of themes engages System 2. Writers are conscious of topical parallels with their models. Where there is transference of themes from the same author to the same author, or one author to another, attention and intention are operative.  Shakespeare consciously crafted a parallel between Hermione in The Winter’s Tale and Katherine in Henry VIII.[93]  Shakespeare knowingly imitated Plautus in The Comedy of Errors with respect to plot, incident, and character. He transcribed Holinshed word for word on occasion in Henry VIII[94].  In these cases, there is motivation for the borrowing. 

    At the less conscious level of collocations and function words on the other hand, System 1 dominates. If, for example, motivation is absent in the “choice” of words and the “choice” of patterns of words, involuntary habit is responsible.  Unmotivated habits cannot be altered without the deliberate intervention of System 2.[95] 

    The dating of the Original Text of More in the early 1590s as advocated by Greg, Shapiro, Wentersdorf, Blayney, McMillin, Taylor, Melchiori, and Gabrieli permits the transfer of Shakespeare’s unmotivated habits (System 1) from Henry VI, Part 2 to the Original Text in a relatively short space of time.  The dating of Schücking and Jowett c. 1600 or later requires an intended transfer of collocations and verbal features from Henry VI, Part 2 to the Original Text over some eight years - without a rationale for preserving them. 
   It must also be said that the early dating of the Original Text does not permit Chettle’s involvement in its composition. “There is no evidence of Munday and Chettle collaborating on a play or any other work before 1598.”[96] His earliest possible contribution to Elizabethan drama was in 1597. “Of the revisers, neither Chettle nor Dekker can be shown to have been active as a dramatist before 1597.”[97] 

There remains a strong suspicion that Munday did not write the Original Text alone. But the clearest potential evidence is too conflicting for confident pronouncement to be made on the pattern or even the presence of collaboration. For those seeking clarity on these issues, the state of knowledge is unsatisfactory… For modern playmaking, modern paradigms of literary writing and techniques of investigating authorship, despite their successes, can in some situations break down and leave the question unresolved, for now at least.[98]

    A date of c.1593 allows for part-Shakespearean authorship of the Original Text which favors the writing of an anomalous play for Lord Strange’s Men with its “repertory of varied and unpredictable implications”[99], plus extended roles intended for Edward Alleyn.[100] The 3Arden date of c.1600 requires the play’s composition by Munday and possibly Chettle for the Earl of Derby’s company for which neither is known to have written.

    The date of the early 1590s corresponds with the graphical illustration of Slater’s word linkages (Fig. 5).

    The dating of the Original Text as proposed by Schücking by reason of its affinity with Oldcastle and Cromwell is founded on circumstantial evidence of the similarity of genres. Schücking’s subjective intuition in detecting influence is evidenced in his belief that Fletcher’s much later The Woman’s Prize influenced the Original Text’s “feminist” Doll Williamson. His authorial attribution of Addition II (Hand D) in 1925 to Heywood overrules the empirical evidence of the palaeographer Thompson in favor of authorship evidenced by a shared sentimentality.[101]

    What are some of the unmotivated habits which are not transferable between authors without conscious intervention?  Munday’s John a Kent and John a Cumber, antedating the Original Text, contains no words ending in a double t.  Neither do any of his known dramatic works of any date, including the Downfall and Death of Robert Earl of Huntingdon.  Chettle’s Hoffman has three words ending in tt: kitt, smitt, and allott, none of which occur in the Original Text. The manuscript Original Text contains 60 tokens ending in tt consisting of the types: comitt, cutt (166, 802), diett, fatt, fitt (1060, 1747), frett, gott (335),  hott (359), markett, meritt, nett, poett, riott, wett, witt (see below), and writt.  The text in Hand D, attributed to Shakespeare by 3Arden, has cutt (Addition II, 243), gott (191 and 203), sett (213), sytt, and whett. The Quarto of Love’s Labour’s Lost (1598) has an occurrence of witt. The Original Text, dated by Jowett c. 1600, contains the same spelling “witt” at 755, 922, 923, 927, 929, 949, 1006, 1007, 1008, 1010, 1016, 1019 (twice), 1020, 1021 (twice), 1025, 1037, 1040, 1041, 1054, 1061, 1064, 1079, 1084, 1092, 1103, 1113, 1119, 1125, 1128, 1131 and 1138 (34 times) in the Malone Society Reprint edition.  The Quarto of Henry IV, Part 2 has one occurrence of sett; the Folio of Richard III also has one occurrence of sett. The Quarto of Troilus and Cressida (1609) contains hott (twice) and fitt, besides rott and bitts. If the orthographic habit of double terminal tt in Witt, the generic absence of which was Munday’s customary habit, was indeed transferred from Love’s Labour’s Lost to its repeated use in the Original Text, this was done for a conscious reason on the part of Munday the penman in order to break his default habit of not using it If, however, the habit of doubling the terminal t was an orthographic habit of Shakespeare’s handwriting which surfaced occasionally in the printed quartos, its weaving in and out of the Original Text, Addition II (Hand D) and the other Shakespeare plays need entail no “motivation”. The chronological sequence of Love’s Labour’s Lost, the Original Text, Addition II (Hand D) and Troilus is immaterial. Double terminal t is found once in quartos of Richard III, twice in Love’s Labour’s Lost, once in Henry IV, Part 2, five times in Troilus, Othello twice, and twice in King Lear, all of which were mediated by printers’ obvious preference for the commonly-preferred single terminal t.

   Addition I (Hand A) by Chettle has no occurrences of the terminal double t. In his seminal work on orthography, A. C. Partridge wrote,

If a certain spelling of a particular word (or a graphic rendering of a particular sound) occurs with a reasonable regularity in texts that good bibliographical or other evidence leads us to believe are based directly on autograph copy, then the spelling in question may be assumed to derive from Shakespeare himself. [102]

The terminal double t is a graphic rendering of a particular sound which occurs with reasonable regularity (6 times out of 135 terminal t) in the Shakespeare autograph Addition II (Hand D).

   Over a period of thirty years I have offered examples of verbal habits at a less conscious level than orthographic markers, features which favor Shakespeare over Munday as main composer of the Original Text.[103] The prima facie presence of Munday in his handwriting is sufficient in the eyes of the Arden Shakespeare to nullify the arguments against his having been mainly responsible for the play - “a questionable attempt to explain away the obvious and undisputed fact that the MS is in Munday’s hand.”[104]  Casa chiusa?

[1] The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works, 2nd ed., S. Wells, G. Taylor, J. Jowett and W. Montgomery (Oxford, 2005), 813.
[2] Sir Thomas More, ed. J. Jowett (London, 2011), 424. It is an objectivist figure of speech to say that an edition argues as opposed to human critics.
[3] The Book of Sir Thomas More, ed. W.W. Greg (Malone Society, Oxford, 1911), xix. He appears to have later accepted a date of 1598-1600 for the Original Text, “Autograph Plays by Anthony Munday”, Modern Language Review 8 (1913), 89-90, but subsequently reverted to the date in the Malone Society Reprint.
[4] Greg, xliii.  
[5] G. Taylor, ‘The Canon and Chronology of Shakespeare’s Plays’ in William Shakespeare: a Textual Companion, ed. S. Wells and G.Taylor with J. Jowett and W. Montgomery (Oxford, 1987), 139.
[6] Anthony Munday and Others, Sir Thomas More, eds. V. Gabrieli and G. Melchiori (Manchester, 1990), 11-12.
[7] Gabrieli and Melchiori, 12
[8] S. McMillin, The Elizabethan Theatre & The Book of Sir Thomas More (Ithaca NY, 1987), 61-64.  McMillin further suggested that the play was written for the Rose Theatre, 113-34.
[9] ‘Sir Thomas More (Play)’, Wikipedia, accessed 12 January 2012.
[10] More, ed. J. Jowett, 29-31 at 29.  Further circumstantial evidence is offered in ‘The Original Text: date’, 424-32.
[11] MacDonald P. Jackson,  Deciphering a Date and Determining a Date:Anthony Munday’s John a Kent and John a Cumber and the Original Version of Sir Thomas More’,  [EMLS 15.3 (2011): 2] Item 23.  Accessed 16 January 2012.
[12] Jowett, 31.
[13] Jowett, 426.
[14] Levin L. Schücking, “Das Datum des Pseudo-Shakespeareschen Sir Thomas More”, Englische Studien 46 (1912-13), 228-51 at 249.  “Biographische stücke, die nicht fürstliche personen behandeln, sind wohl übehaupt zumeist späteren datums.” Schűcking believed the Original Text of More was the last among Jowett’s ‘unroyal’ plays, postdating and echoing  Julius Caesar (1599) and Hamlet (1600-01). (Jowett discusses the apparent influence of Caesar on More, 428-29.) Schücking proposed a date for More as late as 1604-05 by reference to an assumed date for Lord Thomas Cromwell. See also Schücking, “Shakespeare and Sir Thomas More,” Review of English Studies 1 (1925): 40–59.
[15] Schücking, “Shakespeare and Sir Thomas More”, 50.
[16] Schücking, “Shakespeare and Sir Thomas More”, 53.
[17] Jowett, 428.  Schücking elides the dating of Addition II in Hand D (“the scene in Sir Thomas More”) with the dating of the whole play, thus enabling Julius Caesar’s impact on a part to stand for its influence on the play as a whole. As formulated in “Das Datum”, 236, “Bei den aufgezeigten unverkennbaren ähnlichkeiten mit der szene im J.C. müsten also die verfechter von c. 1590 als entstehungsjahr des Sir Th. Moore annehmen, Shakespeare habe in dem etwas neun jahre späteren Julius Caesar diese szene  nachgeahmt. Das aber ist – selbst wenn wir annähmen, Shakespeare selbst sei der verfasser der betreffenden Thomas-Moore-szene (3Arden 6.1-165) – schon deshalb unwahrscheinlich, weil er sich ja im J.C. streng an die quelle, den plutarch hielt.”  Shakespeare made use of Plutarch in Julius Caesar, and not the parallel scene from Sir Thomas More dated 1590 (according to Schücking) - as implied by “die verfechter von c, 1590 als entstehungsjahr des Sir Th. Moore”.
[18] “There is nothing comparable in the literature of the period.” Jowett, 
[19]Where the address provokes the response ‘Let’s hear him’ in Sir Thomas More, in Julius Caesar exactly the same expression leads in to the patrician’s crucial address on which the plot turns.” Jowett, 444.
[20] Schücking’s strict denial of the authorial nature of the influence or Julius Caesar and Hamlet on any part of  Sir Thomas More contrasts with his less rigorous acceptance of Heywood’s authorial influence on Addition II (Hand D). “At the same time he [Heywood] has that sentimental vein, so unmistakeable in Moore’s speech.” “Shakespeare and Sir Thomas More”, 57.  And, ibid., 48: “Would Shakespeare have made an orator ask a seditious crowd to commence a general whining by shedding tears of compunction in public? This too, as will be shown later on, is more like Heywood than Shakespeare.”
[21] Schücking, “Shakespeare and Sir Thomas More”, 59. The “147” lines are those of Hand D.
[22] L.L. Schücking, “Über einige Probleme der Neueren and Neuester Shakespeaere—Forschung”, Germanisch-romanische Monatsschrift 33 (1951-52), 208-28.  Schücking reiterates his rejection of Shakespeare’s authorship of Addition II (Hand D) and reaffirms hits attribution to Heywood.
[23] A.W. Pollard, Shakespeare’s Hand in the Play of Sir Thomas More (Cambridge, 1923), 14.
[24] Schücking, “Shakespeare and Sir Thomas More”, 57. “A.W. Pollard’s opinion, that ‘if these pages were not Shakespeare’s work, the dramatist to whom on the ground of style and temper I would most readily assign them would be Thomas Heywood’ seems to be nearer the mark. Heywood, as everybody who has read his plays knows, reminds one again and again of Shakespeare.”
[25] “Das die priorität bei zwei ähnlichen darstellungen in der quellen-treuen von beiden liegt, dürfte sebstverstandlich sein.” The logic is that the undeniable influence of Julius Caesar on the addition in Hand D (3Arden, 6.1-165) is to be inferred as applying to the entire Sir Thomas More.  “Das Datum”, 236.
[26] Jowett, 428-29.
[27] Jowett, 429.
[28] Jowett, 430.
[29] Jowett, 427.
[30] Jowett, 341, n. 19-20.
[31] Jowett, 427.
[32] Jowett, 427.
[33] Jowett, 428.
[34] Jowett, 428.
[35] More was executed in 1535. Thirty-five years later, Pope Pius V excommunicated Elizabeth I with the bull Regnans in excelsis, renewed by Pope Sixtus V in 1588. The excommunication of Elizabeth established de jure the political incompatibility of Protestant loyalty to the Crown and Catholic loyalty to the Pope, an estrangement which Henry VIII inaugurated de facto by assuming the headship of the Church. The labels ‘Protestant’ and ‘Catholic’ in England were primarily gauged in terms of politics and secondarily in terms of doctrine. More’s Catholicism was politically treasonable in a way that few at the time understood doctrinally.  By the 1590s, however, his refusal to swear the Oath of Succession, was perceived as a model of specifically Papist or Catholic treason in refusing to recognize Elizabeth’s de jure legitimacy.
[36] Jowett, 93.
[37] William Shakespeare: a Textual Companion, ed. S. Wells and G.Taylor with J. Jowett and W. Montgomery (Oxford, 1987), 330. (as by J. Jowett and S. W. Wells)
[38] Jowett, 30.  They are 2 Henry IV, 1 Sir John Oldcastle, Sir Thomas More, Northward Ho!, The Alchemist, and Epicene.
[39] D. S. Kastan, Shakespeare after Theory (New York, 1999), 93-106.
[40] This was factually true. See John A. F. Thomson, ‘Oldcastle, John, Baron Cobham (d. 1417)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2008 [, accessed 22 June 2011].
[41]V. Gabrieli, ‘Sir Thomas More: Sources, Characters, Ideas’, Moreana 23 (1986), 25.
[42] Gabrieli, 25.
[43] Jowett, 14.
[44] There is a degree of confusion as to whether the unnamed oath in question was the Oath of Succession, as Jowett maintains, or the Oath of Supremacy of 1534, rescinded by Queen Mary, and reasserted by Queen Elizabeth in 1559.  The latter oath is cited by Gabrieli and Melchiori, 161, n. IV, i. This oath under Elizabeth was applied to those with public or ecclesiastical office, members of parliament, and those studying at Oxford and Cambridge above a certain age, in short, the hegemonic class. Denial of the oath was treason.
[45] Jowett, 92-3.
[46] S. MacMillin, The Elizabethan Theatre & The Book of Sir Thomas More (Ithaca, 1997), 73.
[47] Jowett, 419.
[48] Donna B. Hamilton, Anthony Munday and the Catholics, 1560-1633 (Aldershot, Hants., 2005), 31-2.
[49] Hamilton, 41.
[50] Hamilton, 43.
[51] Hamilton, 120.
[52] David Kathman, ‘Wilson, Robert (d. 1600)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 8 June 2011].
[53] Jowett, 74.
[54] Jowett, 13.  The editor quotes John Davies’ epigram: “Munday I sweare shalbee a hollidaye, / If hee forsweare himself but once a daye.”
[55] Jowett, 31.
[56] Scott McMillin, ‘The Book of Sir Thomas More: dates and acting companies’ in Shakespeare and Sir Thomas More, ed. T. H. Howard-Hill (Cambridge, 1989), 62-63.
[57] Jowett, 100.
[58] Jowett, 100.
[59] Jowett, 102.
[60] Jowett, 102.
[61] Jowett, 424.
[62] Jowett, 424.
[63] G. Harold Metz, Sources of Four Plays Ascribed to Shakespeare (Columbia, Missouri, 1989), 164.  I. A. Shapiro, “The Significance of a Date”, Shakespeare Survey  8 (1955), 100-105 at 105. “Godfrey Davies, of the Huntington Library, California, to whom we are indebted for these enlarged photographs, kindly examined the figure in the manuscript and reports as follows: ‘Mr H. C. Schulz, Curator of Manuscripts, and I examined the original signature of Anthony Mundy and the date. It looked to us clear that the author wrote an “o” starting from the left. As the photograph shows, there is a slight gap between the top left side of the “o” and the terminal loop when it comes round to the left again. After that the writer seems to have made a flourish which happens to resemble the modern 5 but is not at all like the 5 in the date 1590.’”
[64] MacDonald P. Jackson, “Deciphering a Date and Determining a Date: Anthony Munday’s John a Kent and John a Cumber and the Original Version of Sir Thomas More.” [Early Modern Literary Studies 15.3 (2011): 2], Point 8.
[65] Jackson, “Deciphering”, Note 9.
[66] Antony Hammond, “The Noisy Comma: Searching for the Signal in Renaissance Dramatic Texts,” in Crisis in Editing: Texts of the English Renaissance, ed. Randall McLeod (New York: AMS Press, 1993), 203–49.
[67] Jowett, 424-25.
[68] What Jackson wrote was, “There are, of course, several respectable reasons for assigning the original composition of Sir Thomas More to the early 1590s. But they are not decisive. Evidence put forward in this article falls short of proving that the play was first written around the turn of the century, but it certainly gives grounds for questioning the current consensus. And those who believe that John a Kent was composed by 1590 must look for support from sources other than the date inscribed at the end of the manuscript.” Jackson, “Deciphering”, Point 25.
[69] Jowett, 435.
[70] These are listed in Jowett, 425, n. 3. None of them are anti-royal.
[71] Figures for feminine endings are from M. Tarlinskaja, ‘Shakespeare among Others in Sir Thomas More’, Frontiers in Comparative Prosody (Tallinn, 2011), 121-44.
[72] Jackson, “Deciphering”, Point 15.
[73] Eliot Slater, The Problem of The Reign of King Edward III (Cambridge, 1988).
[74] MacDonald P. Jackson, Defining Shakespeare: Pericles as Test Case (Oxford, 2003), 45 n. 10.
[75] Titus Andronicus, ed. Jonathan Bate (London, 1995), 78.
[76] Jowett, 425.
[77] It is demonstrable that Shakespeare rare words were incorporated in 1 Sir John Oldcastle.  Five of the fifty-one 2-6 words shared between Oldcastle and Henry IV, Part 1 occur in a single speech by Falstaff, Act Four, scene two, lines 11/12 - 47/48.  They are householders (twice occurring in Shakespeare), glutton (three times occurring), ostlers (seven times), unloaded (once occurrring) and gyves (six times). The words are found together in a single play only in Henry IV, Part 1 and 1 Sir John Oldcastle - of all the dramatic works composed in the 16th and 17th centuries.  The authors of the later play had a copy of the first quarto of 1 Henry IV (1598) before their eyes.  In the surviving fragment of Henry IV, Part 1 Q1 at the Folger Shakespeare Library, the following Shakespeare rare words are found in that fragment and the text of 1 Sir John Oldcastle: unsatisfied (six times in Shakespeare), saddles ( ten times), bots (two times), ostler (seven times), carrier(s) (four times), gelding (four times), and booty (four times).
[78] Schücking, “Shakespeare and Sir Thomas More”, 53.
[79] Jowett, 424.
[80] Jowett, 100.
[81] There is the uncertain possibility that the collaborative Henry VI, Part 1 was written for the Admiral’s Men.
[82] See Schücking, “Shakespeare and Sir Thomas More”, 47. “To write this [Hand D] a more sentimental mind than Shakespeare’s is required.”
[83] Schücking felt that the London crowd’s articulation of the Golden Rule, “letts vs do as we may be doon by” in Hand D, Addition II, was too sentimental for Shakespeare to have written, but was attributable to Heywood. “Before God, that’s as true as the Gospel.” (also in Hand D) would qualify for Schücking’s disapproval as well.
[84] Jowett, 29.
[85] Jowett, 8.
[86] Hamilton’s study may not prove that Munday was a covert Catholic sympathizer all along, but it suggests some element of residual Catholic mentality.” Jowett, 14.
[87] Jowett, 37.
[88] Jowett, 41.  That the Puritan element within the City which was opposed to theater-going in 1600 would approve the welcoming by More of “my good Lord Cardinal’s players” is a matter of question.
[89] “Critics have often noted  that Shakespeare had a specific expertise in staging popular uprisings in such a way as to prove acceptable to the Master of Revels, as seen in 2 Henry VI, Julius Caesar and, later on, Coriolanus. He may have been involved in the project to revise Sir Thomas More for this very reason.” Jowett, 378-79.
[90] It is demonstrable that Shakespeare rare words were incorporated in 1 Sir John Oldcastle.  Five of the fifty-one such rare words shared between Oldcastle and Henry IV, Part 1 occur in a single speech by Falstaff, 4.2.11/12 - 47/48.  They are householders (twice occurring in Shakespeare), glutton (twice occurring in Shakespeare), ostlers (five times), unloaded (five times) and gyves (five times). The five words are found together in a single play only in Henry IV, Part 1 and 1 Sir John Oldcastle – out of all the dramatic works composed in the 16th and 17th centuries.  The authors of Oldscastle had a copy of the 1H4 first quarto (1598) before their eyes. In the surviving fragment of the first quarto of Henry IV, Part 1 at the Folger Library, the following Shakespeare rare words are found in that fragment and in the text of 1 Sir John Oldcastle: unsatisfied (six times in Shakespeare), saddles (five times), bots (three times), ostler (five times), carrier(s) (four times), gelding (four times), and booty (four times). Influence, not authorship, is the agent. Above all, there existed intentional rationale for the use of Henry IV, Part 1 as the determined target of 1 Sir John Oldcastle.
[91] The repeated double exclamation is unique to the Original Text, 2H6 (1623), and The Holy History of King David by John Merbecke (1579 and 1585), based on 2 Samuel 16:16. It qualifies for Schücking’s “‘repetitions’ which are to be found in Shakespearian plays of undisputedly later origin and which do not obviously belong to a common stock of Elizabethan play-wrights’ phrases,” “Shakespeare and Sir Thomas More, 42.
[92] D. Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow (New York, 2011).
[93] G. McMullan in 3 Arden Henry VIII, 119. “Generically and iconographically then, The Winter’s Tale and Henry VIII have a great deal in common, and certainly more than ‘late play’ critics have generally cared to acknowledge. But the principal connection between the two plays is the apparent similarity of the plays’ spurned and rejected queens.”

[94] See 3Arden Henry VIII, 2.4.123 “Katherine, Queen of England, come into the court!” Holinshed: “Katherine, queene of England, come into the court.”
[95] The ability to swim, drive a car, play the piano, or speak a foreign language once mastered, constitute unmotivated habits (System 1) They require, however, the motivated intervention of System 2 for their transmission, i.e., the being taught by someone else, plus overcoming the difficulty of habit change within the learner.
[96] Jowett, 426.
[97] Jowett, 432.
[98] Jowett, 423.
[99] McMillin, 60.
[100] McMillin, 159. “It [Original Text] was originally written for Alleyn and the large, risk-running company of Strange’s men in 1592-93. It was revised and cut down a decade later for the Admiral’s men, when they were reviving Alleyn’s big roles at the Fortune.”
[101] Schücking does raise objections to Thompson’s analysis and finds the letters h and s “hopelessly and absolutely dissimilar in signatures and manuscript [Hand D].” “Shakespeare and Sir Thomas More”, 40.
[102] A. C. Partridge, Orthography in Shakespeare and Elizabethan Drama: a Study of Colloquial Contractions, Elisions, Prosody and Punctuation (London, Edward Arnold, 1964), 5. This work does not appear in the bibliography of 3Arden More. Nor is there any serious consideration of orthography in the manuscripts of John a Kent and Sir Thomas More. See Jowett, 416, for a résumé of T. Merriam, “Orthographic changes in John a Kent and Hand M of MoreNotes and Queries 251 (2006), 475-78.
[103] See “Munday and the Oxford Shakespeare More”, Notes and Queries 251 (2006), 470-74; “Correspondences in More and Hoffman”, Notes and Queries 248 (2003), 410-14; “Invalidation Reappraised”, Computers and the Humanities 30 (1997), 417-31; “The Authorship of Sir Thomas MoreAssociation of Literary and Linguistic Computing Bulletin 10 (1982), 1-7.
[104] Jowett, 417