The Marriage of Wit and Science

The Marriage of Wit and Science

The Marriage of Wit and Science

The Marriage of Wit and Science

Excerpt

The Marriage of Wit and Science was entered in the Register of the Stationers' Company during the trade year 1569-70, perhaps about August 1569:

marshe Re of Thomas marshe for his lycense for pryntinge of a play intituled the maryage of Wytt and Scyence iiijd:

[Register A, fol. 184a: Greg, Bibliography of the Drama, i. 5.]:

Greg suggests (i. 133) that the entry on 23 June (?) 1591 of a play called The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom as a copy of the deceased Thomas Marshe transferred with the consent of Edward Marshe to Thomas Orwin may be an error for the same piece; no printed play of this title is known to be extant, but a manuscript with this title in British Museum Additional MS. 26782, dated either 1570 or 1579 (the last figure being uncertain), may well be a transcript from a printed edition. For a full discussion of these points see Greg, Bibliography, ii. 963-4. John Redford's play, Wit and Science, preserved in British Museum Additional MS. 15233, is a distinct piece, though several of the characters and much of the action are the same.:

Marshe's edition of The Marriage of Wit and Science is undated, but probably came soon after the entry in the Register; the only known copy, preserved in the Bodleian Library (Malone 231. 1), has had the date ' 1570' added in ink on the title-page. The catchwords on A4r, B2v, and B3r, the signatures on B2r and B3r, and the running titles on A3, B1, and from B4 to the end have all been cropped, sometimes heavily.:

The date of composition is not known. The play is indebted to Redford's Wit and Science, which it follows closely even in small details, and which must have been written before 1547, the year of Redford's death. Fleay proposed to identify The Marriage of Wit and Science with the Wit and Will played at court in 1567-8 ( A Biographical Chronicle of the English Drama, 1559-1642 ii. 288, 294). Seven plays were presented at court between Christmas and Shrovetide 1567-8( E. K. Chambers, The Elizabethan Stage, iv. 144-5), and it would be attractive to conjecture that this was one of the two performed by the Children of Paul's under their . . .

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