Antonio and Mellida: The First Part

Antonio and Mellida: The First Part

Antonio and Mellida: The First Part

Antonio and Mellida: The First Part

Excerpt

The first mention of Antonio and Mellida—I refer by this title to only the "First Part" (here printed)—appears in the Stationers' Register, where it was entered, together with the "Second Part," Antonio's Revenge, on October 24, 1601:

Ent. M. Lownes and T. Fysher (provided lawful licence is obtained): a booke called the fyrst and second partes of the play called Anthonio and Melida (single fee).

We may assume that the book was published early in the following year; the date 1602 appears on all known title pages. That to the "First Part" reads as follows:

The history of Antonio and Mellida. The first part. As it hath beene sundry times acted, by the children of Paules. Written by I.M. [device 321] London ¶ Printed for Mathewe Lownes, and Thomas Fisher, and are to be soulde in Saint Dunstans Church-yarde. 1602.

The text contained in this quarto is a good one; even the Latin and Italian passages are well printed, by Elizabethan standards. The texts of the songs are missing, but this is no evidence of corruption; song-texts are of a distinct category from play-texts. The stage directions are Latinate and literary; much space is devoted to the description of elaborate entries, but theatrically important exits are sometimes omitted. This suggests that the "copy" behind the quarto printing did not come from the playhouse. All the evidence suggests a manuscript carefully prepared for the press and aiming at the appearance of a literary and even classical document. We must suppose that Marston himself was responsible for the preparation.

DATE

A terminal date for the two parts of Antonio and Mellida is provided by the entry in the Stationers' Register (quoted above) on October 24, 1601. The title page tells us that the play was acted by the children of . . .

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