Item 4 - Letter from W. W. Greg to R. B. McKerrow

Identity area

Reference code



Letter from W. W. Greg to R. B. McKerrow


  • 25 Apr. 1902 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1 folded sheet

Context area

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Park Lodge, (Wimbledon).—Sends the first volume of the Variorum edition of Beaumont and Fletcher, and discusses The Elder Brother.



Park Lodge
Apr. 25. 02.

Dear McKerrow

Here is the first vol of the Beaumont & Fletcher. {1} Bullen has had my work ever since Tuesday week. {2} I saw him yesterday when he said he was just going to go through it.

Thanks for note about “blanket”. {3}

The you-ye figures are not quite so striking in the Elder Brother but are still noteworthy. I have had to divide the ye’s into “pure” & “contracted” i.e. used in contractions such as y’are, t’ye, t’ee, ’ee etc. These latter are not unfrequent in the more colloquial parts of Massinger. My results are

[The first three numbers after each name below are arranged in columns headed you, ye, and y’. The numbers in brackets are the sums of the amounts in the last two columns.]


Massinger. 129 | 3 | 12 | (15)
Fletcher. 189 | 45 | 26 | (71)


Massinger 89·5 | 2·1 | 8·4 | (10·5)
Fletcher 72·7 | 17·3 | 10· | (27·3)

From this it would appear that the real distinction lies in the use of unelided ye. It is necessary of course to have a considerable basis of observation for the figures to be of any use. I have also got some noticeable figures regarding ’em & them.

[The first two numbers in the entries below are arranged in columns headed ’em and them.]


Massinger 5 | 25
Fletcher 25 | 9


Massinger 29·4 | 70·6 | = 100
Fletcher 73·5 | 26·5 | = 100

I have not got the figures for any other play of Massingers.

I enclose a photo {4} I came across the other day (I dont want [it] back) which seems to show that at that time there was no such wall in the chancel as you were speaking of at Melrose.

I was in the B.M. the Monday & Tuesday after we came home {5} & hoped to meet you but didnt. I was also in for a bit yesterday.

Hoping to see you some time soon

Yours ever
Walter W. Greg


Vertical lines have been supplied to separate the numbers in the tables.

{1} A preliminary version, perhaps a proof, of the first volume of the variorum edition of The Works of Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher published by G. Bell & Sons and A. H. Bullen in 1904. It contained The Maid’s Tragedy, Philaster, A King and No King, The Scornful Lady, and The Custom of the Country, the first two plays edited by P. A. Daniel, the rest by R. Warwick Bond. The second volume, published in 1905, contained Greg’s edition of The Elder Brother, together with The Spanish Curate and Wit Without Money edited by McKerrow, Beggars’ Bush edited by P. A. Daniel, and The Humorous Lieutenant edited by R. Warwick Bond. In his introduction to The Elder Brother Greg discussed and applied various tests that had been suggested to determine which parts of the play were written by Fletcher and which by Massinger. These included an examination of the relative frequency of the forms you and ye, suggested by McKerrow, and of the forms ’em and them, as proposed by A. H. Thorndike in The Influence of Beaumont and Fletcher on Shakspere (1901). The first table in the present letter was reprinted in the introduction, and the totals in the second table were quoted.

{2} 15 April.

{3} Cf. Greg’s note on The Elder Brother, IV. iii. 194 (Works of Beaumont and Fletcher, ii. 76).

{4} There is a faint transfer of the image on the letter.

{5} The reference to Melrose in the previous sentence suggests that Greg and McKerrow had recently been to Scotland together.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

    Script of material

      Language and script notes

      Physical characteristics and technical requirements

      Finding aids

      Allied materials area

      Existence and location of originals

      Existence and location of copies

      Related units of description

      Related descriptions

      Notes area

      Alternative identifier(s)

      Access points

      Subject access points

      Place access points

      Genre access points

      Description identifier

      Institution identifier

      Rules and/or conventions used


      Level of detail

      Dates of creation revision deletion




          Accession area