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The most important of these old ballad-poets is undoubtedly Thomas Brewer. His ballad of the year 1605 on the Society of Porters, and another, dated 1609, on two monstrous births (cf. No. 2) clearly indicate that he flourished rather in 1605—10 than, as all writers interested in the history of the drama have said, in "1620?" The 1605 ballad is the earliest work of Brewer's yet brought to light. Interesting also is the signature of George Attowell, a well-known Elizabethan actor, though the authenticity of it is open to grave suspicion. William Turner, a figure who has mystified earlier commentators, is the author of No. 5, and is shown to have been actively writing ballads in 1613. Other new ballad-authors, about whom no biographical details are obtainable, are William Meash, T. Platte, Edward Culter, William Cooke, Thomas Dickerson, LI. Morgan, and T.F.
Many well-known writers, too, are represented here by ballads that have not before been reprinted,—among them John Cart, Richard Climsal, and Robert Guy. Sixteen of the ballads are signed by Martin Parker, most of them new additions to his bibliography. Only one ballad by him now remains in the Pepys collection (1, 410) unreproduced: "The Married-womans Case. Or, Good Counsell to Mayds, to be carefull of hastie Marriage, by the example of other Married-women. To the tune of The Married-mans Case." It was printed by H[enry]. G[osson]. and begins "You Maidens all, that are willing to wed," but almost the entire first column is torn away. Laurence Price is the author of five of the ballads, and one in the Pepys collection (1, 218) still remains to be reprinted: "Oh Gramercy Penny. To the tune of Its better late thriue then neuer"
As to editorial methods: The original texts are reproduced diplomatically save for two slight exceptions: the statement of titles and tunes has been normalized by the printer, and unmistakable typographical errors, such as bnt for but, nad for and, are corrected in the text but indicated in the foot-notes. The long s (/), too, is disregarded.