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ACT III.

SCENE 1.-C. p. 50.
“ But these sweet thoughts do even refresh my labours ;

Most busy, least when I do it.” The meaning of this passage seems to have been misunderstood by all the commentators. Ferdinand says that the thoughts of Miranda so refresh his labours, that when he is most busy he seems to feel his toil least. It is printed in the folio, 1623, · Most busy lest when I do it,' a trifling error of the press, corrected in the folio, 1632, although Theobald tells us that both the oldest editions read lest. Not catching the poet's meaning, he printed, • Most busy-less when I do it;' and his supposed emendation has ever since been taken as the text: even Capell adopted it. I am happy to have Mr. Amyot's concurrence in this restoration.” COLLIER.

When Theobald made the emendation, Most busy-less,' he observed, that “ the corruption was so very little removed from the truth of the text, that he could not afford to think well of his own sagacity for having discovered it.” The correction is, indeed, so obvious, that we may well wonder that it had escaped his predecessors; but we must wonder ten times inore that one of his successors, in a blind reverence for the old copy, should re-vitiate the text, and defend a corruption which outrages language, taste, and common sense.

SCENE 3.-C. p. 61. Thunder and lightning. Enter Ariel like a harpy, claps his wings

upon the table, and, with a quaint device, the banquet vanishes."

Here Steevens has a long note; but as he appears not to have understood this stage-direction, I may just observe, that the words, with a quaint device, the banquet vanishes," mean nothing more than that the mechanist of the theatre was to do his best to make it seem that the harpy had devoured the banquet. Compare what Prospero says soon after;

“ Bravely the figure of this harpy hast thou

Perform'd, my Ariel ; a grace it had, devouring.

ACT IV.

Scene 1.-C. p. 69; K. p. 198.
You nymphs, callid Naiads, of the wandering brooks,” &c.

Possibly, winding is the true word: all the folios repeat the misprint of that of 1623, windring.COLLIER.

Mr. Knight retains “ windering;” and observes in a note, “ the epithet, of course, has the meaning of winding."

If “ windering” means, “ of course," winding, why did not Shakespeare content himself with the latter word? why should he take the trouble of inventing a word, which those readers only, who possessed the “ quick conceit” of Mr. Knight, could possibly understand?

The true reading, I apprehend, is “winding."

ACT V.

Scene 1.-C. p. 77 ; K. p. 208.
Where the bee sucks, there suck I;
In a cowslip's bell I lie :
There I couch.

When owls do cry,
On the bat's back I do fly,
After summer, merrily :
Merrily, merrily, shall I live now,

Under the blossom that hangs on the bough." “In the original there is no point after couch ;' but it seems necessary, and was inserted by Malone.” COLLIER. Mr. Knight, in his text, gives the song thus ;

Where the bee sucks, there suck I;

In a cowslip's bell I lie:
There I couch when owls do cry,
On the bat's back I do fly
After summer merrily :

Merrily," &c. and in his “ Illustrations of Act v.” favours us with the following remarks ; “ We point the third line as in the original :

There I couch when owls do cry.'

ACT III.

SCENE 1.-C. p. 50.
“ But these sweet thoughts do even refresh my labours ;

Most busy, least when I do it.” “ The meaning of this passage seems to have been misunderstood by all the commentators. Ferdinand says that the thoughts of Miranda so refresh his labours, that when he is most busy he seems to feel his toil least. It is printed in the folio, 1623, · Most busy lest when I do it,' a trifling error of the press, corrected in the folio, 1632, although Theobald tells us that both the oldest editions read lest. Not catching the poet's meaning, he printed, · Most busy-less when I do it;' and his supposed emendation has ever since been taken as the text: even Capell adopted it. I am happy to have Mr. Amyot's concurrence in this restoration.” COLLIER.

When Theobald made the emendation, Most busy-less,' he observed, that “ the corruption was so very little removed from the truth of the text, that he could not afford to think well of his own sagacity for having discovered it." The correction is, indeed, so obvious, that we may well wonder that it had escaped his predecessors; but we must wonder ten times more that one of his successors, in a blind reverence for the old copy, should re-vitiate the text, and defend a corruption which outrages language, taste, and common sense.

Scene 3.--C. p. 61. Thunder and lightning. Enter ARIEL like a harpy, claps his wings

upon the table, and, with a quaint device, the banquet vanishes."

Here Steevens has a long note; but as he appears not to have understood this stage-direction, I may just observe, that the words, with a quaint device, the banquet vanishes,mean nothing more than that the mechanist of the theatre was to do his best to make it seem that the harpy had devoured the banquet. Compare what Prospero says soon after;

Bravely the figure of this harpy hast thou
Perform'd, my Ariel; a grace it had, devouring.

ACT IV.

Scene 1.-C. p. 69; K. p. 198. “ You nymphs, call’d Naiads, of the wandering brooks," &c.

"Possibly, winding is the true word: all the folios repeat the misprint of that of 1623, windring." COLLIER.

Mr. Knight retains “ windering ;" and observes in a note, “ the epithet, of course, has the meaning of winding."

If “ windering” means, “of course,” winding, why did not Shakespeare content himself with the latter word? why should he take the trouble of inventing a word, which those readers only, who possessed the “ quick conceit” of Mr. Knight, could possibly understand ?

The true reading, I apprehend, is "winding."

ACT V.

Scene 1.-C. p. 77 ; K. p. 208.
Where the bee sucks, there suck I;
In a cowslip's bell I lie :
There I couch. When owls do cry,
On the bat's back I do fly,
After summer, merrily :
Merrily, merrily, shall I live now,

Under the blossom that hangs on the bough." “ In the original there is no point after couch ;' but it seems necessary, and was inserted by Malone.” COLLIER. Mr. Knight, in his text, gives the song thus ;

Where the bee sucks, there suck I;

In a cowslip's bell I lie :
There I couch when owls do cry,
On the bat's back I do fly
After summer merrily :

Merrily," &c. and in his “ Illustrations of Act v.” favours us with the following remarks ; We point the third line as in the original :

• There I couch when owls do cry.'

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