Page images
PDF
EPUB

ACT IV.

Scene 1.-C. p. 305 ; K. p. 102.
The quality and hair of our attempt

Brooks no division.” Johnson thought that 'hair' was to be taken for complexion, character, and Steevens and Malone agreed with him. Boswell recommended the substitution of air ; but no change seems necessary. Worcester, perhaps, means that there ought to be no splitting or division of their power, already small enough for the attempt : the hair of our attempt brooks no division.'" COLLIER.

Mr. Collier merely explains the passage wrongly: Mr. Knight rashly alters hair" to "air !"

To the quotations already adduced in defence of Johnson's explanation (see the Var. Shakespeare) I have to add, not only A lady of my hair cannot want pitying.”

Fletcher's Nice Valour, act i. sc. 1. but also another passage which proves indisputably that the Doctor was right.

In the play of Sir Thomas More (MS. Harl. 7368), a fellow named Faulkner is brought in custody before Sir Thomas; and when the said Faulkner,—who in consequence of a vow wears his hair very long, - tells Sir Thomas that he is servant to a secretary, we find (fol. 12);

· Moore. A fellow of your haire is very fitt

To be a secretaries follower !". Sir Thomas using the word with a quibble, - grain, texture, complexion, character.

[ocr errors]

ACT V.

Scene 1.-C. p. 320; K. p. 117. “ What is honour? A word. What is in that word, honour ? What is that honour ? Air. A trim reckoning !-Who hath it? He that died o' Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No,” &c.

“ Our reading is that of the two earliest editions. The quarto of 1608 reads, “What is that word honour? What is that honour ?

Air;' and the quarto, 1613, only · What is that word, honour ? Air.'
This last is the text adopted by the folio, 1623.” Collier.

The reading of 4to, 1613, and of the folio is evidently the true one; and has been adopted by Mr. Knight. The earlier readings are not in harmony with the brevity and precision of the rest of this "catechism," and must have originated in the mistake of some transcriber who had written the interrogatory twice.

Scene 3.-C. p. 327 ; K. p. 122. 'Fal. Well, if Percy be alive, I'll pierce him. If he do come in my way, so : if he do not, if I come in his, willingly, let him make a carbonado of me.”

Mr. Knight prints;

Fal. If Percy be alive I'll pierce him, if he do come in my way, so: if he do not,” &c. and remarks; “We have altered the punctuation of this passage, believing that the 'so' applies to some action of Falstaff with his bottle of sack — perhaps thrusting his sword into the cork;"—without any mention of the illustrious Zachary Jackson, who expressly says, “I should imagine it stood originally thus: 'Well, if Percy be alive, l'll pierce him if he do come in

my way, so!' (Here he uses the soldier's cork-skrew ; runs the point of his sword into the cork).”

That this Jackson-Knightian punctuation grossly corrupts the

passage is proved, not only by two speeches of Falstaff in

the next scene ;

“There is Percy; if your father will do me any honour, so; if not, let him kill the next Percy himself.” If I

may be believed, so; if not, let them that should reward valour bear the sin upon their own heads.” but also by innumerable passages in early dramas, besides the

following ;

“Well, and you do not like my humour, I can be but sory for it: I bit you for good will, and if you accept it, so; if no[t], go." Chapman's Humorous Dayes Myrth, 1599, sig F 2.

[ocr errors]

If I escapte [sic] vnseene, why so it is ;
If not, I care not much, it is but so,” &c.
Belchier's Hans Beer-pot, His Invisible Comedie, &c.

1618, sig F 3.

SECOND PART OF KING HENRY IV.

[Vol. iv. COLLIER ; vol. v. Knight.)

ACT 11.

Scene 4.-C. p. 384. Pist. I'll see her damned first ;—to Pluto's damned lake, by this hand, to the infernal deep, with Erebus and tortures vile also. Hold hook and line, say I. Down! down, dogs! down fates."

• The quarto has faters ; the folio, fates ; a difference that seems to have been passed over without notice, excepting by Boswell; and the commentators have given themselves the trouble to explain faters as faitours, when in fact it is a mere misprint for 'fates.' Pistol has been talking of Pluto and Erebus, and he very consistently threatens to hurl down the “fates.' COLLIER.

In the first place, I cannot perceive the "consistency” which, Mr. Collier says, is given to Pistol's speech by the reading,

“fates :" Pistol has indeed “ been talking of Pluto and Erebus ;” but he has uttered no threats against those formidable powers,- he has only talked of seeing Doll damned down to them. Secondly, the juxta-position of “dogs” and "fates” in one short sentence, “Down! down, dogs ! down fates," is not a little extraordinary.

I believe that the reading of the quarto, “faters” (i. e. faitours), is decidedly right, and that the "fates” of the folio is either a misprint, or, more probably, an alteration of the editor, who happened not to understand the rather affected term which Shakespeare had put with such propriety into the mouth of Pistol. I ought to add, that the word “faitour" is found not unfrequently, and with various spelling, in other writers of the time.

SCENE 4.-C. p. 389. " What stuff wilt have a kirtle of?”. “ It does not seem at all settled what was a kirtle : our lexicographers say that it means a gown, a jacket, a petticoat, a mantle,

a cloak,' and passages in our old authors may be produced to show that it was each of these," &c. COLLIER.

Gifford has " settled" the matter in an excellent note on Jonson's Works, ïi. 260.

SCENE 4.-C. p. 391. P. Hen. For the women ?

Fal. For one of them, she is in hell already, and burns, poor souls. For the other, I owe her money, and whether she be damned for that, I know not.”

“ We ought probably to read a [hell] for ' in [hell] ;' but the old editions are uniform. Sir T. Hanmer prints ‘poor soul,' as if the words applied to Doll.” COLLIER.

To the Prince's question concerning “the women,” Falstaff here replies distinctly in two short sentences, the first sentence commencing with “For one of them” (i. e. Doll), and the second with “For the other” (i. e. Mrs. Quickly); yet though the first of these sentences relates wholly to Doll, Mr. Collier is not startled at finding in it the words,“ poor souls,applied to both the women! From his note the reader would naturally suppose

that Sir T. Hanmer alone had printed “poor soul :" the fact is, that every editor since Hanmer's time, except Mr. Collier himself, has adopted a correction, which Johnson pronounced to be "undoubtedly right," and which one wonders how the earlier editors could have failed to make. Falstaff calls Doll “poor soul,” because she was "in hell already;" about Mrs. Quickly's damnation he is uncertain.

SCENE 4.-C. p. 393.
Bard. [Within.] Mistress Tear-sheet, -
Host. What's the matter?
Bard. [Within.] Bid mistress Tear-sheet come to my master.

Host. O! run, Doll, run; run, good Doll. Come.—She comes blubbered.—Yea—will you come, Doll?

Exeunt." “These words [' Come. - She comes blubbered.— Yeawill you come, Doll ?'], partly addressed to Doll, and partly to Bardolph within, are only found in the quarto. There can be no sufficient reason for omitting them, as has been done by modern editors.” COLLIER.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »