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FIRST PART OF KING HENRY VI.
[Vol. v. COLLIER; vol. v. KNIGHT.]
SCENE 1.-C. p. 9; K. p. 444.
"Posterity, await for wretched years,
When at their mothers' moist eyes babes shall suck,
And none but women left to wail the dead."
nourish,' which is the
In fact, no change is
word in the first and in all the other folios. required; and had it been a misprint for marish, the editor of the second folio, who had corrected the preceding line, would not have been likely to pass it over. 'Nourish,' as Malone and Steevens proved by various quotations anterior to the time of Shakespeare, was only another form of the word nourice, or nurse; and a word of two syllables was required." COLLIER.
Malone did not adduce any passages where the form "nourish" occurs; but Steevens cited them from the romance of Syr Eglamour, and Lydgate's Fall of Prynces,—with about as much propriety as Grey quoted "kid" from Chaucer to explain “kid-fox" in Much ado about Nothing (see p. 32). Malone, indeed, cited another form of the word, "nourice," from Spenser, who, as every reader knows, was a great affecter of archaisms, and employed a variety of words which had long become obsolete.
Mr. Knight also retains "nourish."-But what is the meaning of "Our isle be made a nourish [or nurse] of salt tears?" Theobald (out of sheer opposition to Pope) attempted to explain it, "That the whole isle should be one common nurse or nourisher of tears; and those be the nourishment of its miserable issue,"-an interpretation at which Warburton might well exclaim, "Was there ever such nonsense!"
In defence of Pope's correction, "marish," which I have
no doubt is the genuine reading (the original compositor having mistaken ma for nou), Ritson very appositely quoted from Kyd's Spanish Tragedy;
"Made mountains marsh with spring tides of my tears."
SCENE 3.-C. p. 21.
"Win. Gloster, thou'lt answer this before the pope.
Glo. Winchester goose! I cry-a rope! a rope!"
“Johnson would here make out an allusion to the 'consequence of love' for the inhabitants of the Stews, under the control of the bishop of Winchester: that consequence' was certainly called 'a Winchester goose' by many old writers (see Dyce's Webster's Works, vol. iii. p. 328), but there is no necessary reference to it in the text. 'Winchester goose!' seems merely used as a term of abuse." COLLIER.
Various words of reproach,—such as lurdan, ribald, &c. &c. - were formerly used without any reference to their original significations; but "Winchester goose" (even if it had not been applied to the Bishop of Winchester) was too peculiar an expression to be ever employed as a general term of abuse. Gloster means here to taunt Winchester with his licentious life he afterwards tells him ;
"such is thy audacious wickedness, Thy lewd, pestiferous, and dissentious pranks, As very infants prattle of thy pride.
Thou art a most pernicious usurer,
Froward by nature, enemy to peace;
Lascivious, wanton, more than well beseems
A man of thy profession, and degree."
Act iii. sc.
1, p. 48.
SCENE 2.-C. p. 56.
Here enter'd Pucelle, and her practisants.”
"The meaning is very obvious; but I have not met with any other instance of the use of the word. We might read partisans, if all the old copies did not agree in practisants.' COLLIER.
It would almost seem that, when Mr. Collier offered this unnecessary conjecture, he had not recollected the sense in which practice is generally employed by our early writers, viz. trick, artifice, treachery:' "her practisants" is equivalent to her associates in treachery.'
SCENE 2.-C. p. 59; K. p. 496.
Lost, and recover'd in a day again!
Is not the right reading "Let"?
SCENE 4.-C. p. 76.
'from bought and sold lord Talbot;
Who, ring'd about with bold adversity,
Cries out for noble York and Somerset,
To beat assailing death from his weak legions."
"The folios have regions; most probably, though not necessarily, an error, which was corrected by Rowe." COLLIER.
This is one of the notes in which Mr. Collier evinces a sort of kindly feeling towards the misprints of the old copies, dismissing them, when he does not receive them into the text, with an express declaration that they may nevertheless be the genuine readings. What arguments could be advanced in defence of "regions," I cannot form even the most distant idea.
SCENE 4.-C. p. 96.
Shep. Fie, Joan! that thou wilt be so obstacle!"
"In various writers of the time of Shakespeare, and earlier, obstacle' was used for obstinate. Steevens produces instances from Chapman's May-Day,' 1611, and Chettle's 'Hoffman,' printed in 1631, but written about 30 years earlier : other proofs might be found without much difficulty." COLlier.
This note may mislead the reader. By the writers of Shakespeare's time at least, "obstacle" is NEVER used for obstinate, except when (as in the present line and in the passages which Steevens cited) they intend it as a mark of rusticity or vulgarity in the speaker.
SECOND PART OF KING HENRY VI.
[Vol. v. COLLIER; vol. vi. KNIGHT.]
SCENE 1.-C. p. 112.
"Have you yourselves, Somerset, Buckingham,
Early and late, debating to and fro
How France and Frenchmen might be kept in awe?
Crowned in Paris, in despite of foes?"
"We have substituted was' for hath of the folio, 1623: we have thought this slight change, of one auxiliary verb for another, preferable to the insertion of been in the second line, before crowned,' which is of course to be read as a dissyllable, and is so printed in all the old copies, showing the line to be complete. Steevens, and other modern editors, add a new word, instead of merely correcting one already found in the original text." COLLIER.
From what precedes,-" Have you yourselves," &c., and “Or hath mine uncle," &c.-there is more than a strong probability that the line,
"And hath his highness in his infancy,"
contains no misprint. The next line, therefore, ought surely to stand,
[Been] crown'd in Paris, in despite of foes."
That the folio happens to have "crowned" instead of " crown'd" gives not the slightest support to Mr. Collier's alteration.