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*was' also supports this reading. Valentine wishes to express that his wrath was past : had he been speaking of his love,' he would have said “is.""
Now, neither the "correspondent" nor Mr. Knight (who thinks this explanation of the passage “very preferable” to any other) notice what immediately follows--viz. the speech of Julia;
“O me unhappy !” She at least understood Valentine's words as conveying a complete renunciation of Silvia in favour of Proteus. Let us see also how they were understood by Charles Lamb and his sister,—two highly gifted and simple-minded persons, who had been reading Shakespeare together all their lives, content with the plain and obvious meaning of his text:
" He (Protheus] expressed such a lively sorrow for the injuries he had done to Valentine, that Valentine, whose nature was noble and generous, even to a romantic degree, not only forgave and restored him to his former place in his friendship, but in a sudden flight of heroism he said, 'I freely do forgive you; and all the interest I have in Silvia, I give it up to you. Julia, who was standing beside her master as a page, hearing this strange offer, and fearing Protheus would not be able with this new-found virtue to refuse Silvia, fainted, and they were all employed in recovering her : else would Silvia have been offended at being thus made over to Protheus, though she could scarcely think that Valentine would long persevere in this overstrained and too generous act of friendship.” Tales from Shakespeare, p. 29, ed. 1841."
What I have just quoted is the best possible comment on our text. This "act of friendship” on the part of Valentine is “overstrained and too generous ;" nor would Shakespeare probably, if the play had been written in his naturer years, have made Valentine give way to such “a sudden flight of heroism;" but the Two Gentlemen of Verona was evidently an early production of the great poet, and in many a volume, popular during his youth, he had found similar instances of romantic generosity.
MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR.
[Vol. i. COLLIER ; vol. iii. Knight.]
SCENE 2.-C. p. 207 ; K. p. 54. “ I, I, I myself sometimes, leaving the fear of heaven on the left hand, and hiding mine honour in my necessity, am fain to shuffle, to hedge, and to lurch ; and yet you, rogue, will ensconce your rags, your cat-a-mountain looks, your red-lattice phrases, and your boldbeating oaths, under the shelter of your honour !”
What is the meaning of "bold-beating oaths,” which is passed over by Messrs. Malone, Collier, and Knight, without any comment ? Mr. Halliwell's Ms. (see Account of the only known Manuscript of Shakespeare's Plays, &c., p. 13) has “blunderbust oaths,” the writer of that ms. having perceived that the old reading was nonsense.
I have little doubt that Hanmer restored the genuine text when he printed, "your red-lattice phrases [i. e. your alehouse phrases), and your bull-baiting oaths.”
The mistake might have originated at press from a similarity of sound. It would be easy to adduce many examples of such errors: e.g. the old ed. of Massinger's Bashful Lover, act i. sc. 1, has ;
“ I have seen him Smell out her footing like a lime-hound, and knows [read nose] it
From all the rest of her train :" and both the 4tos of the same poet's Duke of Milan, act v. sc. 2, have ;
“ whose honour writ not lord :" where, in a copy of 4to, 1623, now in my possession, Massinger has crossed out “honour" with a pen, and written
owner” on the margin.
SCENE 3.-C. p. 218; K. p. 63.
thee where mistress Anne Page is, at a farm-house a feasting, and thou shall [shalt] woo her. Cried game, said I well ?”
No note in Mr. Collier's edition !
Mr. Knight prints “ Cried game ? said I well?" and concludes a note by observing that “surely Anne Page, 'at a farm-house a feasting,' is the game which the host has cried. The meaning would be perfectly obvious were we to read Cried I game?"
On this passage, in the Variorum Shakespeare, we have more than two pages of annotation, from which nothing is to be learned except that the modern editors were unable to ascertain the right lection, though Warburton came very
Read, “ Cried I aim [i. e. did I give you encouragement]? said I well ?" So in act iii. sc. 2 (p. 224), Ford says, “ To these violent proceedings all my neighbours shall cry aim [i. e. give encouragement].”
Scene 3.-C. p. 228; K. p. 77. “ I see what thou wert, if fortune thy foe were not, nature thy friend.”
So the old copies, which seem to require no change: we must understand being after 'nature.” COLLIER.
Mr. Knight says, “ We do not think that a perfect sense can be made of the passage as it stands. The meaning, no doubt, is, if Fortune were subdued by Nature, thou wouldst be unparalleled.”
It is evident that there is no corruption of the text, and that Mr. Collier is right in understanding ‘being' after“ nature:” the meaning of the whole is—I see what thou wouldst be, having such gifts of Nature, if Fortune did not bar thy advancement. Shakespeare wrote, “ If Fortune thy foe were not,”—instead of the more natural collocation, “If Fortune were not thy foe,"—that the words “ Fortune thy foe” might answer to the commencement of the well-known ballad, tune, my foe."
" ForSCENE 5.-C. p. 242; K. p. 89. Though what I am I cannot avoid, yet to be what I would not, shall not make me tame: if I have horns to make one mad, let the proverb go with me, I'll be horn mad.”
So the other editors, - leaving an obvious error uncorrected. Read, “If I have horns to make me mad,” &c.
The word "one" is frequently printed by mistake for “me:" e. g. in Beaumont and Fletcher's Bloody Brother, or Rollo Duke of Normandy, act i. sc. 1, we find, according to 4to, 1639, and folio, 1679;
“ 'Twill be expected that they should be good,
Or their bad manners will be imputed yours.
Bald. 'Twas not in one, my lord, to alter nature." while 4to, 1640, gives rightly, “ 'Twas not in me, my lord,” &c.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE.
(VOL. ii. COLLIER; vol. iii. KNIGHT.]
Scene 2.-C. p. 10. “ Lucio. Thou concludest like the sanctimonious pirate, that went to sea with the ten commandments, but scraped one out of the table.
2 Gent. Thou shalt not steal ? Lucio. Ay, that he razed.
1 Gent. Why? 'Twas a commandment to command the captain and all the rest from their functions: they put forth to steal.”
“ It may be doubted whether what follows this interrogatory [Why ?'] do not belong to Lucio, rather than to the gentleman who is thus made to ask a question and answer it himself.” COLLIER.
The fact is, the Gentleman does not ask a question. Here, as in very many passages of early books, the compositor has put a point of interrogation after “Why," when the word is merely used emphatically. So in Beaumont and Fletcher's Coxcomb; “ Ant. Why? this will gaine me everlasting glory."
Works, p. 102. ed. 1647.
Id. p. 112.
Id. p. 114.
“ Ger. I would reveal it: 'tis a heavie tale : Canst thou be true, and secret still?
Ferd. Why, friend?