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SCENE 1.-C. p. 137.
“ but for these other goods, Unbind my hands, I'll put them off myself,
Yea, all my raiment, to my petticoat." “ Theobald read gawds, and all the modern editors have followed him, but without any necessity for the change from the old reading." COLLIER. “ Goods” appears
to me to be all but nonsense.
SCENE 1.-C. p. 148.
«'tis a world to see,
A meacock wretch can make the curstest shrew.”
If (as the above note seems to shew) Mr. Bruce and Mr. Collier suppose that the expression in question is of unfrequent occurrence, they are greatly mistaken. It is, indeed, an extremely common one in writers of all descriptions, both in those long anterior and those long posterior to the time of Shakespeare: it occurs, for instance, in Skelton's Bowge of Courte (composed perhaps before 1500), Works, i. 47, ed. Dyce; and is found even in the Second Volume of Strype's Annals of the Reform., which was first published in 1725, and must have been written only a few years earlier ; “But it was a World to consider, what unjust Oppressions of the People, and the Poor, this occasioned, by some griping Men, that were concerned therein.” p. 209.
SCENE 3.-C. p. 178.
According to the fashion, and the time."
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL.
[Vol. iii. COLLIER ; vol. i. Knight.]
Scene 3.-C. p. 221; K. p. 355. “ An we might have a good woman born but ere every blazing star, or at an earthquake, 'twould mend the lottery well : a man may draw his heart out, ere he pluck one."
" Steevens left out ere, (printed ore in the old copies,) not being able to make anything of it; and Malone suggested that it was put for or, i. e. before : the fact seems to be, that o was merely substituted for e, by an error of the press : ' ere every blazing star' is prior to the appearance of every blazing star. It is surprising that 'ere,' which occurs again just below, did not explain the mystery to Malone.” COLLIER
The reading of Mr. Collier is no better than that of Malone: both (vulgarly speaking) put the cart before the horse. Blazing stars are mentioned by our old writers as portending prodigies, — not as coming after them. Mr. Knight has, I have no doubt, given the right reading, viz. “ for.” In the quartos of Hamlet (act v. sc. 2) there is a similar misprint: they have “or my complexion,” where the folio rightly reads " for my complexion.”
SCENE 3.-C. p. 222; K. p. 355. Diana, no queen of virgins, that would suffer her poor knight to be surprised, without rescue, in the first assault, or ransom afterward.”
“ Theobald supplied the words · Diana, no,' which are omitted in the old copies : he also added to be in the next line, and those words seem equally necessary." COLLIER.
The addition of "to be" is unnecessary, as might be shewn by various passages of our early writers, besides the follow
And suffer not their mouthes shut up, oh Lord,
Drayton's Harmonie of the Church, 1591, sig. F 2.
Scene 3.-C. p. 244; K. p. 378.
Smile upon this contract; whose ceremony
the coming space, Expecting absent friends." “ The clear meaning is obscurely expressed: if we take now (to which Shakespeare prefixes the definite article) to be used substantively, and if we derive borne from the verb to bear, the king says that the marriage shall not be deferred, 'whose ceremony shall seem expedient on the now, (or on the instant,) to be borne briefly,' or concluded without delay.” COLLIER.
Of all the attempts to explain this difficult passage, Mr. Collier's is the most extraordinary. “ Brief” is evidently a substantive; and the probability seems to be that Steevens was right in considering " the now-born brief” (which is manifestly the true reading, and given by Messrs. Malone and Knight) as equivalent to “ the contract recently and suddenly made."
Scene 5.-C. p. 264 ; K. p. 398. “ Wid. I hope so.—Look, here comes a pilgrim : I know she will lie at my house; thither they send one another.
I'll question her.—God save you, pilgrim !
Whither are you bound ?” Nothing can well be more awkward than this separation of “ I'll question her" from what precedes.
The speech ought either (as Malone gives it) to conclude with a line of blank verse, thus,
God save you, pilgrim! whither are you bound ?” or (as Mr. Knight prints it) to stand wholly prose.
In the next page of Mr. Collier's edition the first speech of the Widow is most unhappily arranged, with three imperfect lines together.
SCENE 5.-C. p. 266; K. p. 399. “ Dia.
Alas, poor lady! 'Tis a hard bondage, to become the wife Of a detesting lord.
Wid. I write good creature: wheresoe'er she is,
Her heart weighs sadly.” “The first folio has ‘I write good creature, which Malone retains, in the sense of 'I consider her a good creature. The fact is that such was the phraseology of Shakespeare's time, and in this very play (see p. 245) Lafeu tells Parolles, ‘I write man, to which title age cannot bring thee.' Malone omits this apposite instance, but quotes, ' About it, and write happy when thou hast done,' from
King Lear,' A. v. sc. 3, and Since I writ widow,' from Lodowick Barry's comedy of Ram Alley,' 1611. It is curious to note how soon this mode of expression had gone out of use, for in the second folio the passage in the text is altered to ‘I (i. e, ay) right, good creature.'” COLLIER.
If Mr. Collier had wished to prove beyond all possibility of dispute that the reading which he gives is the wrong one, he could not have done so more effectually than by citing these three passages in its defence. The first passage, “I write man,” means,—I write myself man; the second, “ Write happy, when thou hast done,”—Write thyself happy, when thou hast done; the third, “Since I writ widow,"---Since I writ myself widow-(so too in The Second Part of King Henry IV., act i. sc. 2, “ As if he had writ man ever since his father was a bachelor," i. e. writ himself man; in Belchier's Hans Beer-pot, His Invisible Comedie, &c. 1618, sig. G 4, “His father neare gaue armes, writ good-man Clunch,” i. e. writ himself good-man Clunch ; in Beaumont and Fletcher's Wit at several weapons, act i. sc. 1, " When I scarce writ man," i. e. writ myself man ; in Fletcher's Queen of Corinth, act v. sc. 1,
“ in every family
(For, like your broker, he takes fees on both sides)
Than all the officers of the house,” i. e. write itself lustful; in Massinger's Duke of Milan, act v. sc. 2;
These hands too, that disdain’d to take a touch
From any lip, whose owner writ not lord,” i. e. writ not himself lord; and in the Epistle Dedicatory to Hookes's Amanda,* 1653, “ You might better have writ man at fifteen,” &c., i. e. writ yourself man):-THEREFORE the words, “ I write good creature,” can only signify,—I write myself good creature. Mr. Knight very properly reads;
“ Wid. Ay, right; good creature, wheresoe'er she is,
Her heart weighs sadly.” “Ay,” as Mr. Collier elsewhere remarks, " was almost invariably spelt with a capital I” (vol. iv. 176); and the lection of the first folio, “ write,” is evidently one of those not unfrequent misprints, which were occasioned by the compositor's having followed his copy only so far as to give the sound of the word, not its proper spelling,—or, as Mr. Collier terms it, "printed by his ear" (vol. iv. 342).
SCENE 2.-C. p. 281 ; K. p. 413.
“ Since Frenchmen are so braid, Marry that will, I live and die a maid.” “The explanation of this word given by Steevens seems the right one, though it has been disputed : ‘Braid signifies crafty, deceitful ;'
* I may just notice, that a line in a copy of commendatory verses by “Tho. Adams,” prefixed to this worthless volume,
“ that all May her Amanda, you Amandus call,” seems to have been floating in the mind of Sterne, when he told the story of “ two fond lovers, separated from each other by cruel parents, and by still more cruel destiny
Amanda -Sheeach ignorant of the other's course," &c.—Tristram Shandy, vol. vii. ch. xxxi. p. 113, ed. 1765.