« PreviousContinue »
“ i. e.
By this time, had the king permitted us,
so fare as I wish my enemy to fare. Our text is that of all the quartos and the first folio; and why the clear meaning and ancient reading has been abandoned by the modern editors we know not, excepting that the second folio misprints ‘fare' farre. The correct text makes the sense complete, which is otherwise left imperfect." COLLIER.
Supposing that the strange mode of expression (to which, I apprehend, no parallel exists in our early writers), “so fare, as to mine enemy,” could really mean “so fare as I wish my enemy to fare,"—where is the propriety of such a wish on the present occasion, and what connexion has it with the rest of Bolingbroke's speech? The second folio corrected the error of the earlier eds. to
Norfolk, so far as to mine enemy,”(i.e. so far I speak,-a not uncommon ellipsis), the line being a prelude to what immediately follows. Ritson well observes that “Bolingbroke only uses the phrase by way of caution, lest Mowbray should think he was about to address him as a friend."
Mr. Knight remarks;
“ Johnson's interpretation of this passage seems to be just: • Norfolk, so far I have addressed myself to thee as to mine enemy; I now utter my last words with kindness and tenderness ; confess thy treasons.'
But I do not believe that the line contains any allusion to what Bolingbroke has previously said; and it certainly could not express so much as Johnson would make it signify.
SCENE 1.-C. p. 139.
Thy state of law is bondslave to the law,
A lunatic lean-witted fool,
Make pale our cheek,” &c. “ This is the reading of all the quarto editions : the folio gives it thus :
COLLIER. The preference given by Mr. Collier to the reading of the quartos seems to me beyond measure injudicious,--a reading which makes “thou” (meaning Richard) the nominative to “Dar'st” (meaning Gaunt).
SCENE 1.-C. p. 140.
For both hast thou, and both become the grave.” “ This is the reading of all the old copies, and therefore to be adopted; but it may be doubted whether it be correct.
In a Ms. common-place book of the time, already quoted, the couplet runs as follows, under the head of ' Age and Fulness,'
* And let them die, that age and fulness have,' &c. Sullens' might be easily misread by the compositor for fulness; but, nevertheless, what York says seems to show, that the King meant to reproach Gaunt with ill-temper." COLLIER.
Why should the correctness of the text be doubted, because the writer of a common-place book (who, according to Mr. Collier himself, cited from memory, p. 165,) has set down by mistake“ fullness,”—a word which in none of its acceptations would suit the present passage ?
Our early authors make frequent mention of “the sullens :" so Lyly; “like you, Pandion, who being sick of the sullens, will seeke no friend." Sapho and Phao, sig. D 2, ed. 1584.
Scene 2.-C. p. 163; K. p. 440.
That when the searching eye of heaven is hid
Stand bare and naked, trembling at themselves ?” “ The quarto of 1597 has bouldy here,' which we may conjecture was a misprint for bouldly, or boldly; but all the subsequent editions have ‘bloody here.' Boldly here' seems to accord better with the simile.” COLLIER.
With such authority for printing " boldly," I indeed wonder that Mr. Collier and the other modern editors should have retained “ bloody.” Nothing can be plainer than that“ boldly” is put in opposition to “trembling” in the last line of this glorious passage.
SCENE 4.-C. p. 208.
As who should say,” &c.
So the quartos of 1597 and 1598; probably, as the context shows, an abridgement of wishfully, for the sake of the metre. The two later quartos and the folio read wistly, which is a different word, meaning attentively, and sometimes silently." COLLIER.
There is not, and there could not be, such a word as wishtly:" the “abridgement of wishfully” is wishly. Again, when Mr. Collier says that wistly means sometimes attentively and sometimes silently, he confounds two distinct words,— wistly (from wis, wist), and whistly (from whist).
In the present passage the right reading is undoubtedly wistly:" see Richardson's Dict. in v. Wis, where “looketh
wistly upon it,”—“those whom they look wistly upon," —
more wistly eyed this gallant prisoner,"_" when more wistly they did her behold,” are cited from various early writers :to which examples the following may be added; “ The silly Asse so wistly then did view him.”
Drayton's Moone-Calfe, p. 179, ed. 1627. “ If unto these
We closely presse
Wither's Crums and Scraps, &c., 1661, p. 98.
Scene 5.-C. p. 210; K. p. 488.
Which is the bell.”
Their watches on unto mine eyes the outward watch') is the reading and pointing of the quartos, excepting that that of 1615 has There in the second line for · Their :' the folio, 1623, follows the three earliest quartos, and the folio of 1632 omits ‘on,' and prints 'into' to. We have stated the original text thus particularly, on account of the difficulty of extracting sense from the passage by any of the old readings. The commentators gave up the attempt, and Johnson reasonably supposed the passage to be corrupt. "Jar' is explained by the use of the same word in ‘The Winter's Tale,' vol. iii. p. 433, to signify the tick of a clock, and Steevens suggested that "outward watch' meant the figure of a watchman, or watch, above the dial-plate. Still, this will not explain what is intended by with sighs they jar their watches on unto my eyes. The reading of the second line in the second folio is good measure, 'Their watches to eyes,
the outward watch,' but it does not clear the sense of the passage. "Here again
[. Now, sir, the sound, that tells what hour it is,
Are clamorous groans'] we must leave the text as it is found in every old edition. Ritson
suggests that ‘sound' should be in the plural, which seems plausible ; but what has 'sir' to do in the line, and whom is Richard addressing? If we read for instead of sir,' a not unfrequent error, arising from the long s and f having been confounded by the compositor, the verb are will have no nominative, but that perhaps might be they or sounds' understood :
Now, for the sounds that tell what hour it is,
Are clamorous groans.' This perhaps is the nearest point of explanation at which we can arrive.” Collier.
By putting a comma after “jar,” Mr. Collier thickens the obscurity of the passage, or rather, makes it nonsense. It certainly means 'My thoughts jar (tick) their watches on unto mine eyes, which are the outward watch' (the dial-plate, Henley first rightly explained it). “Now, sir,” is merely one of those improprieties in soliloquy, of which not a few examples might be collected from our early dramatists : so in Chapman's Humorous Dayes Myrth, 1599, while Florila is alone on the stage, her husband enters behind, unseen by her, and commences a soliloquy thus: “ Yea, mary, sir, now I must looke about: now if her desolate [dissolute] proouer come againe, shal I admit him to make farther triall ?” &c. sig. c 3; and in Middleton's A Mad World, my Masters, Sir Bounteous, who is the only person on the stage, observes, “An old man's venery is very chargeable, my masters , there's much cookery belongs to’t.” Act iv. sc.
Act iv. sc. 2,-Works, ii. 390, ed. Dyce. But do no similar improprieties occur in other plays of SHAKESPEARE? In the Two Gentlemen of Verona, Launce soliloquizes thus ; “ If I had not had more wit than he [my dog], to take a fault upon me that he did, I think verily, he had been hang’d for’t: sure as I live, he had suffer'd for’t. You shall judge. He thrusts me himself,” &c. Act iv. sc. 4, (vol. i. 154): and in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Falstaff, while soliloquizing at the Garter Inn, says, “ The rogues slighted me into the river with as little remorse as they would have drowned a blind bitch's puppies (read, a bitch's blind puppies] fifteen i’ the litter; and you may know by my size, that I have a kind of alacrity in sinking,” &c. Act iii. sc. 5 (vol. i. 238).