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"Prick'd from the lazy finger of a woman.”
"Doft thou love me? I know thou wilt fay, ay :"
The word me being omitted in the first folio, the editor of the second capriciously supplied the metre thus:
being erroneoufly printed in the first folio, inftead of "And let no comforter," &c. the editor of the second folio corrected the error according to his fancy, by reading→
"And let no comfort elfe delight mine ear."
So, in Love's Labour's Loft, Vol. VII. p. 96: "Old Mantuan, who understands thee not, loves thee not." The words in the Italick character being inadvertently omitted in the firft folio, the editor of the fecond folio, instead of applying to the quarto to cure the defect, printed the paffage juft as he found it and in like manner in the fame play implicitly followed the error of the first folio, which has been already mentioned,—'
"O, that your face were fo full of O's-"
though the omiffion of the word not, which is found in the quarto, made the paffage nonsense.
So, in Much Ado about Nothing:
"And I will break with her. Was't not to this end," &c. being printed inftead of
"And I will break with her and with her father,
"And thou shalt have her. Was't not to this end," &c. the error, which arofe from the compofitor's eye glancing from one line to the other, was implicitly adopted in the second folio. Again, in A Midfummer-Night's Dream:
"Ah me, for aught that I could ever read,
the words Ah me being accidentally omitted in the first folio, inftead of applying to the quarto for the true reading, he supplied the defect, according to his own fancy, thus:
"Hermia, for aught that I could ever read," &c. Again, in The Merchant of Venice, he arbitrarily gives us"The ewe bleat for the lamb when you behold,"
Why he hath made the ewe bleat for the lamb." See p. 454. Innumerable other inftances of the fame kind might be produced.
"Doft thou love? O, I know thou wilt fay, ay."
This expletive, we fhall prefently find, when I come to speak of the poet's metre, was his conftant expedient in all difficulties.
In Meafure for Meafure he printed ignominy inftead of ignomy, the reading of the firft folio, and the common language of the time. In the fame play, from his ignorance of the conftable's humour, he corrected his phrafeology, and substituted inftant for diftant; ("at that very diftant time:") and in like manner he makes Dogberry, in Much Ado about Nothing, exhort the watch not to be vigitant, but vigilant.
Among the marks of love, Rofalind, in As you like it, mentions "a beard neglected, which you have not ;-but I pardon you for that; for, fimply, your having in beard is a younger brother's revenue." Not understanding the meaning of the word having, this editor reads-" your having no beard," &c.
In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Pyramus fays,
"I fee a voice; now will I to the chink,
Of the humour of this paffage he had not the least notion, for he printed, instead of it,
"I hear a voice; now will I to the chink,
In The Merchant of Venice, Act I. fc. i. we find in the first folio,
"And out of doubt you do more wrong
which the editor of the fecond perceiving to be imperfect, he corrected at random thus:
"And out of doubt you do to me more wrong."
Had he confulted the original quarto, he would have found that the poet wrote
"And out of doubt you do me now more wrong."
So, in the fame play,-" But of mine, then yours," being corruptly printed inftead of " But if mine, then yours," this editor arbitrarily reads"But firft mine, then yours."
"Or even as well use question with the wolf,
the words "Why he hath made" being omitted in the firft folio at the beginning of the second line, the fecond folio editor fupplied the defect thuş abfurdly :
"Or even as well use question with the wolf,
In Othello the word Snipe being misprinted in the first folio,
"If I fhould time expend with such a snpe."
the editor not knowing what to make of it, fubftituted fwain inftead of the corrupted word. Again, in the fame play,
"For of my heart those charms, thine eyes, are blotted." being printed in the firft folio inftead of" Forth of my heart," &c. which was the common language of the time, the editor of the fecond folio amended the error according to his fancy, by reading
"For off my heart those charms, thine eyes, are blotted."
Again, in the fame play, Act V. sc. i. not understanding the phrafeology of our author's time,
"Who's there? Whose noife is this, that cries on murder?"
"Whose noise is this, that cries out murder?"
and in the firft Act of the fame play, not perceiving the force of an eminently beautiful epithet, for "defarts idle," he has given us "defarts wild."
Again, in that tragedy we find
"What conjuration, and what mighty magick,
that is, I won his daughter with; and fo the editor of the fecond folio reads, not knowing that this kind of elliptical expreffion frequently occurs in this author's works, as I have fhown in a note on the last scene of Cymbeline, and in other places.3 In like manner he has corrupted the following paffage in A Midfummer-Night's Dream:
"So will I grow, fo live, fo die, my lord,
My foul confents not to give fovereignty."
i. e. to give fovereignty to. Here too this editor has unneceffarily tampered with the text, and
3 See Vol. XVIII. p. 647, n. 2; Vol. XV. p. 196, n. 4; and Vol. XIX. p. 266, n. 7.
having contracted the word unwished, he exhibited the line thus:
"Unto his lordship, to whofe unwish'd yoke
"My foul confents not to give fovereignty."
an interpolation which was adopted in the fubfequent copies, and which, with all the modern editors, I incautioufly fuffered to remain in the present edition.4
The grave-digger in Hamlet obferves" that your tanner will last you nine year," and fuch is the phrafeology which Shakspeare always attributes to his lower characters; but instead of this, in the se cond folio, we find-" nine years."
"Your skill fhall, like a ftar i'the darkest night,
fays Hamlet to Laertes. But the editor of the fecond folio, conceiving, I fuppofe, that if a star appeared with extraordinary fcintillation, the night muft neceffarily be luminous, reads" i'the brightest night:" and, with equal fagacity, not acquiefcing in Edgar's notion of "four-inch'd bridges," this editor has furnished him with a much fafer pass, for he reads-" four-arch'd bridges."
In King Henry VIII. are thefe lines:
If we did think
"His contemplation were above the earth-"
Not understanding this phrafeology, and fuppofing that were muft require a noun in the plural number, he reads:
4 See Vol. IV. p. 322, n. 7.