« PreviousContinue »
elapsed from the time of their composition: so rapid were at that time the changes in our language.
My late friend Mr. Tyrwhitt, a man of such candour, accuracy, and profound learning, that his death must be considered as an irreparable loss to literature, was of opinion, that in printing these plays the original spelling should be adhered to, and that we never could be sure of a perfectly faithful edition, unless the first folio copy was made the standard, and actually sent to the press, with such corrections as the editor might think proper. By others it was suggested, that the notes should not be subjoined to the text, but placed at the end of each volume, and that they should be accompanied by a complete Glossary. The former scheme (that of sending the first folio to the press) appeared to me liable to many objections; and I am confident that if the notes were detached from the text, many readers would remain uninformed, rather than undergo the trouble occasioned by perpetual references from one part of a volume to another.
In the present edition I have endeavoured to obtain all the advantages which would have resulted from Mr. Tyrrwhitt's plan, without any of its inconveniences. Having often experienced the fallaciousness of collation by the eye, I determined, after I had adjusted the text in the best manner in my power, to have every proof-sheet of my work read aloud to me, while I perused the first folio, for those plays which first appeared in that edition; and for all those which had been previously printed, the first quarto copy, excepting only in the instances of The Merry Wives of Windsor, and King Henry V.which, being either sketches
or imperfect copies, could not be wholly relied on; and King Richard III." of the earliest edition of which tragedy I was not possessed. I had at the same time before me a table which I had formed of the variations between the quartos and the folio. By this laborious process not a single innovation, made either by the editor of the second folio, or any of the modern editors, could escape me. From the Index to all the words and phrases explained or illustrated in the notes, which I have subjoined to this work,' every use may be derived which the most copious Glossary could afford; while those readers who are less intent on philological inquiries, by the notes being appended to the text, are relieved from the irksome task of seeking information in a different volume from that immediately before them.
If it be asked, what has been the fruit of all this labour, I answer, that many innovations, transpositions, &c. have been detected by this means; many hundred emendations have been made, and, I trust,
"At the time the tragedy of King Richard III. was in the press, I was obliged to make use of the second edition printed in 1598; but have since been furnished with the edition of 1597, which I have collated verbatim, and the most material variations are noticed in the Appendix.
7 If the explication of any word or phrase should appear unsatisfactory, the reader, by turning to the Glossarial Index, may know at once whether any additional information has been obtained on the subject. Thus, in Macbeth, Vol. IV. p. 392, Dr. Warburton's erroneous interpretation of the word blood-bolter'd is inserted; but the true explication of that provincial term may be found in the APPENDIX. So of the phrase, " Will you take eggs for money" in The Winter's Tale; and some others.
Lest this assertion should be supposed to be made without evidence, I subjoin a list of the restorations made from the original copy, and supported by contemporary usage, in two plays only; The Winter's Tale and King John. The lines in the Italick character are exhibited as they appear in the edition of 1778,
a genuine text has been formed. Wherever any
(as being much more correctly printed than that of 1785,) those in the common character as they appear in the present edition (i. e. Mr. Malone's, in ten volumes).
"The doctrine of ill-doing, no, nor dream'd—" P. 295.
we know not
"The doctrine of ill-doing; nor dream'd-."
3. "As o'er-dy'd blacks, as winds, as waters;-" P. 300. "As o'er-dy'd blacks, as wind, as waters ;- P. 130.
4. "As ornament oft does." P. 302.
"As ornaments oft do." P. 130.
The original copy, with a disregard of grammar, reads " As ornaments oft does." This inaccuracy has been constantly corrected by every editor, wherever it occurs; but the correction should always be made in the verb, and not in the noun,
5. "Have you not-thought (for cogitation
"Resides not in the man that does not think it)
My wife is slippery?" P. 408.
"Have you not-thought (for cogitation.
"Resides not in the man that does not think)
My wife is slippery?" P. 138.
wishing clocks more swift?
"Hours, minutes, the noon midnight? and all eyes,-"
wishing clocks more swift?
"Hours minutes? noon midnight? and all eyes,-"
Ay, and thou,-who may'st see
"How I am gall'd-thou might'st be-spice a cup,-"
Ay, and thou,-who may'st see
"How I am galled,-might'st be-spice a cup,
deviation is made from the authentick copies,
"I'll keep my stables where
"I lodge my wife;-"
9. "Relish as truth like us." P. 317.
"Relish a truth like us."
10. "And I beseech you, hear me, who profess-" P. 333. "And I beseech you hear me, who professes-" P. 162.
"" P. 170.
11. "This session to our great grief,-
"The bug which you would fright me with, I seek."
13. "You here shall swear upon the sword of justice,-"
"You here shall swear upon this sword of justice,-"
14. "The session shall proceed." P. 349. "The sessions shall proceed." P. 178.
15. "Which you knew great; and to the certain hazard "Of all incertainties-"
"Which you knew great, and to the hazard
"Of all incertainties-"
Some word was undoubtedly omitted at the press; (probably fearful or doubtful;) but I thought it better to exhibit the line in an imperfect state, than to adopt the interpolation made by the editor of the second folio, who has introduced perhaps as unfit a word as could have been chosen.
16. " Through my dark rust! and how his piety-" P. 360. "Thorough my rust! and how his piety" P. 179. The first word of the line is in the old copy by the mistake of the compositor printed Through.
17. "O but dear sir,-" P. 375.
“O but, sir,— P. 200.
18. Your discontenting father I'll strive to qualify,—”
P. 401. "Your discontenting father strive to qualify,-" P. 224. If I thought it were not a piece of honesty to acquaint the king withal, I would do it." P. 407.
"If I thought it were a piece of honesty to acquaint the king withal, I'd not do it." P. 229.
except in the case of mere obvious errors of the
20. "Dost thou think, for that I insinuate or toze—”
"Dost thou think, for that I insinuate and toze—”
21. "You might have spoke a thousand things," P. 414.
22. "Where we offend her now, appear—"
"Where we offenders now appear—” P. 237.
23. "Once more to look on.
"Sir, by his command,-
"By his command,-" P. 240.
like a weather-beaten conduit." P. 425.
"And son unto the king, (whom heavens directing,)
1. "Which fault lies on the hazard of all husbands." P. 10.
"'Tis too respective, and too sociable,
"For your conversing." P. 14.
3. "Thus leaning on my elbow,-" P. 16.
4. "With them a bastard of the king deceas'd." P. 25.
5. "That thou hast under-wrought its lawful king."
Say, shall the current of our right run on ?"