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“ Was the hope drunk
you bless'd yourself? hath it slept since ?
What baseness was't, then, That made you break this enterprise to me?” As to the third of these emendations, “liver,” Mr. Bailey allows that it is almost sure to startle the reader, but,” he continues, “I entertain no doubt that on reflection he will become reconciled to it."6_Part of a soliloquy in Hamlet, act i. sc. 5,
“O villain, villain, smiling, damnèd villain !
My tables,-meet it is I set it down,
be so in Denmark :
has been reficted as follows by a gentleman whose initials are A. E. B. 37
“O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain !
My tables ! meet it is I set it down.-
are !-now to my It is . Adieu, adieu, remember me.'
[Writing. I have sworn it.
[Having kissed the tables.” And lest the passage as altered by A. E. B. should fail to attract the attention it deserves, and should happen not to be clearly understood, Dr. Ingleby has eagerly brought it forward, from the recesses of Notes and Queries, as “a true restoration,” and expounds it thus : “ Hamlet's speech is
6 Id. pp. 72-76.
? In Dr. Ingleby's Complete View of the Shakspere Controversy, &c. p. 181, we are told that “A. E. B.” are “Mr. Brae's well-known [?] initials.”
broken from excitement and impulse. He begins to say that he must set it down; but does not say what. Then comes his admirative comment on the King's smiling villany; then the statement of the known instance. “So, uncle, there you are ! means So, uncle, I've found you out! Then checking himself, he says—Now to my word (or words, as the quarto 1603 has it), i.e. the thing which he is to set down. Meet it is I set it down'
It is Adieu, adieu, adieu [sic], remember me !""8" On another soliloquy in Hamlet, act i. sc. 2,
“and yet, within a month,-
Would have mourn’d longer,-married with mine uncle,” &c.
“ A little month; or e'er those shows were old,
Like Niobe, all tears,” &c. 9—recollecting that Theobald had won praise for altering “ shoes" to “ shows":10 in King John, act ii. sc. 1, and concluding that the change of a word which was good in one place could not but be good in another. -I must be allowed to add, that when I find Dr. Ingleby deliberately proclaiming the “consistency and beauty”ll of A. E. B.'s “ true restoration,” and also deliberately depriving the Danish queen of her worldfamed “shoes,”-I am no longer surprised at the contempt he expresses12 for the Ms. Corrector's palmarian emenda
8 Ingleby's Shakspeare Fabrications, &c. p. 52.
10 One of those emendations which I now blame myself for not admitting into my former edition.
11 Ingleby's Shakspeare Fabrications, &c. p. 53.
tion, “this bisson multitude,"13 and for me because I have adopted it.
The present edition differs from the former as much in the notes as in the text,-the changes made in the text having necessitated equal changes in the notes, which are now more than twice as numerous as before. In marking how the text varies from the old copies, I have not thought it needful to mention such alterations as “ thou art” to “ thou'rt” (or vice versú), “he will” to “he'll” (or vice versá), “I would” to “I'd” (or vice versû), &c.; and where the old copies have a plural noun with a singular verb I have silently substituted (except in particular cases) a plural verb ; —in all which minutiæ the old copies are quite inconsistent. 14
13 Coriolanus, act iii. sc. 1. “The folio,” observes Mr. Grant White ad l., “ has the extravagant misprint this Bosome-multiplied,' which yet remained uncorrected till the discovery of Mr. Collier's folio of 1632, and which—so stolidly tenacious is hide-bound conservatism of its mumpsimus—has since then found defenders.”—In The Parthenon for Nov. 1st, 1862, p. 848, the late Mr. W. W. Williams, a critic of no ordinary acuteness, speaking of the “ ridiculous blunders in the old copies” of Shakespeare, writes thus; “He [the reader] may not know that, when he finds Hamlet addressing the Queen of Denmark as 'good mother,' the earliest authority makes him apostrophize her as 'coold mother,' and a subsequent one as 'could smother;' that, in the same play, 'the dreadful summit of a cliff' is printed the dreadful sonnet of a cliff,' suggestive of cadence, but scarcely of a precipice; and that the life-rendering pelican' is presented as “the life-rendering Politician' sturdy patriot, ready to ‘die upon the floor of an ornithological House of Commons. Our little friend, 'the temple - haunting martlet,' in Macbeth, appears as the temple-haunting Barlet,'-one of those rare visitants to our shores of which we have not even a stuffed specimen in our museums. That
white beards’ should be transformed into white bears' need create no alarm, for one may detect the conjuration as one reads. But there was an old word
bisson’=blind, whose presence was not so readily recognised. When, in Coriolanus, Menenius humorously calls blind eyes bisson conspectuities,' the revered folio favours us with 'beesome conspectuities,'— thrilling epithet, but certainly misplaced ; and when Coriolanus alludes with patrician scorn to the 'bisson multitude,' he is made to vent his sarcasm in ‘Bosome-multiplied'-a compound more curious than caustic—which was ‘explained' by Malone, and has since found a chivalrous defender.”
14 This Preface was already in the hands of the printer when a long article on the Cambridge Shakespeare appeared in The Times newspaper for Sept. 29, 1863,-a portion of the critique running thus;
-To the last volume is appended a Glossary, wherein the language of the poet, his allusions to customs, &c. are fully explained.
In preparing this edition I have been greatly assisted by the late Sydney Walker's Shakespeare's Versification, &c., and
“We should not, however, insist on such inaccuracies as these, were they not accompanied by other errors systematically committed, not from oversight, but from choice. It is well known, for example, that the word its was only coming into use in Shakespeare's time. Milton hardly ever used it; the translators of the Bible also avoided it. Shakespeare for the possessive case of it sometimes wrote its, sometimes his, and sometimes it. An example of this last is the line,—“The innocent milk in it most innocent mouth ;' and again,—-Go to it grandam, child, and it grandam will give it a plum.' When it therefore appears in Shakespeare as the equivalent of its, there is a philological interest attached to it which we should expect that the editors of what professes to be a scholarly edition of the plays would respect. Instead of this, they modernize Shakespeare's grammar, and insist upon his writing its where in accordance with the usage of the time he wrote it. So again, verbs ending in t and d constantly throughout the original editions of Shakespeare's works are found making their second person singular in ts or ds instead of t'st and d'st. This form we find in Burns. In one of his most celebrated songs, addressing a little bird on the banks of Doon, he says,—“Thou minds me o' departed joys.' When the form occurs in Shakespeare, the editors have determined to ignore it and to modernize it. Another habit of Shakespeare's is to use a noun plural with a verb singular. Every one will remember the song in Cymbeline in which we hear of the springs, 'on chaliced flowers that lies. Now such a grammatical construction as this is frequent in the plays,” &c.
1. With respect to “it” and “its :"-In the above-cited passage of King John, act ii. sc. 1, I retain (with Malone, Mr. Collier, &c.) the “it” of the
I my reason for doing so is obvious enough from the nature of the passage ;
“Do, child, go to iť grandam, child;
There's a good grandam.”
“The innocent milk in it most innocent mouth,”I substitute “its” for “ it;” because, unless I were indifferent about preserving consistency, I could not retain "it" in that line, and yet in another passage of the same play, act i. sc. 2, print with the folio (the only authority for the text of The Winter's Tale),
“How sometimes nature will betray it's folly,
Its tenderness, and make itself a pastime,” &c. To me, who firmly believe-nor am I singular in the belief-that not one of
his Critical Examination, &c.,-works which undoubtedly form altogether the most valuable body of verbal criticism on our poet that has yet appeared from the pen of an individual. ,
Though not relying implicitly on the former work for
Shakespeare's dramas was originally printed from his own manuscript, there is something passing strange in the reviewer's unqualified assertion that Shakespeare “sometimes wrote its, sometimes his, and sometimes it.”
2. The statement that “verbs ending in t and d constantly throughout the original editions of Shakespeare's works are found making their second person singular in ts or ds instead of t'st or d'st,” is disproved by the following passages, which half-an-hour's cursory examination of the early copies has enabled me to adduce ; “ Thou cut'st
my head off with a golden axe.”
Romeo and Juliet, act iii. sc. 3. “ Thou want'st a rough pash,” &c.
The Winter's Tale, act i. sc. 2. “ And if thou want'st a cord,” &c.
King John, act iv. sc. 2. “ Mett'st thou my posts ?”
Antony and Cleopatra, act i. sc. 5. “And start so often when thou sitt'st alone.”
First Part of King Henry IV. act ii. sc. 3. “ Nay, Hall, if Percy be alive, thou get'st not my sword.”
Id, act v. sc. 3. “If thou get'st any leave of me, hang me.”
Sec. Part of King Henry IV. act i. sc. 2. “Which, like a usurer, abound'st in all.”
Romeo and Juliet, act iii. sc. 3. “ Thou find'st to be too busy is some danger.”
Hamlet, act iii. sc. 4. “ And, England, if my love thou hold'st at aught.”
Id. act iv. sc. 3. “When thou hold'st up thy hand.”
Midsummer-Night's Dream, act iii. sc. 2. “And give the letters which thou find'st about me.”
King Lear, act iv. sc. 6. “Thou spend'st such high-day art in praising him.”
The Merchant of Venice, act ii. sc. I. “ There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st," &c.
Id. act v. sc. 1. 3. As to “a noun plural with a verb singular:”—Where the rhyme requires it, as in the case of the above-cited song in Cymbeline, act ii. sc. 3,