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" Dost thou love? O, I know thou wilt say, ay." This expletive, we shall presently find, when I come to speak of the poet's metre, was his constant expedient in all difficulties.
In Measure for Measure he printed ignominy, instead of ignomy, the reading of the first folio, and the common language of the time. In the same play, from his ignorance of the constable's humour, he corrected his phraseology, and substituted instant for distant; (“ —at that very distant time :”) and in like manner he makes Dogberry, in Much Ado about Nothing, exhort the watch not to be vigilant, but vigilant.
Among the marks of love, Rosalind, in As You Like It, mentions "a beard neglected, which you have not;but I pardon you for that; for, simply, 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 says,
“ I see a voice; now will I to the chink,
“ To spy an' I can hear my Thisby's face." Of the humour of this passage he had not the least notion, for he printed, instead of it,
“ I hear a voice; now will I to the chink,
“ To spy an' I can see my Thisby's face." In The Merchant of Venice, Act I, Sc. I. we find in the first folio,
“ And out of doubt you do more wrongwhich the editor of the second perceiving to be imperfect, he corrected at random thus :
“ And out of doubt you do to me more wrong.” Had he consulted the original quarto, he would have found that the poet wrote
“ And out of doubt you do me now more wrong." So, in the same play,—" But of mine, then yours," being corruptly printed instead of—“ But if mine, then yours," this editor arbitrarily reads—“ But first mine, then yours.” Again, ibidem :
“ Or even as well use question with the wolf,
the words “Why he hath made” being omitted in the first folio at the beginning of the second line, the second folio editor supplied the defect thus absurdly :
“ Or even as well use question with the wolf,
behold." In Othello the word snipe being misprinted in the first folio,
“ If I should time expend with such a snpe." the editor not knowing what to make of it, substituted swain instead of the corrupted word. Again, in the same play,
“ For of my heart those charms, thine eyes, are blotted." being printed in the first folio instead of—" Forth of my heart,” &c. which was the common language of the time, the editor of the second folio amended the error according to his fancy, by reading
“ For of my heart those charms, thine eyes, are blotted." Again, in the same play, Act V. Sc. I. not understanding the phraseology of our author's time,
“ Who's there? Whose noise is this, that crics on murder ?" he substituted
“ Whose noise is this, that cries out murder ?" and in the first Act of the same play, not perceiving the force of an eminently beautiful epithet, for * desarts idle," he has given us “desarts wild," Again, in that tragedy we find
“ I won his daughter. that is, I won his daughter with; and so the editor of the second folio reads, not knowing that this kind of elliptical expression frequently occurs in this author's works, as I have shown in a note on the last scene of Cymbeline, and in other places*.
See vol. xiii. p. 228, n. 2.
In like manner he has corrupted the following passage in A Midsummer-Night's Dream :
“ So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
My soul consents not to give sovereignty.” i. e. to give sovereignty to. Here too this editor has unnecessarily tampered with the text, and having contracted the word unwished, he exhibited the line thus :
“ Unto his lordship, to whose unwish'd yoke
“ My soul consents not to give sovereignty." an interpolation which was adopted in the subsequent copies, and which, with all the modern editors, I incautiously suffered to remain in my former edition.
The grave-digger in Hamlet observes “ that your tanner will last you nine year," and such is the phraseology which Shakspeare always attributes to his lower characters; but instead of this, in the second folio, we find “ nine years.
“ Your skill shall, like a star i' the darkest night,
“ Stick firy off indeed—" says Hamlet to Laertes. But the editor of the second folio, conceiving, I suppose, that if a star appeared with extraordinary scintillation, the night must necessarily be luminous, reads—“i'the brightest night:"and, with equal sagacity, not acquiescing in Edgar's notion of " fourinch'd bridges," this editor has furnished him with a much safer pass, for he reads—" four-urch'd bridges." In King Henry VIII. are these lines :
If we did think “ His contemplation were above the earth—" Not understanding this phraseology, and supposing that were must require a noun in the plural number, he reads:
If we did think “ His contemplations were above the earth," &c. Again, in Troilus and Cressida, Act IV. Sc. II.:
“ With wings more momentary-swift than thought." This compound epithet not being understood, he reads:
“ With wings inore momentary, swifter than thought."
In The Taming of the Shrew, Act I. Sc. Il. Hortensio, describing Catharine, says,
“ Her only fault (and that is-faults enough)
“ Is,—that she is intolerable curst ;meaning, that this one was a host of faults. But this not being comprehended by the editor of the second folio, with a view, doubtless, of rendering the passage more grammatical, he substituted—" and that is fault enough.”
So, in King Lear, we find—“ Do you know this noble gentleman?'
But this editor supposing, it should seem, that a gentleman could not be noble, or that a noble could not be a gentleman, instead of the original text, reads—" Do you know this nobleman?”
In Measure for Measure, Act II. Sc. I. Escalus, addressing the Justice, says, " I pray you home to dinner with me:" this familiar diction not being understood, we find in the second folio, “ I pray you go home to dinner with me.” And in Othello, not having sagacity enough to see that apines was printed by a mere transposition of the letters, for paines,
“ Though I do hate him, as I do hell apines,” instead of correcting the word, he evaded the difficulty by omitting it, and exhibited the line in an imperfect state,
The Duke of York, in the third part of King Henry VI. exclaims,
“ That face of his the hungry cannibals
blood.” These lines being thus carelessly arranged in the first folio:
" That face of his
6 Would not have stain'd with blood" the editor of the second folio, leaving the first line imperfect as he found it, completed the last line by this absurd interpolation :
“ Would not have stain'd the roses just with blood.” These are but a few of the numerous corruptions and interpolations found in that copy, from the editor's ignorance of Shakspeare's phraseology.
II. Let us now examine how far he was acquainted with the metre of these plays. In The Winter's Tale, Act III. Sc. II. we find
“ What wheels? racks ? fires? what flaying? boiling?
“ In leads, or oils ?”. Not knowing that fires was used as a dissyllable, he added the word burning at the end of the line : “ What wheels ? racks? fires ? what flaying? boiling ?
burning ?” So again, in Julius Cæsar, Act III. Sc. II. from the same ignorance, the word all has been interpolated by this editor :
“And with the brands fire all the traitors' houses." instead of the reading of the original and authentick copy,
“ And with the brands fire the traitors' houses." Again, in Macbeth :
“ I would, while it was smiling in my face,
“ As you have done to this." Not perceiving that sworn was used as a dissyllable, he reads —“ had I but so sworn.”
Charms our poet sometimes uses as a word of two syllables. Thus, in the Tempest, Act I. Sc. II.:
“ Curs'd be I, that did so! All the charms," &c. instead of which this editor gives us,
“ Curs'd be I, that I did so! All the charms,” &c. Ilour is almost always used by Shakspeare as a dissyllable, but of this the editor of the second folio was ignorant; for instead of these lines in King Richard II :
So sighs, and tears, and groans, “ Show minutes, times, and hours : but
time “ Runs posting on,” &c. he gives us