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brackets (“ as Mr. Capell,” or “as Mr. Jennens, has observed.”] I may have omitted, perhaps, to have traced Mr. Capell’s prior claim upon some occasions; for I confess that I have often shrunk from the great and often fruitless labour of attempting to discover his meaning *. Never was there a writer who appeared to have taken more pains to show that language, in his opinion, was not intended to communicate our ideas; but I can sincerely state that I have never wished to conceal his merits, when they have fallen under my knowledge. In one respect, however, I am bound to say he has done great and important service, I mean in his care of the punctuation, which I mention here once for all, as it is a praise which it would
* I will take this opportunity of restoring to him an emendation which is his property. In The Taming of the Shrew, see vol. v. p. 411, Biondello, as the speech is given in the folio, exclaims, on entering, “ Master, master! news, and such news as you never heard of.” Mr. Rowe, perceiving that the answer of Baptista, “ Is it new and old too?" was thus unintelligible, read “ Master, master! old news." Mr. Capell thought the passage would be more spirited, if we read, “news, old news ;” and so it has since been printed in the text, but without any mention of his name. I will subjoin his note as an unusually favourable instance of his mode of expressing himself.
“ • Master, master! &c.' As this speaker's reply could not have run in such terms as we see it does, unless old' had stood somewhere, moderns all consent in inserting it; but the place chosen by them, is after • Master.' This editor has looked on old and news too, as words omitted by accident; judging, that Biondello should first come out with news!' and branch it afterwards, such branching being more in the order of nature's working, and the period is made fuller and rounder by it.”
Moderns is the only term which Mr. Capell applies to former editors, whom he never mentions by name; but styles Rowe, Pope, Theobald, &c. first, second, or third modern. Sir Thomas Hanmer is, indeed, sometimes described as “he of Oxford :" and Johnson is thus corrected : “cunning is wrong interpreted by he who brings up the rear of them.”
have been endless to have bestowed upon him in detail, The twentieth volume contains the poems of Shakspeare, carefully printed from the original copies, an addition to the work of which the gibes of Mr. Steevens will not, I am confident, diminish the value. In the last volume Titus Andronicus and Pericles are preserved; but by being placed after the poems, are thus distinguished from what are acknowledged on all hands to have been entirely the genuine productions of our author, excepting the three parts of Henry VI., which have been suffered to retain their place as forming part of the historical series. Some Addenda follow, and the whole is concluded with a new glossarial index. In this, the humblest, but perhaps not the least useful department of the work, I have introduced what I hope will be considered as improvements. In the glossarial index of former editions, the reader has merely been presented with a long list of words, and references to the passages where they occur, often with very different meanings; and is thus called upon to roam over many volumes, in order to form a glossary for himself. I have thought that it would diminish his labour, though not a little adding to my own, if, wherever the various commentators agree in their explanation of a term, I affixed that explanation in the index; where they differ, I have not assumed the office of a judge, but have left the reader to decide for himself. In other points also I have deviated from my predecessors. Their index contained only the words which were found in the text, whether selected from conflicting copies, or modern emendations. Upon this plan, if the reading of the quartos is preferred, that of the folio is passed over unnoticed; and if both are discarded, they are no longer to be found in what derives its value from being an exhibition of Shakspearian phraseology. Thus, if we wish to find where a contested passage is to be met with, such as the line in Antony and Cleopatra
“ And soberly did mount an armgaunt steed—"
we shall find no such word as armgaunt in Mr. Steevens's index, but only termagant, which has, most erroneously, in my opinion, been substituted in its place. I have given throughout the readings of both the folio and quartos, as far as their variations were of sufficient importance to be mentioned in the notes or the margin.
To this edition an engraving from what is commonly known by the name of the Chandos portrait of Shakspeare, now in the possession of the Marquis of Buckingham, has been prefixed. The history of that picture will be found towards the close of Mr. Malone's Life of the Poet; but it will be necessary to say a few words in reply to the arguments (if such they may be called) with which Mr. Steevens has endeavoured to call in question its authenticity, but which never were brought forward till it had been engraved with more than former care and elegance for Mr. Malone's edition in 1790. It has been traced, as is fully stated by Mr. Malone in the passage already referred to, through the Duke of Chandos to his father-in-law, Mr. Nicoll; thence to Mr. Keck, a very curious collector ; thence to Mrs. Barry; thence to Mr. Betterton, who procured it after the death of Sir William D'Avenant, to whom it had belonged. Such a chain of traditional evidence is seldom to be found in pedigrees of this description; and therefore Mr. Steevens, resorting to his usual weapon of ridicule, has endeavoured to weaken it by forming its links into a ludicrous compound, and styling this portrait the D'Avenantico-Bettertonian-Barryan-Keckian-Nicolcian-Chandosan canvas *. The last word is printed by him in italicks, in order to intimate that the picture being painted on that material, is a proof of its not being genuine. I have the authority of the present accomplished President of the Royal Academy for saying
* See Mr. Richardson's Proposals, p. 291. It will scarcely be necessary to inform the reader, that these Proposals were written by Mr. Steevens.
that such a remark is wholly groundless. That no such portrait could have belonged to D'Avenant, is attempted to be shown by a humorous denial of the tradition handed down to us by Aubrey, that Sir William was our poet's son ; and a pleasant remark by Mr. Warton is quoted, that “ he cannot suppose Shakspeare to have been the father of a Doctor of Divinity, that never laughed;” which only goes to prove that Shakspeare could not have been the father of D'Avenant's brother. But without giving any credence to this antiquated scandal (for the truth of which I have certainly no wish to contend), Sir William was certainly Shakspeare's god-son; was likely, without any connection of this sort, to have been desirous of obtaining his resemblance, from admiration of his genius ; and so nearly his contemporary as to have the means of ascertaining, either by his own recollection, or from others, how far it was correct. Of Betterton, Mr. Steevens has said nothing, but proceeds per saltum to the purchase of this picture by Mr. Keck from Mrs. Barry. “ The possession of somewhat more animated than canvas, might have been included, though not specified in a bargain with an actress of acknowledged gallantry.” It is difficult to deal with an argument that only supposes that something might have happened ; but it may as fairly be observed, that a picture is not generally thrown into the bargain in negociations of this nature. The authority of Sir Joshua Reynolds is covertly introduced against the authenticity of this portrait, he having, we are told, “ suggested that whatever person it was designed for, it might have been left, as it now appears, in an unfinished state *!” In opposition to this insinuation, Mr. Malone has remarked, that when, by the permission of the Duke of Chandos, he had a drawing from the original, made by Mr. Ozias Humphrey, Sir Joshua was frequently present during its progress, and himself, although this portrait is said to have been “the
* Mr. Steevens's Advertisement, p. 253.
shadow of a shade," contrived to produce a copy of it, without any supplement whatever, for Dr. Newton, the Bishop of Bristol, which Mr. Malone afterwards purchased; and during the long intimacy which subsisted between my late friend and that great painter, never intimated a suspicion that this portrait was not a genuine representation of Shakspeare.
Mr. Steevens was satisfied for some years with decrying all the existing portraits of Shakspeare, but latterly adopted a new hypothesis ; and having rejected the Chandos canvas, as not having sufficient evidence in its favour, advanced the pretensions of another portrait, which confessedly was not supported by any evidence at all, but, on the contrary, was ushered into the world with a story which he himself has shown to be false. The whole circumstances attending its discovery, which are detailed in Mr. Richardson's Proposals t, will forcibly remind us of Mr. Steevens's own words, when speaking of the Chandos portrait, but which are much more applicable to that which he endeavoured to recommend to the publick. “ Much respect is due to the authority of portraits that descend in families from heir to heir; but little reliance can be placed on them when they are produced for sale (as in the present instance) by alien hands, almost a century after the death of the person supposed to be represented; and then (as Edmund says in King Lear),
come pat, like the catastrophe of the old comedy.' Shakspeare was buried in 1616; and in 1708 the first notice of this picture occurs. Where there is such a chasm in evidence, the validity of it may well be questioned, and especially by those who remember a species of fraudulence recorded in Mr. Foote's Taste, “ Clap Lord Dupe's arms on that half-length of Erasmus; I have sold it him as his great grand-father's third brother, for
* Mr. Steevens's Advertisement, p. 253. + Mr. Richardson's Proposals, p. 290.