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of the anonymous substitutions, and strenuously advocated the remainder. In the meantime, however, such sweeping changes in the text, and upon authority so questionable, became the subject of discussion and energetic protest in various quarters. Having myself, I may be permitted to say, from the first publication of Notes and Emendations, felt assured, by the internal evidence, that they were for the most part plagiarized from the chief Shakesperian editors and critics, and the rest of quite modern fabrication—I earnestly longed to have the writing tested. That which was a desire before, when the present book was undertaken became a necessity, and during the year 1858 I more than once communicated to Sir Frederic Madden, as the most eminent paleographer of the age, my motives for wishing that the volume should undergo inspection by persons skilled in ancient writing. Sir Frederic's official engagements at that time prevented his giving the subject the attention it perhaps merited. With the courtesy and consideration which have marked his conduct throughout this painful business, he did, however, I subsequently found, in consequence of my solicitations, apply to Mr. Collier to obtain him access to the volume. His letter, it appears, was not answered. In the spring of last year I again called upon him, and reiterated my reasons for desiring the volume should be examined, and if possible by him. This time I was more successful. Sir Frederic immediately wrote to the Duke of Devonshire, requesting permission to see the much talked of folio, and it was liberally forwarded to the British Museum for inspection by himself and friends.8 While there, the writing was carefully examined by Sir Frederic Madden, Mr. Panizzi, Mr. Bond, Mr. T. Duffus Hardy, Professor Brewer, the Rev. Joseph Hunter, Mr. Hamilton, and other paleographers, and these gentlemen were unanimously of opinion that the MS. annotations on the margins and in the body of the book, though in an apparently antique character, were really of quite modern origin. The technical evidences upon
3 In reply to tho discreditable insinuations of Mr. Collier and his partisans, that Sir Frederic Madden was influenced by personal animosity to Mr. Collier, in the measures he has taken, and the opinion he has expressed respecting the disputed folio—Sir Frederic has published the following narrative of the circumstances which led to the book being placed in his hands :—
"During the summer and autumn of 1858 Dr. Mansfield Ingleby and Mr. Staunton had called more than once on me, to ask my opinion of the genuineness of the notes of the * Old Corrector,' as printed by Mr. Collier, and also at the same time to express their opinion, from internal evidence, that the notes were of recent origin. So far from my having at that time 'aided the case' against Mr. Collier, as falsely asserted by him (p. 70 of his Reply), I call upon the two gentlemen above named to bear witness whether I did not express my great surprise at their statement, and manifest the utmost unwillingness to believe that so large a body of notes could have been fabricated, or, if fabricated, could escape detection. These intervicWs,however, led me to address a request to Mr. Collier, on Sept. 6, 1858, that he would procure me a sight of the Folio, which of itself ought to prove that I could at that time have entertained no doubt of his integrity in the matter. To this request I never received any answer, nor indeed, to the best of my belief, did Mr. Collier write to me at all subsequently; and, although I thought it strange, yet I certainly never took offence at it. I resolved, however, in my own mind, to prefer my request to the
Duke of Devonshire himself; but official and other business constantly interfered to prevent my carrying out my intention until May 1859, when Professor Bodenstedt was introduced to me by Mr. Watts of the Museum, and having expressed his great desire to see the Collier Folio, I promised them to gratify, if possible, their and my own wishes on the subject, as well as to give several of my Shakesperian friends an opportunity of examining the volume. Accordingly, on the 13th of May, I wrote to the Duke, requesting the loan of the volume for a short time, and by his grace s liberality it was sent to me on the 26th of the same month, late in the day. In the evening of the same day I wrote letters to Professor Bodenstedt, the Rev. A. Dyce. Mr. W. J. Thorns (a friend of Mr. Collier), and I believe Mr. Staunton, inviting them to see the volume.
"Having thus succeeded in obtaining the volume, my next step was to examine it critically on palseograpbic grounds, and this I did on the following morning very carefully, together with Mr. Bond, the Assistant-Keeper of my Department, and we were both struck with the very suspicious character of the writing—certainly the work of one hand, but presenting varieties of forms assignable to different periods—the evident painting over of many of the letters, and the artificial look of the ink. The day had not passed before I had quite made up my mind that the 'Old Corrector' never lived in the seventeenth century, but that tho notes were fabricated at a recent period."
which this decision was founded were immediately made public in a letter from Mr. Hamilton to the Times newspaper. The most striking of these were " an infinite number of faint pencil-marks and corrections on the margins, in obedience to which the supposed old corrector had made his emendations," which pencil-marks, without even a pretence to antiquity in character or spelling, but written in a bold hand of the present century, can sometimes be distinctly seen underneath the quasi-antique notes themselves. To the very grave and inevitable inferences supplied by this remarkable discovery, Mr. Collier replied in a letter to the same Journal, that he "never made a single pencil-mark on the pages of the book, excepting crosses, ticks, or lines, to direct [his] attention to particular emendations." That he had shown and sworn that the volume in its present annotated state, was formerly in the possession of a gentleman named Parry. That soon after the discovery of the folio, he had produced it before the Council of the Shakespeare Society, and at two or three assemblies of the Society of Antiquaries. That he had given, not sold the volume, as had been stated in some newspapers, to the late Duke of Devonshire, and unless before a proper legal tribunal he would not submit to say another word in print upon the subject.
A letter followed in the Times from Mr. Maskelyne, Keeper of the Mineral Department, in the British Museum, which stated that on examination of the writing by means of a microscope, the existence of the pencil-marks mentioned by Mr. Hamilton is indisputable; that in some cases these pencillings underlie the ink, and that the ink, though apparently at times it has become mixed with ordinary ink, in its prevailing character is nothing more than a paint formed perhaps of sepia, or of sepia mixed with a little Indian ink. The publicity given to the investigation induced Mr. Parry, the gentleman cited by Mr. Collier as the former owner of the folio, to call at the British Museum to recognise his old possession. On seeing the volume, he at once denied not only that it was the book formerly his, but that it had ever been shown to him by Mr. Collier.8 Some further controversy ensued which need not be detailed, and the question of the genuineness of the writing was warmly discussed both in the leading English and American papers. Shortly after the appearance of Mr. Hamilton's letter to the Times, a clever little work upon the subject by Dr. Ingleby, called The Shakespeare Fabrications, or the Manuscript Notes of the Perkins Folio shown to be of recent Origin, &c, was published. In this opusculum Mr. Collier's conduct in relation to the discovered volume was so severely handled, and the charge of complicity in the fabrications so plainly brought home to him, that his friends deemed it proper to announce that the volume was undergoing a careful examination by "four eminent antiquaries." As the result of this perquisition has not been made known, we may infer that these four gentlemen found nothing to invalidate the verdict passed upon the writing by the authorities who had preceded them in the task. A few months later Mr. Hamilton published his long promised pamphlet, An Inquiry into the Genuineness of the Manuscript Corrections in Mr. J. Payne Collier's Annotated Shakespeare, folio, 1632, &c. In this work he not only recapitulates all the former evidence against the Collier folio annotations, but publishes the result of an examination of certain other documents connected with Shakespeare, which Mr. Collier professed to have discovered in Devonshire House; among the archives of Lord Ellesmere, at Bridgewater House; in Dulwich College; and in the State Paper Office, proving, what had long been suspected, that a systematic series of Shakespearian forgeries has been perpetrated of late years, and apparently by one hand.
'Curiously enough, Mr. Parry, in searching through his tbrary subeexjuenUy, has discovered B fly-leaf belonging to his lost folio, and on comparing it with the Collier volume, it is found to be a quarter of an inch too short, and a quarter of an inch too broad to match the latter.
This substantiates the declaration of Mr. Parry when ho first saw the Collier folio at the British Museum, that his book was wider than the one stated to have been his, and proves beyond future cavil that the Collier and the Parry folio were not the same.
To the additional charges of uninquisitive credulity, not to say positive imposition, suggested in this "Inquiry," Mr. Collier has published a formal "Reply." In this reply he fails entirely to grapple with the main question at issue; he brings no evidence to rebut the technical and professional testimony against the impeached documents. He does not even propose the obvious course to any one circumstanced as he is, who believed the papers genuine—that of submitting them to the scrutiny of an authoritative tribunal of literary men and paleographers. Beyond the indulgence of much ill-judged personality against those gentlemen, who from a sense of duty have brought the subject before the public, he contents himself with a simple denial of culpability, an ignoring of the most palpable facts, and an appeal ad misericordiam.
But enough of this disreputable topic. Without taking into account these "New Particulars," the value of which will be more fittingly considered in the Memoir that follows, we may rest satisfied that the authority of the Collier folio is at an end. Such of its readings as are of worth will be restored to their rightful owners, for the paternity of nearly all such is known; and the rest will speedily find the oblivion they so well deserve.
A few words may be desirable to explain the principle which has been followed in the present attempt to supply the best text of Shakespeare which the means at command allow. It has before been stated that we possess no play or poem, or even fragment of one, in the poet's writing. The early printed copies of his works are therefore the sole authority for what he wrote, and an accurate collation of them becomes the first and indispensable business of a modern editor. This portion of my duty has been performed at least with care, I hope with fidelity. Not only have I collated the quarto editions with the folio; but the former, where more than one of the same play existed, with themselves; and then, both quarto and folio with the best editions of modern times.'
Having mastered and noted the varice lectiones in the old copies, the task of selection in a play found only in the folios was not difficult, the first copy, 1623, being in almost all cases preferable to the subsequent impressions. Where, however, a play exists both in quarto and folio form, and there are more than one edition of it in quarto, and, as is always the case, each copy abounds in corruptions, the choice is embarrassing. In these instances, taking the first folio as the basis of the text throughout, and when substituting a letter,
7 The modern editions consulted are Rowo's, Pope's, Theobald's, Hanmer's, Warburton's, Johnson's and Steevena'i. Those collated, Capell's, Malone's, Knight's, Col
lier's, and Dyce's; tho two last-named, however, having appeared after great part of the present work was published, were available only for a portion of the plays.
"word, or passage from any other source, always showing the folio reading in a note, I have trusted sometimes to the judgment of my predecessors, and occasionally to the dictates of my own. As a general rule it may be affirmed, that as in the folios, the first is freer from errors than the second, the second than the third, &c, so the earlier quartos exhibit a better text than the later ones, and, since the folio often prints from these later ones, of course in such cases a better one than the folio. When everything has been done in the shape of comparison which time, unwearied industry, and commodious access to old editions will allow, and when the labour of selecting from so many authorities in so many thousand instances has been fully accomplished, it is surprising how much remains to do. Dr. Johnson, after enumerating the various circumstances which tended to the corruption of Shakespeare's text, observes, "It is not easy for invention to bring together so many causes concurring to vitiate a text. No other author ever gave up his works to fortune and time with so little care; no books could be left in hands so likely to injure them, as plays frequently acted, yet continued in manuscript; no other transcribers were likely to be so little qualified for their task, as those who copied for the stage, at a time when the lower ranks of the people were universally illiterate; no other editions were made from fragments so minutely broken, and so fortuitously re-united; and in no other age was the art of printing in such unskilful hands." With a text thus pitiably depraved, it is not surprising that when collation is exhausted there should hardly be a page which does not present passages either dubious or positively corrupt. In those of the former category my rule has been to give the original lection in the text, but, as old Fuller well says, that "conjectures, if mannerly observing their distance, and not imprudently intruding themselves for certainties, deserve, if not to be received, to be considered,"— I have subjoined the emendations proposed by other commentators with my own, in the margin. The remedy for those of the latter class, I sought firstly in the modern editions, and did not often seek in vain. When they failed to rectify the error, recourse was had to my own sagacity. In no instance, however, has any deviation from the authentic copies been adopted without the change being notified. Mindful, too, of the Roman sentiment quoted by Johnson, "that it is more honourable to save a citizen than to destroy an enemy," I have in most cases, unless the emendation is indisputable on the ground of internal evidence, retained the ancient reading, and placed the proposed correction in a note. On the same principle, I have in some important instances, by citing examples of the disputed expression from Shakespeare himself, or from the authors he read, succeeded in restoring words found in the original, but which have been banished from all subsequent editions.
After exhibiting what Shakespeare wrote, according to the ancient copies, and the best modern glosses thereon, I have endeavoured, with the aid of those who have preceded me in the same task, and to the extent of a long familiarity with the literature and customs of his day, to explain his obscurities, to disentangle his intricacies, and to illustrate his allusions. In this attempt, the amount of reference and quotation will be seen to have been very great. It has, however, been much greater than it appears, since, with a few exceptions where the books or MSS. were unattainable, every extract throughout the work has been made at first hand. This is a circumstance I should have thought undeserving notice, but that in a standard edition of Shakespeare, like the Variorum of 1821, I have not found one quotation in ten without an error.
For the rest, it may suffice in this brief sketch of my plan to add, that by a careful regulation of the pointing, in some passages the lost sense has been retrieved, and in others the meaning has been rendered more conspicuous.
H. STAUNTON. April, I860.8
8 Suvm euique. As some few of my readings have : forgiven therefore for stating that the present work we
received the honour of adoption by more than one editor begun in Nov. 1857, and has been published month by
of Shakespeare, lately, the date above without explanation month in parts up to the first of May, 1860.
might expose me to the censure of plagiarism. I shall be I