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ACT III. SCENE II.
P. 219. Again the corrector tampers unnecessarily with the text, by inserting a word in one line, and omitting one in another, neither of them improvements. If such license is to be indulged and approved, every line in Shakespeare might be rewritten.
P. 220. The first two corrections in the following lines, of clasp for " clap," and feeble for "female," armour for "arms," though plausible, are not required; the poet using arms for armour frequently: the latter correction necessitates the elision of a in " against."
Strive to speak big, and clasp their feeble joints
Mr. Collier, in his edition, retained the old reading clap, although clasp had long since been suggested by Pope, which may have led to that of the corrector. Another reading, clip, had been proposed by Ritson.
P. 221. The substitution of storm for "harm" in York's speech is a legitimate correction, which I find also in my own corrected second folio. The change of "fearful" to faithful is not at all necessary or advisable.
Ib. The variations made in the Gardener's speech are no improvement upon the reading adopted by Malone and followed by Mr. Collier in his edition.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
P. 222. The readings in Bolingbroke's speech are those adopted in the modern editions, with the exception of the striking out of the word "himself," which is an unwarrantable liberty, not at all requisite. The reading, " As surely as I live, my lord," is a remarkable coincidence with Mr. Collier's adoption of it from the 4to of 1597.
P. 222. "The folio, 1632, misprints the following line,— Give sorrow leave a while to tutor me,—
"by absurdly putting return for 'tutor.' This blunder is set right by the old corrector; but it seems as if he had previously substituted some other word, and had erased it. Such may have been the case in several other places where he himself blundered."
This is hardly candid on the part of Mr. Collier, for who would not think that this "blunder was set right" by the sagacity of the corrector; whereas it is only the reading of the first folio, where the word is tuture, and the misprint had been corrected in all editions! Do not the frequent erasures in this corrected volume excite any suspicion in Mr. Collier's mind that it has been extensively tampered with?
ACT V. SCENE I.
P. 223. The insertion of this in the Queen's speech is entirely supererogatory, and the omission of hath he quite unwarrantable. Mr. Collier would visit the transgression severely on any other emendator.
Ib. Mr. Collier finds his own predilection for the reading of tale from the 4to, rather than that of the folio full, supported by his corrector. I incline to think with Malone, that the word was altered by Shakespeare himself, and that full is the true reading.
P.225. The variations from the received text in the following lines would not be worthy of notice, but that Mr. Collier insinuates that they "may lead to the conclusion that the corrector was guided by some authority not now known!
Good uncle, help to order several powers
They shall not live within this world, I swear,
But I will have them, so I once know where.
should like to know for which of their transcendent merits
these innovations upon the text, as it has long been satisfactorily printed, would lead to Mr. Collier's conclusion? I have printed them here, to enable the reader to compare and judge whether they have the slightest advantage over the ordinary reading, except that of a wider departure from the old text.
P. 226. There is nothing in the few remaining notes on this play that calls for remark, but the system of interpolation is continued to suit the caprice of the corrector. One specimen will suffice; this "notable instance" occurs where Bolingbroke passes sentence on the Bishop of Carlisle :Carlisle, this is your doom," which is extended to:
Bishop of Carlisle, this shall be your doom.
If, for the sake of the metre or the rhyme, we are allowed to thrust words into the text wherever we think them wanting -the poet's language may soon be entirely submerged.
FIRST PART OF KING HENRY IV.
ACT I. SCENE I.
HE first line of this play presents an alteration, but a questionable improvement, by the corrector of the folio, 1632: for
So shaken as we are, so wan with care,
"he has worn with care,' which may be right, although, as far as the sense of the passage is concerned, it may not be necessary to do the violence of changing the received text."
Here, at least, Mr. Collier is candid; and tacitly confesses that the authority of the corrector is not sufficient to sanction any interference with the text, which is not a SELF-EVIDENT improvement.
P. 229. The transfer of "Faith, 'tis," from the end of the King's speech to the beginning of that of Westmoreland, which had been done by Pope, is another coincidence. But the interpolation of "the bold," on account of the metre, is of a piece with the other innovations. I pass over two or three other meddlings of the same kind, not to tire the patience of the reader. There is one remarkable correspondence with the quartos, which has been set right in all modern editions, and did not call for notice, except as a coincidence.
P. 230. "All impressions, quarto and folio, ancient and modern, have, one after the other, repeated a flagrant error of the press in the earliest edition of this play in 1598: the mistake has given vast annoyance to each succeeding editor, and the emendation is one of those that must strike the moment it is pointed out. Nobody has been able to explain satisfactorily the use of the word 'fears' in the subsequent lines, where the King indignantly asks,—
Shall our coffers, then,
"It seems strange," says Mr. C. " that, in the course of two hundred and fifty years, nobody should ever have even guessed at foes for 'fears:' if it were merely a guess by the old corrector, it is a happy one; and some may be disposed to entertain the opinion that he had an opportunity of resorting to a better original than any of the printed copies.”
The corrector is, indeed, a wonderfully frequent guesser at what others have guessed; but perhaps Sir Thomas Hanmer had also access to his "better original?" For, although Mr. Collier would appear to be ignorant of it, Hanmer gave this reading at least a century ago! It is certain, however, that it found no favour with the succeeding vastly annoyed editors, any more than it did with Mr. Collier in 1842, when to “indent with fears" appears to have been perfectly intelligible, at least to him! The discovery of his corrected folio seems to have "collied his better judgment." It is one of the canons laid down, that when good sense can be obtained from the
old reading it must not be disturbed. The King evidently means," Shall we purchase back a traitor, buy treason, and enter into a compact with fears?" (i. e. with objects of fear), when they have lost and forfeited themselves. Still, if any one is inclined to think foes the true reading, let Hanmer have part at least of the triumphant honour which Mr. Collier claims for his corrector, on account of this marvellous discovery!
P. 231. No! yet time serves, wherein you may redeem
Your banish'd honours, and restore yourselves
"For banish'd honours,' we are very reasonably instructed to put tarnish'd honours,"" says Mr. Collier.
To" redeem tarnish'd honours," would, at all events, be a very singular mode of expression! Why interfere with the old text, which is perfectly intelligible?
Ib. Why dwell upon the reading "Lord Mortimer," which has been that of all editions for upwards of a century? Is it to swell the list of the wonderful deeds of this extraordinary corrector, and his coincidences?
ACT II. SCENE I.
Ib. "Much speculation has been the result of the subsequent speech by Gadshill, where he is talking of the high rank of the parties with whom, as a highwayman, he was in league :—
I am joined with no foot land-rakers, no long-staff, sixpenny strikers : none of these mad, mustachio purple-hued maltworms; but with nobility and tranquillity: burgomasters, and great oneyers, such as can hold in; such as will strike sooner than speak, &c.
"No question seems to have arisen regarding the word 'tranquillity'-'nobility and tranquillity'—although it has no meaning in this place; but ingenuity has been exhausted upon
great oneyers,' which we have been desired to read moneyers, one-eers, mynheers, &c. when it is merely, as we learn from the corrector of the folio, 1632, a misprint, the word 'tranquillity,' which precedes it, being in the same predicament.