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by no means necessary, but the correctors always think they can improve the language of the poet's text. We
We may safely continue the established reading,
Say not so, Agrippa,
P. 470. The substitution of smell for “swell ” in the following passage is specious but not necessary, yet as a probable misprint easily made, we might be inclined to adopt it,
The silken tackle
SCENE III. Ib. It was very injudicious to prefer Upton's alteration of the undoubted reading of all the old copies :
But near him thy angel Becomes a fear. to “ Becomes a fear'd,” thus spoiling the personification which adds to the poetic effect. Mr. Collier seems to be conscious that “the poet may have intended here to vary the expression" of his thought which occurs elsewhere.
P.471. To change“Possess it” to “Profess it” is certainly no improvement. Mr. Collier says, “What does he (Cæsar) mean by telling Antony to 'possess it.'” (i. e. time.) Cæsar may mean to answer Antony's “ Be a child of the time” by saying “ Possess it” rather than waste it, like a child o' the time in drunkenness. What he adds implies this, " but I had rather fast four days than drink so much in one." He could hardly be meant to say that he would profess to be a child o' the time.
ACT III. Scene IV.. P. 472. “ The usual reading of the following has been,
When the best hint was given him, he not took't,
“ The folio, 1623, has ‘he not look’d,' and the folio, 1632, ‘he had look'd. There appears no sufficient ground for doing more than amend the frequent error of not for but ; it avoids an awkwardness when Antony complains of Cæsar that,
When the best hint was given him, he but look’d,
Or did it from his teeth. “Such is the emendation in the folio, 1632, the meaning being, that Cæsar only looked when the best hint was given him, or merely applauded Antony from his teeth, and not from bis heart. The opinion of Steevens that from his teeth’ is to be understood in spite of his teeth,' of course, cannot be sustained for an instant."
Mr. Collier may be assured that the substitution of. but for “not” will never do. To look from the teeth would indeed be a strange mode of expression! That Thirlby's correction of the misprint “ look't” for took’t is right there can be little doubt. To take it from the teeth was to take it outwardly, to appearance only, not to heed it. Thus Dryden in his Wild Gallant: “I'am confident she is only angry from the teeth outward.” And Fuller in his Holie Warre (b. iv. c. 17) “This bad breath though it came but from the teeth of some, yet proceeded from the corrupt lungs of others.”
But you are come
“Left unlov'd' is the reading of all editions; but, nevertheless, it seems to be wrong, and in the folio, 1632, as corrected, we are told to print the last part of the quotation thus ;
Which, left unshown, Is often held unlov'd; “the meaning being, that where the ostentation of love was omitted, it was often held, or considered, that love did not exist. Lower down, the alteration of two letters in the margin, properly converts abstract into 'obstruct,' which Warburton first introduced.”.
The correctors have here missed what is probably the true correction; the word "felt,” by a common accident at press, may have been jumbled into “ left,” consisting of the same letters.
Which, left unshown,
often felt unlov'd. When love is not manifested by acts, the neglect is often felt as if we were unloved. The correction of “ abstract” to obstruct was properly adopted from Warburton.
P. 473. The alteration of "wrong led” to wronged would be a legitimate and probable emendation, were there not every appearance that by“wrong led” Cæsar means that Octavia had been misled in what she wrote which prevented him from “breaking forth.”
Ib.“ After the loss of the battle, Scarus attributes it to the presence and flight of Cleopatra. Enobarbus asks, 'How appears the fight ?' and Scarus replies,
On our side like the token'd pestilence,
Hoists sails, and flies. “Here the folio, 1632, omits take in 'o'ertake,' and has ‘Both of the same' for 'Both as the same, of the folio, 1623; but the two folios read, “Yond ribaldred nag of Egypt,' an expression that has occasioned much doubt and comment. Tyrwhitt suggested hag for 'nag,' but the prevailing text has been "nag' and 'ribald-rid,' for ribaldred. It is to be remarked, however (a circumstance mentioned in note 7, Collier's Shakespeare,
vol. viii. p. 74), that the line is overloaded by a syllable: this redundancy the old corrector remedies, but he also instructs us, in conformity with Tyrwhitt’s notion, that hag has been misprinted nag,' and that the line ought to run thus:
Where death is sure. Yond' ribald hag of Egypt, &c.
" Ribald hag is most appropriate to Cleopatra on account of her profligacy, as well as her witchcraft; and it is just possible that in the manuscript before the compositor the word was miswritten ribaldry, which in his hands became ribaldred, and has been the occasion of considerable difficulty. Besides, how was leprosy to afflict a nag ?”
Here is another singular piece of sympathy with a suggestion of Mr. Collier's in a note on the passage where he
says, « the line would read better with ribald only!” As long since as 1826 I had shown that Steevens had mischievously departed from the language of the poet in substituting ribaldrid nag' for the undoubted word ribaudred, which is the reading of the three first folios, and not ribaldred as Mr. Collier asserts. I then gave the passage as it ought certainly to stand:
Yon ribaudred hug of Egypt,
and I have since given a more detailed note on the reading in the 3rd vol. of Notes and Queries, p. 272. It is a matter of no small surprise that Mr. Collier should have adopted the reading of Steevens, “ribald-rid nag" in his edition of Shakespeare, against the evidence of the old copies. Ribaudred is found in the Dictionaries of the poet's time. And it should be recollected that hagge had also been misprinted ragge in the Merry Wives of Windsor. The correctors had evidently no ancient authority on this occasion.
SCENE XI. P. 474. The correctors here again speak from a hint given by Mr. Collier, in a note in his edition of Shakespeare, suggesting that mered might be a lapse by the printer for mooted ; in which he himself followed Johnson's suggestion.
Ib. I do not hesitate to say that the substitution of miseries for “measures" in the reply of Enobarbus to Antony, would be to corrupt the text; the meaning of which is self-evident. Mr. Collier, in a supplemental note, has wisely abandoned his correctors here.
P. 475. The interpolation of the words who is in the speech of Thyreus is an uncalled-for alteration of the text; of which we have had such abundant instances from the hands of these meddling correctors.
There can be no objection to the adoption of Mason's correction of disputation to “ deputation,” as that evident misprint ought long since to have been set right in all editions, although Mr.Collier thought a clear meaning could be obtained from the old depraved reading which he gives in his text.
ACT IV. SCENE IV. P. 476. All necessary regulation of the confusion of the speeches here had long since been made by Hanmer, and adopted in all editions. The reading bear instead of hear is
Scene VIII. Ib. The self-evident correction of “guests” to gests, I had adopted from a copy with copious anonymous manuscript notes of the edition of Johnson and Steevens given by Isaac Reed in 1785. It is referred to as a proposed reading then well known.
P. 477. The change of " for " to fore in what the soldier says of Enobarbus seems unnecessary. The soldier means to say that such a prayer as the last speech of Enobarbus was not an invocation to sleep.
Ib. It seems to me that the substitution of spell for “soule,” and great for “grave" in Antony's ejaculation,
O, this false soul of Egypt! this grave charm, would be a very doubtful improvement; yet although I find
grave ” altered to great in one of my own copies, it would be dangerous to interfere with the old reading without more certain and valid reasons for changing it.