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the words “ when you behold.” The corrector transposes these words to the beginning of the line. But the reading of the 4to. by Roberts, and some copies of the 4to. by Heyes, adopted in the variorum edition of Shakespeare, is far preferable, and of undisputed authority:
You may as well use question with the wolf,
P. 121. “The change of a word in the subsequent passage, seems, if not required, probable :
If thou tak'st more
The usual reading has been in the substance, but the addition by the heroine,
Nay, if the scale do turn
But in the estimation of a hair, renders it likely that balance was the right text."
Why ?-Because the corrector thought he could improve Shakespeare's language! The corrector's substitution would require us to alter Or at the commencement of the next line to By. And his interference with a perfectly intelligible pas
is as impertinent as it is uncalled for.
ACT V. SCENE I.
P. 122. We have here another instance of the busy unwarrantable meddling of the corrector, who had substituted beasts for trees, in the line,
Therefore the poet
But he subsequently found that he was wrong, and replaced trees. Can we for a moment imagine that he had access to “ better authority than we possess ?”
P. 123. The corrector changes contain for retain in the line :
Or your own honour to contain the ring.
But contuin and retain are words used with the same meaning in the poet's time. Thus Bacon, in his Essays, 4to. 1627, p. 327 : “ To containe anger from mischiefe, though it take hold of a man, there be two things.”
Interference here, therefore, to alter the poet's language was entirely unnecessary.
There are two or three other corrections of a like character, which I pass over, not to tire the patience of the reader.
AS YOU LIKE IT.
ACT I. Scene I. 'HE first correction here noticed was suggested nearly a
century ago, by Sir W. Blackstone, and was long since adopted by me in my edition of Shakespeare in 1826. “As I remember Adam it was upon this fashion :-He bequeathed me by will but a poor thousand crowns.”
This is another of the numerous coincidences.
In the two next instances words were added or omitted without the slightest necessity, merely to satisfy the capricious conceit of the corrector, who thought he could amend the language of the poet.
P. 126. There is another capricious amendment of the poet's language, substituting spot for sport, for which there is not the slightest ground. The gracious mystification of Le Beau by Celia is obvious enough, without interference with the text. The substitution of shorter for taller, is a less probable amendment than Malone's smaller, which much more nearly resembles the old word.
P. 127. “ We are rejoiced to find Coleridge's delicate conjecture fortified, or rather entirely justified, by the folio, 1632, as amended in manuscript : Celia asks,
But is all this for
and Rosalind replies, as her answer has always been printed,
No, some of it is for my child's father,
which turns out to be an unnecessary piece of coarseness. The passage, as it stands with the change in. manuscript, is merely this;
No, some of it is for my father's child.” Can it be possible that Mr. Collier did not know that this judicious transposition was made by Rowe? or that Mr. Knight, among other editors, had the good sense to adopt it; while he himself adhered to the old form of the line! This is another of the corrector's coincidences.
Pp. 127, 128. Here are several other trifling changes of the text proposed, but not one of them can be deemed such improvements as to warrant interference with the old authentic text, which here stands in no need of any of these so-called corrections.
ACT II. SCENE I.
Here feel we not the penalty of Adam,
The sentence is improved by a very small restoration by the corrector, who reads,
6. The seasons' difference, or the icy fang, &c.”
This “ restoration” is far from being an “improvement;" as stands here for such as. The churlish chiding of the winter's wind was one of the differences of the seasons. But was substituted for not by Theobald. The inclemency of nature and the seasons' difference are manifestly exponents of the penalty of Adam—the former unclothed and happy denizen of Eden. These physical inconveniences the Duke admits that he is exposed to in his forest home,- but they are merely physical, and their very harshness favourably contrasts with the smooth flatterers and disingenuous counsellors,—the moral pests of a
court. The passage should be read and pointed thus:
Here feel we but the penalty of Adam,
P. 129. Of a diverted blood, and bloody brother. The corrector would have it,
“Of a diverted, proud, and bloody brother.” The old reading is much more intelligible than the proposed substitution. “Of a diverted blood," blood turned out of the course of nature. The affections of consanguinity alienated. That the antithesis is Shakespeare's there can be no doubt, when we remember that he often uses it. Thus, in Macbeth, “The near in blood, the nearer bloody;" and in K. Richard III.“ Nearer in bloody thoughts, and not in blood.”
The next instance of changing, service for favour, injures the sense, and it is quite uncalled for.
P. 130. Mr. Collier himself, in a supplemental note, sees that his corrector was egregiously mistaken in substituting spake for sate in the line in the speech of Silvius,
Or if thou hast not spuke, as I do now !!
for, in a future scene, Act iii. Sc. 4, Corin says, that Silvius was sitting by him on the turf. Could this be one of the restorations “ derived from authority unknown to us?”
I shall say nothing of the gratuitous addition of a line in the Clown's answer to Rosalind. We must have better authority for such licence than is yet before us, or indeed than we are likely to get; before it can be for a moment tolerated by any true lover of the poet.
Scene VII. P. 131. It is a matter of indifference whether we supply the words Not to, as supplied by Theobald, or take the But to of the corrector. Mr. Whiter explains the old text satisfactorily, and neither of these additions are absolutely necessary.
Ib. “Lower down, in the same page” (p. 41, Collier's edit.), occurs another line, which has caused dispute. The printed words in the folio, 1623, are these :
Till that the weary very means do ebb. This is indisputably corrupt; and Pope, and nearly all editors after him, altered it as follows:
Till that the very very means do ebb. This repetition is poor and unlike Shakespeare, and the corrector gives us, we may believe, the poet's words,
Till that the very means of wear do ebb.” Mr. Collier had, in his edition of Shakespeare, suggested a reading very similar to this. So that here is another singular instance of coincidence. Mr. Collier says, “The compositor may have misread wearie for 'wearing,' and transposed very; and if we consider Jacques to be railing against pride and excess of apparel, the meaning may be that the very wearing means, or means of wearing fine clothes do ebb.""
My authority whispers me that the poet certainly did not write either “the very means of wear” or “the very wearing means." But, as is obvious from what is printed in the folios, the old compositor's eye having caught the termination ie instead of er's from the succeeding word verie, he printed,
Till that the wearie verie meanes do ebb, instead of,
Till that the wearer's verie meanes do ebb, which the poet had written.
ACT III. SCENE III.