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"HE first “ important correction " inserts the word so, and
puts gifts in the plural, in a speech of Camillo's. The so is not wanted, and gifts is the reading of the first folio, and of all modern editions.
That may blow
“ This is put forth too truly.” “The allusion,” says Mr. Collier, “ seems unquestionably to be to the putting forth of buds or blooms in spring, when they may be cut off by sneaping' or nipping winds; and the alteration of truly’to early, as we find it in the corrected folio, 1632, seems to remove great part of the difficulty ; there also an emendation at the commencement, which renders the whole intelligible; we there read as follows:
May there blow
* This is put forth too early.' “At all events, the above is not'nonsense,' which Warburton calls the original, as first printed in the folio, 1623.”
In the first place, to alter “ That” to May there, is a most unwarrantable license and departure from the poet's language. That, as Farmer has shown, is used as an apostrophe for Oh! that: “ This is put forth too truly,” refers to what he has just said, “I am questioned by my fears.” The obvious sense of the passage, which wants no alteration, is “ My fears made me doubtful of what may happen in my absence : Oh that nothing sinister may occur to make me say—'I had too good reason for
P. 184. The correction of “What lady she her lord,” to “ What lady should her lord,” is indisputable, and had been judiciously adopted by Mr. Collier in his edition. This, therefore, is another coincidence,
You may ride's
But to the goal :-
The corrector would read,
With spur we clear an acre. But to the good : &c. It is evident that the poet here had a race in his mind, and he uses heat, for to run a heat over an acre as in a race. The word goal, which the corrector would so wantonly change to good, is in keeping with the rest of the speech; but to the goal, signifies but to the end or purpose of my question. The corrector's interference rather mars than improves the passage.
But were they false
The corrector would read— As our dead blacks.
It would require much stronger authority than we at present possess, to induce us to adopt this reading, which could hardly be a misprint or a mishearing. One would think it had been suggested by Steevens, who has adduced a passage from “ The Old Law” of Massinger, which might be cited in its favour. But “o'er-dyed blacks” may be used figuratively, for mourning put on as an outward show of grief, when there was none in the heart. Thus Hamlet, “ 'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother, nor customary suits of solemn black. -But I have that within, which passeth show.”
P. 186. Good expedition be my friend, and comfort
The gracious queen, part of his theme, but nothing
Of his ill-ta’en suspicion.
Good expedition be my friend: heaven comfort
Of his ill-ta’en suspicion.
than to read God instead of and, in the first line. The suggestions of the corrector depart too widely from the old text. The passage, as it stands there, will bear the following interpretation : “ Good expedition be my friend, and may my absence bring comfort to the gracious queen, who is part of his theme, but who knows nothing, is entirely guiltless of that which he unjustly suspects.”
ACT II. SCENE I.
If it prove
She's otherwise, I'll keep my stables where
I lodge my wife. The corrector would read, “ I'll keep me stable.” Surely the words, “ I'll go in couples with her,” would show that stables, where the dog-kennel would also be, is the true word. This, however, is another extraordinary coincidence with the suggestion made by Mr. Collier, in a note to his edition of Shakespeare; and when we see that the improbable word lamback, also suggested by Mr. Collier, is likewise confirmed by the corrector, our surprise at such a marvellous jumping of wits is increased tenfold !
SCENE II. Ib. “ When Paulina, in the subsequent exclamation, speaks of the dangerous unsafe lunes i' the king,it is mere tautology, for what is 'dangerous' is evidently unsafe.' By: lunes,' Shakespeare means fits of distraction, and when the old corrector directs us to read, instead of unsafe,' unsane,
These dangerous unsane lunes i' the King, beshrew them, we must at once admit the value of the emendation.”
I think we should be unsane if we did ! lunes are fits of insanity. So we are to read “ unsane insanity,” to avoid what Mr. Collier thinks is 'mere tautology.'!!
Since he came,
“ Few passages in this play," says Mr. Collier,“ have occasioned more notes than this, in Hermione's address. She is alluding to the visit of Polixenes, out of which, by some' uncurrent encounter,' or unjustifiable meeting, the present accusation had grown. The difficulty has chiefly arisen out of the word strain'd, for which the corrector writes stray'd; and it seems to clear away much of the difficulty. Hermione was charged with having strayed from her duty by an uncurrent encounter with Polixenes, and she inquires where and how it had happened, in order to justify her appearance before the court. Perhaps the meaning would be still clearer, had the whole been put interrogatively, 'Have I stray'd,'” &c.
This is a most unwarrantable attempt to improve upon the poet. But the corrector, as well as Mr. Collier, manifest how little they comprehend his language. Let us cite him as a witness against them :– He uses to strain for “ to behave wantonly, lightly, or unbecomingly.” Thus, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Mrs. Page says of Falstaff, “ Unless he knew some strain in me, he would never have boarded me in this manner.” And, in Love's Labour's Lost, Biron says, “ Love is full of unbefitting strains; all wanton as a child.” Where Mr. Collier's corrector has again shown his ignorance of the true language of the poet, by substituting strayings for strains, to the entire destruction of the sense of the passage! And yet we are to believe that he had access to “better authority than we possess”!
What's gone, and what's past help,
Of what you should forget. Here, says Mr. Collier, “ Paulina begins to repent the cruel recapitulation she has previously made of the consequences of the King's conduct to his dead wife, son, &c. Now, what can here be the meaning of the words, ' at my petition?' It is merely an error of the press, or of the copyist.The corrector of the folio, 1632, striking out 'my,' and inserting re before petition,' makes the sentence stand thus:
Do not receive affliction
“ in other words, 'Do not allow my repetition of the fatal results of your jealousy to afflict you.' Nothing can surely be plainer, or more pertinent.”
The corrector, seeing something wrong, has here again exercised his usual license by omission and alteration; but although the word “ petition” is very possibly wrong, there is no necessity to omit “my.
my.” Petition has most probably been misprinted for relation. It is not repetition that Paulina makes, but a RELATION of circumstances from which Leontes has received affliction. We should perhaps read :
Do not receive affliction
So fill’d, and so becoming. The corrector would read, “ So fill’d, and so o'er-running." A very improbable misprint. Becoming is decent, dignified; the old reading beautifully describes an expression of extreme sorrow, without violent or undignified manifestations. We must not alter the language of the poet to suit our own fancies, without better ground for the change. The same may be said of the substitution of wend for weep, about which Mr. Collier himself seems to have doubts.
ACT IV. SCENE I. To substitute musingly for" missingly,” would be, as Mr. Collier himself confesses, " a somewhat questionable change." What necessity, therefore, for impertinent interference with the old text?
SCENE II. Pp, 190, 191. There is not the slightest necessity for changing “pugging tooth” to “
prigging tooth.” The word pugging is used by Greene in one of his pieces, and a puggard was a cant name for some particular kind of thief. Steevens has adduced a passage from The Roaring Girl, 1611, in which it occurs. Why, therefore, propose an unnecessary change?
P. 191. “ According to the corrector, there has been a singular misconception in the last sentence given to Autolicus