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ACT I. Scene II.
HE sky, it seems, would pour down stinking pitch,
The correctors would substitute heat for cheek. This is quite wrong and unwarrantable, (indeed Mr. Collier seems to have his misgivings) for we have "the welkin's face" and "heaven's face" elsewhere. I am persuaded we should read flaming instead of finking; "dashes the fire out" then follows naturally. In the old copies fl and ft have been elsewhere confounded.
Mr. C. says, "In order to make the sense grammatical, it has been necessary to consider 'flote' a substantive, from the Fr. flot a wave." The misprint of 'are' for all near the be ginning of the second line has led to this imaginary introduction of a foreign and affected word into our language, when it was never contemplated by Shakespeare. The reading, as given in manuscript in the corrected folio, 1632, is,
They all have met again,
'Float,' in fact, is a verb, used by every body, and not a substantive, used by no other English writer.”
The question is not whether " Flote" is used by any other English writer, but whether Shakspeare used it. There is good evidence to conclude that he did; it is printed with a
capital letter as a substantive in both the first and the second folio, and has never been doubted. It may not be from the French, as Mr. Collier asserts, but more probably from the Anglo-Saxon. The poet would not have written as the corrector makes him do, "They ALL have met again, and all upon the Mediterranean float." Interference with the old genuine text is therefore not to be tolerated for a moment.
ACT II. SCENE I.
And the fair soul herself
The corrector would read
And the fair soul herself
Again, unnecessary interference, which gives an awkward reading much less intelligible than the received one. The old copy has should, the old construction of she would, and properly given by Malone she'd. The passage should stand as it does in all recent editions, even in Mr. Collier's, who has a note defending it.
P. 10. Another wanton interference with the text would change "the dregs of the storm," for "the drench of the storm." The poet never uses drench in the sense here assumed, and dregs is the more expressive word. We may confidently read "till the dregs of the storm be past."
ACT III. SCENE I.
P. 11. The proposed reading in Ferdinand's soliloquy of "Most busy-blest when I do it," is the very worst and most improbable of all that have been suggested. I believe nothing' better has yet been proposed than my own reading, “Most busiest." See Notes and Queries, vol. ii. p. 260.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
P. 12. The substitution of "tilled brims" for "twilled brims" was long since suggested and rejected; the old read
ing being perfectly intelligible. To read "brown groves" instead of " broom groves" is equally inadmissible. Mr. Collier's objection that "broom-trees are seldom found in groves" will have no weight with those who recollect that it has given its name Broomgrove to several places in England. Evelyn tells us that the Spanish broom "in the western parts of France, and with us in Cornwall grows to an incredible height."
ACT V. SCENE I.
Whe'r thou beest he, or no,
Or some enchanted trifle to abuse me,
"The word trifle," says Mr. C. “ seems a most strange one to be employed in such a situation, and it reads like a misprint: the manuscript-corrector of the folio, 1632, informs us that it undoubtedly is so, and that the line in which it occurs ought
Or some enchanted DEVIL to abuse me.
Sebastian just afterwards declares of Prospero, that 'the devil speaks in him.""
Think of an enchanted devil! This is surely to indulge the pruritus emendandi without bounds, or consideration for the Poet. The enchanted trifle was what he makes Prospero in a future Scene call " some vanity of mine art." Not a devil certainly.
TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA.
ACT I. SCENE I.
THE HE throwing part of Speed's speech into rhyme by the arbitrary insertion of words might be an allowable license in a player in old times, for effect on the stage, but would be an unwarrantable license in an Editor at any time.
The same may be said of the liberties taken in "restoring rhyme to some of Lucetta's replies to her mistress. But the work is performed in so clumsy a manner as to vindicate the poet from such inane expressions as are interpolated for the
ACT II. SCENE VII.
And so by many winding nooks he strays
"The epithet wide," says Mr. C. "substituted by the corrector, seems more appropriate. This is, of course, one of the cases in which either reading may be right: if we prefer wide, it is mainly because the old corrector had some ground for adopting it."
This ground I think we must strike from beneath his feet. The substitution of wide for wild would destroy the consistency of the passage. The contrast of progress with willing sport to wild ocean, is the same that recurs in pastime and weary step, rest and turmoil, in the same passage. The corrector's wide would take the allusion all to sea.
P. 21. The same may be said of changing Julia's "longing journey," to "loving journey." Independent of the constant practice of the poet to interchange the terminations ing and ed, "Loving journey" is a most unmeaning epithet. By her longing or longed journey, Julia means her longed for journey, arising from her longing to see her lover again. She had just before said
Pity the dearth that I have pined in,
ACT III. SCENE I.
P. 22. To read Milano instead of Milan on account of the metre, would be rash indeed; unless instances could be adduced of its being so used in the poet's time. In the folios it usually occurs as Millaine.
ACT IV. SCENE III.
P. 23. "We have here," says Mr. C. " a very important emendation, supplying a whole line, evidently deficient, and yet never missed by any of the commentators.
Madam, I pity much your grievances,
And the most true affections that you bear ;
Which since I know they virtuously are plac'd,
I give consent to go along with you.
We shall hereafter see that other passages, more or less valuable, are supplied by the corrector of the folio, 1632, These were, probably, obtained from some better manuscript than that used by the old printer."
Most certainly not. To make Sir Eglamour pity the most true affections of Silvia is only to increase the defect of his sympathetic speech. This will never do as evidence that the corrector had any authority for his botching.
P. 25. "It is worth notice that Julia, descanting on Silvia's picture, says, in the first folio, that her eyes are grey as glass,' which may be right; but which the second folio alters to' her eyes are grey as grass,' which must be wrong. The manuscript-corrector of the folio, 1632, converts grey into green – ́ her eyes are green as grass;' and such we have good reason to suppose was the true reading."
Is the absurdity of departing from the unquestioned reading of the first folio, the good reason for supposing this the true one?
ACT V. SCENE IV.
P. 26. "We are informed, in an unprinted stage-direction, that shouts are heard, and then follow these lines:
These my rude mates, that make their wills their law,
which is certainly better than the common mode of printing the passage, which leaves the verb 'have' without any antecedent:
These are my mates, that make their wills their law,
It is highly improbable that Valentine would call the outlaws his rude mates for he soon afterwards speaks of them to the Duke as men civil and fit for great employments. Valentine's previous interrogation, “What halloing and what stir is this to-day?" would be awkwardly followed by the words, "These are," which appear to be a misprint for 'Tis sure. Valentine answers doubtingly his own question.
'Tis sure my mates, who make their wills their law,