Imagini ale paginilor

priateness, while the word recommended in manuscript to supply the place of it, is especially adapted to the character of Richard, and we may readily believe it to have been that of the poet :

The reckless, bloody, and usurping boar. Reckless was of old frequently spelt wreckless, and hence, perhaps, the misprint.”

Mr. Collier can have read and studied the poet for nearly half a century” but to little purpose, if he really thinks reckless more

appropriate” to Richard here than wretched. Shakespeare uniformly uses the word reckless in the sense of careless. It was formerly written“ Rechelesse, carlesse, indiligens,” as in Huloet, and is from the A. s. recan. That wretched is the word of the poet, and therefore the most

appropriate ” and undoubted, will appear from the use of it by Roderigo in Othello, when he receives his death-wound, and exclaims, “ Oh, wretched villain !” The corrector's meddling is therefore superfluous and mischievous.

SCENE III. Ib. As life is the reading of all editions except the second folio, I cannot see the virtue of the act of making that conform to them, or the necessity of noting it.

P.312. The rectification of passages from the quartos, or rather from those who have availed themselves of them, calls for no remark, but that it would be a most extraordinary circumstance if any old annotator, as Mr. Collier would have us believe, could have had access to all that have fallen into the hands of successive editors! It is quite as staggering as the numerous coincidences with the readings and suggestions of others : who can believe in such divination ?

P. 313. The interpolation here of pointless, in the line,

Let fall thy lance. Despair and diem is gratuitous interference. Why pointless lance? And Mr. Collier knows that lines of eight syllables are frequent in the poet, to vary the measure.

The insertion of him in the line just subsequent,

Will conquer him. Awake, and win the daywas most probably, as in other cases, derived from some later edition, in which the reading of the quartos had been adopted.

The “important” change in the line,

And fall thy edgeless sword. Despair and die

which the ghost of Anne addresses to Richard, and which is altered to

[blocks in formation]

is another instance that this meddler thought it allowable to substitute his own language for that of the poet, where he fancied he could improve upon him! As for the notion that the words“ may have been obtained from some better authority on or off the stage,” had the authority been valid, he would not have blundered so sadly, and made such absurd alterations in the true language of Shakespeare, as we have clearly shown he has done on many occasions.

P. 314. Mr. Collier points out some more trifling of the corrector; in one instance the interpolation of the word foul where it is not wanted, and only spoils the verse, and one of these a transposition of the words “ I have dream'd a fearful dream,” he thinks looks like one of the “ emendations” made from recitation. Recitation would be a very doubtful source for emendation of the text of Shakespeare, even in more cultivated times than that in which he assumes these corrections to have been made.

Ib. Another impertinent interpolation, of the word ranks, occurs in the line,

My forward shall be drawn out all in length, which Mr. Collier is constrained to acknowledge “corresponds more with the words of Holinshed," and the corrector's interference is therefore futile and absurd.


P. 315.“ In the King's address to his army, Steevens proposed to read ventures for adventures,' and Warburton distrain for restrain : both these changes are warranted by manuscript emendations in the folio, 1632.”

Another extraordinary instance of coincidence; and, in my mind, no doubt derived, with many others, from some variorum edition.

Ib. The adoption of the punctuation, indicated by Johnson, is a case of the same kind.

Ib. I see no objection to the correction of “ abate" to rebate. It was a possible typographical error of a common word for one not quite so familiar; and I will assist Mr. Collier in his argument, with a quotation from a book with which I have reason to think Shakespeare was familiar. “To rebate or make dull, Aciem ferri hebetare.” Baret's Aloearie, 1580.

I will here mention a passage occurring at the close of the 3d Scene of Act III. in this play, in which hitherto, from perverse adherence to a typographical error in the first folio, Mr. Collier, as well as Mr. Knight, have continued an absurd reading, which Steevens long since proposed to set right. It is where Ratcliffe, with a guard, is conducting Rivers, Grey, and Vaughan to execution, and Ratcliffe exclaims,

Make haste; the hour of death is expiate. For expiate Steevens properly substituted expirate.

Mr. Collier's note upon the passage says :-“ For this line we have in the quartos a line previously omitted,

Come, come, despatch; the limit of your lives is out. « The editor of the folio, 1632, altered expiate' into is now expird, not understanding expiate in the peculiar sense in which it seems used here, viz. that of completed, or ended I."

Mr. Knight says, “ However forced the meaning of expiate may be, Shakespeare has used it in his 22d sonnet in a similar manner:

My glass, shall not persuade me I am old,

So long as youth and thou are of one date;
But when in thee time's furrows I behold,
Then look I death my days should expiate,"

Malone, with singular stolidity, and perhaps with a determination to oppose Steevens, asserts that expiate means fully completed and ended! And in a note on the sonnet he explains it, fill up the measure ! citing a line from Locrine, 1595,

Lives Sabren then to expiate my wrath. Where the word, as Mason observes, is nothing to the purpose, but means to atone for, or satisfy.

How expiate can be made to signify completed, or ended, or fill up the measure, I cannot understand. Shakespeare always uses expressive words, and did not write nonsense. He again uses to expire as a verb active, in Romeo and Juliet, in a similar manner :

and expire the term Of a despised life.

And Spenser, in Mother Hubberd's Tale, v. 308,

Now when as Time flying with winges swift
Expired had the term that these two Jewels
Should, &c.

Steevens has remarked that Shakespeare delights to introduce words with this termination. We have festinate and conspirate in King Lear; combinate in Measure for Measure, and ruminate in King Henry VI. We may safely, therefore, in future read,

Make haste, the hour of death is expirate.

And in the sonnet,

Then look I death my days should expirate.


[ocr errors]

P. 317.

"ACT I. SCENE I. HEOBALD very properly altered the distribution of the

dialogue, and the words, and the corrector follows him, but the words,

The office did Distinctly his full functionwhich the corrector gives to Buckingham, should evidently be the conclusion of Norfolk's speech.

Ib. The substitution of consummation for "communication" was not at all necessary. Johnson's view of the


is quite satisfactory :-"What effect had this pompous show, but the production of a wretched conclusion?” Why interfere with a perfectly intelligible text?

P. 318. To substitute “a beggar's broodfor “ a beggar's book,is mere wanton interference. The reading of the old copy is by far the most likely, as ascribing Wolsey's arrival at eminent station chiefly by his book learning. There was a natural jealousy, on the part of the nobility, at seeing themselves surmounted by a man of low extraction, on account of acquirements they despised ; brood can never have been the poet's word. The immediate suggestion is apparent in the stage business. Wolsey enters with two secretaries, with papers, and it is as he looks over these—the examination of Buckingham's purveyor,-handed to him by à secretary, that he exchanges disdainful glances with the duke.

SCENE II. Ib. “According to the corrector of the folio, 1632, there are several misprints in this scene which need correction. The first is in the Queen's speech, where she is remonstrating against the exacting commissions sent out by the Cardinal, which had led to the use against the King of language unmannerly,'

« ÎnapoiContinuați »