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must have had property to lose, and to bear those losses he might consider, in his simplicity, sufficient evidence that he was a rich fellow. Leases certainly never entered into the mind of the sagacious constable. How they came into the mind of the sagacious corrector I know not.
There are some other capricious and unnecessary attempts to improve upon the old readings, but for the present I pass them by, but on p. 79 Mr. Collier has the following remark.
ACT V. Scene IV. P. 79. “ The old editions assign · Peace ! I will stop your mouth' to Leonato; but most modern editors following the example of Theobald, have transferred it to Benedick. So does the corrector.”
This was of course right; but Mr. Collier, in his edition of Shakespeare, says, “ It may be very well as a piece of stageeffect to make Benedick kiss Beatrice at this juncture, but there is no warrant for it in any old stage-direction;” and the speech is restored to Leonato!
LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST.
ACT I. SCENE I.
P. 81. A man in all the world new fashion planted. “ Planted,” says Mr. C., “yields but a poor sense, and the corrector reads,
A man in all the world-new fashions flaunted; that is, a man flaunted, or decked out, in all the world-new fashions. Shakespeare elsewhere uses the substantive 'flaunts, but not the verb."
Even could Mr. Collier succeed in finding this word, with the meaning he attaches to it, which I am persuaded he never will, it would be inapplicable. Armado's jargon is alluded to, as what follows evidently shows. He was “a man of fire-new words, that hath a mint of phrases in his brain.” We may be assured, therefore, that planted was the poet's word, and that the corrector here improves upon him in vain.
A high hope for a low hearing • Theobald,” says Mr. C. “congratulated himself on the change of heaven' to having in this passage. "A high hope for a low heaven: God grant us patience.' He was most likely wrong."
The corrector's substitution of hearing for heaven is wrong.
Theobald's correction having is much more to the purpose, In 1842 Mr. C. had told us“ he was probably right”! Mr. Collier's attempt to support the corrector is unfortunate, for in the passage he quotes, " to hear or forbear hearing,” that word is a misprint for laughing, as the answer of Longaville plainly shows.
SCENE II. P. 83. The correction of Armado's speech,“ Most pretty and pathetical” to poetical, would spoil the humour of it, by destroying his affected jargon.
ACT III. SCENE I. P. 85. The same may be said of changing Moth's reply “ By my penny of observation ” to “my pain of observation.” Which even Mr. Collier himself cannot defend.
P. 87. We may be assured that to change Biron's depreciating description of his mistress from “ a whitely wanton with a velvet brow “ a witty wanton,” must be wrong, for Biron's whole tirade is disparaging, and followed as it is
“ with a velvet brow,” it can never have been his expression.
ACT IV. SCENE I. Ib. “ The Princess good-humouredly rebukes the Forester for flattering her, and exclaims,
O, heresy in fair, fit for these days !
A giving hand, though foul, shall have fair praise. The corrector has it,
O, heresy in faith, fit for these days !” Thus destroying the antithesis and play upon the word which pervades the whole scene! It is scarcely necessary to mention that by fair beauty is meant.
Pp. 87-8. We are favoured with a line of the corrector's composition in Costard's rhyming Soliloquy, which, of course, Mr. Collier accepts as genuine and necessary. So do not I. There is also some busy medáling with Sir Nathaniel's doggrel, but still more needless. No true admirer of Shakespeare will be satisfied with such barefaced patch-work.
SCENE III. P. 89. “ Two transpositions, one of them of some moment, are pointed out by the corrector : the first occurs in the line where ' night of dew,' (strangely justified by Steevens,) is altered to 'dew of night.' The second is only thou dost for 'dost thou,' in the 15th line of the King's sonnet.”
And these two transpositions are as strangely and perversely printed by Mr. Collier in his edition of Shakespeare !
P. 90. “When Jaquenetta and the Clown enter with Biron's letter, the King, according to all the copies of the play, asks them,
What present bast thou there? when he had no reason whatever to think that they had brought any present.' The mistake has been the printing of 'present' for peasant. Costard was a clown or peasant. The corrector points out the blunder,
What, peasant, hast thou there?” I know not what Mr. Collier's notion of the clowns in Shakespeare's dramas may be, but Costard was the Court-fool, the “ minnow of the King's mirth.” The King would certainly not so address him ; but, seeing the letter in his hand, may be supposed to ask him,
What presentment hast thou there? Taking it for a memorial or petition of some kind. The syllable ment was most probably omitted by accident at press.
ACT V. SCENE II. P. 93. “ The commentators have been puzzled by the following line in the folios :
So pertaunt like would I o'ersway his state.
It turns out that the disputed word (obviously not understood by any old editor or printer) is purely an error of the
So potently would I o'ersway his state, " and it seems scarcely possible to doubt that it was the word of the poet, and for this reason it is placed in the margin of the corrected folio, 1632.”
As I have never seen the corrector's book, I am obliged in self-defence to think it possible that he had seen mine; for in the edition of Shakespeare I gave in 1826 the line stands :
So potent-like would I o'ersway his state. And having no faith in coincidences, when they are so marvellously repeated hundreds of times, I feel constrained to draw this conclusion. Be it observed, however, that potentlike is a nearer approach to the old reading than potently, and I cannot but wish the corrector had kept closer to my reading.
P. 94. “Boyet brings word of the intended attack upon the Princess and her Ladies by the King and his Lords :
Arm, wenches, arm! encounters mounted are. But it is not encounters' but encounterers that ' mounted,' and so the old corrector notes.” My own corrected folio has also this amendment, if it be
I however doubt it, and think encounters more likely to be right.
“ Six lines lower, the Princess, in all ordinary editions, is made to ask :
What are they That charge their breath against us? “To charge their breath' is nonsense, says Mr. Collier, and the corrector alters it most naturally to,
What are they That charge the breach against us? The Princess carrying on the joke of supposing that she and her Lady are in a state of siege.
Should any one wish to be convinced of the utter impossibility of the corrector having had access to “ better authority
than we possess ;” nay, of his utter incapacity to comprehend
Prepare, madam, prepare !-
Prin. Saint Dennis to Saint Cupid ! What are they
That charge their breath against us? To " charge their breath,” says Mr. Collier, “is nonsense " ! Yes. It is such acute nonsense that Barrow tells us is species of wit." To charge the breach would indeed in this place be sheer nonsense, and anywhere, I believe, breaches are not charged but stormed.
O that the Poet could witness this attempt to travesty his language, and visit it upon the offenders! This is indeed a specimen of that infeliciter audentia which must move the indignation of all who admire Shakespeare, and are competent to understand him.
P. 94. Mr. Collier continues, “We do not feel so confident respecting the next emendation :
That in this spleen ridiculous appears,
To check their folly, passion's solemn tears. Solemn tears' may possibly be right; but we do not think it is, because the corrector erases the word, and substitutes another in the margin, which certainly better answers the purpose:
To check their folly, passion's sudden tears.” Although this alteration may not, perhaps, be necessary; yet, had I been Mr. Collier, I should have been much more confident about it than its predecessors. Another word, “ spleen,' in this passage, which has escaped the corrector, seems to me a probable misprint. I think we should read,
That in this scene ridiculous appears,