« ÎnapoiContinuați »
line is metrical as it is, for wonderous is pronounced as a trisyllable, and we are not always to look for an antithesis. The speech is printed as prose in the folio.
P. 109. 'Now is the mural down between the neighbours. This is Theobald's rational correction for the misprint moral in the old copies. The corrector substitutes wall, a very unlikely word to have been misprinted moral. The observation of Mr. Collier, that“ of mural, as a substantive, no instance has been adduced,” is of no weight, for the same objection might be made to several other words peculiar to Shakespeare. We have mure for wall in the Second Part of King Henry IV. Act iv. Sc. 4. That it was in use, however, can hardly be doubted, for Evelyn, in his Kalendarium Hortense, speaks of “mural fruit-trees.” There may have been an equivoque intended. The Poet delights in such equivocal inuendoes.
Now is the moral down between the neighbours.
I find, however, that Theobald proposed to read :
Now is the mure all down between the neighbours.
Ib. Mr. Barron Field's reading of a lion's fell, for“ a lion fell,” is a good and legitimate correction, which did not want the authority of the corrector to give it currency. But this is one of the “coincidences.'
P. 111. The punctuation in the song had long been corrected, and the reading, “ Ever shall it safely rest," was anticipated by Pope, who reads,
E'er shall it in safety rest,
which fully answers the purpose.
We have a similar exhortation to the fairies in The Merry Wives of Windsor :
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.
ACT I. SCENE II.
that “ he makes it a great appropriation to his own good parts that he can shoe him himself.” “ Appropriation to” is altered by the corrector to“ approbation of.”
This will hardly obtain the approbation of those who would preserve the Poet's language. Appropriation to is equivalent to addition to his other accomplishments. I must again repeat that nothing can be concluded from this being the only instance of Shakespeare's use of the word.
ACT II. SCENE II. P. 115. To make Launcelot Gobbo speak consistently, by changing “couragious fiend” into “ contagious fiend,” as the correctors would do, would be to spoil the humour of it. We might as well change, in a future speech, the order of the words in, "you may tell every finger with my ribs.” The corrector has no conception of this kind of humour.
What many men desire: that many may be meant
“ The corrector informs us that the words of the poet in the fourth line were,
Which prize not th' interior, but, like the martlet,
Builds in the weather." If the corrector does so inform us, he ought to have given us better reasons for his substitution than are afforded by his expositor. “Not learning more than the fond eye doth teach which pries not to the interior,” as applied to the fool multi
tude " that choose by show, and like the martlet builds in the weather,” is quite satisfactory without over-busy innovation on the old authentic text.
ACT III. SCENE II.
I speak too long ; but 'tis to peize the time,
“ To peize is to weigh, to poise; but the sense wanted is to delay, and that sense we have in the corrector's manuscript, who writes pause for peize.”
To pause the time is surely an expression unwarranted, and not more expressive than to peize it. The true reading probably is,“ but 'tis to piece the time, to eke it, and to draw it out at length,” and thus I find it corrected in my copy of the second folio.
P. 118. Thus ornament is but the guiled shore
To a most dangerous sea, the beauteous scarf
To entrap the wisest. The second folio has guilded shore; this is the way in which gilded is generally spelt in the folios. The corrector gives the passage thus :
“ Thus ornament is but the guiling shore
To a most dangerous sea, the beauteous scarf
With regard to the first substitution guiling for guiled, as the poet frequently interchanges the terminations ed and ing, it is quite unnecessary. The other variation, in the pointing, is no novelty, it occurs in an edition of Shakespeare published by Scott and Webster in 1833, and has been satisfactorily shown to be erroneous and untenable, by a correspondent in Notes and Queries, vol. v. p. 483. But Mr. Collier says, “ here everything is clear and consistent.” I think he will find few converts to his opinion. I have advocated the fol
lowing reading, but must confess that I should now be disposed to print the passage as it stands in the first folio, with the exception of retaining my correction of stale for pale, which is unquestionably right.
This ornament is but the gilded shore
And here choose I; joy be the consequence. Those who are desirous of seeing the arguments pro and con upon the disputed readings of this passage, I must refer to the 5th and 6th volume of Notes and Queries.
P. 118. “ Bassanio, descanting on the portrait of Portia, thus expresses
his admiration of the eyes :-
The corrector has it, ' And leave itself unfinish’d, which reads extremely well, if we suppose that the word applies to the portrait, and not to the eye alone. · Unfurnish’d,' if it refer to the fellow eye, reads awkwardly, and Shakespeare would scarcely have left the expression of what he intended so im
It is a trite saying that “ second thoughts are best.” Mr. Collier, in a note on the passage in his edition of Shakespeare, says: “ Steevens doubted if Shakespeare's word were notó unfinish’d;' but' unfurnish'd' would seem to refer to the other eye in the counterfeit,' or portrait, the one the painter had completed not being furnished with a fellow.” I cannot think that Mr. Collier's second thoughts here are his best, and regret that in his zeal for his new acquaintance, the corrector, he should abandon his common sense view of the passage, and become the advocate of a vicious and uncalled for corruption of the text, which had long since been proposed and rejected.
ACT IV. Scene I. P. 119. “We here meet,” says Mr. C.," with an emendation which must, in all probability, have been derived from some good authority ; certainly better than any resorted to for all the printed editions, judging from the result. The commentators have been at fault respecting an epithet applied by Shylock to a bagpipe :
As there is no firm reason to be render'd
Why he, a woollen bagpipe.” Mr. C. proceeds to state, that Hawkins and Steevens proposed the plausible correction swollen. “ As to the meaning they were right, though wrong as to the word. Shakespeare's word unquestionably was 'bollen,' from the Anglo-Saxon, which means swollen. He avails himself of it in his Lucrece.
Here one, being throng’d, bears back, all boll'n and red. It was, therefore, a word with which he was well acquainted, and there can be no doubt that in future the passage ought to be so printed."
Now what do we gain by this brilliant discovery,“ derived from some good authority ?” That Shakespeare was well acquainted with the word bollen, and better acquainted with the word swollen, that they both signify the same thing; but that one is more obsolete than the other, and was used by the poet in his youthful poem, but that in his dramas he uniformly uses swollen, and therefore bollen is mightily preferable !
Parturiunt montes, nascitur ridiculus mus. Let us hear Mr. Collier's argument against either of these readings, “ WOOLLEN bagpipe. - This is the reading of every ancient copy; and as we know at this day the bag is usually covered with woollen, the epithet is perfectly appropriate, without adopting the alteration of Steevens to swollen" ! P. 120. Or even as well use question with the wolf, The ewe bleat for the lamb: when
behold. Such is the reading of the folio, 1632. The first folio omits