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and to show how groundless are the inuendoes of " better authority than we possess.”
P. 152, 153. There are here again two or three attempts at emendation, one by supplying a word not wanted, and another the substitution of still for so erroneously repeated, which had been suggested by Ritson long since.
ACT V. SCENE I. II. P. 153. The change of haled to handled is a work of supererogation, and the substitution of gone for come, is much like Rowe's emendation of done.
P. 154. “ Lucentio's wife, Bianca, not obeying his directions to come to him, he tells her that her refusal,
Hath cost me five hundred crowns since supper time. Pope corrected it properly to one hundred, and the corrector adopts this reading, and omits the word Hath at the commencement of the line."
I read long since,
The wisdom of your duty, fair Bianca,
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL.
ACT I. SCENE I.
THE first of the corrector's operations in this play is to
strike out the auxiliary verb in the following sentence. The Countess is speaking of Gerard de Narbonne :-"Whose skill was almost as great as his honesty; had it stretched so far, would have made nature immortal.” The corrector reads “ Whose skill, almost as great as his honesty.” But the error in the old text is more likely to have been one of omission, than redundant insertion of the verb was, and the passage may be rendered much more intelligibly regular, by the mere addition of the letter t. Thus :-"Whose skill was almost as great as his honesty ; had it stretched so far, 't would have made nature immortal.” In the first folio the 't has most probably fallen out at press.
P.155.“In the dissertation on virginity by Parolles,ʻten' is altered to two, which has not been the usual mode of printing the sentence, “Within two years it will make itself two, which is a goodly increase.' This was Steevens's mode of curing the misprint, and, on the whole, it seems preferable to Sir Thomas Hanmer's change of two' in the second instance to ten, • Within ten years it will make itself ten.' Parolles would hardly look forward to so distant a period.” A much more likely amendment of the passage would be to
“ Within ten months it will make itself two,” which more fully obviates Mr. Collier's objection, and is more in accordance with what follows," and the prineipal not much the worse.”
The two minor additions of “ Will you do anything with it," and “ Not with my virginity yet,” are not necessary; Helen means to say, “ my virginity is not yet old and withered."
P. 156. The corrector would change, without the slightest necessity,
The mightiest space in fortune nature brings
The mightiest space in nature fortune brings. The disparity is not in the nature but in the fortunes of Bertram and Helen, and it is to this that the whole tenor of her soliloquy shows she alludes. Such unwarranted and unnecessary perversions of the text are too frequent with this busy meddler, and ought to be strictly guarded against.
Ib. Here is another unnecessary interpolation of the words good sooth it was” in the clown's song, which mars it
more than improves it. Mr. Collier would probably say as he does on other similar occasions, “Words would hardly have been inserted in this way without some adequate warrant in the possession of the corrector”!
Pp. 156-7. But the meddler shows that he had no warrant for marring the text, by an interference with the clown's speech, which required no such addition. He thus garbles it :
“One good woman in ten, madam, which is a purifying o' the song and mending o’ the sex. Would God would serve the world so all the year! we'd find no fault with the tithe woman, if I were the parson. One in ten, quotha! An we might have a good woman born—but oneevery blazing star, or at an earthquake, 'twould mend the lottery well.”
The first interpolation is impertinent and not at all requisite ; the reading one for or in the old copy is much less to the purpose, and less probable than on every blazing star, which is the reading given by me nearly thirty years since. Mr. Collier, in his edition of Shakespeare, adopted the much less likely reading “ere every blazing star”!
P. 157. The alteration in the soliloquy of the Countess is specious, but intrusive and uncalled for. The corrector would read :
By our remembrances of days foregone
The ordinary reading adheres more closely to the old copy :
Such were our faults ;-oh then we thought them none. The substitution of oh for or of the old text was the judicious suggestion of Warburton.
P. 158. The change of manifest to manifold in Helena's speech, describing her father's prescription, is also certainly specious but still not necessary, as the experience of Helen's father was as manifest as it was manifold.
ACT II. SCENE I. P. 158. Whether we read araise or upraise in Lafeu's speech is of little consequence, but why depart from the old authentic text? The word To substituted for And, at commencement of the last line, is mere guess work, and does not well supply the deficiency, which Malone more effectively proposed to do by reading,
To give great Charlemain a pen in's hand,
Pp. 158-9. The reading fits, in the last line of Helena's speech, is certainly a more suitable correction of the old corrupt reading shifts than Pope's reading sits. Mr. Collier had already adopted it from a correction in Lord Ellesmere's first folio. This is another of the numerous surprising coincidences.
P. 160. To change " and writ as little beard” to “ and with as little beard,” is wantonly to alter an idiomatic expression common in the poet's age.
“ Since I first writ man” is an expression often occurring. Ib.
My honour's at the stake, which to defeat
I must produce my power. Theobald, like the corrector, would have substituted “ which to defend,” but the poet's expression has been well defended by Dr. Farmer and Mr. Tyrwhitt. Shakespeare, as Mr. Collier has himself elsewhere observed, here "uses the word defeat in its etymological sense, defaire, Fr. to free or disembarrass." Why, therefore, now treat it as an error of the press, without the least occasion ?
Ib. “You are more saucy with lords and honourable personages, than the commission of your birth and virtue gives you heraldry.”
“ Malone altered the places of commission' and 'heraldry without any improvement, and without being aware that commission' was merely a blunder for condition: than the condition of your birth and virtue gives you heraldry,' is the true reading supplied by the corrector."
It is strange that Mr. Collier had not perceived this when he wrote his note on the passage which, after objecting to Malone's sensible correction, adds, “ The sense is evident without any alteration"!
P. 160. Rowe's emendation of detected for detested wife was so obvious, that it is not surprising to find it here ; but it is one more of the surprising coincidences.
SCENE IV. P. 161. Here is a gratuitous addition of a speech for Parolles, the loss of which was most sympathetically anticipated by Mr. Collier, in a note on the passage; which, however, he closes by saying, “ but it was not wanted for the congruity of the dialogue.
I fully subscribe to Mr. Collier's dictum, and think the in terpolation impertinent. Mr. Collier adds,
“ The omission was not of much value in itself; but we are of course glad to preserve any lost words (if such they be) of our great dramatist."
Ay, truly, IF SUCH THEY BE?
SCENE V. Ib. “End ere I do begin.” We have here another surprising coincidence with one of Mr. Collier's emendations !
ACT III. SCENE II. Ib. “ All the griefs are thine,” which the corrector would change to “ all the griefs as thine,” is an elliptical expression for all the griefs that are thine, and needs no alteration; but, according to Mr. Collier, the corrector “ tells us, and we readily believe him, that it is a small but important error”! P. 162.
Indeed, good lady,
Which holds him much to have.
Which 'hoves him much to leave.
Surely such an ellipsis as 'hoves for behoves never existed but