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in the imagination of the corrector. It must be confessed that the passage as it stands in the old copies is obscure, and not easily explained. Perhaps we might read :
The fellow has a deal of that too much
Which fouls him much to have. Or
Which soils him much to have.
Both words are used by Shakespeare in the sense required here,
O you leaden messengers,
That sings with piercing, do not touch my lord ! &c. The corrector would read volant for“ violent," and wound for “ move." Malone corrected “still peering” to still-piecing, and the corrector adopts this reading. To substitute volant would be to depart from Shakespeare's idea : violent is much more expressive of the motion of gun shot, and we have elsewhere violent swiftness, and violent motion. To wound the air for to move it, would be a very questionable alteration; and these innovations, like many others of the corrector, are uncalled for.
ACT IV. SCENE II.
P. 163. If the quick fire of youth light not your mind,
You are no maiden, but a monument:
As you are now, for you are cold and stern. “Steevens,” says
says Mr. Collier," seems to have had a notion that 'stern' was not the right word, but he did not know what to put instead of it. Bertram complains that Diana is not 'a maiden, but a monument,' and the corrector explains how she was a monument,For you are cold and stone.'
It is well for Mr. Collier that Steevens has not to deal with his misrepresentation. Malone having said that Shakespeare “ had in his thoughts some of the stern monumental figures by the rude sculptors of his own time,” Steevens adds, “ I believe the epithet stern refers only to the severity often impressed by death on features which in their animated state were of a placid turn."
The corrector seems to have cherished the idea he has here, for he has treated us with an erroneous line of his invention in The Winter's Tale, Act v. Scene 3, where he makes Leonato say,
“ I am but dead stone, looking upon stone,”
and yet it is a living and breathing figure he was looking on, of which Leonato immediately afterward says, “ would you not deem it breath'd, and that those veins did verily beår blood.” So much for the “ authority” of this interpolator!
P. 164. “ The seven lines in Diana's speech which begin • What is not holy,' and end, “That I will work against him,' are erased in the corrected folio, perhaps as difficult to be understood, and Johnson and others have admitted themselves to be at a loss' for the meaning.”
But why, if the corrector had access to “ better authority than we possess," as Mr. Collier would lead us to suppose, did he not avail himself of it?
I trust it will not be deemed temerity if I attempt what the corrector shunned. The passage stands thus in the folios :
What is not holy, that we swear not by,
I must cite Mr. Collier's own comment on the three last lines. “ These lines have not been understood on account of the inversion : 'to swear by him’ is to swear by Jove previously mentioned; and the meaning seems evident when we read the passage thus:- This has no holding, to swear by him [i. e. Jove] that I will work against him whom I profess
The exposition seems to me at least as obscure as the passage thus expounded. I read :
What is not holy, that we swear not by,
If I should swear by Jove's great attributes,
oaths When I did love you ill? This has no holding, To swear by him, when I protest to Love
That I will work against him. The slight change I have made of when for whom gives us a clear sense. Diana refers to Bertram's double vow,
his marriage vow, and the subsequent vow, or protest he had made not to keep it. If I should swear by Jove I loved you dearly, would you believe my oath when I loved you ill ? This has no consistency, to swear by him [i.e. Jove] when secretly I protest to Love that, I will work against him [i. e. Jove] by not keeping the oath I have taken to him. Bertram's previous speech,
do not strive against my vows, I was compell’d to her; but I love thee
By Love's own sweet constraint,clearly indicates that this is the true meaning of the passage.
In the “ Passionate Pilgrim” we have almost Bertram's argument:
If Love make me forsworn, how shall I swear to love ?
O, never faith could hold, if not to beauty vowed. Compare also the poet's 152nd Sonnet.
P. 164.“ The following passage, as it is printed in all the old editions, has caused much vexation. Diana is speaking to Bertram, who is doing his utmost to make his suit acceptable to her:
I see, that men make ropes in such a scarre,
Rowe reads :
I see that men make hopes in such affairs,
“Malone adopted hopes from Rowe, and substituted 'in such a scene' for ' in such a scarre.' The corrector appears to have detected the real misprint, and the correction makes it evident that Diana intends to say, that when men endeavour to seduce women from virtue, they indulge hopes that the
weaker sex, thus assailed, will abandon themselves in such a suit,' and submit to importunity :
I see, that men make hopes in such a suit,
That we'll forsake ourselves. “Thus we find that hopes (as Rowe supposed) had been misprinted ' ropes,' and that suit (often spelt suite of old) had been misprinted scarre.' With these two errors set right, the meaning of the poet seems ascertained.”
The correction of hopes for ropes by Rowe is legitimate, because an easy typographical error; but so large a departure from the form of the old word as suit for scarre is inadmissible, without much better reasons than are here given for its adoption. But it is not necessary to change the word scarre at all; it here signifies any surprise or alarm, and what we should now write a scare. Shakespeare has used the same orthography of the participle scarr'd for scar'd in Coriolanus, and in The Winter's Tale. In Palsgrave, both the noun and verb are written Scarre, and Minsheu has it " to scarre, G. Ahurir.” There can be no doubt that the word had then the broad sound it still retains in the north. Jamieson tells us that it was so pronounced, and used to signify" whatever causes alarm.'
You have won
Mr. Collier's observation is singular. “We may take it for granted, perhaps, that the original word was none; but here, as in some former
other count, a matter of indifference"!
It is not “a matter of indifference” thus wantonly to tamper with the poet's language.
SCENE III. P. 165. “ Is it not meant damnable in us to be trumpeters of our unlawful intents." The corrector reads most damnable.” A reading which Malone says he also once thought of adopting; but that he was afterwards convinced that no change was necessary. Adjectives are often used as adverbs
by Shakespeare and his cotemporaries. Malone also shows that “company," which the corrector would change for companion, is right: we have companies for companion in K. Henry V.
These are more coincidences.
We must away ;
Our waggon is prepar'd, and time revives us. “ Johnson (says Mr. Collier) suggests invites as the proper word; but the corrector informs us that revives' is an error for reviles ; the time found fault with Helena and her companions for delay.”
It is disingenuous in Mr. Collier not to tell us that Steevens also suggests “time reviles us,"i.e. reproaches us for wasting it, "might be Shakespeare's word.” But the corrector must be made to appear the originator of the correction he adopts.
I incline to think that Warburton was right, and that we should read “time revies us," that is, challenges us. To vie and to revie were terms used at various games, and became familiar words for any other species of challenge. Shakespeare has used to vie several times in this sense. The reader may consult with advantage a note in Gifford's Ben Jonson, vol. i. p. 106; “time reviles us,” does not seem to be so pertinent a phrase, and revies might easily be mistaken for revives.
Yet I pray you: But with the word the time will bring on Summer. Here the corrector would substitute world for word, a change that does not at all improve the sense of the passage, which is undoubtedly corrupt; and has been most admirably corrected by Sir W. Blackstone. He would read
Yet I fray you
The sense will then be, “I only frighten you by mentioning the word suffer; for a short time will bring on the season of happiness and delight.”