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SCENE V. P. 166. How the corrector could think of reading "potherbs” one is at a loss to imagine; for what the Clown has said naturally leads to Rowe's correction“ salad herbs.” The correction of maine to name is also Rowe's.
The substitution of place for pace in the Countess's description of the Clown was suggested by Tyrwhitt, but would be a very doubtful improvement. Pace is perfectly intelligible. I pass over adoptions of readings already received, which forms so large a portion of the corrector's labours, as to throw à doubt over the possibility of such numerous reiterated coincidences. I shall only contrast Mr. Collier with himself in the next note.
ACT V. SCENE III.
P. 167. “The alteration of blaze for blade' in the line,
Natural rebellion, done in the blade of youth,
of the old copies, is confirmed by a manuscript marginal note in the folio, 1632. Theobald was the first judiciously to substitute blaze."
In Mr. Collier's edition of Shakespeare we have these words _" done i' the BLADE of youth," i.e. as Johnson says, “the spring of early life;” and since the sense is very intelligible, we adhere to the old text, as it stands in all editions anterior to that of Theobald. Malone and Steevens adopted the corrupted reading “ blaze," which could hardly have been an error of the press”!
Was the corrector judicious in following the “ corrupted reading " of Theobald? which Mr. Collier thinks injudicious in others; and restores “ blade” in his own edition !
P. 168. “ The conclusion of the speech as it stands in the old impressions,
Such a ring as this,
I saw upon her finger.
Such a ring as this,
“Rowe proposed she,” says Mr. Collier.
Rowe did more, he read, “ The last that e'er she,"—leaving time to be understood; which now, with wonderful coincidence to Mr. Collier's suggestion, is given at full by the corrector.
P. 169. “ The line in Bertram's explanation how Diana obtained the ring from him,
“ Her insuit coming with her modern grace,
has been supposed to refer to her solicitation for the ring ; but the words insuite comming'as they are spelt in the folio, 1623, (the folio, 1632, omits the final e) are merely misprinted; and on the evidence of the manuscript corrector, as well as common-sense, we must print the passage hereafter,
“ Her infinite cunning with her modern grace,
This appears to be one of the instances in which a gross blunder was occasioned, in part by the mishearing of the old scribe, and in part by the carelessness of the old printer. The sagacity of the late Mr. Sidney Walker hit upon this most excellent emendation. See Athenæum, 17th April, 1852."
This is indeed a wonderful instance of coincidence! It was well for Mr. Walker's memory that his claim to be the originator of this acute rectification of a typographical error, preceded the publication of Mr. Collier’s volume. Why “ the evidence of the manuscript-corrector” should be necessary to the admission of this self-evident correction I cannot imagine. Common sense would at once decide in its favour, and for my own part I should sooner rely on the “ sagacity” of Mr. Walker than on that of one who has blundered egregiously, if all that we find in Mr. Collier's volume is to be considered the work of one hand or head. But this I think improbable if not impossible.
ACT I. SCENE I.
(in preference to sound' of all editions until Pope's time) in the passage :
O! it came o'er my ear like the sweet south,
That breathes upon a bank of violets. The corrector supplies that authority.”
I hold Pope in matters of tasteful emendation a much better authority than the corrector has manifested himself to be, although Pope also sometimes indulged too much licence. This is another coincidence.
SCENE III. IV. V. P. 172. There are here again several minute corrections, some of which have long since been made in the text, and none of them require notice.
P. 173. “ The expression, 'Such a one I was this present' has excited much comment, editors not exactly knowing what to make of it. The manuscript corrector says that we ought to read, Such a one I am at this present,' which, bearing in mind that Olivia unveils at the instant, is reasonable.”
The substitution of I am at for“ I is a violent innovation, and very unsatisfactory. Mr. Collier has wisely doubted whether the old reading might not stand, notwithstanding the authority of the corrector. The passage might be made more intelligible by a very slight addition : I think we should read,
“ Such a one I was as this presents.”
ACT II. SCENE I.
“Sebastian is speaking of his reputed likeness to his sister :
“ A lady, sir, though it was said she much resembled me, was yet of many accounted beautiful : but, though I could not, with such estimable wonder, overfar believe that, yet thus far I will boldly publish her, &c. “ It is not surprising that the commentators should have been
at strife regarding the meaning of this passage ; and Warburton was so gravelled by it, that he felt obliged to omit the words with such estimable wonder' as a player's interpolation. This is a very ready way of overcoming any obstacle. It certainly is difficult to account for the gross misprints in the above short sentence; but they are distinctly pointed out by the corrector in his own clear and accurate manner; and when we read the words he has substituted for those of the received text, we see at once that he could not be mistaken. Sebastian modestly denies that he much resembled his beautiful lost sister, observing,
“ A lady, sir, though it was said she much resembled me, was yet of many accounted beautiful; but, though I could not with self-estimation wander so far to believe that, yet thus far I will boldly publish her, &c.
May we conclude that this new and self-evident improvement of the absurd old reading was derived from some original source, perhaps from some better manuscript than that employed by the old printer. Such an emendation could hardly be the result of mere guess-work.”
Why not? Here is a much better rectification of the passage that does not pretend to be anything more; for the corrector of my second folio makes no pretension to any other authority than his own conjecture. And yet I think it will not be denied that his emendation is more clear and accurate,' and does less violence to the old reading than the “ selfevident” one of Mr. Collier's annotator.
“A lady, sir, though it was said she much resembled me, was yet of many accounted beautiful; but though I could not, with such estimators, wander overfar to believe that, yet thus far I will boldly publish her,” &c. Here the only addition to the old text is the small word to; changing the termination ble to tors, and o to a, in the two words estimable and wonder, a trifling innovation when compared to the sweeping one Mr. Collier advocates. We find the corrector sometimes guilty of overcoming difficulties in the “ very ready way” attributed to Warburton, but more frequently sinning by unwarrantable interpolation.
P. 174. “ We meet here with a welcome addition to the text where it cannot be doubted that something is wanting. One of the speeches of Sir Andrew has hitherto only terminated with a hyphen, showing that even the conclusion of a word has been carelessly omitted in the old copies : in modern editions the hyphen has been elongated, as if the knight had been interrupted by the Clown, and not allowed to finish his sentence. In the first and other folios, this part of the dialogue stands exactly as follows:
Sir To. Come on: there is sixpence for you; let's have a song.
Clo. Would you have a love-song, or a song of good life? “ The elongation of the hyphen in modern editions, has made Sir Andrew's speech of course appear thus, but it is a misrepresentation of the originals :
Sir An. There's a testril of me too: if one knight give a
Now, what ought to be the text, according to the addition made to it by interlineation in the corrected copy of the folio, 1632 ?-We give the speech, to the minutest particular, in the form in which it appears, partly in print, and partly in the hand-writing of the old corrector, marking the latter by Italic type :
Sir An. There's a testrill of me too: if one knight give a-way sire pence 80 will I give an other : go to, a song. “ Unless, therefore, the corrector invented this termination of an unfinished sentence, he must have obtained it from some accurate and authentic source.”
I have shown pretty clearly the impossibility of the corrector having had any “authentic source” for some of his misdeeds, so that I give him credit here for the invention. But his addition is an improbable one, which I cannot hail as welcome ; and what would fully answer all the purposes of filling up the hiatus, should it be thought necessary, would be to complete the sentence thus :
Sir An. “There's a testril of me too: if one knight give another should.