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space adjoining, thus supplies a missing line, which we have printed in italic type :
Let be, let be!
What was he that did make it ? &c. “But for this piece of evidence, that so important an omission had been made by the old printer, or by the copyist of the manuscript for the printer's use, it might have been urged that, supposing our great dramatist to have written here no more elliptically than in many other places, his sense might be complete at already :' Would I were dead !' exclaims Leontes, but that methinks I am already;' in other words, it was needless for him to wish himself dead, since, looking upon the image of his lost queen, he was, as it were, dead already. However, we see above that a line was wanting, and we may be thankful that it has been furnished, since it adds much to the force and clearness of the speech of Leontes."
I cannot say that I feel any gratitude to the corrector, for putting such improbable words into Leontes' mouth. Warburton's note is much more to the purpose :
“ The sentence completed is :
- but that methinks, already I converse with the dead.But here Leontes' passion makes him break off.
The corrector's line,
I am but dead stone, looking upon stone,
is not a little absurd, for in the next breath Leontes says, “ Would you not deem it breath'd ? and that those veins did verily bear blood ?” If a line were wanting, and that is more than doubtful, a much better one has been suggested :
but that, methinks, already I am in heaven, and looking on an angel.
P. 198. The last important emendation of the corrector in this play is the omission of two words, by and the, in the line,
Of which Mr. Collier says, “ We may feel assured that the expletives by the,' obtained insertion without the participation of the pen of the author.”
Had any one but Mr. Collier's corrector ventured upon this piece of superfluous meddling, they would have brought down his indignant censure upon them, and with some degree of justice.
ACT I. SCENE I.
portant epithet in the reply of King John, where he despatches Chatillon with all haste, and tells him that the English forces will be in France before the ambassador can even report their intention to come. The reading has always
Be thou the trumpet of our wrath, And sullen presage of your own decay. “ In the first place, the sound of a trumpet could not, with any fitness, be called a 'sullen presage ;' and secondly, as Chatillon was instantly to proceed on his return, it is much more probable that Shakespeare wrote,
Be thou the trumpet of our wrath, And sudden presage of your own decay. “ The old corrector says that sudden' was the word of our great dramatist, and a scribe or a printer might easily mistake sudden and 'sullen.'
The corrector has an unreasonable dislike to this expressive word, for he would again change it as unwarrantably in Othello. But Shakespeare has also used it for sad, gloomy, in K. Richard II. and in the Second Part of K. Henry VI. Every poetical reader will remember Milton's use of it,“ Swinging slow with sullen roar."
Ib. “Besides a misprint, there appears to be an error in punctuation in this part of the Bastard's soliloquy, as given in modern editions :
For new-made honour doth forget men's names :
“ The corrector of the folio, 1632, informs us that we should point and read as follows:
For new-made honour doth forget men's names :
He and his tooth-pick at my worship’s mess, &c. “ It was common to entertain picked men of countries,' for the diversion of the company at the tables of the higher orders, and this is what the Bastard is referring to in the last two lines, while the sense of the first two is complete at sociable."
The punctuation in the first folio is entirely against this innovation, which may probably have been suggested by Pope, who took the same erroneous view of the passage, and read “ for your conversing.” Malone's view of the old authentic reading is quite satisfactory. The Bastard means to say,—To remember the name of an inferior has too much of the regardful consideration which is paid to superiors, and of the social and friendly familiarity of equals, for your conversion, i. e. for your present condition, now converted from the condition of a common man to the rank of a knight.
P. 200. Whether we read,
Sir Robert could do well; marry, to confess,
or, as the corrector would have it,
Could not get me;
is a matter of perfect indifference; but the established reading is quite as probable and quite as good as the corrector's.
ACT II. SCENE I.
P. 200. The reading in the line, in Arthur's speech to Austria,
But with a heart full of unstrained love,
instead of unstained, is very plausible. There is some appearance that Arthur would express the uncompelled and spontaneous character of his love, notwithstanding his powerless hand.
P. 201. The same may be said of the correction of “ indirectly” to indiscreetly, in the speech of Constance.-0 si sic omnia! But corrections of this kind, without presuming that the change is made in conformity to "some better manuscript than that used by the printer," have all the character of correction of a printer's error.
Ib. The correction of An Ace" to “ An Até,” which had been set right since Rowe's time, is certainly not improved by being changed to “ As Até.”
All preparation for a bloody siege,
Rowe properly corrected the misprint,“ comfort,” in the last line, to confront, which was admitted by all subsequent editors until Mr. Collier rejected it, and restored the old misprint, saying that “ King John was evidently speaking ironically”! And he would now admit the corrector's inferior substitution of “ Come 'fore”!
Ib. The correction of “ near" to niece is quite legitimate and undoubted on all accounts.
Ib. The confirmation of Mason's correction of " aid" to “aim” is another coincidence, and the confirmation of Mr. Collier's view of the correction required in the Bastard's speech is equally remarkable.
ACT III. SCENE II.
P. 203. “Constance says, that she should be content with her grievous disappointment, if Arthur had been
Full of unpleasing blots and sightless stains. “ For ' and sightless, the manuscript-corrector substitutes ' unsightly,' which was most likely the author's word, the scribe having misheard what was read or recited to him.”
“ The poet uses sightless, for that which we now express by unsightly, disagreeable to the eyes.”
There is no possible mistaking of the two words, either as written or recited; and will Mr. Collier venture to say that Shakespeare did not use the word for the opposite to sightly? We are not to alter his language to please our own fancies, because words are used by him in a peculiar sense.
Ib. “ The same circumstance has produced the next blunder pointed out by the corrector. All impressions have this line,
Is cold in amity, and painted peace.
Why should the epithet painted' be applied to peace? What propriety is there in it, unless we can suppose it used to indicate hollowness and falsehood ? The correction in the margin of the folio, 1632, shows that the ear of the scribe misled him: Constance is referring to the friendship just established between France and England, to the ruin of her hopes, and remarks :
The grappling vigour, and rough frown of war,
And our oppression hath made up this league.” Now it appears to me, that there is no reason to doubt the integrity of the old text, nor has it ever before been doubted. Constance upbraids Philip with having“ beguil'd her with a counterfeit.” He came in arms to spill her enemies' blood, but now his warlike help against John is cooled down into a league with him,--the rough collision of war to the smooth or painted courtesies of peace. But if any change should be