Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

thought advisable, it would not be the substitution of the corrector—faint in peace,” but “ feigns a peace.” The old reading being perfectly intelligible, should not, however, be disturbed.

Ib. The substitution of heaven" for him," in K. John's speech, is a piece of supererogation entirely unwarranted and uncalled for.

P. 204. “ The error of 'cased' for caged,' in the following line :

A cased lion by the mortal paw, " is so evident, as pointed out by the old corrector, that it is surprising the emendation was never conjecturally adopted; especially when Malone's quotation from Rowley's · When you see me you know me,' regarding 'a lion in his cage, so inevitably led to it.'

This is another remarkable coincidence with Mr. Collier's own conjecture in his note on the passage. But that those who have read chafed have made the true correction is evident from a parallel passage in K. Henry VIII. Act iii. Sc. 2:

So looks the chafed lion Upon the daring huntsman that has gall’d him. Mr. Dyce has adduced other passages from Beaumont and Fletcher quite decisive of this reading. See“ Remarks on Mr. Collier's and Mr. Knight's Editions of Shakespeare,” 1844, p. 92.

SCENE II.

Now, by my life, this day grows wond'rous hot:
Some airy devil hovers in the sky,
And
pours

down mischief. “ The word is spelt ayery in the folio, 1632, and the corrector has changed the word to fyery, which, we may feel confident, was that of the poet, and which is so consistent with the context. Percy quotes Burton's "Anatomy of Melancholy, where, among other things, it is said, ' Fiery spirits or devils are such as commonly work by blazing stars.””

Warburton's exploded reading is here followed !

This is only half the truth, for a much more pertinent support of the old reading is to be found in the same place, in a note by Henderson. “ There is a minute description of different devils or spirits, and their different functions, in Pierce Pennilesse his Supplication, 1592.” With respect to the above passage take the following, (and it is remarkable that this Tract has been edited by Mr. Collier !)—“the spirits of the aire will mix themselves with thunder and lightning, and so infect the clyme where they raise any tempest, that sodainely great mortalitie shall ensue to the inhabitants. The spirits of fire have their mansions under the region of the moone.” Nash and Shakespeare most probably drew their pneumatology from the same source. The evidence is therefore decisive in favour of the old reading.

P. 205. Three minor corrections are proposed, of“ timefortune,ear of night” for“ race of night,” and “ tinglingfor tickling.The first was long since set right by Pope, who has been since constantly followed. The second is also apparently suggested by Steevens; and the last is very doubtful; tickling or trickling would be quite as expressive as tingling. In the two last of these instances interference with the old text is not at all required.

Ib. Then in despite of broaded watchful day. “ The corrector has the broad watchful day,' as if Pope's broad-eyed were merely fanciful.” Mr. Collier adds, « we own a preference for broad-eyed.

This is candid. Mr. Collier does not therefore suppose this to have been derived from “ better authority than we possess.” But in his own edition we find the much more probable reading of brooded, without any note. Brooded was most likely the poet's word for brooding. The allusion being to the vigilance of animals while brooding, or sitting on brood. Thus, in Hamlet, the King says of him :

There's something in his soul

O’er which his melancholy sits on brood. And Milton :

Where brooding darkness spreads his jealous wings.

SCENE IV. P. 205. “ The same editor was nearly right when he proposed' collected sail' for convicted sail,' in what follows:

A whole armado of convicted sail

Is scatter'd, and disjoin'd from fellowship. “ The true word, given in the margin of the folio, 1632, has the same meaning as collected, but is nearer in form and letters to the misprint in the ordinary text, viz.

A whole armado of convented sail, &c. “i. e. a fleet had been convened at some port to bring aid to the Dauphin. There is no need, therefore, to strain after a meaning for convicted, if, as we are assured, it was not the word of the poet."

Yet Mr. Collier retained it in his edition, and explained it conquered sail”!

I once thought it should be connected sail,” the word is sufficiently near to the form of the old misprint conuicted, and suits the context better than convented. Mr. Dyce suggests that Shakespeare may have written convected, from the Latin convectus.

Ib. " Upon the passage in the speech of Constance, where she is speaking of death,

Which cannot hear a lady's feeble voice,
Which scorns a modern invocation.

“Now we know that our great dramatist often uses 'modern’ for common or ordinary; but modern,' as used above, is one of the strange errors of the press which found their way into the text; and a marginal note in the corrected folio, 1632, proves that we ought to substitute for it a word exactly applicable to the condition of Constance :

Which cannot hear a lady's feeble voice,
Which scorns a widow's invocation.

“ Such an emendation could hardly have had its source in the fancy, or even in the ingenuity of the old corrector."

For my own part, I cannot conceive what other possible source, than the misplaced ingenuity of the corrector, this perversion of the clear and intelligible text of the poet could have had, unless it was suggested by Mr. Knight, who, with similar misplaced ingenuity, substitutes :

Which scorns a mother's invocation.

Upon this rash interference with the old text, Mr. Dyce has thus expressed himself, “ Mr. Knight’s alteration is one of the rashest ever attempted by an editor. He had apparently forgotten the following passage in Romeo and Juliet :

Why follow'd not, when she said-Tybalt’s dead
Thy father, or thy mother, nay, or both,
Which modern lamentation might have mov'd ?

Act iii. Sc. 2."

P. 206. I pass over the unnecessary interpolation of the word that, and the introduction of the word not, from the fourth folio, as of no importance.

ACT IV. SCENE II.

P. 207. “ John has been assigning some reasons to Salisbury, Pembroke, &c. for the repetition of his coronation, principally founded upon apprehensions arising out of his defective title : at length he tells them, as the folio, 1623, represents his language :

Some reasons for this double coronation
I have possessed you with, and think them strong.
And more, more strong, then lesser is my fear
I shall indue you with.

[ocr errors]

“ The folio, 1632, prints "then less is my fear.' Theobald read the lesser is my fear;' Steevens and Malone, [following Tyrwhitt's suggestion,] 'when lesser is my fear.' But,” says Mr. Collier, “ they omitted to show why John should defer the statement of his stronger reasons till his fear was less, or why he should fancy that his fear would be less at any time, than just after his coronation, which was to confirm him on the throne. The corrector makes it clear that the king referred to his strong reasons as having diminished his own apprehensions, which reasons he was ready hereafter to communicate to his peers. He puts it thus :

And more, more strong, thus lessening my fear,
I shall indue

you

with.

“ The strength of his reasons had lessened his own fear, and he imagined that, when stated, they would produce a good effect upon others. The misprint was,' then lesser is, for thus lessening, not a very violent change, and rendering the meaning apparent.”

If we were to admit that “ lesser is” was misprinted for lessening we should read :

And more, more strong,—than lessening my fear
I shall indue

you

with.

But this involves an ellipsis. King John would say:-I have given you some reasons for this double coronation, and I shall furnish you with more, stronger than that of lessening my fear.

In his edition of Shakespeare, vol. iv. p. 68, Mr. Collier has the following note :-“ The first folio has then for ' than,' the commonest mode of printing the word in the time of Shakespeare; but the commentators, not adverting to this circumstance, do not seem to have understood the passage, and printed' when lesser is my fear,' putting it in parenthesis: the meaning, however, seems to be, that the king will hereafter give his lords reasons 'stronger than his fear was lesser :' the comparative' lesser’ is put for the positive little, because the poet had used' more strong' in the preceding line.”

Upon this Mr. Dyce observes,“ Such a portentous reading, and such a super-astute explanation, were perhaps never before exhibited in any critical edition of any author, either ancient or modern :--and all because Mr. Collier would not alter " then' to ' when, the latter word being as certainly the right lection here, as it is in a passage at p. 412 of the same volume (Vol. iv. Collier's Shakespeare), where he has not scrupled to substitute it for thatof the old copy.”- Remarks on Mr. Collier's and Mr. Knight's editions, p. 95.

P. 207. The transposition of then and should, would certainly be an advantage to the lucidus ordo. As it is, we must un

« ÎnapoiContinuați »