« PreviousContinue »
In King Richard III. Ratcliff, addressing the lords at Pomfret, says,
"Make haste, the hour of death is expiate."
for which the editor of the second folio, alike ignorant of the poet's language and metre, has substituted,
"Make haste, the hour of death is now expir'd."
So, in Romeo and Juliet:
"The earth hath swallow'd all my hopes but she."
The word The being accidentally omitted in the first folio, the editor of the second supplied the defect by reading
"Earth hath up swallow'd all my hopes but she."
Again, in the same play; "I'll lay fourteen of my teeth, and yet, to my teen be it spoken, I have but four: " not understanding the word teen, he substituted teeth instead of it.
"Prick'd from the lazy finger of a maidMan being corruptly printed instead of maid in the first folio, 1623, the editor of the second, who never examined a single quarto copy,* corrected the error at random, by reading
That this editor never examined any of the quarto copies is proved by the following instances:
In Troilus and Cressida, we find in the first folio:
the remainder viands
We do not throw in unrespective same,
Finding this nonsense, he printed "in unrespective place."
"That all the Greeks begin to worship Ajax;
"Since things in motion begin to catch the eye,
20 2 Than what not stirs.
the words" begin to," being inadvertently repeated in the se
cond line, by the compositor's eye glancing on the line above. The editor of the second folio, instead of examining the quarto, where he would have found the true reading:
"Since things in motion sooner catch the eye.'
Prick'd from the lazy finger of a woman."
"Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say, ay:"
The word me being omitted in the first folio, the editor of the second capriciously supplied the metre thus:
thought only of amending the metre, and printed the line thus, Since things in motion 'gin to catch the eye-"
leaving the passage nonsense, as he found it.
So, in Titus Andronicus:
"And let no comfort delight mine ear"
being erroneously printed in the first folio, instead of "And let no comforter," &c. the editor of the second folio corrected the error according to his fancy, by reading
"And let no comfort else delight mine ear."
So, in Love's Labour's Lost: “Old Mantuan, who understands thee not, loves thee not.” The words in the Italick character being inadvertently omitted in the first folio, the editor of the second folio, instead of applying to the quarto to cure the defect, printed the passage just as he found it: and in like manner in the same play implicitly followed the error of the first folio, which has been already mentioned, * O, that your face were so full of O's" though the omission of the word not, which is found in the quarto, made the passage nonsense.
So, in Much Ado about Nothing:
"And I will break with her. Was't not to this end," &c. being printed instead of
"And I will break with her and with her father,
"And thou shalt have her. Was't not to this end," &c, the error, which arose from the compositor's eye glancing from one line to the other, was implicitly adopted in the second folio. Again, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream:
"Ah me, for aught that I could ever read,
"Could ever hear," &c.
the words Ah me being accidentally omitted in the first folio, instead of applying to the quarto for the true reading, he supplied the defect, according to his own fancy, thus:
Hermia, for aught that I could ever read," &c. Again, in The Merchant of Venice, he arbitrarily gives us― "The ewe bleat for the lamb when you behold,"
Why he hath made the ewe bleat for the lamb." Innumerable other instances of the same kind might be produced.
yan" Dost thou love ? O, I know thou wilt say, ay."
This expletive, we shall presently find, when I come to speak of the poet's metre, was his constant expedient in all difficulties.
In Measure for Measure he printed ignominy, instead of ignomy, the reading of the first folio, and the common language of the time. In the same play, from his ignorance of the constable's humour, he corrected his phraseology, and substituted instant for distant; (“at that very distant time:") and in like manner he makes Dogberry, in Much Ado about Nothing, exhort the watch not to be vigitant, but vigilant.
Among the marks of love, Rosalind, in As You Like It, mentions "a beard neglected, which you have not;but I pardon you for that; for, simply, your having in beard is a younger brother's revenue." Not understanding the meaning of the word having, this editor readsyour having no beard," &c...
In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Pyramus says,
"I see a voice; now will I to
"To spy an' I can hear my Thisby's face.
Of the humour of this passage he had not the least notion, for he printed, instead of it,
"I hear a voice; now will I to the chink,
"To spy an' I can see my Thisby's face."
In The Merchant of Venice, Act I. Sc. I. we find in the first folio,
"And out of doubt you do more wrong
which the editor of the second perceiving to be imperfect, he corrected at random thus:
"And out of doubt you do to me more wrong.
Had he consulted the original quarto, he would have found that the poet wrote
"And out of doubt you do me now more wrong."
So, in the same play, But of mine, then yours," being corruptly printed instead of" But if mine, then I yours," this editor arbitrarily reads-" But first mine, then yours."
"Or even as well use question with the wolf,
the words "Why he hath made" being omitted in the first folio at the beginning of the second line, the second folio editor supplied the defect thus absurdly :
"Or even as well use question with the wolf,
The ewe bleat for the lamb when you behold."
In Othello the word snipe being misprinted in the first folio,
"If I should time expend with such a snpe."
the editor not knowing what to make of it, substituted swain instead of the corrupted word.
Again, in the same play,
tof For of my heart those charms, thine eyes, are blotted.” being printed in the first folio instead of " Forth of my heart," &c. which was the common language of the time, the editor of the second folio amended the error according to his fancy, by reading
"For off my heart those charms, thine eyes, are blotted.”
Again, in the same play, Act V. Sc. I. not understanding the phraseology of our author's time,
"Who's there? Whose noise is this, that cries on murder?" he substituted
"Whose noise is this, that cries out murder?" Ta and in the first Act of the same play, not perceiving the force of an eminently beautiful epithet, for desarts idle," he has given us "desarts wild." is to rotibo ust doine Again, in that tragedy we findbart is beloon10G, iP what charms, rondo wa bot. “ "What conjuration, and what mighty magick, al "(For such proceeding I am charg'd withal,) eris durduk "I won his daughter."
30 Vo? Jdoobte the bud that is, I won his daughter with; and so the editor of the second folio reads, not knowing that this kind of elliptical expression frequently occurs in this author's works, as I have shown in a note on the last scene of Cymbeline, and in other places*.
*See vol. xiii. p. 228, n. 2. ››
In like manner he has corrupted the following passage in A Midsummer-Night's Dream:
"So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
i. e. to give sovereignty to. Here too this editor has unnecessarily tampered with the text, and having contracted the word unwished, he exhibited the line thus:
Unto his lordship, to whose unwish'd yoke sic My soul consents not to give sovereignty."
an interpolation which was adopted in the subsequent copies, and which, with all the modern editors, I incautiously suffered to remain in my former edition.
The grave-digger in Hamlet observes "that your tanner will last you nine year," and such is the phraseology which Shakspeare always attributes to his lower characters; but instead of this, in the second folio, we find "nine years."
"Your skill shall, like a star i' the darkest night,
says Hamlet to Laertes. But the editor of the second
Not understanding this phraseology, and supposing that were must require a noun in the plural number, he reads: If we did think
"His contemplations were above the earth," &c.
Again, in Troilus and Cressida, Act IV. Sc. II,: "With wings more momentary-swift than thought."
This compound epithet not being understood, he reads: "With wings more momentary, swifter than thought."