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A MEDIUM OF INTER-COMMUNICATION
LITERARY MEN, ARTISTS, ANTIQUARIES, GENEALOGISTS, ETC.
"When found, make a note of." CAPTAIN CUTTLE.
SATURDAY, JULY 3. 1852.
Minor Notes:- Apuleius on Mesmerism - The Domiciliary Clause-Transmission of Ancient UsagesInscription on an Oak Chest The Raising of Charles I.'s Standard at Nottingham
Minor Queries:- De Sanctâ Cruce
Etymology of Aghindle" or "Aghendole "- Pictures of Queen Elizabeth's Tomb-Spanish "Veiwe Bowes" - Old English Divines-Lord Viscount Dover, Colonel of the First Troop of Guards in the Service of James II. in Ireland, 1689-1690 Lines on Woman's WillCelebrated Fly-Battle of Alfred the Great with the Danes-Old Satchells-" Pretty Peggy of Derby, O!" "Noose as I was"-" La Garde meurt," &c.-Coral Charms-Maturin Laurent- Mons. Cahagnet-James Murray, titular Earl of Dunbar
The Trusty Servant at Winchester, by Sir F. Madden
MINOR QUERIES ANSWERED:-Lanthorns-A Popular Book censured in the Pulpit, in the Time of Queen Anne-Legend respecting the Isle of Ely
Notes on Books, &c.
Books and Odd Volumes wanted
Notices to Correspondents
Vor. VI.- No. 140.
Inscription at Persepolis
"Monody on the Death of Sir John Moore," by J. R. Walbran
Coke and Cowper, how pronounced
Replies to Minor Queries: Use of Slings by the Early Britons-Burial in Unconsecrated Ground-Etymology of Fetch and Haberdasher - Baxter's "Heavy Shove," &c.-"We three"-Age of Trees - The Diphthong" ai"- The Symbol of the Pelican-John Hope Stoup-Flanagan on the Round Towers of Ireland Giving the Sack-The Bells of Limerick Cathedral-Mexican, &c. Grammar Bishop Merriman-Birthplace of Andrew Marvell Anstis on Seals-Foundation Stones-Milton indebted to Tacitus -Plague Stones-Algernon Sidney-Edmund Bohun -Declaration of Two Thousand Clergymen
Price Fourpence. Stamped Edition, 5d.
OUR SIXTH VOLUME.
Milton describes the active and industrious emmet as
Of future; in small room large heart inclos'd."
What authority there may be for the asserted physio
logical fact in reference to the emmet, is a Query we
submit to our readers, merely reminding them that Virgil has said the same thing of bees: at present we quote the words of our great poet as descriptive of the function and purpose which we have carried on throughout Five Volumes, and which we shall keep steadily before us in that new Volume on which we are this day entering, and in the numberless remainder which we trust will follow. “Provident of future," we shall lay up good store of valuable materials for all inquirers; and within the "small room" of our hebdomadal sheet shall strive to inclose a mass of matter more directly useful to literary men than has ever been crowded into such space before.
The continued kindness of our “increased and still increasing" band of contributors and correspondents enables us, volume by volume, to perform our office more perfectly. The number of important questions which we answer immediately, and the number cleared up by the friendly discussions in our pages, are both continually on the increase. Some day we shall (in Parliamentary phrase) present a Return upon this subject which will excite no little surprise: at present we will merely express our warmest thanks to all our contributing friends, and assure them of our constant endeavour to insert their papers in the way which will be most useful, and at the same time most agreeable to themselves. Slight curtailment, and some delay, are occasionally unavoidable; but we studiously endeavour to do the most entire justice to every paper that is sent to us, and that as quickly as possible. Such shall ever continue to be our aim: our only "strife" being how to please you all — readers, corre spondents, note-makers, and querists — “day exceeding day,"
ON THE EDITORSHIP OF SHAKSPERE.
"The work that has been done, is to be done again, and no single edition will supply the reader with a text on which he can rely as the best copy of the works of Shakspeare."-Samuel JOHNSON, 1756.
The course of Shaksperean editorship, with regard to the dramatic portion of his works, exhibits four distinct phases: I. The separate publication of sixteen plays, in the quarto form, in the years 1597-1622; II. The publication of thirtysix plays in a folio volume, under the editorial care of Heminge and Condell, in 1623; III. The republication of the folio volume with the addition of "seven playes never before printed in folio," in 1664; and IV. The republication of the thirty-six plays by Nicholas Rowe, by Pope, by Theobald, by Hanmer and others, with the addition of memoirs, critical essays, emendations of the text, annotations, glossaries, etc.
geries, and perversions of the text under fictitious names? Whatever admiration may be due to many of the commentators, the expediency of reform is unquestionable. It is manifest that other plans must be devised..
As a step in the path of improvement, I would suggest a bold and searching re-examination of the principles of editorship with reference to the plays of Shakspere, and the formation of such a series of rules as may accord with facts and common sense, and satisfy the majority of the best critics. Important hints on those points occur in the prefaces to his dramatic works, but they are sometimes much at variance with each other, and they nowhere appear collectively. Now, it is undeniable that such a code of rules, even if not the best that could be framed, would tend to the preservation of consistency; and, if unobjectionable in its main features, it might be productive of much of the benefit which new editions can be expected to derive from learned supervision. In re-editing a monographic volume, which had been committed to the press by its author, we encounter no serious difficulties, and therefore need only a few plain rules. It is much otherwise in the case of Shakspere. The folio volume of 1623 contains thirty-six separate compositions, of very uncertain dates. It embraces a boundless variety of theme; it displays almost every variety of style; and it was set forth by men of whose literary qualifications we have not an atom of evidence! Thence arise NUMBERLESS QUERIES, the solution of which calls for much research and critical sagacity; so that without the establishment of just principles, and the formation of correspondent rules, there can neither be justness nor uniformity of editorial execution.
An attempt to frame such a series of rules is now submitted to public criticism. A rash attempt it may seem, but it is the result of deliberation; called into visible existence by the signs of the times. If the proposed rules should be condemned, or in part contested, I shall hold myself in readiness to come forward in their defence. If improvements should be suggested for which, doubtless, there is scope-I shall receive the suggestions thankfully. If the publication of the series should be pronounced superfluous, I engage to prove that almost all the rules which it contains have been violated, even in the course of one play, by the best editors of our dramatist-and that some of the most important of them have been violated
The early quarto plays have become of such extreme rarity as to defy acquisition, and the folio of 1623, which should be the cynosure of future editors, is almost as rare in a PERFECT state. Recourse must be had, in both instances, to public and private collections. The later folios carry no authority, and the seven additional plays are held to be spurious. As all the above volumes are elsewhere described with more or less exactness, it is on the annotated editions only, and on the spirit of annotation which has prevailed for near a century-and-a-half, that I propose to comment.
Reflecting on the events of this latter period, and assuming that new editions of the plays of Shakspere must always be in request, I come to the conclusion that those which are now most in repute on the score of documents and annotations would be too voluminous if reprinted on the former plan of successive accumulation. The editions to which I allude are those of Johnson and Steevens, and Malone-with the corrections and illustrations of various commentators. Both those celebrated publications were formerly in ten octavo volumes; but in the last augmented impressions, which were given to the public, by Reed and Boswell respectively, they both form twenty one volumes. This increase of bulk was the growth of only thirty years, and more than thirty years have since elapsed. Is the accumulative system to be continued? Are we always to approach Shakspere through a crowd of preface-within the space of twenty lines. writers? Are we to accept memoirs and collections which have been superseded by the works of more fortunate inquirers? Are we to be satiated with the notes, the confutations of notes, the replies, and the rejoinders of former times? with historical facts misapplied to fiction? with parallel passages devoid of parallelism? with for
CANONS OF CRITICISM; APPLICABLE TO A NEW EDITION
Canon I. The preliminary matter, the number and order of the plays, and their respective titles, shall be the same as in the edition which was set forth by Heminge and Condell in 1623.
Canon II. The text of the plays, errors excepted, shall be that of 1623, collated with that of such of the plays as had been published in a finished state. The
deficient lists of characters shall be supplied on the same plan as that of The tempest, and the current divi
sions into acts and scenes shall be adopted.
Canon III. No emendations shall be admitted into the text but such as are requisite to give it the probable sense, or a more correct rhythm; nor shall any other circumstance than the defective state of the text itself be held to justify such emendations.
Canon IV. No additions shall be made to the plays, either in the shape of prefaces, or of lists of the charac ters, or of emendations of the text, or of divisions into acts and scenes or otherwise, without being indicated as such by brackets.
Canon V. No omission, or transposition, or other alteration shall be made, either in the text or in its accompaniments, without a note describing it, and stating the evidence in favour of its adoption.
Canon VI. The orthography shall be modern, when not required to be otherwise for the sake of the measure, or the rhyme, or to preserve a play upon words; but the preliminary matter of 1623 shall be printed literatim.
Canon VII. In the use of capitals, and in other typographical particulars, there shall be a strict uniformity of plan, which plan shall be described and exemplified. The punctuation shall be inserted as the context requires, and without regard to the early or late editions.
Canon VIII. The preface of each play shall record the evidence of its authorship, the presumed date of its composition, the peculiarities of all the editions of it previous to 1623, and the sources of its plot. The notes shall be as CONCISE as possible, and limited to the establishment of the text, and the illustration of its obscurities; rejecting all criticism on former commentators.
Canon IX. A glossarial index shall comprise the titles of the plays, the names of the characters, the obsolete words and phrases, and the words used in an uncommon sense, or with a peculiar accent, or which otherwise seemed to require notes.
It is much to be regretted that the materials for a Life of this most original writer, whose wit is frequently as brilliant and effective as Swift's, are so scanty. Dr. Campbell, who wrote the account of Asgill in the first edition of the Biographia Britannica, makes several references to a MS. Memoir by his intimate friend Mr. A. N. Can any of your correspondents inform me if this memoir is still in existence? Dr. Kippis, who seems to bave been in a blissful state of ignorance as to Asgill's real character, and the meaning of his writings, has added no fresh facts to the account of his prede
Asgill was the executor of a man whose charac
ter was as extraordinary as his own, Dr. Barebone, the great builder and projector, of whom Roger North, in his yet unpublished Autobiography, has given one of those speaking portraits which place before us the living man beyond the possibility of a mistake. Barebone was one of the sons of Praise-God Barebone, and was christened at his baptism "If-Jesus-Christ-had-not-died-for-theeNorth informs us it was customary to omit all the thou-had-been-damned" Barebone; but Roger Barebone" or "Damned Dr. Barebone" being his syllables of the name except the last, "Damned ordinary appellation; which, as his morals were none of the best, appeared to suit him better than his entire baptismal prefix. Dr. Barebone-who as the author of two of the ablest of our early commercial tracts, and as one of the most enterprising men this country ever produced, deserves a notice in an English biographical dictionary, when we shall have one which is worthy of the name-died deeply involved in debt, and in appointing Mr. Asgill as his executor, made it a request in his will that he should never pay his debts. What a scene it must have been in Lincoln's Inn Hall, deserving all the graphic powers of Hogarth or Cruikshank, when to the "monster" meeting of creditors whom he had summoned to hear the will read, the executor, after producing the will, and reading it through, and giving due emphasis to the request it contained, subjoined with the greatest gravity, "You have heard, gentlemen, the Doctor's testament, and I will religiously fulfil the will of the dead." As the writer of the MS. memoir justly observes, "There was not perhaps such another pair as the doctor and the counsellor in the three kingdoms."
As some contribution to a future Life of Asgill, no complete list having yet been given of his writings, I inclose the following, which is as correct as I can at present make it. All the Tracts are in my own possession. If any of your correspondents can add to it, I shall be glad to see it rendered more complete: