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2 King Henry VI. i. 1,
“Then, York, be still awhile, &c.
Till Henry, surfeiting in joys of love
And Humphrey with the peers be fall’n at jars."
great floods have flown From simple sources, and great seas have dried : When miracles have by th' greatest been denied, [
] Oft expectation fails, and most oft there
Where most promises ;" &c. Winter's Tale, iv. 3. Here, I think, a line, or possibly two, have dropt out, which, if preserved, would have ob viated the difficulty of construction, which forms the only blot on this most exquisite speech.
move on, still so, and own
So singular in each particular,
That all your acts are queens.” Omissions of the press are, I think, remarkably frequent in this play. Romeo and Juliet, v. 3, see context,
“We see the ground, whereon these woes do lie :" surely a line is lost previous to this, rhyming to
“But the true ground of all these piteous woes." 3 K. H. VI. i. 4. The following is a mere conjecture,
“That face of his the hungry Cannibals
Would not have touch'd [those roses, new in bloom,
So that tigers of Hyrcania would have something to refer to. “ The Cannibals," as designating a particular nation; the man-eating Indians specifically. He would not have called the ancient Anthropophagi Cannibals. Timon of Athens i. 2,
" As this pomp shows t'a little oil and root.” Is not something lost after this line ? 3 K. H. VI. ii. 5, Henry's 'soliloquy,
“So many weeks, ere the poor fools will yean;
So many yeurs, &c.
Past over,” &c.
“I sought the promise of a glorious beauty,
From whence an issue I might propagate,
Are arms to princes, and to subjects joys." Surely a line has dropt out, somewhat to the following effect,
“From whence an issue I might propagate
[Worthy to heir my throne ; for kingly boys]
23 Weeks was inserted by Rowe, no doubt to correspond with what goes
before. He also corrected a blunder of the 3rd and 4th folios, which read days for weeks in the line but one above. Mr. Collier's old Corrector has altered “So many years” to “So many months,” but this also was done long ago by Rowe, who was fol. lowed by every editor down to Capell. The latter restored the reading of the old copies, but with great hesitation. I suspect Rowe was right in both his alterations, as Walker was justified in believing a line to have been lost. We have here eight lines beginning with So, seven of them with So many; and indeed the whole passage is made up of pitfalls for careless printers.-Ed.
(Arms seems to be from “ Like as the arrows in the hand of a giant, so are the young
children.” Measure for Measure, i. 3, near the end. Is not a line lost after youth ? e.g., to substitute my lead for the lost gold of Shakespeare,
In her youth,
Such as moves men." [For two or three instances of omission see the note to King Henry VIII. iii. 2.-Ed.]
In some passages part of a line seems to have fallen out. (I do not notice here omissions of single words.) Coriolanus, v. 5,-
and, to this end, He bow'd his nature, never known before
But to be rough, unswayable, and free." My ear tells me that Shakespeare never could have so concluded a period ; neither could he have used bow'd thus absolutely. Part of a line has dropt out, somewhat to the following effect,
and to this end,
[To an enforc'd observance.] 3 Con.
Sir, his stoutness, When he did stand for consul,” &c. Timon of Athens, i. 2.
Knight has forestalled me in the arrangement of the following lines. Some words, however, have dropt out, which I have endeavoured to restore,
“Who lives that's not depraved or depraves ?
Who dies, that bears not one spurn to their graves
'Pray you, 'beseech you, are frequent in Shakespeare (I re
member also 'crave you in one of his plays, I forget where24); and the substitution, in printing, of the longer form for the shorter has destroyed the metre of numerous passages
in our old dramatists. Macbeth, iv. 3,
“Why in that rawness left you wife and child,
Without leave-taking ?—I pray you,
Let not my jealousies be your dishonours,” &c. Write, metri gratia, 'Pray you. Greene, Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, Dyce, vol. i. p. 180,
“I pray God I like her as I loved thee." Read for harmony's sake, 'Pray God, and pronounce lovèd. So also with regard to the forms 'pray, and 'pray you, the substitution of the former for the latter will solve the defective numbers of many hundreds of lines in Beaumont and Fletcher. Note by the way ’pray' and pray'e, indicating (like mon’th, &c.) the transitional state of the word, in the Little French Lawyer, ap. fol. 1647, p. 64, col. 1,
'Why do ye speake so lowd ? I pray'e goe in
24 Macbeth, iv. 3, “'crave your pardon,” where the first folio reads," I shall crave.”-Ed.
Ib. col. 2,
Peace, good Madam. Stop her mouth, Dinant, it sleeps yet, 'pray' be wary.” And just below,
“'Pray' put your light out." 1 K. H. VI. iii. 1, fol. p. 106, col. 1,
“ Pray' Vnckle Gloster mitigate this strife.” Also pray y' ; Cartwright, Ordinary, iï. 5, Dodsley, vol. x.
“ Brave sport i'faith. Rimewell. Pray y', good sir, reconcile them." The same form occurs iv. 4, pp. 246, 247, and v. 4, p. 258,
“Pray y’, look.” 25 And so write, instead of pray you, Cymbeline, iv. 2,
I am not very sick, Since I can reason of 't. Pray, trust me here." 16.,
“Yet bury him as a prince. Gui.
Pray fetch him hither." Twelfth Night, iv. 1, ad fin.,
“Nay come, I prithee : would thou 'ldst be ruld by me! Seb. Madam, I will. Oli.
O say so, and so be!” Read I pray; the other is too rugged for a rhyming couplet. Coriolanus, ii. 3,
“What custom wills, in all things should we do't,
The dust on antique time would lie unswept,
25 So the original edition, 1651, in all these places.-Ed.