Page images

places restored, or left uncorrected, the old corrupt ever ; e.g., Two Noble Kinsmen passim. So ne'er has often been corrupted into never; in like manner as we frequently find in old editions against for 'gainst, alas for 'las, I beseech you for 'beseech you, 'pray you for 'pray, &c., metro nolente, as noticed above; and (more immediately to the point) over for o'er. Prologue to K. Henry VIII. (Jonson),

“Will leave us never an understanding friend." K. Henry VIII. v. 2," Which


shall never have while I live. Chan.

Thus far,
My most dread sovereign,” &c.
Surely ne'er. Hamlet, iii. 3,-

which when it falls,
Each small annexment, petty consequence,
Attends the boist'rous ruin. Never alone

Did the king sigh, but with a general groan.” This will not do in the heroic couplet. 2 K. Henry IV. i. 1,

for a silken point I'll give my barony. Never talk of it.” Measure for Measure, ii. 2,

Most dangerous
Is that temptation, which doth goad us on
To sin in loving virtue : never could the strumpet,

With all her double vigour,” &c.
Certainly the metre requires ne'er.
Massinger, Duke of Milan, ii. 1, Moxon, p. 57, col. 1,-

I preach patience,
And must endure my fortune.
1 Fid.

I was never yet
At such a hunt’s-up, nor was so rewarded."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Beaumont and Fletcher, Rule a Wife, &c., v.

5, near the end of the play, Moxon, vol. i. p. 366, col. 2,

“ Thou art a valiant man, and thou shalt never want." ne'er want,”—the regular Beaumonto-Fletcherian drag at the end of the line. In the Demetrius and Enanthe also there are several instances.

In the old editions of the poets, by the way, the contraction of ever and never is sometimes written ev'r and nev’r. Tempest, v. 1, fol. p. 17, col. 2,

howsoeu'r you haue Beene iustled from your sences. Othello, ii. 1, p. 317, col. 2,

“She that could think, and neu'r disclose her mind.” ii. 3, p. 326, col. 2,

“Shall neu'r look backe, neu'r ebbe to humble Love." 4, p. 327, col. 2,

“ Is not this man iealious ? Des.

I neu'r saw this before." I have a notion that Spenser always does this; but that his editors have altered it. This spelling, however, is in general much less frequent than the other. So I have noticed oor. Browne, Religio Medici, ed. 1647, P. i. Section 32, verses,

“My winters ('s, is) ov’r, my drooping spirits sing,

And every part revives into a Spring." Sometimes in Harrington's Ariosto; xxix. lxiv.,

“ Orlando still doth her pursue so fast,

That needs he must ou’rget her at the last.” xxx. xiv., "he ranged ou’r the cost.” lxxvii.,

“She red the writing ou'er, five times or six."

[ocr errors]

By the way, o'er is frequently misprinted over in our old poets. Massinger, Bondman, iii. 3, Moxon, p. 86, col. 2,

I had not been transform’d, and forced
To play an overgrown ape.”
O'ergrown, I rather think, though Massinger's comic metre
admits of a wider license than his tragic.
K. Lear, iii. 7,-

It was he
That made the overture of thy treasons to us;

qu., o'erture.

A interpolated, and sometimes omitted in the 1st folio.
Tempest, iii. 2,-

he himself
Calls her a nonpareil : I never saw a woman

But only Sycorax my dam, and she," &c. Hanmer (Steevensio teste) metri gratia, “I ne'er saw woman.” The verse is not irregular (S. V. art. viii. p. 101), but it is inharmonious, I think, and Hanmer's reading seems to be right. Ever and never are frequently printed by mistake for e'er and ne'er in the old editions of the poets (see art. ix.); and a has in many instances been interpolated in the folio ;-I may observe, however, that it scarcely ever occurs in the twelve first comedies. Winter's Tale, v. 1,

“ Your honour not o'erthrown by your desires,
I am a friend to them, and you: upon which errand

I now go toward him ;" &c.
Evidently “ I'm friend to,” &c., and so the folio, which

If you

make care.

[ocr errors]


Knight follows. (The text of this play in the folio_there is no quarto-is printed, by the way, with rather more than usual inaccuracy.) iv. 3,

you were straited
For a reply; at least, if you make a care
Of happy holding her.”

K. John, iv. 2,-
“Thy hand hath murder'd him: I had a mighty cause

To wish him dead,” &c. I had mighty cause.” 29 Taming of the Shrew, last scene,

“Here is a wonder, if you talk of a wonder. Luc. And so it is: I wonder what it means." Dele second a. K. Henry VIII. ii. 3,

0 after
So many courses of the sun enthron’d,
Still growing in a majesty and pomp, the which
To leave's a thousand times more bitter, than
'Tis sweet at first t'acquire ; after this process,

To give her the avaunt!”
Dele a before majesty; growing is contracted, like playing,
drawing, knowing, &c., passim; see S. V. art. xiii. p. 122.
Merchant of Venice, v. 1,-

now in faith, Gratiano, You give your wife too unkind a cause of grief.” “ too únkind cause;

as e.g., K. Lear, iï. 4,—

nothing could have subdued nature To such a lowness, but his unkind daughters." 2 King Henry VI. iv. 9,–

[ocr errors]

“ And with a puissant and a mighty power

Of Gallow glasses,” &c.;

29 So in effect Steevens.- Ed.

(2 K. H. IV. i. 3, near the beginning,

“ Upon the power and puissance of the king.” Perhaps "o'th' king.”) and Hamlet, ii. 2,

“That lend a tyrannous and a damned light

To their lord's [lords'] murder ; ” 30 with some other similar passages, may perhaps be wrong, but I much doubt it. Julius Cæsar, v. 1, qu.,

“Look, I draw sword against conspirators ;” vulg., "a sword.” Macbeth, i. 2,

“What a haste looks through his eyes ! So should he look,” &c. Read, metri gratia, “what haste;" and for the same reason, with some editions, read in Othello, iii. 3,

“Or sue to you, to do 31 peculiar profit

To your own person ; at least if a can be dispensed with here. Cymbeline, iv. 3,

“A fever, with the absence of her son!

A madness, of which her life's in danger!-Heavens,

How deeply you at once do touch me!” Wrong surely; the latter A originating in the former. And so 1 K. Henry IV. iii. 2,

“They surfeited with honey, and began
To loathe the taste of sweetness, whereof a little
More than a little is by much too much.”

30 This is the reading of the quartos; the 1st folio omits the second


and reads also vilde murthers for lords murther, as the quarto reading is spelt in Steevens's reprint.—Ed.

31 Pope was the first who omitted a here, and his example was followed by all the editors of my acquaintance except Mr. Knight and Mr. Collier.- Ed.

« PreviousContinue »