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i. e. Striapchy (Russian: Cmpanyii). But it seems eminently unlikely that Shakespeare should have known this word; and, if he did, that he should have used it. The word means both Chief-Cook and advocate, from the verb Striapat to cook; it being supposed that the advocate must cook his case, so as to make it palatable to the judge. The word has no connexion whatever with Satrap, which has also been lately proposed as a substitute for Strachy: to such shifts are we reduced with this seemingly irreducible corruption! In the meanwhile it would he well to remember that Strachey is a proper name in England to this day. What does it mean?
With Scamel we have better success. That too is a family name, peculiar to Wiltshire and Somersetshire: but that is Scamel, A. S., a bench: so that we are no fowarder by that discovery. But it is, by no means an unlikely misprint for Staniel, a species of Hawk which builds in the rocks; and so far, the conjecture of Theobald has a peculiar fitness for the place. The probability of Staniel being the word intended is heightened by the discovery, that in Mr. Thomas Wright's ,, Volume of Vocabularies“, in a Nominale MS. of the 15th century, (p. 252. col. 1), under the head „Nomina avium domesticarum“, the word is misprinted Stamel; and in another place the name Stammel (woven stuff) is misprinted Scam mel; whence we may infer that it is not easy for a compositor to discriminate between t and c, on the one hand, and m and ni on the other. Allow the concurrence of both misprints, and Staniel becomes Scamel. We may, perhaps, consider this word quite redeemed from the limbo of Ullorxals.
We have reserved for consideration, as a final example of the portentous difficulty of emendation, in a case, too, which imperatively demands it, the celebrated Rope-scarre at the opening of the fifth act of Much ado about nothing. Leonato, refusing the consolations of his brother, says,
,,Bring me a father that so loved his child,
And bid him speak (to me) of patience.“ „To me“ was added by Ritson; and also independently conjectured by Mr. Barron Field. Leonato concludes.
,, If such a one will smile, and stroke his beard,
Patch grief with proverbs, make misfortune drunk
Here are two difficulties. The first has been plausibly bridged over by transposing And and cry; wag, meaning, according to this interpretation, as in it does in so many other places, budge. The objection to this is, that it is inconsistent with the philosophic character of the person whom Leonato invests with his own wrongs and sorrows.
Here, then, is a case which is fit for emendation: but in order to deal with it successfully, we must first cope with the other difficulty. Of all the commentators Jackson alone proposes an emendation for candle-wasters; viz. caudle-waters. What it means it is hard to say; for no such word is known to have ever existed, though caudle, (a sort of posset) is familiar enough. We need not pause to consider the merit or demerit of this singular suggestion; for it is nonsuited on the ground of insolentia. garding candle-wasters as a genuine word, what was its meaning? Mr. Staunton says (Ed. vol. I. p. 730) that it means , Bacchanals, revellers“. I venture to think that the editor has here gone beyond the voucher of his authorities. I doubt whether a single example can be adduced of candle-waster in that sense.
It is to us passing strange that, the the word drunk in this passage should have been uniformly interpreted in its literal sense, and candle-wasters understood to mean drunkards, who sit up o' nights to booze. Of all absurd things, there is nothing more painfully absurd, than the attempt to literalize a metaphor. Surely Shakespeare never meant Leonato to deny the possibility of his . drowning his troubles in drink; for that were the easiest as it is the most vulgar pis-aller. Whatever is meant by making misfortune drunk with candle-wasters, it must have been some achievement which in his circumstances was very difficult of performance; so difficult that he pronounced it impossible. Now Whalley succeded in unearthing two examples of the use of candlewaster and lamp-waster, and one of candle-wasting, which throw considerable light on the passage.
,,Heart, was there ever so prosperous an invention thus unluckily prevented and spoiled by a whoreson book - worm or candle-waster?
Ben Jonson: Cynthia's Revels III. 2.
„He should more catch your delicate court-ear, than all your head-scratchers, thumb-biters, lamp-wasters of them all.“
The Antiquary, by Shackerley Marmion. 4to 1641. „I which have known you better and more inwardly than a thousand of these candle-wasting book-worms."
The Hospitall of Incurable Fooles etc. 4to 160.
From these extracts we gather that a candle-waster is a book-worm; literally a consumer of the midnight oil“, a nocturnal student; and the term, (like Grub-street of a century later) was always applied contemptuously. The conclusion is, that to make misfortune drunk with candle-wasters is to drown one's troubles in study, after the manner of candle-wasters; and what fitter pendant could be found to the preceding phrase to patch grief with proverbs?
So far, then, all is clear and indisputable. We may now recur to the former part of Leonato's speech, in which the real crux lies:
,,If such a one will smile and stroke his beard
To stroke the beard and cry hem! (what the French call faire le sérieux) is the very picture of a sententious pedant who would talk down or scold down the first gush of natural feeling, whether of grief or of rage. Such was Achilles' epitome of Nestor in Troilus and Cressida I. 3., where that chief is described as amusing himself with Patroclus' mimicry of the Trojans:
„Now play me Nestor; hem and stroke thy beard!"
It seems to follow, then, that the words , And sorrow wagge“ must, be an error for some phrase expressive of choking, smothering or suppressing sorrow. Hence I venture to think, that, supposing there has been no dislocation of the text, Tyrwhitt's conjecture of gagge, for wagge, at least preserves the continuity of the thought, and the integrity of the image. To attempt to settle the question definitely in favour of this or that conjecture would at present be mere waste of time. The interpretation we have given of the purport of the passage cannot, we think, be successfully assailed; and that may help the student to a solution of the textual difficulty.
Mr. Staunton, who finds, as we have said, a bacchanalian allusion in the phrase to make misfortune drunk with candlewasters, persuades himself that the former part of the speech bears out that view. He contends that cry hem, means to sing the burden of a roystering song. To all which we say, that (1) no example of either the one or the other phrase, employed in those senses, has ever been adduced; (2) if a dozen examples in point were found, the case would be in no wise mended; for the interpretation in question is logically inconsistent with the context. Leonato, it must be observed, is giving a reason for rejecting the counsel of his brother. That counsel is that Leonato should not indulge but restrain his grief. To reply, „shew me a man who has my weight of wrongs, and is yet an example of stoical or cheerful endurance, and I will heed you,“ is logical and ad rem: but to reply: „shew me a man who has my sense of injury and drowns it in roystering songs and drinking bouts“, etc. would be wholly irrelevant; such a rejoinder would imply that Antonio had been recommending his brother to plunge in a sea of drunken revelry. But further, Leonato is fabling a man who having as great troubles should exhibit a preternatural fortitude in suppressing them. Now a man who should, with that view, sit up o' nights to drink and sing, would be simply mad, or self-deceived. He would be exhibiting the very reverse of fortitude; and of such an one Leonato could not possibly gather patience. But still further, he might also employ the argument (already stated), that the very gist of Leonato's rejoinder is, that the prescription of his adviser is impracticable: that the man could not be found who, overwhelmed by his (Leonato's) weight of troubles, would be able to patch his grief with proverbs, or make his misfortune drunk with candle-wasters. If this last phrase is to mean, drown his misfortune in drink, in the company of bacchanals, Leontes is made to say that this -- the common resource of ill-starred mortals lacking fortitude is an impossibility.
The contemplation of this particular passage gives us hope of its ultimate redemption, but at the same time fills us with general despair for the fate of Shakespeare's text. Few, indeed are the difficult passages in Shakespeare in which the drift can be so safely determined as in this. ' If it is necessary in this instance to drag the skin- deep meaning into strong light, and to expose its every turn to the most searching study, and that too against so learned and intelligent an editor as Mr. Staunton, what chance
is there for the great bulk of difficulties in the text, where the sense is deep - laid and recondite, and demands an exposition which would be a tax on the energies of both the critic and his student.
In this passage, we have an example of an inchoate restoration. Here is one of actual restoration or what seems to be such: we read Coriolanus II. 1.
Your prattling nurse Into a rapture lets her haby cry“ etc. On this curious phrase, Mr. Justice Blackstone (Shakespeare Society's Papers I. 99) remarks.
„A Rapture is an odd effect of crying in Babies. Dr. *** would read it Rupture. Only Qu.: If crying ever produces this effect? I have since enquired, and am told that it is usual. Perhaps most fathers and mothers know that such is the fact. But Blackstone might have learned it from a sixteenth century work: „Phiorauante's Secrets“, 1582, p. 5. Where we read.
, To helpe yong Children of the Rupture.
This emendation was independently proposed by two other critics; (See the Cambridge Edition of Shakespeare, Vol. VI. p. 316); and seems as good as an emendation can be: yet it has never been adopted, because it has been thought credible that Shakespeare would have called a baby's fit, a rapture. Credat Judæus Apella.
We conclude this essay with a restoration which is not due to conjectural ingenuity, but to the authority of Ben Jonson. According to him, Shakespeare, in his Julius Cæsar III. 1, wrote as follows.
Cæsar. Thy brother by decree is banished:
If thou dost bend and pray and fawn for him,
I spurn thee like a cur out of my way.
Nor without cause will he be satisfied. Met. Is there no voice more worthy than my own,“ etc. and some what later (III. 2), we read.