« AnteriorContinuar »
ON THE EDITORSHIP OF SHAKSPERE.
geries, and perversions of the text under fictitious names ? Whatever admiration may be due to
many of the commentators, the expediency of re“ The work that has been done, is to be done again, plans must be devised.
form is unquestionable. It is manifest that other and no single edition will supply the reader with a text on which he can rely as the best copy of the works of
As a step in the path of improvement, I would Shakspeare." — Samuel Johnson, 1756.
suggest a bold and searching re-examination of
the principles of editorship with reference to the The course of Shaksperean editorship, with plays of Shakspere, and the formation of such a regard to the dramatic portion of his works, ex- series of rules as may accord with facts and comhibits four distinct phases: 1. The separate pub- mon sense, and satisfy the majority of the best lication of sixteen plays, in the quarto form, in the critics. Important hints on those points occur in years 1597–1622; II. The publication of thirtythe prefaces to his dramatic works, but they are six plays in a folio volume, under the editorial sometimes much at variance with each other, and care of Heminge and Condell
, in 1623 ; III. The they nowhere appear collectively. Now, it is underepublication of the folio volume with the addi- niable that such a code of rules, even if not the tion of " seven playes never before printed in best that could be framed, would tend to the prefolio," in 1664; and IV. The republication of the servation of consistency; and, if unobjectionable thirty-six plays by Nicholas Rowe, by Pope, by in its main features, it might be productive of Theobald, by Hanmer and others, with the addi- much of the benefit which new editions can be tion of memoirs, critical essays, emendations of the expected to derive from learned supervision. In text, annotations, glossaries, etc.
re-editing a monographic volume, which had been The early quarto plays have become of such committed to the press by its author, we encounter extreme rarity as to defy acquisition, and the no serious difficulties, and therefore need only a folio of 1623, which should be the cynosure of few plain rules. It is much otherwise in the future editors, is almost as rare in a PERFECT state. case of Shakspere. The folio volume of 1623 Recourse must be had, in both instances, to public contains thirty-six separate compositions, of very and private collections. The later folios carry no uncertain dates. It embraces a boundless variety authority, and the seven additional plays are held of theme; it displays almost every variety of to be spurious. As all the above volumes are style; and it was set forth by men of whose lielsewhere described with more or less exactness
, terary qualifications we have not an atom of eviit is on the annotated editions only, and on the dence! Thence arise NUMBERLESS QUERIES, the spirit of annotation which has prevailed for near a solution of which calls for much research and century-and-a-half, that I propose to comment. critical sagacity; so that without the establishment
Reflecting on the events of this latter period, of just principles, and the formation of corresponand assuming that new editions of the plays of dent rules, there can neither be justness nor uniShakspere must always be in request, I come to formity of editorial execution. the conclusion that those which are now most in An attempt to frame such a series of rules is repute on the score of documents and annotations now submitted to public criticism. A rash attempt would be too voluminous if reprinted on the it may seem, but it is the result of deliberation; former plan of successive accumulation. The called into visible existence by the signs of the editions to which I allude are those of Johnson times. If the proposed rules should be condemned, and Steevens, and Malone — with the corrections or in part contested, I shall hold myself in readiand illustrations of various commentators. Both ness to come forward in their defence. If improvethose celebrater publicatiors were formerly in ten ments should be suggested – for which, doubtless, octavo volumes; but in the last augmented im- there is scope-I shall receive the suggestions pressions which were given to the public, by Reed thankfully. If the publication of the series should and Boswell respectively, they both form twenty- be pronounced superfluous, I engage to prove that one volumes. "This increase of bulk was the alniost all the rules which it contains have been growth of only thirty years, and more than thirty violateil, even in the course of one play, by the years have since elapsed. Is the accumulative best editors of our dramatist - and that some of system to be continued ? Are we always to ap- the most important of them have been violated proach 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
CANONS OF CRITICISM; APPLICABLE TO A NEW EDITION of more fortunate inquirers ? Are we to be satiated with the notes, the confutations of notes, Canon I. The preliminary matter, the number and the replies, and the rejoinders of former times? order of the plays, and their respective titles, shall be with historical facts misapplied to fiction? with the same as in the edition which was set forth by Heparallel passages devoid of parallelism ? with for- minge and Condell in 1623.
OF THE PLAYS OF WILLIAM SHAKSPERE,
Canon II. The text of the plays, errors excepted, ter was as extraordinary as his own, Dr. Barebone, shall be that of 1623, collated with that of such of the
the great builder and projector, of whom Roger
The deficient lists of characters shall be supplied on the North, in his yet unpublished Autobiography, has same plan as that of the tempest, and the current divi- given one of those speaking portraits which place sions into acts and scenes shall be adopted.
before us the living man beyond the possibility of
a mistake. Barebone was one of the sons of Cunon III. No emendations shall be admitted into Praise-God Barebone, and was christened at his the text but such as are requisite to give it the pro- baptism “ If-Jesus-Christ-had-not-died-for-theeother circumstance than the defective state of the text itself North informs us it was customary to omit all ihe
thou-had-been-damned” Barebone ; but Roger be held to justify such emendations.
Canon IV. No additions shall be made to the plays, syllables of the name except the last, “ Damned either in the shape of prefaces, or of lists of the charac- Barebone” or “Damned Dr. Barebone” being his ters, or of emendations of the text, or of divisions into ordinary appellation ; which, as his morals were acts and scenes or otherwise, without being indicated none of the best, appeared to suit him better than as such by brackets.
his entire baptismal prefix. Dr. Barebone—who as Canon V. No omission, or transposition, or other
the author of two of the ablest of our early comalteration shall be made, either in the text or in its mercial tracts, and as one of the most enterprising accompaniments, without a note describing it, and men this country ever produced, deserves a notice stating the evidence in favour of its adoption.
in an English biographical dictionary, wben we shall Canon VI. The orthography shall be modern, when have one which is worthy of the name—died deeply not required to be otherwise for the sake of the mea
involved in debt, and in appointing Mr. Asgill as sure, or the rhyme, or to preserve a play upon words ; his executor, male it a request in his will that he but the preliminary matter of 1623 shall be printed should never pay his debts. What a scene it must literatim.
have been in Lincoln's Inn Hall, deserving all the Cunon VII. In the use of capitals, and in other graphic powers of Hogarth or Cruikshank, when to typographical particulars, there shall be a strict uni- the “monster” meeting of creditors whom he had formity of plan, which plan shall be described and ex- summoned to hear the will read, the executor, emplified. The punctuation shall be inserted as the after producing the will, and reading it through, context requires, and without regard to the early or and giving due emphasis to the request it conlate editions.
tained, subjoined with the greatest gravity, “ You Canon VIII. The preface of each play shall record have heard, gentlemen, the Doctor's testument, and I the evidence of its authorship, the presumed date of its will religiously fulfil the will of the dead.” As the composition, the peculiarities of all the editions of it writer of the MS. memoir justly observes, “There previous to 1623, and the sources of its plot. The was not perhaps such another pair as the doctor notes shall be as concise as possible, and limited to the and the counsellor in the three kingdoms." establishment of the text, and the illustration of its obscurities ; rejecting all criticism on former commentators.
As some contribution to a future Life of Asgill,
no complete list baving yet been given of his Canon IX. A glossarial index shall comprise the titles of the plays, the names of the characters, the obso writings, I inclose the following, which is as corlete words and phrases, and the words used in an un
rect as I can at present make it. All the Tracts common sense, or with a peculiar accent, or which
are in my own possession. If any of your correotherwise seemed to require notes.
spondents can add to it, I shall be glad to see it Bolton CORNEY.
rendered more complete:
1. “ Several Assertions proved in order to create another Species of Money than Gold and Silver.” 1696, 8vo. p. 85. 2nd edit. 1720, 8vo. p. 46.
Essay on a Registry for Titles of Lands." It is much to be regretted that the materials for
Lond. 1698, 8vo. p. 43. 4th edit. 1758, 8vo. p. 44, a Life of this most original writer, whose wit is
It is reprinted in State Tracts (Will. III.), vol. ii. frequently as brilliant and effective as Swift's, are so scanty. Dr. Campbell, who wrote the account 3. “Reply to some Reflections on Mr. Asgill's of Asgill in the first edition of the Biographia Bri- Essay on a "Registry.” 1699, 8vo. p. 39. tannicu, makes several references to a MŚ. Memoir This has never been reprinted. The Tract pubby his intimate friend Mr. A. N. Can any of your lished in State Tracts (Will
. III.), vol, ii, p. 704.
, correspondents inform me if this memoir is still in attributed to Asgill in the Biog. Brit. (title existence?. Dr. Kippis, who seems to bave been Asgill"), is evidently not written by him. in a blissful state of ignorance as to Asgill's real " An Argument proving that Man may be character, and the meaning of his writings, has translated." 1700. 8vo. p. 103. added no fresh facts to the
account of his prede- 5. “ De Jure Divino, or the. Assertion is that the cessor.
Title of the House of Hanover is a Title Hereditary." Asgill was the executor of a man whose charac- 1710, 8vo. p. 38.
AND HIS VALOUR AT THE BATTLE OF GROTZKA.
6. “ Essay for the Press.” 1712, Svo. p. 8. of Asgill's style, Dr. Davenant is severely ridi7. “ Mr. Asgill's Defence upon his Expulsion." culed.
JAMES CROSSLEY. 1712, 8vo. p. 87.
8. " Mr. Asgill's Extract of the several Acts of Parliament for settling the Succession of the Crown."
LINES ON THE EARL OF CRAWFORD. 1714, 8vo. p. 24. Published also with another title
These lines on the Earl of Crawford occur in a page :
“ Mr. Asgill's Apology.” 9. " The Pretender's Declaration abstracted.” 1714,
volume of poems by W. Bewick, B.A., the second 8vo. p. 46. Published also with a new title-page : in 1752. I have copied them in case the editor
edition of which was printed at Newcastle-on-Tyne History of Three Pretenders.” 1714, 8vo.
10. “Succession of the House of Hanover vindi- may think them worthy of insertion in “N. & Q.” cated." 1714, 8vo. p. 75.
They may perhaps be interesting to the noble 11. “ Pretender's Declaration englished.” 1715, author of Lites of the Lindsays. 8vo. p. 24. 12." “ Pretender's Declaration transposed." 1716,
“ ON THE RIGHT HONOURABLE JOHN EARL OF CRAWFORD, 8vo. p. 19.
13. “ A Question upon Divorce." 1717, Svo. p. 20. “ Descended from a family as good
You are the ornament of all your race,
What courage you have shown, illustrious Scot! 16. “ The complicated Question divided upon the In future ages will not be forgot : Bill relating to Peerage.” 1719, 8vo. p. 18.
When wicked infidels came crowding on 17. “ Brief Answer to a brief State of the Question With horsetails mov'd, and crescents of the moon; between the printed and painted Calicoes and the With frightful regiments of foot and horse, Woollen and Silk Manufactures.” 1719, 8vo. p. 22. In dreadful numbers, and with mighty force;
18. “ The British Merchant; or a Review of the With proud Bashaws, by Sultan's high command, Trade of Great Britain." Published in Numbers. With flaming scimiters in nervous hand, No. I., Nov. 10, 1719.
In Hungar plains against the Christian host, 19. “Computation of the Advantages saved to the At Grotzka, when the fatal day was lost, Public by the South Sea Scheme.” 1721, 8vo. p. 24. You stood undaunted in the bloody field,
20. “Extract of the Act passed 11 Geo. I., for the Withstood their fury, and disdain'd to yield, Relief of Insolvent Debtors; with Remarks, and a Amidst the clouds of smoke, when bullets shower'd, Postscript concerning Taxes.” 1729, 8vo. p. 32. Amidst loud thunders, when dread cannons roar’d,
21. “The Metamorphosis of Man. Part I.” 2nd You with a courage like a Lindsay fought, edit. 1729, 8vo. p. 288.
Shunnid not the enemy, but danger sought; 22. Asgill upon Woolston," 8vo. 1730, p. 36. Till crowding numbers overpowering you, 23.
Essay upon Charity.” 8vo. 1731, p. 18. And fainting with your wounds, you weary grew; 24. “ Mr. Asgill's Case.” Broadside, N. D. Folio. When wounded much, and ready to be kill'd,
25. “Mr. Holland's Answer to Mr. Asgill's Case Amidst your foes, they forced you off the field. replied to.” Broadside folio. N. D.
Who can the hero blame, when he has done
His best in battle, and is left alone : The last two were issued in 1707, and were re
Whose noble courage had sustain'd the test, plied to in two broadsides : Reasons humbly offered By crosrding numbers of the foe opprest, by Mr. Holland against Mr. Asgill; and Mr. Hol
Choked in his blood, wounds flaming in his breast. lands Answer to Mr. Asgill's Case.
Thus when the news came spreading through the main, Of the Tracts enumerated only Nos. 5, 6, 7, The dismal news of noble Crawford slain 8, 9, 10, and 11. are included in the 8vo. with the When such unhappy tidings touch'd our ears title: A Collection of Tracts written by John As- How pallid were our looks, with sudden fears. gill, Esq. 1715, 8vo.
How much did we suspect the doubtful truth, Mr. Asgill's Congratulatory Letter to the Lord Believing we had lost the warlike youth ; Bishop of Sarum (Burnet), 1713, 8vo., is not Whose peerless loss would Britons nearly touch, written by him.
The loss of one whom George affects so much : The two best imitations of Asgill's style which
Which to his country had much dearer been, I have seen are, A Letter to the People, to be left
Than if a thousand others had been slain. for them at the Bookseller's; with a Word or Two
But Providence the wounded much did save,
And back again our noble Crawford gave; of the Bandbox Plot. 1712, 8vo. p. 15. _Written
But not without relurning deadly blows, by Tom. Burnet. And that in the Examiner,
And that with justice on his wicked foes. vol iii. No. 6., probably by Oldisworth.
Such was the courage of our British lord; To the list of Asyill's writings may, I think, also He pistol'd or he cut them down with sword, be added, though his name does not appear to it, And had but others equal courage shown, Dr. Darenant's Prophecies, 1713, 8vo.; in the in- The day which fatal was had been their own." troduction to which, which bears all the marks
Ε. Η. Α.
Christopher Hatton, and attached to one of the SIR HENRY WOTTON'S LETTER TO MILTON,
pillars; and the inscription is given, but not very Most lovers of Comus have often read with accurately, in Bridge's Northamptonshire (vol. ii. interest Sir H. Wotton's "Letter to Milton," which p. 280., Oxford, 1791, fol.). I transcribed for is in many editions prefixed. The initials M. B. myself as follows: refer to Michael Brainthwaite, who succeeded
“ Memoriæ Sacrum Wotton at Venice; and S. refers to the young Thome Randolphi (dum inter pauciores) Fælicissimi Lord Scudamore, whose father resided at Paris as et facillimi ingenii Juvenis necnon majora promit. ambassador for King Charles I. Todd rightly tentis si fata virum non invidissent sæculo, suggests, from an old MS, note, that H. must have
Here sleepe thirteene been John Hales of Eton (the “memorable"), and
Together in one tombe, not Samuel Hartlib, as Thomas Warton had sup- And all these greate, yet quarrell not for rome: posed.
The Muses and y® Graces teares did meete It is strange that I too possess a copy of the And grav'd these letters on yo churlish sheete, third edition of Wotton's Reliquiæ (London,
Who having wept their fountaines drye 1672), with many MS. notes in an old and scholar- Through the conduit of the eye,
For their freind who here does lye, like hand. In said volume, H. is likewise filled up Hales ;
Crept into his grave and dyed,
And soe the Riddle is untyed. and we know that Wotton speaks of Hales as a
For wel this Church, proud ye the Fates bequeath Bibliotheca Ambulans (Rel., p. 475.); that he re
Unto her ever honour'd trust joiced when Archbishop Laud preferred him to a Soe much and that soe precious dust, prebendaryship of Windsor (Ib. p. 369.); that Hath crown'd her Temples with an luye wreath, they lived together on most intimate terms; and Weh should have Laurelle beene that, finally, Hales attended Wotton in his dying But ye the grieved plant to see him dead moments (Walton's Life of Sir H. W. ad calcem).
Tooke pet and withered. Indeed (unless I mistake) Samuel Hartlib had not settled in England at this time, so that we may Cujus cineres brevi hac (qua potuit) imortalitate put him out of the question for ever.
donat Christopherus Hatton, Miles de Balneo et MuTo me the mysterious part of Wotton's “ Letter sarū amator, illius vero (quem deflemus) supplendâ to Milton," seems to lie in the initials "R" and carminibus quæ marmoris et æris scandalum mane “the late R' poems." And I should be very glad bunt perpetuum." to know how far Thomas Warton's observations
Rr. upon them could stand the lynx-eyed scrutiny of Warmington. MR. CROSSLEY, or some of your other correspondents. Why the first R. must necessarily mean
FOLK LORD. John Rouse of the Bodleian (though Milton did honour him at a later period with some Latin verses), Cure for the Ague. — About a mile from Berkor the second R. Thomas Randolph, the adopted bampstead, in Hertfordshire, on a spot where two son of Ben. Jonson, I am unable to perceive. roads cross each other, are a few oak trees called Warton is wrong in saying that it appears
from cross oaks. Here aguish patients used to resort, his monument, which he had seen in Blatherwycke and peg a lock of their hair into one of these oaks, Church, Northamptonshire, that Randolph had then, by a sudden wrench, transfer the lock from died on the 17th of March, 1634. His monument their heads to the tree, and return home with the contains no date whatsoever. I visited the above- full conviction that the ague had departed with mentioned church on the 17th of June ult., with the severed lock. Persons now living affirm they the express purpose of seeing the last resting- have often seen hair thus left pegged into the oak, place, or the last memorial, of one who, however for one of these trees only was endowed with the unfortunate himself, was, in Warton's note at all healing power. The frequency of failure, howevents, associated with Milton's Comus, and send ever, to cure the disease, and the unpleasantness the inscription verbatim.
of the operation, have entirely destroyed the poWood tells us that Randolph died in March pular faith in this remedy; but that expedients 1634, at the house of William Stafford of Blather- | quite as absurd and superstitious, and even more the same month “ in an ile joining to B. Church, fully provede by several instances recorded in among the Stafford family." In this he is followed “N.&Q." by the Biographia Britannica, from whence, as And here I must express, what will be conwell as from Wood, I learn that the author of the sidered by some of its readers an extraordinary of Cambridge. The tablet on which it is written expel superstition. It may change its character, is of white marble, erected at the expense of Sir but it will not rid the mind of its baneful ip
TICLES IN SHAKSPEARE.
fluence. Superstition, I believe, may be proved The printer has, singularly enough, committed to be perfectly independent of education, as it the same mistake in the first line of Act IV. A exists almost equally among the highly educated passage from which, as it stands in all the late and the most ignorant, while persons from both editions, it would be vain to try to extract a these classes may be found equally free from its meaning. degrading trammels. A work designed to illus- Edgar enters in bis disguise, and is made to say: trate this fact or opinion would be extremely in- " Yet better thus and known to be contemn'd teresting and instructive, and I shall be glad to Than still contemnd and flatter'd.” hear that some able person has entered on such an Now it must be evident to common sense, that he undertaking. The folk lore of “ N. & Q.” will be alludes to his disguised condition ; and that to very useful, and may be made more so towards make sense of the passage, we must read, as Jobuthe accomplishment of this object, if instances of
son suggested : superstitious notions and practices among the
“ Yet better thus unknown," &c. higher classes, and they abound, be also included. I am prepared to contribute some instances, and I
Edgar could not mean to say that he was knowa shall do it the more readily when a definite and in his disguise! The plain meaning must be, “ It useful object is known to be in view. W. H. K.
is better to be contemned in this beggarly disguise
unknown, than in my true rank and character to Weather Prophecy (Vol. v., p. 534.).— I have be flattered though secretly contemned." heard the very same prophecy in Sweden, where it is said never to fail. This summer the oak has From a similar lapse of the printer, a passage in come out before the ash in Aberdeenshire, which King John, Act III. Sc. 1., has been made the I beg thus to place on record. G. J. R. G. subject of much unnecessary comment, some of Ellen Castle, Aberdeenshire.
which, from its pseudo-Collins character, might well have been spared. Constance says:
“O Lewis, stand fast; the devil tempts thee here PRINTER'S ERRORS IN THE INSEPARABLE PAR- In likeness of a new untrimmed bride."
Theobald proposed to read, “ a new and trimmed Among the most frequent causes of obscurity in bride." And Dr. Richardson, in his excellent the text of the old editions, this stands pre-eminent. Dictionary, suggests that untrimmed was a mere corThe instances are many and manifold. Two pas ruption of entrimmed. Mr. Dyce, to whom every sages in the play of King Lear have occurred to reader of our early drama is so much indebted, me, which need, I think, only be pointed out to informs me that he hastily fell into the views of carry conviction even to the most rigid stickler the commentators regarding the meaning of untrimfor the integrity of the old copies.
med, but that he is now convinced it is here simply In Act II. Sć. 1., where Edmund misrepresents
an error of the printer for uptrimmed ; a mistake to his father his encounter with his brother Edyar, easily made at press. Trimmed up, and decked up, he says: “Full suddenly he fled.” On which
were the current phrases applied to a bride dressed Gloucester exclaims :
for her nuptials. We have both phrases in Romeo
and Juliet : Capulet says to the nurse, * Let him fy far : Not in this land shall he remain uncaught,
“ Go waken Juliet, go and trim her up." And found; dispatch, the noble Duke my master He had previously said to his wife : comes to-night.”
“ Go thou to Juliet, help to deck her up." Thus the passage stands in the first folio. The It is satisfactory, by such a simple and unVariorum Edit., which is followed by Mr. COLLIER doubted correction, to get rid of heaps of idle and Mr. Knight, prints it as if the sense was babble and verbiage about a word that the poet interrupted, and entirely departs from the punc- certainly never wrote, and certainly never contuation of the old copy, thus :
ceived, with the meaning that some of the com“ Let him fly far :
mentators would give to it. This will be evident Not in this land shall be remain uncaught;
from a passage in his eighteenth sonnet : And found — Dispatch— The noble Duke my master“ And every fair from fair sometimes declines, comes to-night."
By chance, on Nature's changing course, untrimmid." We have not a word to tell us of the innovation,
S. W. SINGER. which was certainly uncalled for. The context plainly shows that we should read, preserving the punctuation of the folio:
DR. CUMMING ON ROMANS VIII.
I cannot pretend to any acquaintance with Not in this land shall he remain uncaught, Dr. Cumming's works, which appear to be at preUnfound ;" &c.
sent very popular, and am therefore unable to say