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who bowed ; " Earth hath swallowed all my hopes but she;" “ All debts are cleared between you and I;" 66 That fair for which love groaned for;” 6 In what enormity is Marcus poor in?” “Shall's [shall us] to the Capitol ? ” 66 What he is, more suits you to conceive than I to speak of.” Such syntactical irregularities as these are too thickly strewn through the literature of the Elizabethan period to be slips of the pen, or printer's errors.

The evils which may result from one editor's trusting to another in matters of authority are great; because, however careful, we are all liable to error. Examples might be pointed out in the work of even the most competent editors. Therefore all readings and quotations in this edition, with exceedingly rare exceptions, have been given not at second hand, as I have found is too frequently the case, - but from the originals; the excepted cases being passages in two of the earlier quartos and two or three extremely rare books, copies of which have not yet floated over to us, in which recourse has been had to the next best authority, the careful reprints of these volumes under the eyes of the most eminent Elizabethan scholars of England, compared with such collations as those of Capell and Mr. Dyce. The copy of the folio of 1623 which I have constantly used is that in the Astor Library, which is the well-known copy formerly in the collection of the Duke of Buckingham at Stowe. But I have also, whenever it seemed desirable, had the privilege of examining the admirable copy of the first folio, now in the noble Shakespearian library of Mr. Thomas P. Barton of New York, which entire collection, in. deed, has at all times been open to me for consultation when the limits of my own humbler shelves were reached. But the kindness which I have received from this distinguished collector and thorough and accomplished student of Shakespeare, I have endeavored elsewhere more worthily to acknowledge. To Mr. James Lenox my readers as well as myself also owe much for the very generous and unreserved manner in which he placed his collection of the early quartos -- the value of which is hardly known except to the best informed bibliographers ---- entirely at my service.

In the notes upon the regulation of the text, I have endeavored to assign each restoration of a corrupted passage to its author ; for I do not understand how gentlemen and scholars can claim an edition as their own, and then take no small proportion of their text and of their notes from other editors without a word of acknowledgment. A similar course has been pursued with regard to quotations made in support of conjecture or in elucidation of obscurity; and these, including conjectural emendations thought worthy of notice, but not of a place in the text, being generally given in the order of time, a concise history of every restored or doubtful passage is presented. The reader of a critical edition of a great author's works has the right to know upon what authority any reading, gloss, or critical judgment is adopted. In every case, I believe, where no such credit is given for a restoration, I am responsible for it; and as much prominence need not be given to claims of this sort, in those cases it is merely remarked that hitherto the text has stood otherwise. On revising my labors I find that the number of such instances in these volumes is sufficiently large to give me some solicitude, even although I am conscious of the reverent spirit in which the corrections have been made, and the logical conditions to which I held myself bound, even after perception and judgment had done their work. The tables of restored and of corrupted readings indicate the textual points and those relating to the history of the several plays in which this edition differs from those which have preceded it in the present century. They are given for the purpose of presenting in a compact form, easy of reference, a view of the principal peculiarities of the edition in these respects. In the course of my work I have often wished that previous editors had given such a synopsis of their dealings with the text. It would have saved their successors much trouble. This comparative view is limited by the present century, not only because the acquaintance of the large majority of even the more critical readers of Shakespeare with the individual labors of his editors and commentators is confined to that period, but because the first quarter of the century is marked by the appearance of a new spirit of criticism upon these plays, and the introduction of new methods of editing them. The efforts of the last century culminated in the BoswellMalone Variorum of 1821 ; and Mr. Singer's Chiswick edition of 1826 is imbued with the spirit of the eighteenth century, and is, in fact, but an abridgment of the 1821 Variorum.

The causes of the great corruption of the old texts of Shakespeare's plays are probably all included in the following enumeration : incorrectness in the copies made for stage purposes; hasty and surreptitious procurement of copies by short-hand writers at the performances; careless proof-reading, or none at all; printing by the ear; * sophistication, i. e., the introduction by copyist, compositor, or editor of what he supposed was the author's word in a sound passage which he regarded as corrupt because he did not apprehend its meaning; and finally, carelessness, or even some obscurity of thought, on the part of the poet himself. In the regulation of the text of this edition it has not been assumed that Shakespeare, writing as a playwright for the stage only, and not as a poet for the press, always attained, or even strove to attain, faultless perspicuity of expression and clear syntactical coherence, or that he did not knowingly leave some verses imperfect. The whole body of the dramatic literature of his time shows that, had his plays been complete in the last respect, they would have been as singular in that as they are preëminent in all others. But assuming that there may be obscurity and imperfection in these works, which are due to the manner in which and the purpose for which they were written, and to the facility and copiousness of word and thought noticed in their author by his contemporaries, and which therefore cannot, with safety, even if with propriety, be corrected, every means at command has been used for the restoration of corruptions attributable to the other causes above named. I have endeavored to guide myself by fixed but not inflexible principles; to weigh

* Some persons are incredulous as to the possibility of misprints by the ear, or the representation of the sound which the compositor has in his mind instead of the form of the letters which are before his eyes. But a few somewhat peculiar examples will illustrate this strange cause of error. In Romeo and Juliet, Act I. Sc. 4, the quartos of 1598 and 1609, and the folio of 1623, all have the collocation of letters philom, which form no English word, and wliich are unknown to the language except as a contraction of · Philomath.' Yet when we read, in Mercutio's description of Queen Mab's equipage, “the lash of philom,” we see that the compositor merely put in type a mispronunciation of film,'fillum, sometimes heard nowadays. The printing in the folio (Troilus and Cressida, v. 2) of that test of eyes and ears,” for “th attest of eyes and ears," is too plainly a putting of sound instead of form into type to be doubted by any intelligent leader. This mistake also shows that where the' and an ensuing syllable were made to fill the place of one syllable, it was done not by a quick, light pronunciation of the two, according to modern custom, but by dropping the vowel from the article, as the typography of the day indicates. In the French scene of Henry the Fifth "il est appelle” is twice printed with the character & for est, showing that the copy was written by the ear, · est' being taken for et. A like instance of phonography appears in Act IV. Sc. 4 of the same play, where “a cette heure” is printed “asture." I know also of an instance in which Falstaff's exclamation in Henry the Fourth, Part I. Act II. Sc. 4, “ecce signum" appeared in the second proof esse signum," although it was put in type from correct printed copy. The compositor saw ecce, but read the word in his mind with the first c, as well as the second, soft; which same mistake was made in proof-reading by the copyholder, who read aloud. It is difficult to account for some errors of another kind. I have known'olijurgation,' written in letters as plain as those upon this page, appear in a second proof as “civilization." Yet candid men of letters will confess that their own oversights are often corrected by the care and attention of the printing-office. I gladly confess my obligations in this respect. It is sometimes objected to the corrections of Shakespeare's text that they are based upon the supposition of typographical errors, transpositions, and the like, which are too ingeniously conjectured and too subtly unravelled: for instance, Theobald's famous change of “a table of green fields" to "a babbled of green fields." But a modern instance from a carefully and tastefully printed book, the proofs of which had the benefit of the author's own perusal, will illustrate and justify almost any correction of this nature. In Mr. George William Curtis's Nile Notes of a Howadji, which are less notes than revelations of the poetic feeling roused in their accomplished writer by the ruined civilization of the past and sensuous luxuriance of the present in Egypt, a "love-drunken poet” is represented as bursting into song over the sumptuous, alluring South; and these are the first lines of his song:

“I muse, as a traniuce, whene'er

The languors of thy love-deep eyes
Float on me." - p. 225.

Doubtless many a reader has puzzled himself in vain to discover the signifie, cance of that Eastern phrase "a traniuce." But if the iu be taken out of the mysterious word, and the u turned over, we shall have in; and by placing this before the article we shall have,

“I muse, as in a trance, whene'er,” &c.,

which I am as sure as if I had asked him is what was written by the Howadji; and I here present him with the conjectural emendation without fee or hope of reward.

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