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P. 64. (109)
“my way of life" Johnson and Mr. Collier's Ms. Corrector would read “my May of life;" and Walker (Crit. Exam. &c. vol. ii. p. 301) says, “the true correction is undoubtedly . May.'”—But Gifford has the following memorable remarks on this passage ; ** For ‘ray of life’ Johnson would read 'May of life ;' in which he is followed by Colman, Langton, Steevens, and others : and Mr. Henley, a very confident gentleman, declares that he has now no doubt that Shakespeare wrote May of life;' which is also the settled opinion' of Mr. Davies. At a subsequent period Steevens appears to have changed his opinion, and acquiesced in the old reading, “way of life,' which he interprets, with Mr. M. Mason, course or progress,' precisely as Warburton, whom every ' mousing owl harks at,' had done long before them. Mr. Malone follows the same track; and if the words had signified what he supposed them to do, nothing more would be necessary on the subject. The fact
, however, is, that these ingenious writers have mistaken the phrase, which is neither more nor less than a simple periphrasis for 'life,' as 'ray of youth
' in the text [of Massinger's Very Woman] is for “youth.' A few examples will make this clear.” Gifford then cites “ way of youth” from Klassinger’s Roman Actor, 'way of justice from Beaumont and Fletcher's Thierry and Theodoret, 'nay of death or life from Shakespeare's Pericles, &c. &c. He concludes thus ; "To return to Macbeth : “the sere and yellow leaf" is the commencement of the winter of life or of old age ; to this he bas attained, and he laments, in a strain of inimitable pathos and beauty, that it is unaccompanied by those blessings which render it supportable. As his manhood was without virtue, so he has now before him the certain prospect of an old age without honour." Note on Massinger's Works, vol. iv. P. 309, ed. 1813.
Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff" Walker (Crit. Exam. &c. vol. i. p. 278) cites this passage as containing a corruption, “ stuff ;" but he suggests no word to supply its place.—Steevens proposed “Cleanse the foul bosom of that perilous stuff" (quoting, in sup, port of his emendation, from As you like it, act ii. sc. 6, “Cleanse the foul body of th' infected world”).—Mr. Collier's Ms. Corrector changes "stuff” to " grief.”—Mr. Staunton conjectures either “ clogg'a bosom” or “ perilous
P. 65. (112)
'senna," So Rowe.-The folio has “Cyme.” – In a note on the second edition of his Shakespeare, Mr. Collier says; “The Rev. Mr. Dyce tells us (* Remarks,' p. 201) that the 'Rates of Merchandizes. ... contains no such drug as cyme : we should have been astonished if it had." Here I have to convict -or of something more.
Mr. Knight some doubts about the word "senna” in this passage, I
Mr. Collier of misrepresentation, having expressed
observed; "he [Mr. Knight] may rest satisfied that 'senna' is right : the long list of drugs in The Rates of Merchandizes, &c., furnishes no other word for which cyme could possibly be a misprint.” Mr. Collier, therefore, has deliberately transformed
“furnishes no other word for which cyme could possibly be a misprint" into
"contains no such drug as cyme.”
In the Cambridge Essays (vol. for 1856, p. 281) Dr. Badham writes as follows; “Lower down in the same scene (the present one], Mr. Knight very properly expresses his reluctance to admit a conjecture of Rowe's,
• What rhubarb, cyme, or,' &c. For the unknown cyme' Rowe proposed the familiar remedy “senna.' It is astonishing that Mr. Dyce should accept so very uncritical a conjecture, whose only pretension to probability is, that the Pharmacopæia offers us no cathartic whose name is not still more remote from the corrupted word. What, then, if we change the treatment, and read
"What rhubarb, clysme, or what purgative drug,' &c. ? If I am asked what authority I have for this form in the English language, I am at a loss for any thing better than "cataclysm' in the sense of 'deluge.' But Herodotus uses kivoua in the sense of advothp, in Book ii. chap. 87,” &c.-Now I, in my turn, am “astonished" at Dr. Badham's failing to perceive that “cyme” is nothing more than a misprint for “cynne,"
P. 66. (113)
“ For where there is advantage to be ta’en,
Both more and less have given him the revolt,” &c. The folio has “- aduantage to be giuen" (an error originating in the “giuen" of the next line).—Johnson proposed " adrantage to be gone;" Steevens, advantage to be got" (Mr. Collier's Ms. Corrector reads advantage to be gotten"); and Mr. Singer, in his ed. of Shakespeare,
advantage to be gain'd."— I adopt the correction of Walker, Crit. Exam, &c. vol. i. p. 302.
P. 67. (114)
“forc'd” Here means strengthened, reinforced; which I mention because Mr. Col. lier's Ms. Corrector substitutes “ farc'd" (i.e. stuffed).
P. 67. (115)
“ Exit." The folio marks neither the exit nor the re-entrance of Seyton.-On the words, “The queen, my lord, is dead,” Mr. Collier observes ; “We must suppose that Seyton has gone to what we now call the wing' of the stage to inquire.” But "going to the wing," and standing there to glean infor
mation, was surely as unusual on the old stage as it is on the modern; and I have no doubt that formerly Seyton went out and re-entered, just as he does when this play is performed now-a-days :-see any acting-copy of Macbeth.
P. 67. (116)
"my senses rould harc coold" Mr. Collier's Ms. Corrector alters “ cool'd' to “ quail'd,” and very plausibly ; for examples of the expression sense8 quailing may be found in our early writers.
Weu, say, sir."
Thou com'st to use thy tongue ;
Gracious my lord,
Well, say it, sir.”
P. 68. (119)
"I pull in resolution;" Johnson suggests “ pall” instead of " pull.”—Mason, in support of the old reading, adduces, from Fletcher's Sea-Voyage,
" and all my spirits,
Act iii. sc. 1.
P. 71. (120)
"And break it to our hope," &c. “ Arrange rather, I think;
* And break it to our hope !
Then yield thee, coward,
With thee,' emphatically." Walker's Crit. Exam. &c. vol. iii. p. 259.
P. 71. (121)
• [Exeunt, fighting.
Retreat. Flourish," &c. The stage-directions given by the folio in this scene are exquisitely absurd. Here it has
“ Ereunt fighting. Alarums,
Enter Fighting, and Macbeth slaine," &c.; and presently,
“ Enter Macduffe; with Macbeths head."See note 123 on King Richard III. vol. v. p. 476.