Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

blunder imputed to the old printer of the folio, 1623, who, by the misuse of a capital letter, made it appear as if “the Naples vesture of humility” meant the Neapolitan vesture of humility, and not "the napless vesture of humility.” So the Rev. Mr. Dyce, in his Middleton's "Any thing for a quiet Life," having to print a sentence about a poor man's napless breeches” of fustian, in his note actually makes it appear, as if the fustian was not napless, but had been imported from Naples. Having erred about napless in one dramatist, he seems to have resolved rather to be wrong about woolless in another, than to admit his blunder; and from his note upon the passage in “Coriolanus,” it is evident, that that play in his hands narrowly escaped an epithet which Mason, as a sort of pitfall for commentators, formerly suggested instead of "wolvish.” Had the Rev. Mr. Dyce really printed foolish (and he would sooner have done that, than have admitted the old corrector's indubitable emendation) it would, beyond all redemption, have given a shibboleth to his Shakespeare.

For the same sort of reason it may be supposed, that he has an antipathy to the old corrector's aspirate, and declines to read in “King Lear,” A. ii. sc. 4,

“ To be a comrade with the wolf, and howl

Necessity's sharp pinch," because in one of Beaumont and Fletcher's plays (“The Custom of the Country,” A. i. sc. 2), he allowed the laughable cockneyism me high to stand instead of “my eye.” However, it is not worth while to carry this sort of argument farther, only it is surprising that a man of Mr. Dyce's education should not detect so palpable a vulgarism on the part of the ancient compositor'. His

6 The manner in which in his “ Beaumont and Fletcher" he has spelt "vile" (sometimes vilde and sometimes “vile") has gone some way to secure a name for that edition. Can any thing be more strange than, in a book, professing to follow modern orthography, to print swound for “swoon,debosh'd for “debauched,” riss for “rose,” &c. &c.? In one place, we forget exactly where, with what scorn does not Mr. Dyce treat those, who, avoiding an ignorant archaism, venture to print “construe,” and not conster. It is satisfactory, however, to find that, excepting as applied to a few words, Mr. Dyce, in his edition of Shakespeare, has acknowledged this mistake among others. It is much to be wished that he could amend such disfigurements in his “ Beaumont and Fletcher," a work upon which, as far as the text is concerned, he bestowed considerable pains.'

memory is not quite as oblivious as Mr. Singer's, but still I could adduce many instances, in every one of his six volumes, in which, while he carefully appropriates emendations recorded in my corrected folio, 1632, he utterly forgets to let any body know from whence he procured them. I am tired of quoting examples, and, as I am afraid the reader may be in the same predicament, I will only trouble him with a very short one. I go no farther than Mr. Dyce's first volume, “Measure for Measure," A. v. sc. 1, where this speech is put into the mouth of Angelo in every copy of the play from the folio, 1623, to our own day :

“Hark, how the villain would close, now, after his treasonable abuses.” Such has been the invariable text, and nobody, that I know of, has thought of questioning it; but it is an undoubted blunder, and the alteration in the corrected folio, 1632, makes the passage run thus :

“ Hark, how the villain would gloze, now, after his treasonable abuses." Can this be wrong? certainly not : even the Rev. Mr. Dyce says so, and silently purloins (of course I only use the word etymologically) the word “gloze," which has always hitherto been close, from the corrected folio, 1632 . Surely, this is most unfair; and it is so unfair, that it astonishes me how the Rev. Mr. Dyce could be guilty of it. I cannot be mistaken on the point, and I have looked at it again and again; but as it stands, he appears to abuse my book, and to sneer at the maker of its MS. notes, and me, on every possible occasion, yet, when he happens to want a “particle of gold,” (here only a “particle") he picks the old corrector's pocket with the most practised dexterity.

7 In Robert Wilson's comedy, “ The Cobbler's Prophesy," 1594, there is a similar blunder, scarcely more manifest than me high for “my eye:" this drama has not fallen under the Rev. Mr. Dyce's editorial revision, but if it had, even he could hardly have preserved the following:

“ Breake forth, ye hangrie powers, And fill the world with bloodshed and with rage.”- Sign. D 4 b. The Rev. Mr. Dyce knows as well, or better, than I do, that we must be prepared for corruptions of all kinds in the hasty typography of our ancestors : the difference between us is, that I am for remedying, he for preserving them.

8 I presume that if he had happened to find "gloze," instead of close, in any edition of Shakespeare, he would not have failed to state it ; just as in “The Merchant of Venice,” A. iii. sc. 2, where the old corrector puts a colon after

It is not impossible that the Rev. Mr. Dyce has some authority of his own for various changes, of which I am not aware, and of which he makes no mention. I trust that it is so; for it can now make no difference to me, and must make all the difference to him, whether he has or has not quietly applied to his own purposes the contents of the volume, which his sometime friend happened to discover. I can only say that, as far as the many editions of Shakespeare to which I have access extend, I could multiply proofs of similar obligations almost indefinitely; just as if Mr. Dyce thought, because he now and then (no oftener than is inevitable) acknowledges the claims of the MS. annotator, at other times, and particularly with reference to smaller words, he may

ransack him without remorse or conscience o.

9

“ Indian " and before“ beauty," the Rev. Mr. Dyce does not neglect to point out that “the change is also found in an edition of Shakespeare published by Scott and Webster" in 1830. Such an edition is entirely unknown to me; but I conclude at once that Mr. Dyce is accurate. It is, on bis account, much to be regretted that he could not discover bollen bagpipe," and various other emendations of the same comedy in the same authority : it would have saved him a world of annoyance in being compelled to deal with the text of the old corrector.

may here mention one case in which I claimed for the corrected folio, 1632, an emendation, as if it were a novelty, when, in fact, it had been speculatively made a century ago. I allude to the word “gests” in “ Antony and Cleopatra," A. iv. sc. 8. When I wrote regarding it in 1852, I had only the Variorum Shakespeare of 1821 at hand, and was not aware that Theobald had recommended “gests," instead of guests as it stands in the old copies. Sir Thomas Hanmer, I may inform Mr. Dyce, also has “gests,” and the change cannot be disputed, although guests was justified by Johnson and followed by Malone. It seems quite a god-send to Mr. Dyce, whenever he can point out, that a change recommended in the corrected folio, 1632, has been suggested by some comparatively recent commentator: he never omits to say in his notes, “ So Theobald, and so Mr. Collier's

If I were remarking upon an edition of Shakespeare by any body else than one of the last persons I could have suspected of it, I should certainly say that the conduct of the Rev. Mr. Dyce towards my corrected folio, 1632, has been disingenuous in another respect. Besides availing himself of verbal and literal emendations, without a hint as to their origin, he has, in not a few places, adopted into his volumes stage-directions, which I am entitled to consider of importance and singularity, and which are only to be found in the hand-writing of the old annotator on my folio, 1632. If the reader will turn again to “Measure for Measure,” A. i. sc. 1, (this Vol. p. 266,) he will see how Johnson, Tyrwhitt, Steevens, and others have contested respecting the time at which, and the manner in which the Duke delivers his commissions both to Escalus and Angelo. My folio, 1632, the corrections in which were probably made, as Mr. Dyce somewhere remarks, by a person acquainted with the old theatrical practice, puts an end to this dispute, and such a stage-direction as Giving it, twice repeated, explains exactly, what is technically called, “the business of the scene. are very properly accepted and inserted by the Rev. Mr. Dyce, but he has not, as properly, let his reader into the secret, that they were obtained from the corrected folio, 1632, where they appear for the first time, and must finally close a controversy in which former editors were long pertinaciously engaged.

This instance is, however, a trifle, compared with another from “The Tempest,” A. i. sc. 2, (this Vol. p. 22,) and which has naturally excited so much attention, ever since I first announced it in “Notes and Emendations," in 1853, that I am again utterly at a loss to account for Mr. Dyce's silence, excepting on the ground of his determination not to admit a debt to my corrected folio, 1632, where he could, almost at any sacrifice, escape it. He seems strangely

.” These

MS. corrector;" “ So Hanmer, and so Mr. Collier's MS. corrector,” &c., just as if that were a reason for rejecting, instead of accepting an alteration.

to have brought himself to the belief that it was possible to escape it here; and accordingly he is dumb as the dead regarding a new stage-direction, copied by him, which at once removes a stumbling-block that has impeded the course of every editor of Shakespeare. It is where Prospero, having laid aside his magic mantle for a time, and having made his narration to Miranda, wishes to produce a sudden somnolency in her for other purposes of the drama.

All readers know that the heroine does fall asleep at the moment when it would seem least natural for her to do so, and speculation has been exhausted to explain the cause of the drowsiness that at once overcomes her. The fact is, that Prospero, having laid aside his robe of power when he did not require it, resumes that robe when he needs its influence over his daughter; and although there always has been inserted, in every edition, a stage-direction where he disarrays himself, there never has been

any

edition, to inform us when he put on his mantle again. It may appear strange that such an omission should have been constantly made, and that no commentator has ever thought of supplying it; and this is precisely what is found in the margin of my corrected folio, 1632, and this is precisely what the Rev. Mr. Dyce makes use of without remark, either upon the old deficiency, or upon the new mode of remedying it. The words in the corrected folio, 1632, state that Prospero puts on his robe again, while the Rev. Mr. Dyce only varies the expression by telling his readers, in less simple terms, that Prospero resumes his robe.

Now this is what, in the case of any other editor, I should call unfair, disingenuous, and ungenerous : it is unfair, because it conceals the source of the important addition, never dreamed of until I produced my corrected folio, 1632 : it is disingenuous, because it makes the insertion resumes his robe appear as if it had proceeded from the unprompted suggestion of the editor's mind; and it is ungenerous, because, as it seems to me, it is utterly at variance with that open and straight

one, in

« EdellinenJatka »