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Page 428. “Teaches such learning as a woman's eye." Here, again, Collier's folio brings us relief, by changing bear.ty to learning, which the context shows to be unquestionably right.
Page 440. "So persantly would I o'ersway his state." The old copies have pertaunt-like, which the commentators have never been able to make any thing of. Changes, too numerous to mention, have been proposed, but none of them seem to go. Collier's folio gives potently, which is plausible, but does not suit the style and purpose of the speaker, who means to sway her lover by sharpness of wit, not by power. Mr. R. G. White reads persaunt-like, which comes much nearer both the sense and the old printing of the passage. Piercingly would express the thought well, but would be too great a modernizing of the text. Persant, sometimes spelled persaunt, is an old word used by Chaucer and Spenser, meaning much the same as piercingly. Thus, in the "Faerie Queene," Book iii., Canto ix., Stanza 20:
“ Like sunny beames, That in a cloud their light did long time stay, Their vapour vaded, shewe their golden gleames, And through the azure aire shoote forth their persant streames."
Page 458. “Lie in the fail of them which it presents." The old copies read, “Dies in the zeal,” for which various correc tions have been offered. The present reading is Singer's, who justly remarks that the Poet elsewhere uses fail for failure. The false concord of them which and presents is but an instance of what was common whenever the verse required it. The change is so clearly demanded by the sense of the passage, that there needs be no scruple of adopting it.
Page 466. "A heavy heart bears not a nimble tongue." The old reading is “an humble tongue." The change, first sug gested by Theobald, is made in Collier's folio, and is fully approved by the context.
Ibid. “ The extreme haste of time extremely forms." The originals have parts instead of haste. The correction is proposed by Singer, who rightly observes that the context requires it.
"I understand you not: my griefs ar. dull." The old reading is double instead of dull. The change, from Collier's folio, is not quite so happy as Singer's haste, but will do. Double expresses nothing that fits the sense; dull aptly expresses the reason why the Princess could not understand the King.
AS YOU LIKE IT.
Page 186. "Till that the wearer's very means do ebb." The original has “ weary very means," which has posed all the commentators, till Singer suggested the present reading, and removed all the difficulty at once. This is one of the happy instances where, the right change being at last proposed, every. body wonders it was not hit upon before.
Page 212. “ Are horns given to poor men alone?" The original gives the passage thus: "Tis none of his own getting; horns, even so poor men alone.” Theobald undertook to mend this by punctuation, thus: “Horns? Even so:- Poor men alone?" which reading has been commonly accepted. Collier's folio furnishes the present reading, which, though rather bold, is th: best that has been offered, while it does no more violence to the original than Theobald's.
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL.
Page 271. “Coun:. If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess soon makes it mortal.” This speech rightly belongs to the Countess, and not to Helena, as we supposed, being misled therein by Knight and Tieck. The meaning is, “ If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess of grief soon make it (the grief ) fatal;” the sense of mortal more common in Shakespeare than the one it now bears. To express the same thought, we should transpose living and grief. The speech of Lafeu, “ How understand we that?” is addressed to the Countess, and not to Bertram. The foot-note in loco is hereby revoked.
Why the Grecians sacked Troy?
Was this king Priam's joy." In the original, the first of these lines is transposed, thus: “ Was this fair face the cause, quoth she," in the third the words, good sooth it was, are wanting, and the whole song shockingly misprinted. The corrected form here given is from Collier's folio. The Clown is fond of “repeating ballads," and what he sings in this case reads like an old ballad, now lost, from which the correction may have been made. Warburton added the words, for Paris he, in the third line, and has been generally followed. Fond done is foolishly done, and Was at the beginning of the fourth line is merely a repetition of the same word at the end of the third.
Page 323. “ Enter the DUKE of Florence, attended ; French Envoy, French
Gentleman, and Soldiers." This stage-direction, and some of the prefixes in the scene following, are clearly wrong. The former should be, "Enter the DUKE of Florence, attended; two French Lords, and Soldiers," and the prefixes to the second and fourth speeches should be, "1 Lord," and that of the sixth speech “2 Lord.” In the original, the entrances of these two persons, and their prefixes, are inextricably confused throughout the play, as may be seen from note 13, page 357. The same Lords reappear next in Act ii , Scene vi.. where we learn that they are brothers; one of them reappears again in Act iv., Scene i.; and both again in Act iv., Scene iii., where it appears that their names are Dumain, and that they are serving as captains in the Florentine arıy. In the present scene, the person introduced as "French Envoy" speaks in a way wholly unsuited to any one bearing such a character, as Mr. R. G. White has clearly shown. On this point, the stage directions and prefixes went wrong by following Collier's edition of 1842–, which distinguishes them as “French Envoy" and "French Gentleman," merely because the original introduces them as “the two Frenchmen," and gives them the prefixes “French E." and “French G." Probably the original designations “ E." and "G." had no reference to the persons of the drama, and got into the text merely by transference from the theatrical prompter's book.
Page 382. “Her infinite cunning with her modern grace." The original reads, “Her insuile comming," which has found no adequate interpreter. In fact, none, we believe, pretend to see any meaning in it. The present reading was lately proposed by Mr. Sidney Walker, and is found in Collier's folio. It is generally accepted.
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW.
Page 412. “As Stephen Sly, and old John Naps o' the Green.” The original has "John Naps of Greece," which has received no satisfactory or even plausible explanation. Blackstone is said to have proposed the present reading; and it ought to have been generally accepted before now.
Page 442. “No such load as you, if me you mean." The old copies have “No such jade as you." The present read
ing is proposed by Singer, who justly remarks that "Petruchio's answer shows the word load is the true reading."
Page 456. " His horse ... possessed with the glanders, and likely to mourn in the chine."
The old reading is, “like to mose in the chine." No such word as mose has been met with elsewhere, and nobody can imagine what it means. Mr. R. G. White, in his “Supplementary Notes," proposes mourn, and sustains it with the following, from Urquhart's translation of Rabelias, Book i, Chap. 39: “In our Abbey we never study for fear of the mumps, which disease in horses is called mourning in the chine.” This appears to settle the matter.
Page 473. "'Would all the world but he had quite forsworn her." The word her is added in Collier's folio, and is so evidently necessary to the sense, that there needs no scruple of adopting it.
We be affied." "Where, then, do you know best," is the reading of the old copies, which, to say the least, is very obscure. Collier's folio makes the change.
THE WINTER'S TALE.
Page 28. “From heartiness, from bounty's fertile bosom." The original has " from bounty, fertile bosom." Malone was of opinion that the letter s had dropped out, and Collier's folio supplies it. Strange that so easy an explanation of a difficulty should have been missed so long!