Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

The unviolated honour of your wife.

Once this',-Your long experience of her wisdom, Her sober virtue, years, and modesty, some cause to you unknown; but she will well excuse

8

Plead on her part
And doubt not, sir,
Why at this time the doors are made against

you9.

Be rul'd by me; depart in patience,

And let us to the Tyger all to dinner:
And, about evening, come yourself alone,
To know the reason of this strange restraint.
If by strong hand you offer to break in,
Now in the stirring passage of the day,
A vulgar comment will be made of it;
And that supposed by the common rout
Against your yet ungalled estimation,
That may with foul intrusion enter in,
And dwell upon your grave when you are dead:

1

For slander lives upon succession;
For ever hous'd, where it gets possession 2.

7 Once this,-] This expression appears to me so singular, that I cannot help suspecting the passage to be corrupt. MALONE. Once this, may mean, once for all, at once. So, in Sidney's Arcadia, book i.: "Some perhaps, loving my estate, others my person; but once I knew all of them," &c. Again, ibid. book iii.:

- She hit him, with his own sworde, such a blowe upon the waste, that she almost cut him asunder: once she sundered his soule from his body, sending it to Proserpina, an angry goddess against ravishers." STEEVENS.

66

8-Your long experience of HER wisdom, &c.

Plead on HER part] The old copy reads your, in both places. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. MALONE.

9

- the doors are MADE against you.] Thus the old edition. The modern editors read:

the doors are barr'd against you.

To make the door, is the expression used to this day in some counties of England, instead of, to bar the door. STEEVENS. I-SUPPOSED by the common rout -] Supposed is founded on supposition, made by conjecture. JOHNSON.

2 For slander lives upon succession ;

For ever hous'd, where it gets possession.] Thus the only au

ANT. E. You have prevail'd; I will depart in quiet,

And, in despight of mirth3, mean to be merry.
I know a wench of excellent discourse,—

thentick copy; for which Mr. Steevens and the other modern editors, in adopting an adulteration introduced in the second folio, read:

"For slander lives upon succession,

"For ever hous'd when it once gets possession."

It should be observed that in ancient poetry the words succession and possession are used as quadrisyllables; the first of these lines, therefore, is an heroick verse; and the second, having the additional syllable, certainly wants no supplemental syllable to complete the metre, whatever fancy the reviser of the second folio may have entertained.

In the play of Measure for Measure, the reader will hereafter find an attempt by Mr. Steevens to ridicule the notion that every syllable of such words as succession and perfection was considered as operative by our old poets. But it is not necessary to introduce that subject here, it having been discussed in the Essay on Shakspeare's Metre.

Mr. Tyrwhitt, in a subsequent note, mentions that the word once is not inconsistent with the metre. But allowing this to be the case, it ought not on that account to be received, unless we consider ourselves at liberty to re-write our poet's works. Mr. Tyrwhitt, with whom I was well acquainted, was an excellent critick; but he never possessed any ancient copy of these plays but the second folio; and before his death the spuriousness and adulterations of that copy had not been ascertained. Had he lived a few years longer, he would, I have no doubt, have entertained a very different opinion of that book from that which he had of it when he wrote this remark. MALONE.

The second folio has once; which rather improves the sense, and is not inconsistent with the metre. TYRWHITT.

If we were to read housed, the difficulty would be got over by a very slight alteration. Boswell.

3 And, in despight of MIRTH,] Mr. Theobald does not know what to make of this, and therefore has put wrath instead of mirth into the text; in which he is followed by the Oxford editor. But the old reading is right, and the meaning is, I will be merry even out of spight to mirth, which is now of all things the most unpleasing to me. WARBURTON.

Though mirth hath withdrawn herself from me, and seems determined to avoid me, yet, in despight of her, and whether she will or not, I am resolved to be merry. HEATH.

Pretty and witty; wild, and, yet too, gentle ;-
There will we dine: this woman that I mean,
My wife (but, I protest, without desert,)
Hath oftentimes upbraided me withal;
To her will we to dinner.-Get you home,
And fetch the chain; by this, I know, 'tis made:
Bring it, I pray you, to the Porcupine ;

For there's the house; that chain will I bestow,
(Be it for nothing but to spight my wife,)
Upon mine hostess there: good sir, make haste:
Since mine own doors refuse to entertain me,
I'll knock elsewhere, to see if they'll disdain me.

ANG. I'll meet you at that place, some hour hence.

ANT. E. Do so; This jest shall cost me some [Exeunt.

expence.

SCENE II.

The Same.

4

Enter LUCIANA and ANTIPHOLUS of Syracuse. Luc. And may it be that you have quite forgot A husband's office? Shall, Antipholus, Even in the spring of love, thy love-springs rot? Shall love, in building, grow so ruinous'?

4 Enter LUCIANA-] Here in the old blundering first folio, we find," Enter Juliana." Corrected in the second folio.

STEEVENS. Doubtless the profound sagacity of the reviser of the second folio is strongly evinced by the detection of this important errour of the press; which was corrected in the original copy in the very next speech spoken by Luciana, whose name afterwards is justly exhibited through the entire scene. But it is remarkable that the great acuteness which the reviser displayed on this occasion did not enable him to discover, that in two of the quatrains the rhymes, which were evidently intended, were destroyed

If you did wed my sister for her wealth,

Then, for her wealth's sake, use her with more kindness:

Or, if you like elsewhere, do it by stealth;

Muffle your false love with some show of blind

ness;

by the negligence of the press; and the word buildings, instead of building, in the fourth line of this scene, converts the passage into nonsense. MALONE.

5 ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

that you have quite forgot, &c.] In former copies :
"And may it be that you have quite forgot
"A husband's office? Shall, Antipholus,

"Even in the spring of love, thy love-springs rot?
"Shall love in buildings grow so ruinate?"

This passage has hitherto laboured under a double corruption. What conceit could our editors have of love in buildings growing ruinate? Our poet meant no more than this: Shall thy lovesprings rot, even in the spring of love? and shall thy love grow ruinous, even while 'tis but building up? The next corruption is by an accident at press, as I take it. This scene for fifty-two lines successively is strictly in alternate rhymes: and this measure is never broken, but in the second and fourth lines of these two couplets. 'Tis certain, I think, a monosyllable dropt from the tail of the second verse; and I have ventured to supply it by, I hope, a probable conjecture. THEOBALD.

Love-springs are young plants or shoots of love. Thus, in the Faithful Shepherdess of Fletcher:

"The nightingale among the thick-leav'd springs
"That sits alone in sorrow."

See a note on the second scene of the fifth act of Coriolanus, and Mr. Malone's edition of our author's works, Venus and Adonis, st. 109, where the meaning of this expression is more fully dilated. The rhyme which Mr. Theobald would restore, stands thus in the old edition:

66

shall Antipholus

If, therefore, instead of ruinate, we should read ruinous, the passage may remain as it was originally written; and perhaps, indeed, throughout the play we should read Antiphilus, a name which Shakspeare might have found in some quotations from Pliny, b. xxxv. and xxxvii. Antiphilus is also one of the heroes in Sidney's Arcadia.

[ocr errors]

Ruinous is justified by a passage in the Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act V. Sc. IV. :

"Lest growing ruinous the building fall."

Let not my sister read it in your eye;

Be not thy tongue thy own shame's orator; Look sweet, speak fair, become disloyalty; Apparel vice, like virtue's harbinger :

Throughout the first folio, Antipholus occurs much more often than Antipholis, even where the rhyme is not concerned; and were the rhyme defective here, such transgressions are accounted for in other places. STEEVENS.

The word-hate, in the first line, is introduced by Theobald, without authority, and certainly injures the sense of the passage. Hate rotting the springs of love, is a strange idea. It appears to me that the true reading is that suggested, though not adopted, by Steevens:

66

shall, Antipholus,

"Even in the spring of love, thy love-springs rot?

Shall love, in building, grow so ruinous?

Which preserves both the sense and the rhyme. M. MASON. Antipholis, I think, is found but thrice in the original copy. I have therefore adhered to the other spelling.

[ocr errors]

I have given the text as it appears in the original and authentick copy, except that it has in the fourth line buildings, (which was manifestly an errour of the press, as Mr. Theobald observed ;) ruinate for ruinous is now substituted.

Mr. Theobald's observation, that the first fifty-two lines of the scene are in alternate rhyming verse is very important; and decisively shows, that there is some errour in the passage before us, as it is exhibited in the original copy. I agree entirely in opinion with Mr. M. Mason, that Mr. Theobald's mode of easing the defect by reading" Shall Antipholus hate," &c. is very objectionable : neither the arrangement, nor expression-" Shall hate rot the springs of love?" are satisfactory. Our poet, I think, generally used to rot as a neutral verb. I have therefore given the preference to the reading suggested by Mr. Steevens, ruinous, which has an additional claim, from its being a slighter deviation from the original text.

Though Shakspeare has used the verb to ruinate in his Rape of Lucrece, in his sonnets, and elsewhere, it may be observed, that the adjective, ruinate, does not occur in any of his works, supposing the present passage to be incorrectly printed in the conclusion of the fourth line. On the other hand, ruinous occurs five times in his plays. In Timon of Athens it is used figuratively, as here:

O you gods,

"Is yon despised and ruinous man, my lord?

66

Full of decay and failing?"

66

« AnteriorContinua »