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Mr. Knight's explanation of trash, “ the thing traced, put in traces --confined - as an untrained worthless dog is held,” is borrowed from Richardson's Dict., where we find; “A trash
any thing (man, dog) trashed or traced or confined in traces, that it may not, because it would, run or pursue too fast, rashly; like an untrained dog; a worthless hound: hence it is—any thing worthless,” &c. But in the above explanation Richardson is undoubtedly mistaken : he gives to trash a meaning which it never did and never could bear. When used as a huntsman or dog-trainer's term, or metaphorically with an allusion to their practices, it invariably signifies the thing WHICH RESTRAINS: “ Above this lower roome shall be your huntsmans lodging, wherin hee shall also keep his cooples, liams, collars, trashes, boxes,” &c. Markham’s Countrey Contentments, b. i. c. i. p. 15, ed. 1615. The trash — whether a strap, a rope dragging loose on the ground, or a weight— was fastened round the neck of a too forward dog, to check his movements.
SCENE 3.-C. p. 545 ; K. p. 400. “ Mon. 'Zounds ! I bleed still : I am hurt to the death. [He faints.”
Mr. Knight prints, with the folio;
“ Mon. I bleed still; I am hurt to the death.--He dies—" and remarks;
** Because these words [' He dies'] are not found in the quarto, the line there being eked out with zounds! Malone supposes that they were absurdly inserted as a stage-direction. It is evident that, although Montano fancies himself hurt to the death, he is still ready to attack Cassio, as his words express, he dies !”
This is one of the notes in which Mr. Knight shews with what ingenuity he can defend even the grossest blunders of the old editions. Mr. Collier has well observed ;
“The true stage-direction, for which ‘He dies' was, no doubt, intended, is found in the quarto, 1630, “ He faints.'”
SCENE 3.-C. p. 551; K. p. 404. “ I may say so in this respect, for that he hath devoted and given up himself to the contemplation, mark, and devotement of her parts and graces.”
The manifest misprint" derotement" was first corrected to denotement” by Theobald, who observed, “ I cannot persuade myself that our poet would ever have said, any one devoted himself to the devotement of any thing." Mr. Knight, however, as well as Mr. Collier, has so “persuaded himself.”
On the line of the Merry Wives of Windsor, act iv. sc. 6, (vol. i. 262);
“ The better to denote her to the doctor," Mr. Collier remarks ;
“The folio, 1623, reads “deuote her,' and in the other folios the u is changed into v. There can be no doubt that the n was accidentally turned, and that the true word is “ denote.'”
To make the matter still more ridiculous, Mr. Knight prints, " to the contemplation — mark! — and devotement,” &c. : “mark!” he says, “is here used as an interjection.”
SCENE 3.-C. p. 569.
Your napkin is too little ;
[Lets fall her Napkin. Let it alone. Come, I'll go in with you." “We take this necessary stage-direction [ Lets fall her Napkin'] from a manuscript note in a hand-writing of the time, in the Duke of Devonshire's copy of the quarto, 1622. It is wanting in all the old editions.” COLLIER.
The stage-direction inserted by the other modern editors is far better, viz. “ [He puts the handkerchief from him, and it drops.” Indeed, that given by Mr. Collier, when placed opposite to Othello's speech, is positively wrong, because it makes him drop the handkerchief. There can be no doubt that, while Othello pushes away the handkerchief, Desdemona lets it fall : Emilia (who is now on the stage) says presently,
“she let it drop by negligence ; And, to th' advantage, I, being here, took't up.'
SCENE 3.-C. p. 573 ; K. p. 426.
“ her name, that was as fresh As Dian's visage, is now begrim'd and black
As mine own face." “Our text is that of the quarto, 1630, which agrees with the folio, excepting that the former corrects an error of the latter by reading her name' for 'my name.'” COLLIER. Mr. Knight prints ;
“ My name, that was as fresh,” &c. with the following note;
“ In all modern editions, except Rowe's, this has been changed to' her name. There is probably not a more fatal corruption of the meaning of the poet amongst the thousand corruptions for which his editors are answerable. It destroys the master-key to Othello's character. It is his intense feeling of honour that makes his wife's supposed fault so terrific to him. It is not that Desdemona's name is begrimed and black, but that his own name is degraded.
This one thought, here for the first time exhibited, pervades all the rest of the play; and when we understand how the poison operates upon Othello's mind, we are quite prepared fully to believe him when he says, in conclusion,
• For nought I did in hate, but all in honour.' The thought that his own name is now tarnished drives him at once into a phrenzy. He has said, ' I'll have some proof;' but the moment that the idea of dishonour comes across his sensitive nature, he bursts into uncontrolled fury :
• If there be cords, or knives, Poison, or fire, or suffocating streams,
I'll not endure it.' The word "own" in the last line of the passage is alone sufficient to refute Mr. Knight's long and laborious defence of
My.” Othello would not have said “My name is now as black as mine own face.”
Mr. Knight's text of the present tragedy is, on the whole,
as bad as his text of Hamlet; and a worse text of either play could hardly be produced.'
SCENE 3.-C. p. 575.
All my fond love thus do I blow to heaven : 'tis gone.
Arise, black vengeance,” &c.
“Now do I see 'tis true.-Look here, lago;
fond love thus do I blow to heaven :
SCENE 4.-C. p. 579. “the hearts of old
hands, But our new heraldry is—hands, not hearts." The reader probably will recollect with dismay the immense mass of annotation which this passage has called forth in consequence of Warburton's ridiculous idea that the poet alluded here to the new order of baronets created by King James. I have only to observe; first,— that the word “heraldry” (which the commentators are surprised at finding here) was evidently suggested to Shakespeare by the words in the preceding line, "gave hands” (to "give arms” being an heraldic term); secondly, that Warner, in his Albions England, has, “My hand shall neuer giue my heart, my heart shall giue my hand.”
p. 282, ed. 1596.
Scene 1.-C. p. 592. Iago. Do it not with poison, strangle her in her bed, even the bed she hath contaminated."
This speech (printed by all the modern editors as prose) is, I suspect, two lines of blank verse.
Scene 1.-C. p. 595.
“ Thus [. This the noble nature'] both the quartos: the folio, 'Is this the nature.' As far as a ten-syllable verse is concerned, • noble' is certainly too much; but instances of lines of twelve syllables have been numerous, and the epithet is an important addition to the sense.” Collier.
The word “noble" in the second line (retained also by Malone) was undoubtedly inserted by a mistake of the compositor of the first quarto, his eye having caught it from the preceding line.
SCENE 2.-C. p. 618.
But while I say one prayer.
[He smothers her.
my lord !!”
“ These exclamations [O Lord, Lord, Lord !'] are only in the quarto, 1622.” COLLIER.
And there Mr. Collier ought (with the other modern editors) to have left them; for they were most probably foisted into the text by the players. So far is “O Lord, Lord, Lord !” from adding to the terror or pathos of the scene, that it is disgustingly vulgar; and being immediately followed by Emilia's
My lord, my lord! what ho! my lord, my lord !" the effect of the whole is not a little comic.
SCENE 2.-C. p. 624.