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“ His weapon hatch'd in blood."
The Humorous Lieutenant, act i. sc. 1. When thine own bloody sword cried out against thee, Hatched in the life of him.”
The Custom of the Country, act v. sc. 5. I am therefore strongly inclined to agree with those commentators who have supposed that the right reading in the present passage of Shakespeare is “ unhacked rapier.”
SCENE 2.-C. p. 403. “They have here propertied me." “They have taken possession of me, as of a man unable to look to himself. This is Johnson's explanation ; but it may be doubted, whether Shakespeare had not some allusion to the properties' (as they were then, and are still called) of a theatre, which when out of use were thrust into some dark loft or lumber-room.” COLLIER. There is certainly no allusion here to theatrical “ proper
no more than there is in the following passages of Shakespeare; “ Your
grace shall pardon me; I will not back :
King John, act v. sc. 2.
“ his large fortune,
Timon of Athens, act i. sc. 1.
THE WINTER'S TALE.
[Vol. iii. COLLIER ; vol. iv. KNIGHT.]
Scene 2.-C. p. 437.
brains, And hardening of my brows." “ Most of the editors, from Rowe downwards, have agreed to understand affection' as imagination ; but the meaning is clear without any such forced construction. Leontes is looking towards Hermione and Polixenes when he asks, ' Can thy dam? — may't be affection ?' i. e. is it possible she feels love for him ? and then he goes on to observe that her intention stabs him to the centre, and makes possible things considered impossible. Shakespeare, over and over again, uses affection' for love, and intention' here is to be taken rather as intentness, vehemence, or ardour of mind. In the old copies the punctuation is such as we have adopted, and although, as we have said before, that can and ought to be no rule, in cases of difficulty it may be some guide.” COLLIER.
If Mr. Collier had carried on his paraphrase of this speech beyond the first three lines, the prodigious absurdity of the present punctuation and explanation must surely have become so evident to himself, that he would have at once discarded them. The question, “May't be affection ?” is odd and feeble enough: but how could Hermione be said to " communicate with dreams," to be " coactive with what's unreal," &c. ? As to the pointing of the old copies here, on which Mr. Collier lays some stress,—the fact is, the punctuation of the first folio at the commencement of the passage is only a little less ridiculous than its punctuation of the fifth line,
“ With what's vnreall : thou coactive art,
And fellow'st nothing." I cannot doubt that the next editor of Shakespeare will give the passage as it used to stand till it underwent this most unfortunate “ restoration." Leontes, after saying,
“ Can thy dam ? may't be?”— (so again, three lines after, “how can this be?") breaks off in an apostrophe to “affection," which is continued to the end of the speech,
Affection, thy intention stabs the centre," &c. (Affection meaning “imagination, or the disposition of the mind when strongly affected or possessed by a particular idea :' see Malone's note ad l.)
If it prove
SCENE 1.-C. p. 456.
For her, my lord,
my life lay down, and will do't, sir,
I lodge my wife; I'll go in couples with her,” &c. “ The meaning is not very clear, unless we take “stable’ in its etymological sense from stabulum, a standing-place, abode, or habitation. In that case, Antigonus only says that he will take care never to allow his wife to dwell in any place where he is not. The Rev. Mr. Barry recommends this interpretation to me; but if so, we ought to read • stables' in the singular.” COLLIER.
A more wretched "interpretation” than Mr. Barry's could hardly be imagined. Perhaps Antigonus means, If Hermione prove unchaste, I shall then have no doubt that my wife is inclined to play the wanton, and therefore I will allow her no
more liberty than I allow my horses (“ I'll keep my stables where I lodge my wife”), or my hounds (“ I'll go in couples with her").
Scene 1.-C. p. 456 ; K. p. 40.
I would land-damn him.” • This word seems inexplicable; and all the learned ink the commentators have spent upon it has been merely wasted. Dr. Farmer's suggestion of laudanum him comes nearest to the sound, perhaps, but seems quite as far from the sense as any of the other conjectures. The word “lamback' occurs in various writers, and means to beat; but it can hardly have been mistaken by the printer, and it would not be forcible enough for Antigonus' state of mind.” COLLIER.
“ We are unable to explain this; and it is scarcely necessary to trouble our readers with the notes of the commentators, some of which [Mr. K. alludes to Hanmer's note] are not of the most delicate nature. Farmer's conjecture, that it meant laudanum him— poison him with laudanum-is, we suppose, intended for a joke.” Knight.
What can Mr. Collier mean by “laudanum him coming nearest to the sound?” Those critics who have been the most successful in conjectural emendation were never guided by similarity of sound, but solely by the ductus literarum. Farmer's conjecture is undoubtedly (excepting Mr. Collier's) the worst which has been offered on the passage. That of Sir Thomas Hanmer is at least in keeping with the grossness of the lines which follow.
In the word “ land-damn" there appears to be an incurable corruption; but I may just notice that a similar compound (not acknowledged by our dictionaries) occurs in the oncepopular poem of Warner; “ Hence countrie Loutes land-lurch their Lords.”
Albions England, p. 219, ed. 1596.
SCENE 2.-C. p. 471.
“Offi. It is his highness' pleasure, that the queen Appear in person here in court.
[Silence." “ The word Silence' is printed as a stage-direction in the first folio, without any indication of the entrance of the queen, &c. This deficiency the second folio supplied merely by the word · Enter,' which follows · Silence.' The third and fourth folios adopt the reading of the second. Malone and all the other modern editors have chosen to take 'Silence' as an exclamation of the officer : so it might be; but the printer of the folio, 1623, did not so understand it, and the editor of the folio, 1632, when correcting an obvious omission, did not think fit to alter the reading. The word Silence was probably meant to mark the suspense, that ought to be displayed by all upon the stage, on the entrance of Hermione to take her trial.” COLLIER.
In a note on the Third Part of King Henry VI. act iv. sc. 3 (vol. v. 303), Mr. Collier observes that to the stage-direction, “Enter WARWICK, CLARENCE, OXFORD, SOMERSET, and Forces,” the old eds. add " Silent all, in the same way that in • The Winter's Tale,' Silence is given as a stage-direction," &c. But “ silent all,” forming part of a stage-direction (and meaning, that the persons in question, who were about to surprise King Edward in his tent, should steal upon the stage with as little noise as possible), is a very different matter from “ Silence" standing alone as an admonition to the players.
That here the word belongs either to the Officer, or to a Crier, is proved by the following passage of Shakespeare's Henry VIII., at the opening of the trial of Queen Katherine;
“ Wol. Whilst our commission from Rome is read,
What's the need?
Act ii. sc. 4, vol. v. 543.