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yet every where abuses the old corrector without measure or mercy. The Rev. Mr. Dyce is more cautious in his proceeding; but still he is frequently guilty of similar practices; and if he do not avail himself of an excellent emendation in his text, he transfers it without remark to a note, so that it cannot be said that he does not give the old corrector his chance, and the reader his choice. Often and often he only notices changes (which Mr. Singer has felt himself compelled to adopt) for the sake of decrying them, as in the following example, which, like the last, is taken from "King John,” but from a somewhat earlier part of the drama, A. V. sc. 1. The Bastard is disgusted that Pandulph should be employed to negotiate terms of peace with an insulting and invading enemy, who has already penetrated to the heart of Suffolk, and exclaims, as the old text stands, and as Mr. Dyce prints,
“O, inglorious league!
Now it is quite clear that the King could not send “ fair-play orders" to the victorious French, but“ fạir-play offers,” viz. that they should quit the kingdom on certain conditions ; and we find offers substituted for “orders” in the margin of the corrected folio, 1632. This emendation Mr. Singer accepts, as he well might: be prints “fair-play offers,” in his text, but drops no hint from whence he procured the emendation. The Rev. Mr. Dyce follows a different, and more timid course : he. perhaps thought that if he adopted offers, instead of "orders," inquiry might, in 80 obvious a case, be made, how it happened that he varied from the hitherto received text ? He could not prevail upon himself by inserting "offers” to lay his edition under more obligations to the MS. corrector than it was impossible in any way to avoid ; therefore, while he adheres to “orders,” he adds in a note, “Mr. Collier's MS. corrector substitutes speciously 'Send fair-play offers,'” &c.--80 spe
ciously is offers substituted for “orders,” (which could by no chance be the poet's word, “orders” having been misheard for offers) that Mr. Dyce will find it more than difficult to persuade any body, that offers must not henceforward be admitted as the genuine language of Shakespeare'. Mr. Singer pronounces in favour of offers, though at the risk of its being said that, rather than not have it, he would secretly import it from Mr. Collier's corrected folio, 1632.
I only attribute these perpetually occurring instances to Mr. Singer's singularly bad memory: I say singularly bad, because it is bad with such singularity. He never forgets to refer to my former edition, whenever he can pick out a fault”; but he constantly forgets to refer to my corrected folio, 1632, whenever he can pick out a word. I request the reader's patience while I direct his attention to a remarkable case in point from “King Lear,” A. i. sc. 1. The following
The Rev. Mr. Dyce in his notes often uses the word “specious," as applicable to an emendation in my corrected folio, 1632, and "suspicious," as applicable to the old text handed down in the folios or 4tos. The reader
his mind, wherever these two words occur, that Mr. Dyce means by “specious” that the emendation ought to be adopted ; and by “suspicious" that the old text ought to be rejected. In the first case he wants candour to admit an excellent alteration; in the second he wants courage to throw out an undoubted corruption.
* In this practice he is too often followed by the Rev. Mr. Dyce, and yet both of them adhere to my edition of 1843, whenever a novelty is there introduced which they think they can appropriate. When wrong, I am the last to complain of being set right; but when I am right, it is but fair in my copying adversaries to say so, and to add that they are obliged to me. In “The Taming of the Shrew," A. ii. sc. 2, Biondello introduces a part of an old ballad, which, until my time, bad been invariably printed and read as prose : the Rev. Mr. Dyce gives it as verse, without a word. In “Troilus and Cressida,” A. iü. sc. 2, for the first time I printed “ Love's thrice-repured nectar” for “ thrice-reputed,” as it has always stood; and Mr. Dyce adopts it, in silence. In the same way, in “The Merchant of Venice,” A. iii. sc. i, i materially altered the entrance of Tubal; 80 does Mr. Dyce, without a syllable to show from whence he procured the change. It would be the easiest thing in the world to carry this point a vast deal farther, and to show bow Mr. Dyce
“Just hints a fault, and hesitates dislike," where he cannot securely borrow, or directly blame.
I am more sorry when I merit his reprehension, than I can possibly be when he has avoided to give me credit. According to him, I do not deserve praise so often, that he need have scrupled to bestow it when I do.
is the manner in which a passage has been printed from the year 1608, when the tragedy first came from the press, to our own day :—The grieved and rejected Cordelia calls upon her father to
“ make known
That bath depriv'd me of your grace and favour." Such being the language of every ancient, as well as of every modern copy, what is the novel and striking emendation of the second line in my corrected folio, 1632, premising that in all the folios “murder” is spelt murther ?
“ It is no vicious blot, nor other soulness." Who had dreamed, or could have dreamed, of charging Cordelia with “murder ?" The company in which that word is found, viz. “ vicious blot," “ foulness," “ unchaste action,” and “ dishonoured step,” (or stoop, as it stands in the corrected folio, 1632) show precisely what she had in her mind; and what the careless and thoughtless compositor did was to misprint the poet's words "nor other” murther. The emendation "nor other," for murther, must inevitably be adopted by every editor who allows impartiality to control his decisions; and Mr. Singer does credit to his judgment (to say nothing here of editorial morality) by printing in his Shakespeare, Vol. ix. p. 362,
“ It is no vicious blot, nor other foulness."
In a note he informs his readers that “murther or is misprinted in the old copies for nor other ;" but important, and entirely new, as the change is, he never gives the remotest notion that he obtained it from my corrected folio, 1632. What is the consequence ? Not only is my unfortunate and much belied volume deprived of the credit of the emendation, but Mr. Singer gives it, as if it were merely the result of his own astuteness and sagacity. He has, surely, better claims to the character of an editor of Shakespeare, than thus strutting before the world in pillaged plumage.
The reader will hardly believe in such a barefaced—fraud I will not call it—but in such a barefaced borrowing from a book which Mr. Singer has taken such infinite pains to depreciate and abuse. I could adduce many other examples, equally convincing, from the same volume of Mr. Singer's edition ; and from the whole of his ten volumes such a mass of matter, pirated from my corrected folio, 1632, as would astonish the most expert practitioner in plagiarism.
But "peace to all such !” and I turn once more to an editor who, until I ventured to touch Shakespeare, was the most intimate friend I ever had. Although the Rev. Alexander Dyce did not send me his “Remarks,” (which had been concocted as I transmitted the volumes of my Shakespeare, of 1843, in succession to him), I presented him with my “Notes and Emendations” of 1853; and after he had had them some time in his possession, and when he was actually engaged in putting in type his “Few Notes” upon them, which followed almost immediately, he wrote to me as follows : printing a little volume, in which I occasionally touch on your Notes and Emendations.” I did not, therefore, imagine that by the words “ occasionally touch” he meant that the “Notes and Emendations” would form almost the sole object, and main staple of his attack, especially as he followed the words I have quoted with this remarkable expression : No book ever surprised me more than that—such a mass of corrections,- part of them 80 admirable, that they can hardly be conjectural." Still less did I suppose that in the Shakespeare he was, as it were, advertising himself ready to edit, he would snatch at every opportunity to speak contemptuously of those corrections, and to treat the person who had brought them forward with almost every term of disparagement, if not of imputation.
I need not add that I agree with him, where he says elsewhere in his note to me, that another portion of the emendations is “very bad.”
I have stated it repeatedly; and I do not pretend to deny that some changes, which, in the over joy
“ I am
of my discovery, I was once disposed to approve, I have since seen reason to discard.
The ensuing volumes will afford proofs of the change of my opinion; for I have admitted no merely plausible alteration of the old text, but such only as seem absolutely required by the unintelligibility of the ancient copies, or such as are forced upon us by such manifest and indisputable fitness, as almost show.ed, in the words of the Rev. Mr. Dyce, that they “could hardly be conjectural'.”.
I have never gone beyond this, or even to this extent, in the expression of my admiration for some of the old corrector's indubitable improvements; for I am "more and more convinced (as I said in my preface to “ Coleridge's Lectures on Shakespeare and Milton," p. lxxiii) that the great majority of the corrections in my folio, 1632, were made, not from better manuscripts, still less from unknown printed copies of the plays, but from the recitation of actors while the performance was proceeding. In the Introduction to the first edition of *Notes and Emendations' I assigned reasons for thinking it very possible, that the repetition of their parts by painstaking players might easily be more accurate, than the printed editions of the dramas they represented.” In the same preface I have also particularly enforced my opinion, that not a few of the alterations in my corrected folio, 1632, were merely arbitrary, and that they were often introduced by careless actors, who did not well understand their parts, or who wished to substitute a word in common use for one which had become a little obsolete (p. lxxxii). All these, I trust, are carefully excluded in the ensuing volumes ; and though the expressions of the Rey. Mr. Dyce, in his private note, were somewhat calculated
* My chief fear is that I have excluded some emendations from the text which readers will lament to see only in notes. I own that, in more than perhaps a few cases, I have been unwilling to disturb the habitually received reading, and thereby to do violence to the ears and eyes of such as take up these volumes. I almost accuse myself of a want of literary courage as regards several words; but I have sometimes acted upon the principle, obviously observed by the Rov. Mr. Dyce, that of enabling readers to judge for themselves, by placing without comment in a noto wbat he must mention, but could not prevail upon himself to insert.