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again in Sec. Part of King Henry VI. ;
“ till that his thighs with darts Were almost like a sharp-quill'd porcupine.
Act iii. sc. 1, vol. v. 162. in Troilus and Cressida; “Do not, porcupine, do not."
Act ii. sc. 1, vol. vi. 41. in Hamlet; “Like quills upon the fretful porcupine."
Act i. sc. 5, vol. vii. 223. without once informing the reader that he has deviated from the old editions, all of which, both quartos and folios, have
porpentine" in the passages just adduced. This omission is the more remarkable, because, in a note on Northbrooke's Treatise against Dicing, Dancing, Plays, &c. (reprinted for the Shakespeare Society), where the word “porkepine” happens to occur, he observes, “ This animal was more usually called a porpentine, and so we find it spelt in the old editions of Shakespeare's Plays, particularly in . The Comedy of Errors, act iii. sc. 2" (why“ particularly" in that place, I know not]. p. 186. Now, words are said to be differently “spelt,” when, with different letters, they have the same, or nearly the same sound: but is this the case with “ porcupine" and "porpentine?” do the syllables
pent make any approach to similarity of sound? The fact is, “porpentine” is a distinct form of the word, which was frequently employed by the best early writers : so the learned Ascham; “ Claudiane the poete sayth that nature gaue example of shotinge first by the porpentine, whiche doth shote his prickes, and will hitte any thinge that fightes with it.” Toxophilus, fol. 5, ed. 1545. (See also Nares's Gloss. in v.) That Shakespeare preferred this form, is evident from the agreement of the old eds. in every one of the passages where the word
Mr. Knight's inconsistency is marvellous. In the four passages of The Comedy of Errors, he prints “ Porpentine," observing in a note on the second passage, “ This word is invariably used throughout the early editions of Shakspere for porcupine. It was, no doubt, the familiar word in Shakspere's time, and ought NOT TO BE CHANGED;" in the Sec. Part of King Henry VI. and in Troilus and Cressida he silently alters "porpentine” to “ porcupine;" and in Hamlet gives “ porcupine" with a note, -" In all the old copies porpentine"!!!
SCENE 3.-C. p. 155. “The man, sir, that, when gentlemen are tired, gives them a sob, and 'rests them.”
“ The old copies have sob, perhaps misprinted for 'fob,' which is the word preferred by modern editors." COLLIER.
As Mr. Collier retained "sob," he ought to have explained what it means in this passage.
SCENE 1.-C. p. 173 ; K. p. 197.
And this is false you burden me withal.” So the passage stands in all the modern editions,—not only with wrong punctuation, but with an obvious misprint.
The last line of this speech, as Mr. Collier himself observes, is “a repetition of an expression previously used by Adriana,”
“ So befal my soul,
I never came within these abbey-walls;
SCENE 1.-C. p. 178; K. p. 200.
Of you, my sons; and 'till this present hour
My heavy burden undelivered.” “ The folios have this line
My heavy burden are delivered;' which must be an error of the press. The meaning of Æmilia is, that she considers she has gone in travail with her twin sons twentyfive years, and that till this present hour her heavy burden had been undelivered. Malone thought fit to alter and 'till,' in the preceding line, to until, and substituted 'not delivered for are delivered ;' but the only change required is un for are, which was a very easy misprint." COLLIER .
Mr. Knight adopts Theobald's alteration of the passage,
“nor, till this present hour, My heavy burthens (so sec. folio) are delivered." The misprint of " are delivered” for “undelivered," which Mr. Collier calls “a very easy” one, appears to me altogether unlikely to have occurred. As to the reading given by Mr. Knight, —it is very objectionable, because there is no reason for believing that " and” is a misprint. I have little doubt that the genuine text is;
“and till this present hour
My heavy burthen ne er delivered." Our early printers sometimes mistook “ne'er” (written nere) for are.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.
[Vol. ii. COLLIER; vol. ii. Knight.]
SCENE 1.-C. p. 195.
“If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat, and shoot at me; and he that hits me, let him be clapped on the shoulder, and called Adam.”
“When Benedick says that he who hits him is to be called Adam,' the allusion may be to the famous outlaw and archer Adam Bell; or perhaps the meaning only is, that the person who hit the bottle was to be called, by way of distinction, the first man, Adam.” COLLIER.
“ The first man!"* Can Mr. Collier discover the same antediluvian allusion in
“ Young Adam Cupid, he that shot so trim,
Romeo and Juliet, act ii. sc. 1, vol. vi. 405. In the passage just cited, Mr. Knight retains the reading of the old eds.;
“Young Abraham Cupid,” &c.
“ The ' Abraham’ Cupid is the cheat — the Abraham man' — of our old statutes.” But, though Abraham-man was doubtless a cant term for a particular description of vagabond, who ever heard of Abraham, without the addition man, being used to convey the meaning which Mr. Knight would make it bear? “ Adam" is the excellent emendation of Upton. The progress of error in the old copies is plain enough: proper names being often written with abbreviations,
* Since writing the above, I have traced Mr. Collier's explanation to a joke made upon, and greatly admired by, the old doting steward Adam Winterton, in Colman's Iron Chest;
“Od! he's a merry man! and does so jest !
Act ii. sc. 4.
the original ms. had “ Ad.," which afterwards was changed to “ Ab.," and eventually became “ Abraham.”
Scene 3.-C. p. 200. “What is he, for a fool, that betroths himself to unquietness?"
This improper punctuation seems to shew that the expression was not understood. “ What is he for a fool” is equivalent to— What manner of fool is he,- What fool is he? See Gifford's note on B. Jonson's Works, iii. 397.
Scene 1.-C. p. 208.
“« This is a pleasant allusion,' says Warburton, 'to the custom of ancient poets and painters, who represent the furies in rags.” COLLIER.
Ate, as Steevens observes, and as every school-boy knows, was not a Fury.
215. “We'll fit the kid-fox with a penny-worth.” “ So the old editions ; but perhaps kid' is a misprint for hid, as Benedick says, ' I'll hide me in the arbour.' If ‘kid' be the correct reading, it is to be taken either in the sense of known or discovered, or as meaning a young fox." COLLIER.
It is strange that Mr. Collier should have been so misled by Grey's note on the line as to suppose for a moment that “ kid” in this compound could possibly be the past participle of the old verb kith. “Kid-fox" means a young fox. Richardson in his valuable Dictionary cites the present passage under the substantive kid.
SCENE 1.-C. p. 224.
But are you sure