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“ You would have vs vppon thipp, would you ?” Sir Thomas More, a play,-MS. Harl. 7368, fol. 8.
“ And Michaels Terme, lawes haruest, now begins,
Where many losers are, and few that wins ;
Beaumont and Fletcher's Bonduca, act v. sc. 2.
SCENE 3.-C. p. 489. “ In the Rialto." “At the commencement of Act iii., Shakspeare alters the expression to 'on the Rialto.' Collier.
When Mr. Collier wrote this note, he had forgotten that in the present scene we have had already
upon the Rialto" and “ on the Rialto" (p. 486).
· Rialto is the name, not of the bridge, but of the island from which it is called ; and the Venetians say il ponte di Rialto, as we say Westminster-bridge. In that island is the exchange; and I have often walked there as on classic ground. In the days of Antonio and Bassanio it was second to none..... It was there that the Christian held discourse with the Jew; and Shylock refers to it when he says,
Signor Antonio, many a time and oft
Note on Rogers's Italy, p. 254, ed. 1830.
SCENE 2.-C. p. 499 ; K. p. 280.
“ lest through thy wild behaviour,
And lose my hopes."
Act i. sc. 2, vol. iii. 21.
and in the First Part of King Henry VI.,
“ Be not dismay'd, fair lady ; nor misconstrue
Act ï. sc. 3, vol. v. 38. But since in these three passages the old eds. agree in reading “misconster'd,” “misconsters,” and “misconster,” no alteration ought to have been made. The form misconster is common in our early writers; “ But did misconster what the prophet told.”
The Raigne of King Edward the Third, sig. K 2, ed. 1596. Do not misconster my true meaning heart."
Grim, the Collier of Croydon (near the end of
act ii.), p. 37, ed. 1662 (a date long pos
terior to the composition of the play). Misconster not, I meant your grace no hurt."
The Weakest goeth to the Wall, sig. F 2, ed. 1618. Mr. Knight, inconsistently, gives " misconstrued” in The Merchant of Venice, and “ misconstrues” in As you like it; while he retains " misconster" in the First Part of K. Henry VI., observing, "so the original : it is ordinarily printed misconstrue.”
SCENE 3.-C. p. 500; K. p. 281. “ If a Christian do not play the knave, and get thee, I am much deceived.”
“ The two quartos and the first folio agree in this reading, and the meaning may be, ' if a Christian do not play the knave and obtain thee' &c.; but very possibly do' was misprinted for did, and in that case the meaning would not be disputable : the second folio has did.” COLLIER.
Notwithstanding Malone's elaborate defence of “do," I have no doubt that “ did” (which Mr. Knight gives) is the right reading. Launcelot plainly means that he cannot believe Jessica to be Shylock's daughter.
Scene 7.-C. p. 507 ; K. p. 287.
What! “with all” (all that I possess) ?—0, no !- Read, with Mr. Knight and the other modern editors, “ withal.”
Scene 9.-C. p. 514.
“ Enter a Messenger.
lord ?” “ This is the stage-direction in all the old copies, for which modern editors have substituted · Enter a Servant. It is clear that he was not a mere servant, not only from the language put into his mouth, but because, when he asks, 'Where is my lady?' Portia replies, 'Here; what would my lord ?' The Messenger was a person of rank attending on Portia.” COLLIER. Portia was not herself of sufficient rank to have "
persons of rank” among her attendants. Her reply,
Here; what would my lord ?" is nothing more than a sportive rejoinder to the abrupt exclamation of the Messenger,
“ Where is my lady ?”
« Enter Groom.
Thanks, noble peer."
SCENE 2.-C. p. 522; K. p. 304.
As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins
The beards of Hercules and frowning Mars,” &c Here Mr. Collier has no comment; nor, indeed, does the passage require any.
Mr. Knight gives " stayers of sand,” with the following
“ This is ordinarily printed stairs of sand; and no explanation is given by the commentators. In the first folio the word is printed as we print it — stayers. In the same edition we have, in •As You Like It,'In these degrees have they made a paire of staires to marriage.' We have no great reliance upon the orthography of any of the old editions ; but the distinction between stayers and staires is here remarkable. Further, the propriety of the image appears to us to justify the restoration of the original word in this passage. Cowards in their falseness — their assumption of appearances without realities — may be compared to stairs of sand, which betray the feet of those who trust to them ; but we have here cowards appearing ready to face an enemy with
The beards of Hercules and frowning Mars :' they are false as stayers of sand — banks, bulwarks of sand, that the least opposition will throw down —vain defences
-feeble ramparts. We derive the word stair from the Anglo-Saxon stigan, to ascend ;stay - and thence stayer — from the Teutonic staen or stehen, to stand.”
“ The distinction between stayers and staires remarkable !" - I would request Mr. Knight's particular attention to the subjoined passages, where the author has spelt the word in THREE different ways ;
"hee going into the Chamber where they lay, tooke the yongest of them named Elizabeth, forth of her bed, and carried her downe the Stayres into his Celler
hee carried the dead corps vp three payre of stayres," &c. The Unnaturall Father, p. 137,-Taylor's Workes, ed. 1630.
“A Seruingman and his mistris was landing at the Whitefryars stayers; the stayers being very bad, a waterman offered to helpe the woman,” &c. Wit and Mirth, p. 190,-ibid.
“the next day, when the water was ebd away, the Bitch went downe the staires, and found her three drouned Puppies." A Dogge of Warre, p. 231,-ibid.
The latter part of Mr. Knight's note—his defence and explanation of “stayers"—is of more than Warburtonian subtlety, and will assuredly never carry conviction to a single Englishman,-though, perhaps, it may receive the commendation of
Tieck, with his imperfect knowledge of the language, and in gratitude for the respect with which Mr. Knight has treated his vagaries (see my remarks on Macbeth, act ii. sc. 2).
SCENE 2.-C. p. 523. “ In measure rain thy joy ; scant this excess.” " It may reasonably be doubted whether we ought to read 'rain,' or rein; the old spelling, raine, is quite equivocal.” COLLIER.
To doubt that “rain” is the right reading appears to me most unreasonable.
SCENE 4.-C. p. 534.
“ I could not do withal.” “ An idiom of the time for I could not help it. See Gifford's Ben Jonson, iii. 470.” COLLIER.
Though, after Gifford's decisive note, this phrase is not likely to be again misinterpreted, I may cite the following passage from Palsgrave's Lesclarcissement de la Lang. Fr. 1530; “I can nat do withall, a thyng lyeth nat in me, or I am nat in faulte that a thyng is done.” Fol. clxxx. (Table of Verbes.)
Scene 1.-C. p. 539 ; K. p. 322.
Some, that are mad if they behold a cat;
Of what it likes, or loaths.” “ This passage has occasioned a good deal of controversy, but the difficulty seems to be to find a difficulty : in the old copies sway' is printed sways, making a false concord, the nominative case being 'masters : 'the pronoun it,' of course, in both instances, agrees with 'passion.' Shylock, in the preceding lines, speaks of those who are not ‘masters of passion.'” COLLIER.
The preceding part of the passage clearly shews that there