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it; and the result goes near to make out a pretty decided case of imposture and fraud. Yet we are far from being convinced that Mr. Collier has at any time acted or spoken otherwise than in perfect honesty and good faith in the matter. He surely could not afford to peril his well-earned reputation on the chances of so loose and bungling a device. The argument is much too long and intricate for any attempt to trace it here; and we must content ourselves with saying, that while it succeeds in proving a fraud somewhere, it does not succeed in fixing the fraud upon him. Call him the victim of a poor imposture, if you will, but not the author of it: we are satisfied that the worthy gentleman does not deserve that; and even if he did, he has already received exemplary punishment in the ugly exposure that followed. But indeed we frankly acquit him of any further blame in the matter than is implied in saying that "he was old enough, and big enough, and ought to have known better" than to rush upon the public such an undigested hodge-podge of reason and absurdity.
The learned Mr. Singer, the accomplished Mr. Dyce, and several others well qualified for the office, have spoken more or less touching these emendations. For ourselves, we have ventured to admit very few of them, relying solely on our own opinion: in most of our adoptions, and in many of our rejections, we have had the judgment of other and better men, to instruct or confirm our own. And among those which we do not accept, there are some, no doubt, that may justly stand as candidates for future adoption; nor is it anywise unlikely that a few of these may sooner or later make good their claim. On the other hand, it is probable enough that some of those which we have admitted may, on better consideration, need to be ruled out of the text. All we can say is, that we have aimed and endeavoured
to be both cautious and liberal respecting these proffered emendations; nor are we sensible of having, as indeed there is no reason why we should have, any bias one way or the other, to hinder a fair and candid treatment of them.
Remains but to add, that a few of our changes in the plates are derived from other sources than Mr. Collier's second folio; which few have also been proposed since the original stereotyping of the text.
Besides the textual changes, the present issue corrects whatever typographical errors were missed in the reading of the proofs, and have since been discovered.
"I have with such prevision in mine art."
Instead of prevision, the original has provision. The sense of prevision just suits the context, and the misprint was of a kind apt to be made.
'But these sweet thoughts do even refresh my labour;
The original has labours and busy blest. The present reading was proposed by Holt White, and is approved by Singer. The Poet as every reader of him knows, often uses the double superlative.
Of course the sense as here given is, "But these sweet thoughts, being busiest when I am at work for such a prize, turn my labour into delight."
"What do you mean,
To dote thus on such luggage? Let's along,
The old copy reads, "Let's alone." The change is proposed by Mr. Dyce, in his "Few Notes on Shakespeare," 1853.
THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA.
"'Tis true; but you are over boots in love." 'The original has for instead of but. For does not suit the context, and probably got repeated from the preceding line.
"Come, go with us: we'll bring you to our cave."
The original reads crews instead of care. It appears in Act v., Scene iii., that care is right: "Come, I must bring you to our captain's cave."
"The other squirrel was stolen from me by the hangman boys." The original has "hangman's boys." Hangman means rascally. The Poet elsewhere has "a gallows boy," in a similar sense.
"These shadowy, desert, unfrequented woods."
The old copies have this instead of these. The change ought not to have waited for Collier's discovery.
THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR.
"To steal at a minim's rest."
The old copies read, "minute's rest." The change is approved by
"Master Slender is get the boys leave to play."
The old reading has let instead of get. The latter comes aptly from the mouth of Sir Hugh; the former could hardly come from any one.
"You see, he has been thrown into the rivers."
The old copies read, "You say;" which will hardly cohere either with the context or with the man.
"To Windsor chimneys when thou'st leapt."
The original reads, "To Windsor chimneys shalt thou leap." Some change like the one here given is evidently required both by the sense and the verse, as leap does not rhyme with swept.
"And this deceit loses the name of craft,
The old copies have title instead of guile. Truth and poetry unite in approving the change.
TWELFTH NIGHT, OR WHAT YOU WILL.
"Vio. She took the ring of me."
Mr. Collier's second folio reads, "She took no ring of me." The change is plausible, but misses the right sense. Viola divines at once the meaning of the ring, and will not expose the sender of it.
"Then he's a rogue, and a passy-measures paynim."
This is commonly printed "a passy-measures pavin; and explained to mean a slow, heavy dance; passy-measures being a corruption of passamezzo, an Italian name for a style of dancing not much unlike walking. The original has panyn, doubtless a misprint for paynim, an old word for pagan or heathen. So that passy-measures paynim is a Sir Tobyism for an unmitigated pagan, or a pagan passing measure; which just suits the context. Of course the foot-note on the passage is defeated by this reading and explanation, the credit of which belongs to Mr. R. G. White.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE.
"I'll rent the fairest house in it for three pence a day." The original has bay instead of day. There can be little question that day is the right word. Bay has been very troublesome to explain.
"But, ere they live, to end."
The original has "here they live," which is clearly wrong, and is commonly changed to where. The present reading was suggested by Hanmer, and is adopted in Collier's folio. For a similar instance, see "All's Well that Ends Well," Act ii., Scene v. note 2.
"Showing, we would not serve Heaven as we love it." "Spare Heaven" is the old reading, which is common.y ex