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plained, "spare to offend Heaven." Possibly spare may be right; but there can be little scruple of accepting the change from Collier's folio.
"He's a motion ingenerative; that's infallible."
So the sense evidently requires the passage to read, instead of "motion generative," the reading of the old copies. The word motion here means a puppet; often so used.
"For my authority here's of a credent bulk."
The original has bears, instead of here's. Collier's folio has "bears such a credent bulk." The present reading, which is proposed by Singer, yields quite as good sense, and infers a much more probable misprint.
"He says, to 'vailful purpose."
The old reading is, "to veil full purpose," which is sometimes explained, to conceal the full scope of his proceeding. Theobald would read "t' availful purpose." The change is made in Collier's folio.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.
"There is no measure in the occasion that breeds it, therefore the sadness is without limit."
All the old copies are without it, which is plainly required by the sense. It was left for Collier's folio to supply the word.
"Balth. Well, I would you did like me."
The old copies assign this and the next two speeches of Balthazar to Benedict. The change is proposed, with evident propriety, by Mr. Dyce. Prefixes beginning with the same letter, like “Bene.” and "Balth.," were often thus confounded.
"Beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, cries." Instead of cries, the old copies have curses. The change, sup plied by Collier's folio, needs no voucher but itself.
A MIDSUMMER-NIGHT'S DREAM.
"But earthlier happy is the rose distill'd."
This is the authentic reading, which some editors, following Capell, have changed to earthly happier. The old reading is certainly right, and means "happy in a more earthly kind," as antithetic to happy in a more heavenly kind. So that the new reading gives a wrong sense.
"O me! what means my love?"
The old copies have news, instead of means, which is found in Collier's folio.
"Fairies, begone, and be a while away."
The old copies read, "be always away," which is commonly changed to "be all ways away." Collier's folio supplies the present reading, which is unquestionably right.
"No lion fell, nor else no lion's dam."
The old reading is, "A lion fell," which is too bad a blunder for so sharp a critic as Bottom. Fell is skin, hair and all.
"And the owner of it blest
Ever shall in safety rest."
The old copies transpose these two lines, and have thus furnished
a standing puzzle to the critics. A good many changes have been proposed, none of which would go. The present reading meets every difficulty, and leaves no cause of doubt. It was proposed by a correspondent, "C. R. W.," of the London Illustrated News, in 1856. We thank him, whoever he is.
LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST.
"That shallow vessel.”
vassal, which Collier's folio changes to vessel;
The old copies read rightly, no doubt.
"For your armiger is in love."
The old copies have manager for armiger. Why the former word should be used here, has never been explained. Armiger, meaning, of course, knight, suits both the sense of the passage and the style of the speaker. It is from Collier's folio.
"A messager well sympathiz'd."
The old copies have message, for which Collier's folio substitutes messenger. Messager, which is proposed by Singer, is an old word for messenger, and more likely to have been misprinted message.
"And stay'd the odds by making four."
The originals have adding instead of making, both here and in the sixth line below. The change, from Collier's folio, is necessary to the sense.
"A witty wanton with a velvet brow."
Collier's folio corrects whitely, of the original, to witty, which is the right epithet for Rosaline. Whitely would hardly have been applied to her, as she, it appears, was a brunette.
"Teaches such learning as a woman's eye."
Here, again, Collier's folio brings us relief, by changing beauty to learning, which the context shows to be unquestionably right.
"So persantly would I o'ersway his state."
The old copies have pertaunt-like, which the commentators have never been able to make any thing of. Changes, too numerous to mention, have been proposed, but none of them seem to go. Collier's folio gives potently, which is plausible, but does not suit the style and purpose of the speaker, who means to sway her lover by sharpness of wit, not by power. Mr. R. G. White reads persaunt-like, which comes much nearer both the sense and the old printing of the passage. Piercingly would express the thought well, but would be too great a modernizing of the text. Persant, sometimes spelled persaunt, is an old word used by Chaucer and Spenser, meaning much the same as piercingly. Thus, in the
Faerie Queene," Book iii., Canto ix., Stanza 20:
"Like sunny beames,
That in a cloud their light did long time stay,
Their vapour vaded, shewe their golden gleames,
And through the azure aire shoote forth their persant streames."
"Lie in the fail of them which it presents."
The old copies read, "Dies in the zeal," for which various corrections have been offered. The present reading is Singer's, who justly remarks that the Poet elsewhere uses fail for failure. The false concord of them which and presents is but an instance of what was common whenever the verse required it. The change is so clearly demanded by the sense of the passage, that there needs be no scruple of adopting it.
"A heavy heart bears not a nimble tongue."
The old reading is "an humble tongue." The change, first suggested by Theobald, is made in Collier's folio, and is fully approved by the context.
"The extreme haste of time extremely forms."
The originals have parts instead of haste. The correction is proposed by Singer, who rightly observes that the context requires it.
"I understand you not: my griefs are dull."
The old reading is double instead of dull. The change, from Collier's folio, is not quite so happy as Singer's haste, but will do. Double expresses nothing that fits the sense; dull aptly expresses the reason why the Princess could not understand the King.
AS YOU LIKE IT.
Till that the wearer's very means do ebb."
The original has "weary very means," which has posed all the commentators, till Singer suggested the present reading, and removed all the difficulty at once. This is one of the happy instances where, the right change being at last proposed, everybody wonders it was not hit upon before.
"Are horns given to poor men alone?"
The original gives the passage thus: "Tis none of his own getung; horns, even so poor men alone." Theobald undertook to mend this by punctuation, thus: "Horns? Even so:-Poor men alone?" which reading has been commonly accepted. Collier's folio furnishes the present reading, which, though rather bold, is the best that has been offered, while it does no more violence to the original than Theobald's.