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Coriolanus, in which, as has just been observed, such verses are very numerous. Here, in the first place, we have a good many instances in which the versification is correctly exhibited in the First Folio, and, of course, as might be expected, in all subsequent editions, such as
“Only in strokes, but with thy grim looks and
The thunder-like percussion of thy sounds.”-i. 4. “I got them in my country's service, when
Some certain of your brethren roared and ran.”-ii. 3. “The thwartings of your dispositions, if
You had not showed them how you were disposed.”—ü. 2. “Come, my sweet wife, my dearest mother, and
My friends of noble touch, when I am forth.”-iv. 2.
Have all forsook me.”-iv. 5.
I had feared death, of all the men i' the world.”-iv. 5.
Thou art thence banished, we would muster all.”-iv. 5.
* The reading of all the copies is “No other quarrel else ;” but it is evident that other is merely the author's first word, which he must be supposed to have intended to strike out, if he did not actually do so, when he resolved to substitute else. The prosody and the sense agree in admonishing us that both words cannot stand. So in Antony and Cleopatra, iv. 10, in the line “To the young Roman boy she hath sold me, and I fall; young is evidently only the word first intended to be used, and never could be meant to be retained after the expression Roman boy was adopted. Another case of the same kind is unquestionably that of the word old in the line (As You Like It, iv. 3),
“ Under an (old) oak, whose boughs were mossed with age.” Nor can I have any doubt that another text, equally familiar to the modern ear, has suffered a similar corruption,-Bassanio’s
“In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft,
I shot his fellow of the self-same flight
“You have holp to ravish your own daughters, and
To melt the city leads upon your pates.”-iv. 6. “Your temples burned in their cement; and
Your franchises, whereon you stood, confined.”-iv. 6.
The breath of garlic-eaters."-iv. 6.
Your soldiers use him as the grace 'fore meat."-iv. 7.
Your gates against my force.”—v. 3.
Great Nature cries, Deny not.”—v. 3.
Hear nought from Rome in private.” -v. 3.
To a mother's part belongs.”—v. 3.
all swearing, if
He waged me with his countenance, as if
I had been mercenary.”—v. 5.
As cheap as lies.”—v. 5.
With bloody passage led your wars, even to
To find forth may, I apprehend, be safely pronounced be neither English nor sense. The forth has apparently been transferred from the preceding line, which was either originally written “
The same way forth,” or, more probably, was so corrected after having been originally written “ The self-same way."
“Brecking his oath and resolution, like
'Though in this city he Hath widowed and unchilded many a one.”_v. 5. These instances are abundantly sufficient to prove the prevalence in the Play of the peculiarity under consideration, and also its recognition, whether consciously and deliberately or otherwise does not matter, by the editors. But further, we have also some instances in which the editors most attached to the original printed text have ventured to go the length of rearranging the verse upon this principle where it stands otherwise in the First Folio. Such are the following:
“Commit the war of white and damask in
Their nicely gauded cheeks.”-ii. 1.
“A kinder value of the people than
He hath hereto prized them at.”—ü. 2. The Folio gives this as prose. “ To allay my rages
and Your colder reasons."-V. 3. The Folio gives from “My rages” inclusive as a line.
After this it is surely very strange to find in our modern editions such manifest and gross misconceptions of the versification as the following arrangements eshibit:
“My gentle Marcius, worthy Caius,
And-By deed-achieving honour duly named."—ii. 1.
And—The blind to hear him speak.”-i. 1.
And—Dispropertied their freedoms."—ii. 1.
And-To send for Titus Lartius.”-ü. 2. “ To gratify his noble service, that hath
Thus-Stood for his country.”-i. 2.
"That valour is the chiefest virtue,
And-Most dignifies the haver.”-i. 2. " Pray you, go fit you to the custom ;
And-Take to you, as your predecessors have."—ii. 2. « I have seen and heard of; for your voices Have--Done many things, some less, some more ; your voice."
-ii. 3. “Endue you with the people's voice : Remains—That, in the official marks invested, You-Anon do meet the senate.”-ii. 3. «Would think upon you for your voices,
And-Translate his malice towards you into love."—ii. 3.
Which-Most gibingly, ungravely, he did fashion.”-ii, 3.
And-Be every man himself.”-iii. 1. In all these instances the words which I have separated from those that follow them by a dash belong to the preceding line; and, nearly every time that the first of the two lines is thus put out of joint, the rhythm of both is ruined.
The modern editor who has shown the most disposition to tamper with the old text in the matter of the versification is Steevens. The metrical arrangement of the First Folio is undoubtedly wrong in thousands of instances, and it is very evident that the conception which the persons by whom the printing was superintended had of verse was extremely imperfect and confused. They would be just as likely to go wrong as right whenever any intricacy or indistinctness in the manuscript threw them
upon their own resources of knowledge and critical sagacity. But Steevens set about the work of correction on false principles. Nothing less would satisfy him than to reduce the prosody of the natural dramatic blank verse
of Shakespeare, the characteristic product of the sixteenth century, to the standard of the trim rhyming couplets into which Pope shaped his polished epigrams in the eighteenth. It is a mistake, however, to speak of Steevens as having no ear for verse. His ear was a practised and correct enough one, only that it had been trained ir a narrow school. Malone, on the other hand, had no notion whatever of verse beyond what he could obtain by counting the syllables on his fingers. Everything else but the mere number of the syllables went with him for nothing. This is demonstrated by all that he has written on the subject. And, curiously enough, Mr James Boswell, the associate of his labours, appears to have been endowed with nearly an equal share of the same singular insensibility.
VII. SHAKESPEARE'S JULIUS CÆSAR.
Shakespeare's Julius Cæsar was first printed, as far as is known, in the First Folio collection of his Plays, published in 1623; it stands there between Timon of Athens and Macbeth, filling, in the division of the volume which begins with Coriolanus and extends to the end, being that occupied with the Tragedies,-which is preceded by those containing the Comedies and the Histories,-the doublecolumned pages from 109 to 130 inclusive.* Here, at the beginning and over each page, it is entitled “The Tragedie of Julius Cæsar;” but in the Catalogue at the beginning of the volume it is entered as The Life and Death of Julius Cæsar;" other entries in the list being, among the Histories, “The Life and Death of King John," "The Life and Death of Richard the Third," “The Life of King Henry the Eighth," and, among the Tragedies, “The Tragedy of Coriolanus,” “The Tragedy of Macbeth," "The Tragedy of Hamlet," "King Lear,” Othello, the Moore of Venice.” In the Second Folio * There is a break in the pagination from 101 to 108 inclusive.