ページの画像
PDF
ePub

ideals — “There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so."

and no man that hath a name By falsehood and corruption doth it shame.

As a man who has a good name, an ideal character, does not counterfeit and debase gold, so a man who has real virtue will safeguard its purity. This brings us at once to an understanding of the second passage, the solution of which includes the whole point of view that has now been set forth. She is here addressing her husband personally:

Keep then, fair league and truce with thy true bed;

I live distained, thou undishonored. This distained is the reading of the First Folio (1623), the word at that time having the same meaning as it has now — stained. It is a poetical usage. She is therefore saying that so long as her husband has violated the relation between them, her own virtue has been stained while he has as good a reputation

As commentators could never see how the husband's chastity could be considered as affecting the wife's chastity so long as her own acts were pure, they have considered that distained was a printer's error in the original edition. The word was therefore changed to unstained, an emendation that has been accepted by editors for about a hundred and fifty years. The change was made by Hanmer, 1744; and the present-day standard among

as ever.

thach a name

FIES IN SHAKE SOME TEXTUAL DIFFICULTIES IN SHAKESPEARE 245 good or ba Shakespeare scholars, the Globe edition, still

has unstained. We should put back per

manently the word as it stands in the First th it shame. Folio. It becomes consistent as soon as we | name, an

understand the tenor of Adriana's remarks as

a whole. feit and

It is interesting, with this general view of virtue w

marriage in mind, to re-read “The Phænix and

the Turtle.” Here we see Shakespeare expassage ,

pressing the same idea in a more abstract and h. She is metaphysical way.

So they loved as love in twain y:

Had the essence but in one;
Two distincts, division none;
Number there in love was slain.

is at once t

whole por

hy true bed

So between them love did shine
That the turtle saw his right
Flaming in the Phænix' sight;
Either was the other's mine.

of the E time have stained. -fore sa iolated : virtue he

Property was thus appalled,
That the self was not the same:
Single nature's double name
Neither two nor one was called.

[blocks in formation]

Reason in itself confounded,
Saw division grow together,
To themselves yet either neither

Simple were so well compounded.
We here see that Shakespeare worked upon
the same essential view outside of his treat-
ment of it in connection with Adriana. Note
in the above that “Either was the other's
mine," does not simply mean that each be-
longed to the other. It means, as we are now

anmer.

among

in a position to understand, that each was the other's self “mine” in every regard that me could convey; and in the same thorough acceptation that Adriana regarded married union. This idea was native to Shakespeare's mind; and in the play he simply gave it more concrete illustration. That the critics of all time have been so confused to get sense out of it simply proves our explanation as Shakespearean, for there indeed, as the poet says, we see reason in itself confounded.”

So far I have done little more than to state the basis of my explanation; but as my proposition is to restore and establish the original text for all time, and give it this wholly consistent interpretation, the reader will want something more in the way of proof. This is easily furnished.

Turn to “The Comedy of Errors,” ii, 2, 120 to 131 and hear Adriana lecturing her husband (as she supposes).

How comes it now my husband, O, how comes it,
That thou art thus estranged from thyself?
Thyself I call it, being strange to me,
That individable, incorporate,
Am better than thy dear self's better part.
Ah, do not tear away thyself from me!
For know, my love, as easy may'st thou fall
A drop of water in the breaking gulf
And take unmingled thence that drop again,
Without addition or diminishing,

As take from me thyself and not me too. Adriana here gives it as metaphysical a statement as we find in “The Phoenix and the

Turtle” — marriage a Duality of two that are one essence just as the Trinity is of three.

But a less ingenious statement will bring it home at once to the everyday intellect. Farther on she makes this very definite statement as to her own relation to other women and her husband's unchastity. She considers it her own disgrace.

I am possess'd with an adulterate blot;
My blood is mingled with the crime of lust;
For if we two be one and thou play false,
I do digest the poison of thy flesh,
Being strumpeted by thy contagion.

This proves our interpretation of the doubtful passages absolutely. All that she says is consistent with the point of view set down. The “unstained" of modern editions is wrong. Nor must editors who retain “distained” do it upon the basis of Knight who gave it a definition opposite to its sense by considering that Shakespeare was confused in his vocabulary and meant unstained from the standpoint of “dis-stained.”

« 前へ次へ »