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Act i. sc. 6.
“ Buttress nor coigne of vantage." . The editors are at a loss for an example of coigne in
“Darkness must overshadow all his bounds,
Par. Lost, b. xii. 187.
1591, sig. B 2.
I take this opportunity of pointing out a few of Milton's recollections of various writers, which his editors have failed to notice :
“ The imperial ensign; which, full high advanc'd,
Par. Lost, b. i. 536. “ In Sion towres hangs his victorious flagge,
Blowing defiance this way ; and it showes
Heywood's Four Prentices of London, sig. G, ed. 1615. “ Behold a wonder! They but now,” &c. Par. Lost. b. i. 777. “and yet (behold a wonder),” &c.
Harington's Orlando Furioso, b. i. st. 22. “ In darkness, and with dangers compass'd round.”
Par. Lost, b. vii. 27. “ But being now with danger compast round.”
Harington's Orlando Furioso, b. i. st. 50. “ Grace was in all her steps.” Par. Lost, b. viii. 488. “ Nè senza somma grazia un passo muove."
Ariosto, Orlando Fur. c. xlvi. st. 92.
66 To behold the wandering moon,
Drayton's Man in the Moone,- Poems, p. 476, fol. any other writer than Shakespeare. It is certainly a word of rare occurrence :“ And Cape of Hope, last coign of Africa.”
Sylvester's Du Bartas,—The Colonies,
p. 129, ed. 1641. (The original has “angle dernier d'Afrique.")
Act i. sc. 7.
Lady M. What beast was't, then,
“Surely,” says Mr. Collier, “it reads like a gross vulgarism for Lady Macbeth thus to ask, "What beast made him divulge the enterprize to her ?' but she means nothing
“ Find out some uncouth cell."
L'Allegro. “ Upon our plaines, or in some uncouth cell.” Wither and Browne's Shepheards Pipe ( The Seventh
Eglogue), sig. K 8, ed. 1620.
p. 44, ed. 1641.
Sonnet xxii. “And of the which all Europe now doth ring."
Harington's Orlando Furioso, b. xlvi. st. 55
of the kind : she alludes to Macbeth's former vaunt that he was eager for the deed, and yet could not now his courage' to the point, when time and place had, as it were, 'made themselves' for its execution : this she calls [according to the Manuscript-corrector of the folio, 1632] a mere boast on his part :
What boast was't, then,
she charges him with being a vain braggart, first to profess to be ready to murder Duncan, and afterwards, from fear, to relinquish it. That this emendation might be guessed by a person who carefully read the text, without attention to the conventional mode of giving and understanding these words, we have this proof — that it was communicated to the editor of the present volume, six months ago, by an extremely intelligent gentleman, whose name we have no authority to give, but who dated from Aberdeen, and who had not the slightest knowledge that boast, for beast,' was the manuscript reading in the folio, 1632. It is very possible, therefore, that the old corrector of the folio, 1632, arrived at his conclusion upon the point by the same process : on the other hand, it is impossible to deny that he may have had some authority, printed, * written, or oral, for the proposed change; and it is quite certain that people have been in the habit of reading • Macbeth' for the last 200 years, some of them for the express purpose of detecting blunders in the text, and yet, as far as can be ascertained, have never once hit upon this improvement, so trifling as regards typography, but
* I cannot conceive what printed authority Mr. Collier alludes to. Does he suppose that Macbeth appeared in print before it was included in the folio of 1623 ?
so valuable as respects the meaning of Shakespeare. Notes and Emendations, &c. p. 408.
For a moment, after first reading this emendation, I thought it a very happy one.
On reflection, it appears to me very questionable.
An accomplished critic * has remarked on it as follows. “Here Mr. Collier reasons, as it appears to us, without sufficient reference to the context of the passage, and its place in the scene. The expression immediately preceding, and eliciting, Lady Macbeth's reproach, is that in which Macbeth declares that he dares do all that may become a man, and that who dares do more is none. She instantly takes up that expression. If not an affair in which a man may engage, what beast was it, then, in himself or others, that made him break this enterprise to her ? The force of the passage lies in that contrasted word, and its meaning is lost by the proposed substitution.” The Examiner, Jan. 29, 1853.
Mr. Collier (as we have just seen) speaks of “ Macbeth's former vaunt that he was eager for the deed," and, in the Preface to his volume, p. xix., of Macbeth having
previously vaunted his determination to murder Duncan.” But where is the copy of the play which contains any thing of the sort? In the preceding scenes, according to the received text, the language of Macbeth, when talking to his wife about the murder, is as far removed from vaunting as it possibly can be.
Nor is the emendation of the Manuscript-corrector unobjectionable on the score of phraseology. A “boast making one break an enterprise to another” is hardly in the style of an experienced writer.
Be it also observed, that in Antony and Cleopatra,
Mr. John Forster.
act i. sc. 5, the Manuscript-corrector has substituted “ boastfully” for “beastly," to the destruction of the meaning evidently intended by the poet.
Act ii. sc. 2.
Making the green one, red.”
To the passages cited here by the commentators, add
“And, dronke with bloud, from blue
The sea take blushing hue;
of Pembroke, from the French,) sig. F 8.
Act ii. sc. 4.
“A falcon, towering in her pride of place."
On “ towering" the commentators have no remark, perhaps not being aware that it is a term of falconry. Donne, addressing Sir Henry Goodyere, and speaking of his hawk, says;
“ Which when herselfe she lessens in the aire,
Poems, p. 73, ed. 1633.
Turberville tells us; “Shee (the hobby] is of the