« 上一頁繼續 »
others' health and lives have to undergo, this is the most painful. It is all so plain to the practised eye!-and there is the poor wife, the doting mother, who has never suspected anything, or at least has clung always to the hope which you are just going to wrench away from her!-I must tell Iris that I think her poor friend is in a precarious state. She seems nearer to him than anybody.
I did tell her. Whatever emotion it produced, she kept a still face, except, perhaps, a little trembling of the lip.— Could I be certain that there was any mortal complaint?—Why, no, I could not be certain; but it looked alarming to me.- - He shall have some of my life, - she said.
I suppose this to have been a fancy of hers, of a kind of magnetic power she could give out;-at any rate, I cannot help thinking she wills her strength away from herself, for she has lost vigor and color from that day. I have sometimes thought he gained the force she lost; but this may have been a whim, very probably.
One day she came suddenly to me, looking deadly pale. Her lips moved, as if she were speaking; but I could not hear a word. Her hair looked strangely, as if lifting itself, and her eyes were full of wild light. She sunk upon a chair, and I thought was falling into one of her trances. Something had frozen her blood with fear; I thought, from what she said, half audibly, that she believed she had seen a shrouded figure.
That night, at about eleven o'clock, I was sent for to see the Little Gentleman, who was taken suddenly ill. Bridget, the servant, went before me with a light. The doors were both unfastened, and I found myself ushered, without hindrance, into the dim light of the mysterious apartment I had so longed to enter.
I found these stanzas in the young
girl's book, among many others. I give them as characterizing the tone of her sadder moments.
UNDER THE VIOLETS.
HER hands are cold; her face is white;
But not beneath a graven stone,
To plead for tears with alien eyes: A slender cross of wood alone Shall say, that here a maiden lies In peace beneath the peaceful skies.
And gray old trees of hugest limb
Shall wheel their circling shadows round To make the scorching sunlight dim That drinks the greenness from the ground, And drop their dead leaves on her mound.
When o'er their boughs the squirrels run, And through their leaves the robins call, And, ripening in the autumn sun,
The acorns and the chestnuts fall, Doubt not that she will heed them all.
For her the morning choir shall sing
Its matins from the branches high, And every minstrel-voice of spring,
That trills beneath the April sky, Shall greet her with its earliest cry.
When, turning round their dial-track, Eastward the lengthening shadows pass, Her little mourners, clad in black,
The crickets, sliding through the grass, Shall pipe for her an evening mass.
At last the rootlets of the trees
Shall find the prison where she lies, And bear the buried dust they seize In leaves and blossoms to the skies. So may the soul that warmed it rise!
If any, born of kindlier blood,
Should ask, What maiden lies below? Say only this: A tender bud,
That tried to blossom in the snow,
REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.
The Collier-folio Shakespeare. Is it an imposture?
WHEN the Lady Bab of " High Life below Stairs," having laid the forgetfulness which causes her tardy appearance at the elegant entertainment given in Mr. Lovel's servant's hall to the fascination of her favorite author, "Shikspur," is asked, "Who wrote Shikspur?" she replies, with that promptness which shows complete mastery of a subject, "Ben Jonson." In later days, another lady has, with greater prolixity, it is true, but hardly less confidence, and, it must be confessed, equal reason, answered to the same query, "Francis Bacon." This question must, then, be regarded as still open to discussion; but, assuming, for the nonce, that the Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies in a certain folio volume published at London in 1623 were written by William Shakespeare, gentleman, sometime actor at the Black Friars Theatre and a principal proprietor therein, we apply ourselves to the brief examination of another, somewhat related to it, and at least as complicated :—the question as to the authorship of certain marginal manuscript readings in a copy of a later folio edition of the same works, that published in 1632,- which readings Mr. Payne Collier discovered and brought before the world with all the weight of his reputation and influence in favor of their authority and value. We write for those who are somewhat interested in this subject, and must assume that our readers are not entirely without information upon it; but it is desirable, if not necessary, that in the beginning we should call to mind the following dates and circumstances.
According to Mr. Collier's account, this folio was bought by him "in the spring of 1849," of Mr. Thomas Rodd, an antiquarian bookseller, well known in London. For a year and more he hardly looked at it; but his attention being directed particularly to it as he was packing it away to be taken into the country, he found that there was hardly a page which did not represent, in a handwriting of the time, some emendations in the pointing or in the text." He then subjected it to a most
careful scrutiny," and became convinced of the great value of its manuscript readings. He talked about it to his literary friends, and took it to a meeting of the Council of the Shakespeare Society, and to two or three meetings of the Society of Antiquaries, as we know by the reports of those meetings in the London "Times." He wrote letters in the summer of 1852 to the London "Athenæum," setting forth the character of the volume, and giving some of its most noteworthy changes of Shakespeare's text. He published, at last, in 1853, his volume of "Notes and Emendations to the Text of Shakespeare's Plays from Early Manuscript Corrections in a Copy of the Folio of 1632," etc.; and in 1854, he published an edition of Shakespeare, in the text of which these manuscript readings were embodied. In 1856, he added to a Shakespearian volume a " List of all the Emendations" in his folio, remarking in the preface to the book, (p. lxxix.,) that he had " often gone over the thousands of marks of all kinds in its [the folio's] margins," and that, for the purpose of making the list in question, he had "recently reexamined every line and letter of the folio." He had previously printed for private circulation a few fac-simile copies of eighteen corrected passages in the folio; and with the volume last mentioned, his publications, and, we believe, all others, of which more anon,-upon the subject, ceased. Mr. Collier, it should be borne in mind, has been for forty years a professed student of Elizabethan literature, and is a man of hitherto unquestioned honor.
But he is now upon trial. Certain officers of the British Museum, among them men of high professional reputation and personal standing, men who occupy, and who confess that they occupy, "a judicial position" on such questions, charge, after careful investigation, that a great fraud has been committed in this folio; that its marginal readings, instead of being as old as they seem, and as Mr. Collier has asserted them to be, are modern fabrications, and that, consequently, Mr. Collier is either an impostor or a dupe. The charge is not a new one. The weight that it carries, and the impression that it has produced, are
owing to the position of the men who make it, and the evidence which they have published in its support. It was made, however, six years ago,- but vaguely. For, although there was on every side a disposition to welcome with all heartiness the manuscript readings, the antiquity and value of which Mr. Collier had so positively announced, the poetic sense of the world recoiled from the mass of them when they appeared; and although a few, a very few, of the readings peculiar to this folio were accepted by Shakespearian editors and commentators, they were opposed as a whole with determination, and in one or two instances with unbecoming heat, by Mr. Collier's fellow-laborers. Prominent among these was Mr. Singer, a man of moderate capacity and undisciplined powers, but extensive reading in early English literature, known, too, for the bitterness with which he habitually wrote. In opposing Mr. Collier's folio, he did not hesitate to insinuate broadly that he believed it to be an imposition. But as he based his suspicion solely upon the very numerous coincidences between the marginal readings in that volume and the conjectural readings of the editors and critics of the last century, - coincidences which, however, affect the character of a very large proportion of the noticeable changes in the folio, he failed to accomplish his conservative purpose at the expense of Mr. Collier's reputation. But although this insinuation of the spurious character of the writing in Mr. Collier's folio fell to the ground, such antiquity as would give its readings the consequence due to their having been introduced by a contemporary of Shakespeare was shown not to pertain to them, in the course of two articles which appeared in "Putnam's Magazine" for October and November, 1853, and which, it may be as well to say, were from the same hand that writes this reference to them. They effected this by exhibiting the corrector's ignorance of the meaning of words in common use twenty years after Shakespeare's death, and his introduction of stage directions which could not have been complied with until half a century after that event, and which were at variance with the very text itself to which they were applied. That the argument which they embodied was conclusive has been admitted by all the Eng
lish editors and commentators, including even Mr. Collier himself. But this conclusion only brought down the date of these marginal readings to a period somewhat later than the Restoration of the British Monarchy, and it did not put in question the good faith either of their author or their discoverer.
The attack now made upon them is directed solely against their genuineness, and is based altogether upon external, or, we may properly say, physical evidence. The accusers are Mr. N. E. S. A. Hamilton, an assistant in the Manuscript Department of the British Museum, (whose chief, Sir Frederick Madden, the Keeper of that Department, is understood to support him,) and Mr. Nevil Story Maskelyne, Keeper of the Mineralogical Department. Of the alphabetical Mr. Hamilton we know something. He is one of the ablest palæographists of his years in England, and the possessor of a pair of eyes of such microscopic powers that he can decipher manuscript which to ordinary sight seems obliterated by time, or even fire: a man of worth, too, as we hear, and one who has borne himself in this af fair with mingled confidence and modesty. He says, that, of the corrections originally made on the margins of this folio, the number which have been wholly or partially "obliterated . . . . . with a penknife or the employment of chymical agency" "are almost as numerous as those suffered to remain"; that, of the corrections allowed to stand, many have been "tampered with, touched up, or painted over, a modern character being dexterously altered, by touches of the pen, into a more antique form"; and that the margins are "covered with an infinite number of faint pencil-marks, in obedience to which the supposed old corrector has made his emendations"; and that these pencilled memorandums "have not even the pretence of antiquity in character or spelling, but are written in a bold hand of the present century"; and with regard to the incongruities of spelling, he especially mentions the instances, "body,'' offals,' in pencil, 'bodie,'' offalls,' in ink."
Mr. Maskelyne, having examined many of the margins of the folio with the microscope, confirms entirely the evidence of Mr. Hamilton's eyes. He found the pencilled memorandums "plentifully distrib
uted down the margins," and "the particles of plumbago in the hollows of the paper" in every instance that he has examined. He found, also, that what seems to be ink is not ink, but "a paint, removable, with the exception of a slight stain, by mere water,"-which "paint, formed perhaps of sepia," would enable an impostor, it need hardly be observed, to simulate ink faded by time; and in several cases in which "the ink word, in a quaint, antique-looking writing, and the pencil word, in a modern-looking hand, occupy the same ground, and are one over the other," the pencil-marks being obscured or obliterated, Mr. Maskelyne found, on washing off the ink, that at first "the pencil-marks became much plainer than before, and even when as much of the inkstain as possible was removed, the pencil still runs through the ink line in unbroken, even continuity." These points established, Mr. Maskelyne's conclusion, that in the examples which he tested "the pencil underlies the ink, that is to say, was antecedent to it in its date," is unavoidable. But does it follow upon this conclusion that the manuscript changes in the readings of this folio are of spurious and modern date,-made, for instance, within the last fifty years, and with the intention of deceiving the world as to their age? Perhaps; but, for reasons which we are about to give, we venture to think, not certainly.
First, however, as to the very delicate and unpleasant position in which Mr. Collier is placed by these discoveries. For, although the age of the manuscript readings of his folio must be fixed by that of the pencilled memorandums over which they are written, the question as to whether he has not been uncandid or unwise enough to suppress an important part of the truth in describing that volume is entirely independent of this problem in palæography. For these numberless partially erased pencilled memorandums, to which Mr. Collier has made no allusion whatever, must have been written upon the margins of that folio either before Mr. Collier bought it, in the spring of 1849, or since. If before, is it possible that he could have subjected it to "a most careful scrutiny " in 1850, that he could have studied it for three years for the purpose of preparing his "Notes and Emenda
tions," an octavo volume of five hundred
pages, which appeared in 1853, and that after having. for various purposes, "often gone over the thousands of marks of all kinds" on its margins, he could again, after the lapse of three years more, have "reëxamined every line and letter" on those margins for the purpose of making the list of the readings which he published in 1856, without having discovered, in the course of all this close scrutiny, extending through so many years, the pencil-marks which at once became visible when the volume went to the British Museum? And if these pencil-marks, that underlie the simulated ink corrections, were made after the spring of 1849 -! Here is a dilemma, either horn of which has a very ugly look.
But out of this trial we hope, nay, we confidently believe, that Mr. Collier will come unscathed. We hope it for the sake of the profession of literature,-for the sake of one who has been honorably known among men of letters for almost half a century, and who has borne into the vale of years a hitherto untarnished name. We believe it, because a contrary supposition would be entirely at variance with Mr. Collier's conduct about this folio ever since his first announcement of its discovery. It is true, that, in the course of the controversy which the publication of his "Notes and Emendations" inevitably brought upon him, Mr. Collier has not always shown that delicacy and consideration for candid opponents which he could have afforded to show, and which would have sat so gracefully upon him. It is true, that, in noticing, and, in his enthusiastic partiality, much exaggerating, the admissions of a volume in which, as he must have seen, he was first defended against Mr. Singer's repeated insinuations of forgery, and in availing himself again and again of those not always discreet admissions, he was uncourteous enough not to mention the name even of the work in question, not to say that of its author. It is true, that, on the appearance of an edition of Shakespeare's Works edited by the author of that volume, he hastened to accuse him publicly of misrepresentation, unwarily admitting at the same time that he did so upon a mere glance at the book,
*See Shakespeare's Scholar, p. 71.
and before he had even "cut it open," and, in his haste, causing his accusation to recoil upon his own head.* It is true, that, when, in his recent edition of Shakespeare's Works,† he abandoned one of the readings of his folio, ("she discourses, she craves," Merry Wives, I. 3,) which the same opponent had been the first to show not only untenable, but fatal to the authority and antiquity of the readings of that volume, he requited that opponent's defence of him by attributing his defeat on this point to an English editor, who only quoted the passage in question from "Shakespeare's Scholar," and with special mention of its authorship and its importance, and that he thereby subjected him
* See the London Athenæum, of Nov. 20th, 1858, and Jan. 8th, 1859.
† London, 1858, Vol. II. p. 181.
self to open rebuke in his own country; * and he found, we suppose, his justification for this course in his seniority and his opponent's place of nativity. It is true, also, that, in the recently published edition of Shakespeare's Works, just alluded to, he has vengefully revived, in its worst form, the animosity which disgraced the pages of the editors and commentators of the last century, and has attacked the most eminent of critical English scholars, the Rev. Alexander Dyce, throughout that edition, bitterly and incessantly,† and also unfairly and upon forced occasion, as Mr. Dyce has conclusively shown, in a volume,‡ the appearance of which from the pen of a man of Mr. Dyce's character and position we yet cannot but deplore, great as the provocation was. Mr. Collier has done these things, which would not be tolerated among such men of letters in America as are also
Rimbault's Edition of Overbury's Works, gentlemen; and he has also made stateLondon, 1856, p. 50.
Under the present circumstances, it may be well to let the reader see for himself exactly what Mr. Collier's course was in this little affair. Dr. Rimbault's note, published in 1856, is as follows:
"her wrie little finger bewraies carving, etc.] The passage in the text sufficiently shows that carving was a sign of intelligence made with the little finger, as the glass was raised to the mouth. See the prefatory letter to Mr. R. G. White's Shakespeare's Scholar, 8vo., New York, 1854, p. xxxiii. Mr. Hunter (New Illustrations of Shakespeare, i. 215), Mr. Dyce (A Few Notes on Shakespeare, 1853, p. 18), and Mr. Mitford (Cursory Notes on Beaumont and Fletcher, etc., 1856, p. 40), were unacquainted with this valuable illustration of a Shakespearian word given by Overbury."
And yet Mr. Collier, with this note before him, as it will be seen, could write as follows:"The Rev. Mr. Dyce (Few Notes,' p. 18) and the Rev. Mr. Hunter (New Illustrations,' i. p. 215) both adduce quotations [as to 'carves '], but they have missed the most apposite, pointed out by Dr. Rimbault in his edition of Sir Thomas Overbury's Works, 8vo., 1856, p. 50."
The reader cannot estimate more lightly than we do the credit which Mr. Collier thought of consequence enough for him to do an unhandsome, not to say dishonorable, act to deprive an opponent of it. By referring to White's edition of Shakespeare, Vol. II. p. lx., another instance may be found of the same discourtesy on the part of Mr. Collier to Chalmers, with regard to a matter yet more trifling.
ments about his folio which have been proved to be so inaccurate that it is clear that his memory is not to be trusted on that matter; but, in spite of all this, we neither will nor can believe, that, in his testimony as to the manner in which he became possessed of this celebrated volume, or in his description of its peculiarities, he has, with the intention to deceive, either suppressed the true or asserted the false. Since his first announcement of the discovery of the manuscript readings in that volume, he has had no concealments about it; he has shown it freely to the very persons who would be most likely to detect a literary imposition; he has told all, and more than all, that he could have been expected to tell about it; he has left no stone unturned in his endeavor to trace its history; and, after finally putting all of its manuscript readings upon record, and confessing frankly that he had been in error with regard to some of them, and that there are many of them which are "innovations, changes which had crept in from time to time, [upon the stage,] to make sense out of difficult passages, but which do not represent the authentic text of Shakespeare," he gives the volume away to the Duke of Devonshire, the owner of one of the most celebrated draSee Dyce's Strictures, etc., 1859, p. 28. † See the edition passim. Strictures on Collier's Shakespeare, London, 1859.