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Perkins folio-nobody has opposed them azine, we should esteem the prior discovall—have done so, because they are editors ery of this Perkins folio a very fortuof Shakespeare, and if these changes be nate circumstance of our position, and received, “their editions will become value should be indebted to it for more emendaless." What is the truth? Only one of tions of the text than to any editor, exthe opponents of Mr. Collier is in a posi cept Nicholas Rowe; and also, that were tion to have this impeachment of motives all of the changes which Mr. Collier has applied to him-Mr. Knight. Mr. Sing- introduced into that abomination which er's edition of 1826 has for many years
he calls “ The Plays of Shakespeare,” in been out of print; and he, as well as Mr. spite of his own confession that many of Halliwell and Mr. Dyçe, were, at the time them are indefensible, and that the corof the publication of Mr. Collier's Notes rector sometimes seems “to have been diand Emendations, and are still, editors of rected by his own, often erroneous, sense editions to be published, and therefore in of fitness and expediency,”+—were all a position to derive all possible benefit these changes as plausible as the large from Mr. Collier's discovery.*
majority of them are tasteless and wantence, that "Mr. Collier possesses the ton, the previous field for editorial labor cypyright in England of his newly dis would not be materially diminished ; becovered emendations,” is preposterous. cause it is remarkable. that the acceptable There has not an edition of Shakespeare emendations peculiar to this folio are appeared in England for the last century all comparatively insignificant, and and a half, the editor of which has not that it leaves all the more important availed himself at pleasure of all the ori of the obscure passages either unginal labors of his predecessors, giving touched, or changed in such a way as credit for them; and the excellent little to transfer the obscurity from one line Lansdowne edition recently published, is, to another, or to diffuse it ihrough many. by the publisher's advertisement, based Let us hear no more of this ungenerous on that of Mr. Collier." Mr. Knight's and unfounded objection. The case is simeditorial labors and Mr. Dyce's comments ply this :-Mr. Collier himself admits being also used. The objection is equally that there are many readings in his recent futile in itself, and degrading to the cause edition which are entirely indefensible: no in which it is made. It impotently at one denies, that there are some which tacks motives, for the sake of disparaging unquestionably restore the genuine text: arguments, and seems to justify the sus finally and conclusively, there is no let picion, that it is made rather to bolster or hindrance to the adoption of them up an edition, than to arrive at the truth all by any editor in America, with the in one of the gravest and most interesting added advantage. if he possess it, of literary questions ever broached. Espe- being able to correct the more imporcially does this appear, when the critic tant passages which the corrector or seeks to throw discredit upon the articles correctors of the Perkins folio left in which have appeared in this Magazine, by utter confusion. It is in no captious the same impeachment of the motives of mood that we have treated this imthe writer. He insinuates that our oppo portant subject. The reviewer, in stating sition is that of one who is “also an edi that Mr. Collier's discovery was not weltor of Shakespeare.” This is not the comed by the editors and critics of Shakecase; but suppose it to be so, and suppose, speare, misrepresents the fact-unconwhat is impossible, that Mr. Collier has thé sciously, we believe. We, with all lovers copyright of the Perkins Emendations of Shakespeare, hailed Mr. Collier's anin Englar!; does that copyright extend nouncement with delight-a delight which to America ? How foolish and how piti was changed to chagrin, when we found ful this objection is ! And now, once for out what it was that he had so announced. all, be it understood, that, as we remarked Mr. Collier is not censured by any one, as in our first paper upon this subject, we he seems to think, on account of his "acconsider that “ the discovery of this cor cidental discovery of the corrected folio, rected folio will be of material service to 1632,”# but because he indorses changes the text of Shakespeare," and that, should in it which conflict with Shakespeare's we prepare an edition of his works for
own design and language, to say nothing the use of the readers of Putnam's Mag of common sense; and above all, because
* Mr, Halliwell's edition, it should be remembered, consists of only one hundred and fifty copies, which wore all taken up before the appearance of Mr. Collier's Notes and Emendations. Mr. II, has nothing to gain or lose with regard to his edition, for after one hundred and fifty copies are struck off, his plates are brokon up.
+ Notes and Emendations, &c., Second edition, p. vii.
Notes and Emendations, &c., Second edition, p. ix. VOL. III.-35
he boldly incorporated these into the text kins, his Booke," written upon its cover, of a popular edition in one volume, when (which cover, be it remarked, is not that he acknowledges that a part of them, at in which it was first bound in 1632;) and least, have no business there. Of his op that there was an actor of some distincponents, Mr. Singer alone has been un tion, named Richard Perkins, in the reign gracious and ungenerous enough to im of Charles I. This only proves, as any peach his motives; and our disapproba one can see. merely that it is possible, but tion of such a course was decidedly ex not even that it is probable, that there is pressed in our first paper.
some connection between the actor and The North American Review makes the Thomas Perkins, who was possibly of a specious but unfair comparison of the Upton Court, whence “it is probable” condition of the text of the New Testa that the volume came, about 1780 or 1790. ment with that of Shakespeare, in order Thus far, then, the volume is as much to show how much the latter is in need without a “story” as Canning's Knife of emendation. In the first place, there Grinder. are at least five times as many words Second, the appearance of the chirograin the latter as in the former ; next, the phy, we must set down at once as of litformer is received as the word of God; and tle worth in determining the date of the the most obscure part of it, the Apoca emendations, for all valuable purposes. lypse, closes with a curse upon the man The form of the long s: the turn of the who adds to or takes from that book, bow of the e to the left, and the prolongawhich must have stayed the hand of tion of the second stroke of the h below many an ambitious manuscript corrector; the line, cannot be relied on as determinand last, the number of passages in ing the date within fifty years. The presShakespeare about which there is any ent writer has in his own possession a reasonable dispute, is not one tithe of that copy of the first edition of Paradise which the Reviewer states--one hundred Lost, with the fourth title-page, 1669, in in cach play. Commentators have proposed which there is a manuscript annotation changes in as many: and there is neither which bears all these marks. He also human law nor divine curse to prevent them once owned an old and very dilapidated from saying that light darkness; but copy of the first folio of Ben Jonson's because they do so, we are not obliged to Plays, which had evidently belonged to admit a doubt upon the subject. So any a farmer, or the steward of some great man, if he choose, may declare that Shake household; for there were on all the speare made Prospero say that his broth blank spaces, memorandums of the purer was a sinner - to untruth,” by telling chase or sale of beeves and muttons, and a lie, and Hamlet, that he lacked “gall tuns of ale, &c., none of which were dato make transgression bitter ;” but we ted earlier than 1662; and in all of them are not therefore constrained to take such the e, s, and h were formed in this peculiar nonsense into serious consideration.
way. More: the same gentleman has in The Reviewer concludes from the ascer his possession a fac-simile of a MS. by tained history of the Perkins folio, the ap Thos. Dekker, signed by him, and dated pearance of the chirography, the nature Sept. 12, 1616, in which the h is never of the erased passages, and the [assumed] brought brought below the line, and the fact that the emendations were made by long s is made in the modern form. The a player, the London theatres being closed handwriting of the emendations in this from 1642 to 1658,—that these cmenda Perkins folio, if upon a volume without tions were completed before 1664.
date, would therefore fix its date with But, first, the ascertained history of certainty only at some time between 1600 the volume is merely that, in Mr. Collier's and 1675; and in this case it is worth own words, “it is probable” that it came nothing against internal evidence, which from Upton Court, the seat of a distin fixes the date after 1662.7 guished Roman Catholic family named Third, the nature of the erased pasPerkins, towards the end of the last cen sages. The Reviewer's statement of this tury; that the volume has “ Thomas Per point assumes so much, that we must
* P. 401.
+ The unanswerablo argument against the date of the MS. corrector's stage direction in Love's Labor's Lost, (where he writes that Biron "gets him in a tree," and speaks “in the tree,") that there was no practicable scenery in English theatres until after 1662, the Reviewer attempts to set aside in this most astounding style: “Why not argue also," he says, “ that the whole first Scene of the Tempest is spurious, because it is supposed to take place on board a ship? or that many scenes in As You Like It ought to be rejected, because they take place amid a whole forest
of trees? It is evident that Biron is directed to speak in a tree, just as Juliet makes lovo 'in a balcony." But the Reviewer does not see the difference between the Scene, (s. e., the place of action,) and scenery. It is one thing to supposo an action to take place on board a ship, and another to direct one of the actors to run up the shrouds of a ship; any dramatist may make a forost the locality of his play,
quote it in full. "All passages of an in rather consisting entirely, of plays so indecent, or needlessly licentious character, delicate in their very structure as well as are carefully struck out, evincing, says language, that Shakespeare's compared to Mr. Collier, “the advance of a better or
s whiter than new snow on purer taste about the time when the a raven's back.” The Reviewer has unemendator went over the volume.?” [Rev. dertaken to prove too much, and has thus p. 397.] But Mr. Collier does not say succeeded in proving nothing at all.
Ile says: “Some expressions and Fourth, the assumed fact, that the lines of an irreligious or indelicate char emendations were made by a player, does acter are also struck out, evincing, per not help to give them any authority, or haps, the advance of a better or purer even any consequence, except as auxiliataste,” &c.* This is very far short of the ries to the text of the original folio :—that Reviewer's statement; and well may Mr. is, to make them valuable as early rerninCollier shelter his supposition behind a con iscences or conjectures, aided, perhaps, by tingency; for his own Notes and Emen copies of actors' parts, and to be received dations shows that the corrector left un when the text of the original is incomtouched very many more profane and indec prehensible or inconsistent, and when orous expressions than he struck out; and they, by probable corrections, make it also that he did strike out perfectly unex
clear and congruous. And here, for ceptionable passages, too brief to add ap the sake of the argument, let us grant preciably to the length of the perform that these changes were made by Richard ance; plainly proving that he was gov Perkins, an actor in the time of Charles erned only by his own caprice in this re I., between the years 16+2 and 1658, and gard. The Reviewer most strangely con that he had copies of actors’ parts and ciudes, that these erasures of a few indeli prompt books of his time to assist him. cate passages, forbid the conclusion that What “authority” do his labors derive these marginalia were written after the from those facts, which can give them a Restoration, and shows that they were feather's weight against the text of Shakemade rather " in Charles the First's time, speare's fellow actors and business partwhen * * * the diffusion of Puritanism ners, who had “scarce received from him compelled the editors of the first folio to a blot in his papers,”—when that text is strike out the profane ejaculations of Fal comprehensible? It contains many destaff, and some minor indecencies which fects, the results of carelessness; and those, had been tolerated in the publication of the Mr. Richard Perkins, or Mr. John Jenkins, earlier quartos.” But surely, a writer may correct if he can; and the probabiliwho undertook to handle this subject, ties are in favor of the former, perhaps beshould have known. that those omissions cause he came nearer to Shakespeare. But in the first folio were only made in coin when, in a passage not obscure, we have to pliance with an express statute which was decide between Richard or Thomas Perpassed in the first of Jaines I., 1604! kins, his Booke, and John Heminge and eight years before Shakespeare ceased Henrie Condell, their Booke, is there a write !-twelve years before he died ! question which must go to the wall? The nineteen years before the publication of judgment, the memory, the very copied the first 'folio, and twenty-eight years part of an actor, even as to a play in before the publication of the volume upon which he performed, is not to be trusted which these emendations are made! The thirty years after its production, against “ diffusion of Puritanism” enforced no such testimony as we have in favor of the other erasures upon the editors of the copy from which the first folio was printfolios of either 1623 or 1632; neither did ed. It would not be trusted even in this it forbid the publication of equally indeli century; much less two hundred years cate passages by Davenant, in twelve ago, when, as we know, the lines of the plays issued between 1034 and 1660, nor dramatist were wantonly and mercilessthe issue of the works of Beaumont and ly mutilated, both by managers and Fletcher in folio 1637, containing, or actors. but to make one of his actors climb a tree, he must have the tree for him to climb. Should a copy of thio Tempest appear, with MS. directions for a sailor to run up the shrouds, it would prove positively that those directions were written after 1662. But the Reviewer constructed this argument with a wantot knowledge singular in an author of such an able paper; for in the original edition of the Tempest (the first folio), there is not the slightest indication, by way of stage direction, that the first scene passes on shipboard ; in the first edition of As You Like It (first folio), there is no mention of a forest or a single sapling in the stage directions; and in neither the first folio nor the early quartos of Romeo and Juliet, is there the slightest hint that Juliet makes love in a balcony. All these stage directions are deductions from the text, added in modern days. Did the Roviewer never read, in Sir Philip Sidney's Defense of Poesy, the well-known passage alluding to the appointments of the stage for which Shakespeare wrote: "What childe is there, that, coming to a play, and seeing Thebes written in great letters upon an old door, doth believe that it is Thebés ?”
* Notos and Emendations, Second Edition, p. xviii.
It is important, too, as affecting the Perkins folio ? The Reviewer goes on value of emendations derived from actors' very reasonably to say, "alterations and parts, to notice that Shakespeare's plays omissions were made from time to time, were acted by other companies than that to adapt the performance to the varying which owned the right in them, and pos exigencies of the theatre, or the altered sessed the old stage copies. For, by an taste of the times.” This is very likely entry in the Office-book of Sir Henry Her to be true; but if it invalidate the aubert, who was Master of the Revels in thority of the manuscript copy from which the reigns of James I. and Charles I., and the first folio was printed, with what which will be found in Mr. Collier's An doubled and trebled force does it crush nals of the Slage, vol. II. p. 7, we know the pretensions of those used by a player that he was paid £5 by Heminge, on the in 1642, which had been subject to nine11th of April, 1027, “ to forbid the play teen years more of alteration and omising of Shakespeare's plays to the Red sion, to suit the exigencies of the theaBull Company:" Now this Red Bull tre, and the taste of the times ! Company, or any other which would Again, the Reviewer, attempting to pirate Shakespeare's plays, would not grapple with the overpowering argument, scruple to mutilate his works, after the against both the authority and the intellifashion of literary pirates, and adapt them gence of the MS. corrector, that so many to the capacities of their histrionic force of his readings are inadmissible, and could and the taste of their audiences, just as, not possibly have formed a part of the we know, the corrector of this Perkins text, thinks that he has conquered it by folio did. The parts of such mutilated fastening the same defect upon the first plays would be copied out for the actors · folio. He says: “We admit it, [the inand what would such actors' parts or admissibility of the readings,] but we prompt books be worth against the au must remind the objectors, that precisely thority of the first folio ? Indeed, it is more the same thing is true of the first folio." than probable that this Perkins folio was To a superficial glance, this seems to be submitted to the treatment which it has (a crusher;' but, in truth, it is too weak experienced. for the double purpose of a
to stand alone. For we know that the new edition for readers and to supply the first folio was authorized ; and its errors wants of the companies which were sure are corruptions, the results of accident to be formed after Davenant's re-estab and carelessness, of which they are themlishment of theatrical entertainments, — selves the best evidence; while the abthe rights of Shakespeare's company hav surd, inconsistent, prosaic and ridiculous ing determined during the Protectorate. readings of the MS. corrector are de
But the Reviewer seeks to elevate the liberately formed.--the fruits of painauthority of these emendations, by drag- ful effort to correct those accidental erging down that of the first folio. Ile rors in some cases, and to better the text says, that “all the twenty plays which in others. The errors of the first folio were first printed in the folio, had existed are casualties; the stupidities of the Perin manuscript, without being seen by their kins folio are perpetrated with malice author, for at least eleven years;” that the aforethought. The former prove only the Two Gentlemen of Verona had “existed absence of
the latter exist only in only in written copies for thirty-two consequence of care, and therefore prove years;" that “the Globe Theatre was burnt the absence of authority. down in 1613, and it is more than proba
The number of cases in which we are ble that all of Shakespeare's original assumed to have admitted the success of manuscripts, which had survived to that the MS. corrector, are brought up as eviperiod, were then destroyed.” [this, in dence in favor of his “authority.” There spite of Heminge and Condell's direct tes are 173 of his acceptable corrections which timony, that they had his papers,) and have been made by others, and 117 which that "the written copies were multiplied by are peculiar to him, and which, in our careless transcribers." Let us again, for own words, “seem to be admissible corthe sake of the argument, grant all this ; rections of passages which need correchow does it build up the authority of the tion," *—making 290 in all, [including,
* The Reviewer says that this is “grudging language, showing rather the unwillingness of the concession, than any doubt as to its justice and propriety.
We conceded only, that these changes were probably [i. é. they seemed to be] admissible, and that the passages in which they occurred seemed to need correction, or, as we remarked again of them in the same paper, they are changes from which future editors may carefully select emendations." To change the text of Shakespeare, is, in our estimation, no light matter; and it is not to be attempted upon tho first seeming acceptability of a proposod alteration. That Mr. Collier has actol on other grounds, is the gravamen of the charge ngainst him. Further investigation has discovered to us, that many of these 117 seemingly acceptable changes are not peculiar to tho Ms. corrector, and also convincad us, that only about seventy-five of them have claims to a place in the text.
however, the numerous restorations from whole eight [entire lines] should have the firsť folio. and the early quartos.] been invented, or made up by mere conWhat one editor, critic, or commentator, jecture, by a poor player in the earlier exclaims the Reviewer, can claim the origi- part of the seventeenth century,” the Renal suggestion of an equal number of con viewer considers it established, that the jectural emendations, which are admitted corrector could not have conjectured, but to be sound or plausible? Weanswer, with must have had authority. But even out hesitation,-Nicholas Rowe; and he granting that these emendations were only forestalled the others in making them, made “between 1642 and 1664,” it is a because he came first. The most of these well-known fact, that at least a dozen corrections are of typographical errors, corrected folios of the second, third, and such as no intelligent proof-reader would fourth editions exist at present, one of fail to detect and rectify. Rowe and them, Mr. Dent's, being not only, like Theobald made nearly all of them; and the others, corrected “in an ancient Rowe would have almost certainly made hand,” but its numerous emendations bethem all, had he worked with half the ing “curious and important, consisting plodding care of the corrector of the Per of stage directions, alterations in the punckins folio. As it was, he made many tuation, &c.” Did conjectural emendawhich his predecessor should have made. tion spring up at once, armed at all points, We turn to the Notes and Emendations, immediately after the publication of the and notice the first of the coincidences, in third folio ? But whether it did or not, the Tempest, Act I. Sc. 2:
the man who made some of the correc
tions in the Perkins folio did conjecture;
" A brave vessel, and has left irrefragable evidence that he Who had, no doubt, some noble creature [creatures] did. Fac-similes, now before us, of a pasin her."
sage near the end of the last Scene of HamNext in the same Scene,
let, and of another in Othello, Act. IV.
Sc. 1, as they appear in this Perkins folio, " Where they prepared
show this undeniably. In the first, two
“Good night, sweet Prience,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” What boy in his 'teens, having these The corrector at first rectified the mispassages given him to copy, would not
print by striking out the e in "Prience;” make such corrections instinctively? These
but, afterwards, concluding to make the are fair specimens of a majority of his [as line rhyme with the next, he struck out sumed] two hundred and ninety admissi “sweet Prience” and substituted be blest. ble corrections; so does the first folio
In the passage in Othello, when the Moor, swarm with typographical errors. But just before he falls in a trance, says "Nathere are other corrections which seem to
ture herself would not invest herselfe in show that he sometimes conjectured suc
such a shadowing passion, without some cessfully, or remembered correctly, or had Instruction,” the corrector first changes a book or MS. which helped him to the
“shadowing” to shuddering, and strikes right word.
We think that it is more out the comma after “passion;” but, conthan probable that he was indebted to all
cluding to do without the sentence, draws these means. Certainly he was indebted
his pen remorselessly through And in both to conjecture and the early quar The Merchant of Venice, Act V. Sc. 1, tos,-his restoration of the readings in the folio of 1632 has, the latter being nothing in his favor,
Therefore the poet did feign as they existed in his time in far greater
That Orpheus drew tears, stones, floods," &c. numbers than when the editors of the last century used them, just as he did. Here “tears” is a misprint for trees,
Assuming that the MS. corrector was which appears in the first folio, and in the player, " who had lived in an age (the two early quartos; but the MS. corrector first half of the seventeenth century) deceived by the likeness of tears to beasts when conjectural emendation of an Eng substituted the latter word at first ; after lish author was an art as yet unheard of, referring to the other editions, however, he and when the writings of our great dra restores the right word, tears. If this be matist were so little known or prized, not conjecture, Nahum Tate wrote King that four rude and uncritical editions of Lear. Conjecture helped or hindered them sufficed for a century' ;” and con this corrector as it did those of the dozen cluding that it is impossible that the or more copies of the other “rude and un