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for the principal public audience that came to we find a private play, attributed to Lyly, them are turned to private plays, and to the " acted by the children of Powles." In humour of children.”
*Jack Drum's Entertainment,' 1601, we find
the performances of these children described, QUARTO OP 1604.
with the observation,—“The apes in time “ Ham. What players are they?
will do it handsomely.” The audience is Ros. Even those you were wont to take such mentioned as a "good gentle audience.” Our delight in, the tragedians of the city.
belief, founded upon this passage, is, that the Ham. How chances it they travel? their resi
first copy of 1603 refers to the period before dence, both in reputation and profit, was better
1591, when “the humour of children” pre
vailed; and that the “innovation,” menRos. I think their inhibition comes by the
tioned in the second copy, refers to the remeans of the late innovation.
Ham. Do they hold the same estimation they moval of the interdict, which removal occadid when I was in the city? are they so fol
sioned the revival of plays at Paul's, about lowed?
1600. In that year came the "inhibition.” Ros. No, indeed are they not.”
On the 22nd of June, 1600, an order of the
Privy Council appeared, " for the restraint of We thus see that in the original play the the immoderate use of play-houses ;” and it “ tragedians of the city,” by which are un- is here prescribed "that there shall be about questionably meant certain players of Shak- the city two houses and no more allowed, to spere's own day, were not adequately re- serve for the use of the common stage plays." warded, because the public audience “ turned No restraint was, however, laid upon the to private plays, and to the humour of chil children of Paul's. It appears to us, theredren.” On the contrary, in the augmented fore, that the inhibition and innovation are play, published in the following year, they distinctly connected in Shakspere's mind. were not so followed—they were inhibited in The passage is to us decisive, as fixing the consequence of a late innovation. The words date of the augmented play about 1600; as "inhibition” and “innovation" point to some it is equally clear to us that the passage of public proceeding; “novelty," on the other the first copy has reference to an earlier hand, “private plays,” and “the humour of period. The text, as we now have it,children,” would seem to have reference to “There is, Sir, an ayrie of children,” who some popular caprice. “ The humour of “so berattle the common stages,”—belongs children,” in the first copy, points to a period to a later period, when the children of Paul's when plays were acted by children; when acted the plays of Marston, Dekker, and the novelty of such performances, diminish- other writers of repute, and the Blackfriars' ing the attractions of the tragedians of the Theatre was in the possession of a company city, compelled them to travel. The chil- of boys. In 1612, the performances of children of Paul's represented plays in their dren had been made the vehicle for scurrility, singing school at a very early period. Several and they were again suppressed. (See Mr. of Lyly's pieces were presented by them sub-Collier’s ‘ Annals of the Stage,' vol. i. pp. 279, sequent to 1584, according to Mr. Collier; but | 282; and Malone's Historical Account of in 1591 we find these performances sup- the English Stage, Boswell's edition, pp. 62 pressed. In the address of the printer before and 453.) Lyly’s ‘Endymion, published in 1591, the The speech from the play that was “never suppression is mentioned as a recent event : acted, or not above once,"—that "pleased -“Since the plays in Paul's were dissolved, not the million,”—is found, with very slight there are certain comedies come to my hand." alteration, in the quarto of 1603; and so is In 1596 the interdict was not taken off; for Hamlet's commendation of it. We agree with Nash, in his 'Have with You to Saffron Wal- Coleridge, that "the fancy that a burlesque don,' printed in that year, wishes to see the was intended sinks below criticism." War"plays at Paul's up again.” But in 1600 | burton expressed the same opinion, in oppo
sition to Dryden and Pope. Coleridge very | to 'Hamlet.' In a book, called "Tarleton's justly says, that the diction of these lines Jeast's, published in 1611, we have some was authorized by the actual style of the specimens of the licence which this prince of tragedies before. Shakspere's time. Ritson, we clowns was wont to take. The author, howthink, has hit the truth :-“It appears to me ever, adds—“But would I see our clowns in not only that Shakspere had the favourable these days do the like? No, I warrant ye.” opinion of these lines which he makes Hamlet In the original copy of 'Hamlet,' the reproof express, but that they were extracted from of the clowns is more diffuse than in the some play which he, at a more early period, augmented copy; and the following passage had either produced or projected upon the distinctly shows one of the evils which Shakstory of 'Dido and Æneas.' The verses re- spere had to contend with, and which he cited are far superior to those of any coeval probably had overcome before the end of the writer; the parallel passage in Marlowe and sixteenth century: -“And then you have Nash's "Dido' will not bear the comparison. some again that keeps one suit of jests, as a Possibly, indeed, it might have been his first man is known by one suit of apparel; and attempt, before the divinity that lodged gentlemen quote his jests down in their tables within him had instructed him to despise the before they come to the play, as thus: Cantumid and unnatural style so much and so not you stay till I eat my porridge? and, you unjustly admired in his predecessors or con- owe me a quarter's wages; and, my coat temporaries.” The introduction of these wants a cullison; and, your beer is sour; and lines, we think, cannot be accounted for upon blabbering with his lips, and thus keeping any other supposition but that they were in his cinkapase of jests, when, God knows, written by Shakspere himself; and he is so the warm clown cannot make a jest unless thoroughly in earnest in his criticism upon by chance, as the blind man catcheth a hare: the play, and his complaint of its want of Masters, tell him of it.” The additions to
so apparently sincere, that it is these directions to the players, in the augimpossible to imagine that the passage had mented copy, are, on the other hand, such reference to something non-existent. But as bespeak a consciousness of the elevation would Shakspere, then, have produced such which the stage had attained in its “high a play, except in his very early career, before and palmy state," a little before the death of he understood his own peculiar powers ?- Elizabeth, when its purpose, as realised by and would he have written so sensitively Shakspere and Jonson especially, was “to about it, except under the immediate in-hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature: to fluence of the disappointment occasioned by show virtue her own feature, scorn her own its failure? The dates of the first copy of image, and the very age and body of the “Hamlet,' and of the play which contained time, his form and pressure.” the description of “Priam's slaughter,” are certainly not far removed.
The history of Hamlet, or Hamleth, is found Lastly, we are of opinion that the direc- in the Danish historian, Saxo Grammaticus, tions to the players, especially as given in the who died about 1204. The works of Saxo first copy, point to a state of the stage an- Grammaticus are in Latin, and in Shakspere's terior to the period when Shakspere had him- time had not been translated into any modern self reformed it. The mention of "Terma- language. It was inferred, therefore, by Dr. gant” and “Herod” has reference to the Grey and Mr. Whalley that Shakspere must time when these characters possessed the have read the original. The story, however, stage in pageants and mysteries. Again, the is to be found in Belleforest's collection of reproof of the extemporal clowns—the in- novels, begun in 1564; and an English transjunction that they should speak no more lation of this particular story was published than is set down for them—applied to the as a quarto tract, entitled “The Hystorie of infancy of the stage. Shakspere had reformed Hamblet, Prince of Denmarke.' Capell, in his the clowns before the date usually assigned 'School of Shakspere,' has given some extracts
from an edition of this very rare book, dated | is sent to England by Fengon, “with secret
After the Danish sword, and thy free awe behind the arras: here, beating the hangings, Pays homage to us), thou mayst not coldly set and perceiving something to stir-under them,
Our sovereign process." he is made to cry out-'a rat, a rat,' and pre- We have here a distinct indication of the sently drawing his sword, thrust it into the period before the Norman Conquest, when hangings, which done, pulled the counsellor England was either under the sovereignty (half dead) out by the heels, made an end of of the Northmen, as in the time of Canute, killing him.” In the fourth chapter Hamlet or paid tribute to the Danish power.
TIMON OF ATHENS.
The Life of Tymon of Athens' was first I have, therefore, made no attempt at 'republished in the folio collection of 1623 ; gulation.'” Boswell upon this very sensibly and immediately previous to that publica- | asks, “Why should not the same doubt exist tion it was entered in the books of the with regard to other scenes, in which Mr. Stationers' Company, as one of the plays Steevens has not acted with the same mo“not formerly entered to other men.” The deration ?” It will be necessary that we text, in this first edition, has no division into should here call the attention of the reader acts and scenes. We have reason to believe to a few specimens of the difference between that, with a few exceptions, it is accurately the ancient and the modern text. printed from the copy which was in the The original presents to us in particular possession of Heminge and Condell; and we scenes a very considerable number of short judged it important to follow that copy lines, occurring in the most rapid succession. with very slight variations in the text We have no parallel example in Shakspere of "The Pictorial' and other editions. of the frequency of their use. The hemistich
The text which is ordinarily printed, that is introduced with great effect in some of of Steevens, has undergone, in an almost the finest passages in ‘Lear.' But, in ‘Timon unequalled extent, what the editors call of Athens,' its perpetual recurrence in some “ regulation.” Steevens was a great master scenes is certainly not always a beauty. in this art of “regulation ”—a process by The “regulation,” however, has not only which what was originally printed as prose concealed this peculiar feature, but has is sometimes transformed into verse, with necessarily altered the structure of the the aid of transposition, omission, and sub- verses preceding or following the hemistich. stitution; and what, on the contrary, stood We print a few such passages in conin the original as verse is changed into secutive order:prose, because the ingenuity of the editor has been unable to render it strictly metrical.
ANCIENT COPIES. There are various other modes of “regulation,”. which have been most extensively employed
ACT I. SCENE I. in 'Timon of Athens;' and the consequence is that some very important characteristics
“ Tim. What trumpet's that? have been utterly destroyed in the modern
Mess. 'T is Alcibiades, and some twenty horse,
All of companionship. copies—the record has been obliterated. The task, however, which Steevens under
SCENE II. took was in some cases too difficult a one
Ven. Most honoured Timon, to be carried through consistently; and he It hath pleas'd the gods to remember my father's has been compelled, therefore, to leave se
age, veral passages, that invited his ambition to and call him to long peace. “regulate," even as he found them. For example, in that part of the first scene where
ACT III. SCENE IV. Apemantus appears, we have a dialogue,
Stew. Ay, if money were as certain as your of which Steevens thus speaks :-“The very waiting, imperfect state in which the ancient copy | 'T were sure enough. of this play has reached us leaves a doubt Why then preferr'd you not your sums and bills, whether several short speeches in the pre- When your false masters eat of my lord's meat? sent scene were designed for verse or prose; 1 Then they could smile, and fawn upon his debts,
ACT I. SCENE I.
ACT II. SCENE II. “ Tim. What trumpet's that?
Tim. I will dispatch you severally. Serv.
'T is Alcibiades, and You to Lord Lucius, to Lord Lucullus you. Some twenty horse, all of companionship. I hunted with his honour to-day; you to Sem
pronius; commend me to their loves; and I am SCENE II.
proud, say, that my occasions have found time Ven. Most honour'd Timon, 't hath pleas'd to use 'em toward a supply of money: let the the gods remember
request be fifty talents. My father's age, and call him to long peace.
Act IV. SCENE III.
Alc. Noble Timon, what friendship may I do Flav.
thee? If money were as certain as your waiting,
Tim. None, but to maintain my opinion. "T were sure enough. Why then preferr'd you
Alc. What is it, Timon ? not
Tim. Promise me friendship, but perform Your sums and bills, when your false masters eat
none. If thou wilt not promise, the gods plague Of my lord's meat? Then they could smile and
thee, for thou art a man: if thou dost perform, fawn
confound thee, for thou art a man.” Upon his debts, and take down th' interest Into their gluttonous maws. You do yourselves but wrong,
ACT I. SCENE II.
“ Tim. Now, Apemantus, if thou wert not Tim. Had I a steward so true, so just, and now sullen, So comfortable? It almost turns
I'd be good to thee. My dangerous nature wild. Let me behold
No, I'll nothing; for, Thy face.-Surely this man was born of woman.” If I should be bribid too, there would be none
left No one, we believe, having the passages To rail upon thee; and thou wouldst sin the thus exhibited, will consider that Steevens faster. has improved the poet by his “regulation.” | Thou giv'st so long, Timon, I fear me, thou But, even if there should be differences of taste Wilt give away thyself in paper shortly. in this particular with reference to the passages before us, we maintain that in those
ACT II. SCENE II. passages, and in the examples we are about
Tim. I will despatch you severally.--You to to give, the integrity of the text ought to lord Lucius, have been preserved, upon a principle. To lord Lucullus you; I hunted with his
The next examples which we shall take Honour to day;—you, to Sempronius;