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himself condescends, at intervals, to practise the same work of supererogation-as where he carefully analyses, and distributes to each man his due, the welcome given by Hamlet to Horatio, Bernardo, and Marcellus. The eagerness, too, of his endeavours to find in his own country relics of Shakspeare's mother English, not extant in ours, is a little amusing ; particularly when, among the words supposed to be effete and forgotten in England, is the adjective sheer: for he thus discourses: “ We Americans] say sheer ale, or sheer brandy, or sheer nonsense, or sheer anything..

• We use it [' sheer'] in this way, and have so used it beyond the memory of the oldest living men ; just as we say sheer impudence, or sheer stupidity.

Thus, we would say that one man committed an act out of sheer selfishness, but that another's was pure benevolence.” So ends one paragraph, and the next Mr. White begins with, “ Thus much for the benefit of English readers." We can only respond to this beneficium with a graceless " Thank’ee for nothing,"--or exclaim with Celia, O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful, and yet again wonderful, and after that out of all whooping !" The word “right,” too, in the sense of direct or immediate (" for I do see the cruel pangs of death right in thine eye,King John, V. 4), he is happy to say, survives in America, as it does in England, though the compound “right away,” which he adduces in evidence, and which he taunts us with sneering at, is, we acknowledge, peculiar to America. And hereupon, “ right away” he tells us, that “the language of the best educated Americans of the northern states is more nearly that of Shakespeare's day, than that of the best born and bred English gentlemen who visit them; although the advantage on the score of utterance is generally on the side of the Englishmen"* -the Americans being possibly fonder than their “overweening cousins” of going to Naples, as a certain Clown might infer. Again,-on Johnson's explanation of the word “pheese” (“I'll pheese you in faith," says Kit Sly), and on that of Gifford and Charles Knight, Mr. White says, “ All wrong, as any • Yankee' could tell the learned gentlemen. The word has survived here with others which have died out in England, and are thence called



To this statement Mr. White tags a notice of “one gross and radical error of language into which all Englishımen of present day fall, without exception. Oxford-men and Cambridge-men speak it; and all English authors, Mr. Macaulay and Mr. Landor not excepted, write it. — They say that one thing is different to another. Now, this is not an idiom, or a colloquialism: it is radically, absurdly wrong. One thing is different from another

and in America this is the only expression of the idea ever beard among those who have even the least pretensions to education.” This is bad news, for news it certainly is to us, that “all Englishmen of the present day, without exception,” are guilty of the solecism in question. But as to the truth of the allegation, we differ to Mr. White--and the sense of constraint we endured in writing that to instead of the wopted from, is our internal evidence against him: he may say, indeed, that nobody, even in England, writes " to differ to," while everybody in England writes “ different to”—but de jure it is a distinction without a difference; and at any rate we rejoice in knowing plenty of people who do neither.

And here, by the way, as Mr. White is seemingly punctilious in these minutia, we would fain learn the reason of his eliminating an honest vowel from the word Shakspearian, which he systematically spells Shakesperinn? Why oust the a in the antepenultimate ? He may twit us with onitting the e of the first syllable ; but that at least is no mere question of grammar, and is (what surely the other is not?) an open question.


Americanisms. To 'pheese' is 'to irritate,'' to worry." We fancy the

.' same usage of the wond is not so obsolete in the conservative haunts of racy rural English, as the New Englander supposes. Nevertheless we thank him for this note, and for another on Slender's two Edward shovelboards,” a game said to be now played in England by Colliers only (so their namesake testifies), but which Mr. White has often seen played at “ the Eagle Tavern, under Brooklyn Heights,” though now replaced by the less exigeant recreation of ten-pins. The word “ placket,” too, it seems, is in ordinary currency in the

United States in the sense of “petticoat”-and says Mr. White," Mr. Steevens, Mr. Nares, and Mr. Dyce, might have been saved their labours, and Mr. Halliwell his doubts, by inquiring of the Benedicks among their fellow Shakesperians on this side the water concerning this word.

Mr. Douce, to whose learning and judgment the students of Shakespeare are so much indebted, says, 'a placket is a petticoat.' Had he been writing for Americans he need not have said it." Nor for Britishers, with a common dictionary within reach. But perhaps the most instructive of Mr. White's national illustrations of this kind is the following:

K. Rich. Well! as you guess?

K. Rich. III. Act IV. Sc. 4. “ If there be two words for the use of which, more than


others, our English cousins twit us, they are well,' as an interrogative exclamation, and 'guess.' Milton uses both, as Shakespeare also frequently does, and exactly in the way in which they are used in America; and here we have them both in half a line. Like most of those words and phrases which it pleases John Bull to call Americanisms, they are English of the purest and best, which have lived here while they have died out in the mother country.” Well! John Bull, I guess after that you're

But to recur to the Collier controversy. We have testified already to Mr. White's general taste and judgment in matters of conjectural emendation, and for the most part he carries us with him in his decisions. His exposé of the extravagances of various Shakspearian commentators is full of honest hearty disdain, as well it may be in an admiring lover, loyal to the core, of the myriad-minded One. Of Mr. Becket he finds it difficult to speak with patience or decorum, and calls his “Shakspeare's himself again" sheer “stupidity run mad.” Zachary Jackson, for his absurd and atrocious changes in the text, inevitably suggesting the suspicion of all but idiocy, yet uttered with the consummate serenity of * owlish sapience,” he styles “the very Bunsby* of commentators.” And who will not share in his protest against such drivelling as we see spent on, e. g., this fragment :

a gone 'coon.


* Mr. White is fond of an allusion to the light literature of the day. Thus, in describing the progress of his own volume he says, “The book was not deliberately made; but, like Topsy, it .growed. Unlike that young lady, however,” he adds, “it was not raised on a spec;' for ... were five editions to be sold it would not pay me day-labourer's wages for the mere time I have devoted to the preparation of it.” So again he sarcastically refers to “Sir Thomas Hanmer, Baronet (as Inspector Bucket would say),”—to the Mantalini-ism of the tie-wig editors,– and to Mr. Singer's making Lear in the climax of his agony talk like "the young man of the name of Guppy."

Flav. I have retired me to a wasteful cock,
And set mine eyes at flow.

Timon of Athens, II. 2. " Sir Thomas Hanmer interpreted wasteful cock' a cockloft or garretand Bishop Warburton agreed with him. Pope had the effrontery to change wasteful cock’ to lonely room. These be thy editors, O Shakespeare!" It must be owned that Mr. White has reason on his side, too, in some of his onslaughts against “ Perkins.” Valuable we believe many of the MS. emendations to be; many, too bad, and some too good, to be true. * The celebrated substitution of " who smothers her with

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* Let us here indicate a few passages in which the supposed Perkins introduces new matter into the tertus receptus, by a whole line or lines at a time. Some of these one can neither believe, without a struggle, to be either veri or ben trovati. But what shall be said of the emendator's audacity, if he really emendated without authority ?

In each of the subjoined extracts the italicised lines are the MS. additions of Mr. Collier's nescio quis : Says Sir Eglamour to Silvia,

“Madam, I pity much your grievances,

And the most pure affections that you bear ;
Which since I know they virtuously are placed,
I give consent to go along with you.”

Two Gentlemen of Verona, IV. 3. This is at least plausible, and by those who believe in the authority will be readily accepted.

A hitch in the assumed system of rhymes is thus “made right” in Dromio's speech:

“No, he's in Tartar limbo, worse than hell:

A devil in an everlasting garment hath him, fell;
One whose hard heart is button'd up with steel,
Who has no touch of mercy, cannot feel;
A fiend, a fury (pro fairy], pitiless, and rough ;
A wolf, nay, worse, a fellow all in buff,” &c.

Comedy of Errors, IV, 2.
Leontes says, in the statue scene,

_"Let be, let be!
Would I were dead, but that, methinks, already
I am but dead, stone looking upon stone.
What was he that did make it?"

Winter's Tale, V. 3.
Lord Bardolph advises-

“ Consult upon a sure foundation,
Question surveyors, know our own estate,
How able such a work to undergo.
A careful leader sums what force he brings
To weigh against his opposite,” &c.

2 Henry IV. I. 3. Especially notable are the new complementary rhymes in the dialogue of Queen Margaret and Glo'ster:

" Q. M. I see no reason why a king of years
Should be protected, like a child, by peers.
God and King Henry govern England's helm.
Give up your staff, Sir, and the King his realm,

Gl. My staff?-here, noble Henry, is my staff:
To think I fain would keep it makes me laugh.
As willingly I do the same resign,
As e'er thy father Henry made it mine.”

2 Henry VI. Act II. Sc. 3.

painting” for “whose mother was his painting,” is ably discussed by our Shakspeare's Scholar, and we incline on the whole to his mistrust of the change—as we certainly do to his rejection of “boast" in lieu of “ beast” in Lady Macbeth's appeal ; and of Warwickshire ale” for “shire ale" in the tinker's gossip; and again of “unto truth” for “to untruth” in a much canvassed line in the " Tempest” (Act I. Sc. 2). Shakspeare, we submit, would have rejoiced in his Scholar, in these and some like instances of acute, scrutinising, rightfully jealous scholarship. Mr. White's own conjectural emendations are few and feasible--affecting little beyond a slight misprint or an error in punctuation. It should be added that, notwithstanding his rule of adhesion, wherever it is at all practicable, to the original folio, he is often free enough in his tamperings with its text, now and then scores a sentence as hopelessly corrupt, and more than once deals in somewhat arbitrary fashion with the very genuineness* of what is there set down.

The criticisms interspersed through his volume are highly interesting, and glow with sometimes impassioned admiration, finely attempered to the grand theme. The one badly eminent exception is that on Isabella, to which we may again refer, with regret. The following brief comment on Claudio's dread apprehension of being

worse than worst,
Of those that lawless and uncertain thoughts

Imagine, howling! bespeaks the man of high thought and deep feeling :—“It should be said about the last two lines of this passage, if it never has been said, and I believe it never has,—that they possess an awful beauty which it is hardly in the power of language to describe. The idea seems to be but vaguely hinted; and yet an undefined, peculiar dread goes with the words, that would vanish, or dwindle into certain fear, if we were told exactly what they mean. We feel that they have conveyed to us that which they themselves tell us is too horrible for utterance.

What can be those monstrous thoughts which ever seem to be about to take an hideous shape, and ever again vanish into formlessness, leaving the tortured spirit howling with rage and horror at it knows not what, save that

To think Mr. Collier fain would keep this, makes some folks laugh. “These judicious changes,” and “this important addition,” he calls the new readings. Chacun à son goût. For these and similar emendations and commendations, see Collier, pp. 24, 62, 130, 161, 175, 197, 233, 246, 285, — and especially a very curious one at p. 88.

* For example, in Theseus' famous verses on Imagination, Mr. White rejects, with a peremptory “cannot be Shakespeare's,” the two concluding lines

“ Or, in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush suppos'd a bear."

Midsummer Night's Dream, V. 1. As we have seen already, he also repudiates in toto the dirge sung by Polydore and Cadwal over their sister ; declaring that nothing could be tamer, more pretentious, more unsuited to the characters. “ Will anybody believe,” he asks, " that Shakespeare, after he was out of Stratford grammar-school, or before, wrote such a couplet as,

• All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust?!”


it is the dim phantasmagoria of the hell it ever bears within itself? What are those thoughts? We must first be damned eternally ere we can know. And yet Shakespeare in half a dozen words has made us feel what they must be.” If the comment is daringly expressed, at least it is in harmony with the daring mystery of the thrilling text, of imagination all compact.

There is an excellent analysis of the seemingly inconsistent character of Oliver, in “ As You Like It.” “ He is not a mere brutal, grasping elder brother ; but being somewhat morose and moody in his disposition, he first envied and then disliked the youth who, although his inferior in position, is so much in the heart of the world, and especially of his own people, that he himself is altogether misprised. The very moody disposition which makes him less popular than his younger brother, led him to nourish this bitter dislike, till it became at length the bitter hate which he shows in the first scene of the play. Had Oliver been less appreciative of the good in others, and less capable of it himself, he would

not have turned so bitterly against Orlando. It is quite true to nature that such a man should be overcome entirely, and at once, by the subsequent generosity of his brother, and instantly subdued by simple, earnest Celia. But his sudden yielding to sweet and noble influences is not consistent with the character of the coarse, unmitigated villain whom we see upon the stage, and who is the monstrous product, not of Shakespeare, but of those who garble Shakespeare's text.” Equally true is Mr. White's refusal of the stage version of Jacques, as a melancholy, tender-hearted young man, with sad eyes and a sweet voice, talking morality in most musical modulation. “Shakespeare's Jacques," on the contrary, “is a morose, cynical, querulous old fellow, who has been a bad young one. He does not have sad moments, but ósullen fits,' as the Duke says. His melancholy is morbid; and is but the fruit of that utter loss of mental tone which results from years of riot and debauchery.". Among other Shakspearian creations characterised by Mr. White with more or less felicity and detail, are, Falstaff, Glo'ster, Angelo, Bottom, Viola, Desdemona, Rosalind, and Imogen.

But the essay on Isabella appears to us a piece of perverted ingenuity. That by a diligent aggregation of certain particulars in her actions and speeches, an air of plausibility may be thrown over Mr. White's presentment, or mispresentment of the “ very virtuous maid,” is true enough ; but when, with every wish to rid our mind of prejudice and prepossession, we strive to realise what Shakspeare meant Isabel to be, how he regarded her, and what place he desired for her in the heart of the great world, which is just,—we find it impracticable to recognise Mr. White's version, and are only too glad to escape, in this instance, from the refracting medium of the critic to the poet's fontal light. “I shrink,” says Mr. White, on one occasion, " from thrusting myself between my readers and their spontaneous admiration of Shakespeare.” It is not often that his presence is felt to be obtrusive, or that we are not happy in his aid; but here it is otherwise. In Isabella, Mr. White sees an “embodiment of the iciest, the most repelling continence.” She is a professional pietist, chaste by the card. She is “deliberately sanctified, and energetically virtuous.” She is “a pedant in her talk, a prude in her notions, and a prig in her conduct." Hers is a “porcupine purity.” “She has solemnly

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