Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

-p. 176.

pointing and the language are corrupt ? Read, as Shakspeare gave it

While they bestill'd
Almost to gelèe with the act.

Of fear
Stand dumb,'&c.that is, petrified' (or rather icefied) p. 13.

Lear. And my poor fool is hang’d!” With these homely words, which burst from the poor old king on reverting to the fate of his loved Cordelia, whom he then holds in his arms, we have been always deeply affected, and therefore set them down as one of the thousand proofs of the poet's intimate knowledge of the human heart. But Mr. Becket has made us ashamed of our sinplicity and our tears. Shakspeare had no such • lenten' language in his thoughts; he wrote, as Mr. Becket tells us,

• And my pure soot is hang’d!' * Poor,' he adds, "might be easily mistaken for pure ; while the s in sout (sweet) was scarcely discernible from the f, or the t from the l.'

We are happy to find that so much can be offered in favour of the old printers. And yet—were it not that the genuine text is always to be preferred-we could almost wish that the critic had left their blunder as it stood. TVolsey.

that his bones May have a tomb of orphans' tears wept on them.” " A tomb of tears” is ridiculous. I read--a coomb of tears—a coomb is a liquid measure containing forty gallons. Thus the expression, which was before absurd, becomes forcible and just.’-vol. ii. p. 134. It does indeed !

Sir Andrew. I sent thee six-pence for thy leman (mistress): had'st it ?" Read as Shakspeare wrote: “I seni thee six-pence for thy lemmalemma is properly an argument, or proposition assumed, and is used by Sir Andrew Aguecheek for a story:'-p. 335.

Viole. She pined in thought,
And with a green and yellow melancholy"-Correct it thus :
"She pined in thought
And with agrein and hollow melancholy”—p. 339.

lago. I have rubb’d this young quat almost to the sense, And he grows angry that is, or rather was, according to our homely apprehension, I have rubb'd this pimple (Roderigo) almost to bleeding:--but, no Mr. Becket has furnished us not only with the genuine words, but the meaning of Sbakspeare

• I have fubb’d this young quat-Quat, or cat, appears to be a con: traction of cater-cousin-and this reading will be greatly strengthened when it is remembered that Roderigo was really the intimate of Iago.'--p. 204.

In a subsequent passage, 'I am as melancholy as a gibb’d catwe are told that cat is not the domestic animal of that name, but a

of 4


contraction of catin, a woman of the town. But, indeed, Mr, Becket possesses a most wonderful faculty for detecting these latent contractions and filling them up. Thus,

Parolles. Sir, he will steal an egg out of a cloister.” Read, (as Shakspeare wrote,) 'Sir, he will steal an Ag (i. e. an Agnes) out of a cloister. Agnes is the name of a woman, and may easily stand for chastity':-p. 325. No doubt.

Carter. Prithee, Tom, put a few flocks in Cut's saddle; the poor beast is wrung in the withers out of all cess." Out of all cess, we used to think meant, in vulgar phraseology, out of all measure, very much, &c.--but see how foolishly!

Cess is a mere contraction of cessibility, which signifies the quality of receding, and may very well stand for yielding, as spoken of a tumour.' p. 5

Hamlet. A cry of players.” This we once thought merely a sportive expression for a company of players, but Mr. Becket has undeceived us— Cry (he teils us) is contracted from cryptic, and cryptic is precisely of the same import as mystery.'-p.53. How delightful it is when learning and judgment walk thus hand in hand! But enough

the sweetest honey Is loathsome in its own deliciousness' and we would not willingly cloy our readers. Sufficient has been produced to encourage them-not perhaps to contend for the possession of the present volumes, though Mr. Becket conscientiously affirms, in his title-page, that they form a complete and necessary supplement to every former edition'-but, with us, to look anxiously forward to the great work in preparation,

Meanwhile we have gathered some little consolation from what is already in our hands. Very often, on comparing the dramas of the present day (not even excepting Mr. Tobin's) with those of Elizabeth's age, we have been tempted to think that we were born too late, and to exclaim with the poet

Infelix ego, non illo qui tempore natus,
Quô facilis natura fuit; sors O mea læva

Nascendi, miserumque genus! &c. but we now see that unless Mr. Andrew Becket had also been produced at that early period, we should have derived no extraordinary degree of satisfaction from witnessing the first appearance of Shakspeare's plays, since it is quite clear that we could not have understood them.

One difficulty yet remains. We scarcely think that the managers will have the confidence, in future, to play Shakspeare as they have been accustomed to do; and yet, to present him, as now so happily restored,' would, for some time at least, render him

· caviare

caviare to the general. We know that Livius Andronicus, when grown hoarse with repeated declamation, was allowed a second-rate actor, who stood at his back and spoke while he gesticulated, or gesticulated while he spoke. A hint may be borrowed from this fact. We therefore propose that Mr. Andrew Becket he forthwith taken into the pay of the two theatres, and divided between them. He may then be instructed to follow the dramatis persone of our great poet's plays on the stage, and after each of them has made his speech in the present corrupt reading, to pronounce aloud the words as restored' by himself. This may have an awkward effect at first; but a season or two will reconcile the town to it; Shakspeare may then be presented in his genuine language, or, as out author better expresses it, be HimsELF AGAIN.

Art. VI. 1. An Essay on the Nature and Advantages of Parish

Banks for the Savings of the Industrious, &c. with Remarks on the propriety of uniting these Institutions with Friendly Societies; together with an Appendix, containing the Rules of the Dumfries Parish Bank, &c. &c. By the Rev. Henry Duncan, Minister of Ruthwell, Dumfriesshire. First Edition. 1815. Second Edition, Edinburgh: Oliphaut Waugh and Innes. 1816.


88. 2. A short Account of the Edinburgh Savings Bank. Edin

burgh: 1815. pp. 20. 3. Report of the Committee of the Highland Society, on the

Nature of Savings Banks. Edinburgh: Constable and Co.

London : Longman and Co. 1815. pp. 14. 4. A Summary Account of the Eondon Savings Bank. By

Charles Taylor. London: C. Taylor; Sherwood, Neely, and

Jopes; and J. Hatchard. pp. 60. 5. Third Report of the Edinburgh Society for the Suppression of

Beggars, for the Relief of occasional Distress, and for the Encouragement of Industry among the Poor, &c. to 1st No

vember, 1815. 6. First Year's Report of the Bath Provident Institution, estab

lished January, 1815. Bath: 1816. 7. Observations on Banks for Savings. By the Right Hon,

George Rose. London: Cadell and Davies. 1816. pp. 57. 8. A Bill for the Protection and Encouragement of Provident

Institutions, or Banks for Savings, ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, 15th May, 1816. THE THE beneficent spirit of the present age is in nothing more re

markably displayed, than in the combined energy with which many individuals of the highest ranks of society are labouring to promote tlie welfare of the lower orders.-Among the various establishments to which this laudable zeal has given rise, it would be inexcusable not to give a pre-eminent place to the “Society for bettering the condition and increasing the comforts of the Poor,' which was instituted near the close of the year 1796. His Majesty declared himself the patron of this institution, and it comprehended in the list of its members, names of the first distinction for rank, wealth, talents, and public spirit. Yet notwithstanding its attractive title, the cheapness of its reports, and the pains taken to give them circulation ;-its existence, we fear, is at this day scarcely known in various parts of the kingdom; hence even those of its suggestions which are the most easy, useful, and important, have obtained only a local and very limited establishment. The chief cities of Great Britain and Ireland have indeed adopted some of its plans, and are reaping the fruits of its labours; but few of them have been diffused generally among the people. The discouraging reflections, however, to which the facts connected with this Society might have given rise, are checked by the contemplation of the extraordinary success attending that plan of benevolence which forms the subject of the publications now before us; and wbile this success is a happy exception to common experience, it gives us great confidence in the favourable opinion which we, in coinmon with men of all descriptions, entertain of the principle on which Banks for Savings are founded; and affords, at the same time, a most promising symptom of the intellectual and moral improvement of the age. It must, however, be acknowledged, that though this system derived its origin from an enlightened desire to promote the welfare of society, necessity, the nurse of many a useful invention, has materially promoted its success. The progressive increase of pauperism among the people of England, by diminishing the fund from which relief was to be given, in an inverse ratio to the demand, especially for the last two or three years, has opened the eyes of the affluent and reflecting part of the nation to the failure with which we are threatened; and the same circumstance combined with the rapid improvement of the lower classes in mental cultivation, has roused in many of them a love of independence, which leads them to embrace with eagerness the means which Provident Institutions afford of a secure and profitable depository for their small savings. Yet we must add that the zeal which policy and benevolence have directed to the establishment and support of these societies among the wealthy, has hitherto been greater than the desire which has existed of taking advantage of them among the industrious poor, for whose benefit they are instituted. The multitude still require to be enlightened, and are happily better fitted than at any former period to receive instruction. Let it be given to them in the most popular forms, directly and indirectly, and chiefly through the easy medium of the cheap Tract Societies, in the shape both of argument and amusement.



Although we enter on the consideration of this subject with peculiar satisfaction, we are sensible that it is not without its difficulties :—The facts are so numerous, and the speculations which naturally arise from the examination of them so various, that we might appear tedious should we go fully into the detail, and obscure were we to limit ourselves to mere general statement; we shall try, therefore, to pursue a middle course, and be sufficiently gratified if our remarks tend, in any degree, to make the subject better understood and more widely popular.

In order to convey to our readers an impression of the imperious necessity of Saving Institutions for the industrious poor, we shall begin by quoting a striking passage from · Sir Thomas Bernard's introductory letter to the third volume of the Reports of the Society for bettering the condition of the Poor.' The well-tried benevolence by which that gentleman has been long distinguished raises hiin far above the suspicion of being actuated by interested motives in what he says against poor-rates, while his experience gives great weight to his opinion.

• The Poor Laws of England have held out a false and deceitful encouragement to population. They promise that unqualified support, that unrestricted maintenance to the cottager's family, which it is not possible for them to supply; thereby inducing the young labourer to marry before he has made any provision for the married state; and, in consequence, extinguishing all prospective prudence, and all consideration for the future. To the poor-rates, which have been for some years rapidly increasing, no determinate boundary can be put, upon our present system. Twenty shillings in the pound may be levied, throughout the kingdom, (and more than that is now raised in some manufacturing parishes*) without the object being attained, of providing a comfortless and hopeless maintenance for a forlorn and distressed body

of poor.'

Mr. Rose, in his Observations on the Poor Laws,' first published in 1804, states that the management of the poor

had been acknowledged by the ablest politicians to be one of the most difficult problems of government; and that though the system of parochial relief,—which had its commencement early in the reign of Elizabeth,—was improved under the administration of some of the wisest men who ever filled offices of public trust, till the laws on the subject were consolidated in the forty-third year of her reign, yet poverty had been constantly on the increase, and the pressure upon those on whom the duty of supporting the indigent was thrown,

* This was written in January, 1801.


« AnteriorContinuar »