on my mere assertion: and therefore it is necessary to substantiate it by proof. This cannot be effected but by a long, minute, and what I am afraid will appear to many, an uninteresting disquisition: but let it still be remembered that to ascertain the genuine text of these plays is an object of great importance.

On a revision of the second folio printed in 1632, it will be found, that the editor of that book was entirely ignorant of our poet's phraseology and metre, and that various alterations were made by him, in consequence of that ignorance, which rendered his edition of no value whatsoever.

I. His ignorance of Shakspeare's phraseology is proved by the following among many other instances.

He did not know that the double negative was the customary and authorized language of the age of Queen Elizabeth, and therefore, instead of

"Nor to her bed no homage do I owe."

he printed

Comedy of Errors, Act III. Sc. II.

"Nor to her bed a homage do I owe."

So, in As You Like It, Act II. Sc. IV. instead of " I can not go no further," he printed-"I can go no further." In much Ado about Nothing, Act III. Sc. I. Hero, speaking of Beatrice, says,


there will she hide her,

"To listen our propose."

for which the second folio substitutes


there will she hide her,

"To listen to our purpose."

Again, in The Winter's Tale, Act I. Sc. II.:

"Thou dost make possible, things not so held."

The plain meaning is, thou dost make those things possible, which are held to be impossible. But the editor of the second folio, not understanding the line, reads

"Thou dost make possible things not to be so held;"

i. e. thou dost make those things to be esteemed impossible, which are possible: the very reverse of what the poet meant.



In the same play is this line:

"I am appointed him to murder you."

Here the editor of the second folio, not being conversant with Shakspeare's irregular language, reads―

"I appointed him to murder you."

Again, in Macbeth:

"This diamond he greets your wife withal,

"By the name of most kind hostess; and shut up

"In measureless content."

Not knowing that shut up meant concluded, the editor of the second folio reads

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and shut it up [i. e. the diamond]

"In measureless content."

In the same play the word lated, ("Now spurs the 'lated traveller-") not being understood, is changed to latest, and Colmes-Inch to Colmes-hill.

Again, ibidem: when Macbeth says, "Hang those that talk of fear," it is evident that these words are not a wish or imprecation, but an injunction to hang all the cowards in Scotland. The editor of the second folio, however, considering the passage in the former light, reads: "Hang them that stand in fear."

From the same ignorance,

"And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
"The way to dusty death."

is changed to

"And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
"The way to study death.”.

In King Richard II. Bolingbroke says,

"And I must find that title in your tongue," &c.

i. e. you must address me by that title. But this not being understood, town is in the second folio substituted for tongue.

The double_comparative is common in the plays of Shakspeare. Yet, instead of

I'll give my reasons

"More worthier than their voices."

Coriolanus, Act III. Sc. I. First Folio.

we have in the second copy,

"More worthy than their voices."

So, in Othello, Act I. Sc. V.-" opinion, a sovereign mistress of effects, throws a more safer voice on you,"is changed in the second folio, to-" opinion, &c. throws a more safe voice on you."

Again, in Hamlet, Act III. Sc. II. instead of " your wisdom should show itself more richer, to signify this to the doctor;" we find in the copy of 1632," wisdom should show itself more rich," &c.


In The Winter's Tale, the word vast not being understood,

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they shook hands as over a vast.” First Folio.

we find in the second copy,

66 -as over a vast sea." In King John, Act V. Sc. V. first folio, are these lines:

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The English lords

"By his persuasion are again fallen off."

The editor of the second folio, thinking, I suppose, that as these lords had not before deserted the French king, it was improper to say that they had again fallen off; substituted are at last fallen off;" not perceiving that the meaning is, that these lords had gone back again to their own countrymen, whom they had before deserted.

In King Henry VIII. Act II. Sc. II. Norfolk, speaking of Wolsey, says, "I'll venture one have at him." This being misunderstood, is changed in the second copy to"I'll venture one heave at him."

Julius Cæsar likewise furnishes various specimens of his ignorance of Shakspeare's language. The phrase, to bear hard, not being understood, instead of

"Caius Ligarius both bear Cæsar hard." First Folio.

we find in the second copy,

"Caius Ligarius doth bear Cæsar hatred."

and from the same cause the words dank, blest, and hurtled, are dismissed from the text, and more familiar words substituted in their room.*

the humours

"To walk unbraced, and suck up
"Of the dank morning." First Folio.
"Of the dark morning." Second Folio.

In like manner in the third Act of Coriolanus, Sc. II. the ancient verb to owe, i. e. to possess, is discarded by this editor, and own substituted in its place.

In Antony and Cleopatra, we find in the original copy these lines:

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I say again, thy spirit

"Is all afraid to govern thee near him,
"But he alway, 'tis noble."

Instead of restoring the true word away, which was thus corruptly exhibited, the editor of the second folio, without any regard to the context, altered another part of the line, and absurdly printed-" But he alway is noble."

In the same play, Act I. Sc. III. Cleopatra says to Charmian-" Quick and return;" for which the editor of the second folio, not knowing that quick was either used adverbially, or elliptically for Be quick, substitutesQuickly, and return."


In Timon of Athens, are these lines:

"And that unaptness made your minister
"Thus to excuse yourself."

i. e. and made that unaptness your minister to excuse your-
self; or, in other words, availed yourself of that unaptness
as an excuse for your own conduct. The words being
inverted and put out of their natural order, the editor of
the second folio supposed that unaptness, being placed
first, must be the nominative case, and therefore reads-
"And that unaptness made you minister,
"Thus to excuse yourself."

In that play, from the same ignorance, instead of Timon's exhortation to the thieves, to kill as well as rob. -"Take wealth and lives together," we find in the second copy, "Take wealth, and live together. And with equal ignorance and licentiousness this editor altered the epitaph on Timon, to render it what he thought metrical, by leaving out various words. In the original edition it appears as it does in Plutarch, and therefore we may be certain

"We are blest that Rome is rid of him."
"We are glad that Rome is rid of him."
"The noise of battle hurtled in the air."
"The noise of battle hurried in the air."

First Folio.
Second Folio.

First Folio.
Second Folio.

that the variations in the second copy were here, as in

other places, all arbitrary and capricious.

Again, in the same play, we have


"I defil'd land."

"O, my good lord, the world is but a word," &c.

The editor not understanding either of these passages, and supposing that I in the first of them was used as a personal pronoun, (whereas it stands according to the usage of that time for the affirmative particle, ay,) reads in the first line,

"I defy land;"

and exhibits the other line thus ;

"O, my good lord, the world is but a world," &c.

Our author and the contemporary writers generally write wars, not war, &c. The editor of the second folio being unapprised of this, reads in Antony and Cleopatra, Act III. Sc. V: "Cæsar having made use of him in the war against Pompey,"—instead of wars, the reading of the original copy.

The seventh scene of the fourth act of this play concludes with these words: "Despatch.-Enobarbus!" Antony, who is the speaker, desires his attendant Eros to despatch, and then pronounces the name Enobarbus, who had recently deserted him, and whose loss he here laments. But there being no person on the scene but Eros, and the point being inadvertently omitted after the word dispatch, the editor of the second folio supposed that Enobarbus must have been an error of the press, and therefore reads: "Dispatch, Eres."

In Troilus and Cressida, Cressida says,

"Things won are done; joy's soul lies in the doing." i. e. the soul of joy lies, &c. So, "love's visible soul," and "my soul of counsel;" expressions likewise used by Shakspeare. Here also the editor of the second folio exhibits equal ignorance of his author; for instead of this eminently beautiful expression, he has given us—

"Things won are done; the soul's joy lies in doing."

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