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siderable Part of my Trouble off my Hands ; not only read over the whole Author for me, with the exactest Care; but enter'd into a long and laborious Epistolary Correspondence; to which I owe no small Part of my best Criticisms upon my Author.
“The Number of Passages amended, and admirably Explained, which I have taken care to distinguish with his Name, will shew a Fineness of Spirit and Extent of Reading, beyond all the Commendations I can give them : Nor, indeed, would I any farther be thought to commend a Friend, than, in so doing, to give a Testimony of my own Gratitude.” So the preface read in 1733. But by the end of 1734 Warburton had quarrelled with Theobald, and by 1740, after a passing friendship with Sir Thomas Hanmer, had become definitely attached to the party of Pope. This is probably the reason why, in the Preface to the second edition, Theobald does not repeat the detailed statement of the assistance he had received. He wisely omits also the long and irrelevant passage of Greek conjectures, given with no other apparent reason than to parade his learning. And several passages either claimed by Warburton (e.g. that referring to Milton's poems) or known to be his (e.g. the comparison of Addison and Shakespeare) are also cancelled.
The merits of the text of Theobald's edition are undeniable ; but the text is not to be taken as the sole measure of his ability. By his diligence in collation he restored many of the original readings. His knowledge of Elizabethan literature was turned to good account in the explanation and illustration of the text. He claims to have read above eight hundred old English plays “to ascertain the obsolete and uncommon phrases.” But when we have spoken of his diligence, we have spoken of all for which, as an editor, he was remarkable. Pope had good reason to say of him, though he gave the criticism a wider application, that
Pains, reading, study are their just pretence,
And all they want is spirit, taste, and sense. The inner history of his Preface would prove of itselt that Theobald well deserved the notoriety which he enjoyed in the eighteenth century.
SIR THOMAS HANMER
SiR THOMAS Hanmer's edition of Shakespeare, in six handsome quarto volumes, was printed at the Clarendon Press in 1743-44. As it appeared anonymously it was commonly called the “ Oxford edition.” It was well known, however, that Hanmer was the editor. Vols. ii., iii., and iv. bear the date 1743 ; the others, 1744.
Hanmer had been Speaker of the House of Commons from 1713 to 1715, and had played an important part in securing the Protestant succession on the death of Queen Anne. He retired from public life on the accession of George II., and thereafter lived in “lettered ease” at his seat of Mildenhall near Newmarket till his death in 1746. It is not known when he undertook his edition of Shakespeare, but the idea of it was probably suggested to him by the publication of Theobald's edition in 1733. His relative and biographer, Sir Henry Bunbury, writing in 1838, refers to a copy of this edition with corrections and notes on the text of every play in Hanmer's handwriting. There can be no doubt, however, of the accuracy of Warburton's statement that his edition was printed from Pope's, though the hastiest examination will prove the falsity of Warburton's other remark that Hanmer neglected to compare Pope's edition with Theobald's. He relied on Pope's judgment as to the authenticity of passages and on Theobald's accuracy in collation. Thus while he omits lines which Pope had omitted, or degrades them to the foot of the page, he often adopts Theobald's
them to the word or phrasconsiderable
He had certainly made considerable progress with the edition by May, 1738, when he was visited by Warburton (see Nichols, Illustrations, ii. 44, 69). It was still incomplete in March, 1742, but it was sent to the printer at the end of that year, as we learn from a letter of 30th December to Zachary Grey, the editor of Hudibras : “I must now acquaint you that the books are gone out of my hands, and lodged with the University of Oxford, which hath been willing to accept of them as a present from me. They intend to print them forthwith, in a fair impression adorned with sculptures; but it will be so ordered that it will be the cheapest book that ever was exposed to sale. ... None are to go into the hands of booksellers ” (Nichols, Literary Anecdotes, V., p. 589). Earlier in the year, in the important letter concerning his quarrel with Warburton, which will be referred to later, he had spoken of his edition in the following terms : “As to my own particular, I have no aim to pursue in this affair; I propose neither honour, reward, or thanks, and should be very well pleased to have the books continue upon their shelf, in my own private closet. If it is thought they may be of use or pleasure to the publick, I am willing to part with them out of my hands, and to add, for the honour of Shakespear, some decorations and embellishments at my own expense” (id. v., p. 589). The printing of the edition was not supervised by Hanmer himself, but by Joseph Smith, Provost of Queen's College, and Robert Shippen, Principal of Brasenose. We find them receiving instructions that there must be care in the correction of the press, that the type must be as large as in Pope's edition, but that the paper must be better.
These facts are of interest in connection with Hanmer's inclusion in the fourth book of the Dunciad. In a note by Pope and Warburton he is referred to as “an eminent person, who was about to publish a very pompous edition of a great author, at his own expense”; and in the poem the satire is maladroitly aimed at the handsomeness of the volumes. Warburton afterwards implied that he was responsible for the inclusion of this passage (id., P. 590), and though the claim is disputed by Hanmer's biographer, the ineffectiveness of the attack would prove that it was not spontaneous. Pope, however, would yield to Warburton's desire the more readily if, as Sir Henry Bunbury had reason to believe, the anonymous Remarks on the Tragedy of Hamlet, published in 1736, was the work
of Hanmer, for there Pope's edition was compared unfavourably, though courteously, with that of Theobald. (See the Correspondence of Sir Thomas Hanmer, 1838, pp. 80, etc.)
WILLIAM WARBURTON “ The Works of Shakespear in Eight Volumes. The Genuine Text (collated with all the former Editions, and then corrected and emended) is here settled: Being restored from the Blunders of the first Editors, and the Interpolations of the two Last; with a Comment and Notes, Critical and Explanatory. By Mr. Pope and Mr. Warburton. 1747.”
So runs the title of what is generally known as Warburton's edition. It is professedly a revised issue of Pope's. In point of fact it is founded, not on Pope's text, but on the text of Theobald. Warburton does not follow even Pope's arrangement of the plays. With one insignificant transposition, he gives them in the identical • order in which they appear in Theobald's edition. And though he has his gibe at Hanmer in the title page, he incorporates Hanmer's glossary word for word, and almost letter for letter. But his animosity betrays him in his Preface. He complains of the trouble which he has been put to by the last two editors, for he has had “not only their interpolations to throw out, but the genuine text to replace and establish in its stead.” He would not have had this trouble had he used Pope's edition. He may have believed that what he took from Hanmer and Theobald was very much less than what they had received from him. According to his own statements he supplied each with a large number of important emendations which
1 Mr. Lounsbury has said that Hanmer's authorship of this pamphlet “is so improbable that it may be called impossible. The sentiments expressed in it are not Hanmer's sentiments ” (Shakespeare as a Dramatic Artist, p. 60). But he has omitted to tell us how he knows what Hanmer's sentiments are.
had been used without acknowledgment. Yet this does not excuse the suggestion that his edition was founded on Pope's.
The explanation is Warburton's just pride in Pope's friendship, a pride which he took every opportunity of gratifying and parading. But in his earlier days he had been, all unknown to Pope, an enemy. He escaped the Dunciad by reason of his obscurity. He was the friend of Concanen and Theobald, and in a letter to the former, containing his earliest extant attempt at Shakespearian criticism, he observes that “ Dryden borrows for want of leisure, and Pope for want of genius.” The letter is dated 2nd January, 1726-27, but luckily for Warburton it was not publicly known till, in 1766, Akenside used it as a means of paying off old scores (see Nichols, Illustrations, i., pp. 195-198, and Malone's Shakespeare, 1821, vol. xii., pp. 157, etc.). It is of interest also from the fact that Theobald transcribed from it almost verbatim the comparison of Shakespeare and Addison in the Preface of 1733
Theobald's deference and even humility must have confirmed Warburton's confidence in his own critical powers, but it was not till Theobald's Shakespeare was published that Warburton first hinted at an edition by himself. From 1729 to 1733 he had given Theobald loyally of his best. On the appearance of the edition he betrayed some annoyance that all his suggestions had not been accepted. “I have transcribed about fifty emendations and remarks,” he writes on 17th May, 1734, “which I have at several times sent you, omitted in the Edition of Shakespeare, which, I am sure, are better than any of mine published there. These I shall convey to you soon, and desire you to publish them (as omitted by being mislaid) in your Edition of the ‘Poems, which I hope you will soon make ready for the press ” (Nichols, Illustrations, ii., p. 634). These he duly forwarded, along with a flattering criticism of the edition. He gives no hint that he may himself turn them to account, till the