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It is evident from the subsequent passages that rhyme was here intended by the Poet. Here is an assertion that Time owes more than he is worth, yet no explanation in what respect. I only quote this instance, to the praise of our Editor; for, in the first folio edition, we have both the rhyme and the reason,
and owes more than he's worth to season. P. 40. What, have you got the picture of Old Adain
new apparell’d? Antipholis is alone, and reasoning with himself, when Dromio enters to him, and asks this question. I suspect two short monosyllables are slipped out, or else I cannot tell what to make of this passage. I would restore
What, have you got rid of the picture of Old Adam
new apparell’d? i. e. of the bailiff. Adam, you know, went naked ; which the vulgar call, in his buff. The bailiffs went array'd formerly in coats of buff: so that this additional buff, I presume, he means by the new apparel of Adam. P. 41. Nay, she is worse; she's the Devil's dam, &c.
&c. &c. make me a light wench. The odd stuff contained in the place of these &c. &c. I do not know what to make of. P. 44. I am an ass, indeed, you may prove it by my
long ears. How, by his long ears? All the tenor of the following speech would make us rather believe, it was by his patient bearing, or beating. Ibid. Respect your end, or rather prophesie like the
parrot. First folio,
Or rather the prophesie, &c.
It seems very
P. 50. It was the copy of our conference.
suppose, we are to understand here the old word copie (à copiá), i. e. the fullness of our conference, all the subject of our talk.
As in Hall's Chronicle, in Henry V. p. 8, b.“ If you vanquish the Numidians, you shall have copie of beasts,” i. e. plenty of them. P. 60. Thirty-three years have I been gone in travel.
evident to me that there is a mistake in the reckoning, and that we ought to read,
Twenty-five years have I, &c. My proofs of this are these. In p. 8, Ægeon says,
My youngest boy, and yet my eldest care, at EIGHTEEN years became inquisitive, &c. And again, at p. 57:
But SEVEN years since, in Syracusa-bay, thou know'st we parted. So that if the son left his father at 18 years old, and the father found him again in seven years after, we may safely infer, I think, it was but 25 years past since his mother was in travel of him..
I should hint to you, there are other characteristics of time to be observed in this Play; but I question whether they will either confirm, or impeach, this conjecture. See p. 27. 1. 6 :
Your long experience, &c.
Ev’n in the spring of Love, &c.
Long since thy husband, &c.
Ev'n for the service that long since, &c.
I tell thee, Syracusan; twenty years, &c.
And now to (a favourite of mine) Much Ado about Nothing
P. 63. Enter Leonato, Innogen, Hero, &c.
Innogen, being mentioned even from the first quarto editions downwards in two entrances of this Play, it seems as if the Poet had in his first plan designed such a character, which, on a survey of it, he found would be superfluous to receive, the name ought therefore to be expung’d; there being no mention of her in the Play, no
one speech addressed to her, nor one syllable spoken by her. Neither is there any one passage, from which we have any reason to determine Hero's mother to be there. And, besides, if Innogen were on the stage, as the printed copies suppose, the person, who comes as a guest to her house, must certainly have paid his compliments to her as well as to the daughter. P. 64. It is so indeed, he is no less than a stuft man :
but for the stuffing well, we are all mortal. It seems past dispute with me, that the pointing of the latter part of this sentence should be thus rectified:
But for the stuffing, --- Well, we are all mortal. Our Poet seems to use the word stuffing here much as Plautus does, Mostell. Act I. Sc. 3: Non vestem amatores mulieris amant, sed vestis fartum. P. 70. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat, and
shoot at me, and he that hits me, let him be
clapt on the shoulder, and called Adam. Aiming at a cat in this position, I suppose, was a custom, like that Shrove-tide one, which I have heard of in some Counties, of hanging a cock in an earthen jug cross a street, and throwing at it; and he that broke the pitcher, and fetched down the cock, was entitled to it. But why should the man that did this be called Adam? - Mr. Bishop conjectured for me, that it should be a DAB (or dabster). Sed minùs proba mihi videtur hæc conjectura.
I will venture to propose another guess to I think bids fairer at the Poet's meaning. We had to do with the picture of Old Adam, you know, in the last Play; now, I believe, our affair is with one of more modern extraction. In an old Comedy, called Law Tricks, written by John Day, and printed in quarto, 1608, I find this speech :
I have heard old Adam was an honest man and a good gardener, loved lettuce well, sallads and cab
bage reasonably well, yet no tobacco. Again :
Adam Bell, a substantial outlaw, and a passing good ARCHER, &c. How much Archery was in vogue needs no mention; and it may be presumed this Adam Bell was such a proficient in the science, that his skill might bring his name into a proverb. But, I think, I ought to endeavour at a nearer acquaintance with him; and then the conjecture will have more authority. Perhaps, I may find some notice of him in Ascham's Toxophilus.
There is some forgetfulness in certain speeches, or intricacy in the scenery, of this Adam. 'I know not easily how to reconcile the contradictions: for example, p. 71: Pedr. No child but Hero, she's his only heir.
Dost thou affect her, Claudio ? Claud. O my Lord, &c. How comes Pedro to ask this question, when the affair has been so amply talked of before. P. 69. Claud. That I love her, I feel.
Pedr. That she is worthy, I know. And again, what are we to determine of the following passage: P. 71. I know we shall have revelling to-night.
I will assume thy part in some disguise,
And tell fair Hero, &c. Where is this spoken? Antonio immediately comes in with Leonato, and tells him that a servant
of his had overheard the Prince and Claudio concerting this business in an alley near Antonio's orchard; see p. 72: and afterwards, at p. 74, Borachio tells John the Bastard he had overheard them, from behind an arras in Leonato's house, laying the same scheme. And yet it is plain from Pedro's very first words in the fourth Scene, that Claudio had not yet been in Leonato's house ; nor does .. the stage till after this conference betwixt the Prince and him ; nor are we to imagine that they held the same conference in two distinct places. P. 170. Shame, that they wanted cunning in excess,
Hath broke their hearts. What! did shame, that they were not the cunning'st men alive, prove the cause of their deaths ? I dare say our Author means that extremity of shame had killed them, because they were not wise enough not to have banished Alcibiades. I read, therefore,
Shame, that they wanted cunning, in excess
Hath, &c. P. 172. Taught thee to make vast Neptune weep
On thy low grave; on faults forgiven. On what faults forgiven? or why was Neptune to weep for Timon's faults forgiven? The Poet had no such stuff in his head.
Alcibiades's whole speech, you will observe, is in breaks, betwixt his Reflexions on Timon, and his Addresses to the Athenians. I make no scruple to point, and explain it thus : Taught thee to make vast Neptune weep
aye On thy low grave. - On, faults forgiven. i. e. bidding the Senators lead the way, and promising to use them with mercy.
I am, dear Sir, most affectionately, your obliged humble servant,