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No more such wives; therefore, no wife: one worse,
Had she such power,
2 (Where we offenders now appear) soul-vex’d,
Begin, And why to me?] The old copy reads-And begin, why to me? the transposition now adopted was proposed by Mr. Steevens. Mr. Theobald reads:
and on this stage “(Where we offend her now) appear soul-ver’d,” &c. Mr. Heath would read—(Were we oftenders now) appear, &c.
- that is, if we should now at last so far offend her.” Mr. M. Mason thinks that the second line should be printed thus:
“ And begin, why? to me.” that is, begin to call me to account.
There is so much harsh and involved construction in this play, that I am not sure but the old copy, perplexed as the sentence may appear, is right. Perhaps the author intended to point it thus:
“ Again possess her corps, (and on this stage
“ And begin, why to me?" Why to me did you prefer one less worthy, Leontes insinuates would be the purport of Hermione's speech. There is, I think, something awkward in the phrase- Where we offenders now appear. By removing the parenthesis, which in the old copy is placed after appear, to the end of the line, and applving the epi. thet soul-vex'd to Leontes and the rest who mourned the loss of Hermione, that difficulty is obviated. Malone.
To countenance my transposition, be it observed, that the blunders occasioned by the printers of the first folio are so numerous, that it should seem, when a word dropped out of their press, they were careless into which line they inserted it.
Steevens. I believe no change is necessary. If, instead of being repeated, the word appear be understood, as, by an obvious ellipsis, it may, the sense will be sufficiently clear. Henley.
3 She had just cause.] The first and second folio read-she had just such cause. Reed.
We should certainly read, “ she had just cause.” The insertion of the word such, hurts both the sense and the metre.
M. Mason. There is nothing to which the word such can be referred. It was, I have no doubt, inserted by the compositor's eye glancing on the preceding line. The metre is perfect without this word, which confirms the observation.-Since the foregoing remark
She had; and would incense me 4 To murder her I married. Paul.
I should so:
Stars, very stars,
Will you swear
Leon. Never, Paulina; so be bless'd my spirit !
I have done. 8
1,-if you will, sir, No remedy, but you will; give me the office
was printed in the Second APPENDIX to my SUPP. to SHAKSP. 1783, I have observed that the editor of the third folio made the same correction. Malone. incense me -] i. e. instigate me, set me on.
So, in King Richard III:
“ Think you, my lord, this little prating York
“ Was not incensed by his subtle mother) Steevens. 5 Should rift - ] i.e. split. So, in The Tempest:
rifted Jove's stout oak.” Steevens. 6 Stars, very stars,] The word-very, was supplied by Sir T. Hanmer, to assist the metre. So, in Cymbeline :
“'Twas very Cloten.”
“Your preparation can affront no less.
“ Than what you hear of” Steevens. 8 Paul. I have done.] These three words in the old copy make part of the preceding speech. The present regulation, which is clearly right, was suggested by Mr. Steevens. Malone.
To choose you a queen: she shall not be so young
My true Paulina,
Enter a Gentleman.
What with him? he comes not
His princess, say you, with him?
So must thy grave Give way to what 's seen now.] Thy grave here means—thy beauties, which are buried in the grave; the continent for the contents. Edwards.
Sir, you yourself Have said and writ so,] The reader must observe, that so relates not to what precedes, but to what follows; that she had not been-equall'd. Johnson.
? Is colder than that theme,] i. e. than the lifeless body of Hermione, the theme or subject of your writing. Malone.
To say, you have seen a better.
This is such a creature, 3
How? not women?
[Exeunt Cleo. Lords, and Gent. He thus should steal upon us. Paul.
Had our prince,
Pr’ythee, no more; thou know'st,*
3 This is such a creature,] The word such, which is wanting in the old copy, was judiciously supplied by Sir T. Hanmer, for the sake of metre. Steevens.
4 Pr’ythee, no more; thou know’st,] The old copy redundantly reads
“Prythee, no more; cease; thou know'st," Cease, I believe, was a mere marginal gloss or explanation of -no more, and, injuriously to the metre, had crept into the text.
As I did him; and speak of something, wildly
By his command
O, my brother,
Once more to look on him. Steevens. For this incorrectness our author must answer. There are many others of the same kind to be found in his writings. See p. 206, n. 9. Mr. Theobald, with more accuracy, but without necessity, omitted the word him, and to supply the metre, reads in the next line—“Sir, by his command,” &c. in which he has been followed, I think, improperly, by the subsequent editors.
Malone. As I suppose this incorrect phraseology to be the mere jargon of the old players, I have omitted-him, and (for the sake of metre) instead of-on, read upon. So, in a former part of the present scene:
“ I might have look'd upon my queen's full eyes Again, p. 323:
“Strike all that look upon with marvel.” Steevens.
that a king, at friend,], Thus the old copy; but having met with no example of such phraseology, I suspect our author wrote-and friend. At has already been printed for and in the play before us. Malone.
At friend, perhaps means, at friendship. So, in Hamlet, we have" the wind at help." We might, however, read, omitting only a single letter--a friend. Steevens.