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To Mr. John Watts *, Printer.
Dec. 16, 173%. Understanding that Mr. Theobald is going to publish an Edition of Shakespeare, I send you herewith a few remarks which I made in reading that Author in Mr. Pope's small Editiont. As I am very well satisfied with Mr. Theobald's capacity for the
* Who was then employed on Mr. Theobald's Shakespeare, and of whom see the “ Literary Anecdotes, vol. I. pp. 62, 292.
+ SHAKESPEARE's PLAYS; Mr. Pope's Second Edition, 1728. Vol. I.- Tempest, p. 57: Prosp.
Leave not a rack behind.
either it was different in blood -
From the like opposition in the following lines, I should conjecture that it should be read,
too high to be enthrall’d to lovo. Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act I. Scene 1, p. 142 :
What is there degraded (as Mr. Pope calls it) to the bottom of the page, though bad enough, cannot, I think, be left out without making the following lines nonsense. Merry Wives of Windsor, Act I. Scene 1, p. 216 :
Falst. What say you, Scarlet and John ? These epithets seem to be used in allusion to Robin Hood's two companions Will Scarlet and Little John. See 2 Henry IV. Act V. Scene 5, p. 231 : O that
If voluble and sharp discourse be marr'd,
Unkindness blots it more than marble hard. Read blunts.
province he has undertaken, perhaps there may be none of these observations new to him, which have any justice in them; though I have put none in that I remember to have seen of bis. Some
Love's Labour Lost.
The bue of dungeons, and the school of night.
Read, third. I wonder what difference Mr. Pope can find between the last and the fifth of the five vowels, whoever repeats them.
VOLUME II. P. 20. 1. penult. Keep them fair league and truce with thine
I live distain'd, thou undishonour'd. Read, unstain'd.
Much Ado About Nothing. P. 69. Ben. I cannot be secret as a dumb man.] Read, can. P. 104. - in the reechy hangings.
Mr. Pope renders rechy, valuable; but Mr. Theobald has shewn, from several quotations, that it must signify sweaty. I shall only add, in confirmation of this, that it comes from the Saxon word recan, to steam, or exhale.
As You Like It, Sc. 10. P. 322.
Rosalind then lacks the love
Are now on sale,
Taming of the Shrew.
Sly says he is the son of old Sly of Burton Heath, and talks of the fat ale-wife of Wincot; with what propriety then can he have any acquaintance in Greece? Would not any one believe that Shakespeare wrote it, Old John Naps o'th' Green.
of them, I own, are mere conjectures, which may perhaps be false, for I have neither leisure nor opportunity to collate the different Editions; however, such as they are, they are at Mr. Theobald's service. I am, Sir, your humble servant, L. H.
All's Well that Ends Well. P. 94. Helena. The Court 's a learning place, and he is one. Parolles. What one i' faith. Hell. That I wish well — 't is pity — Hell. That wishing well had not a body in it.
Here are manifestly wanting some words of Parolles, as what? or, what's pity ? P. 170. King. Sir, for my thoughts you have then ill to friend
Till your deeds gain them fairer: prove your honour
Than in my thought it lies.
Till your deeds gain them: fairer prove your honour
P. 203. If I do not gull him into a nayword and make him a common recreation.] — Perhaps, bye-word.
Winter's Tale. P. 300. Shepherd. What is in 't.
Clown. You are a mad old man, if the sins of your youth are forgiven you, you are well to live. Gold, all gold.
There seems to be no reason for calling the Shepherd a mad old man in this place ; perhaps it should be are made old man; that is, you are provided for.
Hysterico Passio, down thy climbing sorrow,
Thy elements below.
plate sins with gold,
Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw will pierce it.
plate sin, &c. P. 445.
And we'll wear out In a walld prison packs and sects of great ones. Sects seems to convey a different idea, not so proper in this place.
To Mr. LEWIS THEOBALD.
May 17, 1734. I received the favour of yours of the 9th instant. I rejoice heartily in your good fortunes, and am glad to find the Town in a disposition to do you justice *. As for the mention of Bellerus Old 'the vision of the guarded mount--the hold of Namancos and Boyona, in the Poem of Lycidas; you are to observe, the Author bewails a friend drowned in the Irish seas; and in the passage in question a famous story in the Fabulous History of Ireland is alluded to. You will find the particular Fable in Sir James Ware's “ Antiquities and History of Ireland;" and in another in folio likewise, published since, of the Fabulous History of Ireland. It seems Philips is about giving an Edition of these Poems.
I have transcribed about fifty emendations and remarks, 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 f. Four subscriptions due to you, of the last payments, are yet unpaid for. The gentlemen who owe them I am going to visit, when I shall receive the money. I will send it.
I desire you to let me know when you are ready for the above-mentioned, and I shall take care to transmit them to you.
You did not give me your opinion of Jortin's performance, nor what he meant by it. I am, dearest Sir, yours most affectionately, W. WARBURTON.
* This series of Letters, it is to be recollected, was subsequen to the publication of Theobald's Shakespeare.
† Did Theobald ever publish Shakespeare's Poems? * Mr. Jortin published in 1734, without his name, an octavo volume of “ Remarks on Spenser ;" and at the end of it gave also Remarks on Milton.”
To Mr, Lewis THEOBALD.
June 2, 1734.
* Of these Fifty Emendations the first leaf of the MS. is lost. What remains begins thus :
THE TEMPEST. P. 19. Act I. Ariel's Song. Full fathom five thy father lives, &c. Gildon, who has pretended to criticize our Author, would give this up as an insufferable and senseless piece of trilling: And I believe this is the general opinion concerning it. But a very unjust one. Let us consider the business Ariel is here upon, and his manner of executing it. The commission Prospero had entrusted to him, in a whisper, was plainly this ; to conduct Ferdinand to the sight of Miranda, and to dispose him to the quick sentiments of love, while he, on the other hand, prepared his daughter for the same impressions. Ariel sets about his business by acquainting Ferdinand, in an extraordinary manner with the afflictive news of his father's death. A very odd apparatus, as would seem, for a love fit; and yet, as odd as this appears, I am persuaded never any dramatic poet shewed more conduct in carrying on his plot than Shakespeare has here done. Prospero had told us, p. 12 :
I find my zenith doth depend upon
Will ever after droop In consequence of this his prescience, he takes advantage of every favourable circumstance that the occasion offers. One of the principal is the marriage of his daughter with young Ferdinand. But to secure this point it was necessary they should be contracted, before the affair came to the knowledge of Alonzo the father. For Prospero did not know how this storm and shipwreck, caused by him, would work upon Alonzo's temper. It might either soften him, or increase his aversion for Prospero, as the cause.
On the other hand, to bring Ferdinand to, without the consent and allowance of his father, was difficult ; for not to speak of his quality, where such engagements are never made without the sovereign's consent, Ferdinand is represented of a most pious temper and disposition, which would prevent his engaging without the sanction of that authority. The Poet