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there is a mistake in it, as regards the text, which ought to be pointed out; because not only is it likely that others may, but others have (and learned and acute ones too) fallen into the error. We allude to the very ingenious and well-informed Joseph Hunter, who, in his “Disquisition on the Tempest,” published in 1839, has quoted (p. 63) the preceding extract, with due applause, but apparently without being aware of the perversion of Shakespeare's language which it contains. Prospero did not bury his “staff” in the ocean
Deeper than did ever plummet sound”
as the scious mself magie
but his book. It is true that he buried his “ staff,” or undertook to do so, after breaking it; but he was to bury it, as he expressly states, “ certain fathoms in the earth,” while it was his book that he was to drown by plunging it in the ocean “deeper than did ever plummet sound.” This will be quite obvious from the lines themselves, which we beg to quote, verbatim et literatim, from the original folio of 1623, now lying open before us, and to which we delight at all times to resort, as the greatest literary monument that was ever erected by and to any author in the history of the world.
“ But this rough Magicke
Sign. B. 2 b.
The misrepresentation of the language of Shakespeare in this instance of course makes no difference in the beautiful,
and perhaps not altogether fanciful, theory Mr. Campbell has raised upon it; because, giving all credit for the ability and knowledge Mr. Hunter has displayed, we are not at all satisfied with his notion regarding the early composition of " The Tempest,” and firmly hold to the belief, upon which Mr. Campbell founds himself, that it was one of the latest, if not the very latest, work of the Magician of Mankind.
In reference to the first folio of “Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories and Tragedies,” may I avail myself of this opportunity of mentioning a fact, of which, I think, due notice has not been taken? I mean that, although most of the known copies are dated 1623, there is at least one copy in existence with the date of 1622; showing, perhaps, that there was an intention to publish the volume in 1622, although it was not registered in the books of the Stationers' Company until November 8, 1623. In the same way, there is a single copy of the third folio, dated 1663, and not 1664, like all the others known: it has also the portrait on the title-page, (omitting any mention of the attributed plays) and not on the fly-leaf. These matters may seem trilling to some, but to me nothing relating to Shakespeare can be a trifle.
L. L. D.
ART. X. — Observations on the correct method of punctuating
a line in “Hamlet,” act i., sc. 2, with reference to the exact force of the word too-too.
The well known passage in Hamlet commencing with the line,
"O! that this too, too solid' flesh would melt,"
which I give as printed by Mr. Collier, and the best of modern editors, does not appear at first sight to merit any alteration, or invite any fancied improvement even from the most hypercritical or conjectural commentator ; and I am afraid I shall be accused of sad want of taste in suggesting any innovation, more especially as I can hardly bring myself to believe that the change would be poetically beneficial. I have, indeed, been convinced almost against my will, and certainly in opposition to whatever ear I may have for Shakespearian poetry, that we must henceforth read,
“Oh, that this too-too solid flesh would melt,”
regarding too-too essentially as one word ; and I propose to place before the reader reasons sufficiently cogent to warrant this conclusion. I would, however, premise that I see no absolute necessity for altering the pronunciation, save the entire dropping of the comma in the middle of the line.
The comma, indeed, is entirely a modern introduction; and in a copy of the second folio belonging to me the hyphen is found exactly as I have given it above. So, also, let any one look at the passage in the Merry Wives, act ii., sc 2, “ I could drive her then from the ward of her purity, her reputation, her marriage-vow, and a thousand other her defences, which now
1 The quarto editions, including the later one of 1637, read “
are too-too strongly embattled against me,” in any of the early editions, and he will find the word too-too so printed with a hyphen. Compare also 2 Henry VI., in the second folio, p. 126,
“I prethee peace, good Queene,
which I transcribe cerbatim, to show that the connected word is recognized in the early editions of Shakespeare.
But why adopt the early method of printing the word? why not separate it? and what is the meaning of too-too? The answer to the last question will negative the others. Too-too is a provincial word recognized by Ray, and explained to be used“ absolutely for very well or good,” and Watson, a few years afterwards, says it is “ often used to denote exceeding." See Notes to the First Sketches of Henry VI., p. 196. The term "exceeding ” exactly explains too-too in the numerous instances I have collected, and how well does it apply to the passages above quoted. As a recognised archaism, I do not think we can safely mutilate the word in a manner which certainly alters the meaning of the term as originally implied.
I have not met with the word earlier than the time of Skelton,' who uses it in his Interlude of “ Magnyfycence," printed by Rastell, without date,-
“ He doth abuse
which is evidently the same word that is used by Shakespeare. But with Elizabethan authors the word was frequently used,
| The recent editor of Skelton, Mr. Dyce, has misunderstood the word, although he quotes a provincial proverb including it.
See i. 249. This may be the proper place to notice that Mr. Dyce has not mentioned the MS. of “Why Come ye Nat to Courte," in the Bodleian Library,
and I beg to offer the following examples as proofs of my opinion that T00-T00, as used by our early writers, is one word, denoting “ exceedingly,” and that it ought to be so printed :
" I mought thereby helpe those that are diseased with any of these diseases, either of dice-playing, dauncing, or vain playes or enterludes, which raigneth too-too much."—Northbrooke's Treatise, 1577.
* Anything but vertue it can tollerate to thrive, and that it is too-to afrayd of."-Nashe's Christs Teares over Jerusalem, 1594, fol. 15.
“ The horrible vice of whoredome is too-too much frequented, to the great dishonour of God.”-Stub's Anatomie of Abuses, 1595, p. 59.
“ If he acknowledge not, he is too-too unkinde bothe to God and to her majestie, and to his owne countrie.”—Lambarde's Perambulation, 1596, p. 348.
* Tully, eloquent in his gloses, yet vaine glorious; Saloman, wise, yet too-too wanton."~Lyly's Euphues.
" The word of God doth shew plainely that there be witches, and commaundeth they should be put to death. Experience hath taught too-too many what harmes they do." -Gifford's Dialogue on Witches, 1603.
which has many important variations; and although he has informed us (pref., p. li.,) that macaronic poetry did not commence with Skelton, by quoting, as from a MS., a work which has been printed by the Shakespeare Society, he does not any where allude to the fact that Gower had written a few lines of what is called Skeltonical metre. See the Confessio Amantis, MS. Bib). Antiq. Soc. 134, fol. 1195, and Ashmole's Thcatrum Chemicum Britannicum, pp. 369-370.