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Every one is, of course, at liberty to take his own view of the foregoing Tables, and to draw his own conclusions, but to us, who believe implicitly in the authenticity and value of the EmphasisCapitals, they are singularly interesting and important, and tell many things at which we could not otherwise have readily got.
For instance, they inform us, that, of all the children of his mind and pen, the dearest to Shakspere, and those on which he bestowed his choicest care, were The English Histories, a fact which we would expect, and rejoice to find established; and of the Histories, they tell us that some special incidents must have attached themselves either to the Manuscript of King John used by his friends the first Editors, or to the printing or revision of it, for as it appears in the Original Folio it is, in its trifling number of these Capitals, quite out of tune with all its neighbours. We find also reasons here for supposing that there has been something out of the way, connected with the Manuscripts of Troilus and Cressida and Titus Andronicus which were used in the printing of the First Folio. Had they remained as they appear there, we should have concluded that Titus Andronicus (of his being the Author of which we are nevertheless as certainly convinced, as if we had caught him “red handed” in the act of writing it) was repulsive even to Shakspere himself, and seldom revisited, and that its Manuscript had therefore a comparatively trifling share of his usual particularity, and we might have concluded that Troilus and Cressida had been so slighted through the picture of false and vicious womanhood necessarily depicted there, having had no great after-attraction to the mind from which issued these types of constancy and purity, Juliet and Desdemona, Imogen and Hermione. But it looks as if more elaborate copies of the Manuscripts of both these Plays had been recovered afterwards, and certainly, they are, with the supplemented Capitals, ultimately brought to a level with the others. To us there is also in these Tables evidence that Shakspere’s Three Roman Plays and Seven Great Tragedies (Romeo and Juliet, Timon of Athens, Macbeth, Hamlet, Lear, Othello and Cymbeline) received at his hand an almost equal portion of thorough writing-down and noting for the benefit of Readers and Players. They reveal, too, the lighter creatures of his genius, the Comedies—with one exception-viewed by the Master as not calling for much of the same class of severe supervision; and of these, we find The Merry Wives of Windsor and Love's Labour Lost looking as if they had been chief favourites with him. When the latter was presented before Good Queen Bess at the Christmas of 1597, it had been “newly corrected and augmented,” as we are told by the First Edition (4to.) published in 1598, and from the text of which the First Folio does not much differ; and The Merry Wives of Windsor had, we know, been frequently played before the Court. The Royal experiences of these two Comedies seem to agree well with their favourable position in the preceding Lists. The one exception we have referred to is a striking one. If the reader will run his eye down the Comedies in List A, he will see that The Winters Tale stands quite alone among them in the number of its Emphasis-Capitals. It has no fewer than 1,834, ultimately increased to 2,013,-more than twice as many as the highest of its fellows; and, indeed, it is richer in this way than Othello, being nearly 300 lines shorter. Of course, it is the longest of the Comedies, but this does not account for its singularity in this respect, and there must have been some special circumstances. As this Comedy will form the next Part of the Hamnet Edition, we shall, in the Introduction to it, resume consideration of this point, contenting ourselves here with inserting a Memorandum discovered in the Office-books of Sir Henry Herbert, Master of the Revels :—"An olde playe called Winters Tale,' formerly allowed of by Sir George Bucke, and likewyse by me on Mr Hemminges his word that there was nothing prophane added or reformed, though the allowed book was missing: and therefore I returned it without a fee this 19th of August, 1623.”
As these Tables shew, the Tragedy of Timon of Athens, as it is printed in the First Folio, contains about 1300 Emphasis-Capitals, and the reader will find numerous passages in which, as in the following instances, the words entrusted with special and important meaning are brought into alto-rilievo:-
must my house Be my retentive Enemy? My Gaol? The place which I have Feasted, does it now (Like all Mankind) shew me an Iron heart?
Enter other Servants. Stew. All broken Implements of a ruin'd house.
3 Yet do our hearts wear Timons Livery,
All. We are not Thieves, but men
Tim. Your greatest want is, you want much of meat:
We do not think we could produce a better example of the EmphasisCapital than that which Shakspere has here given to the concluding verb.
Of the Original Emphasis-Capitals of this Tragedy there escaped the Editors and Printers of the Second Folio, 123; of the Third, 160; and of the Fourth, 29 : in all, 312. On the other hand, there appeared of New Capitals, not connected with Proper Names, or at the beginning of lines or sentences, in the Second, none; in the Third, 27; and in the Fourth, 258: in all, 285. There follow this Introduction Lists of the lines in which these losses and gains occur.
It will be observed that the Fourth Folio shows only about a ninth part of the loss of its two predecessors, while it gains about nine times as much as they, put together, do; but long as is the List of its Additions of this character, it is with perfect confidence that we invite our readers to an examination of it. We feel assured that it will result in their holding the same opinion with ourselves—that there is not one of these 258 words the distinguishing of which by a Capital Letter has not been regulated by intelligence, and with a strict regard to its meaning, and that there is every reason for believing that the Editor in 1685 must have had the benefit of the Original Manuscript, to enable him to make such a multitude of concordant additions.
It may assist our purpose to notice here a few of the Words which received the Capital afterwards, and to state the character under which ey appear. For example, there are the lines :
One day he gives us Diamonds, next day Stones.
Feast won, Fast lost.
Sow all th'Athenian bosoms, and their Crop
Here, and in similar cases, the Einphasis-Capital supplied, and which we italicise, is complemental. If the word “Diamond” was so distinguished for emphasis sake, such a distinction was due to the word “Stone,” opposed to it: each end of the antithesis had an equal claim.
Then we have instances where the Emphasis-Capital serves a single or independent thought, as in the lines:
The Canker gnaw thy heart
Here a suggestive line is made more suggestive by the Capital. Timon does not say the Form of Man, or even the Face of Man, but the Eyes of Man, as if he alluded to the chief difference between Man and the Brute being in the Eye.
l'im. How lik’st thou this Picture Apemantus?
Here, again, the Capital attends a separate thought.
The New Capitals will be found to give much reality also, to familiarand colloquial parts of the Text, such as the following: “Upon my Soul 'tis true Sir”
“ This is the Old man still” (the same lavish entertainer we have known so long) —“My Hand to thee”—“Mine Honour on my Promise ”_"Give me your Hand”-“How now what News"“Get on your Cloak”—“What do you think the Hour? Labouring for Nine”-and so on.
New Emphasis-Capitals in the Fourth Folio are used also for Verbs, as we find them in the First Folio; and this, we think, exhibits in the Editor of 1685 a boldness which could only have been exercised through his being backed by the original “fair copies.” The follow) ing cases are a few of these: “I'll Example you with Thievery”_"Let me be Recorded”—“I'll once more Feast the Rascals”—“Think thy Slave-man Rebels.”
The Hamnet Edition, as the reader is aware, professes to be, with the exception of the modernising of the language, a strict Reprint of the First Folio, with its occasional misprints and confusions of punctuation, but an Edition of Shakspere's Works which would (using the modernised spelling) incorporate all the New Emphasis-Capitals in the Three After Folios; correct what are, on the face of them, errors of the press; and run the text properly, where in the First Folio the Printers were misled by Shakspere's Capitals occurring in quite unusual places; would greatly enrich the text, and increase its usefulness to the general public, players, and professional readers. In such an Edition, for instance, the first part of the leave-taking of Coriolanus would appear thus :
Corio. Come leave your Tears: a brief farewell : the Beast
Virg. O Heavens! 0 Heavens !
Vol. Now the Red Pestilence strike all Trades in Rome
Corio. What, what, what :