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Mr. Pope thus explains it; “ Call me Philip? * You may as well call me sparrow ; Philip “ being a common name for a tame ® sparrow." 'Tis not to be wonder'd that Mr. Theobald thould turn a deaf ear to whatever Mr. Pope offers by way of criticism : he therefore alters the place thus, Philip!. spare me James. Without changing a word, why should we not read, taking the whole in Mr. Pope's sense?
“ Gurn. Good leave, good Philip.
“ Phil. Philip? Sparrow ! James “ There's toys abroad ; anon I'll tell thee more! 8 So Prior in his poem intitled, The Sparrow and Dove :
S. I woo'd my coufin Philly Sparrow. And in the workes of G. Gascoigne,, Esq; p. 285. Lond. ann. 1587
The praise of Philip Sparrow.
UT are there no errors at all crept into the
copies of Shakespeare? Perhaps more than inte
any one book, published since the invention of printing. But these errors may often be ac
counted for, and the cause once known, the cure will follow of course.
Not only the words in all languages are ever fleeting, but likewise the manner of spelling those words is so very vague and indeterminate, that almost every one varies it according to his own whim and fancy. This is not only true of the more barbarous countries, but was likewise the case of the more polite languages of the Greeks and Romans. The spelling of Virgil differ'd from that of Ennius; and later Romans ventured to vary from even the Augustan age : Nor were the alterations less in the Grecian languages and every country followed their own pronunciation, and spelt in a great measure accordingly.
1 Augustus himself had little regard to ftri& orthography, as appears in Suetonius's life of Aug. fe&t. 88.
2 Some letters were added by Epicharmus and Simonides.
It may be proper, in order to ascertain some readings in our author, just to observe, that in the reign of queen Elizabeth the scholars wrote auncient, taulk, chaunce, &c. keeping to the broader manner of pronunciation ; and added a letter often to the end of words, as sunne, restlese, &c. sometimes to give them a stronger tone as, doo, 3 wee, mee, &c. the y they expressed by ie, as, anie, bodie, &c. Tho' many other instances may be given, yet the generality of those writers
3 As trifling as these observations may appear, yet they are not to be too slightly pass’d over by our critic: There is a corrupted passage in Shakespeare, which may hence be more truly than hitherto, corrected. In Julius Cæfar. Ad II, the old writing was thus.
Danger knows full well
There was some stroke of the pen at the end of the letter , which made the printer mistake it for an h: so he gave
66 W8. HEARE two lions litter'd in one day."
Mr. Th. reads very ingeniously “ We were two lions, &c. But my reading is nearer the traces of the original, and the stopping gives a greater propriety to the sentence. Befades accuracy is of the very essence of criticism.
paid very little regard either to etymology or pronunciation, or the peculiar genius of our language, all which ought to be considered. As to Shakespeare, he did not seem to take much care about the printing of those plays, which were published in his life, but left it to the printers and players ; and those plays, which were published after his death, were liable to even more blunders. So that his spelling being often faulty, he should thence be explained by some happy guessing or divining faculty. This seems one of the easiest parts of criticism ; and what English reader thinks himself not master of so trifling a science? When he receives a letter from his friend, errors of this kind are no impediment to his reading : and the reason is, because he generally knows his friend's drift and design, and accompanies him in his thoughts and expressions. And could we thus accompany the diviner poets and philosophers, we should commence criticks of courfe. However I will mehtion an instance or two of wrong spelling in out poet, and leave it to the reader to judge, whether such trifling blunders have been sufficiently restored.
In Hamlet, Act III. in Mr. Theobald's edi tion, p. 301. the place is thus printed :
« Hamlet. For thou dost know, oh Damon
« dear, « This realm dismantled was “ Of Jove himself, and now reigns here “ A very, very Paddock.
« Hor. You might have rhim’d."
The old copies read, Paicock, Paięcke and Pajocke. Mr. Theobald substitutes Paddock, as nearest the traces of the corrupt spelling : Mr. Pope, Peacock ; (much nearer surely to Paicock, than Mr. Theobald's Paddock) thinking a fable is alluded to, of the birds chusing a king, instead of the eagle, the peacock. And this reading of Mr. Pope's seems to me exceeding right. Hamlet, very elegantly alluding to the friendship between Pythias and his school-fellow Daman, calls Horatio, his school-fellow, Damon dear ; and says, this realm was dismantled of Jove himself, (he does not say of Jove's bird, byt heightening the compliment to his father, of Jove himself,) and now reigns bere, a very Peacock; meer shew, but no worth and substance. Horatio answers,
“ You might have rhim'd: i. e. you might have very juftly said,
“ A very, very Ass.”