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of Shakspeare are remarkably decent; but it is not sufficient that his defects are trifling in comparison with writers who are highly defective. It certainly is my wish, and it has Deen my study, to exclude from this publication whatever is unfit to be read aloud by a gentleman to a company of ladies. I can hardly imagine a more pleasing occupation for a winter's evening in the country, than for a father to read one of Shakspeare's plays to his family circle. My object is to enable him to do so without incurring the danger of falling unawares among words and expressions which are of such a nature as to raise a blush on the cheek of modesty, or render it necessary for the reader to pause, and examine the sequel, before he proceeds further in the entertainment of the evening.
But though many erasures have for this purpose been made in the writings of Shakspeare in the present edition, the reader may be assured that not a single line, nor even the half of a line, has, in any one instance, been added to the original text. I know the force of Shakspeare, and the weakness of my own pen, too well, to think of attempting the smallest interpolation. In a few, but in very few instances, one or two words (at the most three) have been inserted to connect the sense of what follows the passage that is expunged with that which precedes it. The few words which are thus added, are connecting particles, words of little moment, and in no degree affecting the meaning of the author, or the story of the play. A word that is less objectionable is sometimes substituted for a synonymous word that is improper.
In the following work I have copied the text of the last Edition of the late Mr. Steevens. This I have done so scrupulously, as seldom to have allowed myself to alter either the words or the punctuation. Othello's speech, for example, in the second scene of the fifth act, will be found as it is in Mr. Steevens, and in the old editions of Shakspeare, not as it is usually spoken on the stage. In a few instances I have deviated from Mr. Steevens, in compliance with the original folio of 1623. I do not presume to enter into any critical disputes as to certain readings of " Judean or Indian," "Sables or Sable," or any thing of that nature, respecting which many persons of superior abilities have entertained contrary opinions. The glossary (but nothing except the glossary) is borrowed from the edition of 1803. It was compiled by Mr. Harris, under the direction of Mr. Steevens. My great objects in this undertaking are to remove from the writings of Shakspeare some defects which diminish their value, and at the same time to present to the Public an edition of his plays, which the parent, the guardian, and the instructor of youth may place, without fear, in the hands of the pupil; and from which the pupil may derive instruction as well as pleasure; may improve his moral principles while he refines his taste; and, without incurring the danger of being hurt with any indelicacy of expression, may learn in the fate of Macbeth, that even a kingdom is dearly purchased, if virtue be the price of the acquisition.
My first idea of the FAMILY SHAKSPEARE arose from the recollection of my father's custom of reading In this manner to his family. Shakspeare (with whom no person was better acquainted) was a frequent subject of the evening's entertainment. In the perfection of reading few men were equal to my father; and such was his good taste, his delicacy, and his prompt discretion, that his family listened with delight to Lear, Hamlet, and Othello, without knowing that those matchless tragedies contained words and expressions improper to be pronounced; and without having reason to suspect that any parts of the plays had been omitted by the circumspect and judicious reader.
It afterwards occurred to me, that what my father did so readily and successfully for his family, my inferior abilities might, with the assistance of time and mature consideration, be able to accomplish for the benefit of the public. I say, therefore, that if "The Family Shakspeare" is entitled to any merit, it originates with my father.
The government I cast upon my brother,
Sir, most heedfully.
Pro. Being once perfected how to grant suits,
Or else new-form'd them: having both the key
Were most impertinent.
Wherefore did they not
That hour destroy us?
Well demanded, wench; My tale provokes that question. Dear, they durst not;
To what tune pleas'd his ear; that now he was
(So dear the love my people bore me) nor set
I pray thee mark me.
O good sir, I do.
Pro. I thus neglecting wordly ends, all dedi- Bore us some leagues to sea; where they prepar'd
A rotten carcass of a boat, not rigg'd,
Alack! what trouble
Was I then to you!
Thou wast, that did
Infused with a fortitude from heaven,
When I have deck'd the sea with drops full salt;
How came we ashore?
To closeness, and the bettering of my mind
As my trust was; which had, indeed, no limit,
To credit his own lie, - he did believe
Your tale, sir, would cure deafness. Pro. To have no skreen between this part he play'd
And him he play'd it for, he needs will be
O the heavens ! Pro. Mark his condition, and the event; tell me,
If this might be a brother.
6 Cut away..
I should sin
Alack, for pity!
Knowing I lov'd my books, he furnish'd me,
'Would I might
But ever see that man!
Now I arise: -
O! a cherubim
Pro. By Providence divine.
Out of his charity (who being then appointed
Pro. My brave spirit! Who was so firm, so constant, that this coil 9 Would not infect his reason?
Of sulphurous roaring, the most mighty Neptune Seem'd to besiege, and make his bold waves tremble, Yea, his dread trident shake.
Pro. Of the king's ship, The mariners, say, how thou hast dispos'd, And all the rest o' the fleet ?
Ari. Not a soul But felt a fever of the mad, and play'd Some tricks of desperation: All, but mariners, Plung'd in the foaming brine, and quit the vessel, Then all a-fire with me: the king's son, Ferdinand, With hair up-staring, (then like reeds, not hair,) Was the first man that leap'd.
Why, that's my spirit!
Pro. But was not this nigh shore? Ari. Close by, my master. Pro. But are they, Ariel, safe? Ari. Not a hair perish'd; On their sustaining garments not a blemish, But fresher than before; and, as thou bad'st me, In troops I have dispers'd them 'bout the isle : The king's son have I landed by himself; Whom I left cooling of the air with sighs, In an odd angle of the isle, and sitting, His arms in this sad knot.
8 The minutest article. 1 Bermudas.
Past the mid season.
Pro. At least two glasses: The time 'twixt six and now,
Must by us both be spent most preciously.
Ari. Is there more toil? Since thou dost give me pains,
Let me remember thee what thou hast promis'd,
How now? moody?
Ari. Safely in harbour Is the king's ship; in the deep nook, where once Thou call'dst me up at midnight to fetch dew From the still-vex'd Bermoothes', there she's hid: The mariners all under hatches stow'd; Whom, with a charm join'd to their suffer'd labour, I have left asleep: and for the rest o' the fleet, Which I dispers'd, they all have met again; And are upon the Mediterranean flote %, Bound sadly home for Naples; Supposing that they saw the king's ship wreck'd, And his great person perish.
Ariel, thy charge
9 Bustle, tumult.
Exactly is perform'd; but there's more work : What is the time o' the day?
Thou hast where was she born? speak; tell me. Ari. Sir, in Argier.3
Pro. O, was she so? I must, Once in a month, recount what thou hast been, Which thou forget'st. This vile witch, Sycorax, For mischiefs manifold, and sorceries terrible To enter human hearing, from Argier, Thou know'st, was banish'd; for one thing she did, They would not take her life: Is not this true? Ari. Ay, sir.
Pro. This blue-ey'd hag was hither brought with child,
And here was left by the sailors: Thou, my slave,
As fast as mill-wheels strike: Then was this island (Save for the son that she did litter here,
A freckled whelp, hag-born,) not honour'd with A human shape.
Yes; Caliban her son.
Pro. Dull thing, I say so; he, that Caliban, Whom now I keep in service. Thou best know'st What torment I did find thee in thy groans Did make wolves howl, and penetrate the breasts
Of ever-angry bears.
I thank thee, master.
I will discharge thee.
[Exit ARIEL. Awake, dear heart, awake! thou hast slept well; Awake!
Mira. The strangeness of your story put Heaviness in me.
'Tis a villain, sir, I do not love to look on.
But, as 'tis,
We cannot miss him: he does make our fire,
Cal. [Within.] There's wood enough within.
Re-enter ARIEL like a water-nymph.
Do so; and after two days Filth as thou art, with human care; and lodg'd thee
Though thou didst learn, had that in't which good
The fresh springs, brine pits, barren place, and fertile;
Cursed be I that did so!
Thou strok'dst me, and mad'st much of me; would'st give me
Water with berries in't; and teach me how
To name the bigger light, and how the less,
That burn by day and night: and then I lov'd thee,
All the charms
Which first was mine own king: and here you sty me
Thou most lying slave, Whom stripes may move, not kindness! I have us'd thee,
Could not abide to be with; therefore wast thou
Cal. You taught me language; and my profit on't
No, 'pray thee!
So, slave; hence!
[Exit CALIBAN. Re-enter ARIEL invisible, playing and singing; FERDINAND following him.
Come unto these yellow sands
Court'sied when you have, and kiss'd,
(The wild waves whist 7)
It sounds no more: - and sure, it waits upon
7 Being stilled, silenced.
Fer. The ditty does remember my drown'd
A goodly person: he hath lost his fellows,
As we have, such: This gallant which thou seest,
[Aside. Spirit, fine spirit! I'll
It goes on,
No wonder, sir;
Mira. What is't? a spirit? If the ill spirit have so fair an house, See how it looks about! Believe me, sir, Good things will strive to dwell with't. It carries a brave form: - But 'tis a spirit. Pro. Follow me. Pro. No, wench; it eats and sleeps, and hath Speak not you for him; he's a traitor. I'll manacle thy neck and feet together: Sea-water shalt thou drink, thy food shall be The fresh-brook muscles, wither'd roots, and husks Wherein the acorn cradled: Follow. No;
I will resist such entertainment, till
How! the best?
Alack, for mercy! Fer. Yes, faith, and all his lords; the duke of Milan,
And his brave son being twain.
The duke of Milan,
They have chang'd eyes:
- Delicate Ariel,
I'll set thee free for this!
A word, good sir;
I fear, you have done yourself some wrong: a word.
That thou attend me: thou dost here usurp
O, if a virgin,
And your affection not gone forth, I'll make you
I must uneasy make, lest too light winning [Aside. Make the prize light. -One word more; I charge thee,
[To FERD. Come.
Is so possess'd with guilt: come from thy ward 2;
Beseech you father!
I'll be his surety.
Silence: one word more
Thou think'st there are no more such shapes as he,