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To scale't Theobald: Thus all the editions, but without any manner of sense that I can find out. The Poet must have wrote as I have corrected the text [see Text. Notes], and then the meaning will be plainly this: ‘Perhaps you may have heard my tale already, but for all that, I'll venture to make it more stale and familiar to you by telling it over again.’ And nothing is more common than the verb in this sense with our three capital dramatic Poets. To begin with our own Author: ‘Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale Her infinite variety,’ Ant. & Cleo., II, ii, 240; ‘Were I a common laugher, or did use To stale with ordinary oaths my love,’ Jul. Cæs., I, ii, 72; ‘imitations Which out of use, and staled by other men Begin his fashion,’ Jul. Cæs., IV, i, 38. [To these examples from Shakespeare of ‘stale’ used in this sense Theobald adds four others, one of these from Jonson's Cynthia's Revels, and three from Beaumont and Fletcher, Beggar's Bush, Queen of Corinth, and Wit at Several Weapons.—Ed.]—Warburton: Mr Theobald alters it to stale't. And for a good reason, because he can find no sense, he says, in the common reading. For as good a reason I, who can, have restored the old one to its place, ‘To scale't,’ signifying to weigh, examine, and apply it. The author uses it again, in the same sense, in this very play: ‘Scaling his present bearing with his past,’ [II, iii, 261]. And so Fletcher, The Maid in the Mill: ‘What, scale my invention beforehand?’ [ed. Dyce, ix, 259, where ‘scale’ is printed stale and whereon the editor has the following note: ‘So Sympson.—Both the folios “scale”; and so the editors of 1778. The same misprint occurs in the old copies of Shakespeare's Coriolanus, I, i, and has been carefully retained in the three latest editions of the great dramatist, though Theobald had long ago corrected the passage, and though Gifford in a most decisive note had proved that the true reading is stale.’ (See Note by Steevens and Gifford's comment thereon, supra.)

—Ed.]—Johnson: Neither of Dr Warburton's examples afford a sense congruous to the present occasion. In the passage quoted to ‘scale’ may be to weigh and compare, but where do we find that to ‘scale’ is to apply? If we scale the two critics, I think Theobald has the advantage.—Capell (vol. I, pt i, p. 81) characterises Theobald's alteration as ‘a most certain correction,’ and remarks that ‘“scale't,” i. e., weigh or examine it, is neither pertinent to the matter in hand nor suitable to the speaker.’—Steevens: To ‘scale’ is to disperse. The word is used in the North. If emendation was at all necessary, Theobald's is as good a one as could be proposed. The sense of the old reading is: Though some of you have heard the story, I will spread it yet wider, and impart it to the rest. A measure of wine spilt is called ‘a scal'd pottle of wine’ in Dekker's comedy, The Honest Whore, 1635. So in The Hystorie of Clyomen, a play published in 1599: ‘[Ah sirrah, now] the hugy heapes of cares that lodged in my minde Are scaled from their nestling-place, and pleasures passage find,’ [Peele's Works, ed. Dyce, iii, 78. Steevens gives three other examples of ‘scale’ used in the sense to disperse from Holinshed and from the Glossary to Douglas's Translation of Virgil; and in later editions he added several more. Gifford, who seldom let slip an opportunity to gird at Steevens, says, in a note on the line, ‘I'll not stale the jest By my relation’ (Massinger, The Unnatural Combat, IV, ii, p. 203). ‘This is one of a thousand instances which might be brought to prove that the true reading in Coriolanus is: “To stale't a little more.” . . . Steevens prefers scale, which he proves from a variety of learned authorities to mean scatter, disperse, spread; to make any of them, however, suit his purpose, he is obliged to give an unfaithful version of the text: “Though some of you have heard the story, I will spread it yet wider, and diffuse it among the rest!” There is nothing of this in Shakespeare; and, indeed, I cannot avoid looking on his long note as a feeble attempt to justify a palpable error of the press, at the cost of taste and sense.’ Gifford, in his edition of Jonson published ten years later, in a note on the line in Every Man in His Humour, ‘To stale himself in all societies’ (I, iv, p. 42), returns again to the attack with the words: ‘So the word is used by Shakespeare, and, indeed, by every writer of his age. By a very common oversight it is printed scale in Coriolanus, which has happily furnished occasion for much perverse ingenuity to justify the poet's adoption of a word which he would steadily have rejected.’—Ed.]—Mason (Comments, etc., p. 245): I believe Theobald is right. In the passage which Warburton quotes from The Maid in the Mill it is evident that stale is the right reading, and that scale was introduced in that passage, as I believe it was into this, by a mistake of the printer's. Steevens has proved beyond doubt that to scale meant formerly to disperse; but the remark of Menenius, that though perhaps his audience had heard it before, he would venture to tell his tale again, convinces me that stale is the true reading.—Malone, who retains the Folio reading, apparently accepts Steevens's interpretation, to disperse; and merely mentions Theobald's change, stale.—Boswell: ‘To scale’ means also to weigh, to consider. If we understand it in the sense of to separate, as when it is said to ‘scale the corn,’ it may have the same metaphorical signification as to discuss; but Theobald's emendation is so slight, and affords so clear a meaning, that I should be inclined to adopt it.— Horne Tooke, who is not always a very trustworthy authority on matters philological, in his Ἔρεα Ρτεπόεντα [Winged Words], or The Diversions of Purley, makes reference to the present passage and Steevens's note thereon, and for the

latter reason only is entitled to a hearing; after giving a list of the various significations of the word ‘scale’ in English and other languages Tooke declares that all of these have but one meaning in common: viz., ‘Divided, Separated. The tale of Menenius was “scaled a little more” by being divided into particulars and degrees, told more circumstantially and at length. That, I take, to be Shakespeare's meaning by the expression, and not the staling or diffusing of the tale, which, if they had heard it before, could not have been done by his repetition. For Menenius does not say that some of them had heard it before; that word some is introduced by Mr Steevens in his note merely to give a colour to his explanation of “diffusing it among the rest.” Clyomen's cares were scaled (i. e., separated) from their nestling-place’ (ed. 1857, p. 482).—Nares (Glossary, s. v. Scale): To weigh as in scales, to estimate aright. I am convinced that this sense, which was given by Warburton, conveys the true meaning of the following passages: ‘By this is your brother saved, the poor Mariana advantaged, and the correct [corrupt] deputy scaled.’—Meas. for Meas., III, i, 266. [Here follows the present line.] In the following passage it is manifest: ‘Scaling his present bearing with his past,’ II, iii, 261, and this has the more force, as occurring soon after in the same play. That it does also mean to separate and fly off, as scales fly from heated metal, is proved by the passages which Mr Steevens cites for that purpose. The other passages adduced are hardly relevant, and the Scottish dialect will not often authorise English words.—Brockett (s. v. Scale): To spread abroad, to separate, to divide. [The present line quoted.] Nearly all the commentators have mistaken the meaning of ‘to scale't.’ I am quite satisfied that it was the author's intention to have the tale spread a little more minutely; or, as Horne Tooke better expresses it, to have it divided into more particulars and degrees, told more circumstantially and at length. If Archdeacon Nares, to borrow his own language, will ‘weigh as in scales, to estimate aright,’ Mr Lambe's observations on this passage, and on the means of acquiring a competent knowledge of the old English tongue (Notes on the Battle of Flodden), I entertain a hope that the learned author of the elaborate and valuable Glossary may not be indisposed to alter in more respects than one the article, To Scale, in a future edition.—Knight: It is necessary to see how Shakspere has used this verb [to scale] in other passages. In the second act Sicinius tells the citizens: ‘Scaling his present bearing with his past, That he's your fixed enemy.’ Dr Johnson explains this: ‘Weighing his past and present behaviour.’ This interpretation seems obvious and natural; and none of the commentators object to it with reference to this particular passage. But in Meas. for Meas., when the Duke explains his project to Isabella, he says, ‘by this . . . is the corrupt deputy scaled,’ [III, i, 266]. Upon this passage Johnson says: ‘To scale the deputy may be to reach him, or it may be to strip him.’ Here he differs from his interpretation of the passage in Coriolanus. But surely ‘the corrupt deputy’ may be ‘scaled’ in the same way that the bearing of Coriolanus is ‘scaled.’ We have precisely the same meaning in the Scriptures—‘Weighed in the balance, and found wanting.’ If this interpretation be good for two of the passages, why not for a third, that of the present passage before us? Menenius will venture to weigh, to try the value, of the ‘pretty tale’ a little more; though they may have heard it, he will again scale it. . . . Horne Tooke's explanation of all these passages appears to us somewhat fanciful, and assumes that Shakspere uses the same word in different places under different meanings that can only be reconciled by an

etymological reference.—Collier in his ed. i. follows the Folio reading and accepts (without acknowledgment) Steevens's interpretation that ‘scale’ here means to disperse, which, as he says, may be shown by many examples. This and the foregoing note by Knight called forth a characteristic ‘Remark’ from Dyce (p. 158) to the effect that such ‘blundering’ was ‘really piteous,’ since the correct reading, stale, had long since been restored by Theobald. Dyce then quotes in full Gifford's note on the line from Massinger's Unnatural Combat (see ante) and adds several other quotations wherein stale is used as a verb signifying to make common. Collier in his ed. ii. declares that he yields ‘to the weight of authority that “scale” of the old copies ought to be stale, although the corrected Folio of 1632 has no such emendation.’ He then concludes his note thus: ‘The Rev. Mr Dyce takes abundant pains to prove that to “stale” means to make stale, a point nobody disputed, the only question being whether scale was a misprint in the Folio, 1623; we think it was, and so treat it. In his enumeration of places, where to stale means to make stale or familiar, the Rev. Mr Dyce strangely forgot the most apposite instance, viz., in the address of the stationer to the reader, before Troilus and Cressida, 4 to 1609, where he says that it had never been “staled with the stage.” The recollection of this fact would have spared Mr Dyce a great deal of useless labour in making and repeating stale quotations.’—A Parthian shot which rendered his doughty antagonist quite speechless. Knight likewise, in his ed. ii, 1867, rather than again be accused of ‘piteous blundering,’ yielded to the weight of authority marshalled by Dyce and accepted Theobald's emendation.— Ed.—Halliwell (Dict. of Archaisms, s. v. Scale: To spread, to disperse abroad): The word occurs in Coriol., I, i, but is there a misprint for stale, as distinctly proved by Gifford, and still more elaborately in Dyce's Remarks, p. 158. The observations of Brockett on this passage, which he quite misunderstands, lead me to observe that, with a few trifling exceptions, the very worst annotations on Shakespeare have proceeded from the compilers of provincial glossaries, to whom the philological student would be more deeply indebted if they would conf<*>e themselves to the correct explanation of words in actual use without entering into subjects that require a distinct range of reading and study.—R. G. White: Some editors interpret ‘scale,’ to disperse; but granting the word that meaning, what sense does it afford in the place it holds? Menenius tells the people that it may be that they have heard his story, but, since it serves his purpose, he will venture to use it, old as it is, and make it even staler. Can there be the least doubt that Theobald was right in changing one letter and reading as in the text?—Joseph Hunter (ii, 117): There is no doubt that ‘scale’ has been used to denote the spreading abroad, dispersing; but then the sense does not suit the passage, while the sense of stale suits it admirably. Stale is also a word of which Shakespeare is fond, while no other instance can be produced of his having used the rare word ‘scale.’ All persons conversant with the written characters of any age know that there are letters which are easily confounded, the forms of the literal elements having been as little the subject of reflection and science as the sounds of which they are the representatives. This correction . . . is more than sufficiently obvious.— Walker (Crit., ii, 274): The corruption of t into c is frequent in old books. This vindicates Theobald's reading, defended by Gifford, Coriol., I, i, ‘to stale't’ for scale't. So Ace for ‘Ate,’ King John, II, i, fol. p. 4, col. 1, l. 6, ‘An Ace stirring him to bloud and strife.’ Cymbeline, III, ii, p. 381, col. 1, ult., vice versâ, ‘How many

store of Miles may we well rid.” . . . King Lear, IV, vi, p. 304, col. 1, l. 2, ‘Place sinnes with Gold,’ for Plate.—Leo (Coriolanus, ed., p. 119): To use the word [scale] here in the sense of to weigh [as does Knight] would seem exceedingly forced, and no one of the unlearned hearers of Menenius would understand it. As for disperse, the old Patrician may mean to do it a little more, since he supposes the tale to have been heard already by his audience, but it is more natural to understand to stale the already heard story, to make it as flat as every twice told story is.— Keightley (Expositor, p. 359): All attempts to make sense of ‘scale’ having been most complete failures, it only remains to read, with Theobald, stale.— Whitelaw (Coriolanus, ed. Gloss., p. 148) retains the Folio reading, but rejects both Steevens's interpretation, to disperse, and Knight's, to weigh; he goes somewhat further than Tooke in twisting a meaning out of ‘scale’ in the sense to separate, and thus renders it finally to discern. This new meaning he applies to the present passage, that from Meas. for Meas. already quoted by Nares, and the second passage in Coriol.; he thus concludes his elucidation: ‘This meaning suits all our three passages. The corrupt deputy will be unmasked, exposed, discerned. Menenius proposes to look a little more deeply into the inner meaning of the fable which all his hearers have heard, but not discerned before. The people have found, taking the behaviour of Coriolanus to pieces and scrutinizing it carefully, present and past together, that under the covering of compliance the old hate still rankles.’ [Gifford found grave fault with Steevens for a sophistication of the text to suit his own interpretation of the word ‘scale’; but what shall be said of such an utter perversion of the meaning and drift of the passage as this by Whitelaw? Schmidt, retaining the Folio reading in his text, declares that Whitelaw's explanation is to be preferred to all the others, and that the emendation stale is, therefore, to be unconditionally rejected, since it conveys an utterly false idea of what Menenius intends, which is not to render the fable more familiar, but to apply it more nearly to the present occasion, and make more striking its inner meaning. Schmidt is, I think, here misled by Whitelaw's flow of words and has not sufficiently paid attention to the sentence preceding. Menenius does not say that although his hearers may have heard the fable before, he intends to make it clearer to them, what he expressly states is: although you may have heard this, I am going to risk (‘venture’) to make it a little more familiar.—Ed.]— B. Nicholson (N. & Q., May 4, 1878, p. 342): Theobald's change is a very plausible one, the more that it substitutes a phrase more in use with and more understood by modern readers than the one that is somewhat antiquated. The rule, however, is beginning to be better understood (except by some emending critics) that a change which the emender believes to be an improvement is not to be adopted if the old reading gives a sufficient sense. Here, I believe, it gives not only a sufficient, but a better sense. To ‘scale a fish’ is to disfurnish, or clear, or clean it from its scales that it may be used by man. To ‘scale a piece of old and rusty metal’ is to clear off its rusty scaling, and so furbish it up anew for use or ornament. To ‘scale a bone,’ as practised by the old surgeons, was to scrape off the diseased surface, and so clear or clean it. The ordinary supposition (founded on the reading stale't) is that Menenius only intends to say that ‘he will tell the tale again.’ But he does not merely do this nor intend to do it. What he intends to do, and afterwards does do, is intimated in the words ‘but since it serves my purpose.’ In accordance therewith he not only tells the tale but also takes

off the covering and lays bare its meaning, or moral to their use, or, to use other synonyms, clears it, or shells it open to their apprehensions, that they may see and taste it in all its goodness. Nor are we without contemporary examples of a similar use of the word. A very pertinent one is to be found in James I.'s Dæmonologie, a work probably read by Shakspere, though the royal author may not be complimented on his collocation of terms: ‘The brightness of the Gospell . . . scaled [= cleared off] the cloudes of grosse errors, [i. e., all these gross clouds of error]’ (bk. ii, ch. vii, p. 53, first ed.). This example is sufficient for the reinstatement of ‘scale’ as Shakspere's word. Richardson in his Dictionary, following Skinner, also reads ‘scale’ in this passage, though he quotes it as showing that it always implies ‘dividing’ or ‘division’; as that here ‘the tale was scaled by being divided more into particulars and degrees’ more circumstantially and at length. [Richardson acknowledges Horne Tooke as his authority for this. —Ed]. The phrase in Meas. for Meas., ‘The corrupt deputy scaled’ (III, i, 241), he explains ‘by slipping off his covering of hypocrisy,’ and here I fully agree with him and claim this as a second or third example.—W. A. Wright follows Theobald's reading, remarking that from the Folio reading ‘no satisfactory sense has been extracted by the ingenuity of commentators,’ and after enumerating the various interpretations of Steevens and Boswell thus concludes: ‘Others explain it as signifying to strip the fable of its scale, or shell, or outer integument and to lay bare its meaning. But in this case there is no force in the words “a little more,” for Menenius had not attempted to expound it at all.’—Beeching (Falcon Ed.): ‘A little more’ goes better with stale [than ‘scale’], and scale occurs in II, iii, 261 in another sense.—Verity (Student's Sh.): Each interpretation [of the Folio reading] seems forced, and is open to the objection that scale means ‘to weigh’ in II, iii, 261. The reading stale gives admirable sense. Shakespeare uses the word in four other passages, e. g., in the famous lines on Cleopatra in Ant. & Cleo., II, ii, 240. It is noticeable of the three other examples of Shakespeare's use of stale (verb), two occur in Jul. Cæs. Thus of the five instances (if we may count this line) in his works four occur in the Roman plays founded on North's Plutarch, the actual diction of which Shakespeare so often retains. Possibly stale here and in the other places is an acho of something in North's Plutarch.—Miss C. Porter (First Folio Sh.) accepts unhesitatingly Steevens's interpretation of ‘scale’ in the sense to disperse, citing his various examples in illustration. ‘It will be seen,’ Miss Porter adds, ‘that this word fits the context perfectly. Theobald's substitute obscures Shakespeare's use of a legitimate word now obsolete.’—Gordon: Out of ‘scale't,’ as out of anything, ingenuity may wrest a meaning, but probability declares it a misprint.—Craig (Arden Sh.): The present editor in the Oxford Shakespeare, 1891, retained the Ff reading, and nothing would induce him to follow Theobald; for though he admits it is not impossible that Shakespeare may have written stale't, it is bad editing to strike out what already makes excellent sense and to ‘re-write Shakespeare.’ Now with regard to the verb scale, first let us remember that Shakespeare often uses words in a somewhat licentious sense, bending them without scruple to one that pleases him. It is not impossible that the idea in his mind may have been to ventilate, air, disperse, with a sort of play on the sense ‘weigh in scales,’ a sense which the word bears in II, iii, 261 post. This sort of thing he has done often: Mid. N. Dream, I, i, 131, where it is most likely that he uses ‘between’ in the double sense of

pour out and allow, permit; and Lear, III, vii, 61, where ‘stelled’ appears to be used in the double senses of fixed or set, and starry. Steevens gives several examples of ‘scale’ in the sense of disperse. [Craig here quotes these as the concluding paragraph of his note. Craig's untimely death prevented the completion of his editing this play; that task was ably undertaken by R. H. Case, who here states that the Folio reading is retained solely out of deference to the intention of the original editor, and upon that intention remarks: ‘Mr Craig pleads for, and acts on, a good principle; but I feel bound to point out the words “some of” which Steevens slips into his interpretation to give it probability have no warrant from Shakespeare. Menenius speaks to all the citizens present: “Either you must confess yourselves . . . I shall tell you a pretty tale; it may be you have heard it,” and assumes his story to be possibly known to all. Hence, to enable him to scale or diffuse it, we should have to assume that in saying “it may be you have heard it,” he suddenly and pointedly addresses the First Citizen only; we cannot turn you into some of you to please Steevens.’ Bradley (N. E. D.) under the various meanings of the verb to scale does not include that first given by Steevens, to disperse; we may, therefore, conclude that the editor regarded such a restricted meaning as one that belonged to a language other than English. Bradley does, however, give two examples of scale in the sense of weighed, estimated, both of them from Shakespeare. The first, that line from Meas. for Meas. already quoted by several commentators in the foregoing notes, and the other that line still more often quoted from the second Act, third scene, of this play. Finally, the remarks of Hunter and, in particular, those of Walker in regard to the confusion which might easily arise from the similarity of the written characters t and c, would seem to be almost conclusive in favour of Theobald's emendation. As the majority have accepted this, after weighing all the evidence, it is likewise accepted by the present Ed.]

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