previous next

F. A. Leo

“If we consider the minuteness with which our poet utilized his sources, and keep in mind that he never forbore from availing himself of the smallest effect that could impart a new and char- acteristic life to his portrait, we are forced to suppose that, had he perused the edition in question, he would have made use of some highly interesting touches in the likeness of Octavius Cæsar, found among the ‘newly added lives’ of the edition of 1603. And if these touches be wanting in the picture, otherwise so true to its original, we are entitled to believe that the painter had no opportunity of seeing them, i. e., that he made use of an edition into which this new biography of Octavius Cæsar was not yet admitted.

So our researches are confined to the two editions of 1579 and 1595, and there I have found one word that induces me to fix my opinion upon the present ques- tion. In the edition of 1579, page 237, we read: Of the same house were Publius, and Quintus, who brought to ROME their best water they had by conducts.

In the margin: Publius and Quintus Martius, brought the water by conducts to Rome.

In the edition of 1595, page 235: Of the same house were Publius, and Quintus, who brought to ROME their best water they had by conduites.

In the margin: Publius and Quintus Martius, brought the water by conduites to Rome.

In the I. Folio, Coriolanus, Act II, page 14, we read:

Of the same House Publius and Quintus were,
That our best Water, brought by Conduits hither,

and so perhaps we have some right, or at least some inducement, to receive the conformity of the text of 1595 with the I. Folio, concerning the orthography of the word ‘conduits’ as a support of some moment for the opinion that the edition of Plutarch of 1595 has been Shakespeare's source. I will not lay too great a stress on this perhaps accidental conformity, especially since Shakespeare uses the same word ‘conduits,’ even in plays prior to the year 1595; but perhaps I shall be permitted to pronounce this conjecture the best, so long as no better shall have been advanced.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: