1878 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Payne Collier

Charles and Mary Cowden Clarke, in Recollections of Writers (1878) 95-96.



Both Charles Knight and J. Payne Collier in their conduct towards us thoroughly reversed the more usual behaviour of Shakespearian editors and commentators among each other: for Charles Knight was marked in his courtesy and kindness, while Payne Collier went so far as to entrust the concluding volume of his 1842-4 edition of Shakespeare, which was still in manuscript, to Mary Cowden Clarke, that she might collate his readings and incorporate them in her Concordance before publication, though she was then personally unknown to him. And when in 1848 she played Mistress Quickly at the Haymarket Theatre, on the evening of the 15th of May, Payne Collier came round to the green-room, introduced himself to her, told her he had just come from the box of Lord and Lady Ellesmere, charged with their compliments on her mode of acting the character, and then — with a chivalrous air of gallantry that well became one whose knighthood had been won in Shakespearean fields — added that before taking leave he wished to kiss the hand that had written the Concordance.