Normally, I’m not such a giant fan of the Arden editions (just for reading anyway). It’s rare that most people want to know whether a line is from the first folio or the quarto or what editor made what decision about what. It feels like watching the DVD commentary while trying to watch the movie. I know it’s fashionable to say you love the Arden. It signals a certain geekiness. It signals “I am a Shakespeare Nerd.”
Well – I’m a Shakespeare nerd and 9 times out of 10, I don’t lean toward the Arden.
However, today is that 10th time. Right here, right now. I have always heard this line with “swaddling CLOTHES” which would make a great deal of sense, of course, but also seems like, given the presence of CLOUTS here, that it might be one of those changes made with some editorial license. Is it clouts in one version of the play and not the others? Is this line in only one version of the play?
I would hope the Arden edition might answer my questions about clout versus clothes but of course, there’s no guarantee that it will.
What does this edition say about it? Uh, nothing.