Page images

O'er-cover'd quite with dead men's rattling bones,
With reeky shanks, and yellow chapless sculls;
Or bid me go into a new-made grave,
And hide me with a dead man in his shroud9;
Things that, to hear them told, have made me

And I will do it without fear or doubt,

To live an unstain'd wife to my sweet love 1.
FRI. Hold, then; go home *, () be merry, give


To marry Paris: Wednesday is to-morrow;
To-morrow night look that thou lie alone, ()
Let not thy nurse lie with thee in thy chamber :
Take thou this phial 2, being then in bed †,

* Quarto A, Hold, Juliet, hie thee home; get thee to bed. † Quarto A, And when thou art alone, take thou this violl.

9 And hide me with a dead man in his shroud ;] In the quarto 1599, and 1609, this line stands thus:

"And hide me with a dead man in his,"

The editor of the folio supplied the defect by reading-in his grave, without adverting to the disgusting repetition of that word. The original copy leads me to believe that Shakspeare wrote in his tomb; for there the line stands thus:

"Or lay me in a tombe with one new dead."

I have, however, with the other modern editors, followed the undated quarto, in which the printer filled up the line with the word shroud. MALONE.

It may be natural for the reader to ask by what evidence this positive assertion, relative to the printer, is supported.

To creep under a shroud, and so be placed in close contact with a corpse, is surely a more terrifick idea than that of being merely laid in a tomb with a dead companion. STEEvens.

To my sweet love.] Thus the quarto 1599, and the folio: the quarto 1597 reads, I think with more spirit:

"To keep myself a faithful unstain'd wife,

"To my dear lord, my dearest Romeo." Boswell. 2 Take thou this phial, &c.] So, in The Tragicall Hystory of Romeus and Juliet:

"Receive this phial small, and keep it in thine eye,
"And on the marriage day, before the sun doth clear the sky,
"Fill it with water full up to the very brim,

"Then drink it off, and thou shalt feel throughout each vein
and limb

And this distilled liquor drink thou off:
When, presently, through all thy veins shall run
A cold and drowsy humour, which shall seize
Each vital spirit; for no pulse shall keep

His natural progress, but surcease to beat :
No warmth, no breath *, shall testify thou liv'st;
() The roses in thy lips and cheeks shall fade

Quarto A, No signe of breath.

"A pleasant slumber slide, and quite dispread at length "On all thy parts; from every part reve all thy kindly strength : "Withouten moving then thy idle parts shall rest,

"No pulse shall go, no heart once heave within thy hollow


"But thou shalt lie as she that dieth in a trance;

Thy kinsmen and thy trusty friends shall wail the sudden chance:



Thy corps then will they bring to grave in this church-yard, "Where thy forefathers long ago a costly tomb prepar'd : where thou shalt rest, my daughter,

"Till I to Mantua send for Romeus, thy knight,

"Out of the tomb both he and I will take thee forth that night." MALONE.

Thus, in Painter's Palace of Pleasure, tom. ii. p. 237 : "Beholde heere I give thee a viole, &c. drink so much as is contained therein. And then you shall feele a certaine kinde of pleasant sleepe, which incroching by litle and litle all the parts of your body, will constrain them in such wise, as unmoveable they shal remaine: and by not doing their accustomed duties, shall loose their natural feelings, and you abide in such extasie the space of xl hours at the least, without any beating of poulse or other perceptible motion, which shall so astonne them that come to see you, as they will judge you to be dead, and according to the custome of our citie, you shall be caried to the churchyard hard by our church, when you shall be entombed in the common monument of the Capellets your ancestors," &c. The number of hours during which the sleep of Juliet was to continuè, is not mentioned in the poem. STEEVENS.


- through all thy veins shall run



A cold and drowsy humour, &c.] The first edition of 1597 has in general been here followed, except only, that instead of 66 a cold and drowsy humour, we there find―" a dull and heavy slumber," and a little lower, no sign of breath," &c. The speech, however, was greatly enlarged; for in the first copy it consists of only thirteen lines; in the subsequent edition, of thirty-three. MALONE.

To paly ashes*; thy eyes' windows fall",
Like death, when he shuts up the day of life;
Each part, depriv'd of supple government,
Shall stiff, and stark, and cold, appear like
death: ()

And in this borrow'd likeness of shrunk death
Thou shalt remain full two and forty hours,

4 The ROSES in thy lips and cheeks shall fade

TO PALY ASHES;] It may be remarked, that this image does not occur either in Painter's prose translation, or Brooke's metrical version of the fable on which conjunctively the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is founded. It may be met with, however, in A Dolefull Discourse of a Lord and a Ladie, by Churchyard,

4to. 1593:

"Her colour changde, her cheerfull lookes
"And countenance wanted spreete ;
"To sallow ashes turnde the hue

"Of beauties blossomes sweete:
"And drery dulnesse had bespred

"The wearish bodie throw;

"Each vitall vaine did flat refuse
"To do their dutie now.

"The blood forsooke the wonted course,

"And backward ganne retire;

"And left the limmes as cold and swarfe
"As coles that wastes with fire."



"To paly ashes." These words are not in the original copy. The quarto 1599, and the folio, read-To many ashes, for which the editor of the second folio substituted-mealy ashes. The true reading is found in the undated quarto. This uncommon adjective occurs again in King Henry V.:


[ocr errors]

and through their paly flames,


"Each battle sees the other's umber'd face." MALONE. -thy eyes' WINDOWS fall,] So, in Venus and Adonis "Her two blue windows faintly she upreareth." So, in Kyd's Cornelia:

"A dullness that disposeth us to rest


"Gan close the windowes of my watchful eyes." 6 Two and forty hours,] Instead of the remainder of this scene, the quarto 1597 has only these four lines:

"And when thou art laid in thy kindred's vault,
"I'll send in haste to Mantua, to thy lord;
"And he shall come, and take thee from thy grave.

"Jul. Friar, I go; be sure thou send for my dear Romeo."


And then awake as from a pleasant sleep.
Now when the bridegroom in the morning comes
To rouse thee from thy bed, there art thou

Then (as the manner of our country is,)
In thy best robes uncover'd on the bier 7,

Thou shalt be borne to that same ancient vault,
Where all the kindred of the Capulets lie.
In the mean time, against thou shalt awake,
Shall Romeo by my letters know our drift;
And hither shal he come and he and
Will watch thy waking
thy waking, and that very night

7 Then (as the manner of our country is,)

In thy best robes UNCOVER'D on the bier,] The Italian custom here alluded to, of carrying the dead body to the grave, richly dressed and with the face uncovered, (which is not mentioned by Painter,) our author found particularly described in The Tragicall Hystory of Romeus and Juliet:

"Another use there is, that whosoever dies,

"Borne to their church with open face upon the bier he lies, "In wonted weed attir'd, not wrapt in winding-sheet ——.”


Thus also Ophelia's song in Hamlet:


They bore him bare-fac'd on the bier —."


"In thy best robes uncover'd on the bier." Between this line and the next, the quartos 1592, 1609, and the first folio, introduce the following verse, which the poet, very probably, had struck out, on his revisal, because it is quite unnecessary, as the sense of it is repeated, and as it will not connect with either:

"Be borne to burial in thy kindred's


Had Virgil lived to have revised his Eneid, he would hardly have permitted both of the following lines to remain in his text: "At Venus obscuro gradientes aere sepsit; "Et multo nebulæ circum dea fudit amictu.'

The aukward repetition of the nominative case in the second of them, seems to decide very strongly against it.

Fletcher, in his Knight of Malta, has imitated the foregoing passage:

[ocr errors]


and thus thought dead,

"In her best habit, as the custom is

"You know, in Malta, with all ceremonies,
"She's buried in her family's monument," &c.


Shall Romeo bear thee hence to Mantua.

And this shall free thee from this present shame;
If no unconstant toy, nor womanish fear,
Abate thy valour in the acting it.

JUL. Give me, give me! O tell me not of fear*1 ;
FRI. Hold; get you gone, be strong and pros-


In this resolve: I'll send a friar with speed
To Mantua, with my letters to thy lord.
JUL. Love, give me strength! and strength shall
help afford.
Farewell, dear father!



A Room in CAPULET'S House.

Enter CAPULET, LADY CAPULET, Nurse, and Servant.

CAP. So many guests invite as here are writ.[Exit Servant.

*First folio, care.

and he and I

Will watch thy waking,] These words are not in the folio.


9 If no UNCONSTANT TOY, &c.] If fickle freak, no light caprice, no change of fancy, hinder the performance. JOHNSON.


If no unconstant toy, nor womanish fear,

"Abate thy valour in the acting it." These expressions are borrowed from the poem :

"Cast off from thee at once the weed of womanish dread, "With manly courage arm thyself from heel unto the head :"God grant he so confirm in thee thy present will, "That no inconstant toy thee let thy promise to fulfill!"


Give me, GIVE ME! O, tell me not of fear.] For this strong and passionate line, Mr. Steevens, in his zeal for metre, would substitute:

“Give me, O give me! tell me not of fear." BOSWELL.

« PreviousContinue »