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(I) Ah me! how sweet is love itself possess'd, When but love's shadows are so rich in joy? () Enter BALTHASAR.

News from Verona!-How now, Balthasar?
(1) Dost thou not bring me letters from the friar?
How doth my lady? Is my father well?
How fares my Juliet? That I ask again;
For nothing can be ill, if she be well.

BAL. Then she is well, and nothing can be ill *;

* Quarto, Then nothing can be ill, for she is well.

pleasing. But why does Shakspeare give Romeo this involuntary cheerfulness just before the extremity of unhappiness? Perhaps to show the vanity of trusting to those uncertain and casual exaltations or depressions, which many consider as certain fore-tokens of good and evil. JOHNSON.

The poet has explained this passage himself a little further on: "How oft, when men are at the point of death, "Have they been merry? which their keepers call "A lightning before death."

Again, in G. Whetstone's Castle of Delight, 1576:

■ I dreamt, my lady came and found me dead ;-

That I reviv'd,] Shakspeare seems here to have remembered Marlowe's Hero and Leander, a poem that he has quoted in As You Like It;

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a lightning delight against his souden destruction.” STEEVENS.


'By this sad Hero


Viewing Leander's face, fell down and fainted;

"He kiss'd her, and breath'd life into her lips," &c. 2 I DREAMT, my lady

That I reviv'd, and was an EMPEROR.] So, in Shakspeare's 87th Sonnet:

"Thus have I had thee, as a dream doth flatter,

"In sleep a king." STEEVENS.

Instead of the six lines preceding, quarto 1597 has the following:


And I am comforted with pleasing dreams.

Methought I was this night already dead :


(Strange dreams that give a dead man leave to think,)

"And that my lady Juliet came to me,

"And breath'd such life," &c. BOSWELL.

3 How fares my Juliet?] So the first quarto. That of 1599,

and the folio, read:

"How doth my lady Juliet ?" MALONE.

Her body sleeps in Capels' monument*,
And her immortal part with angels lives;
I saw her laid low in her kindred's vault,
And presently took post to tell it you:
O pardon me for bringing these ill news
(I) Since you did leave it for my office, sir. ()

ROM. Is it even so? then I defy you, stars! (1) Thou know'st my lodging: () get me ink and paper,

And hire post horses; I will hence to-night.

BAL. Pardon me, sir, I will not leave you thus: Your looks are pale and wild, and do import Some misadventure.


Tush, thou art deceiv'd;
Leave me, and do the thing I bid thee do:
Hast thou no letters to me from the friar?

* Quarto A, Pardon me, sir, that am the messenger of such bad tidings.

+ Quarto A, Goe get me inke and paper; hyre post-horse; I will not stay in Mantua to-night.j

4 in CAPELS' monument,] Thus the old copies; and thus Gascoigne, in his Flowers, p. 51:

"Thys token whych the Mountacutes did beare alwaies, so



They covet to be knowne from Capels, where they passe, "For ancient grutch whych long ago 'tweene these two houses was." STEEVENS.

Shakspeare found Capel and Capulet used indiscriminately in the poem which was the groundwork of this tragedy. For Capels' monument the modern editors have substituted Capulet's monument. MALONE.

Not all of them. The edition preceding Mr. Malone's does not, on this occasion, differ from his. REED.


I DEFY you, stars!] The first quarto-I defy my stars. The folio reads-deny you, stars. The present and more animated reading is picked out of both copies. STEEVENS.

The quarto of 1599, and the folio, read—I deny you, stars.

MALONE. 6 Pardon me, sir, I will not leave you thus:] This line is taken from the quarto 1597. The quarto 1609, and the folio, read:


"I do beseech you, sir, have patience.”


So also the quarto 1599. MALONE.

BAL. No, my good lord. ROM. No matter: get thee gone, And hire those horses: I'll be with thee straight". [Exit BALTHASAR.

Well, Juliet, I will lie with thee to-night.
Let's see for means :-O, mischief! thou art swift


7 I'll be with thee straight.] For the seven preceding verses quarto 1597 has these five:

"Balt. Pardon me, sir, I will not leave you thus ;
"Your looks are dangerous, and full of fear :
"I dare not, nor I will not, leave you yet.

"Rom. Do as I bid thee; get me ink and paper,
"And hire those horses: stay not, I say." Boswell.

s Let's see for means:-] From hence to the end of the scene, it is thus in quarto 1597:


As I do remember,

"Here dwells a 'pothecary whom oft I noted
"As I pass'd by, whose needy shop is stuff'd
"With beggarly accounts of empty boxes:
"And in the same an alligator hangs.
"Old ends of packthread, and cakes of roses,
"Are thinly strewed to make
up a show.
"Him as I noted, thus with myself I thought:
"And if a man should need a poison now
"(Whose present sale is death in Mantua),
"Here he might buy it. This thought of mine
"Did but forerun my need: and here about he dwells.


Being holiday, the beggar's shop is shut. "What ho! apothecary! come forth, I say.

"Enter Apothecary.

"Apo. Who calls? what would you, sir?
"Rom. Here's twenty ducats.

"Give me a dram of some such speeding geer
"As will dispatch the weary taker's life,
"As suddenly as powder being fir'd
"From forth a cannon's mouth.


Apo. Such drugs I have I must of force confess,
"But yet the law is death to those that sell them.
"Rom. Art thou so bare and full of poverty,
"And dost thou fear to violate the law?
“The law is not thy friend, nor the law's friend,
"And therefore make no conscience of the law:
66 Upon thy back hangs ragged misery,
"And starved famine dwelleth in thy cheeks.


Apo. My poverty, but not my will, consents.

To enter in the thoughts of desperate men!
I do remember an apothecary 9,

And hereabouts he dwells,-whom late I noted
In tatter'd weeds, with overwhelming brows,
Culling of simples; meager were his looks,
Sharp misery had worn him to the bones1:

"Rom. I pay thy poverty, but not thy will.

"Apo. Hold, take you this, and put it in any liquid thing you will, and it will serve, had you the lives of twenty men. "Rom. Hold, take this gold, worse poison to men's souls "Than this which thou hast given me. Go, hie thee hence, "Go, buy thee clothes, and get thee into flesh. "Come cordial, and not poison, go with me "To Juliet's grave: for there must I use thee. [Exeunt.” Boswell. 9 I do remember an apothecary, &c.] This circumstance is likewise found in Painter's translation, tom ii. p. 241 : “—beholdyng an apoticaries shoppe of lytle furniture, and lesse store of boxes and other thynges requisite for that science, thought that the verie povertie of the mayster apothecarye would make him wyllyngly yelde to that whych he pretended to demaunde.




It is clear, I think, that Shakspeare had here the poem of Romeus and Juliet before him; for he has borrowed more than one expression from thence:

"And seeking long, alas, too soon! the thing he sought, he found.

"An apothecary sat unbusied at his door,

"Whom by his heavy countenance he guessed to be poor; "And in his shop he saw his boxes were but few,

"And in his window of his wares there was so small a shew; "Wherefore our Romeus assuredly hath thought,

"What by no friendship could be got, with money should be


"For needy lack is like the poor man to compel

"To sell that which the city's law forbiddeth him to sell.— "Take fifty crowns of gold, (quoth he)"Fair sir, (quoth he) be sure this is the speeding geer,

"And more there is than you shall need; for half of that is


"Will serve, I undertake, in less than half an hour "To kill the strongest man alive, such is the poison's power."



meager were his looks,

Sharp MISERY HAD WORN HIM TO THE BONES:] See Sackville's description of Misery, in his Induction :


And in his needy shop a tortoise hung,
An alligator stuff'd 2, and other skins
Of ill-shap'd fishes; and about his shelves
A beggarly account of empty boxes 3,
Green earthen pots, bladders, and musty seeds,
Remnants of packthread, and old cakes of roses,
Were thinly scatter'd, to make up a show.
Noting this penury, to myself I said-
An if a man did need a poison now,
Whose sale is present death in Mantua,
Here lives a caitiff wretch would sell it him.
O, this same thought did but fore-run my need;
And this same needy man must sell it me.
As I remember, this should be the house:
Being holiday, the beggar's shop is shut.-
What, ho! apothecary!



His face was leane, and some deal pinde away;
'And eke his hands consumed to the bone."

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2 An alligator stuff'd,] It appears from Nashe's Have With You to Saffron Waldon, 1596, that a stuff'd alligator, in Shakspeare's time, made part of the furniture of an apothecary's shop: "He made (says Nashe) an anatomie of a rat, and after hanged her over his head, instead of an apothecary's crocodile, or dried alligator." MALONE.

I was many years ago assured, that formerly, when an apothecary first engaged with his druggist, he was gratuitously furnished by him with these articles of show, which were then imported for that use only. I have met with the alligator, tortoise, &c. hanging up in the shop of an ancient apothecary at Limehouse, as well as in places more remote from our metropolis. See Hogarth's Marriage Alamode, plate iii.-It may be remarked, however, that the apothecaries dismissed their alligators, &c. some time before the physicians were willing to part with their amberheaded canes and solemn periwigs. STEEVENS.

3 A BEGGARLY account of empty boxes,] Dr. Warburton would read, a braggartly account; but beggarly is probably right; if the boxes were empty, the account was more beggarly, as it was more pompous. JOHNSON.

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4 AN IF a man, &c.] This phraseology which means simplyIf, was not unfrequent in Shakspeare's time and before. Thus, in Lodge's Illustrations, vol. i. p. 85: meanys was maid unto me to see an yf I wold appoynt," &c. REEd.


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