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O Romeo that she were, ah that she were
"O Romeo that she were, ah that she were
This pear is mention in The Wise Woman of Hogsdon, 1638: "What needed I to have grafted in the stock of such a chokepear, and such a goodly poprin as this to escape Again, in A New Wonder, a Woman Never Vexed, 1632: I requested him to pull me
"A Katherine Pear, and, had I not look'd to him,
He'd have mistook, and given me a popperin."
In The Atheist's Tragedy, by Cyril Turner, 1611, there is much conceit about this pear. I am unable to explain it with certainty, nor does it appear indeed to deserve explanation.
Thus much may safely be said; viz. that our pear might have been of French extraction, as Poperin was the name of a parish in the Marches of Calais. So, in Chaucer's Rime of Sire Thopas, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. 1775, ver. 13,650:
"In Flandres, al beyonde the see,
In the edition of Messieurs Boydell I have also omitted these offensive lines. Dr. Johnson has somewhere observed, that there are higher laws than those of criticism. Steevens.
These two lines, which are found in the quartos of 1597, 1599, and in the folio, were rejected by Mr. Pope, who in like manner has rejected whole scenes of our author; but what is more strange, his example has, in this instance, been followed by the succeeding editors.
However improper any lines may be for recitation on the stage, an editor, in my apprehension, has no right to omit any passage that is found in all the authentick copies of his author's works. They appear not only in the editions already mentioned, but also in that copy which has no date, and in the edition of 1637.
I have adhered to the original copy. The two subsequent quartos and the folio read, with a slight variation
"An open-or thou a poperin pear."
The unseemly name of the apple here alluded to, is well known.
Poperingue is a town in French Flanders, two leagues distant from Ypres. From hence the Poperin pear was brought into England. What were the peculiar qualities of a Poperin pear, I am unable to ascertain, The word was chosen, I believe, merely for the sake of a quibble, which it is not necessary to explain.
Romeo, good night;-I'll to my truckle-bed * ; This field-bed is too cold for me () to sleep: () Come, shall we go?
Go, then; for 'tis in vain To seek him here, that means not to be found.
ROм. He jests at scars, that never felt a wound.[JULIET appears above, at a window. But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks! It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, Who is already sick and pale with grief,
* Quarto A, trundle-bed.
Probably for the same reason the Popering tree was preferred to any other by the author of the mock poem of Hero and Leander, small 8vo. 1653:
"She thought it strange to see a man
"She stepp'd behind a Popering tree,
Of the parish of Poperin, or Popering, (as we called it) John Leland the Antiquary was parson, in the time of King Henry the Eighth. By him the Poperin pear may have been introduced into England. MALONE.
8 He jests at scars,] That is, Mercutio jests, whom he overheard. JOHNSON.
So, in Sidney's Arcadia, book
"None can speake of a wound with skill, if he have not a wound felt." STEEVENS.
He (that person) jests, is merely an allusion to his having conceived himself so armed with the love of Rosalind, that no other beauty could make any impression on him. This is clear from the conversation he has with Mercutio, just before they go to Capulet's. RITSON.
That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.-
She speaks, yet she says nothing; What of that?
I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks:
She speaks:O, speak again, bright angel! for thou art As glorious to this night, being o'er my head, As is a winged messenger of heaven
9 Be not her maid,] Be not a votary to the moon, to Diana. So, in Troilus and Cressida :
By all Diana's waiting-women yonder-." STEEvens. It is my lady, &c;] This line and half I have replaced [from the quarto 1599]. JOHNSON.
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,] This passage appears to have been ridiculed by Shirley in The School of Compliments, a comedy, 1637:
"Oh that I were a flea upon that lip," &c. STEEVENS. 3 -TOUCH that cheek!] The quarto 1597 reads-kiss that cheek. STEEVENS.
↑ O, speak again, bright angel! for thou art
As glorious to this NIGHT,] Though all the printed copies
Unto the white-upturned wond'ring eyes
JUL. O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou
Deny thy father, and refuse thy name!
ROM. Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?
JUL. "Tis but thy name, that is my enemy;(1) Thou art thyself though, not a Montague (ID) *Folio, lazy-puffing.
As glorious to this sightand therefore I have ventured to alter the text so.
concur in this reading, yet the latter part of the simile seems to require
I have restored the old reading, for surely the change was unnecessary. The plain sense is, that Juliet appeared as splendid an object in the vault of heaven obscured by darkness, as an angel could seem to the eyes of mortals, who were falling back to gaze upon him.
As glorious to this night, means as glorious appearance in this dark night, &c. It should be observed, however, that the simile agrees precisely with Theobald's alteration, and not so well with the old reading. STEEVENS.
- the LAZY-PACING clouds,] Thus corrected from the first edition in the other, lazy-puffing. POPE.
6 Thou art thyself THOUGH, not a Montague.] For the present punctuation I am accountable. It appears to me to afford a clear sense, which the line as printed in the old copies, where we have a comma after thyself, and no point after though, does not in my apprehension afford.
Thou art, however, says Juliet, a being sui generis, amiable and perfect, not tainted by the enmity which your family bears to mine.
According to the common punctuation, the adversative particle is used without any propriety, or rather makes the passage non
My legs are longer though, to run away.” Again, in The Taming of a Shrew :
Though is again used by Shakspeare in A Midsummer-Night's Dream, Act III. Sc. last, in the same sense :
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
"'Would Catharine had never seem him though." Again, in King Henry VIII. :
I would not be so sick though, for his place."
Other writers frequently use though for however. So, in The Fatal Dowry, a tragedy, by Massinger and Field, 1632: "Would you have him your husband that you love, "And can it not be ?-He is your servant, though, "And may perform the office of a husband.” Again, in Cupid's Revenge, by Beaumont and Fletcher : O dissembling woman,
“Whom I must reverence though."
Again, in the last speech of The Maid's Tragedy, by Beaumont and Fletcher, 1619:
"Look to him though, and bear those bodies in." Again, in Otway's Venice Preserved :
"I thank thee for thy labour though, and him too."
Juliet is simply endeavouring to account for Romeo's being amiable and excellent, though he is a Montague. And, to prove this, she asserts that he merely bears that name, but has none of the qualities of that house. MALONE.
If this punctuation be right, and the words of the text accurate, we must understand though in the sense of then, a reading proposed by Dr. Johnson: a sense it is perpetually used in by our ancient poets, and sometimes by our author himself. So, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream:
"What though he love you, Hermia? Lord! what though? " Again, in The Merry Wives of Windsor:
I keep but three men and a boy yet,—but what though?” Again, in As You Like It :
we have no assembly here but beasts; but what though?” Again, in King Henry V.:
"It is a simple one, but what though?" RITSON. nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? &c.] The middle line is not found in the original copy of 1597, being added, it should seem, on a revision. The passage in the first copy stands thus:
"Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part:
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose, &c." In the copy of 1599, and all the subsequent ancient copies, the