« PreviousContinue »
That Romeo bade thee fetch ?
Ay, ay, the cords.
JUL. Ah me! what news! why dost thou wring thy hands?
NURSE. Ah well-a-day! he's dead, he's dead, he's dead!
We are undone, lady, we are undone !
Alack the day!-he's gone, he's kill'd, he's dead! JUL. Can heaven be so envious?
This torture should be roar'd in dismal hell.
"Is worse than death-Romeo is banished,
"Nurse. Weeping and wailing over Tybalt's corse. "Will you go to them?
" Jul. Aye, aye; when theirs are spent, "Mine shall be shed for Romeo's banishment. "Nurse. Lady, your Romeo will be here to-night; "I'll to him; he is hid at Laurence' cell.
"Jul. Do so; and bear this ring to my true knight, "And bid him come to take his last farewell.
say thou but I,] In Shakspeare's time (as Theobald has observed) the affirmative particle ay was usually written I, and here it is necessary to retain the old spelling. MALONE.
death-darting eye of cockatrice :] See what is said of the basilisk, Henry VI. Part II. Act III. Sc. II. in two places.
The strange lines that follow here in the common books, are not in the old edition. POPE.
The strange lines are these:
I am not I, if there be such an I;
Or those eyes shut, that make thee answer, I.
NURSE. I saw the wound, I saw it with mine eyes,God save the mark 2 !-here on his manly breast: A piteous corse, a bloody piteous corse; Pale, pale as ashes, all bedawb'd in blood, All in gore blood ;-I swoonded at the sight. JUL. O break, my heart!-poor bankrupt, break at once!
To prison, eyes! ne'er look on liberty!
NURSE. O Tybalt, Tybalt, the best friend I had!
"I am not I, if there be such an I,
"Or these eyes shot, that make thee answer I.
"Brief sounds determine of my weal or woe."
JUL. What storm is this that blows so contrary? Is Romeo slaughter'd; and is Tybalt dead?
that bare vowel I shall poison more,
"Or those eyes shot, that make thee answer, I.
These lines hardly deserve emendation; yet it may be proper to observe, that their meanness has not placed them below the malice of fortune, the first two of them being evidently transposed; we should read:
I think the transposition recommended may be spared. The second line is corrupted. Read shut instead of shot, and then the meaning will be sufficiently intelligible.
Shot, however, may be the same as shut. So, in Chaucer's Miller's Tale, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. ver. 3358:
“And dressed him up by a shot window." STEEVENS.
2 God save the mark !] This proverbial exclamation occurs again, with equal obscurity, in Othello, Act I. Sc. I. See note on that passage. STEEVENS.
My dear-lov'd cousin, and my dearer lord ?— Then, dreadful trumpet, sound the general doom! For who is living, if those two are gone?
NURSE. Tybalt is gone, and Romeo banished; Romeo, that kill'd him, he is banished.
JUL. O God!-did Romeo's hand shed Tybalt's blood?
NURSE. It did, it did; alas the day! it did.
JUL. O serpent heart, hid with a flow'ring face!. Did ever dragon keep so fair a cave? Beautiful tyrant! fiend angelical! Dove-feather'd raven! wolvish-ravening lamb!
3 My DEAR-LOV'D cousin, and my dearer lord ?] The quarto 1599, and the folio, read
My dearest cousin, and my dearer lord?
Mr. Pope introduced the present reading from the original of 1597. MALONE.
4 O SERPENT heart, hid with a FLOW'RING face!] The same images occur in Macbeth :
look like the innocent flower, "But be the serpent under it."
This line in the folio is given to the Nurse, and the one preThe text is from the quarto ceding is thrown into Juliet's speech. 1597, except that that copy reads hate instead of heart. BosWELL. "O serpent heart, hid with a flow'ring face!
"Did ever dragon keep so fair a cave? So, in King John: "Rash, inconsiderate, firy voluntaries,
"With ladies' faces and fierce dragons' spleens." Again, in King Henry VIII. :
"You have angels' faces, but Heaven knows your hearts." The line, Did ever dragon, &c. and the following eight lines, are not in the quarto 1597. MALONE.
5 Dove-feather'd raven! &c.] In old editions-
The four following lines are not in the first edition, as well as some others which I have omitted. Pope.
"Ravenous dove, feather'd raven,
Wolfish-ravening lamb!" This passage Mr. Pope has thrown out of the text, because these two noble hemistichs are inharmonious but is there no such thing as a crutch for a labouring, halting verse? I'll venture to restore to the poet a line that is in his own mode of thinking, and truly worthy of him. Ravenous
Despised substance of divinest show!
There's no trust, No faith, no honesty in men; all perjur'd, All forsworn, all naught, all dissemblers.— Ah, where's my man? give me some aqua vitæ:These griefs, these woes, these sorrows make me old 7.
Shame come to Romeo!
JUL. Blister'd be thy tongue, For such a wish! he was not born to shame : Upon his brow shame is asham'd to sit; For 'tis a throne where honour may be crown'd
was blunderingly coined out of raven and ravening; and if we only throw it out, we gain at once an harmonious verse, and a proper contrast of epithets and images:
"Dove-feather'd raven! wolvish-rav'ning lamb!" THEOBALD. The quarto 1599, and folio, read
"Ravenous dove-feather'd raven! wolvish-ravening lamb!" The word ravenous, which was written probably in the manuscript by mistake in the latter part of the line, for ravening, and then struck out, crept from thence to the place where it appears. It was properly rejected by Mr. Theobald.* MALONE.
6 A DAMNED saint,] The quarto 1599, for damned, has— dimme; the first folio-dimne. The reading of the text is found in the undated quarto. MALONE.
7 These griefs, these woes, these sorrows make me old.] So, in our author's Lover's Complaint:
"Not age, but sorrow, over me hath power." MALONE.
8 Upon his brow shame is asham'd to SIT;] So, in Painter's Palace of Pleasure, tom. ii. p. 223: "Is it possible that under such beautie and rare comelinesse, disloyaltie and treason may have their siedge and lodging?" The image of shame sitting on the brow, is not in the poem. STEEVENS.
Sole monarch of the universal earth.
JUL. Shall I speak ill of him that is my husband? Ah, poor my lord, what tongue shall smooth thy name9,
When I, thy three-hours wife, have mangled it1?—
My husband lives, that Tybalt would have slain ; And Tybalt's dead, that would have slain my husband:
what tongue shall SMOOTH thy name,] To smooth, in ancient language, is to stroke, to caress, to fondle. So, in Pericles, Act I. Sc. II. : "Seem'd not to strike, but smooth.”
Ah, poor my lord, what tongue shall smooth thy name, When I, thy three-hours wife, have mangled it ?] So, in the poem already quoted:
"Ah cruel murd'ring tongue, murderer of others' fame,
"How durst thou once attempt to touch the honour of his
"Whose deadly foes do yield him due and earned praise,
Why blam'st thou Romeus for slaying of Tybalt? "Since he is guiltless quite of all, and Tybalt bears the fault. "Whither shall he, alas! poor banish'd man, now fly? "What place of succour shall he seek beneath the starry sky? "Since she pursueth him, and him defames by wrong, "That in distress should be his fort, and only rampire strong." MALONE.
Again, in Painter's Palace of Pleasure: "Where from henceforth shall be his refuge? sith she, which ought to be the only bulwarke and assined repare of his distresse, doth persue and defame him." HENDERSON.
2 Back, FOOLISH tears, &c.] So, in The Tempest:
I am a fool
weep at what I am glad of." STEEVENns.