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SCENE I. Friar Laurence's Cell.
Enter FRIAR LAURENCE and PARIS. Fri. On Thursday, sir? the time is very short.
Par. My father Capulet will have it-so; And I am nothing slow, to slack his haste 1.
Fri. You say, you do not know the lady’s mind; Uneven is the course, I like it not.
Par. Immoderately she weeps for Tybalt's death, And therefore have I little talk'd of love; For Venus smiles not in a house of tears. Now, sir, her father counts it dangerous, That she doth give her sorrow so much sway; And, in his wisdom, hastes our marriage, To stop the inundation of her tears; Which, too much minded by herself alone, May be put from her by society: Now do you know the reason of this haste. Fri. I would, I knew not why it should be slow'd?.
[Aside. Look, sir, here comes the lady towards my
cell. 1 The meaning of Paris is clear, he does not wish to restrain Capulet, or to delay his own marriage; there is nothing of slowness in me, to induce me to slacken or abate his haste: but the words the poet has given him import the reverse, and seem rather to mean I am not backward in restraining his haste. I endeavour to retard him as much as I can. The poet has hastily fallen into similar inadvertencies elsewhere. In the first edition the line ran :
• And I am nothing slack to slow his haste.' ? To slow and to foreslow were anciently in common use as verbs :
will you o’erflow
Enter JULIET. Par. Happily met, my lady, and my wife! Jul. That may be, sir, when I may be a wife. Par. That may be, must be, love, on Thursday
next. Jul. What must be shall be. Fri.
That's a certain text. Par. Come
to make confession to this father? Jul. To answer that, were to confess to you. Par. Do not deny to him, that you
love me. Jul. I will confess to you, that I love him. Par. So will
you Jul. If I do so, it will be of more price, Being spoke behind your back, than to your face.
Par. Poor soul, thy face is much abus’d with tears.
Jul. The tears have got small victory by that ; For it was bad enough before their spite. Par. Thou wrong'st it, more than tears, with
that report. Jul. That is no slander, sir, that is a truth ; And what I spake, I spake it to my face.
Par. Thy face is mine, and thou hast slander'd it.
Jul. It may be so, for it is not mine own.-
Fri. My leisure serves me, pensive daughter,
My lord, we must entreat the time alone.
Par. God shield, I should disturb devotion :Juliet, on Thursday early will I rouse you: Till then, adieu ! and keep this holy kiss.
[Exit Paris. 3 Juliet means vespers, there is no such thing as evening massó Masses (as Fynes Moryson observes) are only sung in the morning, and when the priests are fasting.
Jul. O, shut the door! and when thou hast done so, Come weep with me; Past hope, past cure, past help!
Fri. Ah, Juliet, I already know thy grief;
Jul. Tell me not, Friar, that thou hear'st of this, Unless thou tell me how I may prevent it: If, in thy wisdom, thou canst give no help, Do thou but call my resolution wise, And with this knife I'll help it presently. God join'd my heart and Romeo's, thou our hands; And ere this hand, by thee to Romeo seal'd, Shall be the label to another deed 4, Or my true heart with treacherous revolt Turn to another, this shall slay them both: Therefore, out of thy long-experienc'd time, Give me some present counsel; or, behold 'Twixt my extremes and me this bloody knife Shall play the umpires; arbitrating that Which the commission of thy years and art Could to no issue of true honour bring. Be not so long to speak; I long to die, If what thou speak’st speak not of remedy.
Fri. Hold, daughter; I do spy a kind of hope, Which craves as desperate an execution: As that is desperate which we would prevent. If, rather than to marry county Paris, Thou hadst the strength of will to slay thyself ; Then is it likely, thou wilt undertake
4 The seals of deeds formerly were appended on distinct slips or labels affixed to the deed. Hence in King Richard II. the Duke of York discovers a covenant which his son the Duke of Aumerle had entered into by the depending seal. 5 i. e. shall decide the struggle between me and my distress. Commission
may be here used for authority : but it is more probable that commixtion is the word intended.
A thing like death to chide away this shame,
Jul. O, bid me leap, rather than marry Paris,
tremble; And I will do it without fear or doubt, To live an unstain’d wife to my sweet love 8.
Fri. Hold, then; go home, be merry, give consent To
marry Paris : Wednesday is to-morrow;
• Or chain me to some steepy mountain's top,
Where roaring bears and savage lions roam.' In the text the 4to of 1599 is followed, except that it has or hide me nightly.'
8 Thus the 4to 1599 and the folio: the 4to 1597 reads, I think, with more spirit :
* To keep myself a faithful unstain'd wife
To paly ashes; thy eyes? windows fall,
Jul. Give me, give me! O tell me not of fear. 9 Instead of the remainder of this scene the 4to 1597 has only these four lines :
* And when thou art laid in thy kindred's vault,
Jul. Friar, I go; be sure thou send for dear Romeo.' 10 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), Shakspeare found particularly described in the The Tragicall Hystory of Romeus and Juliet :
• Another use there is, that whosoever dies,
In wonted weed attir'd, not wrapt in winding sheet.'
They bore him bare-faced on the bier.' 11 If no fickle freak, no light caprice, no change of fancy, hinder the performance. The expressions are from the poem.