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A troubled mind drave me to walk abroad;
Mon. Many a morning hath he there been seen,
Ben. My noble uncle, do you know the cause? Mon. I neither know it, nor can learn of him. Ben. Have you impórtun'd him by any means?
Mon. Both by myself, and many other friends : But he, his own affections' counsellor, Is to himself—I will not say, how trueBut to himself so secret and so close, So far from sounding and discovery, As is the bud bit with an envious worm, Ere he can spread his sweet leaves to the air, Or dedicate his beauty to the sun 12.
12 The old copy reads :
• Or dedicate his beauty to the same.' The emendation is by Theobald: who states, with great plausibility, that sunne might easily be mistaken for same. Malone
Could we but learn from whence his sorrows grow, We would as willingly give cure, as know.
Enter ROMEO, at a distance. Ben. See, where he comes : So please you, step
aside; I'll know his grievance, or be much denied.
Mon. I would, thou wert so happy by thy stay, To hear true shrift.--Come, madam, let's away.
[Ereunt MONTAGUE and Lady. Ben. Good morrow,
Is the day so young? Ben. But new struck nine. Rom.
Ah me! sad hours seem long. Was that
father that went hence so fast? Ben. It was :- What sadness lengthens Romeo's
hours? Rom. Not having that, which having makes them
Ben. Alas, that love, so gentle in his view,
Rom. Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still, Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will 13! observes, that Shakspeare has evidently imitated the Rosamond of Daniel in the last act of this play, and in this passage may have remembered the following lines in one of the Sonnets of the same writer, who was then extremely popular :
• And whilst thou spread'st into the rising sunne
Now joy thy time before thy sweet be done.' These lines add great support to Theobald's emendation. There are few passages in the poet where so great an improvement of language is obtained by so, slight a deviation from the text of
the old copy.
13 i.e. should blindly and recklessly think he can surmount all obstacles to his will.
Where shall we dine!-O me!- What fray was here?
No, coz, I rather
weep Rom. Good heart, at what? Ben.
At thy good heart's oppression. Rom. Why, such is love's transgression.--Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast; Which thou wilt propagate, to have it prest With more of thine: this love, that thou hast shown, Doth add more grief to too much of mine own.
14 Every ancient sonnetteer characterised Love by contrarieties. Watson begins one of his canzonets :
• Love is a sowre delight, and sugred griefe,
A living death, and ever-dying life,' &c. Turberville makes Reason harangue against it in the same manner :
• A fierie frost, a flame that frozen is with ise!
• Love it is an hateful pees,
An heavie burthen light to beare,' &c. This kind of antithesis was very much in the taste of the Pro. vençal and Italian poets. Perhaps it might be hinted by the Ode of Sappho, preserved by Longinus: Petrarch is full of it :
Pace non trovo, e non ho da far guerra;
E nulla stringo, e tutto'l mondo abbraccio,' &c.
Love is a smoke rais’d with the fume of sighs;
Soft, I will go along; An if you
leave me so, you do me wrong. Rom. Tut, I have lost myself; I am not here; This is not Romeo, he's some other where. Ben. Tell me in sadness 16, whom she is
love. Rom. What, shall I groan, and tell thee? Ben.
Groan? why, no; But sadly tell me who.
Rom. Bid a sick man in sadness make his will :Ah, word ill urg'd to one that is so ill ! In sadness, cousin, I do love a woman.
Ben. I aim'd so near, when I suppos'd you lov'd. Rom. A right good marksman! — And she's fair
I love. Ben. A right fair mark, fair coz, is soonest hit.
Rom. Well, in that hit, you miss: she'll not be hit With Cupid's arrow, she hath Dian's wit; And, in strong proof of chastity well arm’d 17, From love's weak childish bow she lives unharm’d.
15 The old copy reads, ' Being purg'd a fire,' &c. The emendation I have admitted into the text was suggested by Dr. John
To urge the fire is to kindle or excite it. So in Chapman's version of the twenty-first Iliad :
• And as a cauldron, under put with store of fire,
Bavins of sere-wood urging it,' &c. So Akenside in his Hymn to Cheerfulness :
* Haste, light the tapers, urge the fire,
And bid the joyless day retire.' 16 i. e. tell me gravely, in seriousness.
17 • As this play was written in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, these speeches of Romeo may be regarded as an oblique compliment to her majesty, who was not liable to be displeased at hearing her chastity praised after she was suspected to have lost
She will not stay the siege of loving terms,
chaste ? Rom. She hath, and in that sparing makes huge
Ben. Be ruld by me, forget to think of her.
Ben. By giving liberty unto thine eyes;
Rom. To call hers, exquisite, in question more 19 : These happy masks 20, that kiss fair ladies' brows, it, or her beauty commended in the sixty-seventh year of her age, though she never possessed any when young. Her declaration that she would continue unmarried increases the probability of the present supposition.'-Steevens.
18 The meaning appears to be, as Mason gives it, “She is poor only, because she leaves no part of her store behind her, as with her all beauty will die :
* For beauty starved with her severity
Cuts beauty off from all posterity.' 19 i. e. to call her exquisite beauty more into my mind, and make it more the subject of conversation. Question is used frequently with this sense by Shakspeare.
20 This is probably an allusion to the masks worn by the female spectators of the play; unless we suppose that these means no more than the. See vol. ii. p. 44, note 12:
these black masks
Than beauty could displayed.'
'Tis the way