Page images
PDF
EPUB

The boy gives warning, something doth approach.
What cursed foot wanders this way to-night,
To cross my obsequies, and true-love's rites?
What, with a torch !-muffle me, night, a while ?.

[Retires. Enter Romeo and BALTHASAR, with a Torch,

Mattock, &c.
Rom. Give me that mattock, and the wrenching

iron.
Hold, take this letter; early in the morning
See thou deliver it to my lord and father.
Give me the light: Upon thy life I charge thee,
Whate'er thou hear’st or seest, stand all aloof,
And do not interrupt me in my course,
Why I descend into this bed of death,
Is, partly, to behold my lady's face:
But, chiefly, to take thence from her dead finger
A precious ring; a ring that I must use
In dear employment: therefore hence, be gone: -
But if thou, jealous, dost return to pry
In what I further shall intend to do,
By heaven, I will tear thee joint by joint,
And strew this hungry churchyard with thy limbs :
The time and my intents are savage-wild;
More fierce, and more inexorable far,
Than empty tigers, or the roaring sea.
2 Thus in Drayton's Polyolbion :

• But suddenly the clouds which on the winds do fly

Do muffle him again.' The word was not deemed unpoetical by Milton; the Elder Brother in Comus uses it:

Unmuffle, ye faint stars,' &c. A muffler was a part of female dress, described in vol. i.

p. 261. 3 That is, in action of importance. The sense of the word dear has been explained in vol. i. p. 382. So Ben Jonson, in Catiline, Act i.:-

• Put your known talents on so dear a business.'

Bal. I will be gone, sir, and not trouble you. Rom. So shalt thou show me friendship.—Take

thou that: Live, and be prosperous; and farewell, good fellow.

Bal. For all this same, I'll hide me hereabout; His looks I fear, and his intents I doubt. [Retires.

Rom. Thou détestable* maw, thou womb of death, Gorg’d with the dearest morsel of the earth, Thus I enforce thy rotten jaws to open,

[Breaking open the Door of the Monument. And, in despite, I'll cram thee with more food !

Par. This is that banish'd haughty Montague, That murder'd my love's cousin;—with which grief, It is supposed the fair creature died,And here is come to do some villanous shame To the dead bodies: I will apprehend him.-

[Advances. Stop thy unhallow'd toil, vile Montague; Can vengeance be pursu'd further than death? Condemned villain, I do apprehend thee: Obey, and go with me; for thou must die. Rom. I must, indeed; and therefore came I

hither. Good gentle youth, tempt not a desperate man; Fly hence and leave me;— think upon

these gone; Let them affright thee.--I beseech thee, youth, Heap not another sin upon my head, By urging me to fury :-0, be gone! By heaven, I love thee better than myself: For I come hither arm’d against myself: Stay not, begone;-live, and hereafter sayA madman's mercy bade thee run away.

4 Detestable was formerly accented on the first syllable, as in the present instance. So Spenser, Faerie Queene, b. i. can. i. st. 26:

• That détestable sight him much amaz’d.'

Par. I do defy thy conjurations 5, And do attach thee as a felon here. Rom. Wilt thou provoke me? then have at thee, boy.

[They fight. Page. O lord! they fight: I will go call the watch.

[Erit Page. Par. O, I am slain! [Falls.]—If thou be merciful, Open the tomb, lay me with Juliet.

[Dies. Rom. In faith, I will :-Let me peruse this face; Mercutio's kinsman, noble county Paris : What said my man,

when

my

betossed soul
Did not attend him as we rode? I think,
He told me, Paris should have married Juliet:
Said he not so? or did I dream it so?
Or am I mad, hearing him talk of Juliet,
To think it was so?—0, give me thy hand,
One writ with me in sour misfortune's book !
I'll bury thee in a triumphant grave,-
A grave? O, no; a lanterno, slaughter'd youth,

5 I refuse to do as thou conjurest me to do, i. e. depart. So Constance, in King John, says :

No, I defy all counsel, all redress.' 6 A lantern may not, in this instance, signify an enclosure for a lighted candle, but a louvre, or what in ancient records is styled lanternium, i. e. a spacious round or octagonal turret full of windows, by means of which cathedrals and sometimes halls are illuminated. See the beautiful lantern at Ely Minster.

The same word, with the same sense, occurs in Churchyard's Siege of Edinbrough Castle:

. This lofty seat and lantern of that land

Like lodestarre stode, and lokte o'er ev'ry streete.' And in Holland's translation of Pliny's Nat. Hist. b. xxxv.:

Hence came the louvers and lanternes reared over the roofes of temples.'

A presence is a public room, which is at times the presencechamber of a sovereign. This thought, extravagant as it is, is borrowed by Middleton in his Blurt Master Constable :

• The darkest dungeon which spite can devise
To throw this carcase in, her glorious eyes
Can make as lightsome as the fairest chamber
In Paris Louvre.'

For here lies Juliet, and her beauty makes
This vault a feasting presence full of light.
Death, lie thou there, by a dead man interr’d.

[Laying Paris in the Monument.
How oft when men are at the point of death
Have they been merry? which their keepers call
A lightning before death: 0, how may 17
Call this a lightning?-0, my love! my wife!
Death that hath suck'd the honey of thy breath,
Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty 8:
Thou art not conquer'd; beauty's ensign yet
Is crimson in thy lips, and in thy cheeks,
And death's pale flag is not advanced there.-
Tybalt, liest thou there in thy bloody sheet?
0, what more favour can I do to thee,
Than with that hand that cut thy youth in twain,
To sunder his that was thine enemy?
Forgive me, cousin !-Ah, dear Juliet,
Why art thou yet so fair ? Shall I believe

7 The first quarto reads, ' But how,' &c. This idea very frequently occurs in our old dramas. So in the Second Part of The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, 1601 :

I thought it was a lightning before death,

Too sudden to be certain.' 8 So in Sidney's Arcadia, b. iii.:- Death being able to divide the soule, but not the beauty from her body. And in Daniel's Complaint of Rosamond, 1594 :

' Decayed roses of discoloured cheeks
Do yet retain some notes of former grace,

And ugly death sits fair within her face.' 'Death's pale flag,' in the subsequent line, has also its prototype in Daniel's Complaint of Rosamond, 1594 :

. And nought respecting death (the last of paines)
Plac'd his pale colours (th’ ensign of his might)

Upon his new-got spoil,' &c.
А

passage in Marini's Rime Lugubri, 1604, p. 149, bears a very strong resemblance to this; but Daniel could not have borrowed it, as Malone suggests:

Morte la'nsegna sua, pallida e bianca,

Vincitrice spiegò su'l volto mio.' VOL, X,

That unsubstantial death is amorous 9 ;
And that the lean abhorred monster keeps
Thee here in dark to be his paramour ?
For fear of that, I will still stay with thee;
And never from this palace of dim night 10
Depart again; here, here will I remain
With worms that are thy chambermaids; 0, here
Will I set up my everlasting rest '1;
And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars
From this world-wearied flesh.—Eyes, look your

last!
Arms, take your last embrace ! and lips, O you

[ocr errors]

9 Burton, in his Anatomy of Melancholy, ed. 1632, p. 463, speaking of the power of beauty, tells us :— But of all the tales in this kinde, that is most memorable of Death himselfe, when he should have stroken a sweet young virgin with his dart he fell in love with the object. Burton refers to the EpwroTalyviov of Angerianus; but Steevens had met with the same fable in some other ancient book. So in Daniel's Complaint of • Rosamond :

• Ah, now methinks I see death dallying seeks

To entertain itselfe in love's sweete place.'
In the quarto of 1597 the above passage appears thus :-

Ah, dear Juliet,
How well thy beauty doth become this grave !
0, I believe that unsubstantial death
Is amorous, and doth court my love.
Therefore will I, O here, O ever here,
Set up my everlasting rest
With worms, that are thy chamber-maids.
Come, desperate pilot, now at once run on
The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary barge:
Here's to my love.—0, true apothecary,

Thy drugs are swift: thus with a kiss I die.' The text follows the quarto of 1599, which corresponds with the folio; except that some superfluous words and lines, which were repeated by the carelessness of the transcriber or printer, are here omitted.

10 In The Second Maiden's Tragedy, recently printed from a MS. in the Lansdown collection, monuments are styled the 'palaces of death.'

See note 1, on Act iv. Sc. 5.

11

« PreviousContinue »