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Cap. O heavens!—0, wife! look how our daugh
La. Cap. O me! this sight of death is as a bell, That warns my
old age to a sepulchre. Enter MONTAGUE and Others. Prince. Come, Montague; for thou art early up, To see thy son and heir more early down.
Mon. Alas, my liege, my wife is dead to-night 19; Grief of my son's exíle hath stopp'd her breath; What further woe conspires against mine age?
Prince. Look, and thou shalt see.
Mon. O thou untaught! what manners is in this, To
press before thy father to a grave Prince. Seal
the mouth of outrage for a while, "Till we can clear these ambiguities, And know their spring, their head, their true descent; And then will I be general of your woes,
18 The words, 'for lo ! his house is empty on the back of Montague,' are to be considered parenthetical. It appears that the dagger was anciently worn behind the back. So in Humor's Ordinarie:
See you yon huge bum dagger at his back?' And in The Longer Thou Livest the More Fool Thou Art, 1570 :
• Thou must wear thy sword by thy side,
And thy dagger handsumly at thy backe.' 19 After this line the quarto of 1597 adds :
. And young Benvolio is deceased too.' 20 So in The Tragedy of Darius, 1603:
• Ah me! malicious fates have done me wrong:
This dealing is preposterous and over-thwart.'
* If children pre-decease progenitors,
And lead you even to death : Mean time forbear,
Fri. I am the greatest, able to do least,
in this. Fri. I will be brief 21, for
short date of breath
cell there would she kill herself.
21 • It is to be lamented that the poet did not conclude the dialogue with the action, and avoid a narrative of events which the audience already knew.'--Johnson.
Shakspeare was led into this uninteresting narrative by following too closely The Tragical Hystory of Romeus and Juliet. In this poem (which is printed in the Variorum Editions of Shakspeare) the bodies of the dead are removed to a public scaffold; and from that elevation is the Friar's narrative delivered. The same circumstance is introduced in Hamlet near the conclusion.
That he should hither come as this dire night,
letter back: Then all alone,
old life Be sacrific’d, some hour before his time, Unto the rigour of severest law.
Prince. We still have known thee for a holy man. Where's Romeo's man? what can he say in this?
Bal. I brought my master news of Juliet's death; And then in post he came from Mantua. To this same place, to this same monument. This letter he early bid me give his father; And threaten'd me with death, going in the vault, If I departed not, and left him there.
Prince. Give me the letter, I will look on it.Where is the county's page, that rais'd the watch? Sirrah, what made your master in this place ? Page. He came with flowers to strew his lady's
And bid me stand aloof, and so I did:
Cap. O, brother Montague, give me thy hand:
But I can give thee more:
Cap. As rich shall Romeo by his lady lie;
brings; The sun for sorrow will not show his head: 22 Mercutio and Paris. Mercutio is expressly called the Prince's kinsman in Act iii. Sc. 4; and that Paris was also the Prince's kinsman, may be inferred from the following passages. Capulet, speaking of the count in the fourth act, describes him as ' a gentleman of princely parentage;' and after he is killed, Romeo says:
Let me peruse this face; Mercutio's kinsman, noble county Paris.' 23 The quarto of 1597 reads, ' A gloomy peace. To gloom is an ancient verb, used by Spenser and other old writers.
Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things;
Some shall be pardon’d, and some punished 24: For never was a story of more woe, Than this of Juliet and her Romeo 25. [Exeunt.
24 This line has reference to the poem from which the fable is taken; in which the Nurse is banished for concealing the marriage ; Romeo's servant set at liberty, because he had only acted in obedience to his master's orders; the Apothecary is hanged; while Friar Laurence was permitted to retire to a hermitage near Verona, where he ended his life in penitence and tranquillity.
25 Shakspeare in his revision of this play has not effected the alteration by introducing any new incidents, but merely by adding to the length of the scenes. The piece appears to have been always a very popular one. Marston, in his Satires, 1598, says :
* Luscus, what's play'd to-day? faith, now I know;
Nought but pure Juliet and Romeo.' The concluding lines may have been formed on the last couplet of the old poem :
among the monuments that in Verona been,