Page images
PDF
EPUB

That I will show you, shining at this feast,
And she shall scant show well, that now shows best.

Rom. I'll go along, no such sight to be shown, But to rejoice in splendour of mine own. [Exeunt.

SCENE III. A Room in Capulet's House -.

Enter LADY CAPULET and Nurse. La. Cap. Nurse, where's my daughter? call her

forth to me. Nurse. Now, by my maidenhead,-at twelve year

old, I bade her come.—What, lamb! what, lady-bird !God forbid !—where's this girl ?—what, Juliet!

Enter JULIET. Jul. How now, who calls ? Nurse.

Your mother. Jul.

Madam, I am here, What is

your

will? La. Cap. This is the matter :-Nurse, give leave

awhile,
We must talk in secret.—Nurse, come back again;
I have remember'd me, thou shalt hear our counsel.
Thou know’st my daughter's of a pretty age.

Nurse. ’Faith, I can tell her age unto an hour.
La. Cap. She's not fourteen.
Nurse.

I'll lay fourteen of my teeth,
And yet, to my teen be it spoken, I have but four,-
She is not fourteen: How long is it now
To Lammas-tide?

1 In all the old copies the greater part of this scene was printed as prose. Capell was the first who exhibited it as verse; the subsequent editors have followed him, but perhaps erroneously. 2 i. e. to my sorrow.

This old word is introduced for the sake of the jingle between teen, and four, and fourteen.

La. Cap.

A fortnight, and odd days. Nurse. Even or odd, of all days in the year, Come Lammas-eve at night, shall she be fourteen, Susan and she,4God rest all Christian souls ! Were of an age.—Well, Susan is with God; She was too good for me: But, as I said, On Lammas-eve at night shall she be fourteen; That shall she, marry; I remember it well. 'Tis since the earthquake now eleven years 3 ; And she was wean'd, I never shall forget it,Of all the days of the year, upon that day; For I had then laid wormwood to my dug, Sitting in the sun under the dove-house wall, My lord and you were then at Mantua :Nay, I do bear a brain * :—but, as I said, When it did taste the wormwood on the nipple Of my dug, and felt it bitter, pretty fool! To see it tetchy, and fall out with the dug. Shake, quoth the dove-house: 'twas no need, I trow, To bid me trudge. And since that time it is eleven years : For then she could stand alone; nay, by the rood, She could have run and waddled all about. For even the day before, she broke her brow : And then my husband —God be with his soul! ’A was a merry man ;—took up

the child : Yea, quoth he, dost thou fall upon thy face? Thou wilt fall backward, when thou hast more wit;

3 Mr. Tyrwhitt thinks that Shakspeare had in view the earthquake which had been felt in England in bis own time, on the 6th of April, 1580; and that we may from bence conjecture that Romeo and Juliet was written in 1591.

4 The nurse means to boast of her retentive faculty. To bear a brain was to possess much mental capacity either of attention, ingenuity, or remembrance. Thus in Marston's Dutch Courtezan:

• My silly husband, alas! knows nothing of it, 'tis
I that must beare a braine for all.'

Wilt thou not, Jule? and, by my holy-dam,
The pretty wretch left crying, and said-Ay:
To see now, how a jest shall come about !
I warrant, an I should live a thousand years,
I never should forget it; Wilt thou not, Jule?

quoth he: And, pretty fool, it stinted", and said —Ay. La. Cap. Enough of this; I pray thee, hold thy

peace. Nurse. Yes, madam; Yet I cannot choose but 6

laugh, To think it should leave crying, and say-Ay: And yet, I warrant, it had upon

its brow A bump as big as a young cockrel's stone; A parlous knock; and it cried bitterly. Yea, quoth my husband, fall'st upon thy face? Thou wilt fall backward, when thou com’st to age ; Wilt thou not, Jule? it stinted, and said-Ay. Jul. And stint thou too, I pray thee, nurse, say

I. Nurse. Peace, I have done. God mark thee to

his grace!
Thou wast the prettiest babe that e’er I nurs’d:
An I might live to see thee married once,
I have my wish.

La. Cap. Marry, that marry is the very theme I came to talk of:-Tell me, daughter Juliet, How stands your disposition to be married ?

Jul. It is an honour that I dream not of.

5 To stint is to stop. Baret translates · Lachrymas supprimere, to stinte weeping ;' and to stinte talke,' by 'sermones restinguere.' So Ben Jonson in Cynthia's Revels :

Stint thy babbling tongue,

Fond Echo.'
Again, in What You Will, by Marston :-

* Pish! for shame, stint thy idle chat.' Spenser uses the word frequently.

© This tautologous speech is not in the first quarto of 1597.

Nurse. An honour! were not I thine only nurse, I'd

say, thou hadst suck'd wisdom from thy teat. La. Cap. Well, think of marriage now; younger

than you,

Here in Verona, ladies of esteem,
Are made already mothers : by my count,
I was your mother much

upon
these

years
That you are now a maid. Thus then, in brief ;-
The valiant Paris seeks you for his love.

Nurse. A man, young lady! lady, such a man,
As all the world— Why, he's a man of wax 7.
La. Cap. Verona's summer hath not such a flower.
Nurse. Nay, he's a flower; in faith, a very flower 8.
La. Cap. What say you? can you love the gen-

tleman?
This night you shall behold him at our feast;
Read o'er the volume of young Paris' face,
And find delight writ there with beauty's pen;
Examine every married o lineament,
And see how one another lends content;

7 i. e. as well made as if he had been modelled in wax, So in Wily Beguiled :—Why, he is a man as one should picture him in wax.

So Horace uses · Cerea brachia,' waxen arms, for arms well shaped.-Od. xiii. 1. 1. Which Dacier explains:* Des bras faits au tour comme nous disons d'un bras rond, qu'il est comme de cire.'

8 After this speech of the Nurse, Lady Capulet, in the old quarto, says only:

• Well, Juliet, how like you of Paris’ love ? She answers, “I'll look to like,' &c; and so concludes the scene, without the intervention of that stuff to be found in the later quartos and the folio.

9 Thus the quarto of 1599. The quarto of 1609 and the folio read, several lineaments. We have, "The unity and married calm of states,' in Troilus and Cressida. And in his eighth Sonnet:

• If the true concord of well-tuned sounds,

By unions married, do offend thine ear. See vol. vii. p. 338, note 13.

And what obscur'd in this fair volume lies,
Find written in the margin of his eyes to.
This precious book of love, this unbound lover,
To beautify him, only lacks a cover:
The fish lives in the sea "l; and 'tis much pride,
For fair without the fair within to hide:
That book in many's eyes doth share the glory,
That in gold clasps locks in the golden story;
So shall you share all that he doth possess,
By having him, making yourself no less.
Nurse. No less ? nay, bigger; women grow by men.
La. Cap. Speak briefly, can you like of Paris'love?

Jul. I'll look to like, if looking liking move:
But no more deep will I endart 12 mine eye,
Than your consent gives strength to make it fly.

Enter a Servant.
Serv. Madam, the guests are come, supper

served up, you called, my young lady asked for, the nurse cursed in the pantry, and every thing in extremity. I must hence to wait; I beseech you, follow straight.

10 The comments on ancient books were generally printed in the margin. Horatio says, in Hamlet, “I knew you must be edified by the margent,' &c. So in The Rape of Lucrece:

• But she that never cop'd with stranger eyes
Could pick no meaning from their parling looks,
Nor read the subtle shining secrecies

Writ in the glassy margent of such books.' This speech is full of quibbles. The unbound lover is a quibble on the binding of a book, and the binding in marriage ; and the word cover is a quibble on the law pbrase for a married woman, femme couverte.

11 Dr. Farmer explains this, “The fish is not yet caught.' Mason thinks that we should read, “The fish lives in the shell; for the sea cannot be said to be a beautiful cover to a fish, though a shell may.' The poet may mean nothing more than that those books are most esteemed by the world where valuable contents are embellished by as valuable binding.

13 The quarto of 1597 reads, engage mine eye.

« PreviousContinue »