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Most miserable hour, that e'er time saw
Nurse. O woe! O woful, woful, woful day!
Par. Beguild, divorced, wronged, spited, slain,
kill'd !Uncomfortable time! why cam'st thou now To murder murder our solemnity ?O child! O child !—my soul, and not my child ! Dead art thou, dead !_alack! my child is dead; And, with my child, my joys are buried ! Fri. Peace, ho, for shame! confusion's cure
lives not In these confusions. Heaven and yourself Had part in this fair maid; now heaven hath all, And all the better is it for the maid : Your part in her you could not keep from death; But heaven keeps his part in eternal life. The most you sought was—her promotion; For 'twas your heaven, she should be advanc'd: And weep ye now, seeing she is advanc’d, Above the clouds, as high as heaven itself? 0, in this love, you love your child so ill, That you run mad, seeing that she is well : She's not well married, that lives married long;
But she's best married, that dies married young.
Cap. All things, that we ordained festival",
Fri. Sir, go you in,—and, madam, go with him; --
and Friar. 1 Mus. 'Faith, we may put up our pipes, and be
Nurse. Honest good fellows, ah, put up; put up; For, well you know, this is a pitiful case.
[Exit Nurse. . 1 Mus. Ay, by my troth, the case may be amended.
Enter Peter? Pet. Musicians, 0, musicians, Heart's ease, heart's 5 Instead of this and the following speeches the first quarto has only a couplet:
· Let it be so; come, woeful sorrow-mates,
Let us together taste this bitter fate.' The enlarged text is formed upon the poem.
6 See Hamlet, Act i. Sc. 2.
7 From the quarto of 1599 it appears that the part of Peter was originally performed by William Kempe.
ease; 0, an you will have me live, play-heart's ease.
1 Mus. Why heart's ease?
Pet. O, musicians, because my heart itself plays — My heart is full of woe8. 0, play me some merry dump 9, to comfort me.
2 Mus. Not a dump we; 'tis no time to play now. Pet. You will not then? Mus. No. Pet. I will then give it you soundly. 1 Mus. What will you give us ?
Pet. No money, on my faith; but the gleek 10: I will give you the minstrel.
1 Mus. Then will I give you the serving-creature.
Pet. Then will I lay the serving-creature's dagger on your pate. I will carry no crotchets : I'll re you, I'll fa you; Do you note me?
1 Mus. An you re us, and fa us, you note us.
2 Mus. 'Pray you, put up your dagger, and put out your wit.
8 This is the burthen of the first stanza of A Pleasant New Ballad of Two Lovers :
* Hey hoe! my heart is full of woe.' 9 A dump was formerly the received term for a grave or melancholy strain in music, vocal or instrumental. It also signified a kind of poetical elegy. See vol. i. p. 152. A merry dump is no doubt a purposed absurdity put into the mouth of Master Peter. That it was a sad or dismal strain, perhaps sometimes for the sake of contrast and effect mixed up with livelier airs, appears from Cavendish's Metrical Visions, p. 17:—
• What is now left to helpe me in this case ?
Among deade men to tryppe on the trace.'
10 A pun is here intended. A gleekman, or gligman, is a minstrel. To give the gleek meant also to pass a jest upon a person, to make him appear ridiculous; a gleek being a jest or scoff ; from the Saxon ylig.
Pet. Then have at you with my wit; I will drybeat you with an iron wit, and put up my iron dagger :- Answer me like men 11 :
When griping grief the heart doth wound,
Then musick with her silver sound 12_
1 Mus. Marry, sir, because silver hath a sweet sound.
Pet. Pretty! What say you, Hugh Rebeck ?
2 Mus. I say—silver sound, because musicians sound for silver.
Pet. Pretty too!—What say you, James Sound
3 Mus. ’Faith, I know not what to say...
Pet. 0, I cry you mercy! you are the singer: I will say for you. It is-musick with her silver sound, because such fellows as you have seldom gold for sounding :
Then musick with her silver sound, .
[Exit, singing. 1 Mus. What a pestilent knave is this same?
2 Mus. Hang him, Jack! Come, we'll in here; tarry for the mourners, and stay dinner. [Exeunt.
11 • Dr. Percy thinks that the questions of Peter are designed as a ridicule on the forced and unnatural explanations given by us painful editors of ancient authors.'-Steevens.
12 This is part of a song by Richard Edwards, to be found in the Paradice of Dainty Devices, fol. 31, b. Another copy of this song is to be found in Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry.
13 This worthy takes his name from a small lutestring made of catgut. His companion the fiddler from an instrument of the same name mentioned by many of our old writers, and recorded by Milton as an instrument of mirth:
· When the merry bells ring round,
think); And breath'd such life with kisses in my lips 3, That I reviv'd, and was an emperor. Ah me! how sweet is love itself possess'd, When but love's shadows are so rich in joy! 1 Thus the first quarto. The folio reads:
“If I may trust the flattering truth of sleep.' The sense appears to be, If I may repose any confidence in the flattering visions of the night. Otway reads :
. If I may trust the flattery of sleep,
My dreams presage some joyful news at hand. 2 These three last lines are very gay and pleasing. But why does Shakspeare give Romeo this involuntary cheerfulness just before the extremity of unhappiness? Perhaps to show the vanity of trusting to those uncertain and casual exaltations or depressions, which many consider as certain foretokens of good and evil.'—Johnson. The poet has explained this passage a little further on:
*How oft, when men are at the point of death,
A lightning before death.
• By this sad Hero-