Page images

Of limping winter treads, even such delight
Among fresh female buds shall you this night
Inherit at my house ;6 hear all, all see,
And like her most, whose merit most shall be:

« There met he these wight yonge men.
“Now go we hence sayed these wight yong men.

“ Here is a set of these wyght yong men.But I have no doubt that he printed from a more antiquated edition, and that these passages bave accidentally escaped alteration, as we generally meet with "wyght yemen. See also Spel. man's Glossary; voce JUNIORES. It is no less singular that in a subsequent act of this very play the old copies should, in two places, read “ young trees” and “young tree," instead of yew-trees, and vew-tree. Ritson.

The following passages from Chaucer's Romaunt of the Rose, and Virgil's third Georgick, will support the present reading, and show the propriety of Shakspeare's comparison: for to tell Paris that he should feel the same sort of ure in an assembly of beauties, which young folk feel in that season when they are most gay and amarous, was surely as much as the old man ought to say:

ubi subdita flamma medullis,
Vere magis (quia vere calor redit ossibus)."
“That it was May, thus dremid me,
“ In time of love and jolite,
“That al thing ginnith waxin gay, &c.-
“ Then yong folke entendin ave,
“ For to ben gaie and amorous,
“ The time is then so savorou3.

Romaunt of the Rose, v. 51," &c. Again, in The Romaunce of the Sowdon of Babyloyne &c. MS. Penes Dr. Farmer

“ Hit bifelle by twyxte marche and maye,
“ Whan kynde corage begynneth to pryke;
- Whan frith and felde wesen gaye,
And every wight desirith his like;
“ Whan lovers slepen with opin yee,
“ As nightingalis on grene tre,
“ And sore desire that thai cowde Aye

“ That thay myghte with there love be" &c. p. 2. Steevens. Our author's 99th Sonnet may also serve to confirm the reading of the text:

“From you have I been absent in the spring
“When proud-pied April dress'd in all bis trim,

“ Hath put a spirit of youth in ev'ry thing." Again, in Tancred and Gismund, a tragedy, 1592:

“Tell me not of the date of Nature's days,
“ Then in the April of her springing age."

Malone. 6 Inherit at my house;) To inherit, in the language of Shak. speare's age, is to possess. See Vol. VII, p. 12, n. 7. Malone.

Such, amongst view of many, mine, being one,
May stand in number, though in reckoning none.?

7 Such, amongst view of many, mine, being one,

May stand in number, though in reckoning none.) The first of these lines I do not understand. The old folio gives no help; the passage is there, Which one more view. I can offer nothing better than this:

Within your view of many, mine, being one,

May stand in number, &c. Johnson. Such, amongst view of many, &c ) Thus the quarto, 1597. In the subsequent quarto of 1599, that of 1609, and the folio, the line was printed thus:

Which one (on] more view of many, &c. Malone. A very slight alteration will restore the clearest sense to this passage. Shakspeare might have written the lines thus:

Search among view of many: mine, being one,

May stand in number, though in reckoning none. i. e. Amongst the many you will view there, search for one that will please you. Choose out of the multitude. This agrees exactly with what he had already said to him:

Hear all, all see, “ And like her most, whose merit most shall be." My daughter (he proceeds) will, it is true, be one of the number, but her beauty can be of no reckoning (i. e estimation) among those whom you will see here. Reckoning for estimation, is used before in tbis very scene:

“Of honourable reckoning are you both.” Steevens. This interpretation is fully supported by a passage in Measure for Measure :

- our compellid sins

“Stand more for number, than accompt." i.e. estimation. There is here an allusion io an old proverbial expression, that one is no number. So, in Decker's Honest Whore, Part II:

to fall to one,

is to fall to none, “For one no number is." Again, in Shakspeare's 136th Sonnet:

Among a number one is reckon'd none,

“ Then in the number let me pass untold.”. The following lines in the poem, on which the tragedy is found. ed, may add some support to Mr. Steevens's conjecture: “ To his approved friend a solemn oath he plight,

every where he would resort where ladies wont to

meet; “Eke should his savage heart like all indifferently, " For he would view and judge them all with unallured


[ocr errors]

Come, go with me;-Go, sirrah, trudge about
Through fair Verona; find those persons out,
Whose names are written there, [gives a paper] and

to them say,
My house and welcome on their pleasure stay.

[Exeunt CAP. and PAR. Serv. Find them out, whose names are written here? It is wiitten that the shoemaker should meddle with his yard, and the tailor with his last, the fisher with his pencil, and the painter with his nets; but I am sent to find those persons, whose names are here writ, and can never find what names the writing person hath here writ. I must to the learned :-In good time.

Enter BENVOLio and RoMEO. Ben. Tut, man! one fire burns out another's burning,

One pain is lessen'd by another's anguish; Turn giddy, and be hoip by backward turning;

One desperate grief cures with another's languish:!

“No knight or gentleman of high or low renown
“But Capulet himself bad bid unto his feast, &c.

Young damsels thither flock, of bachelor's a rout;
“Not so much for the banquet's sake, as beauties to search

out." Malone. This passage is neither intelligible as it stands, nor do I think it will be rendered so by Steevens's amendment.--" To search amongst view of many,” is neither sense nor English. The old folio, as Johnson tells us,

readsWhich one more view of many And this leads us to the right reading, which I should suppose to have been this:

Whilst on more view of many, mine being one, &c. With this alteration the sense is clear, and the deviation from the folio very trifling. M. Mason.

find those persons out, Whose names are written there,] Shakspeare has here closely followed the poem already mentioned:

“No lady fair or foul was in Verona town,
“No knight or gentleman of high or low renown,
“ But Capilet himself hath bid unto his feast,
“Or by his name, in paper sent, appointed as a guest."

Malone. 9 Find them out, whose names are writtten here?] The quarto 1597, adds: “And yet I know not who are written here: I must to the learned to learn of them: that 's as much as to say, the tailor," &c. Steevens.

with another's languish:) This substantive is again found

[ocr errors]


Take thou some new infection to thy eye,
And the rank poison of the old will die.

Rom. Your plantain leaf is excellent for that.2
Ben. For what, I pray thee?

For your broken shin. Ben. Why, Romeo, art thou mad?

Rom. Not mad, but bound more than a madman is : Shut up in prison, kept without my food, Whipp'd, ant) tormented, and-Good-e'en, good fellow.

Serv. God gi' good e’en.—I pray, sir, can you read? Rom. Ay, mine own fortune in my misery.

Serv. Perhaps you have learn’d it without book:
But I pray, can you read any thing you see?

Rom. Ay, if I know the letters, and the language.
Serv. Ye say honestly; Rest you merry!
Rom. Stay, fellow; I can read.

[Reads. Signior Martino, and his wife, and daughters; County Anselme, and his beauteous sisters; The lady widow of Vitruvio; Signior Placentio, and his lovely nieces; Mercutio, and his brother Valentine; Mine uncle Capulet, his wife, and daughters; My fair niece Rosaline; Livia; Signior Valentio, and his cousin Tybalt; Lucio, and the lively Helena. A fair assembly; (gives back the note] Whither should

they come?

found in Antony and Cleopatra.-It was not of our poet's coinage, occurring also (as I think) in one of Morley's songs, 1595:

“ Alas, it skills not,
“ For thus I will not,
“Now contented,
Now tormented,

Live in love and languish.Malone. 2 Your plantain leaf is excellent for that.] Tackius tells us, that a toad, before she engages with a spider, will fortify herself with some of this plant; and that, if she comes off wounded, she cures herself afterwards with it. Dr. Grey. The same thought occurs in Albumazar, in the following lines.

“ Help, Armellina, help! I'm fall'n i''the cellar:

“ Bring a fresh plantain leaf, I've broke my shin.” Again, in The Case is Alter'd, by Ben Jonson, 1609, a fellow who has had his head broke, says : «'Tis nothing, a fillip, a device: fellow Juniper, prithee get me a plantain."

The plantain leaf is a blood-stauncher, and was formerly ap.. plied to green wounds. Steevens. VOL. XII.


Serv. Up
Rom. Whither?
Serv. To supper; to our house.3
Rom. Whose house?
Serv. My master's.
Rom. Indeed, I should have asked you that before.

Serv. Now I'll tell you without asking: My master is the great rich Capulet; and if you be not of the house of Montagues, I pray, come and crush a cup of wine. 4 Rest you merry.

[Exit. Ben. At this same ancient feast of Capulet's Sups the fair Rosaline, whom thou so lov'st; With all the admired beauties of Verona: Go thither; and, with unattainted eye, Compare her face with some that I shall show, And I will make thee think thy swan a crow.

Rom. When the devout religion of mine eye

Maintains such falsehood, then turn tears to fires!
And these,--who, often drown’d, could never die,

Transparent hereticks, be burnt for liars !
One fairer than my love! the all-seeing sun
Ne'er saw her match, since first the world begun.

Ben. Tut! you saw her fair, none else being by,
Herself pois'd with herself in either eye:
But in those crystal scales, 5 let there be weigh'd
Your lady's love against some other maid6

3 To supper; to our house.] The words to supper are in the old copies annexed to the preceding speech. They undoubtedly belong to the Servant, to whom they were transferred by Mr. The. obald. Malone.

4 — crush a cup of wine.] This cant expression seems to have been once common among low people. I have met with it often in the old plays. So, in The Two Angry Women of Abington, 1599:

“ Fill the pot, hostess &c. and we 'll crush it." Again, in Hoffman's Tragedy, 1631 :

we'll crush a cup of thine own country wine." Again, in The Pinder of Wakefield, 1599, the Cobler says:

“Come, George, we'll crush a pot before we part.” We still say, in cant language-to crack a bottle. Steevens.

in those crystal scales,] The old copies have--that crys. tal, &c. The emendation was made by Mr. Rowe. I am not sure that it is necessary. The poet might have used scales for the entire machine. Malone.

let there be weigh'd Your lady's love against some other maid-] Faur lady's love

« PreviousContinue »