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That I will show you, shining at this feast,
Rom. I 'll go along, no such sight to be shown,
Enter Lady CAPULET and Nurse.
to me. Nurse. Now, by my maiden-head-at twelve year
Madam, I am here. What is
will ? La. Cap. This is the matter :-Nurse, give leave
Nurse. 'Faith, I can tell her age unto an hour.
I 'll lay fourteen of my teeth,
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, God rest all Christian souls
is the love you bear to your lady, which in our language is commonly used for the lady herself. Heath.
to my teen-) To my sorrow. Johnson. So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. I, c. ix:
for dread and doleful teen." This old word is introduced by Shakspeare for the sake of the jingle between teen, and four, and fourteen. Steevens.
Were of an age.-- Well, Susan is with God;
8 'Tis since the earthquake nw eleven years ;] But how comes the Nurse to talk of an earthquake upon this occasion ? There is no such circumstance, I believe, mentioned in any of the novels from which Shakspeare may be supposed to have drawn his story; and therefore it seems probable, that he had in view the earthquake, which had really been felt in many parts of England, in his own time, viz. on the 6th of April, 1580. (See Stowe's Chronicle, and Gabriel Harvey's Letter in the Preface of Spenser's Works, edit. 1679.] If so, one may be permitted to conjecture, that Romeo and Fuliet, or this part of it at least, was written in 1591; af. ter the 6th of April, when the eleven years since the earthquake were completed; and not later than the middle of July, a fortnight and odd days before Lammus-tide. Tyrwhitt.
9 Nay, I do bear a brain:} That is, I have a perfect remembrance or recollection. So, in The Country Captain, by the Duke of Newcastle, 1649, p. 51: “When these wordes of command are rotten, wee will sow some other military seedes; you beare a braine and memory.” Reed. So, in Ram-Alley, or Merry Tricks, 1611: “ Dash, we must bear some brain.” Steevens.
could stand alone ; ] The quarto, 1597, reads: “could stand high lone,” j. e. quite alone, completely alone. So, in another of our author's plays, high fantastical means entirely fantastical.
A was a merry man ;-took up the child:
how a jest shall come about!
La. Cap. Enough of this; I pray thee, hold thy peace.
Nurse. Yes, madam ; Yet I cannot choose but laugh, 3 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 par’lous 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 4 that I dream not of.
it stinted,] i. e. it stopped, it forebore from weeping. So, Sir Thomas North, in his translation of Plutarch, speaking of the wound which Antony received, says: “for the blood stinted. a little when he was laid." Again, in Cynthia's Revels, by Ben Jonson :
“ Stint thy babbling tongue.” Again, in What you Will, by Marston, 1607:
“ Pish! for shame, stint thy idle chat." Steevens. 3 Nurse. Yes, madam; Yet I cannot choose &c.] This speech and tautology is not in the first edition. Pope.
4 It is an honour -] The first quarto reads honour; the folio hour. I have chosen the reading of the quarto.
The word hour seems to have nothing in it that could draw from the Nurse that applause which she immediately bestows. The word honour was likely to strike the old ignorant woman, as a very elegant and discreet word for the occasion. Steevens. Honour was changed to hour in the quarto, 1599. Malone
Nurse. An honour! were not I thine only nurse, I'd say, thou hadst suck'd wisdom from thy teat.
La. Cap. Well,5 think of marriage now; younger 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; Thę 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.6
La. Cap. Verona's summer hath not such a flower. Nurse.? Nay, he's a flower; in faith, a very flower.
La. Cap. What say you ?s can you love the gentleman? 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 lineament,1
5 Well, &c.] Instead of this speech, the quarto, 1597, has only one line :
“ Well, girl, the noble County Paris seeks thee for his
Steevens. - a man of wax.] Well made, as if he had been modelled in wax, as Mr. Steevens by a happy quotation has explained it. “When you, Lydia, praise the waxen arms of Telephus,” (says Horace) (Waxen, well shaped, fine turned: ]
“With passion swells my fervid breast,
“With passion hard to be supprest.” Dr. Bentley changes cerea into laetea, little understanding that. the praise was given to the shape, not to the colour. S. W.
? Nurse. ] After this speech of the Nurse, Lady Capulet in the otel 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. Steevens.
8 La. Cap. What say you ? &c.] This ridiculous speech is entirely added since the first edition. Pope.
9 Real o'er the volume &c.] The same thought occurs in Pericles Irince of Tyre:
Her face the book of praises, where is read “ Nothing but curious pleasures.” Steevens.
And see how one another lends content;
1 Examine every married lineament, &c.] Thus the quarto 1599. The quarto 1609—several lineament. By the former of these phrases Shakspeare means-Examine how nicely one feature depends upon another, or accords with another, in order to produce that harmony of the whole face which seems to be implied in the word-content. In Troilus and Cressida, he speaks of the married calm of states;" and in his 8th Sonnet has the same allusion.
Steevens. the margin of his eyes.] The comments on ancient books were always printed in the margin. So, Horatio in Hamlet says: “— I knew you must be edified by the margent,” &c. Steevens. 3 This precious book of love, this unbound lover,
To beautify him, only lacks a cover:] This ridiculous speech is full of abstruse quibbles. The unbound lover, is a quibble on the binding of a book, and the binding in marriage; and the word ouver is a quibble on the law phrase for a married woman, who is styled a femme couverte in law French. M. Mason.
4 The fish lives in the sea; &c.] i.e. is not yet caught. Fish-skin covers to books anciently were not uncommon. Such is Dr. Far. mer's explanation of this passage; and it may receive some support from what Ænobarbus says in Antony and Cleopatra: “ The tears live in an onion, that should water this sorrow.' Steevens.
The purport of the remainder of this speech, is to show the advantage of having a handsome person to cover a virtuous mind. It is evident therefore, that instead of“ the fish lives in the sea,” 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.I believe, that by the golden story, is meant no particular legend, but any valuable writing. M. Mason.
5 That in gold clasps locks in the golden story;] The golden story is perhaps the golden legend, a book in the dark ages of popery much read, and doubtless often exquisitely embellished, but of which Canus, one of the popish doctors, proclaims the author to liave been homo ferrei oris, plumbei cordis. Johnson.
The poet may mean nothing more than to say, that those books are most esteemed by the world, where valuable contents are em. bellished by as valuable binding. Steevens.