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Rom. With Rosaline, my ghostly father? no;
Fri. Be plain, good son, and homely in thy drift;
Rom. Then plainly know, my heart's dear love is set On the fair daughter of rich Capulet: As mine on hers, so hers is set on mine; And all combin'd, save what thou must combine By holy marriage: When, and where, and how, We met, we woo'd, and made exchange of vow, I 'll tell thee as we pass; but this I pray, That thou consent to marry us this day.
Fri. Holy Saint Francis! what a change is here!
Rom. Thou chidd'st me oft for loving Rosaline.
both our remedies Within thy help and holy physick lies:) This is one of the pas. sages in whicb our author has sacrificed grammar to rhyme.
Rom. And bad'st me bury love.
Not in a grave,
Rom. I pray thee, chide not: she, whom I love now, Doth grace
for grace, and love for love allow;
O, she knew well,
Rom. O, let us hence; I stand on sudden haste.2
Enter BENVOLIO and MERGUTIO.
Ben. Not to his father's; I spoke with his man.
Ben. Tybalt, the kinsman of old Capulet,
Mer. A challenge, on my life.
and could not spell,] Thus the quarto, 1597. The subsequent ancient copies all have
Thy love did read by rote that could not spell. I mention these minute variations only to show, wbat I have so often urged, the very high value of first editions. Malone.
1 The two following lines were added since the first copy of this play. Steevens.
I stand on sudden haste.] i. e. it is of the utmost consequence for me to be hasty. So, in King Richard III:
it stands me much upon,
Ben. Nay, he will answer the letter's master, how he dares, being dared.
Mer. Alas, poor Romeo, he is already dead! stabbed with a white wench’s black eye; shot thorough the ear with a love-song; the very pin of his heart cleft with the blind bow-boy's butt-shaft;3 And is he a man to encounter Tybalt?
Ben. Why, what is Tybalt?
Mer. More than prince of cats," I can tell you.5 O, he is the courageous captain of compliments. He fights
the very pin of his heart cleft with the blind bow-boy's butt. shaft;] So, in Love's Labour 's Lost:
“Then she will get the upshot, by cleaving of the pin." See note on the word--pin, Vol. IV, p. 63. A butt-shaft was the kind of arrow used in shooting at butts. Steevens.
The allusion is to archery. The clout or white mark at which the arrows are directed, was fastened by a black pin placed in the center of it. To hit this was the highest ambition of every marksman. So, in No Wit like a Woman's, a comedy, by Middle. ton, 1657:
“ They have shot two arrows without heads,
“ And I 'll cleave the black pin i' the midst of the white." Again, in Marlowe’s Tamburlaine, 1590:
" For kings are clouts that every man shoots at,
Malone. 4 More than prince of cats,] Tybert, the name given to the cat, in the story book of Reynard the Fox. Warburton. So, in Decker's Satiromastix, 1602:
- tho' you were Tybert, the long-tail'd prince of rats." Again, in Have with you to Suffron Walden, &c. 1598:
not Tibalt prince of cats,” &c. Steevens. It appears to me that these speeches are improperly divided, and that they ought to run thus:
Ben. Why, what is Tybalt more than prince of cats?
M. Mason. I can tell you.) So the first quarto. These words are omitted in all the subsequent ancient copies. Malone.
courageous captain of compliments ] A complete master of all the laws of ceremony, the principal man in the doctrine of punctilio:
“ A man of compliments, whom right and wrong
“ Have chose as umpire,” says our author, of Don Armado, the Spaniard, in Love's Labour's Löst. Fohnson.
as you sing prick-song, keeps time, distance, and proportion ;? rests me his minim rest,8 one, two, and the third in your bosom : the very butcher of a silk button,' a duellist, a duellist; a gentleman of the very first house, of the first and second cause:1 Ah, the immortal passado! the punto reverso! the hay !3.
Ben. The what?
Mer. The pox of such antick, lisping, affecting fantasticoes;3 these new tuners of accents !-By Jesu, a
p. 181 : «
keeps time, distance, and proportion;] So Ben Jonson's Bobadil: “Note your distance, keep your due proportion of time."
Steevens, - his minim rest,] A minim is a note of slow time in musick, equal to two crotchets. Malone.
- the very butcher of a silk button,] So, in The Return from Parnassus, 1606:
“Strikes his poinado at a button's breadth." This phrase also occurs in the Fantaisies de Bruscambille, 1612,
- un coup de mousquet sans fourchette dans le sixiesme bouton -."
Steevens. a gentleman of the very first house,--of the first and second cause:} i. e one who pretends to be at i he head of his family, and quarrels by the book. See a note on As you Like it, Act V, sc. iv.
Warburton. Tybalt cannot pretend to be at the head of his family, as both Capulet and Romeo barred his claim to that elevation. “ A gen. tleman of the first house ;—of the first and second cause,” is a gen. tleman of the first rank, of the first eminence among these duellists; and one who understands the whole science of quarrelling, and will tell you of the first cause, and the second cause, for which a man is to fight.—The Clown, in As you Like it, talks of the seventh cause in the same sense. Steevens.
We find the first of these expressions in Fletcher's Women
- a gentleman 's gone then ;
Malone. the hay!) All the terms of the modern fencing-school were originally Italian; the rapier, or small thrusting sword, be. ing first used in Italy. The hay is the word hai, you have it, used when a thrust reaches the antagonist, from which our fencers, on the same occasion, without knowing, I suppose, any reason for it, cry out, ha! Johnson.
affecting fantasticoes;] Thus the oldest copy, and rightly. Modern editors, with the folios, &c. read--phantasies. Nash, in his Have with you to Saffron Walden, 1596, says-" Follow some
very good blade! - very tall man!-a very good whore ! - Why, is not this a lamentable thing, grandsire, that we should be thus afflicted with these strange flies, these fashion-mongers, these pardonnez-moy's, 5 who stand so much on the new form, that they cannot sit at ease on the old bench? O, their bons, their bons !?
of these new-fangled Galiardo's and Signor Fantastico's,” &c. Again, in Decker's comedy of Old Fortunatus, 1600:-" I have danc'd with queens, dallied with ladies, worn strange attires, seen fantasticoes, convers’d with humorists,” &c. Steevens.
Fantasticoes is the reading of the first quarto, 1597 ; all the subsequent ancient copies read arbitrarily and corruptly-phantacies.
Malone. 4 Why, is this not a lamentable thing, grandsire,] Humorously apostrophising his ancestors, whose sober times were unacquainted with the fopperies here complained of. Warburton.
these pardonnez-moy's,] Pardonnez-moi became the lan. guage of doubt or hesitation among men of the sword, when the point of honour was grown so delicate, that no other mode of contradiction would be endured. Johnson. The old
copies have these pardon-mees, not, these pardon nez-mois. Theobald first substituted the French word, without any necessity. Malone.
If the French phrase be not substituted for the English one, where lies the ridicule designed by Mercutio ?“ Their bons their bons,” immediately following, shows that Gallick phraseology was in our poet's view. So, in King Richard II:
Speak it in French, king; say, pardonnez-moy.” Steevens.
stand so much on the new form, that they cannot sit at ease on the old bench?] This conceit is lost, if the double meaning of the word form be not attended to. Farmer.
A quibble on the two meanings of the word form occurs in Love's Labour's Lost, Act I, sc.i:-- "sitting with her on the form, and taken following her into the park; which, put together, is, in manner and form following.” Steevens.
70, their bons, their bons!) Mercutio is here ridiculing those frenchified fantastical coxcombs whom he calls pardonnez-moi's : and therefore, I suspect here he meant to write French too.
O their bon's! their bon's ! i. e. how ridiculous they make themselves in crying out, good, and being in extacies with every trifle; as he had just described them before:
-a very good blade!” &c. Theobald. The old copies read-0, their bones, their bones! Mr. Theo. bald's emendation is confirmed by a passage in Green's Tu Quoque, from which we learn that bon jour was the common salutation of those who affected to appear fine gentlemen in our author's time: “No, I want the bon jour and the tu quoque, which yonder gentleman has.” Malone.