Page images
PDF
EPUB

Rom. Ay, nurse; What of that? both with an R.

Nurse. Ah, mocker! that's the dog's name. R. is for the dog. No; I know it begins with some other letter:1 and she hath the prettiest sententious of it, of you and rosemary, that it would do you good to hear it.

[ocr errors]

“ Rosemary is for remembrance,
“Betweene us daie and night,
“ Wishing that I might alwaies have

“ You present in my sight." Again, in our author's Hamlet:

“ There 's rosemary, that's for remembrance." That rosemary was much used at weddings, appears from many passages in the old plays. So, in The Noble Spanish Soldier, 1634: " I meet few but are stuck with rosemary; every one ask'd me, who was to be married?Again, in The Wit of a Woman, 1604: " What is here to do? Wine and cakes, and rosemary, and nose-. gaies? What, a wedding ?Malone.

On a former occasion, the author of the preceding note has sus. pected me of too much refinement. Let the reader judge whether he himself is not equally culpable in the present instance. The Nurse, I believe, is guiltless of so much meaning as is here . imputed to her question. Steevens.

1 Nurse. Ah, mocker! that's the dog's name. &c.] It is a little mortifying, that the sense of this odd stuff, when found, should not be worth the pains of retrieving it:

- spissis indigna theatris Scripta pudet recitare, et nugis addere pondus." The Nurse is represented as a prating silly creature; she says, she will tell Romeo a good joke about his mistress, and asks him, whether Rosemary and Romeo do not begin both with a letter: He says, Yes, an R. She, who, we must suppose, could not read, thought he had mocked lier, and says, No, sure, I know better: our dog's name is R. yours begins with another letter. This is natural enough, and in character. R put her in mind of that sound which is made by dogs when they snarl, and therefore. I preo sume, she says, that is the dog's name, R in schools, being called The dog's letter. Ben Jonson, in his English Grammar, says R is the dog's letter, and hirreth in the sound. “ Irritata canis quod R. R. quam plurima dicat.Lucil.

Warburton. Dr. Warburton reads:-R. is for Thee? Steevens. I believe we should read-R is for the dog. No; I know it begins with some other letter. Tyrwhitt.

I have adopted this emendation, though Dr. Farmer has since recommended another which should seem equally to deserve attention. He would either omit name or insert letter. The dog's letter, as the same gentleman observes, is pleasantly exemplified in Barclay' Ship of Fools, 1578:

Rom. Commend me to thy lady.

[Exit. Nurse. Ay, a thousand times.-Peter! Pet. Anon? Nurse. Peter, Take my fan, and go before.? [Exeunt.

SCENE V.
Capulet's Garden.

Enter JULIET.
Jul. The clock struck nine, when I did send the nurse;
In half an hour she promis'd to return.
Perchance, she cannot meet him :-that's not so.—
0, she is lame! love's heralds should be thoughts,3

“ This man malicious which troubled is with wrath,
“Nought els soundeth but the hoorse letter R.
“Though all be well, yet he none aunswere hath,

“Save the dogges letter glowming with nar, nar.” Steevens. Erasmus in explaining the adage “canina facundia,” says, R. litera quæ in rixando prima est, canina vocatur." I think it is used in this sense more than once in Rabelais : and in The Alchemist Subtle says, in making out Abel Drugger's name, “ And right anenst him a dog snarling er.” Douce.

Mr. Tyrwhitt's alteration is certainly superior to either Dr. Warburton's ( Thee? no;) or one formcrly proposed by Dr. Johnson (the nince) not but the old reading is as good, if not better, when properlv regulated; e. g.

Ah mocker! that's the dog's name. R is for the-10; I know it begins with some other letter. Ritson.

This passage is not in the original copy of 1597. The quarto 1599 and folio read—Ah, mocker, that's the dog's name. Malone.

To the notes on this passage perhaps the following illustration may not improperly be added from Nash's Summers last Will and Testament, 1600, of dogs:

"They arre and barke at night against the moone.” Todd. 2 Peter, Take my fan, and go before. ] Thus the first quarto. The subsequent ancient copies, instead of these words, have-Before, and apace. Malone.

This custom of having a fan-carrier is also mentioned by Burton, in his Anatomy of Melancholy, edit. 1632, p. 603:

doe you heare, good man; “ Now give me pearle, and carry you my fan.Steevens.

should be thoughts, &c.] The speech is thus continued in the quarto, 1597:

should be thoughts,
And run more swift than hasty powder fir'd,
Doth hurry from the fearful cannon's mouth,

3

Which ten times faster glide than the sun's beams,
Driving back shadows over lowring hills:
Therefore do nimble-pinion'd doves draw love,
And therefore hath the wind-swift Cupid wings.
Now is the sun upon the highmost hill
Of this day's journey; and from nine till twelve
Is three long hours,—yet she is not come.
Had she affections, and warm youthful blood,
She'd be as swift in motion as a ball;
My words would bandy her to my sweet love,
And his to me:
But old folks, many feign as they were dead;
Unwieldy, slow, heavy and pale as lead.

Enter Nurse and PETER.
O God, she comes!- honey nurse, what news?
Hast thou met with him ? Send thy man away.
Nurse. Peter, stay at the gate.

[Exit. Pet. Jul. Now, good sweet nurse, lord! why look'st

thou sad?
Though news be sad, yet tell them merrily;
If good, thou sham'st the musick of sweet news
By playing it to me with so sour a face.*

Nurse. I am aweary, give me leave a while ;-
Fy, how my bones ache! What a jaunt have I had !5

Oh, now she comes! Tell me, gentle Nurse,

What says my love ?The greatest part of the scene is likewise added since that edition.

Shakspeare, however, seems to have thought one of the ideas comprised in the foregoing quotation from the earliest quarto, too valuable to be lost. He has therefore inserted it in Romeo's first speech to the Apothecary, in Act V:

“ As violently, as hasty powder fir'd

“Doth hurry from the fatal cannon's womb." Steevens. 4 If good, thou sham'st the musick of sweet news

By playing it to me with so sour a face.] So, in Antony and Cleopatra:

- needs so tart a favour,

“ To trumpet such good tidings !” Again, in Cymbeline:

- if it be summer-news,
6 Smile to it before.” Malone.

What a jaunt have I had!] This is the reading of the folio. The quarto reads: What a jaunce have I had!"

5

Jul. I would, thou hadst my bones, and I thy news: Nay, come, I pray thee, speak;—good, good nurse,

speak. Nurse. Jesu, What haste ? can you not stay awhile ? Do you not see, that I am out of breath?

Jul. How art thou out of breath, when thou hast breath To say to me that thou art out of breath? The excuse, that thou dost make in this delay, Is longer than the tale thou dost excuse. Is thy news good, or bad? answer to that; Say either, and I 'll stay the circumstance: Let me be satisfied, Is 't good or bad ?

Nurse. Well, you have made a simple choice; you know not how to choose a man: Romeo! no, not he; though his face be better than any man’s, yet his leg excels all men's; and for a hand, and a foot, and a body,—though they be not to be talked on, yet they are past compare: He is not the flower of courtesy,—but, I 'll warrant him, as gentle as a lamb.—Go thy ways, wench; serve God,—What, have you dined at home?

Jul. No, no: But all this did I know before; What says he of our marriage? what of that? 6

Nurse. Lord, how my head akes! what a head have I? It beats as it would fall in twenty pieces. My back o' t' other side,–0, my back, my back! Beshrew your heart, for sending me about, To catch my death with jaunting up and down!

Jul. I' faith, I am sorry that thou art not well: Sweet, sweet, sweet nurse, tell me, what says my love?

Nurse. Your love says like an honest gentleman, And a courteous, and a kind, and a handsome, And, I warrant, a virtuous: - Where is your mother?

Jul. Where is my mother?—why, she is within; Where should she be? How oddly thou reply'st?

The two words appear to have been formerly synonymous. See King Richard II:

Spur-gall’d and tir'd by jauncing Bolingbroke.” Malone. 6 No, no: But all this did I know before;

What says be of our marriage? what of that?] So, in The Tragicall History of Romeus and Juliet, 1562:

os Tell me else what, quod she, this evermore I thought;
"But of our marriage, say at once, what answer have you

brought?” Malone.

Your love says like an honest gentleman,
Where is your mother?
Nurse.

O, God's lady dear!
Are you so hot? Marry, come up, I trow;
Is this the poultice for my aking bones?
Henceforward do your messages yourself.

Jul. Here's such a coil ;--Come, what says Romeo ?
Nurse. Have you got leave to go to shrift to-day?
Jul. I have.

Nurse. Then hie you hence to friar Laurence' cell,
There stays a husband to make you a wife:
Now comes the wanton blood up in your cheeks,
They 'll be in scarlet straight at any news.
Hie

you to church; I must another way, To fetch a ladder, by the which your love Must climb a bird's nest soon, when it is dark : I am the drudge, and toil in your delight; But you

shall bear the burden soon at night. Go, I 'll to dinner; hie you to the cell. Jul. Hie to high fortune!-honest nurse, farewel.

[Exeunt. SCENE VI.

Friar Laurence's Cell.
Enter Friar LAURENCE and RomE0.7
Fri. So smile the heavens upon this holy act,
That after-hours with sorrow chide us not!

7 This scene was entirely new formed: the reader may be pleased to have it as it was at first written:

" Rom. Now, father Laurence, in thy holy grant

“ Consists the good of me and Juliet.
Friar. Without more words, I will do all I may

“ To make you happy, if in me it lie.
Rom. This morning here she 'pointed we should meet,

“And consummate those never-parting bands,
“Witness of our hearts' love, by joining hands ;

“ And come she will.
Friar. I guess she will indeed :

“ Youth's love is quick, swifter than swiftest speed.
Enter Juliet somewhat fast, and embraceth Romeo.

" See where she comes!.
“ So light a foot ne'er hurts the trodden flower;
"Of love and joy, see, see the sovereign power!

« PreviousContinue »