« PreviousContinue »
That book in many's eyes doth share the glory,
Jul. I'll look to like, if looking liking move;
Enter a Servant.
Serv. Madam, the guests are come, supper served up, you called, my young lady asked for, the nurse cursed in the pantry, and every thing in extremity. I must hence to wait; I beseech you, follow straight.
La. Cap. We follow thee.—Juliet, the county stays.
Enter ROMEO, MERCUTIO, BENVOLIO, with five or six Maskers,
Torch-bearers, and others!!
Rom. What, shall this speech be spoke for our excuse,
Ben. The date is out of such prolixity :
— ENDART mine eye,] “Engage mine eye" in the 4to, 1597, only. 3 – and others.] One of the "others” was furnished with a drum, as we learn from the corr. fo. 1632. This is material, according to the last words of Benvolio in this scene, “Strike, drum !"
4 Scaring the ladies like a crow-keeper ;] i. e. Like a person appointed to scare crows, who of old was armed with a bow and arrows : see “ King Lear," A. iv. sc. 6. In this speech Shakespeare ridicules the ancient practice of maskers entering with a formal prolix introduction, such as that by Moth in “Love's Labour's Lost," Vol. ii. p. 156 : see also “ Timon of Athens," A. i. sc. 2.
But, let them measure us by what they will,
Rom. Give me a torch'; I am not for this ambling:
Mer. Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you dance.
Rom. Not I, believe me. You have dancing shoes,
Mer. You are a lover ® : borrow Cupid's wings,
Rom. I am too sore enpierced with his shaft,
Mer. And, to sink in it, should you burden love;
Rom. Is love a tender thing? it is too rough, Too rude, too boisterous; and it pricks like thorn.
Mer. If love be rough with you, be rough with love; Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down.Give me a case to put my visage in: [Putting on a mask. A visor for a visor !—what care I, What'curious eye doth quote deformities?? Here are the beetle-brows shall blush for me.
Ben. Come, knock, and enter; and no sooner in,
Rom. A torch for me: let wantons, light of heart,
Mer. Tut! dun's the mouse', the constable's own word.
5 Give me a torch ;] The character (says Steevens) which Romeo declares his resolution to assume, will be best explained by a passage in “Westward Ho!" by Decker and Webster, 1607:—“He is just like a torch-bearer to maskers ; he wears good cloathes, and is ranked in good company, but he doth nothing." Romeo wishes to take no active part in the affair.
6 You are a lover : &c.] This and the eleven next lines are not found in the 4to, 1597. Perhaps they were a subsequent addition.
- doth quote deformities?'] i. e. Note or observe deformities, as frequently before. The next three lines are not in the 4to, 1597.
8 Tickle the senseless rushes with their heels ;] Alluding to the rushes with which apartments were anciently strewed in England, a custom mentioned by innumerable writers of the time.
» Tut! dun's the mouse,] We meet with this expression in many old comic
If thou art Dun, we'll draw thee from the mire
Rom. Nay, that's not so.
I mean, sir, in delay
Rom. And we mean well in going to this mask,
Why, may one ask ?
And so did I.
That dreamers often lie. Rom. In bed asleep, while they do dream things true.
Mer. Oh! then, I see, queen Mab hath been with you".
authors; among others, in “ Patient Grissill,” by Decker, Chettle, and Haughton, 1603, (Shakespeare Society's reprint, p. 6,) where Babulo says, “and then this eye opens ; yet dun is the mouse - lie still.” It is also elsewhere used as if “ “dun were to be understood dumb. The next line, " If thou art Dun, we'll draw thee from the mire,” refers to the Christmas gambol of Dun is in the mire, the mode of playing which Gifford explains in a note to Ben Jonson’s Works, Vol. vii. p. 283. The phrase, “Dun’s in the mire,” is often met with : it occurs in “ The Woman Hater," by Beaumont and Fletcher, A. iv. sc. 2 (Dyce's Edition, Vol. ii. p. 71); and there was an old tune of that name, mentioned by Taylor, the Water-poet, in his “ Armada, or Navy of Ships," 8vo, 1627.
I Of this SAVE-REVERENCE love,] The meaning is evident, and it is only necessary to observe, that our text is that of the 4to, 1597, excepting that “savereverence" is there printed surreverence, as it was perhaps usually pronounced. The 4to, 1599, has it, “Or save you reverence love;" which is followed by the 4to, 1609: the folio, 1623, reads, “Or save your reverence love," and so it is repeated in the later folios.
– ere once in our FIVE wits.] No doubt Malone was right in reading " five wits," for "fine wits," as it stands in the 4tos, 1599 and 1609, as well as in the folio. The 4to, 1597, gives the line thus :-—"Three times a day, ere once in her right wits," so that no aid can be derived from thence. In “ Henry VI., Part II.," A. iv. sc. 10, Vol. iv. p. 96, we have had the opposite blunder, for there “fine" is misprinted five.
3 – queen Mab hath been with you.] After this line, in the 4to, 1597, Benvolio interrupts Mercutio by asking, “ Queen Mab, what's she?" and, as Steevens observed, all Mercutio's speech is there given to Benvolio by the careless omission of the proper prefix.
4 — an alderman,] " A burgomaster" in the 4to, 1597.
Over men's noses as they lie asleep :
The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers ;
5 OVER men's noses] So the 4tos, 1599, 1609, and the folio : the 4to, 1597, only, “ Athwart men's noses.”
the lash, of film :] This and the two preceding lines stand as follows in the 4to, 1597 :
“ The traces are the moonshine watery beams,
The collar's cricket's bones, the lash of films." In the next line it has fly for “gnat."
7 Prick'd from the lazy finger of a MAID.] “Maid” is from the 4to, 1597, other copies reading man until the folio, 1632, which substitutes woman : the earliest 4to. also reads pick'd for "prick'd.” The corr. fo. 1632 gives the line thus:-" Pick'd from the lazy finger of a milk-maid."
8 Time out of mind, &c.] This and the two preceding lines are first found in the 4to, 1599. In the next line the 4to, 1597, reads, up and down for “ night by night.”
• O’er lawyers' fingers, who straight dream on fees :) This line is not in the 4to, 1597, which, in the preceding line, reads, “who straight on courtsies dream."
Sometime she gallops o'er a COUNSELLOR's nose,] It is “lawyer's lap" in the 4to, 1597, and “courtier's nose" in other 4tos. and folios; but we have had “courtiers' knees” mentioned just above, and the corr. fo. 1632 instructs us to read “ counsellor's nose,” which doubtless was the poet's word. Counsellor, and suits at court have not before been introduced.
Sometime she driveth o'er a soldier's neck,) “Sometime she gallops o'er a
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
Rom. Peace, peace ! Mercutio, peace !
True, I talk of dreams,
Ben. This wind, you talk of, blows us from ourselves : Supper is done, and we shall come too late.
Rom. I fear, too early; for my mind misgives,
soldier's nose,” 4to, 1597. Two lines lower, for “Spanish blades" of the later editions, the 4to, 1597, has countermines : the whole speech is there much patched up, and clumsily mended.
3 And Bakes the elf-locks] “And plaits the elf-locks," 4to, 1597. The 4to, 1599, and subsequent editions, till the folio, 1632, have elk-locks for “elf-locks.” In the next line the 4to, 1597, has breeds for "bodes."
- This, is she-] The lines respecting maids, &c., are transposed in the 4to, 1597, and, excepting in the omission of the line beginning, “ That presses them," &c., the variations are immaterial. Mercutio's speech in the 4to, 1597, is printed as verse, but in all the later editions, 4to. and folio, as prose, until we arrive at the last four lines. The Nurse's speeches, in the preceding scene, are in Italic type, and in prose, in all the 4tos.
s – puffs away from THENCE,] In haste, 4to, 1597. In the next line the 4to, 1597, reads " face" for side of all the later impressions ; which is not inju. diciously altered to tide in the corr. fo. 1632.