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NURSE. An honour ! were not I thine only
nurse, I would say, thou hadst suck'd wisdom from thy teat. (ID LA. CAP. Well, think of marriage now;
younger than you, 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 ;-(D. The 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!. LA. CAP. Verona's summer hath not such a
flower. Nurse'. Nay, he's a flower; in faith, a very
* Quarto A, Well, girl : the noble countie Paris seeks thee for
his wife. 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.
8 Well, &c.] Instead of this speech, the quarto 1597, has only one line : "Well, girl, the noble County Paris seeks thee for his wife.”
STEEVENS. 9 – a man of wax.] So, in Wily Beguiled: “ Why, he's a man as one should picture him in wax."
STEEVENS. “- a man of war." 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 lactea, 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 old 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. STEVENS.
(11) La. CAP. What say you ? ? can you love the
? La. Cap. What say you? &c.] This ridiculous speech is entirely added since the first edition. Pope.
3 Read o'er the volume, &c.] The same thought occurs in Pericles Prince of Tyre :
“Her face the book of praises, where is read
“ Nothing but curious pleasures." Steevens. 4 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:
“ If the true concord of well-tuned sounds,
“ By unions married, do offend thine ear." So also, in Ronsard :
“ Phebus du milieu de la table,
“ A son archet melodieux.” Again:
“ Le mariant aux haleines
“ D'un son furieux et grave." STEVENS. This speech, as has been observed, is not in the quarto 1597. The reading of the text is that of the quarto 1599. The folio, after a later quarto, that of 1609, reads several lineament. I have no doubt that married was the poet's word, and that it was altered only because the printer of the quarto of 1609 did not understand it. MALONE.
s — 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.
So, in our author's Rape of Lucrece :
ACT 1. This precious book of love, this unbound lover, To beautify him, only lacks a cover 6 : The fish lives in the sea ?; and 'tis much pride, For fair without the fair within to hide : That book in many's eyes doth share the glory, That in gold clasps locks in the golden story 8; So shall you share all that he doth possess, By having him, making yourself no less. NURSE. No less ? nay, bigger; women grow by
men.(ID) La. CAP. Speak briefly, can you like of Paris' love * ? * Quarto A, Well Juliet, how like you of Paris' love.
“ But she, that never cop'd with stranger eyes,
“ Writ in the glassy margent of such books." Malone. 6 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 cover is a quibble on the law phrase for a married woman, who is styled a femme couverte in law French.
M. Mason. 7 The fish lives in the sea ; &c.] i. e. is not yet caught. Fishskin covers to books anciently were not uncommon. Such is Dr. Farmer'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.
8 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 have 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 embellished by as valuable binding. Steevens.
Jul. I'll look to like, if looking liking move o: But no more deep will I endart mine eye', Than your consent gives strength to make it fly.
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. (ID LA. CAP. We follow thee.-Juliet, the county
stays. Nurse. Go, girl, seek happy nights to happy days. (ID)
A Street. Enter Romeo, MERCUTI0", BENVOLIO, with five or
sir Maskers, Torch-Bearers, and Others. Rom. What, shall this speech be spoke for our
9 I'll look to like, if looking liking move :) Such another jingle of words occurs in the second book of Sidney's Arcadia : “ — and seeing to like, and liking to love, and loving straight” &c.
Steevens. 1 – ENDART mine eye,] The quarto 1597 reads—“ engage mine eye." STEEVENS.
2 Madam, &c.] Thus in the quarto 1597. “ Madam, you are called for ; supper is ready; the nurse cursed in the pantry; all things in extremity; make haste, for I must be gone to wait.”
BosweLL. 3 — Mercutio,] Shakspeare appears to have formed this character on the following slight hint in the original story : “ -another gentleman called Mercutio, which was a courtlike gentleman, very wel beloved of all men, and by reason of his pleasant and courteous behaviour was in al companies wel intertained.” Painter's Palace of Pleasure, tom. ii. p. 221. STEEVENS.
Mercutio is thus described in the poem which Shakspeare followed:
Or shall we on without apology ?
Ben. The date is out of such prolixity 4:
“ At thone side of her chair her lover Romeo,
them hold." Perhaps it was this last circumstance which induced our poet to represent Mercutio as little sensible to the passion of love, and “ a jester at wounds which he never felt.” See Othello, Act III. Sc. IV.:
" This hand is moist, my lady ;-
“ Hot, hot, and moist.” Malone. 4 The date is out of such prolixity:1 i. e. Masks are now out of fashion. That Shakspeare was an enemy to these fooleries, appears from his writing none; and that his plays discredited such entertainments, is more than probable. WARBURTON.
The diversion going forward at present is not a masque, but a masquerade. In Henry VIII. where the king introduces himself to the entertainment given by Wolsey, he appears, like Romeo and his companions, in a mask, and sends a messenger before, to make an apology for his intrusion. This was a custom observed by those who came uninvited, with a desire to conceal themselves for the sake of intrigue, or to enjoy the greater freedom of conversation. Their entry on these occasions was always prefaced by some speech in praise of the beauty of the ladies, or the generosity of the entertainer; and to the prolixity of such introductions, I believe Romeo is made to allude.“
So, in Histriomastix, 1610, a man expresses his wonder that the maskers enter without any compliment:
“What come they in so blunt, without device?" In the accounts of many entertainments given in reigns antecedent to that of Elizabeth, I find this custom preserved. Of the same kind of masquerading, see a specimen in Timon, where Cupid precedes a troop of ladies with a speech. STEEVENS.
Shakspeare has written a masque which the reader will find introduced in the 4th Act of The Tempest. It would have been difficult for the reverend annotator to have proyed they were discontinued during any period of Shakspeare's life. Percy.