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a loathed enemy." Like two beau- “ Read o'er the volume of young Paris' tiful birds are they on St Valentine's
face, day, that come fluttering from oppo- And find delight writ there with beauty's site sides into the heart of a grove,
pen; and from that first mutual touch of
Examine every married lineament, their shivering plumage, are mated
And see how one another lends content; for ever after in calm or storm, gloom And what obscured in this fair volume
lies, or sunshine. A mysterious sympathy of nature links them together
Find written in the margin of his eyes ;" -an irresistible attraction-an in- and Juliet has “ fallen to such perustinct holier in its innocence than sal ” of the face of Romeo; an apt Reason's self-and such in the hearts scholar, at a few glances she has got of Juliet and her Romeo is-Love. the whole volume by heart!
Then how elegant and graceful The Second Act is so full of the the demeanour of the Pair ! Romeo Passion of Love, that the very nightis privileged by the law and custom air seems sultry-yet as pure as it of such a festival, to make love after is voluptuous ! We knew that there a somewhat warmer and bolder fa- could be no rest that night for Roshion than perchance he would have meo and Juliet. ventured on anywhere else than at “Benvolio, Romeo! my Cousin Romeo! a masquerade. He plays the Pil Mercutio.
He is wise, grim--the Palmer--and she the Saint. And, on my life, hath stolen away to bed." Fancy hallows the passion which it
But Mercutio is much mistaken, with emboldens, till it looks like-what it
all his wit, when he saysis-religion. Our fair critic says beautifully, “ They are all love sur “ I conjure thee, by Rosalie's bright eyes, rounded with all hate; all harmony By her high forehead, and her scarlet lip, surrounded with all discord; all By her fine foot, straight leg,” &c. pure nature in the midst of polished and Romeo has the best of the joke and artificial life. Juliet, like Por- when from Capulet's garden he betia, is the foster-child of opulence holds his “snowy dove" at a winand splendour; she dwells in a fair dowcity-she has been nurtured in a palace-she clasps her robe with jewels " But soft, what light through yonder -she braids her hair with rainbow
window breaks ! tinted pearls ;-but in herself she has
IT IS THE EAST, AND JULIET IS THE SUN." no more connexion with the trap. He is a poet- and speaks like pings around her, than the lovely ex- Apollo. So is Juliet. How truly otic, transplanted from some Eden- and finely does our lady critic say, like climate, has with the carved and “ that every circumstance, and every gilded conservatory which has rear personage, and every shade of chaed and sheltered its luxuriant beau- racter in each, tends to the develope
ment of the sentiment which is the “The use of the Chorus here,” says subject of the drama. The poetry, Dr Johnson, "is not easily discover the richest that can possibly be coned; it conduces nothing to the pro- ceived, is interfused through all the gress of the play, but relates what is characters; the most splendid imaalready known, or what the next gery is lavished upon all with the scene will shew, and relates it with careless prodigality of genius ; and out adding the improvement of any all is lighted up into such a sunny inoral sentiment.”* All very true brilliance of effect, as though Shakand yet we like the Chorus. It speare had really transported himcomes in well, with a sort of sweet self into Italy, and had drunk to insolemnity, at the close of the night's toxication of her genial atmosphere." l'estivities, like a preternatural voice The picture in * Twelfth Night” of heard in the hush.
the wan girl dying of love," who Sudden as is the change in Juliet pined in thought, and with a green from child to woman--for under the and yellow melancholy,” never ocpower of passion the change is no curs to us, she adds, " when thinkless-it is not startling; we remem- ing on the enamoured and impasber that she was marriageable, though sioned Juliet, in whose bosom love she had never dreamt of that honour; keeps a fiery vigil, kindling tenher mother had told her to
derness into enthusiasm, enthusiasm
into passion, passion into heroism. And they speak, but of themselves only No! The whole sentiment of the " they see only themselves in the play is of a far different order. It universe-all things else are as idle is flushed with the genial spirit of matter. Not a word they utter, though the South ; it tastes of youth, and of every word is poetry-not a sentithe essence of youth; of life, and of ment or description, though dressed the very sap of life. In the delinea- in the most luxuriant imagery, but has tion of that sentiment which forms a direct relation to themselves, or to the groundwork of the drama, no- the situation in which they are placed, thing in fact can equal the power of and the feelings that engross them.” the picture, but its inexpressible In the second scene, in Capulet's sweetness, and its perfect grace; the house, when Juliet is waiting for the passion which has taken possession Nurse, who had gone to Romeo to of Juliet's whole soul, has the force, fix the marriage hour, what purity, the rapidity, the resistless violence innocence, and artlessness in her imof the torrent; but she is herself, patience! How beautifully does her 'as moving delicate,' as fair, as soft, passion express itself in poetry! as pliable as the willow that bends over it. whose light leaves tremble " Oh! she is lame! love's heralds should even with the motion of the current
utent Which ten times faster glide than the sun. which hurries beneath them.”
beams, No lady surely did ever in this . Driv
ms Driving back shadows over lowering hills; world, before or since, so blessedly Therefore do nimble-pinioned doves draw make, unasked by words, and but by love. eyes, a promise, or rather proposal of And therefore bath the wind-swift Cupid marriage.
wings. “ Jul. Three words, dear Romeo, and Now is the sun upon the higumost hill good night indeed !
of this dày's journey,” &c. If that thy bent of love be honourable, Friar Lawrence himself, as he sees Thy purpose marriage, send me word to. morrow,
her entering his cell, forgets the phiBy one that I'll procure to come to thee,
losophy he had been preaching to Where, and what time, thou wilt perform
Romeo-his advice to “ love modethe rite;
rately." And all my fortunes at thy foot I'll lay, " There comes the lady; 0, so light a And follow thee, my Lord, throughout foot the world."
Will ne'er wear out the everlasting flint ; · And where in all human language
A lover may bestride the gossamers are there two lines so brimful of ten
That idle in the wanton summer air, derness, affection, and passion, as
And yet not fall-so light is vanity.” Romeo's farewell
Vanity! nay-not vanity, good Fa“ Sleep dwell upon thine eyes, peace on
ther Lawrence-nor yet vexation of thy breast !
spirit. Love deserves a better name Would I were sleep and peace ! so sweet to —and so thou thinkest in thy heartrest !!
though old, not dead to holiest kuThe truth is, that Romeo was not
manities—as thou sayest compassiononly as passionate, but as pure as
atelyJuliet. So she says-and it was true
“ Come, come with me, and we will make -in one line of her soliloquy, when
short work, expecting him in the bridal chamber. For, by your leave, you shall not stay alone, There is not one word breathed from Till holy church incorporate in one." his burning lips, that is not as reve. Juliet is now a bride--longing for rential as enamoured; a delicious the approach of her bridegroom; and glow warms and colours all his Shakspeare does not fear to let us speech; and Juliet innocently speaks hear her breathing forth her virgin of blushes at her own words-not at longings in a soliloquy. Let a wife his
speak of that soliloquy-an English “ Thou know'st the mask of night is on
wife-who knows and feels what is my face,
modesty, and what is virtue. And Else would a maiden blush bepaint my
let maidens read what matrons procheek,
nounce blameless-let them read it For that which thou hast heard me speak as it was spoken-alone-in company to night."
only with their own pure thoughts,
and watched over by their guardian And light thee on thy way to Mantua : angel. They will not find it, we Therefore stay yet, thou need'st not to fear, in the Family Shakspeare-but be gone. in any good edition. Then let them Rom. Let me be ta'en, let me be put read this comentary.
to death; “The famous soliloquy, Gallop apace, I am content, so thou wilt have it so. ye fiery-footed steeds teems with juxu. I'll say, yon grey is not the morning's eye, riant imagery. The fond adjuration, Come 'Tis but the pale reflex of Cynthia's brow; night! Come Romeo! Come thou day in Nor that is not the lark, whose notes do night l'expresses that fulness of enthusiastic admiration for her lover, which possesses The vaulty heaven so high above our her whole soul; but expresses it as only. heads : Juliet could or would have expressed it, I have more care to stay, than will to -in a bold and beautiful metaphor. Let
go;it be remembered, that in this speech, Come, death, and welcome ! Juliet wills Juliet is not supposed to be addressing
it so.an audience, nor even a confidante. She How is't, my soul ? let's talk, it is not is thinking aloud; it is the young beart
day. triumphing to itself in words. I confess Jul. It is, it is, hie hence, be gone, I have been shocked at the utter want of away ; taste and refinement in those who, with It is the lark that sings so out of tune, coarse derision, or in a spirit of prudery, Straining harsh discords, and unpleasing more gross and nerverse have dared
sharps. to comment on this beautiful Hymn to Some say, the lark makes sweet division; the Night, breathed out by Juliet, in the This doth not so, for she divideth us: silence and solitude of her chamber. It Some say, the lark and loathed toad is at the very moment too that her whole
change eyes; heart and fancy are abandoned to blissful O, now I would they had changed voices anticipation, that the Nurse enters with
too! the news of Romeo's banishment; and Since arm from arm that voice doth us the immediate transition from rapture to
affray, despair has a most powerful effect.” Hunting thee hence with hunts up to the Hitherto all has been passion. But
day. Romeo and Juliet have now been in
O, now be gone; more light and light it bliss; and Sbakspeare, the High Priest
Rom. More light and light ?- more of Nature, has drawn a veil over her
dark and dark our woes. holiest mysteries. How sacred, as
Enter NURSE. he paints it, is their wedded love!
Nurse. Madam! Sadness and Sorrow are now seen Jul. Nurse? waiting on Joy; and may we not ven- Nurse. Your lady mother's coming to ture to quote the Parting Hour ?
your chamber : “ Enter Romeo and JULIET. The day is broke; be wary, look about. Jul. Wilt thou be gone? it is not yet
[Exit NURSE. near day:
Jul. Then, window, let day in, and let It was the nightingale, and not the lark,
life out. That pierced the fearful hollow of thine Rom. Farewell, farewell! one kiss, ear;
and I'll descend. Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate
(ROMEO descends. tree :
Jul. Art thou gone so! my love! my Believe me, love, it was the nightingale.
lord! my friend! Rom. It was the lark, the herald of I must hear from thee every day i' the the morn,
bour, No nightingale : look, love, what envious For in a minute there are many days : streaks
0! by this count I shall be much in Do lace the severing clouds in yonder years, east :
Ere I again behold my Romeo. Night's candles are burnt out, and jocund Rom. Farewell ! I will omit no oppor
tunity Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain That may convey my greetings, love, to tops;
thee. I must be gone and live, or stay and die. Jul. O, think'st thou, we shall ever Jul. Yon light is not daylight, I know
meet again ? it, I:
Rom. I doubt it not; and all these It is some meteor that the sun exhales,
woes shall serve To be to thee this night a torch-bearer, For sweet discourses in our time to coine.
Jul. O God! I have an ill-divining cy, and her total want of elevated soul :
principle, or even common honesty, Methinks, I see thee, now thou art below, are brought before us like a living As one dead in the bottom of a tomb: and palpable truth. Either my eyesight fails, or thou look'st
“ Among these harsh and inferior spiRom. And trust me, love, in my eye
me, love, in my eve rits is Juliet placed; her haughty parents, so do you:
and her plebeian nurse, not only throw Dry sorrow drinks our blood. Adieu! into beautiful relief her own native softadieu! [Exit Romeo.
ness and elegance, but are at once the Jul. O fortune, fortune ! all men call
cause and the excuse of her subsequent thee fickle:
conduct. She trembles before her stern If thou art fickle what dost thou with mother and her violent father ; but like a him
petted child, alternately cajoles and comThat is renown'd for faith? Be fickle,
mands her nurse. It is her old fosterfortune;
mother who is the confidante of her love. For then, I hope, thou wilt not keep bim
It is the woman who cherished her inlong,
fancy, wlio aids and abets her in her But send him back.”
clandestine marriage. Do we not per
ceive how immediately our impression of How well now do we know the Juliet's character would have been lowcharacter of Juliet ! and no one has ered, if Shakspeare had placed her in helped us to see into it so well as connexion with any common-place drathe Lady whose work we have been matic waiting.woman ?-even with Porstudying—not criticising—for that tia's adroit Nerissa, or Desdemona's were idle. In the dialogue between Emilia? By giving her the Nurse for her Juliet and her parents, she observes, confidante, the sweetness and dignity of and in the scenes with the nurse, we Juliet's character are preserved inviolate seem to have before us the whole of to the fancy, even in the midst of all the her previous education and habits; romance and wilfulness of passion. we see her, on the one hand, kept in “ The natural result of these extremes severe subjection by her austere pa- of subjection and independence, is exhirents; and on the other, fondled and bited in the character of Juliet, as it graspoiled by a foolish old nurse-a sin dually opens upon us. We behold it in tuation perfectly accordant with the the mixture of self-will and timidity, of manners of the times. The Lady Ca- strength and weakness, of confidence and pulet comes sweeping by, with her reserve, which are developed as the actrain of velvet, her black hood, fan. tion of the play proceeds. We see it in and rosary, the very beau-ideal of a the fond eagerness of the indulged girl, proud Italian matron of the fifteenth for whose impatience the ‘nimblest of century, whose offer to poison Romeo,
the lightning-winged loves' had been in revenge for the death of Tybalt,
too slow a messenger; in her petulance stamps her with one very characte
with her nurse ; in those bursts of veheristic trait of the age and country.
ment feeling, which prepare us for the Yet she loves her daughter; and her invectives against Romeo, when she
climax of passion at the catastrophe; in there is a touch of remorseful ten- hears of the death of Tybalt; in her inderness in her lamentation over her, dignation when the Nurse echoes those which adds to our impression of the reproaches, and the rising of her temper timid softness of Juliet. Capulet against unwonted contradiction : is the jovial, testy, old man, the self- Nurse. Shame come to Romeo ! willed, violent, tyrannical father, to Juliet. Blister'd be thy tongue whom his daughter is but a proper whom his daughter is but a proper.
For such a wish-he was not born to shame!' ty, the appanage of his house, and “ Then comes that revulsion of strong the object of his pride. And the feeling, that burst of magnificent exultanurse! She, says this critic, acute tion in the virtue and honour of her lo. here as at other times delicate,-in
• Upon his brow Shame is asham'd to sit,
Sole monarch of the universal earth!'. louring, reminds us of some of the marvellous Dutch paintings, from “ And this, by one of those quick which, with all their coarseness, we
transitions of feeling which belong to the start back as from a reality. Her character, is immediately succeeded by a low humour, her shallow garrulity. gush of tenderness and self-reproachmixed with the dotage and petulance “Ah, poor my lord, what tongue shall smooth thy
name, of age, her subserviency, her secre. When 1, thy three hours' wife, have mangled it
« With the same admirable truth of owed to them; a more sacred tie has nature, Juliet is represented as at first severed all others. Her parents are pic. bewildered by the fearful desting that tured as they are, that no feeling for closes round her; reverse is new and ter. them may interfere in the slightest degree rible to one nursed in the lap of luxury, with our sympathy for the lovers. In the and whose energies are yet untried. mind of Juliet there is no struggle be• Alack, alack, that heaven should practise stra tween her filial and her conjugal duties, tagems
and there ought to be none. The Friar, Upon so soft a subject as myself !'
her spiritual director, dismisses her with " While a stay remains to her amid the these instructions: evils that encompass her, she clings to it.
Go home,-be merry,-give consent She appeals to her father—to her mo To marry Paris ;' ther
and she obeys him. Death and suffering « Good father, I beseech you on my knees,
in every horrid form she is ready to brave, Hear me with patience but to speak one word!
without fear or doubt, “to live an un
stained wife;' and the artifice to which Ah, sweet my mother, cast me not away!
she has recourse, which she is even inDelay this marriage for a month,-a week!
structed to use, in no respect impairs the " And, rejected by both, she throws
beauty of the character: we regard it herself upon her nurse in all the helpless
with pain and pity, but excuse it, as the ness of anguish, of confiding affection, of
natural and inevitable consequence of the habitual dependence
situation in which she is placed. Nor "O God ! O nurse ! how shall this be prevented ?
should we forget, that the dissimulation, Some comfort, nurse!'
as well as the courage of Juliet, though “ The old woman, true to her vocation, they spring from passion, are justified by and fearful lest her share in these events
principle :should be discovered, counsels her to for.
My husband is on earth, my faith in heaven ; get Romeo and marry Paris; and the How shall my faith return again to earth, moment which unveils to Juliet the Unless that husband send it me from heaven!' weakness and the baseness of her confi- In her successive appeals to her father, dante, is the moment which reveals her her mother, her nurse, and the Friar, she to herself. She does not break into up- seeks those remedies which would first braidings; it is no moment for anger; it suggest themselves to a gentle and viris incredulous amazement succeeded by tuous nature, and grasps her dagger only the extremity of scorn and abhorrence as the last resource against dishonour and which take possession of her mind. She violated faithassumes at once and asserts all her own
God join'd my heart with Romeo's,-thou our superiority, and rises to majesty in the hands. strength of her despair.
And ere this hand, by thee to Romeo seal'd,
Shall be the label to another deed, Juliet. Speakest thou from thy heart ?
Or my true heart, with treacherous revolt, Nurse. Aye, and from my soul too;-or else
Turn to another, this shall slay them both ! Beshrew them both !
“ Thus, in the very tempest and whirlJuliet. Amex!'
wind of passion and terror, preserving, to “ This final severing of all the old fa- a certain degree, that moral and feminine miliar ties of her childhood
dignity which harmonizes with our best Go, counsellor !
feelings, and commands our unreproved Thou and my bosom henceforth shall be twain!' sympathy." and the calm, concentrated force of her
We could add nothing to this noble resolve,
passage, nor could we to what is “If all else fail,--myself have power to die!' said of the catastrophe. have a sublime pathos. It appears to me
“ Soft you now! also an admirable touch of nature, con
The Fair OPHELIA !" sidering the master passion wbich, at this
In her all intellectual energy, saith moment, rules in Juliet's soul, that she is as much shocked by the Nurse's dis
our fair critic well, and all moral praise of her lover, as by her wicked,
ger wicked energy too, are in a manner latent,
pergy.too, an time-serving advice.
if existing ; in her love is an uncon" This scene is the crisis in the charac. scious impulse, and imaginationlends ter: and henceforth we see Juliet assume the external charm and hue, not the a new aspect. The fond, impatient, ti- internal power ; in her the feminine mid girl, puts on the wife and the wo character appears resolved into its man ; she has learned heroism from suf- very elementary principles-modesfering, and subtlety from oppression. It ty, grace, and tenderness. Shakis idle to criticise hier dissembling submis- speare has shewn us that these elesion to her father and mother ; a higher mental feminine qualities, when exduty has taken place of that which she panded under genial influences, suf