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Ben. Then she hath sworn, that she will still live chaste?
Rom. She hath, and in that sparing makes huge waste;9 For beauty, starv'd with her severity, Cuts beauty off from all posterity.1
her dies beauty's store;" and is followed by the two succeeding editors. I have replaced the old reading, because I think it at least as plausible as the correction. She is rich, says he, in beauty, and only poor in being subject to the lot of humanity, that her store, or riches, can be destroyed by death, who shall, by the same blow, put an end to beauty. Johnson.
Mr. Theobald's alteration may be countenanced by the follow: ing passage in Swetnam Arraign'd, a comedy, 1620:
“ Nature now shall boast no more
“ All the stock of beauty dies.” Again, in the 14th Sonnet of Shakspeare:
“ Thy end is truth's and beauty's doom and date." Again, in Massinger's Virgin-Martyr:
with her dies • The abstract of all sweetness that 's in woman." Steevens. Yet perhaps the present reading may be right, and Romeo means to say, in his quaint jargon, That she is poor, because she leaves no part of her store behind her, as with her all beauty will die. M. Mason.
Words are sometimes shuffled out of their places at the press; but that they should be at once transposed and corrupted, is highly improbable. I have no doubt that the old copies are right.She is rich in beauty; and poor in this circumstance alone, that with her, beauty will expire; her store of wealth (which the poet has already said was the fairness of her person) will not be transmitted to posterity, inasmuch as she will “ lead her graces to the grave, and leave the world no copy.” Malone.
* The poet was, perhaps, indebted to this passage for the following epitaph:
Underneath this stone doth lie
To as much beauty as could live. Am. Ed. 9 She hath, and in that sparing makes huge waste ;) So, in our author's first Sonnet:
“And, tender chur), mak'st waste in niggarding.” Malone. 1 For beauty, staro'd with her severity,
Cuts beauty of from all posterity.] So, in our author's third Sonnet:
" Or who is he so fond will be the tomb
She is too fair, too wise; wisely too fair,
Ben. Be ruld by me, forget to think of her.
Ben. By giving liberty unto thine eyes;
'Tis the way
Again, in his Venus and Adonis:
“ What is thy body but a swallowing grave,
Malone - wisely too fair, &c.] There is in her too much sanctimonious wisdom united with beauty, which induces her to continue chaste with the hopes of attaining heavenly bliss. Malone.
None of the following speeches of this scene are in the first edition of 1597. Pope. 3 Do I live dead,] So, Richard the Third :
now they kill me with a living death." See Vol. X1, p. 25, n. 1. Malone. * So also, Vol. X, p. 201:
with his soul, fled all my worldly solace; “For seeing him, I see my life in death." Am. Ed. 4 To call hers, exquisite, in question more:) That is, to call hers, which is exquisite, the more into my remembrance and contemplation. It is in this sense, and not in that of doubt, or disputes that the word question is here used. Heath
More into talk; to make her unparalleled beauty more the subject of thought and conversation." Malone.
5 These happy masks, &c.] i. e. the masks worn by female spectators of the play. So, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Beggar's Bush sc. ult:
- We stand here for an Epilouge.
“Qut at your masks." Former editors print those instead of these, but without authority Steenens.
These happy masks, I believe, means no more than the happy pasks. Such is Mr. Tyrwhitt's opinion. Malone
The precious treasure of his eyesight lost:
Ben. I'll pay that doctrine, or else die in debt. (Exeunt.
Enter CAPULET, PARIS, and Servant
Par. Of honourable reckoning are you both;
Cap. But saying o'er what I have said before:
Par. Younger than she are happy mothers made.
6 What doth her beauty serve,] i. e. what end does it answer? In modern language we say~"serve for.” Steevens.
thou canst not teach me to forget.]
Pope's Eloiza. Steevens. 8 And Montague is bound ---] This speech is not in the first quarto. That of 1599 has- But Montague ... In that of 1609, and the folio, But is omitted. The reading of the text is that of the undated quarto. Malone.
9 Let two more summers wither in their pride,] So, in our poet's 103d Sonnet:
Three winter's cold
Malone 2 And t00 soon marrd are those so early made.] The quarto, 1597, reads :--- And too soon marr'd are those so early married.
Puttenham, in his Art of Poesy, 1589, uses this expression, which seems to be proyerbial, as an instance of a figure which he calls the Rebound:
The earth hath swallow'd all my hopes but she,
« The maid that soon married is, soon marred is.” The jingle between marrd and made is likewise frequent among the old writers. So, Sidney:
“Oh! he is marr'd, that is for others made !" Spenser introduces it very often in his different poems.
Steevens. Making and marring is enumerated among other unlawful games in the Stat. 2 and 3, Phi. and Ma c. 9. Great improve ments have been made on this ancient game in the present cen. tury. Malone.
2 She is the hopeful lady of my earth:] This line is not in the first edition Pope.
She is the hopeful lady of my earth:) This is a Gallicism: Fille de terre is the French phrase for an heiress. King Richard II calls his land, i. e. his kingdom, his earth:
" Feed not thy sovereign's foe, my gentle earth.” Again :
“So weeping, smiling, greet I thee, my earth.” Steevens. The explanation of Mr. Steevens may be right; but there is a passage in The Maid's Tragedy, which leads to another, where Amintor says:
“ This earth of mine doth tremble, and I feel
“ A stark affrighted motion in my blood." Here earth means corporal part. M. Mason. Again, in this play:
“ Can I go forward, when my heart is here?
“ Turn back, dull earth, and find thy center out.” Again, in our author's 146th Sonnet:
“ Poor soul, the center of my sinful earth, ~," Malone. 3 My will to her consent is but a part;] To, in this instance, signifies in comparison with, in proportion to. So, in King Henry VIII: 6. These are but switches to them." Steevens.
4 Earth-treading stars, that make dark heaven light:] This nonsense should be reformed thus :,
Such comfort, as do lusty young men feels
Earth-treading stars that make dark even light: i. e. When the evening is dark, and without stars, these earthly stars supply their place, and light it up. So again, in this play:
“Her beauty hangs upon the cheek of night,
“Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear.” Warburton. But why nonsense ? is any thing more coinmonly said, ihan that beauties eclipse the sun? Has not Pope the thought and the word ?
“Sol through white curtains shot a tim'rous ray,
“ And op'd those eves that must eclipse the day Both the old and the new reading are philosophical nonsense; but they are both, and both equally, poetical sense. Fohnson.
I will not say that this passage, as it stands, is absolute nonsense; but I think it very absurd, and am certain that it is not capable of the meaning that Johnson attributes to it, without the alteration I mean to propose, which is, to read:
Earth-trealing stars that make clark, heaven's light. That is, earthly stars that outshine the stars of heaven, and make them appear dark by their own superior brightness. But according to the present reading, they are earthly stars thaten. tighten the gloom of heaven. M Mason.
The old reading is sufficiently supported by a parallel passage in Churchyard's Shore's Wife, 1593:
“My beautie blasd like torch or twinckling starre,
" A lively lamp that lends darke world some light." Mr. M Mason's explanation, however, may receive counte. nance from Sidney's Arcadia, Book III:
“Did light those beamy stars which greater light did
do lusty young men feel -) To say, and to say in pompous words, that a young man shall feel as much in an assembly of beauties, as young men feel in the month of April, is surely to waste sound upon a very poor sentiment. I read:
Such comfort as do lusty yeomen feel. You shall feel from the sight and conversation of these ladies, such hopes of happiness and such pleasure, as the farmer receives from the spring, when the plenty of the year begins, and the pros. pect of the harvest fills him with delight Johnson.
Young men are certainly yeomen. So, in Å lytell Geste of Robyn
« Robyn commaunded his wight yong men,
“ Buske you my mery yonge men."
So again, in the ancient legend of Adam Bel, printed by Copland: