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This dagger hath mista'en,--for, lo! his house
La. Cap. O me! this sight of death is as a bell, That warns my old age to a sepulchre.
Enter Montague and Others. Prince. Come, Montague ; for thou art early up',
9 This dagger hath mista'en, -for, lo! his house
Is empty on the back of Montague,
And is mis-sheathed in my daughter's bosom.] The modern editors (contrary to the authority of all the ancient copies, and without attention to the disagreeable assonance of sheath and sheathed, which was first introduced by Mr. Pope) read :
“ This dagger hath mista'en ; for, lo ! the sheath
“ The point mis-sheathed in my daughter's bosom." The quarto 1597, erroneously,
this dagger hath mistooke ;
“And it mis-sheathed in my daughter's bosome.” If we do not read—it instead of is, Capulet will be made to say - The scabbard is at once empty on the back of Montague, and sheathed in Juliet's bosom.
Shakspeare quaintly represents the dagger as having mistaken its place, and it mis-sheathed," i. e. “mis-sheathed itself” in the bosom of Juliet.
The quarto 1609, and the folio 1623, offer the same reading, except that they concur in giving is instead of it.
It appears that the dagger was anciently worn behind the back. So, in The Longer Thou Livest the More Fool Thou Art, 1570 :
Thou must weare thy sword by thy side,
“And thy dagger handsumly at thy backe." Again, in Humors Ordinarie, &c. an ancient collection of satires, no date :
“ See you the huge bum dagger at his back ? " The epithet applied to the dagger, shows at what part of the back it was worn. Steevens.
The words," for, lo! his house is empty on the back of Montague," are to be considered as parenthetical. In a former part of this scene we have a similar construction.
My reading [is] is that of the undated quarto, that of 1609, and the folio. MALONE. for thou art early up, &c.] This speech (as appears from
To see thy son and heir more early down.
Mon. Alas, my liege, my wife is dead to-night?; Grief of my son's exíle hath stopp'd her breath : What further woe conspires against mine age?
PRINCE. Look, and thou shalt see.
this, To press before thy father to a grave ? PRINCE. Seal up the mouth of outrage for a
while, Till we can clear these ambiguities, And know their spring, their head, their true de
scent ; And then will I be general of your woes, And lead you even to death: Mean time forbear, And let mischance be slave to patience.Bring forth the parties of suspicion.
Fri. I am the greatest, able to do least, the following passage in The Second Part of the Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, 1601) has something proverbial in it:
“ In you, i'faith, the proverbis verified,
“ You are early up, and yet are ne'er the near." STEEVENS. 2 Alas, my liege, my wife is dead to-night;] After this line the quarto 1597 adds :
“ And young Benvolio is deceased too." But this, I suppose, the poet rejected, on his revision of the play, as unnecessary slaughter. STEEVENS.
The line, which gives an account of Benvolio's death, was probably thrown in to account for his absence from this interesting
Ritson. 3 Look, and thou shalt see.] These words, as they stand, being of no kindred to metre, we may fairly suppose that some others have been casually omitted. Perhaps, our author wrote ;
Look in this monument, and thou shalt see. Steevens. 4 O thou untaught! &c.] So, in The Tragedy of Darius, 1603:
“ Ah me! malicious fates have done me wrong:
“This dealing is prepost'rcus and o'er-thwart." STEEVENS. Again, in our poet's Rape of Lucrece:
· If children pre-decease progenitors,
Yet most suspected, as the time and place
s I will be brief,] It is much to be lamented, that the poet did not conclude the dialogue with the action, and avoid a narrative of events which the audience already knew. Johnson.
Shakspeare was led into this uninteresting narrative by following too closely The Tragicall Hystory of Romeus and Juliet.
Malone. In this poem (which is subjoined to the present edition of the play) the bodies of the dead are removed to a publick scaffold, and from that elevation is the Friar's narrative delivered. The same circumstance, as I have already observed, is introduced in Hamlet, near the conclusion. Steevens.
But he which bore my letter, friar John,
man.Where's Romeo's man? what can he say in this ?
Bal. I brought my master news of Juliet's death; And then in post he came from Mantua, To this same place, to this same monument. This letter he early bid me give his father; And threaten’d me with death, going in the vault, If I departed not, and left him there.
Prince. Give me the letter, I will look on it.-
And then I ran away to call the watch.
CAP. O, brother Montague, give me thy hand :
But I can give thee more:
CAP. As rich shall Romeo by his lady lie ;
7 Have lost a brace of kinsmen :) Mercutio and Paris : Mercutio is expressly called the prince's kinsman in Act III. Sc. IV. and that Paris also was the prince's kinsman, may be inferred from the following passages. Capulet, speaking of the count in the fourth Act, describes him as “ a gentleman of princely parentage,” and after he is killed, Romeo says :
Let me peruse this face; “ Mercutio's kinsman, noble county Paris." Malone. “ A brace of kinsmen.” The sportsman's term-brace, which on the present occasion is seriously employed, is in general applied to men in contempt. Thus, Prospero in The Tempest, addressing himself to Sebastian and Antonio, says :
“ But you, my brace of lords, were I so minded,
“ I here,” &c. Steevens. * A GLOOMING peace, &c.] The modern editions read-gloomy; VOL. VI.