Imatges de pÓgina

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.

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
Lies empty on the back of Montague,

The point mis-sheathed in my daughter's bosom." The quarto 1597, erroneously,

this dagger hath mistooke ;
“ For (loe) the back is empty of yong Montague,

“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 itselfin 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


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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.
Mon. O thou untaught* ! what manners is in

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:
“ Who came first to the world, should first depart.
“ It not becomes the old t' o'er-live the young;

“This dealing is prepost'rcus and o'er-thwart." STEEVENS. Again, in our poet's Rape of Lucrece:

· If children pre-decease progenitors,
“We are their offspring, and they none of ours.” Malone,


Yet most suspected, as the time and place
Doth make against me, of this direful murder;
And here I stand, both to impeach and purge
Myself condemned and myself excus'd.
Prince. Then say at once what thou dost know

in this.
Fri. I will be brief', for my short date of breath
Is not so long as is a tedious tale.
Romeo, there dead, was husband to that Juliet;
And she, there dead, that Romeo's faithful wife :
I married them; and their stolen marriage-day
Was Tybalt's dooms-day, whose untimely death
Banish'd the new-made bridegroom from this city;
For whom, and not for Tybalt, Juliet pin'd.
You—to remove that siege of grief from her,-
Betroth'd, and would have married her perforce,
To county Paris :—Then comes she to me;
And, with wild looks, bid me devise some means
To rid her from this second marriage,
Or, in my cell there would she kill herself.
Then gave I her, so tutor'd by my art,
A sleeping potion ; which so took effect
As I intended, for it wrought on her
The form of death : meantime I writ to Romeo,
That he should hither come as this dire night,
To help to take her from her borrow'd grave,
Being the time the potion's force should cease.

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,
Was staid by accident; and yesternight
Return'd my letter back: Then all alone,
At the prefixed hour of her waking,
Came I to take her from her kindred's vault;
Meaning to keep her closely at my cell,
Till I conveniently could send to Romeo:
But, when I came, (some minute ere the time
Of her awakening,) here untimely lay
The noble Paris, and true Romeo, dead.
She wakes; and I entreated her come forth,
And bear this work of heaven with patience:
But then a noise did scare me from the tomb;
And she, too desperate, would not go with me,
But (as it seems,) did violence on herself.
All this I know; and to the marriage
Her nurse is privy: And, if aught in this
Miscarried by my fault, let my old life
Be sacrific'd, some hour before his time,
Unto the rigour of severest law.
Prince. We still have known thee for a holy

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.-
Where is the county's page, that rais'd the watch?-
Sirrah, what made your master in this place ?
Page. He came with flowers to strew his lady's

And bid me stand aloof, and so I did:
Anon, comes one with light to ope the tomb ;
And, by and by, my master drew on him;

And then I ran away to call the watch.
Prince. This letter doth make good the friar's

Their course of love, the tidings of her death :
And here he writes—that he did buy a poison
Of a poor 'pothecary, and therewithal
Came to this vault to die, and lie with Juliet.-
Where be these enemies ? Capulet! Montague!
See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate, ,
That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love !
And I, for winking at your discords too,
Have lost a brace of kinsmen?:-all are punish'd.

CAP. O, brother Montague, give me thy hand :
This is my daughter's jointure, for no more
Can I demand.

But I can give thee more:
For I will raise her statue in pure gold ;
That, while Verona by that name is known,
There shall no figure at such rate be set,
As that of true and faithful Juliet.

CAP. As rich shall Romeo by his lady lie ;
Poor sacrifices of our enmity!
PRINCE. A glooming peace & this morning with it


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.


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