Imatges de pàgina


Morte la 'nsegna sua pallida e bianca
Vincitrice spiego su'l volto mio.
Rime lugubri, p. 149, ed. Venet. 1605.

TYRWHITT. 217. Tybalt, ly'st thou there in thy bloody sheet?] So, in Painter's translation, Tom II. p. 242.

"-what greater or more cruel satisfaction canste thou desyre to have, or henceforth hope for, than to see hym which murdered thee, to bę empoysoned wyth hys owne handes, and buryed by thy syde ?" STEEVENS, 223. I will believe

That unsubstantial death is amorous;] So, in
Daniel's Complaint of Rosamond, 1592 :

Ah now, methinks, I see Death dallying seekes ·
" To entertain itself in Love's sweet place;
“ Decayed roses of discolloured cheekes
Do yet retaine deere notes of former grace,
" And uglie death sits faire within her face.”

MALONE. 228. And never from this palace of dim night

Depart again : (Come lie thou in iny arms;
Here's to thy health. O true apothecary !

Thy drugs are quick).] Mr. Pope's, and some other of the worser editions, acknowledge absurdly the lines which I have put into parenthesis, here ; and which I have expunged from the text, for this reason: Romeo is made to confess the eifect of the poison before ever he has tasted it. I

suppose, liardly was so savoury that the patient should choose to make two draughts of it. And, eight lines after Kiij


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these, we find him taking the poison in his hands, and making an apostrophe to it; inviting it to perform its office at once; and then, and not till then, does he clap it to his lips, or can with any probability speak of its instant force and effects. Besides, Shak. $pere would hardly have made Romeo drink to the health of his dead mistress. Though the first quarto in 1599, and the two old folios, acknowledge this absurd stuff, I find it left out in several later quarto impressions. I ought to take notice, that though Mr. Pope has thought fit to stick to the old copies in this addition, yet he is no fair transcriber; for he has sunk upon us an hemistich of most profound absur. dity, which possesses all those copies.

-Come, lie thou in my arms :
Here's to thy health, where-e'er thou tumblest in.
O true apothecary! &c.

THEOBALD. I am sorry to say, that the foregoing note is an instance of disingenuousness, as well as inattention, in Mr. Theobald, who, relying on the scarcity of the old quartos, very frequently makes them answerable for any thing he thinks proper to assert.

The quarto in 1599 was not the first. It was preceded by one in 1597 ; and though Mr. Theobald declares, he found the passage left out in several of the later quarto impressions; yet in the list of those he pretends to have collated for the use of his edition, he mentions but one of a later date, and had never seen either that published in 1609, or another without any date at all; for in the former of these, the passage in


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question is preserved (the latter I have no copy of), and he has placed that in 1637, on the single faith of which his rejection is founded, among those quartos of middling authority : so that what he so roundly affirms of several, can with justice be said of only one; for there are in reality no later quarto editions of this play than I have here enumerated, and two of those (by his own confession) he had never met with.

The hemistich, which Mr. Theobald prononnces to be of most profound absurdity, may deserve a somewhat better character; but being misplaced, could not be connected with that part of that speech where he found it; yet, being introduced a few lines lower, seems to make very good sense.

« Come bitter conduct! come unsav'ry guide!
“ Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on
The dashing rocks my



bark ! Here's to thy health, where-e'er thou tumblest in. “ Here's to my love! O true apothecary !

“ Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.” To tumble into port in a storm, I believe to be a sea. phrase, as is a tumbling sea, and agrees with the allusion to the pilot or the tempest-beaten bark. Here's success, says he (continuing the allusion), to thy vessel wherever it tumbles in, or perhaps, to the pilot who is to conduct, or tumble it in; meaning, I wish it may succeed in ridding me of life, whatever may betide me after it, or wherever it may carry me.

He then drinks to the me mory of Juliet's love, adding (as he feels the poison work) a short apostrophe to the apothecary, the effect


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of whose drugs he can doubt no longer; and turning his thoughts back again to the object most beloved, he dies (like Othello) on a kiss.

The other hemistich (not disposed of) may yet be introduced; how naturally, must be left to the reader to determine. The quarto of 1609, exbibits the pas

sage thus :

-Ah, dear Juliet! « Why art thou yet so fair: I will believe; “ Shall I believe ? that unsubstantial death is

amorous, “ And that the lean," &c. If such an idea could have any foundation in nature, or be allowed in poetry, and Romeo, in consequence of having raised it to his imagination, was jealous of death, it would follow, that in his first frenzy, he might address himself to his mistress, and take her in his arms for the greater security. That being granted, with a slight transposition (one verse already exceeding the measure by two feet) the passage might be read thus :

“Ah, dear Juliet!
“ Why art thou yet so fair ? shall I believe
I will believe (come lie thou in my arms)
" That unsubstantial death is amorous,

« And that the lean," &c. The object of dispute may perhaps be such as hardly to deserve this toil of transposition; but one critick has just as good a right to attempt the insertion of what he thinks he understands, as another has

to omit a passage, because he can make no use of it at all. The whole of the conjecture is offered with the least degree of confidence, and from no other motive than a desire of preserving every line of Shakspere, when any reason, tolerably plausible, can be given in its favour.

Mr. Theobald has not dealt very fairly in his account of this speech, as the absurdity is apparently owing to the repetition of some of the lines by a blunder of the Printer, who had thereby made Romeo confess the effects of the poison before he had tasted it.

On second thoughts, it is not improbable that Shak. spere had written--I will believe, and afterwards corrected it to-Shall I believe, without erasing the former: by which means it has happened that the Printer has given us both. Thus, in what follows—Come, lie thou in my arms, &c. might have been the poet's first sketch of the conclusion of Romeo's speech, which he forbore to obliterate, when he substituted-here, here will I remain, &c. This seems indeed to be evident from the edition of 1599, and the other old editions after that, in all which-Depart again, as the catchword from which his amendment was to begin, is repeated. Let some future editor decide. SreeVENS.

231. -my everlasting rest;] See a note on act iv. line 271.

So, in the Spanish Gipsie, by Middleton and Rowley,


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