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Mer. Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you dance.
Rom. Not I believe me : you have dancing shoes,
Mer. You are a lover; borrow Cupid's wings,
Rom. I am too sore enpierced with his shaft, To soar with his light feathers; and so bound, I cannot bound? a pitch above dull woe: Under love's heavy burden do I fink.
Mer. And, to fink in it, should you burden loves ; Too great oppression for a tender thing.
Rom. Is love a tender thing; it is too rough, Too rude, too boilt'rous; and it pricks like thorn.
Mer. If love be rough with you, be rough with love; Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down.Give me a case to put my visage in: [Putting on a majk. A visor for a visor! what care I, What curious eye doth
quote deformities? Here are the beetle-brows, shall blush for me.
Ben. Come, knock, and enter; and no sooner in,
6 Mer. You are a lover ; &c.] The twelve following lines are not to be found in the first edition. POPI,
I cannot bound, &c.] Let Milton's example, on this occasion, keep Shakspeare in countenance :
" Of hill,” &c. Par. Loft, bookiv. I. 180. STEEVENS. 8 hould you burden love ; ] i. e. by linking in it, you should, og would, burden love. Mr. Heath, on whore suggestion a note of interrogation has been placed at the end of this line in the late edicions, entirely misunderstood the pallage. Had he attended to the first two lines of Mercutio's next speech, he would have seen what kind of burdens he was thinking of. See also the concluding lines of Mercutio's long speech in p. 43. MALONE.
9_dob quote deformities?] To quore is to observe. STEEVENS. See Vol. II. p. 378, n. 6; and p. 432, n. 6. MALONE,
1 Let wantons, ligbe of beart, &c.] Middleton has borrowed this thought in his play of Blurt Mafter. Conflable, 1602 :
Tickle the senseless rushes with their heels?;
"_bid him, whose heart no sorrow feels,
" I have too much lead at mine.'' STEEVENS. 2 Tickle tbe senseless rushes wirb obeir beels;] It has been already observed, that it was anciently the custom co strew rooms with rubes, before carpets were in use. So, Hentzner, in his Itinerary speaking of Q. Elizateb's presence-chamber at Greenwich, says: “ The Hoor, after the English fashion, was strewed with bay," meaning rupes. STIEV,
See Vol. VIII. p. 352, 1. 7. Shakspeare, it has been observed, gives the manners and customs of his own time to all countries and all ages. It is certainly true; but let it always be remembered that his contemporaries offended againn propriety in the same manner. Thus Marlowe in his Hero and Leander :
“ She, fearing on the rules to be fiung,
« Striv'd with redoubled strength.-" MALONE. 3-a grandfire phrase,-) The proverb which Romeo means, is contained in the line immediately following: To bold tbe candle, is a very common proverbial expresiion, for being an idle spectator. Among Ray's proverbial sentences, is this,-~' A good candle-bolder proves a good gamester." STEEVENS.
The proverb to which Romeo refers, is rather that alluded to in the fine next but one. MALONE. 4 I'll be a candle-bolder, and look on,
The game was ne'er fo fair, &c ] An allusion to an old proverbial saying, which advises to give over when the game is at the faireft.
ANONYMUS. 5 Tut! dun's be mouse, the constable's own word, &c.] This poor obfcure stuff should have an explanation in mere charity. It is an anfwer to these two lines of Romeo :
For I am proverb’d with a grandfire phrase ;-and
The game was ne'er fo fair, and I am done. Mercutio, in his reply, answers the last line firit. The thought of which, and of the preceding, is taken from gaming. I'll be a candlebolder (says Romeo) and look on. It is true, if I could play myself, I could never expect a fairer chance than in the company we are going to: but, alas ! I am done. I have nothing to play with : I have lost my heart already. Mercutio catches at the word done, and quibbles with it, as if Romco had said, The ladies indeed are fair, but I am dun, i. e. of a dark complexion. And so replies, Tur! dur's ite mouse; a proverbial expression of the same import with the French, La swit tout les cbars font gris; as much as to say, You need not tear, nigh:
If thou art dun, we'll draw thee from the mire 6
will make all your complexions alike. And because Romeo had in. troduced his observations with,
I am proverb'd with a grandfire pbrase, Mercutio adds to his reply, the constable's own word: as much as to say, If you are for old proverbs, l'll fit you with one; 'tis tbe constable's own word; whose custom was, when he summoned his watch, and assigned them their several stations, to give them what the soldiers call, ibe word. But this night-guard being distinguished for their pacific character, the constable, as an emblem of their harmless disposition, chose that domestic animal for his word, which, in time, might become proverbial. WARBURTON.
• If bou art dun, we'll draw thee from tbe mirem) A proverbial saying used by Mr. Thomas Heywood, in his play intitled The Duchess of Suffolk, Ac III.
“ A rope for Bishop Bonner; Clunce, run,
« Draw dun out of the ditcb." GREY.' Draw dun out of the mire, seems to have been a game. In an old collection of Satyres, Epigrams, &c. I find it enumerated among other pastimes a
“ At shove-groate, venter-point, or crosse and pile,
« Or at the drawing dun out of the myer.' Dun's tbe mouse is a proverbial phrase, which I have likewise met with frequently in the old comedies. So, in Every Woman in ber Hue mour, 1609:
“ If my host say the word, the mouse shall be dun.” It is also found among Ray's proverbial fimilies. Again, in the Two Merry Milkmaids, 1620: “Why then, 'tis done, and dun's the mouse, and undone all the courtiers."
Of this cant expression I cannot determine the precise meaning. It is used again in Weftward Hoe, by Decker and Webfter, 1607, but apparently in a sense different from that which Dr. Warburton would affix to it. STEEVENS.
These passages serve to prove that Dr. Warburton's explanation is ill founded, without tending to explain the real sense of the phrase, or fhewing why it should be ibe confiable's own word. Mason.
7. Of ebis' (fave reverence) love, wberein ebou pick ft- ] I have follow. ed the first quarto, 1597, except that it has sur-reverence, instead of fave-reverence. It was only a different mode of spelling the same word; which was derived from the Latin, salva reverentia. See Blount's Gloffograph. 8vo. 1681, in v. fa-reverener.
Up to the ears.--Come, we burn day-light, hoe
Mer. I mean, sir, in delay
So, in Mafsinger's Very Woman:
“ The beastliest man,
(Sir.reverence of the company) a rank whore-master.” Again, in the Puritan, 1607;---ungarter'd, unbutton'd, nay, (fire reverence,) untruss'd.''
In Cymbeline we have the same thing more delicately expressed : “ Why should his mistress not be fit too? The rather, saving reverence of the word, for 'tis said a woman's fitness comes by fits."
In the Comedy of Errors, Vol. II. p. 168, the word is written as in the first copy of this play, and is used in the same sense: «---luch a one as a man may not speak of, without he fay fir-reverence, "-And in Muchado abeue Ncibing, it occurs as now printed in the text : “I think you will have me say (Jave reverence) a husband."
The printer of the quarto, 1599, exhibited the line thus unintelligi. Hly:
Or, save you reverence, lovewhich was followed by the next quarto, of 1609, and by the folio with a night variation. The editor of the folio, whenever he found an error in a later quarto, seems to have corrected it by caprice, with. qut examining the preceding copy. He reads,-Or, save your reverence, &c. MALONE.
-we burn day-light, bo.) To burn day-light, is a proverbial ex. pression, used when candles, &c. are lighted in the day-time. STEEV.
See Vol. I. p. 221, n. 6. MALONE. 9 --like lamps by day.) Lamps is the reading of the oldest quarto. The folio and subsequent quartos read-lights lig bas by day. SI LEVENS.
- for our judgment fies
Five times in ibat, ere once in our five wits.] The quarto 1599, and the folio, have our fine wits. Shakspeare is on all occasions 10 fond of antithesis, that I have no doubt he wrote five, not fine. The error has happened to often in these plays, and the emendation is so Itrongly confirmed by comparing these lines as exhibited in the enlarged copy of this play, with the passage as it stood originally, that I have not hesitated to give the reading which I proposed some time ago, a place in the text
The same mistake has happened in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Vol. II. p.512, where we find in all the old copies or of these fine the sense,” instead of “-these five.” Again, in K. Henry VI.P. I. Vol.vi. P. 5:
“ Deck'd with fine flower-de-luces," instead of —"five," &c. In Coriolanus, (scc Vol. VII. p. 293, n. 2.) the only authentick ancient copy
Rom. And we mean well, in going to this malk;
Mer. Why, may one ask?
true. Mer. O, then”, I see, queen Mab hath been with you. She is the fairies' midwife }; and she comes
p. 84, n. 8.
has_" the five strains of honour,” for “ the fine strains of honour," Indeed in the writing of Shakspeare's age, the u and n were formed exactly in the same manner : we are not to wonder therefore that igno. rant transcribers should have confounded them. In the modern editions these errors have all been properly amended. --See also on the same point, Vol. I. p. 292, n. 9; Vol. IV. p. 252, n. 9; and Vol. VIII.
Shakspeare has again mentioned the five wits in Much ado abous Nothing, (see Vol. II. p. 210, n. 4.) in K. Lear, and in one of his fonnets. Again, in the play before us: “ Thou haft more of the wild. goose in one of thy wits, than, I am, sure I have in my whole five." Mercutio is here also the speaker. In the first quarto the line stands thus :
“ Tbree times in that, ere once in our rigbe wits." When the poet altered “tbree times” to “five times," he, without doubt, for the sake of the jingle, discarded the word rigbt, and fubitituted five in its place. The alteration, indeed, seems to have been made merely to obtain the antithesis.
Notwithstanding all these concurring circumstances, Mr. Steevens, thinks fine may be the true reading, because “they would whip me with their fine wits," occurs in the Merry Wives of Windsor.
MALONE. ? O, tben, &c.] In the quarto 1597, after the first line of Mercu. tio's speech, Romeo says, Queen Mat, wbat's she? and the printer, by a blunder, has given all the rest of the speech to the same character.
STLEVENS. 3-I fee, queen Mab barb been wirb you.
Sbe'is ibe fairies' midwife ;] The fairies' midwife does not mean the midwife to the fairies, but that she was the person among the fairies, whose department it was to deliver the fancies of Neeping men of their dreams, those children of an idle brain. When we say the king's judges, we do not mean persons who are to judge the king, but persons appointed by him to judge his subjects. STIEVENS.