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SC. IV.)




I mean, sir, in delay We waste our lights in vain, like lamps by day. Take our good meaning; for our judgment sits Five times in that, ere once in our five wits.?

Rom. And we mean well, in going to this mask ;
But 'tis no wit to go.

Why, may one ask?
Rom. I dreamt a dream to-night.

And so did I.
Rom. Well, what was yours

That dreamers often lie. Rom. In bed, asleep, while they do dream things


Mer. O, then, I see, queen Mab hath been with you. . She is the fairies' midwife; 2 and she comes In shape no bigger than an agate-stone On the fore-finger of an alderman, Drawn with a team of little atomies 4 Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep: Her wagon-spokes made of long spinners' legs; The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers ; The traces, of the smallest spider's web; The collars, of the moonshine's watery beams : Her whip, of cricket's bone; the lash, of film: Her wagoner, a small, gray-coated gnat, Not half so big as a round little worm Pricked from the lazy finger of a maid: Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut, Made by the joiner squirrel, or old grub, Time out of mind the fairies' coach-makers. And in this state she gallops night by night Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love : On courtiers' knees, that dream on court’sies straight :

1 The quarto of 1597 reads, “ Three times a-day;" and right wits instead of five wits.

2 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 sleeping men of their dreams, those children of an idle brain. Warburton reads, “ the fancy's midwife.”

3 The quarto of 1597 has “of a burgomaster.” The citizens of Shaka speare's time appear to have worn this ornament on the thumb.

4 Atomies for atoms.



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O'er lawyers' fingers, who straight dream on fees :
O'er ladies' lips, who straight on kisses dream
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are.
Sometime she gallops o'er a courtier's nose,
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit :
And sometimes comes she with a tithe-pig's tail,
Tickling a parson's nose as 'a lies asleep;
Then dreams he of another benefice :
Sometime she driveth o'er a soldier's neck,
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,
Of healths five fathom deep; and then anon
Drums in his ear; at which he starts and wakes;
And being thus frighted, swears a prayer or two,
And sleeps again. This is that very Mab,
That plats the manes of horses in the night;
And bakes the elf-locks 4 in foul, sluttish hairs,
Which, once untangled, much misfortune bodes.
This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,
That presses them, and learns them first to bear,
Making them women of good carriage.
This, this is she-

Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace;
Thou talk'st of nothing.

True, I talk of dreams; Which are the children of an idle brain, Begot of nothing but vain fantasy; Which is as thin of substance as the air; And more inconstant than the wind, who wooes Even now the frozen bosom of the north, And, being angered, puffs away from thence, Turning his face to the dew-dropping south.

1 This speech received much alteration after the first edition in the quarto of 1597; and Shakspeare has inadvertently introduced the courtier twice.

2 A place in court.

3 The quarto of 1597 reads, “ counter mines.” Spanish blades were held in high esteem. A sword was called a Toledo, from the excellency of the Toledan steel.

4 i. e. fairy locks, locks of hair clotted and tangled in the night.

SC. V.]



Ben. This wind, you talk of, blows us from ourselves; Supper is done, and we shall come too late.

Rom. I fear too early; for my mind misgives,
Some consequence, yet hanging in the stars,
Shall bitterly begin his fearful date
With this night's revels; and expired the term
Of a despised life, ciosed in my breast,
By some vile forfeit of untimely death.
But He, that hath the steerage of my course,
Direct my sail! On, lusty gentlemen.
Ben. Strike, drum.?


SCENE V.3 A Hall in Capulet's House. Musi

cians waiting

Enter Servants.

1 Serv. Where's Potpan, that he helps not to take away? He shift a trencher !4 he scrape a trencher!

2 Serv. When good manners shall lie all in one or two men's hands, and they unwashed too, 'tis a foul thing.

1 Serv. Away with the joint-stools, remove the court-cupboard, look to the plate.--Good thou, save me a piece of marchpane; 6 and, as thou lovest me, let the porter let in Susan Grindstone and Nell.Antony! and Potpan!

2 Serv. Ay, boy; ready.

1 So in The Rape of Lucrece :

“ An expired date cancelled ere well begun.” 2 Here the folio adds :-“They march about the stage, and serving-men come forth with their napkins."

3 This scene is not in the first copy in the quarto of 1597.

4 To shift a trencher was technical. Trenchers were used in Shakspeare's time, and long after, by persons of good fashion and quality.

5 The court-cupboard was the ancient sideboard, whereon the plate was dsplayed at festivals.

6 Marchpane was a constant article in the desserts of our ancestors. It was a sweet cake, composed of filberts, almonds, pistachoes, pinekernels, and sugar of roses, with a small portion of flour. They were often made in fantastic forms. In 1562, the Stationers' Company paid “ for ix. marchpaynes xxvi, s. viii. d.







1 Serv. You are looked for, and called for, asked for, and sought for, in the great chamber.

2 Serv. We cannot be here and there too.-Cheerly, boys; be brisk awhile, and the longer liver take all.

[They retire behind.

Enter CAPULET, &c. with the guests and the maskers.

Cap. Gentlemen, welcome! Ladies, that have their


Unplagued with corns, will have a bout with you.-
Ah ha, my mistresses! which of you all
Will now deny to dance? She that makes dainty she,
I'll swear hath corns : am I come near you now?
You are welcome, gentlemen! I have seen the day,
That I have worn a visor; and could tell
A whispering tale in a fair lady's ear,
Such as would please ;— tis gone, 'tis gone, ’tis gone.
You are welcome, gentlemen !--Come, musicians, play.
A hall! a hall !! give room, and foot it, girls.

[Music plays, and they dance.
More lights, ye knaves; and turn the tables up,
And quench the fire; the room is grown too hot.
Ah, sirrah, this unlooked-for sport comes well.
Nay, sit, nay, sit, good cousin Capulet;
For you and I are past our dancing days.
How long is't now, since last yourself and I
Were in a mask ?

By’r lady, thirty years. 1 Cap. What, man! 'tis not so much, 'tis not so

much : 'Tis since the nuptial of Lucentio, Come Pentecost as quickly as it will, Some five-and-twenty years; and then we masked.

2 Cap.


1 An exclamation commonly used to make room in a crowd for any particular purpose.

2 The ancient tables were flat leaves or boards joined by hinges and placed on tressels; when they were to be removed, they were therefore

turned up.

3 Cousin was a common expression for kinsman.





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2 Cap. 'Tis more, 'tis more; his son is elder, sir ;
His son is thirty
1 Cap.


you tell me that?
His son was but a ward two years ago.

Rom. What lady's that, which doth enrich the hand
Of yonder knight?

Serv. I know not, sir.

Rom. O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear;
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!
So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows,
As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows;
The measure done, I'll watch her place of stand,
And, touching hers, make happy my rude hand.
Did my heart love till now ? forswear it, sight!
For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.

Tyb. This, by his voice, should be a Montague ;-
Fetch me my rapier, boy.--What! dares the slave
Come hither, covered with an antic face,
To fleer and scorn at our solemnity?
Now, by the stock and honor of my kin,
To strike him dead I hold it not a sin.

1 Cap. Why, how now, kinsman ? wherefore storm

you so?

Tyb. Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe;
A villain, that is hither come in spite,
To scorn at our solemnity this night.

1 Cap. Young Romeo is't?

'Tis he; that villain Romeo
1 Cap. Content thee, gentle coz, let him alone;
He bears him like a portly gentleman ;
And, to say truth, Verona brags of him,
To be a virtuous and well-governed youth.

I This speech stands thus in the quarto of 1597:-

66 Will you tell me that? it cannot be so:
His son was but a ward three years ago :

Good youths, i' faith - youth's a jolly thing !"
2 Steevens reads, with the second folio:

6 Her beauty hangs upon,” &c.

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