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ROMEO AND JULIET.
We must talk in secret--Nurse, come back again,
Nurse. Faith, I can tell her age unto an hour.
I'll lay fourteen of my teeth, And
yet, to my teen' be it spoken, I have but four.--She is not fourteen. How long is it now To Lammas-tide ?
A fortnight, and odd days. Nurse. Even or odd, of all days in the year, Come Lammas-eve at night, shall she be fourteen. Susan and she--God rest all Christian souls !-Were of an age.--Well, Susan is with God; She was too good for me. But, as I said, On Lammas-eve at night shall she be fourteen; That shall she, marry ; I remember it well. 'Tis since the earthquake now eleven years ; And she was weaned, --I never shall forget it, Of all the days of the year, upon that day; For I had then laid wormwood to my dug, Sitting in the sun under the dove-house wall, My lord and you were then at Mantua.--Nay, I do bear a brain ;--but, as I said, When it did taste the wormwood on the nipple Of my dug, and felt it bitter, pretty fool! To see it tetchy, and fall out with the dug, Shake, quoth the dove-house ; 'twas no need, I trow, To bid me trudge. And since that time it is eleven years ; For then she could stand alone ; nay, by the rood, She could have run and waddled all about, For even the day before, she broke her brow; And then my husband-God be with his soul 'A was a merry man ;-took up the child. Yea, quoth he, dost thou fall upon thy face? Thou wilt fall backward, when thou hast more wit; Wilt thou not, Jule? and, by my holy-dam,
1 i. e. to my sorrow.
The pretty wretch left crying, and said--Ay.
peace. Nurse. Yes, madam; yet I cannot choose but
Jul. And stint thou too, I pray thee, nurse, say I.
La. Cap. Marry, that marry is the very theme
Jul. It is an honor that I dream not of.
Nurse. An honor! were not I thine only nurse, I'd say thou hadst sucked wisdom from thy teat.
La. Cap. Well, think of marriage now ; younger
Here in Verona, ladies of esteem,
Nurse. A man, young lady! Lady, such a man, As all the world—Why, he's a man of wax.3
1 To stint is to stop. 2 This tautologous speech is not in the first quarto of 1597. 3 i. e, as well made as if he had been modelled in wax.
ROMEO AND JULIET.
La. Cap. Verona's summer hath not such a flower.
Nurse. No less ? nay, bigger; women grow by
Jul. l'Îl look to like, if looking liking move;
Enter a Servant.
Serv. Madam, the guests are come, supper served up, you called, my young lady asked for, the nurse
1 After this speech of the nurse, lady Capulet, in the old quarto, says only:
“Well, Juliet, how like you of Paris' love? She answers, “ I'll look to like," &c.; and so concludes the scene.
2 Thus the quarto of 1599. The quarto of 1609 and the folio read, several lineaments.
3 The comments on ancient books were generally printed in the margin.
4 Dr. Farmer explains this, « The fish is not yet caught.” Fish-skin covers to books anciently were not uncommon.
5 The quarto of 1597 reads engage mine eye.
ROMEO AND JULIET.
cursed in the pantry, and every thing in extremity. I must hence to wait ; I beseech you, follow straight.
La. Cap. We follow thee.--Juliet, the county stays. Nurse. Go, girl, seek happy nights to happy days.
SCENE IV. A Street.
Enter Romeo, MERCUTIO," Benvolio, with five or sex
maskers, torch-bearers, and others. Rom. What, shall this speech be spoke for our
Ben. The date is out of such prolixity.?
Rom. Give me a torch.5-I am not for this ambling.
dance. Rom. Not I, believe me; you have dancing shoes, With nimble soles; I have a soul of lead, So stakes me to the ground, I cannot move.
Mer. You are a lover ; borrow Cupid's wings, And soar with them above a common bound.
Rom. I am too sore enpierced with his shaft,
Shakspeare appears to have formed this character on the following slight hint:-“ Another gentleman, called Mercutio, which was a courtlike gentleman, very well beloved of all men, and by reason of his pleasant and courteous behavior was in all companies well entertained.”— Painter's Palace of Pleasure, tom. ii. p. 221.
2 Introductory speeches are out of date or fashion.”
3 The Tartarian bows resemble, in their form, the old Roman or Cupid's bow, such as we see on medals and bass-relief.
4 See King Lear, Act iv. Sc. 6.
5 A torch-bearer was a constant appendage to every troop of maskers. To hold a torch was anciently no degrading office.
ROMEO AND JULIET.
To soar with his light feathers; and so bound,
Mer. And, to sink in it, should you burden love; Too great oppression for a tender thing.
Rom. Is love a tender thing? It is too rough, Too rude, too boisterous; 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 mask. 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, But every man betake him to his legs.
Rom. A torch for me. Let wantons, light of heart, Tickle the senseless rushes with their heels; For I am proverbed with a grandsire phrase, I'll be a candle-holder, and look on,The
game was ne'er so fair, and I am done. Mer. Tut! dun's the mouse, the constable's own
Rom. Nay, that's not so.
1 To quote is to note, to mark.
2 It has been before observed, that the apartments of our ancestors were strewed with rushes; and so, it seems, was the ancient stage.
3 To hold the candle is a common proverbial expression for being an idle spectator. There is another old prudential maxim subsequently alluded to, which advises to give over when the game is at the fairest.
4 Dun is the mouse, is a proverbial saying, to us of vague signification, alluding to the color of the mouse, but frequently employed with no other intent than that of quibbling on the word done. Why it is attributed to a constable we know not. To draw dun out of the mire was a rural pastime, in which dun meant a dun horse, supposed to be stuck in the mire, and sometimes represented by one of the persons who played, at others, by a log of wood. Mr. Gifford has described the game at which he remembers often to have played, in a note to Ben Jonson's Masque of Christmas, vol. vii. p. 282.
5 This proverbial phrase was applied to superfluous actions in general.