« VorigeDoorgaan »
Some—Juliet, and some-Paris; and all run,
Prince. What fear is this, which startles in your ears?
1 Watch. Sovereign, here lies the county Paris slain; And Romeo dead; and Juliet, dead before, Warm and new kill'd. Prince. Search, seek, and know how this foul murther
comes. 1 Watch. Here is a friar, and slaughter'd Romeo's man; With instruments upon them, fit to open These dead men's tombs.
Cap. O, Heaven !—0, wife! look how our daughter bleeds! 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.
Mon. Alas, my liege, my wife is dead to-night;
Prince. Look, and thou shalt see.
Prince. Seal up the mouth of outrage for a while,
Fri. I am the greatest, able to do least,
* The dagger was worn at the back.
And here I stand, both to impeach and purge
Prince. Then say at once what thou dost know in this.
Fri. I will be brief, for my short date of breath
All this I know ; and to the marriage
Prince. We still have known thee for a holy man.-
Bal. I brought my master news of Juliet's death;
Prince. Give me the letter, I will look on it.-
Page. He came with flowers to strew his lady's grave; 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 words,
Cap. O, brother Montague, give me thy hand.
Mon. But I can give thee more:
Cap. As rich shall Romeo by his lady lie;
The sun for sorrow will not show his head :
Some shall be pardon'd, and some punished : 3
ILLUSTRATIONS OF ACT V.
SCENE 1.-“ Mantua." To the poetical traveller it would be difficult to say whether Mantua would excite the greater interest as the birthplace of Virgil or as the scene of Romeo's exile. Surely, an Englishman cannot walk through the streets of that city without thinking of the apothecary in whose
“ needy shop a tortoise hung,
A beggarly account of empty boxes." Any description of the historical events connected with Mantua, or any account of its architectural monuments, would be here out of place.
Scene I._“I do remember an apothecary.” The criticism of the French school has not spared this famous passage. Joseph Warton, an elegant scholar, but who belonged to this school, has the following observations in his · Virgil' (1763, vol. i., p. 301):
“ It may not be improper to produce the following glaring instance of the absurdity of introducing long and minute descriptions into tragedy. When Romeo receives the dreadful and unexpected news of Juliet's death, this fond husband, in an agony of grief, immediately resolves to poison himself. But his sorrow is interrupted, while he gives us an exact picture of the apothecary's shop from whom he intended to purchase the poison :
• I do remember an apothecary,' &c. I appeal to those who know anything of the human heart, whether Romeo, in this distressful situation, could have leisure to think of the alligator, empty boxes, and bladders, and other furniture of this beggarly shop, and to point them out so distinctly to the audience. The description is, indeed, very lively and natural, but very improperly put into the mouth of a person agitated with such passion as Romeo is represented to be.”
The criticism of Warton, ingenious as it may appear, and true as applied to many “ long and minute descriptions in tragedy," is here based upon a wrong principle. He says that Romeo, in his distressful situation, had not “ leisure " to think of the furniture of the apothecary's shop. What then had he leisure to do? Had he leisure to run off into declamations against fate, and into tedious apostrophes and generalizations, as a less skilful artist than Shakspere would have made him indulge in? From the moment he had said,
“ Well, Juliet, I will lie with thee to-night,
Let's see for means," the apothecary's shop became to him the object of the most intense interest. Great passions, when they have shaped themselves into firm resolves, attach the most distinct importance to the minutest objects connected with the execution of their purpose. He had seen the apothecary's shop in his placid moments as an object of common curiosity. He had hastily looked at the tortoise and the alligator, the empty boxes, and the earthen pots; and he had looked at the tattered weeds and the overwhelming brows of their needy owner. But he had also said, when he first saw these things,