Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Nurse. Yes, madam ; Yet I cannot choose but

laugh,
To think it should leave crying, and say—Ay:
And yet, I warrant, it had upon its brow
A bump as big as a young cockrel's stone;
A parlous knock; and it cried bitterly.
Yea, quoth my husband, fallost upon thy face?
Thou wilt fall backward, when thou com'st to age;
Wilt thou not, Jule? it stinted, and said-Ay.

Jul. And stint thou too, I pray thee, nurse, say I.
Nurse. Peace, I have done. God mark thee to

his grace!
Thou wast the prettiest babe that e'er I nurs’d:
An I might live to see thee married once,
I have my wish.

La. Cap. Marry, that marry is the very theme
I came to talk of:-Tell me, daughter Juliet,
How stands your disposition to be married?

Jul. It is an honour that I dream not of.

Nurse. An honour ! were not I thine only nurse, I'd say, thou hadst suck'd wisdom from thy teat.

La. Cap. Well, think of marriage now; younger

than you,

[ocr errors]

Here in Verona, ladies of esteem,
Are made already mothers : by my count,
I was your mother much upon these years
That you are now a maid. Thus then, in brief;-
The valiant Paris seeks you for his love.

Nurse. A man, young lady! lady, such a man,
As all the world—Why, he's a man of wax.'

La. Cap. Verona's summer hath not such a flower.
Nurse. Nay, he's a flower; in faith, a very flower.
La. Cap. What say you ? can you love the gen-

,

tleman ?

sa man of wax.] Well made, as if he had been modelled

in wax.

This night you shall behold him at our feast:
Read o'er the volume of young Paris' face,
And find delight writ there with beauty's pen;
Examine every married lineament,
And see how one another lends content;
And what obscur'd in this fair volume lies,
Find written in the margin of his eyes.
This precious book of love, this unbound lover,
To beautify him, only lacks a cover:
The fish lives in the sea;' and 'tis much pride,
For fair without the fair within to hide:
That book in many's eyes doth share the glory,
That in gold clasps locks in the golden story;
So shall you share all that he doth possess,
By having him, making yourself no less.
Nurse. No less? nay, bigger; women grow by

men. La. Cap. Speak briefly, can you like of Paris' love?

Jul. I'll look to like, if looking liking move:
But no more deep will I endart mine eye,
Than your consent gives strength to make it fly.

Enter a Servant. Serv. Madam, the guests are come, supper served up, you called, my young lady asked for, the nurse 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.

[Exeunt.

- the margin of his eyes.] The comments on ancient books were always printed in the margin.

* The fish lives in the sea ; &c.] i.e. is not yet caught.

SCENE IV.

A Street.

Enter Romeo, Mercurio, Benvolio, with five

or six Maskers, Torch-Bearers, and Others. Rom. What, shall this speech be spoke for our

excuse? Or shall we on without apology?

Ben. The date is out of such prolixity :: We'll have no Cupid hood-wink'd with a scarf, Bearing a Tartar's painted bow of lath, Scaring the ladies like a crow-keeper; Nor no without-book prologue, faintly spoke After the prompter, for our entrance: But, let them measure us by what they will, We'll measure them a measure, and be gone. Rom. Give me a torch, I am not for this am

bling; Being but heavy, I will bear the light. Mer. Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you

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, To soar with his light feathers; and so bound,

The date is out of such prolixity :] Introductory speeches are out of date or fashion. 9 We'll measure them a measure,] i. e. a dance.

Give me a torch,] A torch-bearer seems to have been a constant appendage on every troop of masks, and was not reckoned a degrading office.

I cannot bound a pitch above dull woe:
Under love's heavy burden do I sink.

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 boist'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 Mask. A visor for a visor!—what care I, What curious

eye

doth quote deformities ?2 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;3 For I am proverb'd 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

word: If thou art dun, we'll draw thee from the mire Of this (save reverence) love, wherein thou stick'st Up to the ears.—Come, we burn day-light, ho. Rom. Nay, that's not so. Mer.

I mean, sir, in delay We waste our lights in vain, like lamps by day.

- doth quote deformities?] To quote is to observe. 3 Tickle the senseless rushes with their heels ;] It has been already observed, that it was anciently the custom to strew rooms with rushes, before carpets were in use. * I'll be a candle-holder, and look on,

The game was ne'er so fair, and I am done.] An allusion to an old proverbial saying, which advises to give over when the game is at the fairest.

6

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.
Mer.

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

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

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

true.
Mer. O, then, I see, queen Mab hath been with

you.
She is the fairies' midwife;' 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
Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep:
Her waggon-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 watry beams :
Her whip, of cricket's bone; the lash, of film:

She is the fairies' midwife;] I apprehend, and with no violence of interpretation, that by “ the fairies' midwife," the poet mcans, the midwife among the fairies, because it was her peculiar employment to steal the new-born babe in the night, and to leave another in its place. The poet here uses her general appellation, and character, which yet has so far a proper reference to the present train of fiction, as that her illusions were practised on persons in bed or asleep; for she not only haunted women in childbed, but was likewise the incubus or night-mare. Shakspeare, by employing her here, alludes at large to her midnight pranks performed on sleepers ; but denominates her from the most notorious one, of her personating the drowsy midwife, who was insensibly carried away into some distant water, and substituting a new birth in the bed or cradle. It would clear the appellation to read the fairy midwife. The poet avails himself of Mab's appropriate province, by giving her this nocturnal agency. T. WARTON.

of little atomies-] An obsolete substitute for atoms.

6

« VorigeDoorgaan »