Imágenes de páginas

Among fresh female buds shall you

this night

Inherit at my house: hear all, all see,

And like her most, whose merit most shall be: Which, on more view of many, mine being one, May stand in number, though in reckoning none." Come, go with me.— – Go, sirrah, trudge about Through fair Verona; find those persons out, Whose names are written there, [Gives a Paper.] and to them say,

My house and welcome on their pleasure stay.

[Exeunt CAPULET and PARIS.

Serv. Find them out, whose names are written here ? It is written, that the shoemaker should meddle with his yard, and the tailor with his last; the fisher with his pencil, and the painter with his nets: but I am sent to find those persons, whose names are here writ, and can never find what names the writing person hath here writ. I must to the learned :-In good time.


Ben. Tut, man! one fire burns out another's burning,

The usage

4 To inherit, in the language of Shakespeare, is to possess. 5 Which is here used for who, referring to her. was common, as the Bible will show. By a perverse adherence to the quarto of 1597, which reads, "Such amongst view of many," this passage has been made unintelligible. The quarto of 1599 reads as in the text; evidently meaning, "Hear all, see all, and like her most who has the most merit; her, which, after regarding attentively the many, my daughter being oue, may stand unique in merit, though she may be reckoned nothing, or held in no estimation." The allusion, as Malone has shown, is to the old proverbial expression, " One is no number." Thus in Shakespeare's 136th Sonnet :

"Among a number one is reckon'd none;

Then, in the number let me pass untold."

6 The quarto of 1597 adds, “And yet I know not who are written here; I must to the learned to learn of them that's as much as to say, the tailor," &c.

One pain is lessen'd by another's anguish ;

Turn giddy, and be holp by backward turning; One desperate grief cures with another's languish : Take thou some new infection to thy eye,

And the rank poison of the old will die.

Rom. Your plantain leaf is excellent for that."
Ben. For what, I pray thee?


For your broken shin. Ben. Why, Romeo, art thou mad?

Rom. Not mad, but bound more than a madman is:

Shut up in prison, kept without my food,

Whipp'd, and tormented, and -Good-den, good fellow.

Serv. God gi' good den.—I pray, sir, can you


Rom. Ay, mine own fortune in my misery. Serv. Perhaps you have learn'd it without book; but, I pray, can you read any thing you see?

Rom. Ay, if I know the letters, and the language.
Serv. Ye say honestly: Rest you merry!
Rom. Stay, fellow; I can read.

[Reads.] Signior Martino, and his wife and daughters; County Anselme, and his beauteous sisters; The lady widow of Vitruvio; Signior Placentio, and his lovely nieces; Mercutio, and his brother Valentine; Mine uncle Capulet, his wife and daughters; My fair niece Rosaline; Livia; Signior Valentio, and his cousin Tybalt; Lucio, and the lively Helena.

A fair assembly! whither should they come?

7 The plantain leaf is a blood-stancher, and was formerly applied to green wounds. See Love's Labour's Lost, Act iii. sc. 1, So in Albumazar:

note 10.


Help, Armellina, help! I'm fallen i'the cellar :

Bring a fresh plantain-leaf, I've broke my shin."

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

Rom. Indeed, I should have ask'd you that before. Serv. Now I'll tell you without asking: My master is the great rich Capulet; and if you be not of the house of Montagues, I pray, come and crush a cup of wine.8 Rest you merry.

[Exit. Ben. At this same ancient feast of Capulet's Sups the fair Rosaline, whom thou so lov'st, With all the admired beauties of Verona: Go thither; and, with unattainted eye, Compare her face with some that I shall show, And I will make thee think thy swan a crow.

Rom. When the devout religion of mine eye Maintains such falsehood, then turn tears to fires! And these, who, often drown'd, could never die, Transparent heretics, be burnt for liars!

One fairer than my love! the all-seeing sun
Ne'er saw her match, since first the world begun.
Ben. Tut! you saw her fair, none else being by,
Herself pois'd with herself in either eye:
But, in that crystal scales, let there be weigh'd
Your lady's love 10 against some other maid
That I will show you, shining at this feast,

And she shall scant show well, that now shows best.

8 This expression often occurs in old plays. We have one still in use of similar import: «To crack a bottle."

9 So in all the old copies. Rowe changed that to those, and is followed in modern editions, except Knight's. Scales is here used in the singular number; that's all.


10 Heath says, "Your lady's love is the love you bear to your lady, which, in our language, is commonly used for the lady herself." Perhaps we should read, "Your lady-love."

Rom. I'll go along, no such sight to be shown, But to rejoice in splendour of mine own. [Exeunt.


Enter Lady CAPULET and the Nurse.

Lady C. Nurse, where's my daughter? call her forth to me.

Nurse. Now, by my maidenhead at twelve year

[blocks in formation]

Jul. Madam, I am here: What is your will? Lady C. This is the matter.-Nurse, give leave


We must talk in secret.

- Nurse, come back again :

I have remember'd me, thou shalt hear our counsel.
Thou know'st my daughter's of a pretty age.
Nurse. 'Faith, I can tell her age unto an hour.
Lady C. She's not fourteen.

I'll lay fourteen of my teeth,
And yet, to my teen' be it spoken, I have but four,

1 Teen is an old word for sorrow, and is here used as a sort of play upon four and fourteen. In the old copies the speeches of the Nurse in this scene are printed as prose. Capell has the great merit of arranging them into verse." The character of the Nurse," says Coleridge, "is the nearest of any thing in Shakespeare to a direct borrowing from mere observation; and the reason is, that as in infancy and childhood the individual in nature is a representative of a class, just as in describing one larch tree you generalise a grove of them, so it is nearly as much so in old age. The generalisation is done to the Poet's hand. Here you have

She is not fourteen.

To Lammas-tide ?

Lady C.

How long is it now

A fortnight, and odd days.
Nurse. Even or odd, of all days in the year,

Come Lammas-eve at night shall she be fourteen.
-God rest all Christian souls!-

Susan and she

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 wean'd, 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:2-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:

the garrulity of age strengthened by the feelings of a long-trusted servant, whose sympathy with the mother's affections gives her privileges and rank in the household. And observe the mode of connection by accident of time and place, and the childlike fondness of repetition in a second childhood, and also that happy, humble ducking under, yet constant resurgence against, the check of her superiors."


2 The nurse means to boast of her retentive faculty. To bear a brain was to possess much mental capacity. Thus in Marston's Dutch Courtezan: "My silly husband, alas! knows nothing of it; 'tis I that must beare a braine for all."

« AnteriorContinuar »