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Pet. Musicians, O, musicians! "Heart's Ease, will have me live, play
Heart's Ease; O! an you "Heart's Ease."
1 Mus. Why "Heart's Ease?"
Pet. O, musicians! because my heart itself plays "My heart is full of woe.' O! play me some merry dump, to comfort me.
2 Mus. Not a dump we: 'tis no time to play now. Pet. You will not, then?
2 Mus. No.
Pet. I will, then, give it you soundly.
1 Mus. What will you give us?
Pet. No money, on my faith; but the gleek: I will give you the minstrel.
1 Mus. Then will I give you the serving-creature.
6 Such is the stage-direction of the undated quarto and the folio of 1623. The quartos of 1599 and 1609 have, "Enter Will Kemp;" which shows that Kemp was the original performer of Peter's part. It seems not unlikely that this part of the scene was written on purpose for Kemp to display his talents in, as there could hardly be any other reason for such a piece of buffoonery. Coleridge has the following upon it: "As the audience know that Juliet is not dead, this scene is, perhaps, excusable. But it is a strong warning to minor dramatists not to introduce at one time many separate characters agitated by one and the same circumstance. It is difficult to understand what effect, whether that of pity or of laughter, Shakespeare meant to produce; the occasion and the characteristic speeches are so little in harmony! For example, what the Nurse says is excellently suited to the Nurse's character, but grotesquely unsuited to the occasion."
7 This is the burthen of the first stanza of A Pleasant New Ballad of Two Lovers: "Hey hoe! my heart is full of woe."-A dump was formerly the term for a grave or melancholy strain in music, vocal or instrumental. It also signified a kind of poetical elegy. A merry dump is no doubt a purposed absurdity put into the mouth of Master Peter.
A pun is here intended. A gleekman, or gligman, is a minstrel. To give the gleek meant also to pass a jest upon a person, to make him appear ridiculous; a gleek being a jest or scoff.
Pet. Then will I lay the serving-creature's dagger on your pate. I will carry no crotchets: I'll re you, I'll fa you: Do you note me?
1 Mus. An you re us, and fa us, you note us. 2 Mus. 'Pray you, put up your dagger, and put out your wit.
Pet. Then have at you with my wit: I will drybeat you with an iron wit, and put up my iron dagger. Answer me like men:
When griping grief the heart doth wound,
Why, "silver sound?" why, "music, with her silver sound?" What say you, Simon Catling?
1 Mus. Marry, sir, because silver hath a sweet sound.
Pet. Pretty! What say you, Hugh Rebeck? 2 Mus. I say -"silver sound," because musicians sound for silver.
Pet. Pretty too!-What say you, James Soundpost?
3 Mus. 'Faith, I know not what to say. Pet. O, I cry you mercy! you are the singer :
9 This is part of a song by Richard Edwards, to be found in the Paradice of Dainty Devices. Another copy of this song is to be found in Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry. The second line of Peter's quotation is wanting in all the old copies except the first quarto; and in all the old copies the words, "Then have at you with my wit," are made a part of the preceding speech.
10 This worthy takes his name from a small lutestring made of catgut; his companion the fiddler, from an instrument of the same name mentioned by many of our old writers, and recorded by Milton as an instrument of mirth:
"When the merry bells ring round,
11 So the first quarto; the other old copies, Prates, or Pratest. 13 10
I will say for you. It is-"music, with her silver sound," because such fellows as you have seldom gold for sounding:
Then music, with her silver sound,
[Exit, singing. 1 Mus. What a pestilent knave is this same! 2 Mus. Hang him, Jack! Come, we'll in here; tarry for the mourners, and stay dinner.
SCENE I. Mantua. A Street.
Rom. If I may trust the flattering eye of sleep,' My dreams presage some joyful news at hand: My bosom's lord sits lightly in his throne; And, all this day, an unaccustom'd spirit
Lifts me above the ground with cheerful thoughts. I dreamt, my lady came and found me dead, (Strange dream! that gives a dead man leave to
And breath'd such life with kisses in my lips,
1 Thus the first quarto. The later copies read, "If I may trust the flattering truth of sleep." The sense appears to be, If I may trust the visions with which my eye flattered me in sleep.
2 These three last lines are very gay and pleasing. But why does Shakespeare give Romeo this involuntary cheerfulness just before the extremity of unhappiness? Perhaps to show the vanity of trusting to those uncertain and casual exaltations or depressions, which many consider as certain foretokens of good and evil.JOHNSON.
That I reviv'd, and was an emperor.
News from Verona ! - How now, Balthasar!
Bal. Then she is well, and nothing can be ill:
Rom. Is it e'en so? then I defy you, stars! Thou know'st my lodging: get me ink and paper, And hire post-horses; I will hence to-night.
Bal. I do beseech you, sir, have patience : Your looks are pale and wild, and do import Some misadventure.
Tush! thou art deceiv'd; Leave me, and do the thing I bid thee do. Hast thou no letters to me from the friar? Bal. No, my good lord. Rom. No matter; get thee gone, And hire those horses: I'll be with thee straight. [Exit BALTHASAR.
3 So the first quarto; the later copies, "How doth my lady Juliet ? thus repeating a part of the foregoing line.
4 So all the old editions except the first, which reads, -ll Pardon me, sir, I will not leave you thus."— Defy, in the first line of the preceding speech, is from the earliest copy; the others having deny.
Well, Juliet, I will lie with thee to-night.
Let's see for means :- O, mischief! thou art swift
And hereabouts he dwells, — whom late I noted
Enter the Apothecary.
Who calls so loud?
Rom. Come hither, man.—I see that thou art
Hold, there is forty ducats: let me have
5 We learn from Nashe's Have with You to Saffron Walden, 1596, that a stuffed alligator then made part of the furniture of an apothecary's shop: "He made an anatomie of a rat, and after hanged her over his head, instead of an apothecary's crocodile or dried alligator."