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That I will show you, shining at this feast,
And she shall scant show well, that now shows best. Rom. I'll go along, no such sight to be shown, But to rejoice in splendour of mine own. [Exeunt.
SCENE III. A Room in Capulet's House1.
Enter LADY CAPULET and Nurse.
La. Cap. Nurse, where's my daughter? call her forth to me.
Nurse. Now, by my maidenhead,―at twelve year old,-
I bade her come.-What, lamb! what, lady-bird!God forbid!-where's this girl?-what, Juliet!
La. Cap. This is the matter:-Nurse, give leave awhile,
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. La. Cap. She's not fourteen.
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
In all the old copies the greater part of this scene was printed as prose. Capell was the first who exhibited it as verse; the subsequent editors have followed him, but perhaps erroneously.
2 i. e. to my sorrow. This old word is introduced for the sake of the jingle between teen, and four, and fourteen.
La. Cap. 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 years3; 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 :-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,
3 Mr. Tyrwhitt thinks that Shakspeare had in view the earthquake which had been felt in England in his own time, on the 6th of April, 1580; and that we may from hence conjecture that Romeo and Juliet was written in 1591.
4 The nurse means to boast of her retentive faculty. To bear a brain was to possess much mental capacity either of attention, ingenuity, or remembrance. Thus in Marston's Dutch Cour
'My silly husband, alas! knows nothing of it, 'tis
Wilt thou not, Jule? and, by my holy-dam,
years, I never should forget it; Wilt thou not, Jule? quoth he:
And, pretty fool, it stinted 5, and said—Ay.
La. Cap. Enough of this; I pray thee, hold thy
Nurse. Yes, madam; Yet I cannot choose but
To think it should leave crying, and say-Ay:
Thou wast the prettiest babe that e'er I nurs❜d:
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.
To stint is to stop. Baret translates Lachrymas supprimere, to stinte weeping;' and 'to stinte talke,' by 'sermones restinguere.' So Ben Jonson in Cynthia's Revels:
Stint thy babbling tongue,
Again, in What You Will, by Marston:
Pish! for shame, stint thy idle chat.'
Spenser uses the word frequently.
6 This tautologous speech is not in the first quarto of 1597.
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,
Here in Verona, ladies of esteem,
Are made already mothers: by my count,
I was your
Nurse. A man, young lady! lady, such a man, As all the world— Why, he's a man of wax7.
La. Cap. Verona's summer hath not such a flower.
This night you shall behold him at our feast;
And see how one another lends content;
7 i. e. as well made as if he had been modelled in wax. in Wily Beguiled:- Why, he is a man as one should picture him in wax.' So Horace uses Cerea brachia,' waxen arms, for arms well shaped.-Od. xiii. 1. 1. Which Dacier explains:'Des bras faits au tour comme nous disons d'un bras rond, qu'il est comme de cire.'
8 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, without the intervention of that stuff to be found in the later quartos and the folio.
9 Thus the quarto of 1599. The quarto of 1609 and the folio read, several lineaments.' We have, The unity and married calm of states,' in Troilus and Cressida. And in his eighth Sonnet:
If the true concord of well-tuned sounds,
By unions married, do offend thine ear.
See vol. vii. p. 338, note 13.
And what obscur'd in this fair volume lies,
The fish lives in the sea 11; and 'tis much pride,
That book in many's eyes doth share the glory,
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 endart12 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.
10 The comments on ancient books were generally printed in the margin. Horatio says, in Hamlet, 'I knew you must be edified by the margent,' &c. So in The Rape of Lucrece :
'But she that never cop'd with stranger eyes
Could pick no meaning from their parling looks,
Writ in the glassy margent of such books.'
This speech is full of quibbles. The unbound lover is a quibble on the binding of a book, and the binding in marriage; and the word cover is a quibble on the law phrase for a married woman, femme couverte.
11 Dr. Farmer explains this, "The fish is not yet caught.' Mason thinks that we should read, The fish lives in the shell; for the sea cannot be said to be a beautiful cover to a fish, though a shell may.' The poet may mean nothing more than that those books are most esteemed by the world where valuable contents are embellished by as valuable binding.
12 The quarto of 1597 reads, engage mine eye.