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Enter CAPULET, in his Gown; and LADY
CAPULET. Cap. What noise is this?-Give me my long
sword , ho! La. Cap. A crutch, a crutch!—Why call you
for a sword? Cap. My sword, I say!-Old Montague is come, And fourishes his blade in spite of me.
Enter MONTAGUE and LADY MONTAGUE. Mon. Thou villain Capulet,-Hold me not, let
La. Mon. Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe.
Enter Prince, with Attendants. Prin. Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace, Profaners of this neighbour-stained steel,Will they not hear!—what ho! you men, you
beasts, That quench the fire of your pernicious rage With purple fountains issuing from your veins, On pain of torture, from those bloody hands Throw your mistemper’d9 weapons to the ground, And hear the sentence of your moved prince.Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word, By thee, old Capulet and Montague, Have thrice disturb'd the quiet of our streets; And made Verona's ancient citizens Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments, To wield old partisans, in hands as old, Canker'd with peace, to part your canker'd hate:
8 See vol. i. p. 214, note 14. The long sword was the weapon used in active warfare ; a lighter, shorter, and less desperate weapon was worn for ornament, to which we have other allusions.
No sword worn, but one to dance with." 9 i. e. angry weapons. So in King John:
This inundation of mistemper'd humour,' &c.
If ever you disturb our streets again,
[Exeunt Prince, and Attendants; CAPULET,
LA. CAP. TYBALT, Citizens, and Servants. Mon. Who set this ancient quarrel new abroach ?Speak, nephew, were you by, when it began? Ben. Here were the servants of
adversary, And yours, close fighting ere I did approach:
, I drew to part them; in the instant came The fiery Tybalt, with his sword prepar'd; Which, as he breath'd defiance to my ears, He swung about his head, and cut the winds, Who, nothing hurt withal, hiss'd him in scorn : While we were interchanging thrusts and blows, Came more and more, and fought on part and part, Till the prince came, who parted either part. La. Mon. 0, where is Romeo !- -saw you him
to-day? Right glad I am, he was not at this fray.
Ben. Madam, an hour before the worshipp'd sun Peer'd forth the golden window of the east 11,
10 The poet found the name of this place in Brooke's Tragicall History of Romeus and Juliet, 1562. It is there said to be the castle of the Capulets.
11 The same thought occurs in Spenser's Faerie Queene, b. ii. c. 10:
* Early before the morn with cremosin ray
The windows of bright heaven opened had,
Might looke,' &c.
* Now heaven's bright eye (awake by Vesper's shrine)
A troubled mind drave me to walk abroad;
Mon. Many a morning hath he there been seen,
Ben. My noble uncle, do you know the cause ? Mon. I neither know it, nor can learn of him. Ben. Have you impórtun'd him by any means ?
Mon. Both by myself, and many other friends: But he, his own affections' counsellor, Is to himself-I will not say, how trueBut to himself so secret and so close, So far from sounding and discovery, As is the bud bit with an envious worm, Ere he can spread his sweet leaves to the air, Or dedicate his beauty to the sun 12.
12 The old copy reads :
'Or dedicate his beauty to the same.' The emendation is by Theobald; who states, with great plausibility, that sunne might easily be mistaken for same. Malone
Could we but learn from whence his sorrows grow, We would as willingly give cure, as know.
Enter ROMEO, at a distance. Ben. See, where he comes : So please you, step
aside; I'll know his grievance, or be much denied.
Mon. I would, thou wert so happy by thy stay, To hear true shrift.--Come, madam, let's away.
[Excunt MONTAGUE and Lady. Ben. Good morrow,
Is the day so young? Ben. But new struck nine. Rom.
Ah me! sad hours seem long. Was that
father that went hence so fast? Ben. It was:—What sadness lengthens Romeo's
hours ? Rom. Not having that, which having makes them
Ben. Alas, that love, so gentle in his view,
Rom. Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still, Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will 13! observes, that Shakspeare bas evidently imitated the Rosamond of Daniel in the last act of this play, and in this passage may have remembered the following lines in one of the Sonnets of the same writer, who was then extremely popular :
• And whilst thou spread'st into the rising sunne
Now joy thy time before thy sweet be done.' These lines add great support to Theobald's emendation. There are few passages in the poet where so great an improvement of language is obtained by so slight a deviation from the text of
the old copy.
13 i.e. should blindly and recklessly think he can surmount all obstacles to his will.
Where shall we dine?-Ome!—What fray was here?
No, coz, I rather weep.
At thy good heart's oppression.
14 Every ancient sonnetteer characterised Love by contrarieties. Watson begins one of his canzonets :
Love is a sowre delight, and sugred griefe,
A living death, and ever-dying life,' &c. Turberville makes Reason harangue against it in the same
• A fierie frost, a flame that frozen is with ise!
"Love it is an hateful pees,
An heavie burthen light to beare,' &c. This kind of antithesis was very much in the taste of the Provençal and Italian poets. Perhaps it might be hinted by the Ode of Sappho, preserved by Longinus: Petrarch is full of it:
• Pace non trovo, e non ho da far guerra;
mondo abbraccio,' &c. This sonnet is translated by Sir Thomas Wyatt, under the title of * Description of the Contrarious Passions in a Lover.'--Farmer.