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Unless that husband send it me from heaven
’Faith, here 'tis : Romeo
9 'Faith, here 'tis: Romeo
Is banished; and all the world to nothing,
I think it best you married with the county. ] The character of the Nurse exhibits a just picture of those whose actions have no principles for their foundation. She has been unfaithful to the trust reposed in her by Capulet, and is ready to embrace any expedient that offers, to avert the consequences of her first infidelity. Steevens
This picture, however, is not an original. In The Tragicall Hystory of Romcus and Juliet, 1562, the Nurse exhibits the same readiness to accommodate herself to the present conjuncture:
“The flattering nurse did praise the friar for his skill,
Malone. Sir John Vanbrugh, in The Relapse, has copied in this respect the character of his Nurse from Shakspeare. Blackstone. so green,
an eye,] So, the first editions. Sir T. Han. mer reads—so keen. Johnson.
Perhaps Chaucer has given to Emetrius, in The Knight's Tale, eyes of the same colour:
“ His nose was high, his eyin bright citryn." i. e. of the hue of an unripe lemon or citron.
As Paris hath. Beshrew my very heart,
Jul. Speakest thou from thy heart?
From my soul too ;
To what? 3 Jul. Well, thou hast comforted me marvellous much. Go in; and tell my lady I am gone, Having displeas'd my father, to Laurence' cell, To make confession, and to be absolv’d.
Nurse. Marry, I will ; and this is wisely done. [Exit.
Jul. Ancient damnation !4 O most wicked fiend!
Again, in The Two Noble Kinsmen, by Fletcher and Shakspeare, Act V, sc. i:
oh vouchsafe, “With that thy rare green eye,” &c.I may add, that Arthur Hall (the most ignorant and absurd of all the translators of Homer), in the fourth Iliad (4to, 1581,) calls Minerva “ The greene
eide Goddese" Steevens. What Shakspeare meant by this epithet here, may be easily collected from the following lines, which he has attributed to Thisbé in the last Act of A Midsummer Night's Dream:
“ These lily lips,
“ His eyes were green as leeks." Malone. 2 As living here -] Sir Thomas Hanmer reads, as living hence, that is, at a distance, in banishment; but here may signify, in this world. Johnson.
3 To what?] The syllable-To, which is wanting towards the measure, I have ventured to supply. When Juliet says-- Amen! the Nurse might naturally ask her to which of the foregoing sentiments so solemn a formulary was subjoined. Steevens.
4 Ancient damnation!) This term of reproach occurs in The Malcontent, 1604:
-out, you ancient damnation.! Steevens, VOL. XII.
So many thousand times?-Go, counsellor;
ACT IV..... SCENE I.
Friar Laurence's Cell.
Fri. You say, you do not know the lady's mind;
Par. Immoderately she weeps for Tybalt's death,
5 And I am nothing slow, &c.] His haste shall not be abated by my slowness. It might be read:
And I am nothing slow to back his haste: that is, I am diligent to abet and enforce his haste. Johnson.
Slack was certainly the author's word, for, in the first edition, the line ran
And I am nothing slack to slow his haste. Back could not have stood there.
If this kind of phraseology be justifiable, it can be justified only by supposing the meaning to be, there is nothing of slowness in me, to induce
me to slacken or abate his haste. The meaning of Paris is very clear; he does not wish to restrain Capulet, or to delay his own marriage; but the words which the poet has given him, import the reverse of this, and seem rather to mean, I am not back. ward in restraining his haste; I endeavour to retard him as much as I can. Dr. Johnson saw the impropriety of this expression, and that his interpretation extorted a meaning from the words, which they do not at first present; and hence his proposed alteration; but our author must answer for his own peculiarities.
May be put from her by society :
[Aside. Look, sir, here comes the lady towards my cell.
Enter JULIET. Par. Happily met, my lady, and my wife! Jul. That may be, sir, when I may be a wife. Par. That may be, must be, love, on Thursday next. Jul. What must be shall be. Fri.
That 's a certain text.
Jul. If I do so, it will be of more price,
Par. Poor soul, thy face is much abus'd with tears.
Jul. The tears have got small victory by that ; For it was bad enough, before their spite. Par. Thou wrong'st it, more than tears, with that re
port. Jul. That is no slander, sir,7 that is a truth; And what I spake, I spake it to my face.
Par. Thy face is mine, and thou hast slander'd it.
Jul. It may be so, for it is not mine own.-
be slow'd.) So, in Sir A. Gorges' translation of the second Book of Lucan:
will you overflow “ The fields, thereby my march to slow?” Steevens. 7 That is no slander, sir, &c.] Thus the first and second folio. The quarto, 1597, reads-- That is no wrong, &c. and so leaves the measure defective. Steevens.
A word was probably omitted at the press. The quarto, 1599, and the subsequent copies, read:
That is no slander, sir, which is a truth. The context shows that the alteration was not made by Shakspeare. Malone.
The repetition of the word wrong, is not, in my opinion, neces. sary: besides, the reply of Paris justifies the reading in the text:
“Thy face is mine, and thou hast slander'd it.” Steevens
Fri. My leisure serves me, pensive daughter, now:My lord, we must entreat the time alone.
Par. God shield, I should disturb devotion! Juliet, on Thursday early will I rouse you: Till then, adieu! and keep this holy kiss. [Exit Par.
Jul. O, shut the door! and when thou hast done so, Come weep with me; Past hope, past cure, past help!
Fri. Ah, Juliet, I already know thy grief;
Jul. Tell me not, friar, that thou hear’st of this,
8 Or shall I come to you at evening mass ?) Juliet means vespers. There is no such thing as evening mass. “ Masses (as Fynes Moryson observes) are only sung in the morning, and when the priests are fasting.” So, likewise, in The boke of thenseygnemente and techynge that the knyght of the toure made to his doughters: translated and printed by Caxton: “And they of the paryshe told the preest that it was past none, and therfor he durst not synge masse, and so they hadde no masse that daye.” Ritson.
9 Shall be the label to another deed,] The seals of deeds in our author's time were not impressed on the parchment itself on which the deed was written, but were appended on distinct slips or labels affixed to the deed. Hence in King Richard II, the Duke of York discovers a covenant which his son the Duke of Aumerle had entered into by the depending seal: “ What seal is that, which hangs without thy bosom ?"
Malone. 1 Shall play the umpire ; ] That is, this knife shall decide the struggle between me and my distresses. Fohnson.