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408. --silver sound,] So, in The Return from Para nassus, 1606: “ Faith, fellow fidlers, here's no silver sound in
this place." Again, in Wily Beguiled :
--what harmony is this “ With silver sound that glutteth Sophos' ears?" Spenser perhaps is the first who used this phrase : " A siluer sound that heay’nly musick seem'd to make."
ACT V.] The acts are here properly enough divided, nor did any better distribution than the editors have already made, occur to me in the perusal of this play; yet it may not be improper to remark, that in the first folio, and I suppose the foregoing editions are in the same state, there is no division of the acts, and therefore some future editor may try, whether any improvement can be made, by reducing them to a length more equal, or interrupting the action at more proper intervals.
JOHNSON. Line 1. If I may trust the flattering truth of sleep, 1 The sense is, If I may only trust the honesty of sleep, which I know however not to be so nice as not often to practise Aattery,
The oldest copy reads the flattering eye of sleep. Whether this reading ought to supersede the more modern one, I shall not pretend to determine: it appears to me, however, the most easily intelligible of the two.
STEEVENS. 3. My bosom's lord-] So, in King Arthur, a poem, by R. Chester, 1601 :
" That neither Uter nor his councell knew
thwarted." The author, in a marginal note, declares, that by bosom's lord he means-Cupid. Thus too, Shakspere (as Mr. Malone observes to me), in Twelfth Night and Othello :
“ It gives a very echo to the seat
" Where love is thron'd.”. Again, “ Yield up, O Love, thy crown and hearted throne.”
STEEVENS, My bosom's lord] These three lines are very gay and pleasing. But why does Shakspere give Romeo this involuntary cheerfulness just before the extremity of unhappiness? Perhaps to shew the vanity of trusting to those uncertain and casual exaltations or depressions, which many consider as certain foretokens of good and evil.
JOHNSON. The poet has explained this passage himself a little further on:
How oft, when men are at the point of death,
Again, in G. Whetstone's Castle of Delight, 1576:
lightning delight against his souden destruction."
STEEVENS. 6. I dreamt, my lady came and found me dead,
And breach'd such life with kisses on my lips,
That I revived--] Shakspere seems here to have remembered Marlowe's Hero and Leander, a poem that he has quoted in As You Like It:
“ By this sad Hero
MALONE. 18. -in Capulet's monument.] The old copies read, in Capel's monument; and thus Gascoigne in kis Flowers, p. 51.
Thys token whych the Mountacutes did beare
alwaies, so that 6. They covet to be knowne from Capels, where
they passe, so For ancient grutch whych long ago 'tweene these two houses was.
SteeVENS. 24. 7 defy you, stars!] The folio reads-deny you,
STEVENS. 27. Pardon mc, sir, I dare not leave you thus:] This line is taken from the quarto, 1597. The quarto, 1609, and the folio, read, $" I do beseech you, sir, have patience.”
SreeVENS. 47. A beggarly account of empty boxes,] Dr. Warburton would read, a braggartly account; but beggarly
is probably right: if the boxes were empty, the account was more beggarly, as it was more pompcus.
JOHNSON. This circumstance is likewise found in Painter's translation, Tom. II. p. 241: “-beholdyng an apoticaries shoppe of lytle furniture, and lesse store of boxes and other thynges requisite for that science, thought that the verie povertie of the mayster apo. thecarye woulde make him wyllyngly yelde to that whych he pretended to demaunde." STEEVENS.
It is clear, I think, that Shakspere had here the poem of Romeus and Juliet before him ; for he has borrowed an expression from 'thence :
“ An apothecary sat unbusied at his door,
" And in his shop he saw his boxes were but few,
small a shew,
money should be bought;
-Fair sir (quoth he), be sure this is the
“ Will serve, I undertake, in less than half an
hour “ To kill the strongest man alive,' such is the poison's pow'r."
MALONE. 73. Need and oppression starveth in thine eyes,] The first quarto reads :
And starved famine dwelleth in thy cheeks.
Need and oppression starveth in thine eyes.
STEEVENS. The passage might, perhaps, be better regulated thus:
Need and oppression stareth in thy eyes. For they cannot, properly, be said to starve in his eyes; though starved famine may be allowed to dwell in his cheeks. Thy not thine is the reading of the folio, and those who are conversant in our author, and especially in the old copies, will scarcely notice the grammatical impropriety of the proposed emendation.
REMARKS. 74. Upon thy back hangs ragged misery :] This is the reading of the oldest copy. I have restored it in preference to the following line, which is found in all the subsequent impressions : “ Contempt and beggary hang upon thy back.”
STEEVENS. 95. One of our order, to associate me,] Each friar has always a companion assigned him by the superior