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Rom. Ay, nurse; What of that? both with an R.
NURSE. Ah, mocker! that's the dog's name. R. is for the dog. No; I know it begins with some other letter:' and she hath the prettiest sententious
Nurse. Ah, mocker! that's the dog's name. &c.] It is a little mortifying, that the sense of this odd stuff, when found, should not be worth the pains of retrieving it:
6- spissis indigna theatris
“ Scripta pudet recitare, & nugis addere pondus.” . The Nurse is represented as a prating silly creature; she says, she will tell Romeo a good joke about his mistress, and asks him, whether Rosemary and Romeo do not begin both with a letter: He says, Yes, an R. She, who, we must suppose, could not read, thought he had mocked her, and says, No, sure, I know better : our dog's name is R. yours begins with another letter. This is natural enough, and in character. R put her in mind of that sound which is made by dogs when they snarl; and therefore, I presume, she says, that is the dog's name, R in schools, being called The dog's letter. Ben Jonson, in his English Grammar, says R is the dog's letter, and hirreth in the sound. “ Irritatà canis quod R. R. quam plurima dicat.” Lucil.
WARBURTON. Dr. Warburton reads:-R. is for Thee? STEEVENS.
I believe we should read-R is for the dog. No; I know it begins with some other letter. TYRWHITT.
I have adopted this emendation, though Dr. Farmer has since recommended another which should seem equally to deserve attention. He would either omit name or insert letter. The dog's letter, as the same gentleman observes, is pleasantly exemplified in Barclay's Ship of Fools, 1578:
“This man malicious which troubled is with wrath, :.: « Nought els soundeth but the hoorse letter R.'
“ Though all be well, yet he none aunswere hath
STEEVENS. Erasmus in explaining the adage “ canina facundia,” says, “ R. litera quæ in rixando prima est, canina vocatur." I think it is used in this sense more than once in Rabelais: and in The Alchemist Subtle says, in making out Abel Drugger's name, " And right anenst him a dog snarling er.” Douce... .... Mr. Tyrwhitt's alteration is certainly superior to either Dr. Warburton's (Thee? no;) or one formerly proposed by Dr.
of it, of you and rosemary, that it would do you good to hear it.
Rom. Commend me to thy lady. [Exit.
Johnson (the nonce) not but the old reading is as good, if not better, when properly regulated; e. g.
Ah mocker! that's the dog's name. R is for the-no; I know it begins with some other letter. Ritson.
This passage is not in the original copy of 1597. The quarto 1599 and folio read-Ah, mocker, that's the dog's name.
MALONE. To the notes on this passage perhaps the following illustration may not improperly be added from Nash's Summers last Will and Testament, 1600, of dogs: “ They arre and barke at night against the moone.”
TODD. i Peter, Take my fan, and go before.] Thus the first quarto. The subsequent ancient copies, instead of these words, have Before, and apace. MALONE.
This custom of having a fan-carrier is also mentioned by Burton, in his Anatomy of Melancholy, edit. 1632, p. 603:
“ doe you heare, good man;
Perchance, she cannot meet him that's not so.
Enter Nurse and PETER.
NURSE. Peter, stay at the gate. [Exit PETER. JUL. Now, good sweet nurse,--O lord! why
::look'st thou sad ? s s hould be thoughts, &c.] The speech is thus continued in the quarto, 1597:
should be thoughts,
What says my love ? The greatest part of the scene is likewise added since that edition.
Shakspeare, however, seems to have thought one of the ideas comprised in the foregoing quotation from the earliest quarto too valuable to be lost. He has therefore inserted it in Romeo's first speech to the Apothecary, in Act V:
• As violently, as hasty powder fir'd
Though news be sad, yet tell them merrily;
NURSE. I am aweary, give me leave a while ; Fye, how my bones ache! What a jaunt have I had!5 Jul. I would, thou hadst my bones, and I thy
news : Nay, come, I pray thee, speak ;-good, good nurse,
speak. NURSE. Jesu, What haste? can you not stay
awhile ? Do you not see, that I am out of breath? JUL. How art thou out of breath, when thou
NURSE. Well, you have made a simple choice; you know not how to choose a man: Romeo! no,
he excuse, that tale thou dost to that;
. If good, thou sham’st the musick of sweet news . By playing it to me with so sour a face.] So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
"- needs so tart a favour,
“ To trumpet such good tidings !". Again, in Cymbeline:
" if it be summer-news,
“ Smile to it before.” MALONE. • What a jaunt have I had!] This is the reading of the folio. The quarto reads:
- What a jaunce have I had ! The two words appear to have been formerly synonymous. See King Richard II: “ Spur-gall’d and tir’d by jauncing Bolingbroke.”
not he; though his face be better than any man's, yet his leg excels all men's; and for a hand, and a foot, and a body,--though they be not to be talked on, yet they are past compare: He is not the flower of courtesy, but, I'll warrant him, as gentle as a lamb.-Go thy ways, wench; serve God.—What, have you dined at home?
JUL. No, no: But all this did I know before; What says he of our marriage? what of that ?6 NURSE. Lord, how my head akes ! what a head
have I ? It beats as it would fall in twenty pieces.. .: My back o’t’ other side,–0, my back, my back! Beshrew your heart, for sending me about, To catch my death with jaunting up and down!
JUL. I'faith, I am sorry that thou art not well: Sweet, sweet, sweet nurse, tell me, what says my
love? NURSE. Your love says like an honest gentleman, And a courteous, and a kind, and a handsome, And, I warrant, a virtuous :- Where is your mo
ther? JUL. Where is my mother why, she is within ; Where should she be? How oddly thou reply'st? Your love says like an honest gentleman, Where is your mother? NURSE.
0, God's lady dear! Are you so hot? Marry, come up, I trow;
No, no: But all this did I know before;
What says he of our marriage? what of that?] So, in The Tragicall History of Romeus and Juliet, 1562:
« Tell me else what, quod she, this evermore I thought; 6 But of our marriage, say at once, what answer have
you brought?” MALONE.