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LA. CAP. O me! this sight of death is as a bell, That warns my old age to a sepulchre.
PRINCE. Come, Montague; for thou art early
without attention to the disagreeable assonance of sheath and sheathed, which was first introduced by Mr. Pope) read:
“ This dagger hath mista'en ; for, lo! the sheath
“ The point mis-sheathed in my daughter's bosom.” The quarto, 1597, erroneously,
6 this dagger hath mistooke;
“ And it mis-sheathed in my daughter's bosome.” If we do not read it instead of is, Capulet will be made to say—The scabbard is at once empty on the back of Montague, and sheathed in Juliet's bosom. · Shakspeare quaintly represents the dagger as having mistaken its place, and as it mis-sheathed,” i. e. “ mis-sheathed itself" in the bosom of Juliet. .
The quarto, 1609, and the folio, 1623, offer the same reading, except that they concur in giving is instead of it.
It appears that the dagger was anciently worn behind the back. So, in The longer thou livest the more Fool thou art, 1570:
. “ Thou must weare thy sword by thy side, : “ And thy dagger handsumly at thy backe."
Again, in Humor's Ordinarie, &c. an ancient collection of satires, no date:
“ See you the huge bum dagger at his backe?” The epithet applied to the dagger, shows at what part of the back it was worn. STEEVENS.
The words, “ for, lo! his house is empty on the back of Montague,” are to be considered as parenthetical. In a former part of this scene we have a similar construction.
My reading [is] is that of the undated quarto, that of 1609, and the folio. MALONE. · - - for thou art early up, &c.] This speech (as appears VOL. XX.
To see thy son and heir more early down.
Mon. Alas, my liege, my wife is dead to-night;5 Grief of my son's exíle hath stopp'd her breath : What further woe conspires against mine age?
PRINCE. Look, and thou shalt see.
PRINCE. Seal up the mouth of outrage for a : . .. while, Till we can clear these ambiguities, from the following passage in The Second Part of the Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, 1601) has something proverbial in it:
“ In you, i'faith, the proverb's verified,
STEEVENS. :: 3 Alas, my liege, my wife is dead to-night;] After this line the quarto, 1597, adds,
« And young Benvolio is deceased too." :: But this, I suppose, the poet rejected, on his revision of the play, as unnecessary slaughter. STEEVENS.
The line, which gives an account of .Benvolio's death, was probably thrown in to account for his absence from this interesting scene. Ritson.
Look, and thou shalt see..] These words, as they stand, being of no kindred to metre, we may fairly suppose that some others have been casually omitted. Perhaps, our author wrote: . Look in this monument, and thou shalt see. STEEVENS.
? O thou untaught! &c.] So, in The Tragedy of Darius; 1603:
“ Ah me! malicious fates have done me wrong:
“ If children pre-decease progenitors,
And know their spring, their head, their true de
scent; And then will I be general of your woes, And lead you even to death : Mean time forbear, And let mischance be slave to patience. Bring forth the parties of suspicion.
Fri. I am the greatest, able to do least, Yet most suspected, as the time and place Doth make against me, of this direful murder; And here I stand, both to impeach and purge : Myself condemned and myself excus’d. PRINCE. Then say at once what thou dost know
in this. Fri. I will be brief,8 for my short date of
breath Is not so long as is a tedious tale. Romeo, there dead, was husband to that Juliet; And she, there dead, that Romeo's faithful wife : I married them; and their stolen marriage-day Was Tybalt's dooms-day, whose untimely death Banish'd the new-made bridegroom from this city;
• I will be brief,] It is much to be lamented, that the poet did not conclude the dialogue with the action, and avoid a nar, rative of events which the audience already knew. Johnson.
Shakspeare was led into this uninteresting narrative by following too closely The Tragicall Hystory of Romeus and Juliet.
MALONE. In this poem (which is subjoined to the present edition of the play) the bodies of the dead are removed to a publick scaffold, and from that elevation is the Friar's narrative delivered. The same circumstance, as I have already observed, is introduced in Hamlet. See Vol. XVIII. p. 383, n. 2. STEEVENS. 9 my short date of breath
Is not so long as is a tedious tale.] So, in the 91st Psalm : “ when thou art angry, all our days are gone; we bring our years to an end, as it were a tale that is told." MALONE.
For whom, and not for Tybalt, Juliet pin'd.
Where's Romeo's man? what can he say in this ?
BAL. I brought my master news of Juliet's death; And then in post he came from Mantua, To this same place, to this same monument. This letter he early bid me give his father ; And threaten'd me with death, going in the vault, If I departed not, and left him there.
PRINCE. Give me the letter, I will look on it. Where is the county's page, that rais'd the watch?Sirrah, what made your master in this place? PAGE. He came with flowers to strew his lady's
grave; And bid me stand aloof, and so I did: Anon, comes one with light to ope the tomb; And, by and by, my master drew on him; And then I ran away to call the watch. PRINCE. This letter doth make good the friar's
words, Their course of love, the tidings of her death : And here he writes that he did buy a poison Of a poor 'pothecary, and therewithal Came to this vault to die, and lie with Juliet. Where be these enemies? Capulet! Montague! See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate, That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love! And I, for winking at your discords too, Have lost a brace of kinsmen :'-all are punish’d.
· Have lost a brace of kinsmen:] Mercutio and Paris : Mercutio is expressly called the prince's kinsman in Act III. sc. iv, and that Paris also was the prince's kinsman, may be inferred from the following passages. Capulet, speaking of the count in the fourth Act, describes him as “ a gentleman of princely parentage,” and, after he is killed, Romeo says:
“ - Let me peruse this face;