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And Romeo dead; and Juliet, dead before,
Warm, and new killed.

Prince. Search, seek, and know how this foul murder comes.

1 Watch. Here is a friar, and slaughtered Romeo's


With instruments upon them, fit to open

These dead men's tombs.

Cap O Heavens !-O wife! look how our daughter bleeds!

This dagger hath mista’en,--for lo! his house
Is empty on the back of Montague,----
And is missheathed in my daughter's bosom."
La. Cap. O me! this sight of death is as a bell,
That warns my old age to a sepulchre.

Enter MONTAGUE and others.

Prince. Come, Montague; for thou art early up, To see thy son and heir more early down.

Mon. Alas, my liege, my wife is dead to-night; Grief of my son's exile hath stopped her breath. What further woe conspires against mine age? Prince. Look, and thou shalt see.


Mon. O thou untaught! what manners is in this, To press before thy father to a grave?

Prince. Seal up the mouth of outrage for a while, Till we can clear these ambiguities,

And know their spring, their head, their true descent;
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

1 The words, "for lo! his house is empty on the back of Montague," are to be considered parenthetical. It appears that the dagger was an ciently worn behind the back.

2 After this line, the quarto of 1597 adds:

"And young Benvolio is deceased too."

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Doth make against me, of this direful murder;
And here I stand, both to impeach and purge
Myself condemned and myself excused.

Prince. Then say at once what thou dost know in

Fri. I will be brief, 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 doomsday, whose untimely death
Banished the new-made bridegroom from this city;
For whom, and not for Tybalt, Juliet pined.
You-to remove that siege of grief from her-
Betrothed, and would have married her perforce,
To county Paris.-Then comes she to me;
And, with wild looks, bid me devise some means
To rid her from this second marriage,
Or in my cell there would she kill herself.
Then gave I her, so tutored by my art,
A sleeping potion; which so took effect
As I intended, for it wrought on her

The form of death; meantime I writ to Romeo,
That he should hither come as this dire night,
To help to take her from her borrowed grave,
Being the time the potion's force should cease.
But he which bore my letter, friar John,
Was stayed by accident; and yesternight
Returned my letter back.
letter back. Then all alone

At the prefixed hour of her waking,

Came I to take her from her kindred's vault;
Meaning to keep her closely at my cell,
Till I conveniently could send to Romeo.
But, when I came, (some minute ere the time
Of her awakening,) here untimely lay
The noble Paris, and true Romeo, dead.
She wakes; and I entreated her come forth,
And bear this work of Heaven with patience.
But then a noise did scare me from the tomb;
And she, too desperate, would not go with me,

But (as it seems) did violence on herself.
All this I know; and to the marriage
Her nurse is privy. And, if aught in this
Miscarried by my fault, let my old life
Be sacrificed, some hour before his time,
Unto the rigor of severest law.

Prince. We still have known thee for a holy man. 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 bade me give his father; And threatened 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 raised the watch? Sirrah, what made your master in this place?

Page. He came with flowers to strew his lady's


And bade 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 kinsmen1;-all are punished.

1 Mercutio and Paris. Mercutio is expressly called the prince's kinsman in Act iii. Sc. 4; and that Paris was also 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;

Mercutio's kinsman, noble county Paris."

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Cap. O brother Montague, give me thy hand. This is my daughter's jointure, for no more

Can I demand.


But I can give thee more.
For I will raise her statue in pure gold;
That, while Verona by that name is known,
There shall no figure at such rate be set,
As that of true and faithful Juliet.

Cap. As rich shall Romeo by his lady lie;

Poor sacrifices of our enmity!

Prince. A glooming' peace this morning with it


The sun for sorrow will not show his head.

Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things;
Some shall be pardoned, and some punished.2

For never was a story of more woe,
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.3



1 The quarto of 1597 reads, “A gloomy peace.” To gloom is an ancient verb, used by. Spenser and other old writers.

2 This line has reference to the poem from which the fable is taken; in which the nurse is banished for concealing the marriage; Romeo's servant set at liberty, because he had only acted in obedience to his master's orders; the apothecary is hanged; while friar Laurence was permitted to retire to a hermitage near Verona, where he ended his life in penitence and tranquillity.

3 Shakspeare, in his revision of this play, has not effected the alteration by introducing any new incidents, but merely by adding to the length of the scenes.


THIS play is one of the most pleasing of our Author's performances. The scenes are busy and various, the incidents numerous and important, the catastrophe irresistibly affecting, and the process of the action carried on with such probability, at least with such congruity to popular opinions, as tragedy requires.

Here is one of the few attempts of Shakspeare to exhibit the conversation of gentlemen, to represent the airy sprightliness of juvenile elegance. Dryden mentions a tradition, which might easily reach his time, of a declaration made by Shakspeare, that he was obliged to kill Mercutio in the third Act, lest he should have been killed by him. Yet he thinks him no such formidable person, but that he might have lived through the play and died in his bed, without danger to the Poet. Dryden well knew, had he been in quest of truth, in a pointed sentence, that more regard is commonly had to the words than the thought, and that it is very seldom to be rigorously understood. Mercutio's wit, gayety, and courage, will always procure him friends that wish him a longer life; but his death is not precipitated; he has lived out the time allotted him in the construction of the play; nor do I doubt the ability of Shakspeare to have continued his existence, though some of his sallies are, perhaps, out of the reach of Dryden; whose genius was not very fertile of merriment, nor ductile to humor, but acute, argumentative, comprehensive, and sublime.

The nurse is one of the characters in which the Author delighted. He has, with great subtilty of distinction, drawn her at once loquacious and secret, obsequious and insolent, trusty and dishonest.

His comic scenes are happily wrought; but his pathetic strains are always polluted with some unexpected depravations.* His persons, however distressed, have a conceit left them in their misery, a miserable conceit. JOHNSON.

* A. W. Schlegel has answered this remark at length, in a detailed criticism upon this tragedy, published in the Horen, a journal conducted by Schiller in 1794-1795, and made accessible to the English reader in Ollier's Literary Miscellany, Part I. In his Lectures on Dramatic Literature (vol. ii. p. 135, Eng. translation) will be found some further sensible remarks upon the "conceits" here stigmatized. It should be remembered that playing on words was a very favorite species of wit combat with our ancestors. "With children, as well as nations of the most simple manners, a great inclination to playing on words is often displayed [they cannot therefore be both puerile and unnatural; if the first charge is founded, the second cannot be so]. In Homer we find several examples; the Books of Moses, the oldest written memorial of the primitive world, are, it is well known, full of them. On the other hand, poets of a very cultivated taste, or orators like Cicero, have delighted in them. Whoever, in Richard the Second, is disgusted with the affecting play of words of the aying John of Gaunt, on his own name, let him remember that the same thing occurs in the Ajax of Sophocles."

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