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NOTES ON ROMEO AND JULIET
The Prologue is omitted from the folio. Why, it is difficult to conjecture, as it is found in all the 4to. editions, from one of which — that of 1609 — the folio was printed. In the 4to. of 1597 it appears with two lines less and many variations, as follows : —
"Two household Frends, alike in dignitie,
(In faire Verona, where we lay our Scene,)
"Whose civill warre makes civill hands vncleane.
A paire of starre-crost Lovers tooke their life;
(Through the continuing of their Fathers strife,
Is now the two howres traffique of our Stage.
What here we want, wee'l studie to amend."
In the 4tos. the word 'Prologue' is followed by * Chorus,' which, as Malone suggested, merely indicates that the lines were to be spoken by the same person to whom was committed the Chorus at the end of Act I.
, 37. "Do, with their death," &c. : — The 4to. of 1599 and that of 1609 have, "Doth, with," &c.; and I am not quite sure that the disagreement with the nominative is the result of misprint, or of any other error.
39." we'll not carry coals " ; — Instances are numerous
in the works of our ancient writers to show that the car
rying of coals used to be regarded as the lowest of menial offices, and that the phrase 'to carry coals' was euphemistic slang for «to put up with an insult.'
p. 40. << I will be cruel with the maids ": — So the undated
4to. and Mr. Collier's folio of 1632. The 4to. of 1599 and subsequent old editions, "I will be ciuill"— an easy misprint. The reading of the undated 4to. is sustained by that of the 4to. of 1597: "He play the tyrant, He first begin with the maids, and off with their heads."
"" / will bite my thumb at them; which is a disgrace"
&c. : — Steevens quoted, in illustration, "Behold I see Contempt marching forth, giving me the fico with his thombe in his mouthe," Wits Miserie, 1596; and Malone, "What swearing is there, [in the broad aisle of St. Paul's church,] what shouldering, what justling, what by ting of thumbs to beget quarrels!" Dekker's Dead Term, 1608.
p. 41." thy swashing blow":—So the undated 4to.
The other old copies misprint, "washing blow."
""What! drawn" &c. : — The folio alone misprints,
"What, draw" &c.
"1 Cit. Clubs? bills, and partisans!" — In the old copies this speech has, with manifest error, the prefix Officer].
p. 42. "Three civil broils":— So the folio; and in the old Prologue we find, "From ciuill broyles," &c. The 4tos. have, "ciuill brawles."
p. 43. "To old Free-town": — This name, adopted from Brooke's poem, is but a translation of the " Villa Franca" of the old Italian story.
n "Peer'd forth the golden window," &c. : — The 4to.
of 1597, "Peept through" &c.
p. 44. "Pursu'd my humour" : — All the old copies but the 4to. of 1599 misprint, "my honour."
""Or dedicate his beauty to the sun" :— The old edi
tions have, "to the same" — an easy misprint of "to the sunne" The correction is one of Theobald's happiest conjectures.
p. 45." -well-seeming forms": — The 4to. of 1599 and
the folio have, "welseeing formes." The misprint is obvious, and is also indicated by the reading of the 4to. of 1597, "best seeming thinges."
p. 46. "Love is a smoke made with the fume," &c. : — Thus the 4to. of 1599 and subsequent old copies. That of 1597 has, "raisde with the fume," &c.
p. 46. "Being purg'd, a fire sparkling," &c.: — Johnson, Steevens, and Reed would have read, "Being urg'd" &c.; and Mr. Collier's folio of 1632 has, "Being piif'd," &c. But surely the correctors must have failed to see? the allusion to the passage in the Gospels, (Matt. iii. 12,) "whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor," &c. Shakespeare remembered the "fan," and thought of the winnowing that he had seen at Stratford, where we may be sure they were yet guiltless of the machine so sacrilegious in the eyes of Manse Headrigg, for raising wind for their ain particular use by human art, instead of soliciting it by prayer, or waiting patiently for a dispensation of wind. And doubtless he did not put his less than small Greek to the task of teaching him that '»SictKaQapuh" which is translated «purge,' refers to the separation of purity from impurity, or that which is worthless from that which has worth, by whatever process.
it »< nourish'd with lovers' tears": — The 4to. of
1599 and subsequent old editions have, "nourishd with loving tears." The 4to. of 1597 has, "raging with lovers tears." Possibly we should follow the former.
""But sadly tell me " : — i. e., seriously tell me.
it n From Love's weak childish bow she lives anharm'd":
— The 4to. of 1599 and subsequent old editions have, "she lives uncharm'd" which is evidently a misprint of the "imharm'd" of the 4to. of 1597. That edition, however, has, "Gainst Cupid's childish'bow she lives vnharm'd" which seems a corrupt, or, at least, much inferior reading. The repetition of * Cupid' (avoided in the later text) is unpleasant; and the use of * unharm'd' with 'against' is infelicitous, if not incorrect. If we read, • gainst,' with the 4to. of 1597, we might do well to read, »'she lives encharm'd" with Mr. Collier's folio of 1632.
"with beauty dies her store" : — Theobald speciously printed, "with her dies beauty s store." But Romeo means to say that his mistress is only poor in that, at her death, her store — i. e., the beauty that she is rich in — will die with her, and that so her chief wealth is a possession that she cannot bequeath.
p. 47. "Being black, put us in mind," &c.: — The old copies, "puts us in mind," &c, and, I have little doubt, correctly. For, aside from other reasons for reading 'puts/ I am inclined to think that Shakespeare and his contemporaries regarded "being black" and not "marks" as the nominative to "put." I do not, however, feel sufficiently assured of the point to change the received text.
p. 47. V [But] Montague," &c. : — The 4to. of 1609 omits * but,' and is followed by the folio — erroneously, without a doubt.
p. 48. "She hath not seen the change of fourteen years" : — Brooke's poem has, "xvi yeares," and Paynter's prose tale, «« xviii yeares." See the Introduction to this play.
"«« are those so early marri'd" : — Thus the 4to.
of 1597, which gives the line, "But too foone marde are those fo early maried." As to this reading, see the Note on "A young man married is a man that's marr'd," All's Well that Ends Well, Act II. Sc. 3. In printing the 4to. of 1599 the compo.-itor seems to have been misled by the existence of a jingling adage, similar to that referred to in the Note on All's Well that Ends Well, upon 'marr'd' and 'made,' and perhaps by 'made' at the end of the previous line; for that and all subsequent old editions read, "so early made."
» "[The] earth hath swallow'd " : — The 4to. of 1599
and subsequent old editions (the line and the next not being in the 4to. of 1597) read, "Earth hath swallowed," &c. But the line is not to be made a verse by retaining the e in the participle.
"" the hopeful lady of my earth " : — Steevens re
garded this expression, and perhaps rightly, as a translation of the French file de terre = heiress.
"Among fresh female buds " : — The 4to. of 1599 misprinted, "fennel buds ;" and the error remained uncorrected till the appearance of the second folio. In the next line "inherit" = possess.
""Such amongst view of many " : — The passage is ob
scure, elliptical, and debased by a poor conceit; but (remembering that one used to be regarded as no number) it seems to mean, Such [i. e., so high in merit] my daughter may appear; and being one [of those so distinguished] may stand, in number, one, though, in reckoning, nothing. The 4to. of 1599 and subsequent old editions have., by what I cannot but regard as an error consequent upon the obscurity of the passage, " Which o?ie [on] more view of many," &c. Neither text is clear, and both may be corrupt.