Imagens das páginas

few lines below, though in the next Scene, that we learn from Juliet's soliloquy that the Nurse was sent at nine in the morning, that she was slow on her errand, and that on her return Juliet was to go directly to the Friar's. The error is the result of forgetfulness or carelessness on the part of the person who provided the manuscript for the first edition. That such was the origin of this discrepancy, appears yet further by a speech of Romeo's, according to the first quarto, just after he enters the Friar's cell. Conforming to its previous appointment of the morning for the marriage, this text makes Romeo say, "This morning here she 'pointed we should meet." But this consistency operates rather against than in favor of the Shakespearian origin of the other passages in which this word appears; for any person of ordinary poetic apprehension and discrimination, on reading the whole of the latter speech, will see clearly and at once that it is none of Shakespeare's. Thus it runs : —

"This morning here she pointed we should meet,
And consumate those neuer parting bands
Witnes of our harts loue by joyning hands,
And come she will."

Who will believe that this dribble of tame sense and feeble rhythm was written by the same man who (according to the same edition) had written in the first Scene of the play the following passage, and others like it ? —

"Madame, an houre before the worshipt sunne
Peept through the golden window of the East,
A troubled thought drew me from companie:
Where vnderneath the grove [of] Sicamoure
That Westward rooteth from the Cities side,
So early walking might I see your sonne," &c.

— Again, when, in the second Scene of Act III., Juliet exclaims, according to the same quarto of 1597, —

"But wherefore villaine didst thou kill my Cousen?
That villaine Cousen would have kild my husband
All this is comfort. But there yet," &c, —

we naturally ask, All what is comfort? There is no reply short of the quarto of 1599, where we find these lines interposed between the second and third of those above : —

"Backe foolish teares, back to your natiue spring;
Your tributarie drops belong to woe,
Which you, mistaking, offer up to ioy.
My husband Hues, that Tybalt would have slaine;
And Tybalts dead, that would haue slain my husband!"

And there we see what Juliet's comfort was. — But to look at
the very next speech and the reply to it in the quarto of 1597:
Juliet having asked where her father and her mother are, the
Nurse replies, —

"Weeping and wayling over Tybalt's coarse
Will you goe to them?"

and Juliet answers, —

"I, I, [Ay, ay,] when theirs are spent
Mine shall be shed," &c.'

When what are spent? What shall be shed? Where is the antecedent of "theirs"? We find it only in the quarto of 1599, in which the passage appears thus : —

11 Where is my father and my mother nurse?

Nur. Weeping and wayling ouer Tibalts course, Will you go to them? I will bring them thither.

Jul. Wash they his icounds with teares t mine shall be spent," &c.

Manifestly the words in italic letter are a forgotten or lost part of the very text which the quarto of 1597 sought to give.

Passing by, for the sake of necessary brevity, many like instances of clearly imperfect representation of the authorized version of the play in the earliest edition, we come to this one in Act IV. Sc. 5. Capulet says to Paris,

11 O son! the night before thy wredding-day
Hath death lain with thy bride : — there she lies,
Flower as she was, deflowered by him.
Death is my son-in-law, death is my heir;
My daughter he hath wedded — I will die,
And leave him all; life leaving, all is death's!"

The person who provided the copy for the edition of 1597 was either unable to set down the last two lines and a half, or could not remember their phraseology well enough to imitate them. VOL. X. B

But he did not forget their purport, and he "lumped it' aftei this fashion: —

"Death is my Sonne in Law, to him I glue all that I haue."

In the quarto of 1597, a part of Romeo's recollective soliloquy about the apothecary appears in this extraordinary guise : —

"As I doo remember
Here dwells a Pothecarie whom oft I noted
As I past by, whose needie shop is stufft
With beggerly accounts of emptie boxes:
And in the same an Aligarta hangs,
Old ends of packthred, and cakes of Roses,
Are thinly strewed to make up a show."

Our wonder at Shakespeare's ever describing an apothecary's shop as stuffed with beggarly accounts of empty boxes is at an end when we have traced the reporter's confusion through the text of the authentic copy, and see how he was led to stuff the shop instead of the alligator, and to jumble the traits and conditions of the two together.

"Sharpe miserie had worne him to the bones:
And in his needie shop a tortoyes hung,
An allegater shift, and other skins
Of ill shapte fishes; and about his shelves
A beggerly account of emptie boxes,
Greene earthen pots, bladders, and mustie seeds,
Remnants of packthred, and old cakes of Roses,
Were thinly scattered, to make up a shew."

Again, when, in the last Scene of the play, Capulet, according to the first quarto, exclaims, —

** See wife, this dagger hath mistooke:
For (loe) the backe is emptie of yong Mountague
And it is sheathed in our Daughters breast," —

we are at loss to understand the phrase, 4 the backe is emptie, and no less to discern what connection there is between the empty back of Romeo and the dagger in the breast of Juliet, But the quarto of 1599 helps us out of our trouble by giving us what the publisher of the first edition sought to give, but was prevented by a confusion in the notes from which his text was transcribed.

"0 heauens! O wife looke how our daughter bleedes!
This dagger hath mistane, for loe his house
Is emptie on the back of Mountague
And is missheathd in my daughters bosome."

That the text of the first quarto (1597) is, in a great measure at least, but a corrupted version of that of the second, (1599,) which was announced as "newly corrected, augmented, and amended," and upon which the text of this play in all subsequent editions has been based, seems clear from the comparison just made between the two. That the corruption is not due to the printers, those careless causes of so much of our editorial toil, there is evidence almost equally unmistakable upon the pages of the earlier and corrupt edition. This exists in the stage directions, which in the first quarto of this play are of a very singular character, and were quite surely not taken from a manuscript copy of the play furnished by the author, or surreptitiously obtained from the theatre, but written down by a person who saw the play passing before his eyes as he wrote, or who called up before his mind's eye a memory of the action.

Stage directions are what their name very exactly expresses. They are directions for the stage, and not for readers. They instruct the actors about their exits and their entrances, and the more important of those other movements without a regulation of wThich stage business could not go on. They are usually brief in terms, and mandatory in tone: directions to an individual, not explanations to an audience or a reader. If the actor obey, the audience will need no explanation; and these remarks are especially true of the plays of our early stage, which were not written to be read, but to be acted. Now, in the first complete edition of Borneo and Juliet (the quarto of 1599) we have a certain kind of particularity which we do not find in those of the previous and incomplete edition, (the quarto of 1597.) Thus, in the first Scene the latter gives us only "Enter 2 seruing-men of the Capolets," but the former, "Enter Sampson and Gregorie, with swords and bucklers of the house of Capulet." — Farther on in the same Scene we have in the first edition this one general direction: •• They [the serving-men] draw, to them enters Tybalt, they fight, to them the Prince, old Mountague and his wife, old Capulet and

* For other evidence as to this point, see the Notes on c; Why rail'st thou on Jiy birth," &c, Act. III. Sc. 3, and "I will be brief," &c, Act V. Sc 3.

his wife, and other citizens, and part them:" but in the second and complete edition we find, as the action advances, at each step these separate directions: "Enter Benvolio," " They fight,1' "Enter Tibalt," "Enter three or four e citizens with clubs or partysons," "Enter old Capulet in his gowne, and his wife," "Enter old Mountague and his wife," "Enter prince Eskales, with his traine." Again, in Act I. Sc. 4 we read, in the imperfect edition, "Enter Maskers, with Romeo and a Page;" but in the second, "Enter Romeo, Mercutio, Benuolio, with five or six other maskers, torch bearers:" and in Act II. Sc. 3 in the former, "Enter Friar Francis;" but in the latter, "Enter the Friar with a basket" Not to continue this comparison, it is to be observed that it is only in the directions of the second quarto (1599) that we find that kind of particularity which is necessary for stage purposes. It would do for the readers of the play to know that two serving-men entered, that Tybalt, and the Prince, and old Capulet and Montague, and their wives, and some citizens, came on and parted the combatants, and that some Maskers came on with Romeo and a page, &c, &c. But for the actors, and the prompter, and the property man, it was necessary to know that the serving-men were Sampson and Gregory, and that they were to carry swords and bucklers, that the citizens should carry clubs and partisans, that old Capulet should wear his gown, that Prince Escalus should be accompanied by his train, and that Romeo should be accompanied not only by Mercutio and Benvolio, but by torch bearers, and that the Friar should carry a basket. But, as we look on further, we find, in Act II. Sc. 4, that when Mercutio delivers the stanza, "An old hare hoar," &c, there is no stage direction in the perfect edition; for none was necessary; the manner in which it was to be done being left, of course, to the taste and skill of the actor. In the imperfect quarto of 1597, however, we find, "He walkes by them and sings;" and thus we have a contemporary record of the manner in which Shakespeare's first Mercutio played this passage. So just below in the same Scene, when the Nurse says to Peter, "And thou must stand by, too," &c, there is no stage direction in the perfect copy; for there was no occasion for any; but the observation of the person who furnished the copy for the first edition is recorded in the stage direction, utterly needless even to a reader, "She turnes to Peter, her man." Of like character are the following directions which appear in the quarto of 1597, in passages where that of 1599 has none or the baldest order for an

« AnteriorContinuar »