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My dreams presage some joyful news at hand: 3 My bosom's lord sits lightly on his throne; And all this day an unaccustom'd spirit Lifts me above the ground with chearful thoughts. I dreamt, my lady came and found me dead; (Strange dream! that gives a dead man leave to think)
I The acts are here properly enough divided, nor did any better diftribution than the editors have already made, occur to me in the perusal of this play; yet it may not be improper to remark, that in the first folio, and I suppose the foregoing editions are in the same state, there is no division of the acts, and therefore some future editor may try, whether any improvement can be made, by reducing them to a length more equal, or interrupting the action at more proper intervals.
JOHNSON. 2 If I may trust the flattering TRUTH of peep,] The sense is, If I may only truft the honesty of feep, which I know however not to be so nice as not often to practise flattery. JOHNSON.
The oldest copy reads, the flattering eye of deep. Whether this reading ought to supersede the more modern one, I fall not pretend to determine : it appears to me, however, the most cafily intelligible of the two. STEVENS.
3 My bofom's lord] These three lines are very gay and pleasing. But why does Shakespeare give Romeo 'this invojuntary cheerfulness just before the extremity of unhappiness ? Perhaps to fhew the vanity of trusting to those uncertain and casual exaltations or depressions, which many consider as certain foretokens of good and evil. Johnson.
The poet has explained this paffage himself a little further an,
" How oft, when men are at the point of death,
And breath'd such life with kisses in my lips,
-How now, Balthasar ?
Balth. Then she is well, and nothing can be ill;
did leave it for my office, Sir. Rom. Is it even fo? then I defy you, stars 4 !— Thou know'st my lodging: get me ink and paper, And hire post-horses: I will hence to-night.
Balth. Pardon me, Sir, I dare not leave you thus s.
Rom. Tush, thou art deceiv’d.
Balth. No, my good lord.
Rom. No matter : get thee gone,
[Exit Balthasar, Well, Juliet, I will lie with thee to-night.
4 - I defy you, stars !] The folio reads--deny you, stars.
STEEVENS. 5 Pardon me, Sir, I dare not leave you thus.] This line is taken from the quarto, 1597. The quarto, 1609, and the folio read, “ I do beseech you, Sir, have patience." Steevens.
Let's see for means : O mischief! thou art swift
Rom. Come hither, man.- I see, that thou art poor. Hold; there is forty ducats. Let me have A dram of poison ; such soon-speeding geer, As will disperse itself thro' all the veins, That the life-weary taker may fall dead; And that the trunk may be discharg'd of breath, As violently, as hasty powder fir’d Doth hurry from the fatal cannon's womb.
A BEGGARLY account of empty boxes ;] Dr. Warburton would read, a braggartly account; but beggarly is probably right : if the boxes were empty, the account was more beggarly, as it was more pompous, Johnson.
Ap. Such mortal drugs I have ; but Mantua's law Is death to any he that utters them.
Rom. Art thou fo bare and full of wretchedness,
Ap. My poverty, but not my will, consents.
Ap. Put this in any liquid thing you will,
S CE N E II.
Enter friar John.
? Need and oppression ftare vithin thine eyes,] The first quarto reads,
“And starved famine dwelleth in thy cheeks.” The quartos, 1599, 1609, and the folio,
“ Need and oppression starveth in thine eyes.” The variation in the text has hitherto been merely arbitrary.
Sreevens. Upon thy back hangs ragged misery,] This is the reading of the oldest copy. I have reitored it in preference to the following line, which is found in all the subsequent impressions. “ Contempt and beggary hang upon thy back.”
Enter friar Laurence.
John. Going to find a bare-foot brother out,
Lau. Who bore my letter then to Romeo ?
John. I could not send it; here it is again ;
Lau. Unhappy fortune ! by my brotherhood,
John. Brother, I'll go and bring it thee. [Exit.
Lou. Now must I to the monument alone,
[Exit. One of our order, to associate me,] Each friar has always a companion affigned him by the fuperior whenever he asks leave to go out; and thus, says Baretti, they are a check upon cach other. STEEVENS.
was not nice,–] i. e. was not written on a trivial subject, or in compliance merely with the laws of ceremony.