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Enter a Servant. 10 Serv. Madam, the guests are come, supper servid up, you call'd, my young lady ask'd for, the nurse curit'in the pantry, and every thing in extremity. I must hence to wait; I beseech you follow strait.
La. Cap. We follow thee.—Juliet, the County stays. Nurse. Go, girl, seek happy nights to happy days.
Enter Romeo, Mercutio, Benvolio, with five or fix
Maskers, Torch-bearers, and others. Rom. What, shall this speech be spoke for our
excuse ? Or shall we on without apology? Ben. · The date is out of such prolixity.
10 To this speech there are likewise additions since the elder quarto, but they are not of sufficient consequence to be quoted. STEEVENS.
The date is out of such prolixity.) i. e. Masks are now out of fashion. That Shakespeare was an enemy to these fooleries, appears from his writing none; and that his plays discredited such entertainments is more than probable. But in James's time, that reign of false taste as well as false politics, they came again in fashion; and a deluge of this affected nonsense overlowed the court and country. WARBURTON.
The diverfion going forward at present is not a masque but a masquerade. In llenry VIII. where the king introduces himself to the entertainment given by Wolsey, he appears like Romeo and his companions in a mak, and sends a messenger before, to make an apology for his intrusion. This was a custom observed by those who came uninvited, with a desire to conceal themselves for the sake of intrigue, or to enjoy the greater freedom of conversation. Their entry on these occafions was always prefaced by some spcech in praise of the beauty of the ladies, or the generosity of the entertainer; and to the prolixity of such introductions I
We'll have no Cupid, hood-wink'd with a scarf,
Rom. - Give me a torch, I am not for this ambling.
“ He is just
believe Romeo is made to allude. In the accounts of many entertainments given in reigns antecedent to that of Elizabeth, I find this custom preserved. Of the same kind of masquerading, see a specimen in Timon, where Cupid precedes a troop of ladies with a speech. STEEVENS.
2 -like a crow-keeper ;] The word crow-keeper is explained in Lcar. JOHNSON.
3 Nor no without-beok prologue, &c.] The two following lines are inserted from the first edition. Pope.
4 Give me a torch,] The character which Romeo declares his resolution to assume, will be best explained by a passage in Wefward Hoe, by Decker and Webster, 1607 : “ like a torch-bearer to makers; he wears good cloaths, and " is ranked in good company, but he doth nothing." A torch-bearer seems to have been a constant attendant on every person masked. So in the second part of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, 1601,
As on a masque; but for our torch-bearers,
a gallant crew,
(« Who, with his torch, is enter'd.” Again, in the Merchant of Venice,
« We have not spoke as yet of torch-bearers." STEVENS,
5 Mer. You are a lover ; borrow Cupid's wings, And foar with them above a common bound.
Rom. I am too fore enpearced with his shaft,
Mer.' And to sink in it, should you burden love? Too great oppression for a tender thing.
Rom. Is love a tender thing? It is too rough, Too rude, too boilt'rous; and it pricks like thorn.
Mer. If love be rough with you, be rough with
Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down.--Give me a case to put my visage in :
[Putting on his mask. A visor for a visor!-what care I, What curious eye doth quote deformities? Here are the beetle-brows shall blush for me.
Ben. Come, knock, and enter; and no sooner in, But ev'ry man betake him to his legs.
Rom. A torch for me. 7 Let wantons, light of heart, Tickle the senseless rushes with their heels; s For I'am proverb’d with a grand-fire phrase ;
s Mer. You are a lover, &c.) The twelve following lines are not to be found in the first edition. Pope.
so bound, I cannot bound, &c.] Let Milton's example, on this occasion, keep Shakespeare in countenance :
“ Of hill, &c.” P. L. book iv. 1. 180. STEEVENS. ? Let wantons light of keart, &c.] Middleton has borrowed this thought in his play of Blurt Master Constable, 1602.
bid him, whose heart no sorrow feels, " Tickle the rules with his wanton heels,
" I have too much lead at mine." STEEVENS. & The grand fire-phrase is—The black ox bas trod upon my foot. JOHNSON,
I'll be a candle-holder, and look on.-
9 Tut! dun's the mouse, the confiable's own word:) This poor obscure stuff should have an explanation in mere charity. It is an answer to these two lines of Romeo :
For I am proverb'd with a grandfire's phrase ;-and
The game was ne'er so fair, and I am done. Mercutio, in his reply, answers the last line firit. The thought of which, and of the preceding, is taken from gaming. I'll be a candle-holder (says Romeo) and look on. It is true, if I could play myself, I could never expect a fairer chance than in the company we are going to : but, alas! I am done. I have nothing to play with; I have lost my heart already. Mercutio catches at the word done, and quibbles with it, as if Romeo had said, The ladies indeed are fair, but I am dun, i. e. of a dark complexion. And fo replies, Tut! dun's the mouse; a proverbial expression of the same import with the French, La nuit tous les chats font gris : as much as to say, You need not fear, night will make all your complexions alike. And because Romeo had introduced his observation with,
I am proverb'd with a grandhire phrase, Mercutio adds to his reply, the constable's own word: as much as to say, If you are for old proverbs, I'll fit you with one; 'tis the constable's own word; whose custom was, when he summoned his watch, and affigned them their several stations, to give them what the soldiers call, the word. But this night, guard being distinguished for their pacific character, the contable, as an emblem of their harmless difpofition, chose that domestic animal for his word: which, in time, might become proverbial. WARBURTON.
A proverbial saying, ufed by Mr. Tho. Heywood, in his play, intitled The Dutchess of Suffolk, act 3.
rope for Bishop Bonner, Clunce run,
“ Draw dun out of the ditch." Dr. GRAY. Draw dun out of the mire, seems to have been a game. !n an old collection of Satyres, Epigrams, &c. I find it enumerated among other pastimes:
“ At shove-groate, venter-point, or crosse and pile,
* Or (save your reverence) love, wherein thou stickelt
Mer. I mean, Sir, in delay
Rom. And we mean well in going to this mak;
Mer. Why, may one ask?
So Skelton in his Crowne of Lawrel,
“ Dun is in the mire, dame reach me my spur.” Again, in Humour out of Breath, a comedy, 1607.
“ I must play dun, and draw them all out of the mire." Dan's the mouse is a proverbial phrase, which I have met with frequently in the old comedies. So in Every Woman in ber Humour, 1609.
If my host say the word, the mouse mall be dun." Of this cant exprefsion I cannot determine the precise meaning, It is used again in Westward Hoe, by Decker and Webster, 1607, but apparently in a sense different from that which Dr. Warburton would affix to it. STEEVENS.
'Or (save your reverence) love,--] The word or obscures the sentence; we should read O! for or love. Mercutio having called the affection with which Romeo was entangled by so disrespectful a word as mire, cries out,
O! save your reverence, love. JOHNSON.
“ Works iimself clear, and as he runs refines :" for in the former he is made to say,
from the mire Of this fir-reverence, love, wherein thou stick'st. Steev. ? —like lamps by day.) Lamps is the reading of the old quarto. The folio and subsequent quarto's read lights, light's by day. STEVENS.