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We must talk in secret.-Nurse, come back again ;
NURSE. 'Faith, I can tell her age unto an hour.
I'll lay fourteen of my teeth, And yet, to my teen be it spoken, I have but
A fortnight, and odd days.
- 10 my TEEN -] To my sorrow. Johnson. So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, b. i. c. ix :
for dread and doleful teen." This old word is introduced by Shakspeare for the sake of the jingle between teen, and four, and fourteen. STEEVENS.
3 'Tis since the earthquake now eleven years ;] But how comes the Nurse to talk of an earthquake upon this occasion ? There is no such circumstance, I believe, mentioned in any of the novels from which Shakspeare may be supposed to have drawn his story; and therefore it seems probable, that he had in view the earthquake, which had really been felt in many parts of England, in his own time, viz. on the 6th of April, 1580. [See Stowe's Chronicle, and Gabriel Harvey's Letter in the Preface to Spenser's Works, edit. 1679.] If so, one may be permitted to conjecture, that Romeo and Juliet, or this part of it at least, was written in 1591 ; after the 6th of April, when the eleven years since the earthquake were completed; and not later than the middle of July, a fortnight and odd days before Lammas-tide.
Sitting in the sun under the dove-house wall,
(ID quoth he:(ID)
* Quarto A, up and down. + Quarto A, Juliet. 3 Nay, I do BEAR A BRAIN:] That is, I have a perfect remembrance or recollection. So, in The Country Captain, by the Duke of Newcastle, 1649, p. 51: “ When these wordes of command are rotten, wee will sow some other military seedes; you beare a braine and memory.” Reed. So, in Ram-Alley, or Merry Tricks, 1611 :
“ Dash, we must bear some brain." Again, in Marston's Dutch Courtesan, 1604 :
nay an I bear not a brain." Again, in Heywood's Golden Age, 1611 : “ As I can bear a pack, so I can bear a brain.”
STEEVENS. - could stand alone;] The 4to. 1597, reads : “ could stand high lone,” i. e. quite alone, completely alone. So, in another of our author's plays, high fantastical means entirely fantastical.
STEEVENS. s-it stinted,] i. e. it stopped, it forbore from weeping. So,
(11) La. CAP. Enough of this; I pray thee, hold
thy peace. Nurse. Yes, madam ; Yet I cannot choose but
laugh, To think it should leave crying, and say-Ay: And yet, I warrant, it had upon its brow A bump as big as a young cockrel's stone; A parlous knock; and it cried bitterly. Yea, quoth my husband, fallst upon thy face? Thou wilt fall backward, when thou com'st to age; Wilt thou not, Jule ? it stinted, and said-Ay (1) Jul. And stint thou too, I pray thee, nurse, say
I. NURSE. Peace, I have done. God mark thee to
La. CAP. Marry, that marry is the very theme I came to talk of * :-Tell me, daughter Juliet, How stands your disposition up to be married ?
Jül. It is an honour 7 that I dream not of.
* Quarto A, And that same marriage is the theme I mean to
talk of. + Quarto B, How stand
affected. Sir Thomas North, in his translation of Plutarch, speaking of the wound which Antony received, says : “ for the blood stinted a little when he was laid.” Again, in Cynthia's Revels, by Ben Jonson :
“ Stint thy babbling tongue." Again, in What You Will, by Marston, 1607:
“ Pish! for shame, stint thy idle chat.” Again, in The Misfortunes of King Arthur, an ancient drama, 1587 :
· Fame's but a blast that sounds a while, “ And quickly stints, and then is quite forgot.” Spenser uses this word frequently in his Fairy Queen.
STEEVENS. 6 Nurse. Yes, madam; Yet I cannot choose, &c.] This speech and tautology is not in the first edition. Pope.
7 It is an honour -] The first quarto reads honour ; the folio, hour. I have chosen the reading of the quarto.
The word hour seems to have nothing in it that could draw
NURSE. An honour ! were not I thine only
nurse, I would say, thou hadst suck'd wisdom from thy teat. (ID LACAP. Well, think of marriage now;
younger than you, Here in Verona, ladies of esteem, Are made already mothers : by my count, I was your mother much upon these years That you are now a maid. Thus then, in brief;--(ID The valiant Paris seeks you for his love*.
NURSE. A man, young lady ! lady, such a man, As all the world--Why, he's a man of wax o. LA. CAP. Verona's summer hath not such a
flower. Nurse'. Nay, he's a flower; in faith, a very
* Quarto A, Well, girl : the noble countie Paris seeks thee for
his wife. from the Nurse that applause which she immediately bestows. The word honour was likely to strike the old ignorant woman, as a very elegant and discreet word for the occasion. STEEVENS.
Honour was changed to hour in the quarto 1599. Malone.
8 Well, &c.] Instead of this speech, the quarto 1597, has only one line : Well, girl, the noble County Paris seeks thee for his wife.”
STEEVENS. a man of wax.] So, in Wily Beguiled : Why, he's a man as one should picture him in wax.”
STEEVENS. - a man of wax." Well made, as if he had been modelled in wax, as Mr. Steevens by a happy quotation has explained it. “ When you, Lydia, praise the waxen arms of Telephus,” (says Horace,) [Waxen, well shaped, fine turned :)
“ With passion swells my fervid breast,
“ With passion hard to be supprest.” Dr. Bentley changes cerea into lactea, little understanding that the praise was given to the shape, not to the colour. S. W.
Nurse.] After this speech of the Nurse, Lady Capulet in the old quarto says only:
Well, Juliet, how like you of Paris' love ?”
“ I'll look to like,” &c. and so concludes the scene, without the intervention of that stuff to be found in the later quartos and the folio. STEEVENS.
(11) La. CAP. What say you ? ? can you love the
2 La. Cap. What say you? &c.] This ridiculous speech is entirely added since the first edition. POPE.
3 Read o'er the volume, &c.] The same thought occurs in Pericles Prince of Tyre :
“ Her face the book of praises, where is read
Nothing but curious pleasures.” STEEVENS. 4 Examine every MARRIED lineament, &c.] Thus the quarto 1599. The quarto 1609-several lineament. By the former of these phrases Shakspeare means–Examine how nicely one feature depends upon another, or accords with another, in order to produce that harmony of the whole face which seems to be implied in the word-content. In Troilus and Cressida, he speaks of “ the married calm of states ; and in his 8th Sonnet has the same allusion:
“ If the true concord of well-tuned sounds,
• By unions married, do offend thine ear." So also, in Ronsard :
“ Phebus du milieu de la table,
“A son archet melodieux." Again:
“ Le mariant aux haleines
“ D’un son furieux et grave.”. STEEVENS. This speech, as has been observed, is not in the quarto 1597. The reading of the text is that of the quarto 1599. The folio, after a later quarto, that of 1609, reads several lineament. I have no doubt that married was the poet's word, and that it was altered only because the printer of the quarto of 1609 did not understand it. MaloNE.
the margin of his eyes.] The comments on ancient books were always printed in the margin. So, Horatio in Hamlet says : “- I knew you must be edified by the margent,” &c. STEEVENS.
So, in our author's Rape of Lucrece :