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my wits :
It strains me past the compass
of I hear thou must, and nothing must prorogue it, On Thursday next be married to this county.
Jul. Tell me not, friar, that thou hear'st of this, Unless thou tell me how I
may prevent it : If in thy wisdom thou canst give no help, Do thou but call my resolution wise, And with this knife I'll help it presently. God join'd my heart and Romeo's, thou our hands ; And ere this hand, by thee to Romeo seal’d, Shall be the label to another deed, Or my true heart with treacherous revolt Turn to another, this shall slay them both. Therefore, out of thy long-experienc'd time, Give me some present counsel ; or, behold, 'Twixt my extremes and me this bloody knife Shall play the umpire, arbitrating that Which the commission of thy years and art Could to no issue of true honour bring. Be not so long to speak ; I long to die, If what thou speak’st speak not of remedy.
Fri. Hold, daughter! I do spy a kind of hope, Which craves as desperate an execution As that is desperate which we would prevent. If, rather than to marry county Paris, Thou hast the strength of will to slay thyself, Then is it likely thou wilt undertake A thing like death to chide away this shame, That cop'st with death himself to 'scape from it; And, if thou dar'st, I'll give thee remedy.
Jul. O! bid me leap, rather than marry Paris,
4 The seals of deeds formerly were appended on distinct slips or labels affixed to the deed. Hence in King Richard II. the Duke of York discovers a covenant, which his son the Duke of Aumerle had entered into, by the depending seal.
From off the battlements of yonder tower ;'
Fri. Hold, then : go home, be merry, give con
marry Paris. Wednesday is to-morrow;
5 So the first quarto; the other old copies, “any tower.” — In the second line below, the first quarto reads thus :
“Or chain me to some steepy mountain's top,
Where roaring bears and savage lions are.” 6 So the undated quarto : the folio of 1623 has grave instead of shroud : the quartos of 1599 and 1609 have nothing after his, thus leaving the sense incomplete. The first quarto gives the line thus : “Or lay me in a tomb with one new dead.” — Instead of the last line in this speech, the quarto of 1597 has the following:
“ To keep myself a faithful unstain'd wise
To my dear lord, my dearest Romeo." 7 In the first quarto, where this whole speech extends only to fourteen lines, we have the following, which is in some respects better than the reading of the other old copies :
No warmth, no breath, shall testify thou liv'st;
Jul. Give me, give me! O, tell me not of fear!
His natural progress, but surcease to beat.” 8 So the undated quarto: the other old copies have many instead of poly; except the second folio, which has mealy.
9 The Italian custom here alluded to, of carrying the dead body to the grave richly dressed, and with the face uncovered, Shakespeare found particularly described in Brooke's poem: “ An other use there is, that whosoever dyes, Borne to their church, with open face upon the beere he lyes, In wonted weed attyrde, not wrapt in winding sheete.”
In this resolve : I'll send a friar with speed
help afford. Farewell, dear father!
A Room in CAPULET's House.
Enter CAPULET, Lady CAPULET, the Nurse, and
[Exit Servant. Sirrah, go bire me twenty cunning cooks.
2 Serv. You shall have none ill, sir ; for I'll try if they can lick their fingers.
i Cooking was an art of great esteem in Shakespeare's time, as indeed it is likely to be, so long as men keep up the habit of eating. Ben Jonson's description of “a master cook,” too long to be quoted here, is a specimen of the humourous sublime not apt to be forgotten by any one that has feasted upon it. The Poet has been suspected of an oversight or something worse, in making Capulet give order here for so many “cunning cooks;" whereupon the pictorial edition defends him thus : “Old Capulet, in his exuberant spirits at his daughter's approaching marriage, calls for "twenty' of these artists. The critics think this too large a number. Ritson says, with wonderful simplicity, — Either Capulet had altered his mind strangely, or our author forgot what he had just made him tell us.' This is indeed to understand the Poet with admirable exactness. The passage is entirely in keeping with Shakespeare's habit of hitting off a character almost by a word. Capulet is evidently a man of ostentation ; but his ostentation, as is most generally the case, is covered with a thin veil of affected indifference. In the first Act he says to his guests, – • We have a trifling foolish banquet toward. In the third Act, when he settles the day of Paris' marriage, he just hints, -"We'll keep no great ado; - a friend, or two.? But Shakespeare knew that these indications of the pride which apes humility' were not inconsistent with the 'twenty cooks,' - the regret that we shall be much unfurnish'd for this time, and the solicitude expressed in, Look to the bak'd meats, good Angelica.'”
Cap. How canst thou try them so ?
2 Serv. Marry, sir, 'tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers: ’ therefore, he that cannot lick his fingers goes not with me. Cap. Go, begone.
[Erit Servant. We shall be much unfurnish'd for this time. What! is my daughter gone to friar Laurence ?
Nurse. Ay, forsooth.
Nurse. See, where she comes from shrift with
Cap. How now, my headstrong! where have you
been gadding ? Jul. Where I have learn'd me to repent the sin Of disobedient opposition To you and your behests; and am enjoin'd By holy Laurence to fall prostrate here, And beg your pardon. -- Pardon, I beseech you ! Henceforward I am ever rul'd by you.
Cup. Send for the county: go tell him of this. I'll have this knot knit up to-morrow morning.
Jul. I met the youthful lord at Laurence' cell ; And gave him what becomed love I might, Not stepping o'er the bounds of modesty.
2 This adage is in Puttenham's Arte of English Poesie, 1589 :
“ As the olde cocke crowes so doeth the chicke :
A bad cooke that cannot his owne fingers lick.” 3 Becomed for becoming. The old writers furnish many such instances of the active and passive forms used interchangeably.