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Can vengeance be pursued further than death?
Par. I do defy thy conjurations,
[They fight. Page. O Lord! they fight: I will go call the watch.
[Exit Page. Par. O, I am slain ! [Falls.] - If thou be mer
[Dies. Rom. In faith, I will. — Let me peruse this
3 So the quarto of 1597 : that of 1599 has commiration; the later copies, commiseration. Conjurations are earnest requests or entreaties : the verb conjure is still much used in the same sense. Mr. Collier, however, retains the later reading, alleging that “the sense of commiseration is clear ; not so of conjurations." What can the man mean? Conjurations is just the word wanted for the place.
Said he not so ? or did I dream it so ?
[Laying Paris in the Monument.
4 A lantern does not here signify an enclosure for a lighted candle, but a louvre, or what in ancient records is styled lanternium ; that is, a spacious round or octagonal turret full of windows, by means of which cathedrals and sometimes balls are illuminated; such as the beautiful lantern at Ely Minster. The same word, with the same sense, occurs in Churchyard's Siege of Edinborough Castle : “ This lofty seat and lantern of that land like lodestarre stode, and lokte o'er ev'ry streete." And in Holland's translation of Pliny: “ Hence came the louvers and lanternes reared over the roofes of temples.” A presence is a public room, which is at times the presence-chamber of a sovereign.
5 This idea frequently occurs in old dramas. So in The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, 1601 :
"I thought it was a lightning before death,
Too sudden to be certain.” 8 So in Sidney's Arcadia : “ Death being able to divide the soule, but not the beauty, from her body." - This speech yields another apt instance of the care and skill with which the “ corrected, augmented, and amended” copy of this play was elaborated. The quarto of 1597 gives merely the following:
“ Ah, dear Juliet!
Thou art not conquer'd ; beauty's ensign yet
Therefore will I, O here, O ever here!
Thy drugs are swift : thus with a kiss I die." 7 The old copies, except the first quarto, read thus : « I will be. lieve, shall I believe that unsubstantial death is amorous." Where « I will believe" is obviously but another reading for “ shall I believe.” Collier, however, retains both! - A connection is trace. able between parts of this speech and some lines in Daniel's Complaint of Rosamond, published in 1592. In the first five lines the ghost of Rosamond is speaking of her death, and in the others is reporting what her royal lover spoke when he came and found her dead :
“ But now, the poison, spread through all my veins,
To entertain itself in love's sweet place :
And never from this palace of dim night
Enter, at the other end of the Church-yard, Friar
LAURENCE, with a Lantern, Crow, and Spade.
Fri. St. Francis be my speed! how oft to-night Have my old feet stumbled at graves ! 10 – Who's
8 All the old copies except the first quarto have a remarkable corruption here which is not easy to be accounted for. Whether the matter were a various reading by the Poet, or an interpolation by the players, is uncertain ; but the confusion it makes shows that it could not have been meant by Shakespeare as a part of the text. It may also be cited as proving that the folio must have been printed from one of the quarto copies. After the words, “ Depart again,” are added the following lines :
“Come, lie thou in my arms.
Thus with a kiss I die. Depart again." 9 Conduct for conductor. So in a former scene : « And fireeyed fury be my conduct now.”
* 10 This accident was reckoned ominous. So in King Richard III., Hastings, going to execution, says, -« Three times to-day VOL. X.
Bal. Here's one, a friend, and one that knows
you well. Fri. Bliss be upon you! Tell me, good my friend, What torch is yond' that vainly lends his light To grubs and eyeless skulls ? as I discern, It burneth in the Capels' monument.
Bal. It doth so, holy sir; and there's my master, One that you love. Fri.
Who is it?
Full half an hour.
I dare not, sir : My master knows not but I am gone hence, And fearfully did menace me with death, If I did stay to look on his intents. Fri. Stay, then, I'll go alone. Fear comes upon
Bal. As I did sleep under this yew-tree here,
my foot-cloth horse did stumble.” — After this line, some editors have added another from the first quarto, thus : “Who is it that consorts so late the dead ?”
H. 11 So the quarto of 1599 ; that of 1609 and the folio have “unlucky thing."
H. 12 This is one of the touches of nature that would have escaped the hand of any painter less attentive to it than Shakespeare. What happens to a person while he is under the manifest influence of fear, will seem to him, when he is recovered from it, like a dream. Homer represents Rhesus dying, fast asleep, and, as it were, beholding his enemy in a dream, plunging a sword into his bosom. Eustathius and Dacier both applaud this image as very natural ; for a man in such a condition, says Mr. Pope, awakes no further than to see confusedly what environs him, and to think it not a reality, but a vision. - STEEVENS.