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Ben. Part, fools! put up your swords; you know not what you do. [Beats down their swords.
less hinds ?
Ben. I do but keep the peace : put up thy sword, Or manage it to part these men with me. Tyb. What! drawn, and talk of peace? I hate
the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee. Have at thee, coward.
Enter several Partisans of both Houses, who join the
Fray; then enter Citizens, with Clubs. 1 Cit. Clubs, bills, and partizans ! 8 strike! beat
them down! Down with the Capulets ! down with the Monta
instead of swashing. The latter is undoubtedly the right word. Ben Jonson, in his Staple of News, has the phrase swashing blow. Baret, in his Alvearie, 1580, says that “ to swash is to make a noise with swords against targets." See As You Like It, Act i. sc. 3, note 8.
H. 8 The old custom of crying out, Clubs, clubs! in case of any tumult occurring in the streets of London, has been made familiar to most readers by Scott in The Fortunes of Nigel. See As You Like It, Act v. sc. 2. note 3. — Bills and partizans were weapons used by watchmen and foresters. See As You Like It, Act i. sc. 2, note 5. — This transferring of London customs 10 an Italian city is thus justified by Knight : “ The use by Shakespeare of home phrases, in the months of foreign characters, was a part of his art. It is the same thing as rendering Sancho's Spanish prov. erbs into the corresponding English proverbs, instead of literally • translating them. The cry of clubs by the citizens of Verona
expressed an idea of popular movement, which could not have been conveyed half so emphatically in a foreign phrase.” H.
Enter CAPULET, in his Gown ; and Lady CAPULET. Cap. What noise is this ? — Give me my long
sword, ho ! Lady C. A crutch, a crutch!- Why call you for
a sword ? Cap. My sword, I say ! - Old Montague is come, And flourishes his blade in spite of me.
Enter MONTAGUE and Lady MONTAGUE. Mon. Thou villain Capulet !- Hold me not; let
me go. Lady M. Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a
Enter the Prince, with Attendants. Prin. Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace, Profaners of this neighbor-stained steel,Will they not hear ! — what ho! you men, you
beasts, That quench the fire of your pernicious rage With purple fountains issuing from your veins, On pain of torture, from those bloody hands Throw your mistemper'd weapons to the ground, And hear the sentence of your moved prince. — Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word, By thee, old Capulet, and Montague, Have thrice disturb’d the quiet of our streets ; And made Verona's ancient citizens Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments, To wield old partizans, in hands as old, Canker'd with peace, to part your canker'd hate.
9 The long sword was used in active warfare ; a lighter, shorter, and less desperate weapon was worn for ornament.
If ever you disturb our streets again,
and BENVOLIO. . Mon. Who set this ancient quarrel new abroach? Speak, nephew, were you by when it began.
Ben. Here were the servants of your adversary, And yours, close fighting ere I did approach : I drew to part them ; in the instant came The fiery Tybalt, with his sword prepar'd ; Which, as he breath'd defiance to my ears, He swung about his head, and cut the winds, Who, nothing hurt withal, hiss'd him in scorn. While we were interchanging thrusts and blows, Came more and more, and fought on part and part, Till the prince came, who parted either part.
10 In Brooke's poem Free-town is the name of a castle belonging to Capulet. — Upon the foregoing part of this scene Coleridge has the following : “ With his accustomed judgment, Shakespeare has begun by placing before us a lively picture of all the impulses of the play; and, as nature ever presents two sides, one for Heraclitus, and one for Democritus, he has, by way of prelude, shown the laughable absurdity of the evil by the contagion of it reaching the servants, who have so little to do with it, but who are under the necessity of letting the superfluity of sensoreal power fly off through the escape-valve of wit-combats, and of quarrelling with weapons of sharper edge, all in humble imitation of their masters. Yet there is a sort of unbired fidelity, an ourishness about all this, that makes it rest pleasant on one's feelings. All the first scene, down to the conclusion of the Prince's speech, is a motley dance of all ranks and ages to one tune, as if the horn of Huon had been playing behind the scenes.”
Lady M. O! where is Romeo ?- saw you him
to-day? Right glad I am he was not at this fray.
Ben. Madam, an hour before the worshipp'd sun
Mon. Many a morning hath he there been seen,
Ben. My noble uncle, do you know the cause ?
11 The meaning evidently is, that his disposition was, to be in solitude, as he could hardly endure even so much company as that of himself. Instead of this and the preceding line, the quarto of 1597 merely has one line, thus : “ That most are busied when they're most alone ;” which reading has been strangely preferred by some modern editors.
Mon. I neither know it, nor can learn of him. Ben. Have you importun’d him by any means ?
Mon. Both by myself, and many other friends : But he, his own affections' counsellor, Is to himself— I will not say, how true — But to himself so secret and so close, So far from sounding and discovery, As is the bud bit with an envious worm, Ere he can spread his sweet leaves to the air, Or dedicate his beauty to the sun.12 Could we but learn from whence his sorrows grow, We would as willingly give cure, as know.
Enter Romeo, at a distance.
Mon. I would, thou wert so happy by thy stay, To hear true shrift. — Come, madam, let's away.
[Exeunt MONTAGUE and Lady.
Is the day so young ?
Ah me! sad hours seem long.
12 The old copies have same instead of sun, or sunne, as it was formerly written. The happy emendation was made by Theobald, and is sustained by a passage in Daniel's Sonnets, 1594:
“And whilst thou spread'st unto the rising sunne
The fairest flower that ever saw the light.”. 1.