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Call this a lightning ?-O, my love! my wife!
Death, that hath fuck'd the honey of thy breath,
Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty:
Thou art not conquer'd; beauty's enfign yet
Is crimson in thy lips, and in thy cheeks,
And death's pale flag is not advanced there 5.-
Tybalt, ly'ft thou there in thy bloody fheet?

O, what

times called a lightning before death: but how fays he (for no fituation can exempt Shakspeare's characters from the vice of punning) can I term term this sad and gloomy profpeâ a lightning. REMARKS.

This idea occurs frequently in the old dramatic pieces. So in the fecond part of The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntington, 1601:

"I thought it was a lightning before death,

"Too fudden to be certain.'


Again, in Chapman's tranflation of the 15th Iliad: fince after this he had not long to live, "This lightning flew before his death."

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Again, in his tranflation of the 18th Odyffey:

extend their chear

"To th' utmost lightning that still ushers death."


And death's pale flag, &c.] So, in Daniel's Complaint of Rofa mond, 1594:

"And nought refpecting death (the last of paines)
"Plac'd his pale colours (th' enlign of his might)
"Upon his new-got fpoil; &c.'

In the first edition of Romeo and Juliet, Shakspeare is less florid in his account of the lady's beauty; and only fays:

66 -ah, dear Juliet,

"How well thy beauty doth become the grave!" The fpeech, as it now ftands, is firft found in the quarto, 1599.


And death's pale flag is not advanced there.] An ingenious friend fome time ago pointed out to me a paffage of Marini, which bears a very strong resemblance to this:

Morte la'nfegna fua pallida e bianca
Vincitrice fpiego fu'l volto mio.

Rime lugubri, p. 149, ed. Venet. 1605.


6 Tybalt, lyft thou there in thy bloody feet?] So, in Painter's tranflation, tom. ii. p. 242. -"what greater or more cruel fatisfaction canfte thou defyre to have, or henceforth hope for, than

M 3


O, what more favour can I do to thee,

Than with that hand that cut thy youth in twain,
To funder his that was thine enemy?
Forgive me, coufin !-Ah dear Juliet,
Why art thou yet fo fair? Shall I believe-
7I will believe (come lie thou in my arms)
That unfubftantial death is amorous;
And that the lean abhorred monster keeps
Thee here in dark to be his paramour.
For fear of that, I will ftill ftay with thee;
"And never from this palace of dim night


to fee hym which murdered thee, to be empoyfoned wyth hys owne handes, and buryed by thy fyde?" STEEVENS.

7 I will believe

That unfubftantial death is amorous;] So in Daniel's Complaint of Rofamond, 1592:

"Ah now, methinks, I fee Death dallying feekes
's To entertain itfelfe in Love's sweet place;
"Decayed rofes of difcolloured cheekes
"Do yet retaine deere notes of former grace,
"And uglie death fits faire within her face."

▾ And never from this palace of dim night
Depart again: (Come lie thou in my arms;
Here's to thy health. O true apothecary!


Thy drugs are quick).] Mr. Pope's, and fome other of the worfer editions acknowledge abfurdly the lines which I have put into parenthefis here; and which I have expunged from the text, for this reafon: Romeo is made to confefs the effect of the poifon before ever he has tafted it. 1 fuppofe, it hardly was fo favoury that the patient fhould choose to make two draughts of it. And, eight lines after thefe, we find him taking the poifon in his hands, and making an apoftrophe to it; inviting it to perform its office at once; and then, and not till then, does he clap it to his lips, or can with any probability speak of its inftant force and effects. Befides, Shakipeare would hardly have made Romeo drink to the Leath of his dead mitrefs. Though the first quarto in 1599, and the two old folios, acknowledge this abfurd stuff, I find it left out in feveral later quarto impreffions. I ought to take notice, that though Mr. Pope has thought fit to ftick to the old copies in this adu tion, yet he is no fair tranfcriber; for he has funk upon us an hemiftich of most profound abfurdity, which poflefles all thofe copies.


Depart again: here, here will I remain
With worms that are thy chamber-maids; O, here

Come, lie thou in my arms;

Here's to thy health, where-e'er thou tumblest in.
O true apothecary! &c. THEOBALD.


I am forry to fay, that the foregoing note is an instance of difingenuoufnefs, as well as inattention in Mr. Theobald, who, relying on the fcarcity of the old quartos, very frequently makes them answerable for any thing he thinks proper to affert.

The quarto in 1599, was not the first. It was preceded by one in 1597; aod though Mr. Theobald declares, he found the paffage left out in feveral of the later quarto impreffions, yet in the lift of those he pretends to have collated for the use of his edition, he mentions but one of a later date, and had never feen either that published in 1609, or another without any date at all; for in the former of thefe, the paffage in question is preferved (the latter I have no copy of), and he has placed that in 1637, on the fingle faith of which his rejection is founded, among thofe quartos of middling authority fo that what he so roundly affirms of feveral, can with juftice be faid of only one; for there are in reality no later quarto editions of this play than I have here enumerated, and two of those (by his own confeffion) he had never met with.

The hemiftich, which Mr. Theobald pronounces to be of most profound abfurdity, may deserve a fomewhat better character; but being mifplaced, could not be connected with that part of that fpeech where he found it; yet, being introduced a few lines lower, feems to make very good fenfe.

"Come bitter conduct! come unfav'ry guide!
"Thou defperate pilot, now at once run on
"The dashing rocks my fea-fick, weary bark!
"Here's to thy health, where'er thou tumbleft in.
"Here's to my love! O true apothecary!

"Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kifs I die."

To tumble into port in a form, I believe to be a fea-phrase, as is a tumbling fea, and agrees with the allufion to the pilot or the tempeft-beaten bark. Here's fuccefs, fays he (continuing the allufion) to thy veffel wherever it tumbles in, or perhaps, to the pilot who is to conduct, or tumble it in; meaning, I avish it may fucceed in ridding me of life, whatever may betide me after it, or wherever it He then drinks to the memory of Juliet's love, may carry me. adding (as he feels the poifon work) a fhort apostrophe to the apothecary, the effect of whofe drugs he can doubt no longer; and turning his thoughts back again to the object most beloved, he dies (like Othello) on a kifs.

M 4


Will I fet up my everlasting reft";

And shake the yoke of inaufpicious ftars


The other hemiftich (not difpofed of) may yet be introduced; how naturally, muit be left to the reader to determine. The quarto of 1609, exhibits the paffage thus:

Ah, dear Juliet!

Why art thou yet fo fair? I will believe;

"Shall I believe? that unsubstantial death is amorous, "And that the lean," &c.

If fuch an idea could have any foundation in nature, or be allowed in poetry, and Romeo, in confequence of having raifed it to his imagination, was jealous of death, it would follow, that in his first frenzy, he might addrefs himfelt to his miftrefs, and take her in his arms for the greater fecurity. That being granted, with a flight tranfpofition (one verfe already exceeding the measure by two feet) the paffage might be read thus:

Ah, dear Juliet!

"Why art thou yet fo fair? Shall I believe-
"I will believe (come lie thou in my arms)
"That unfubftantial death is amorous,

"And that the lean," &c.

The object of difpute may perhaps be fuch as hardly to deferve this toil of tranfpofition, but one critick has juftas good a right to attempt the infertion of what he thinks he understands, as another has to omit a paffage, because he can make no ufe of it at all. The whole of the conjecture is offered with the leaft degree of confidence, and from no other motive than a defire of preferving every line of Shakspeare, when any reafon, tolerably plaufible, can be given in its favour.

Mr. Theobald has not dealt very fairly in his account of this fpeech, as the abfurdity is apparently owing to the repetition of fome of the lines by a blunder of the printer, who had thereby made Romeo confefs the effects of the poison before he had tasted

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On fecond thoughts, it is not improbable, that Shakspeare had written-I will believe, and afterwards corrected it to—Shall I believe, without erating the former; by which means it has happened that the printer has given us both. Thus, in what followsCome lie thou in my arms, &c. might have been the poet's first sketch of the conclufion of Romeo's fpecch, which he forebore to obliterate, when he substituted-bere, here will I remain, &c. This feems indeed to be evident from the edition of 1599, and the other old editions after that, in all which-Depart again, as the catch word, from which his amendment was to begin, is repeated. Let fome future editor decide. STEEVENS.

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my everlasting reft;] See a note on scene 5th of the pre

From this world-wearied flesh.--' Eyes, look your last!
Arms, take your last embrace! and lips, O you
The doors of breath, feal with a righteous kifs
A dateless bargain to engroffing death!--
Come, bitter conduct come, unfavoury guide!
Thou defperate pilot, now at once run on
The dafhing rocks thy fea-fick weary bark!
Here's to thy health, where'er thou tumblest in ;
Here's to my love!-[Drinks] O, true apothecary!
Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kifs I die. Dies.

ceding act, p. 143. So, in the Spanish Gipfie, by Middleton and Rowley, 1653: 66 - could I set up my reft

"That he were loft, or taken prifoner,

"I could hold truce with forrow."

To fet up one's reft is to be determined to any certain purpose, to reft in perfect confidence and refolution, to make up one's mind. Again, in the fame play :

"Set up thy reft; her marriest thou, or none.

Eyes, look your last!

Arms, take your last embrace! and lips, O you
The doors of breath, feal with a righteous kifs


A dateless bargain to engroffing death!] So, in Daniel's Come plaint of Rofamond, 1594:

Pitiful mouth, faid he, that living gavest

"The sweetest comfort that my foul could with,
O, be it lawful now, that dead, thou havest

"The forrowing farewell of a dying kifs!
"And you, fair eyes, containers of my blifs,
"Motives of love, born to be matched never,

"Entomb'd in your fweet citcles, fleep for ever!"

I think there can be little doubt, from the foregoing lines and the other paffages already quoted from this poem, that our author had read it recently before he wrote the last act of the pre fent,tragedy. MALONE.

A dateless bargain to engroffing death!] Engrofing seems to be ufed here in its clerical fente. MALONE.

3 Come bitter conduct.] Marston alfo in his fatires, 1599, uses conduct for conductor:

"Be thou my conduct and my genius." So, in a former fcene in this play :

"And fire-ey'd fury be my condu now," See vol. i. P. 125. MALONE.


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