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So fhall you share all that he doth poffefs,
Enter a Servant.
*Serv. Madam, the guests are come, fupper ferv'd up, you call'd, my young lady afk'd for, the nurse curs'd in the pantry, and every thing in extremity. I muft hence to wait; I befeech you, follow ftraight.
La. Cap. We follow thee.-Juliet, the county stays. Nurfe. Go, girl, feek happy nights to happy days. [Exeunt.
Enter Romeo, Mercutio 5, Benvolio, with five or fix Mafkers, Torch-bearers, and others.
Rom. What, fhall this fpeech be spoke for our excufe?
Canus, one of the popifh doctors, proclaims the author to have been homo ferrei oris, plumbei cordis JOHNSON.
The poet may mean nothing more than to fay, that those books are most esteemed by the world, where valuable contents are embellifhed by as valuable binding. STEEVENS.
3 endart mine eye,] The quarto, 1597, reads: .. engage mine eye." STEEVENS.
4 To this fpeech there have been likewife additions fince the elder quarto, but they are not of fufficient confequence to be quoted. STEEVENS.
5 Mercutio.] Shakspeare appears to have formed this character on the following flight hint in the original story: "- another gentleman called Mercutio, which was a courtlike gentleman, very
Or fhall we on without apology?
Ben. The date is out of fuch prolixity:
wel beloved of all men, and by reafon of his pleasant and curteous behavior was in al companies wel intertained." Painter's Palace of Pleafure, tom. ii. p. 221. STEEVENS.
The date is out of fuch prolixity.] i. e. Masks are now out of fashion. That Shakspeare was an enemy to thefe fooleries, appears from his writing none; and that his plays difcredited such entertainments, is more than probable. But in James's time, that reign of false tafte as well as falle politics, they came again in fashion; and a deluge of this affected nonfenfe overflowed the court and country. WARBURTON.
The diverfion going forward at prefent is not a mafque but a mafquerade. In Henry VIII. where the king introduces himself to the entertainment given by Wolfey, he appears, like Romeo and his companions, in a mask, and fends a meffenger before, to make an apology for his intrufion. This was a cuftom obferved by those who came uninvited, with a defire to conceal themselves for the fake of intrigue, or to enjoy the greater freedom of converfation. Their entry on thefe occafions was always prefaced by fome fpeech in praife of the beauty of the ladies, or the generofity of the entertainer; and to the prolixity of fuch introductions, I believe Romeo is made to allude.
So, in Hiftriomaftix, 1610, a man expreffes his wonder that the mafkers enter without any compliment:
"What come they in fo blunt, without device ?”
In the accounts of many entertainments given in reigns antecedent to that of Elizabeth, I find this custom preferved. fame kind of mafquerading, fee a fpecimen in Timon, where Cupid precedes a troop of ladies with a fpeech. STEEVENS.
Shakspeare has written a mafque which the reader will find introduced in the 4th act of the Tempest. It would have been difficult for the reverend annotator to have proved they were difcontinued during any period of Shakspeare's life. PERCY.
9-like a crow-keeper ;] The word crow-keeper is explained in K. Lear, at iv. fc. 6. JOHNSON.
1 Nor no without-book prologue, &c.] The two following linea are inferted from the first edition. POPE.
We'll measure them a measure, and be gone. Rom. Give me a torch,-I am not for this ambling;
Being but heavy, I will bear the light.
Mer. Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you dance.
Rom. Not I, believe me: you have dancing fhoes, With himble foles; I have a foul of lead, So ftakes me to the ground, I cannot move.
'Mr. You are a lover; borrow Cupid's wings, And foar with them above a common bound.
Rom. I am too fore enpearced with his fhaft, To foar with his light feathers; and fo bound, I cannot bound a pitch above dull woe: Under love's heavy burden do I fink.
Mer. And, to fink in it, fhould you burden love? Too great oppreffion for a tender thing.
Rom. Is love a tender thing; it is too rough, Too rude, too boift'rous; and it pricks like thorn.
Give me a torch,] The character which Romeo declares his refolution to affume, will be beft explained by a paffage in Weftward Hoe, by Decker and Webster, 1607: "He is just like a torch-bearer to mafkers; he wears good cloaths, and is ranked in good company, but he doth nothing.' A torch-bearer seems to have been a conftant attendant on every troop of masks. So, in the fecond part of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, 1601:
As on a mafque; but for our torch-bearers, "Hell cannot rake so mad a crew as I." Again, in the fame play:
a gallant crew,
"Of courtly maskers landed at the flairs;
3 Mer. You are a lover, &c.] The twelve following lines are Not to be found in the first edition. POPE.
I cannot bound, &c.] Let Milton's example, on this occafion, keep Shakspeare in countenance:
"At one flight bound high over-leap'd all bound
Mer. If love be rough with you, be rough with love; Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down.Give me a cafe to put my vifage in :
[Putting on a mask.
A vifor for a vifor !--what care I,
Rom. Á torch for me: 3 let wantons, light of heart,
2doth quote deformities ?] To quote is to obferve, See vol. i. P. 168. STEEVENS.
3 Let wantons light of heart, &c.] Middleton has borrowed this thought in his play of Blurt Mafter-Constable, 1602:
-bid him, whofe heart no forrow feels, Tickle the rufhes with his wanton heels,
"I have too much lead at mine." STEEVENS.
4 Tickle the fenfeless rushes with their heels ;] It has been already obfervéd, that it was anciently the custom to ftrew rooms with rushes, before carpets were in ufe. See vol. v. P. 378. So Hentzner in his Itinerary, speaking of Q. Elizabeth's prefence-chamber at Greenwich, fays: The floor, after the English fashion, was ftrewed with bay," meaning rushes. So, in the Dumb Knight, 1633:
"Thou danceft on my heart, lafcivious queen, "Even as upon these rushes which thou treadeft." The Rage was anciently ftrewn with rushes. So, in Decker's Gul's Hornbook, 1609: "on the very rubes when the commedy is to daunce." STEEVENS.
s-a grandfire phraft,-] The proverb which Romeo means, is contain'd in the line immediately following: To bold the candle, is a very common proverbial expreffion, for being an idle fpec tator. Among Ray's proverbial fentences, is this, A good candle-bolder proves a good gamefter." STEEVENS.
6 I'll be a candle-holder, &c.] An allufion to an old proverbial faying, which advises to give over when the game is at the faireft. REMARKS.
Mer. Tut! dun's the mouse, the constable's own word:
If thou art dun, we'll draw thee from the mire,
7 Tut! dun's the mouse, the conftable's own word:] This poor obfcure stuff should have an explanation in mere charity. It is an answer to these two lines of Romeo:
For I am proverb'd with a grandfire phrase ;—and
Mercutio, in his reply, answers the laft line first. The thought of which, and of the preceding, is taken from gaming. I'll be a candle-holder (fays Romeo) and look on. It is true, If I could play myfelf, I could never expect a fairer chance than in the company we are going to but, alas! I am done. I have nothing to play with: I have loft my heart already. Mercutio catches at the word done, and quibbles with it, as if Romeo had faid, The ladies indeed are fair, but I am dun, i. e. of a dark complexion. And fo replies, Tut! dun's the mouse; a proverbial expreffion of the fame import with the French, La nuit tous les chats fon gris: as much at to fay, You need not fear, night will make all your complexions alike. And because Romeo had introduced his obfervations with, I am proverb'd with a grandfire phrafe,
Mercutio adds to his reply, the conftable's own word: as much as to fay, If you are for old proverbs, I'll fit you with one; 'tis the conflable's own word; whofe custom was, when he fummoned his watch, and affigned them their feveral ftations, to give them what the foldiers call, the word. But this night-guard being distinguished for their pacific character, the conftable, as an emblem of their harmlefs difpofition, chofe that domeftic animal for his word, which, in time, might become proverbial. WARBUKTON.
A proverbial faying, ufed by Mr. Tho. Heywood, in his play, intitled The Dutchefs of Suffolk, act iii.
A rope for Bifhop Bonner, Clunce rún, "Call help, a rope, or we are all undone. "Draw dun out of the ditch." Dr. GREY. Draw dan out of the mire, feems to have been a game. In an old collection of Satyres, Epigrams, &c. I find it enumerated among other paftimes :
"At fhove-groate, venter-point, or croffe and pile, "At leaping o'er a Midfommer bone-fier,
"Or at the drawing dun out of the myer."
Dun's the moufe is a proverbial phrafe, which I have likewife met with frequently in the old comedies. So in Every Woman in ber Humour, 1609:
"If my hoft fay the word, the mouse shall be dun.” It is alfo found among Ray's proverbial fimilies.