« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
Rom. O! I am fortune's fool!
Enter Citizens, &c.
Cit. Which way ran he, that kill'd Mercutio?
I charge thee in the prince's name, obey.
Enter Prince, Montague, Capulet, their Wives, &c.
Prin. Where are the vile beginners of this fray?
O prince!-O husband !-O, the blood is fpill'd
Prin. Benvolio, who began this bloody fray?
Romeo that spoke him fair, bid him bethink
O! I am fortune's fool!] I am always running in the of evil fortune, like the fool in the play. Thou art death's fool, in Measure for Mcafure. See Dr. Warburton's note. JOHNSON.
In the first copy, O! 1 am fortune's flave. STEEVENS.
3 -as thou art true.] As thou art juft and upright. JOHNSON. 4 Hotu nice the quarrel-] How flight, how unimportant, how petty. So in the last act,
The letter was not nice, but full of charge
Of dear import. JOHNSON.
5-and urg'd witbal-] The reft of this fpeech was new writ.
ROMEO AND JULIE T.
Your high displeasure all this-uttered
His agile arm beats down their fatal points,
La. Cap. He is a kinsman to the Montague,
Prin. Romeo flew him, he flew Mercutio;
ten by the poet, as well as a part of what follows in the fame fcene. STEVENS.
5 Affection makes him falfe,] The charge of falfhood on Benvolio, though produced at hazard, is very juft. The author, who feems to intend the character of Benvolio as good, meant perhaps to fhew, how the best minds, in a state of action and difcord, are deftorted to criminal partiality. JOHNSON.
La. Mon. Not Romeo, prince, he was Mercutio's friend;
His fault concludes but, what the law fhould end,
Prin. And, for that offence,
7 I have an intereft in your hates' proceeding,
That you fhall all repent the lofs of mine:
I have an intereft in your hearts' proceeding,] Sir Thomas Hanmer faw that this line gave no fenfe, and therefore put, by a very eafy change,
I have an intereft in your beats proceeding :
which is undoubtedly better than the old reading which Dr. Warburton has followed; but the fenfe yet feems to be weak, and perhaps a more licentious correction is neceffary. I read therefore,
I had no intereft in your beats preceding, This, fays the prince, is no quarrel of mine, I had no intereft in your former difcord; I fuffer merely by your private animofity. JOHNSON.
The quarto, 1597, reads bates' proceeding. This renders all emendation unneceffary. I have followed it. STEEVENS.
8 Nor tears nor prayers, shall purchase out abufes :] This was probably defigned as a ftroke at the church of Rome, by which the different prices of murder, inceft, and all other crimes, were minutely fettled, and as fhamelessly received. STEEVENS.
9 Mercy but murders, pardoning thofe that kill.] So, in Hale's Memorials: "When I find myfelf fwayed to mercy, let me remember likewife that there is a mercy due to the country."
An apartment in Capulet's houfe.
Jul. Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds,
And bring in cloudy night immediately 3..
Spread thy clofe curtain, love-performing night!
Gallop apace, you fiery-footed feeds,
Towards Phoebus' manfion, &c.] Our author probably remembered Marlow's King Edward II. which was performed be fore, 1593:
Gallop apace, bright Phoebus, through the skie,
"That I may fee that most defired day." MALONE. -Phebus' manfion ;] The fecond quarto and folio read, lodging. STEEVENS.
immediately.] Here ends this fpeech in the eldest quarto.. The reft of the fcene has likewife received confiderable alterations and additions. STEEVENS.
Spread thy clofe curtain, love-performing night,
That run-aways eyes may ink;] What run-aways are thefe, whofe eyes Juliet is withing to have ftopt? Macbeth, we may remember, makes an invocation to night much in the fame ftrain: "Come, feeling night,
"Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day," &c. So Juliet would have night's darknefs obfcure the great eye of the day, the fun; whom confidering in a poetical light as Phabus, drawn in his car with fiery-footed steeds, and pofting through the heavens, the very properly calls him, with regard to the fwiftnefs of his courfe, the run-away. In the like manner our poet speaks of the night in the Merchant of Venice:
"For the clofe night doth play the run-away," WARBURton. The construction of this paffage, however elliptical or perverse, I believe to be as follows:
May that run-away's eyes wink!
Or, That run-away's eyes, may (they) wink!
Thefe ellipfes are frequent in Spenfer; and that for oh! that is not uncommon, as Dr. Farmer obferves in a note on the first
That run-away's eyes may wink; and Romeo
fcene of the Winter's Tale. So, in Antony and Cleopatra, act iii. fc. 6. That ever I fhould call thee caft-away!
Juliet first wishes for the absence of the fun, and then invokes the night to fpread its curtain clofe around the world:
Spread thy clofe curtain, love-performing night! next, recollecting that the night would feem fhort to her, she speaks of it as of a run-away, whofe flight fhe would wish to retard, and whofe eyes fhe would blind left they should make difcoveries. The eves of night are the stars, fo called in the Midfummer Night's Dream. Dr. Warburton has already proved that Shakspeare terms the night a run-away in the Merchant of Venice: and in the Fair Maid of the Exchange, 1607, it is fpoken of under the fame character: The night hath play'd the fwift-foot run-away." Romeo was not expected by Juliet till the fun was gone, and therefore is was of no confequence to her that any eyes fhould wink but those of the night; for, as Ben Jonfon fays in Sejanus; -night bath many eyes, Whereof, tho' moft do fleep, yet fome are fpies."
That seems not to be the optative adverb utinam, but the pronoun ifta. Thefe lines contain no wish, but a reafon for Juliet's preceding with for the approach of cloudy night; for in fuch a night there may be no ftar-light to difcover our stolen pleasures:
"That run-away eyes may wink, and Romeo
5 Come, civil night,] Civil is grave, decently folemn. JOHNSON. unmann'd blood] Blood yet unacquainted with man. JOHNSON, Hood my unmann'd blood bating in my cheeks,] Thefe are terms of falconry. An unmanned hawk is one that is not brought to endure company. Bating (not baiting, as it has hitherto been