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Nurfe. Now, by my maiden-head,—at twelve year old,
I bade her come.-What, lamb! what, lady-bird!-
ful. How now, who calls?
Jul. Madam, I am here; what is your will?
We must talk in fecret.-Nurfe, come back again;
Nurfe. 'Faith, I can tell her age unto an hour.
Nurfe. I'll lay fourteen of my teeth,————
La. Cap. A fortnight, and odd days.
Nurfe. Even or odd, of all days in the year,
7 -to my teen-] To my forrow. JOHNSON. This old word is introduced by Shakspeare for the fake of the jingle between teen, and four, and fourteen. See vol. i. p. 13.
It is fince the earthquake now eleven years;] But how comes the nurse to talk of an earthquake upon this occafion? There is no fuch circumstance, I believe, mentioned in any of the novels from which Shakspeare may be supposed to have drawn his story; and
And she was wean'd,-I never fhall forget it,-
And fince that time it is eleven years :
For then she could stand alone'; nay, by the rood,
therefore it feems probable, that he had in view the earthquake, which had really been felt in many parts of England in his own time, viz. on the 6th of April, 1580. [See Stowe's Chronicle, and Gabriel Harvey's letter in the preface to Spenser's works, ed. 1679.] If fo, one may be permitted to conjecture, that Romeo and Juliet, or this part of it at least, was written in 1591; after the 6th of April, when the eleven years fince the earthquake were completed; and not later than the middle of July, a fortnight and odd days before Lammas-tide. TYRWHITT.
9 Well, I do bear a brain.] That is, I have a perfect remembrance or recollection. So in The Country Captain, by the Duke of Newcastle, 1649, P. 51. "When these wordes of command are rotten, wee will fow fome other military feedes; you beare a braine and memory." EDITOR.
So, in Ram-alley, or Merry Tricks, 1611: "Dash, we must bear some brain.” Again, in Marston's Dutch Courtefan, 1604: 66 -nay an I bear not a brain,” Again, in Heywood's Golden Age, 1611:
"As I can bear a pack, fo I can bear a brain."
-could ftand alone,] The 4to, 1597, reads: "could stand bigh lone, i. e. quite alone, completely alone. So in another of our author's plays, high fantaftical means entirely fantallical.
Yea, quoth he, doft thou fall upon thy face?
La. Cap. Enough of this; I pray thee, hold thy
Nurfe. Yes, madam; Yet I cannot chufe but laugh, To think it fhould leave crying, and fay-Ay. And yet, I warrant, it had upon its brow A bump as big as a young cockrel's ftone; A par❜lous knock; and it cried bitterly. Yea, quoth my husband, fall'ft upon thy face? Thou wilt fall backward when thou com'ft to age; Wilt thou not Jule? it ftinted, and faid,-Ay.
Jul. And ftint thou too, I pray thee, nurse, fay I.
Thou waft the prettieft babe that ere I nurs'd :
La. Cap. Marry, that marry is the very theme
9 —it ftinted,] i. e. it stopped, it forbore from weeping. So, fir Thomas North, in his tranflation of Plutarch, fpeaking of the wound which Antony received, fays: " for the blood finted a little when he was laid."
Again, in Cynthia's Revells, by Ben Jonfon:
Again, in What you will, by Marston, 1607:
Again, in the Misfortunes of King Arthur, an ancient drama, 1587:
I came to talk of :-Tell me, daughter Juliet,
ful. It is an honour that I dream not of. Nurfe. An honour! were not I thine only nurse, I'd say, thou hadft fuck'd wisdom from thy teat. La. Cap. Well, think of marriage, now; younger than you,
Here in Verona, ladies of esteem,
Nurse. A man, young lady! lady, fuch a man, As all the world-Why, he's a man of wax.
La. Cap. Verona's fummer hath not fuch a flower.
It is an honour] The first quarto reads honour; the folio hour. I have chofen the reading of the quarto.
The word hour feems to have nothing in it that could draw from the Nurse that applaufe which the immediately bestows. The word honour was likely to ftrike the old ignorant woman, as a very elegant and difcreet word for the occafion. STEEVENS.
3 Instead of this fpeech, the quarto, 1597, has only one line Well, girl, the noble County Paris fceks thee for his wife. STEEVENS
4a man of wax.] So, in Wily Beguiled: "Why, he's a man as one should picture him in wax." STEEVENS.
a man of wax. -] Well made, as if he had been modelled in wax, as Mr. Steevens by a happy quotation has explained it. “When you, Lydia, praise the waxen arms of Telephus," (fays, Horace.) Waxen, well fhaped, finely turned :
"With paffion fwells my fervid breast,
Dr. Bently changes cerea into lactea, little understanding that the praife was given to the fhape, and not the colour. S. W. 5 Nurfe.] After this speech of the Nurse, Lady Capulet in the old quarto fays only:
"Well, Juliet, how like you of Paris' love?"
She answers, "I'll look to like, &c." and fo concludes the scene, without the intervention of that stuff to be found in the later quartos and the folio.
La. Cap. What fay you? can you love the gentle-
This night you shall behold him at our feast :
6 La. Cap. What fay you? &c.] This ridiculous speech is entirely added fince the first edition. POPE.
7 Read o'er the volume, &c.] The fame thought occurs in Pericles Prince of Tyre:
"Her face the book of praises, where is read "Nothing but curious pleasures." STEEVENS. • Examine ev'ry feveral lineament,] The quarto, 1599, reads, every married lineament.-Shakspeare meant by this laft phrafe, Examine how nicely one feature depends upon another, or accords with another, in order to produce that harmony of the whole face which feems to be implied in content.-In Troilus and Creffida, he fpeaks of "the married calm of states ;" and in his 8th Sonnez has the fame allufion :
"If the true concord of well-tuned founds,
9-the margin of his eyes.] The comments on the ancient books were always printed in the margin. So Horatio in Hamlet says = -I knew you must be edify'd by the margent, &c. STEEVENS. The fifh lives in the fea ;] i. c. is not yet caught. Fish-fkin covers to books anciently were not uncommon. Such is Dr. Farmer's explanation of this paffage, and it may receive some fupport from what Enobarbus fays in Antony and Cleopatra "The tears live in an onion, that should water this forrow."
2 That in gold clafps locks in the golden ftory;] The golden flory is perhaps the golden legend, a book in the dark ages of popery much read, and doubtless often exquifitely embellished, but of which