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SCENE 3.-C. p. 445; K. p. 357.

"More validity,

More honourable state, more courtship lives
In carrion flies, than Romeo: they may seize
On the white wonder of dear Juliet's hand,
And steal immortal blessing from her lips;
Who, even in pure and vestal modesty,
Still blush, as thinking their own kisses sin;
This may flies do, when I from this must fly :
And say'st thou yet, that exile is not death?
But Romeo may not; he is banished.

Flies may do this, but I from this must fly :

They are free men, but I am banished."

"In printing this [They are free men, but I am banished'] and the four preceding lines we follow the editions of 1599 and 1609. In the folio the empassioned repetition of 'Flies may do this, but I from this must fly,' was, it should seem, not allowed for, and that and the following line were, therefore, as we think, unnecessarily omitted." COLLIER.

Mr. Collier is the only editor who has supposed that Shakespeare would make Romeo utter the very same conceit twice over in the course of a few lines: the repetition which he admires so greatly is nothing more than one of the innumerable variæ lectiones of this tragedy.

Mr. Knight, except that he wisely omits (with the folio),
do this, but I from this must fly:
They are free men, but I am banished,"

66 Flies may

gives the passage as Mr. Collier does; neither of them perceiving that the line,

"But Romeo may not; he is banished,"

is quite out of its place.

In such a passage as this, where hideous confusion has arisen from the various readings, it is absolutely necessary that an editor should do his endeavour to rectify that confusion he should neither jumble two texts together like Mr. Collier, nor slavishly follow one particular text like Mr. Knight.


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SCENE 1.-C. p. 466; K. p. 378.

Now, when the bridegroom in the morning comes
To rouse thee from thy bed, there art thou dead :
Then, as the manner of our country is,
In thy best robes uncover'd on the bier,
Be borne to burial in thy kindred's grave:

Thou shalt be borne to that same ancient vault,
Where all the kindred of the Capulets lie.”

Another silly repetition!! The line,

Be borne to burial in thy kindred's grave,"

is a various lection of the two lines;

"Thou shalt be borne to that same ancient vault,
Where all the kindred of the Capulets lie."

Mr. Knight, who also retains the superfluous line, informs us that "Be borne' means 'to be borne;"" but I apprehend that he would search the poetry of England in vain for another example of such an ellipsis.

When Beaumont and Fletcher imitated the passage, they were content with one reading;

"and thus thought dead,

In her best habit, as the custom is,

You know, in Malta, with all ceremonies

She's buried in her family's monument

In the temple of St. John."

The Knight of Malta, act iv. sc. 1.

SCENE 3.-C. p. 471; K. p. 382.

O, look! methinks, I see my cousin's ghost
Seeking out Romeo, that did spit his body

Upon a rapier's point.-Stay, Tybalt, stay !—

Romeo! Romeo! Romeo !—here's drink-I drink to thee."

Mr. Collier, in a note, cites a portion of this soliloquy as it stands in the quarto of 1597, where the concluding line is,

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which, he observes, "has been the ordinary modern reading, and on some accounts may seem preferable; but the 'corrected, augmented, and amended' edition of 1599, and all subsequent impressions, quarto and folio, give it as in our


In his Introduction to the play, Mr. Collier remarks that he has been "in some places importantly assisted by the quarto of 1597." p. 369. He ought, I think, by all means to have had recourse to its assistance in the conclusion of the present speech, instead of adopting a line which has been rejected by all other editors except Mr. Knight, and which is partly composed of a stage-direction,-"Here drink" having evidently crept into the text, and become "here's drink."

SCENE 5.-C. p. 477; K. p. 387.

"Nurse. Honest good fellows, ah! put up, put up; for, well you know, this is a pitiful case."

The present speech is (like all the preceding speeches of the Nurse in this scene) verse; and as such Mr. Knight rightly gives it.


SCENE 3.-C. p. 488; K. p. 399.

'Par. I do defy thy commiseration,

And apprehend thee for a felon here."

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"The quarto, 1597 reads, I do defy thy conjurations'; which some editors have preferred, against all the subsequent authorities, excepting that in the quarto, 1599, 'commiseration' is misprinted commiration. The sense of commiseration' is clear; not so of conjurations." COLLIER.

Mr. Knight also gives " commiseration,"-a reading which, besides violating the metre, is on the very verge of the ludicrous. It is a stark misprint; and the progress of the corruption is plain enough. The quarto of 1599 having “commiration" (an error for "coniuration," the editor of that quarto perhaps preferring the word in the singular), the said vox nihili was altered in subsequent editions to "commiseration.”

With respect to "the sense of conjurations," which Mr. Collier thinks is "not clear,"-surely, in the speech, to which the present one is an answer, Romeo had sufficiently conjured Paris, when he said,

"Good gentle youth, tempt not a desperate man ;
Fly hence and leave me :-think upon these gone;
Let them affright thee.-I beseech thee, youth,
Put not another sin upon my head,

By urging me to fury:-O, be gone!" &c.

As the commentators, though they observe that "defy" means 'reject, refuse to comply with,' give no example of "conjuration" in the sense of 'earnest entreaty' (which it often bore), I subjoin the following passage;

"Hen. Mother and Leycester, adde not oyle to fire:
Wrath's kindled with a word, and cannot heare
The numberlesse perswasions you insort [sic].
Quee. O, but, my sonne, thy father fauours him :
Richard that vile abortiue changling brat,
And Faukenbridge, are fallen at Henries feete ;
They wooe for him: but [I] intreat, my sonne,
Gloster may dye for this that he hath done.

Leic. If Gloster liue, thou wilt be ouerthrowne.
Quee. If Gloster liue, thy mother dies in moane.
Ley. If Gloster liue, Leyster will flie the realme.
Quee. If Gloster liue, thy kingdome's but a dreame.
Hen. Haue I not sworne by that eternall arme
That puts iust vengance sword in Monarcks hands,
Gloster shall die for his presumption?

What needs more coniuration, gratious Mother?" &c.
A Pleasant Commodie, called Looke about you,
1600, sig. D 3.

SCENE 3.-C. p. 489.

"Ah! dear Juliet,

Why art thou yet so fair? I will believe—

Shall I believe that unsubstantial death is amorous ;

And that the lean abhorred monster keeps

Thee here in dark to be his paramour?"

"We give the text as it stands in every old copy, quarto and

folio, excepting the quarto, 1597, where all that is said is, 'O! I believe that unsubstantial death is amorous,' &c. Romeo first asserts that he will believe, then checks himself, and puts it interrogatively, whether he shall believe that death is amorous?" COLLIER.

In the first place, nothing can be more evident (even if it were not intimated by the reading of 4to, 1597) than that “I will believe" and "Shall I believe" are varia lectiones, one of which must be rejected (and all the other modern editors agree in throwing out the former). Secondly, Shakespeare was too well acquainted with the workings of the human mind to make Romeo "first assert that he will believe," and then put it interrogatively in such cases, the question precedes the determination. Thirdly, the preposterous reading given by Mr. Collier introduces an unwieldy verse of fifteen syllables into a speech, of which the other forty-six lines are strictly correct in measure, and most exquisite for their varied harmony.

SCENE 3.-C. p. 492; K. p. 403.

"Jul. Yea, noise?—then I'll be brief.-O happy dagger! [Snatching ROMEO's Dagger. This is thy sheath; [Stabs herself;] there rust, and let me die.


"Is the reading of the quarto, 1599, and later impressions. The quarto, 1597, gives the passage thus :—

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In several earlier passages of the play, the 4to, 1597, alone supplies the true reading; and I suspect that here too it is right,—I mean so far as it has "rest" instead of "rust." The former appears to me the more natural expression: at such a moment, the thoughts of Juliet were not likely to wander away to the future rusting of the dagger; she only wishes it, by resting in her bosom as in its sheath, to give her instant death.


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