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For nought so vile that on the earth doth live,
But to the earth some special good doth give;
Nor aught so good, but, strain’d from that fair use,
Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse :
Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied ;
And vice sometime’s by action dignified."
Within the infant rind of this weak flower
Poison hath residence, and medicine power:
For this, being smelt, with that part cheers each

Being tasted, slays all senses with the heart.
Two such opposed kings encamp them still
In man as well as herbs,—grace, and rude will ;
And, where the worser is predominant,
Full soon the canker death eats up that plant.

Enter ROMEO. Rom. Good morrow,

father! FRI.

Benedicite !
What early tongue so sweet saluteth me?-
Young son, it argues a distemper'd head,
So soon to bid good morrow to thy bed :
Care keeps his watch in every old man's eye,
And where care lodges, sleep will never lie :
But where unbruised youth with unstuff’d brain
Doth couch his limbs, there golden sleep doth

reign :
Therefore thy earliness doth me assure,
Thou art up-rous’d with some distemperature ;
Or if not so, then here I hit it right-

a By action dignified.) After these words the ancient copies, except the first quarto, which has no direction, have,—" Enter Romeo;" but it very frequently happens in old plays that the

entrance of a character is marked some time before he really takes part in the scene. Such direction probably meaning that the actor is to be at hand, ready to enter when the cue is given.

Our Romeo hath not been in bed to-night.

Rom. I pray thee, chide not: she whom I love Rom. That last is true, the sweeter rest was mine.

now, Fri. God pardon sin! wast thou with Rosaline? Doth grace

for grace, and love for love allow; Rom. With Rosaline, my ghostly father ? no;

The other did not so. I have forgot that name, and that name's woe.


O, she knew well, Fri. That's my good son: but where hast thou Thy love did read by rote, and * could not spell. been then ?

But come, young waverer, come go


me, Rom, I'll tell thee, ere thou ask it me agen. In one respect I'll thy assistant be; I have been feasting with mine enemy;

For this alliance may so happy prove, Where, on a sudden, one hath wounded me, To turn your households' + rancour to pure love. That's by me wounded ; both our remedies

Rom. O, let us hence; I stand on sudden haste. Within thy help and holy physic lies :

Fri. Wisely, and slow; they stumble, that run I bear no hatred, blessed man; for, lo,


[Exeunt. My intercession likewise steads


foe. Fri. Be plain, good son, and * homely in thy drift ;

SCENE IV.-A Street, Riddling confession finds but riddling shrift,

Enter BENVOLIO and MERCUTIO. Rom. Then plainly know, my heart's dear love is set

MER. Where the devil should this Romeo be ?On the fair daughter of rich Capulet :

Came he not home to night ? As mine on hers, so hers is set on mine;

BEN. Not to his father's ; I spoke with his man. And all combin’d, save what thou must combine MER. Why, that same pale hard-hearted wench, By holy marriage. When, and where, and how,

that Rosaline, We met, we woo'd, and made exchange of vow, Torments him so, that he will sure run mad. I'll tell thee as we pass; but this I pray,

BEN. Tybalt, the kinsman to old Capulet,
That thou consent to marry us to-day.

Hath sent a letter to his father's house.
Fri. Holy saint Francis! what a change is here! MER. A challenge, on my life.
Is Rosaline, that thou didst love so dear,

BEn. Romeo will answer it.
So soon forsaken ? young men's love then lies, MER. Any man, that can write, may answer a
Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.

letter. Jesu Maria ! what a deal of brine

Ben. Nay, he will answer the letter's master, Hath wash'd thy sallow cheeks for Rosaline ! how he dares, being dared. How much salt water thrown away in waste,

MER. Alas, poor Romeo, he is already dead! To season love, that of it doth not taste !

stabb’d with a white wench's black eye; shot I The sun not yet thy sighs from heaven clears, through the ear with a love-song ; the very pin of Thy old groans ring + yet in my ancient ears; his heart cleft with the blind bow-boy's butt-shaft; Lo, here upon thy cheek the stain doth sit and is he a man to encounter Tybalt ? Of an old tear that is not wash'd off yet :

BEN. Why, what is Tybalt? If e'er thou wast thyself, and these woes thine, MER.

More than prince of cats,(5) Thou and these woes were all for Rosaline; I can tell you." O, he's the courageous captain And art thou chang'd ? pronounce this sentence of complements : o he fights as you sing prick-song, then

keeps time, distance, and proportion ; rests me his Women may fall, when there's no strength in men. minim rest, $ one,—two,—and the third in your Rom. Thou chidd'st me oft for loving Rosaline. bosom: the very

butcher of a silk button, a duellist, Fri. For doting, not for loving, pupil mine. a duellist; a gentleman of the very first house, Rom. And bad’st me bury love.

of the first and second cause : Ah, the immortal FRI.

Not in a grave, passado ! the punto reverso ! the hay !—6) To lay one in, another out to have.

BEN. The what?

(*) First folio, that.
(1) First folio, runne.

(1) First folio, household.
(9) First folio, he rests his minum.

(*) First folio, rest homely. (+) First folio, yet ringing.

a She whom I love now,-) So the earliest quarto, 1597. The other old copies, including the folio, 1623, read

"I pray thee, chide me not, her I love now." b I stand on sudden haste.] It imports me much to be speedy. So in “Richard II." Act II. Sc. 3:

“It stands your grace upon, to do him right.” Again, in “Richard III.” Act IV. Sc. 2:

11 It stands me much upon,
To stop a!l hopes whose growth may danger me."

c The very pin of his heart cleft-) See “The Two Gentlemen
of Verona," Act V. Sc. 4, note (), p. 39 of the present Vol.
d I can tell you.] These words are found only in the quarto,

7. o Captain of complements :) See Act I. Sc. 1, note (1), p. 53 of the present Vol.


MER. The pox of such antick, lisping, affecting flesh, flesh, how art thou fishified !- now is fantasticoes ; * these new tuners of accent !—By he for the numbers that Petrarch flowed in : Jesu, a very good blade !—a very tall man !-avery Laura, to his lady, was a kitchen-wench ;good whore ! —Why, is not this a lamentable thing, marry, she had a better love to be-rhyme her: grand sire, that we should be thus afflicted with these Dido, a dowdy; Cleopatra, a gipsy; Helen and strange flies, these fashion-mongers, these pardon- Hero, bildings and harlots; Thisbé, a grey eye nez-moys, who stand so much on the new form, or so, but not to the purpose.— Signior Romeo, that they cannot sit at ease on the old bench? 0, bon jour! there's a French salutation to your 'their bons, their bons !

French slop ;^ you gave us the counterfeit fairly

last night. Enter Romeo.

Rom. Good morrow to you both; what counter

feit did I give you BEN. Here comes Romeo, here comes Romeo. MER. The slip, sir, the slip;can you not conMER. Without his roe, like a dried herring :- ceive ?

(*) All but the first copy read phantacies.

(1) First folio omits By. & Your French slop;] The slop is said to have been a sort of loose kneed breeches or trousers.

The slip, sir, the slip;] The equivoque here is well explained in the following passage from Greene's "Thieves falling out, True Men come by their Goods :"-"And therefore he went and

got him certain slips, which are counterfeit pieces of money, being brasse, and covered over with silver, which the common people call slips.Again, in Ben Jonson's "Magnetick Lady," Act III. Sc. 6:

“I had like thave been Abus'd i' the business, had the slip slur'd on me, A counterfeit.

Rom. Pardon, good * Mercutio, my business was Romeo ; now art thou what thou art, by art as well great; and, in such a case as mine, a man may as by nature : for this drivelling love is like a great strain courtesy:

natural, that runs lolling up and down to hide his MER. That's as much as to say—such a case as bauble in a hole. yours constrains a man to bow in the hams,

Ben. Stop there, stop there. Rom. Meaning—to court'sy.

MER. Thou desirest me to stop in my

tale MER. Thou hast most kindly a hit it.

against the hair. Rom. A most courteous exposition.

Ben. Thou would'st else have made thy tale Mer. Nay, I am the very pink of courtesy. large. Rom. Pink, for flower ?

MER. O, thou art deceived, I would have made MER. Right.

it short: for* I was come to the whole depth of my Rom. Why, then is my pump well flower'd." tale, and meant, indeed, to occupy the argument

MER. Sure wit:o follow me this jest now, till no longer. thou hast worn out thy pump; that, when the Rom. Here's goodly geer! single sole of it is worn, the jest may remain, after the wearing, solely-singular. Rom. O single-soled jest, solely singular for

Enter Nurse and PETER. the singleness ! MER. Come between us, good

* Benvolio; my

MER. A sail, a sail ! a sail !! wit of faints.

Ben. Two, two; a shirt, and a smock. Rom. Switch and spurs, switch and spurs; or

NURSE. Peter! I'll cry a match.

PETER. Anon? MER. Nay, if our wits run the wild-goose chase, (7) NURSE. My fan, Peter. I am done ; for thou hast more of the wild-goose MER. Good Peter, to hide her face ; for her in one of thy wits, than, I am sure, I have in my fan's the fairer face. whole five. Was I with you there for the goose ? NURSE. God ye good morrow, gentlemen. Rom. Thou wast never with me for any thing,

MER. God ye good den, fair gentlewoman. when thou wast not there for the goose.

Nurse. Is it good den? MER. I will bite thee by the ear for that jest. MER. 'Tis no less, I tell you; for the bawdy Rom. Nay, good goose, bite not.d

hand of the dial is now upon the prick of noon. MER. Thy wit is a very bitter-sweeting; it is NURSE. Out upon you ! what a man are you? a most sharp sauce.

Rom. One, gentlewoman, that God hath made, Rom. And is it not well served in to a sweet for t himself to mar.

Nurse. By my troth, it is well I said ;-for himMER. O, here's a wit of cheverel, that stretches self to mar, quoth’a !—Gentlemen, can any of you from an inch narrow to an ell broad !

tell me where I may find the young Romeo ? Rom. I stretch it out for that word—broad : Rom. I can tell you ; but young Romeo will be which added to the goose, proves thee far and wide older when you have found him, than he was when a broad goose.

you sought him: I am the youngest of that name, MER. Why, is not this better now, than groan

for 'fault of a worse. ing for love ? now art thou sociable, now art thou Nurse. You say well.

goose ?

[blocks in formation]

a Thou hast most kindly hit it.] That is, most pertinently hit it. Soin “Henry VI." Part I. Act III. Sc. I, when Warwick says,

“Sweet king! the bishop hath a kindly gird," he does not mean, as it has been interpreted, "a reproof meant in kindness," but an apposite reproof; a reproof in kind. This sense of the word is very clearly shown in a passage of Middleton's play, “The Mayor of Queenborough," Act III. Sc. 3, where Vortigern, having discovered the trick of Hengist in cutting the hide into thongs, tells him his castle shall be called Thong Castle; to which the latter replies :

" there your grace quites me kindly." b Then is my pump well flower'd.] The idea seems to be,-my shoe or pump being pinked or punched with holes is well flower'd; there may also be a latent allusion to the custom of wearing ribbons in the shape of flowers on the shoes.

c Sure wit:] The earliest quarto, 1597, has “Well said;" the subsequent quartos, and the folio, 1623, read, “Sure wit,” which Malone conjectured to be a mistake for “Sheer wit."

Good goose, bite not.) An old proverbial saying, "Good goose, do not bite."

(*) First folio, or.

(+) First folio omits for.

(1) First folio omits well. e A wit of cheverel,--] Cheverel, or cheveril, is a soft leather used for gloves. Its capacity of extension is frequently referred to by our old poets. Thus, in "Henry VIII.” Act II. Sc. 3,

—your soft chereril conscience." So, too, in “Histriomastix," 1610:

“The cheveril conscience of corrupted law." And Drayton, in “The Owl:"

"A cheverel conscience, and a searching wit." f A broad goose.) The quibble here not being understood, it has been proposed that we should read :

- proves thee far and wide abroad, goose." But Romeo plays on the words a broad, and a brode.

"The Turnament of Tottenham," Harl. MSS. No. 5396:

Forther would not Tyb then,
Tyl scho had hur brode-hen

Set in hur lap."
& A sail, a sail, a sail !) So the quarto, 1597. The other old
copies give these words to Romeo.

be spent.

Mer. Yea, is the worst well? very well took, lady bid me inquire you out ; what she bid me say, i' faith ; wisely, wisely.

I will keep to myself: but first let me tell ye,


ye NURSE. If you be he, sir, I desire some confi- should lead her into * a fool's paradise, as they say, dence with you.

it were a very gross kind of behaviour, as they say: BEN. She will indite him to some supper.

for the gentlewoman is young; and, therefore, if MER. A bawd, a bawd, a bawd! So ho ! * you should deal double with her, truly, it were an Rom. What hast thou found ?

ill thing to be offered to any gentlewoman, and MER. No hare, sir ; unless a hare, sir, in a very weak dealing. lenten pie, that is something stale and hoar ere it Rom. Nurse, commend me to thy lady and

mistress. I protest unto thee,

NURSE. Good heart ! and, i' faith, I will tell her An old hare hoar,"

as much : Lord, lord, she will be a joyful woman. And an old hare hoar,

Rom. What wilt thou tell her, nurse ? thou dost Is very good meat in Lent :

not mark me. But a hare that is hoar,

NURSE. I will tell her, sir,—that you do protest ; Is too much for a score,

which, as I take it, is a gentlemanlike offer. When it hoars ere it be spent.

Rom. Bid her devise some means to come to

shrift Romeo, will you come to your father's ? we'll to This afternoon; dinner thither.

And there she shall at friar Laurence' cell Rom. I will follow you.

Be shriy'd, and married. Here is for thy pains. MER. Farewell, ancient lady; farewell, lady, NURSE. No, truly, sir; not a penny. lady, lady.(8)

Rom. Go to; I say, you shall. [Exeunt MERCUTIO and BENVOLIO. NURSE. This afternoon, sir ? well, she shall be NURSE. I pray you, sir, what saucy merchant there. was this, that was so full of his ropery ? !

Rom. And stay,' good † nurse, behind the abbeyRom. A gentleman, nurse, that loves to hear himself talk; and will speak more in a minute, Within this hour my man shall be with thee, than he will stand to in a month.

And bring thee cords made like a tackled stair, NURSE. An 'a speak any thing against me, I'll Which to the high top-gallant of my joy take him down an 'a were lustier than he is, and Must be my convoy in the secret night. twenty such Jacks; and if I cannot, I'll find those Farewell !—be trusty, and I'll quit thy pains : that shall. Scurvy knave! I am none of his flirt- Farewell !:—commend me to thy mistress. gills ; I am none of his skains-mates: —And thou NURSE. Now God in heaven bless thee !-hark must stand by too, and suffer every

knave me at his pleasure.

Rom. What say’st thou, my dear nurse? Pet. I saw no man use you at his pleasure ; if NURSE. Is your man secret? Did you

ne'er hear I had, my weapon should quickly have been out, I

say— warrant you : I dare draw as soon as another man, Two may keep counsel, putting one away? if I see occasion in a good quarrel, and the law on Rom. I warrant thee ; my man's as true as my side.

steel. NURSE. Now, afore God, I am so vexed, that NURSE. Well, sir; my mistress is the sweetest every part about me quivers. Scurvy knave !- lady-Lord, lord ! when 'twas a little prating thing, pray you, sir, a word : and as I told you, my young -0,—there's a nobleman in town, one Paris, that

wall :


you, sir.

(*) First folio, in.

(+) First folio, thou good.

a So ho!) The huntsman's cry when the hare is found in her seat.

b An old hare hoar,-) This may be a snatch of some quaint old ballad, but is more probably an extempore rhyme sung by Mercutio for the nonce. In the quarto, 1597, it is headed by a stage direction,-He walkes by them, and sinys."

e What xaucy merchant-] Merchant, as Steevens has shown, was formerly often applied in the derogatory sense of pedlar or low dealer ; thus our author, “ Henry VI." Part I. Act II. Sc. 3,

“ This is a riddling merchant for the nonce." So, too, in Churchyard's “Chance," 1580:" What saucie marchaunt speaketh now, said Venus in her rage."

d so full of his ropery?] That is, ribaldry.

e I am none of his flirt-gills; I am none of his skains-mates :-) The meaning of Nirt-gilis is not far to seek. It implied, like fiz-gig, another term of the same age, a wild, flirling, rompiny wench; but skains-mates has been a sore puzzle to all the com

mentators. Some have derived it from skein, a knife or dagger; others suppose it a mis pronunciation of kins-mates; and Mr. Douce ventures a random conjecture that the skains in question might be skrins of thread, and that the Nurse meant nothing more than sempstresses! The difficulty, after all, proves of easy solution. The word skain, I am told by a Kentish man, was formerly a familiar term in parts of Kent to express what we now call a scape-gruce or ne'er-do-well; just the sort of person the worthy old Nurse would entertain a horror of being considered a companion to. Even at this day, my informant says, skain is often heard in the Isle of Thanet, and about the adjacent coast, in the sense of a reckless, dare-deril sort of fellow.

f And stay,-] The remainder of this scene is not in the first edition, 1597.

g I warrant thee;] I was added by the editor of the second folio.

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