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SCENE I.-- An open Place adjoining Capulet's Garden.
[He climbs the wall, and leaps down within it.
Enter Benvolio and MERCUTIO.
He is wise;
Ben. He ran this way, and leapt this orchard wall:
Nay, I 'll conjure too.
a (A) has pronounce; the subsequent quartos and the first folio, provaunt ; the second folio couply, which has become the received reading of couple. Steevens desired to retain provant, to provide, from the noun provant, provision.
b All the old copies have “ Abraham.” Upton changed it to “ Adam,” which all the modern editors have adopted, supposing the allusion," he that shot so trim," was to the Adam Bell of the old ballad, to whom Shakspere has also alluded in “Much Ado about Nothing :' “ He that hits me, let him be clapped on the shoulder and called Adam.” But the word “ trim,” which is the reading of the first quarto (the subsequent editions giving us “ true''), is distinctly derived from “The Ballad of King Cophetua and the Beggar-maid :
“ The blinded boy, that shoots so trim,
From heaven down did hie,
In place where he did lie.” With all submission to the opinion of Percy, who adopts the reading of Upton, we think that the change of Abraham into Adam was uncalled for. Abraham conveys
When king Cophetua lov’d the beggar-maid. 1 --
Ben. An if he hear thee, thou wilt anger him.
Mer. This cannot anger him: ’t would anger him To raise a spirit in his mistress' circle Of some strange nature, letting it there stand Till she had laid it, and conjur'd it down ; That were some spite : my invocation Is fair and honest, and, in his mistress' name, I conjure only but to raise up him.
Ben. Come, he hath hid himself among these trees,
Mer. If love be blind, love cannot hit the mark.
another idea than that of Cupid's archery, which is strongly enough conveyed. The “ Abraham " Cupid is the cheat-the “ Abraham man"--of our old statutes.
a The ape—an expression of kindly familiarity, applied to a young man, b Humorous— dewy, vaporous.
c There are two lines here omitted in the text of Steevens's edition, which Malone bas restored to the text. In every popular edition of our poet they are omitted. The lines are gross, but the grossness is obscure, and, if it were understood, could scarcely be called corrupting. The freedoms of Mercutio arise out of his dramatic character ;-his exuberant spirits betray him into levities which are constantly opposed to the intellectual refinement which rises above such baser matter. But Pope rejected these lines-Pope, who, in • The Rape of the Lock,' has introduced one couplet, at least, that would have disgraced the age of Elizabeth. We do not print the two lines of Shakspere, for they can only interest the verbal critic. But we distinctly record their omission. As far as we have been able to trace—and we have gone through the old editions with an especial reference to this matter—these two lines constitute the only passage in the original editions which has been omitted by modern editors. With this exception, there is not a passage in Shakspere which is not reprinted in every edition except that of Mr. Bowdler. And yet the writer in * Lardner's Cyclopædia' (Lives of Literary and Scientific Men) has ventured to make the following assertion: “Whoever has looked into the original editions of his
Romeo, good night :-I 'll to my truckle-bed ; 2
Go, then; for 't is in vain
SCENE II.—Capulet's Garden.
[JULIET appears above, at a window.
dramas will be disgusted with the obscenity of his allusions. They absolutely teem with the grossest improprieties—more gross by far than can be found in any contemporary dramatist.” The insinuation that the original editions contain improprieties that are not to be found in modern editions, is difficult to characterise without using expressions that had better be avoided. a Be not a votary to Diana,-the
“ Queen and huntress, chaste and fair,” of Ben Jonson's beautiful hymn.
See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
She speaks :-
Jul. O Romeo, Romeo ! wherefore art thou Romeo ?
Rom. Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this? [Aside.
Jul. ’T is but thy name that is my enemy;-
Rom. I take thee at thy word:
a So (A). The folio and (C), puffing.
b Juliet places his personal qualities in opposition to what she thought evil of his family.
c There is a confusion in the folio and (C), which Malone here appears to have put right, by making out a line with the aid of (A). The folio omits “O, be some other name.”
a So (A). The folio and (C), word. e So (C) and folio. (A), that.
Jul. What man art thou, that, thus bescreen'd in night,
By a name
Jul. My ears have yet not drunk a hundred words
Rom. Neither, fair maid, b if either thee dislike.
Jul. How cam’st thou hither, tell me? and wherefore ?
Jul. If they do see thee, they will murther thee.
Rom. Alack! there lies more peril in thine eye, Than twenty of their swords ; look thou but sweet, And I am proof against their enmity.
Jul. I would not for the world they saw thee here.
Rom. I have night's cloak to hide me from their eyes ; And, but thou love me, f let them find me here: My life were better ended by their hate, Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love.
Jul. By whose direction found'st thou out this place ?
Rom. By love, that first did prompt me to inquire ;
a The folio and (C), thy tongue's uttering ; (A), that tongue's utterance. b In (A), saint. c Dislike--displease.
d In (A), let. e In (A), sight. But thou love me—so thou do but love me. & SO (A); In folio and (C), should.