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The advance of the sun, or the sun's eye, is the approach of the day, and that which cheers the world, and dries up the dews of the night. 99. “ Nor aught so good, but, strain’d from
that fair use." As no specific virtue is expressed or implied, we ought, perhaps, to read “ from its fair use;" the correction, too, of “ nought," in the quarto, to “aught,” is wrong-the declaration being negative, the negative conjunction is proper-there is nought so vile but gives some good, nor nought so good, but becomes sometimes hurtful. “ Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse.”
I cannot discover how this line should be deemed worthy to supersede that in the first quarto :
6 Revolts to vice, and stumbles on abuse." · " For this, being smelt, with that part cheers
each part; “ Being tasted, slays all senses with the heart.”
The terminations of this couplet have been reversed from the first quarto, which reads, perhaps better, " — With that part cheers each heart; “ Being tasted, slays all senses with the part.”
“Part,” both in the first and second lines, means, as I conceive, the particular sense. Theobald's correction appears to be judicious. 101. “With Rosaline, my ghostly father ? no ;
“ I have forgot that name,” &c. I cannot perceive what was the design of the
poet, in introducing Romeo as deeply enamoured of a lady who never appears, and then all at once making him renounce her in favour of another. This fickleness has certainly no tendency to exalt the character of Romeo, or to augment our pity at his misfortunes. Mr, Garrick, in his alteration of the play, was, I think, judicious in avoiding this part of it. 109. "
Upon thy cheek the stain doth sit “s Of an old tear that is not wash'd off
yet.” Hamlet makes a similar remark : “ Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears “ Had left the flushing of her galled eyes, " She married."
107. “Without his roe, like a dried herring."
There is a double conceit here—he comes but the half of himself; he is only a sigh-) me!i. e. me, O! the half of his name. A-kin to this thought is Swift's etymology of Cicero: the orator, says he, had been a sizer or servitor in the university at Athens, and being often pointed at with reproach-O, sizer ' sizer, O! in time he acquired the nick-name Sizer O! or Cicero !
"- Not to the purpose.” The purpose of competition with this lover's mistress. 111. “Come between us, good Benvolio ; my
wits fail.” · VOL. II.
This reminds me of a passage in Congreve: Millamant. “Mincing, stand between me and
Way of the World.
LORD CHEDWORTH. It may not be out of the way to remark, upon the above note, that the interposition required by Millamant, and by Romeo, was for purposes quite opposite to each other;—the blaze of wit there was too strong, here it was too feeble; a screen in one case was wanted a bellows in the other.
120. “ My man's as true as steel.”
i. e. I suppose, as trusty as the temper'd weapon on which the defence of our life depends; or, perhaps, it is merely a proverbial saying. The line is not in the first quarto. 122. “R. is for the dog."
“ Sonat hic de Nare canina
Pers. Sat. 1st, 109.
124. " And his to me.”
I suppose some words like these have been lost from this hemistic: “And his to me would send her back again." 126. “ I'faith, I ăm sorry that thou art not
The sweet simplicity of this line is repeated in Othello :
“I am very sorry that you are not well."
SCENE VI. 129. “Then love-devouring death do what he
“ Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.” · This is, in other words, the trite proverb
“ The more haste, the worse speed.” " So light a foot. “Will ne'er wear out the everlasting flint."
“ Everlasting,” perhaps, for “sacred,” “consecrated,” or “ everlasting,” because, if only subject to such steps, no impression would ever be made on it: but it cannot reasonably be supposed that the poet would, for the sake of such a thought as this, displace the beautiful line in the first quarto. “So light a foot ne'er hurts the trodden flower.”
I know not whether Virgil was in Shakspeare's mind here—Æneid. Lib. 7. V. 808, &c. “ Illa vel intacta segetis per summa volaret “Gramina, nec teneras cursu læsisset aristas.” But Milton has a similar image in Comus :
“ Thus I set my printless feet
“ That bends not as I tread.” 130. “ As much to him, else are his thanks too much."
This is strangely expressed : I suppose Juliet means to say that Romeo himself is equally entitled to her thanks, and that, if she do not give them to him in an equal measure, he will have thanked her too much. 131. “ They are but beggars that can count
Mart. Lib. 6. Ep. 34.
ACT III. SCENE I. 133. “ Thou wilt quarrel with a man for crack
ing nuts,” &c. The first quarto, with truer humour, ascribes this quarrelsome temper more directly ;
“ Didst thou not quarrel,” &c. 136. “In Verona streets :-hold, Tybalt ;
good Mercutio." The poet never gave such an order of words as this for a verse :- I suppose it was, “ Here in Verona :-Tybalt;—good Mercutio.* 137. “ Nor so wide as a church door.”
The first copy—“a barn door.” 138.“ Aspir'd the clouds,” &c.
" Aspire,” a verb active. “Which too untimely here did scorn the earth.”
The first quarto I think much better, as free from pleonasm; “ here” and “ earth" being the same, reads,