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This night you shall behold him at our feast:
men. La. Cap. Speak briefly, can you like of Paris' love?
Jul. I'll look to like, if looking liking move:
Enter a Servant. Serv. Madam, the guests are come, supper served up, you called, my young lady asked for, the nurse cursed in the pantry, and every thing in extremity. I must hence to wait; I beseech you, follow straight. La. Cap. We follow thee.-Juliet, the county
stays. Nurse. Go, girl, seek happy nights to happy days.
o the margin of his eyes.] The comments on ancient books were always printed in the margin.
? The fish lives in the sea ; &c.] i.e. is not yet caught.
Enter Romeo, Mercurio, Benvolio, with five
or six Maskers, Torch-Bearers, and Others. Rom. What, shall this speech be spoke for our
Ben. The date is out of such prolixity:8
Rom. Give me a torch, -I am not for this am
Being but heavy, I will bear the light.
Mer. You are a lover; borrow Cupid's wings, And soar with them above a common bound.
Rom. I am too sore enpierced with his shaft, To soar with his light feathers; and so bound,
8 The date is out of such prolixity :] Introductory speeches are out of date or fashion.
9 We'll measure them a measure,] i. e, a dance.
i Gire me a torch,] A torch-bearerseems to have been a constant appendage on every troop of masks, and was not reckoned a degrading office.
I cannot bound a pitch above dull woe:
Mer. And, to sink in it, should you burden love; Too great oppression for a tender thing.
Rom. Is love a tender thing? it is too rough,
[Putting on a Mask. A visor for a visor !—what care Ī, What curious eye doth quote deformities ?? Here are the beetle-brows, shall blush for me.
Ben. Come, knock, and enter; and no sooner in, But every man betake him to his legs.
Rom. A torch for me: let wantons, light of heart, Tickle the senseless rushes with their heels;3 . For I am proverb’d with a grandsire phrase, I'll be a candle-holder, and look on, The game was ne'er so fair, and I am done.4 Mer. Tut! dun's the mouse, the constable's own
. word: If thou art dun, we'll draw thee from the mire Of this (save reverence) love, wherein thou stick'st Up to the ears.-Come, we burn day-light, ho. • Rom. Nay, that's not so. · Mer.
I mean, sir, in delay We waste our lights in vain, like lamps by day.
2- doth quote deformities?] To quote is to observe.
3 Tickle the senseless rushes with their heels;] It has been already observed, that it was anciently the custom to strew rooms with rushes, before carpets were in use. . 4 I'll be a candle-holder, and look on,
The game was ne'er so fair, and I am done.) An allusion to an old proverbial saying, which advises to give over when the game is at the fairest.
Take our good meaning; for our judgment sits
Rom. And we mean well, in going to this mask;
Why, may one ask?
And so did I.
That dreamers often lie. Rom. In bed, asleep, while they do dream things
true. . · Mer. O, then, I see, queen Mab hath been with
you. ' She is the fairies' midwife;' and she comes In shape no bigger than an agate-stone On the fore-finger of an alderman, Drawn with a team of little atomies Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep: Her waggon-spokes made of long spinners' legs; The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers; The traces, of the smallest spider's web; The collars, of the moonshine's watry beams: Her whip, of cricket's bone; the lash, of film: ,
3 She is the fairies' midwife ;] I apprehend, and with no violence of interpretation, that by “ the fairies' midwife," the poet means, the midwife among the fairies, because it was her peculiar employment to steal the new-born babe in the night, and to leave another in its place. The poet here uses her general appellation, and character, which yet has so far a proper reference to the present train of fiction, as that her illusions were practised on persons in bed or asleep; for she not, only haunted women in childbed, but was likewise the incubus or night-mare. Shakspeare, by employing her here, alludes at large to her midnight pranks performed on sleepers ; but denominates her from the most notorious one, of her personating the drowsy midwife, who was insensibly carried away into some distant water, and substituting a new birth in the bed or cradle. It would clear the appellation to read the fairy midwife. The poet avails himself of Mab's appropriate province, by giving her this nocturnal agency. T. WARTON.
9 of little atomies ] An obsolete substitute for atoms.
Her waggoner, a small grey-coated gnat,
? And then dreams he of smelling out a suit: &c.] In our author's time, a court-solicitation was called, simply, a suit, and a process, a suit at law, to distinguish it from the other.
8 - Spanish blades,] A sword is called a toledo, from the excellence of the Toletan steel.
9 And bakes the elf-locks, &c.] This was a common superstition; and seems to have had its rise from the horrid disease called the Plica Polonica.