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() I have a faint cold fear thrills through my veins,
My dismal scene I needs must act alone.-
What if this mixture do not work at all?
7 I have a faint cold FEAR thrills through my veins,
That almost FREEZES up the heat of life:] So, in Romeus and Juliet, 1562 :
“And whilst she in these thoughts doth dwell somewhat too
"The force of her imagining anon did wax so strong,
"Had seen him in his blood embrew'd, to death eke wounded
"Her dainty tender parts 'gan shiver all for dread,
"Her golden hair did stand upright upon her chillish head: "Then pressed with the fear that she there lived in,
A sweat as cold as mountain ice pierc'd through her tender skin." MALONE.
8 What if this MIXTURE do not work at all?] So, in Painter's Palace of Pleasure, tom. ii. p. 239: but what know I (sayd she) whether the operation of this pouder will be to soone or to late, or not correspondent to the due time, and that my faulte being discovered, I shall remayne a jesting stocke and fable to the people? what know I moreover, if the serpents and other venemous and crauling wormes, which commonly frequent the graves and pittes of the earth, will hurt me thinkyng that I am dead? But how shall I endure the stinche of so many carions and bones of myne auncestors which rest in the grave, if by fortune I do awake before Romeo and frier Laurence doe come to help me? And as she was thus plunged in the deepe contemplation of things, she thought that she sawe a certaine vision or fansie of her cousin Thibault, in the very same sort as she sawe him wounded and imbrued with blood." STEEVENS.
Here also Shakspeare appears to have followed the Poem: to the end I may my name and conscience save, "I must devour the mixed drink that by me here I have : "Whose working and whose force as yet I do not know :— "And of this piteous plaint began another doubt to grow: "What do I know, (quoth she) if that this powder shall "Sooner or later than it should, or else not work at all?
Must I of force be married to the county 9 ?— No, no ;-this shall forbid it:-lie thou there.[Laying down a Dagger1.
"And what know I, quoth she, if serpents odious,
"That wonted are to lurk in dark caves under ground,
"Shall harm me, yea or nay, where I shall lie as dead?
"Shall not the friar and my Romeus, when they come,
9 MUST I of force be married to the COUNTY?] Thus the quarto of 1597, and not, as the line has been exhibited in the late editions
"Shall I of force be married to the Count?" The subsequent ancient copies read, as Mr. Steevens has ob
Shall I be married then to-morrow morning?
- lie thou there. [Laying down a dagger.] This stagedirection has been supplied by the modern editors. The quarto 1597 reads: Knife, lie thou there." It appears from several passages in our old plays, that knives were formerly part of the accoutrements of a bride; and every thing behoveful for Juliet's state had just been left with her. So, in Decker's Match Me in London, 1631:
"See at my girdle hang my wedding knives !" Again, in King Edward III. 1599:
Here by my side do hang my wedding knives: Take thou the one, and with it kill thy queen, "And with the other, I'll dispatch my love."
Again: "there was a maide named, &c.- -she tooke one of her knives that was some halfe a foote long," &c. &c. "And it was found in all respects like to the other that was in her sheath." Goulart's Admirable Histories, &c. 4to. 1607, pp. 176, 178.
In the third book of Sidney's Arcadia we are likewise informed, that Amphialus "in his crest carried Philocleas' knives, the only token of her forced favour." STEEVENS.
What if it be a poison, which the friar
I wake before the time that Romeo
Come to redeem me? there's a fearful point!
To whose foul mouth no healthsome air breathes in,
The horrible conceit of death and night,
In order to account for Juliet's having a dagger, or, as it is called in old language, a knife, it is not necessary to have recourse to the ancient accoutrements of brides, how prevalent soever the custom mentioned by Mr. Steevens may have been; for Juliet appears to have furnished herself with this instrument immediately after her father and mother had threatened to force her to marry Paris :
"If all fail else, myself have power to die."
Accordingly, in the very next scene, when she is at the Friar's cell, and before she could have been furnished with any of the apparatus of a bride, (not having then consented to marry the count,) she says—
"Give me some present counsel, or, behold,
"Twixt my extremes and me this bloody knife
Mr. Gifford in a note on Jonson's Staple of News, informs us that in Shakspeare's time, "daggers, or as they were more commonly called, knives, were worn at all times by every woman in England." Gifford's Jonson, vol. v. p. 221. BosWELL.
2 I will not entertain so bad a thought.] This line I have restored from the quarto 1597. STEEVENS.
3 As in a vault, &c.] This idea was probably suggested to our poet by his native place. The charnel at Stratford upon Avon is a very large one, and perhaps contains a greater number of bones
Where, for these many hundred years, the bones Of all my buried ancestors are pack'd;
Where bloody Tybalt, yet but green in earth *, Lies fest'ring in his shroud; where, as they say, At some hours in the night spirits resort;Alack, alack! is it not like, that Io,
So early waking,-what with loathsome smells; And shrieks like mandrakes' torn out of the earth, That living mortals, hearing them, run mad';—
than are to be found in any other repository of the same kind in England. I was furnished with this observation by Mr. Murphy, whose very elegant and spirited defence of Shakspeare against the criticisms of Voltaire, is not one of the least considerable out of many favours which he has conferred on the literary world. STEEVENS.
4 - green in earth,] i. e. fresh in earth, newly buried. So, in Hamlet:
"Green in my honours." STEEVENS.
5 Lies FEST RING] To fester is to corrupt. So, in King Edward III. 1599:
"Lillies that fester smell far worse than weeds." This line likewise occurs in the 94th Sonnet of Shakspeare. The play of Edward III. has been ascribed to him. STEEVENS. is it not like, that I,] This speech is confused, and inconsequential, according to the disorder of Juliet's mind. JOHNSON. 7-run mad ;] So, in Webster's Duchess of Malfy, 1623: "I have this night digg'd up a mandrake,
"And am grown mad with't."
Again, in The Atheist's Tragedy, 1611:
"The cries of mandrakes never touch'd the ear
"With more sad horror, than that voice does mine."
Again, in A Christian turn'd Turk, 1612:
"I'll rather give an ear to the black shrieks
Again, in Aristippus, or the Jovial Philosopher :
66 This is the mandrake's voice that undoes me."
The mandrake (says Thomas Newton, in his Herball to the Bible, 8vo. 1587,) has been idly represented as a creature having life and engendered under the earth of the seed of some
O! if I wake, shall I not be distraught,
And madly play with my forefathers' joints?
[She throws herself on the Bed.
dead person that hath beene convicted and put to death for some felonie or murther; and that they had the same in such dampish and funeral places where the saide convicted persons were buried," &c. STEEVENS.
8-be DISTRAUGHT,] Distraught is distracted. So, in Drayton's Polyolbion, Song 10:
"Is, for that river's sake, near of his wits distraught." Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, b. i. c. ix. :
"What frantick fit, quoth he, hath thus distraught," &c.
9 Romeo, I come! this do I drink to thee.] So the first quarto, 1597. The subsequent ancient copies read:
Romeo, Romeo, Romeo, here's drink, I drink to thee."
"Drink to thee." This soliloquy is thus shortly given in the quarto 1597:
"Farewell!-God knows when we shall meet again.
"What if this potion should not work at all?
I will not entertain so bad a thought.
"What if I should be stifled in the tomb?
And, playing with my dead forefathers' bones, "Dash out my frantick brains. Methinks I see