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Cap. O, heavens!-0, wife! look how our

daughter bleeds! This dagger hath mista'en,-for, lo! his house Is empty on the back of Montague, And it mis-sheathed in my daughter's bosom. La. Cap. O me! this sight of death is as a bell,

old

age to a sepulchre.

That warns my

Enter MONTAGUE and Others.

Prince. Come, Montague; for thou art early up, To see thy son and heir more early down.

Mon. Alas, my liege, my wife is dead to-night; Grief of my son's exíle hath stopp'd her breath: What further woe conspires against mine age?

Prince, Look, and thou shalt see.

Mon. O thou untaught! what manners is in this, To press before thy father to a grave?

Prince. Seal up the mouth of outrage for a while,
Till we can clear these ambiguities,
And know their spring, their head, their true descent;
And then will I be general of your woes,
And lead you even to death: Mean time forbear,
And let mischance be slave to patience.
Bring forth the parties of suspicion.

Fri. I am the greatest, able to do least,
Yet most suspected, as the time and place
Doth make against me, of this direful murder;
And here I stand, both to impeach and purge
Myself condemned and myself excus'd.

* This dagger hath mista'en,- for, lo! his house

Is empty on the back of Montague,

And it mis-sheathed in my daughter's bosom.] Shakspeare quaintly represents the dagger as having mistaken its place, and • it mis-sheathed, i. e. " mis-sheathed itselfin the bosom of Juliet. It appears that the dagger was anciently worn behind the back.

Prince. Then say at once what thou dost know in

this.
Fri. I will be brief, for my short date of breath
Is not so long as is a tedious tale.
Romeo, there dead, was husband to that Juliet;
And she, there dead, that Romeo's faithful wife:
I married them; and their stolen marriage-day
Was Tybalt's dooms-day, whose untimely death
Banish'd the new-made bridegroom from this city;
For whom, and not for Tybalt, Juliet pin’d.
You—to remove that siege of grief from her,-
Betroth’d, and would have married her perforce,
To county Paris:--Then comes she to me;
And, with wild looks, bid me devise some means
To rid her from this second marriage,
Or, in my cell there would she kill

herself.
Then gave I her, so tutor'd by my art,
A sleeping potion; which so took effect
As I intended, for it wrought on her
The form of death: meantime I writ to Romeo,
That he should hither come as this dire night,
To help to take her from her borrow'd grave,
Being the time the potion's force should cease.
But he which bore my letter, friar John,
Was staid by accident; and yesternight
Return'd my letter back: Then all alone,
At the prefixed hour of her waking,
Came I to take her from her kindred's vault;
Meaning to keep her closely at my cell,
Till I conveniently could send to Romeo:
But, when I came, (some minute ere the time
Of her awakening,) here untimely lay
The noble Paris, and true Romeo, dead.
She wakes; and I entreated her come forth,

? I will be brief,] It is much to be lamented, that the poet did not conclude the dialogue with the action, and avoid a narrative of events which the audience already knew. JOHNSON.

And bear this work of heaven with patience:
But then a noise did scare me from the tomb;
And she, too desperate, would not go with me,
But (as it seems,) did violence on herself.
All this I know; and to the marriage
Her nurse is privy: And, if aught in this
Miscarried by my fault, let my old life
Be sacrific'd, some hour before his time,
Unto the rigour of severest law.
Prince. We still have known thee for a holy

man.-
Where's Romeo's man? what can he say in this?

Bal. I brought my master news of Juliet's death; And then in post he came from Mantua, To this same place, to this same monument. This letter he early bid me give his father; And threaten'd me with death, going in the vault, If I departed not, and left him there.

Prince. Give me the letter, I will look on it. Where is the county's page, that rais'd the watch ? Sirrah, what made your master in this place? Page. He came with flowers to strew his lady's

grave; And bid me stand aloof, and so I did: Anon, comes one with light to ope the tomb; And, by and by, my master drew on him; And then I ran away to call the watch. Prince. This letter doth make good the friar's

words, Their course of love, the tidings of her death: And here he writes--that he did buy a poison Of a poor 'pothecary, and therewithal Came to this vault to die, and lie with Juliet.Where be these enemies? Capulet! Montague!See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate, That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love! And I, for winking at your discords too,

Have lost a brace of kinsmen :'-all are punish'd.

Cap. O, brother Montague, give me thy hand:
This is my daughter's jointure, for no more
Can I demand.
Mon.

But I can give thee more:
For I will raise her statue in pure gold;
That, while Verona by that name is known,
There shall no figure at such rate be set,
As that of true and faithful Juliet.

Cap. As rich shall Romeo by his lady lie;
Poor sacrifices of our enmity!
Prince. A glooming peace this morning with it

brings; The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head: Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things;

Some shall be pardon'd, and some punished: For never was a story of more woe Than this of Juliet and her Romeo. [Exeunt.

& Have lost a brace of kinsmen:] Mercutio and Paris : Mercutio is expressly called the prince's kinsman in Act III. sc. iv. and that Paris also was the prince's kinsman, may be inferred from other passages.

9 Some shall be pardon'd, and some punished:] This line has reference to the novel from which the fable is taken. Here we read that Juliet's female attendant was banished for concealing the marriage; Romeo's servant set at liberty because he had only acted in obedience to his master's orders; the apothecary taken, tortured, condemned, and hanged; while friar Laurence was permitted to retire to a hermitage in the neighbourhood of Verona, where he ended his life in penitence and tranquillity. STEEVENS. This play is one of the most pleasing of our author's perform

The scenes are busy and various, the incidents numerous and important, the catastrophe irresistibly affecting, and the process of the action carried on with such probability, at least with such congruity to popular opinions, as tragedy requires.

Here is one of the few attempts of Shakspeare to exhibit the conversation of gentlemen, to represent the airy sprightliness of juvenile elegance. Mr. Dryden mentions a tradition, which might easily reach his time, of a declaration made by Shakspeare, that he was obliged to kill Mercutio in the third Act, lest he should have been killed by him. Yet he thinks him no such formidable person,

ances.

but that he might have lived through the play, and died in his bed, without danger to the poet. Dryden well knew, had he been in quest of truth, in a pointed sentence, that more regard is commonly had to the words than the thought, and that it is very seldom to be rigorously understood. Mercutio's wit, gaiety, and courage, will always procure him friends that wish him a longer life; but his death is not precipitated, he has lived out the time allotted him in the construction of the play ; nor do I doubt the ability of Shakspeare to have continued his existence, though some of his sallies are perhaps out of the reach of Dryden; whose genius was not very fertile of merriment, nor ductile to humour, but acute, argumentative, comprehensive, and sublime.

The Nurse is one of the characters in which the author delighted : he has, with great subtilty of distinction, drawn her at once loquacious and secret, obsequious and insolent, trusty and dishonest.

His comick scenes are happily wrought, but his pathetick strains are always polluted with some unexpected depravations. His persons, however distressed, have a conceit left them in their misery, a miserable conceit.* JOHNSON.

* This quotation is also found in the Preface to Dryden's Fables : “ Just John Littlewit in Bartholomew Fair, who had a conceit (as he tells you) left him in his misery; a miserable conceit." STEEVENS,

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