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Nurse. Doth not rosemary and Romeo begin both with
Rom. Ay, nurse; what of that? both with an R.
Sonat hic de nare canina
Jul. Conceit, more rich in matter than in words,
Pauca cupit qui numerare potest.
Could draw to part them, was stout Tybalt slain;
La. Cap. He is a kinsman to the Montague,
Benvolio (whom the author certainly intended for a good character) does not appear to me to be chargeable with any material deviation from the truth if he mistakes the transaction at all, it is not in favour of Romeo, but by suppressing some circumstances in the conduct of Mercutio, the kinsman and favourite of the prince to whom the narrative is addressed, and whom we may suppose (I think without any great imputation on his integrity) he wished to conciliate. It is true that Romeo spoke Tybalt fair, that he urged the prince's displeasure," the prince ex"pressly hath forbid this bandying in Verona "streets,") that he interposed between Mercutio
and Tybalt, and that he did not attack Tybalt till Tybalt had killed Mercutio. Benvolio even suppresses a circumstance which makes considerably in favour of Romeo, viz. that Tybalt called Romeo a villain, before Romeo had spoken a single word, and that Romeo submitted peaceably to that insult, and did not retort the word villain till Tybalt had slain his friend Mercutio. For these reasons Dr. Johnson's censure of Benvolio appears to me unfounded, and to have been made for the sake of introducing the reflection that follows, which, without the assertion of Benvolio's falsehood, must have been lost.
Leap to these arms, untalk'd of, and unseen ! This I do not understand. I am not satisfied with any of the explanations.
Hath slain ten thousand Tybalts.
The text is right, and is rightly explained by Mr. Malone.
And I am nothing slow, to slack his haste.
him what becomed love I might,
".For the sake of the grammar (says Warburton) “ I would suspect that Shakespeare wrote much « bound to hymn, i. e. praise, celebrate.” Mr. Edwards, in his Canons of Criticism, has justly censured this emendation. I agree with Mr. Edwards that this is a place that wants no tinkering. Capulet changes the structure of the sentence from what he first intended it to be, which is very common in real life, especially when persons are agitated by any vehemence of passion, as Capulet was with joy at his daughter's return to her duty, and her compliance with his fondest wishes. This passage cannot, I think, be better illustrated than by the following judicious observations of bishop Lowth in his fourteenth Prelection. He is remarking on these words—Job, ch, iii. v. 6.
“ Nox illa-occupet illam caligo" In hoc vehementis affectus animique pertur
bati indicium est. Erat ei nimirum in animo primum sententiam tali formâ efferre;
“ Nox illa sit caligo!" sed cum jam ingressus esset, id subito arripuit quod animosius et intentius videbatur. Quod nescio an possim melius illustrare, quam si adducerem Horatii locum, ubi poetæ similis excidit avaxonagia.
Ille et-nefasto te posuit die
Perniciem opprobriumque pagi-
Hospitis ; ille venena Colchica,
Tractavit. Nam proculdubio ita exorsus est poeta, ac si sententiam suam hâc formâ esset explicaturus : “ Ille et parentis sui fregit cervicem, et sparsit “penetralia cruore hospitis; ille venena tractavit,
quicunque te posuit, arbos !”-Sed verborum ordinem et rationem penitus ei ex animo excussit iracundia et stomachus. Quod si hic nobis præsto esset officiosus aliquis Grammaticus, ut est genus hominum diligens, et interdum plus satis curiosum ; et poetæ etiam, laboranti et impedito, subsidio veniens, loco suo integritatem scilicet et nitorem restitutum iret; periret protinus exordii pulcherrimi decor, omnis ille impetus atque ardor plane frigesceret et restingueretur.
When I observe how applicable this censure is to Warburton's note above cited, I am almost tempted to believe that Lowth meant to per
stringe Warburton, when he reprobated the injudicious and tasteless emendation of an officious grammarian.* I think it is scarcely necessary to add that I prefer the reading in the text (from the folio, and the quarto of 1599 and 1609) to that of the oldest quarto; though the latter is certainly entitled to the praise of being more grammatical.
Cap. Come, stir, stir, stir! the second cock hath crow'd,
Look to the bak'd meats, good Angelica:
Spare not for cost.
I never supposed that by Angelica, Capulet meant his wife.
*The Prelections were written before the controversy between Lowth and Warburton, which was, indeed, grounded on a note on the Thirty-second Prelection, which Warburton chose to consider as an attack on him. But it may, I think, be safely inferred that Lowth never was such an idolizer of Warburton as to be blind to the absurdity of the above-mentioned correction, which I cannot help thinking he had in his mind when he wrote the passage just quoted.
This conjecture concerning Lowth's intending this passage as a censure on Warburton, appears to me to be in some measure countenanced by the following passage in the letter on the Delicacy of Friendship: "This compliment of writing against a great author may be conveyed with that address, that he shall "not appear, I mean to any but the more sagacious and "discerning, to be written against at all. This curious feat of "leger-de-main is performed by glancing at his arguments "without so much as naming the person
"But to be impartial, though you manage this matter with ad"mirable grace, the secret is in many hands. And whatever be "the cause, hath been more frequently employed in the case of "the author of the D. L. (Divine Legation) than any other. I "could mention at least a dozen famous writers, who, like the "flatterers of Augustus, do not choose to look him full in the "face, but artfully intimate their reverence of him, by indiscreet