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The collars, of the moonshine's watry beams;
(2) O'er a courtier's nofe.] Tho' lawyer's is here ufed in almost all the modern editions, it is very obfervable, that in the old ones the word ufed fs, Courtier's; but the modern editors, having no idea what the poet could mean by a courtier's fmelling out a fuit, notwithstanding he had introduced the lawyers before, gave them another place, in this fine fpeech. Mr. Warburton has very well explain'd it, by obferving that "in our author's time, a courtfollicitation was call'd fimply a fuit; and a procefs, a fuit at lazo to diftinguish it from the other. The king (fays an anony mous cotemporary writer of the life of Sir William Cecil) called him [Sir William Cecil] and after long talk with him, being much delighted with his anfwers, willed his father to find [i. e. fmell out] a fuit for bim. Whereupon be became fuitor for the reverfion of the Cuftos Brevium office in the Common-Pleas. Which the king willingly granted it, being the first fuit be bad in bis life." Nor can it be objected, as Mr. Warburton alfo obferves, that there will be a repetition in this fine fpeech if we read courtiers, as there is, if we read lawyers, it having been said before,
On courtiers knees that dream on curtfies straight.
Because they are fhewn in two places under different views ; in the first their foppery, in the fecond their rapacity is ridiculed." Befides, we may add, that in the firft line he seems to allude to the court ladies, in these under confideration to the gentlemen. The cuftom being fo much out of ufe, it is not amifs that
And then dreams he of fmelling out a fuit:
And sometimes comes fhe with a tithe-pig's tail,
in the modern readings of this fpeech, and alfo on the flage, we find the doctors introduced,
O'er Doctors fingers, who straight dream on fees.
But there feems no doubt of the genuineness of the word in the
Tho' the following paffages have fomething fimilar in general to this celebrated fpeech, yet they serve only to fhew the fuperiority of Shakespear's fancy, and the vast range of his boundless imagination. If the reader will confult the 4th book and 959th Jine of Lucretius, he will find more on the fubject than I have quoted: Shakespear has an expreffion in Othello, concerning dreams, which is conformable to what Lucretius and Petronius obferve, and which is an inftance of his great knowledge of nature; here he pronounces, dreams are nothing, there, when Othello's paffions are to be raised, 'tis remark'd that they
Denote a foregone conclufion. See Othello, A. 3. S. 8.
Lucretius, Book IV.
Et quoi quifque fere fludio, &c.
Whatever ftudies pleafe, whatever things
And writing down my thoughts conftant employs.
Somnia quæ mentes, &c.
When in our dreams the forms of things arife,
Tickling the parfon as he lies afleep;
Then dreams he of another benefice.
Rom. Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace :
Mer. True, I talk of dreams;
Which are the children of an idle brain,
The mifer hides his wealth, new treasure finds;
SCENE VI. A Beauty defcrib'di ma
O fhe doth teach the torches to burn bright;
ACT II. SCENE II.
(3) The Courtship between Romeo and Juliet, in the Garden.
Rom. He jefts at fears that never felt a wound
[Juliet appears above at a window.
Arife, fair fun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already fick and pale with grief,
Her veftal livery is but fick and green,
And none but fools do wear it, caft it off-
I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks:
(3) The, &c.] The elegance and natural fimplicity of this fcene is enough to recommend it, and muft render it agreeable to every reader who hath any tafte for tendernefs, delicacy, and fincere affection: but when we have feen it fo juftly performed, and so beautifully graced by fome of the best and most judicious actors that ever appear'd on any stage, we fhall want no comment to enter into its particular excellencies, no chart to guide us to thofe beauties, which all must have fenfibly felt, on hearing them fo feelingly and pathetically expreft, in their own bofoms. The reader will find fome remarks in the Ator on this celebrated scene.
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek! ⠀
Rom. She fpeaks.
Oh speak again, bright angel, for thou art
As glorious to this fight, being o'er my head,
Jul. ORomeo, Romeo-wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father, and refufe thy name :
Or if thou wilt not, be but fworn my love,
Rom. Shall I hear more, or fhall I fpeak at this?
Jul. "Tis but thy name that is my enemy:
What's in a name? that which we call a rofe,
Sight, Mr. Theobald, valg. Night.