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Or to dispraise my lord with that same tongue
ACT IV. SCENE I.
Friar LAURENCE's Cell.
Enter Friar LAURENCE and Paris. Fri. On Thursday, sir ? the time is very short.
PAR. My father Capulet will have it so; And I am nothing slow, to slack his haste
Fri. You say, you do not know the lady's mind; Uneven is the course, I like it not.
9 And I am nothing slow, &c.] His haste shall not be abated by my slowness. It might be read :
And I am nothing slow to back his haste : that is, I am diligent to abet and enforce his haste. Johnson.
Slack was certainly the author's word, for, in the first edition, the line ran
“ And I am nothing slack to slow his haste.” Back could not have stood there.
If this kind of phraseology be justifiable, it can be justified only by supposing the meaning to be, there is nothing of slowness in me, to induce me to slacken or abate his haste. The meaning of Paris is very clear; he does not wish to restrain Capulet, or to delay his own marriage; but the words which the poet has given him, import the reverse of this, and seem rather to mean, I am not backward in restraining his haste; I endeavour to retard him as much as I can. Dr. Johnson saw the impropriety of this expression, and that his interpretation extorted a meaning from the words, which they do not at first present; and hence his proposed alteration ; but our author must answer for his own peculiarities. See Antony and Cleopatra, Act IV. Sc. XII. MALONE.
Par. Immoderately she weeps for Tybalt's death, And therefore have I little talk'd of love ; For Venus smiles not in a house of tears. Now, sir, her father counts it dangerous, That she doth give her sorrow so much sway; And, in his wisdom, hastes our marriage, To stop the inundation of her tears ; Which, too much minded by herself alone, May be put from her by society: Now do you know the reason of this haste. Fri. I would I knew not why it should be slow'd'.
[ Aside. Look, sir, here comes the lady towards my cell.
Par. Happily met, my lady, and my wife !
That's a certain text. Par. Come you to make confession to this father ? Jul. To answer that, were to confess to you. Par. Do not deny to him, that you love me. Jul. I will confess to you, that I love him. Par. So will you, I am sure, that you love me.
Jul. If I do so, it will be of more price, Being spoke behind your back, than to your face. Par. Poor soul, thy face is much abus'd with
tears. Jul. The tears have got small victory by that ; For it was bad enough, before their spite.
- be slow'D.) So, in Sir A. Gorges' translation of the second book of Lucan:
will you overflow “ The fields, thereby my march to slow?” STEEVENS.
Par. Thou wrong'st it, more than tears, with that
report. Jul. That is no slander, sir, that is a truth; And what I spake, I spake it to my face.
Par. Thy face is mine, and thou hast slander'd it.
Jul. It may be so, for it is not mine own.-
Fri. My leisure serves me, pensive daughter,
My lord, we must entreat the time alone.
Par. God shield, I should disturb devotion !
[Exit PARIS. Jul. O, shut the door! and when thou hast done
So, Come weep with me; Past hope, past cure*, past
* Quarto A, that am past cure. ? That is no slander, sir, &c.] Thus the first and second folio. The quarto 1597 reads—That is no wrong, &c. and so leaves the measure defective. STEEVENS.
A word was probably omitted at the press. The quarto 1599, and the subsequent copies, read :
“ That is no slander, sir, which is a truth." The context shows that the alteration was not made by Shakspeare. Malone.
The repetition of the word wrong, is not, in my opinion, necessary: besides, the reply of Paris justifies the reading in the text:
“ Thy face is mine, and thou hast slander'd it.” Steevens. 3 Or shall I come to you at evenING MASS?] Juliet means vespers. There is no such thing as evening mass. “ Masses (as Fynes Moryson observes) are only sung in the morning, and when the priests are fasting.” So, likewise, in The Boke of Thenseygnemente and Techynge that the Knyght of the Toure made to his Doughters : translated and printed by Caxton : “ And they of the parysshe told the preest that it was past none, and therfor he durst not synge masse, and so they hadde no masse that daye.” Ritson.
Fri. Ah, Juliet, I already know thy grief; (11) It strains me past the compass of my wits : (ID I hear thou must, and nothing must prorogue it, On Thursday next be married to this county.
Jul. Tell me not, friar, that thou hear'st of this, Unless thou tell me how I may prevent it: (ID) If, in thy wisdom, thou canst give no help, Do thou but call my resolution wise, And with this knife I'll help it presently. God join'd my heart and Romeo's, thou our hands ; And ere this hand, by thee to Romeo seald, Shall be the label to another deed 4 Or my true heart with treacherous revolt Turn to another, this shall slay them both : Therefore, out of thy long-experienc'd time, (ID) Give me some present counsel ; or, behold, 'Twixt my extremes and me this bloody knife Shall play the umpire : ; arbitrating tnat Which the commission of thy years and arto Could to no issue of true honour bring. Be not so long to speak; I long to die *, If what thou speak'st speak not of remedy.
Fri. Hold, daughter; I do spy a kind of hope, Which craves as desperate an execution As that is desperate (ID) which (ID) we would prevent.
* Quarto A, Speak not, be briefe, for I desire to die.
4 Shall be the label to another deed,] The seals of deeds in our author's time were not impressed on the parchment itself on which the deed was written, but were appended on distinct slips or labels affixed to the deed. Hence in King Richard II. the Duke of York discovers a covenant which his son the Duke of Aumerle had entered into by the depending seal :
“ What seal is that, which hangs without thy bosom?" See the fac-simile of Shakspeare's hand writing in vol. ii.
MALONE. 5 Shall play the umpire ;] That is, this knife shall decide the struggle between me and my distresses. Johnson.
O-COMMISSION of thy years and art --] Commission is for authority or power. Johnson.
If, rather than to marry county Paris,
Jul. O, bid me leap, rather than marry Paris,
* Quarto A, Strength or will.
t Quarto A, To fly from blame. > 0, bid me leap, rather than marry Paris,
From off the battlements of yonder tower;] So, in King Leir, written before 1594 :
“ Yea, for to do thee good, I would ascend
MALONE. of yonder tower;" Thus the quarto 1597. All other ancient copies of any tower. STEEVENS.
- chain me, &c.]
“ Or hide me nightly," &c.
My edition has the words which Mr. Pope has omitted; but the old copy seems in this place preferable; only perhaps we might better read
Where savage bears and roaring lions roam. Johnson. I have inserted the lines which Mr. Pope omitted ; for which I must offer this short apology: in the lines rejected by him we meet with three distinct ideas, such as may be supposed to excite terror in a woman, for one that is to be found in the others. The lines now omitted are these :
“ Or chain me to some steepy mountain's top,
“ Or shut me -." The lines last quoted, which Mr. Pope and Dr. Johnson preferred, are found in the copy of 1597 ; in the text the quarto of 1599 is followed, except that it has–Or hide me nightly, &c.