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Here in this city visiting the sick,
And finding him, the searchers of the town,
Suspecting, that we both were in a house
Where the infectious pestilence did reign,
Seal'd up the doors, and would not let us forth;
So that my speed to Mantua there was stay'd.
LAU. Who bare my letter then to Romeo?

first offence to be deprived of a week's commons, with further punishment for the offence if repeated. REED.


Going to find a bare-foot brother out, "One of our order, to associate me, "Here in this city visiting the sick,

"And finding him, the searchers of the town, "Suspecting &c." So, in The Tragicall Hystory of Romeus and Juliet, 1562:


Apace our friar John to Mantua him hies;

And, for because in Italy it is a wonted guise

"That friars in the town should seldom walk alone,


"But of their convent aye should be accompanied with one "Of his profession, straight a house he findeth out,

"In mind to take some friar with him, to walk the town about."

Our author, having occasion for Friar John, has here departed from the poem, and supposed the pestilence to rage at Verona, instead of Mantua.

Friar John sought for a brother merely for the sake of form, to accompany him in his walk, and had no intention of visiting the sick; the words, therefore, to associate me, must be considered as parenthetical, and Here in this city, &c. must refer to the bare-foot brother.

I formerly conjectured that the passage ought to be regulated thus:

Going to find a bare-foot brother out,
One of our order, to associate me,

And finding him, the searchers of the town

Here in this city visiting the sick, &c.

But the text is certainly right. The searchers would have had no ground of suspicion, if neither of the Friars had been in an infected house. MALONE. It is thus in quarto 1597 :

"One of our order, to associate me,

"Here in this city visiting the sick,

"Where as the infectious pestilence remain'd,

"And, being by the searchers of the town,

"Found and examined, we were both shut up." BOSWELL.

JOHN. I could not send it,-here it is again (1) Nor get a messenger to bring it thee, So fearful were they of infection. (II)

LAU. Unhappy fortune! by my brotherhood,
The letter was not nice, but full of charge,
Of dear import; and the neglecting it
May do much danger: Friar John, go hence;
Get me an iron crow, and bring it straight
Unto my cell.

JOHN. Brother, I'll go and bring it thee. [Exit. LAU. Now must I to the monument alone; Within this three hours will fair Juliet wake 1 She will beshrew me much, that Romeo Hath had no notice of these accidents:


* Quarto A, I have them still, and here they are.

9 — was not NICE,] i. e. was not written on a trivial or idle subject.

Nice signifies foolish in many parts of Gower and Chaucer. So, in the second book De Confessione Amantis, fol. 37: "My sonne, eschewe thilke vice.


My father elles were I nice."

Again, in Chaucer's Scogan unto the Lordes, &c.: the most complaint of all,

"Is to thinkin that I have be so nice,


"That I ne would in vertues to me call," &c.

Again, in The Longer Thou Livest the More Fool Thou Art, 1570:

"You must appeare to be straunge and nyce."

The learned editor of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, 1775, observes, that H. Stephens informs us, that nice was the old French word for niais, one of the synonymes of sot. Apol. Herod. 1. i. c. iv. STEEVENS.

So, in Richard III. :

"My lord, this argues conscience in your grace,

"But the respects thereof are nice and trivial." MALONE. 1 Within this three hours will fair Juliet wake;] Instead of this line, and the concluding part of the speech, the quarto 1597 reads only:

"Lest that the lady should before I come

"Be wak'd from sleep, I will hye

"To free her from that tombe of miserie." STEEVENS.

But I will write again to Mantua,

And keep her at my cell till Romeo come;
Poor living corse, clos'd in a dead man's tomb !



A Church-Yard; in it, a Monument belonging to the Capulets.

Enter PARIS, and his Page, bearing Flowers and a Torch.

PAR. Give me thy torch, boy: Hence, and stand aloof;

Yet put it out, for I would not be seen.
Under yon yew-trees lay thee all along,
Holding thine ear close to the hollow ground;
So shall no foot upon the churchyard tread,
(Being loose, unfirm, with digging up of graves,)
But thou shalt hear it: whistle then to me,
As signal that thou hear'st something approach
Give me those flowers. Do as I bid thee, go.
PAGE. I am almost afraid to stand alone
Here in the churchyard; yet I will adventure.

[Retires. PAR. Sweet flower, with flowers I strew thy bridal bed:

Sweet tomb, that in thy circuit dost contain
The perfect model of eternity;

Fair Juliet, that with angels dost remain 2,

2 Fair Juliet, that with angels, &c.] These four lines from the old edition. POPE.

The folio has these lines:


Sweet flow'r, with flow'rs thy bridal bed I strew;
"O woe! thy canopy is dust and stones,
"Which with sweet water nightly I will dew,

"Or, wanting that, with tears distill'd by moans.


Accept this latest favour at my hands;
That living honour'd thee, and, being dead,
With funeral praises do adorn thy tomb!
[The Boy whistles.
The boy gives warning, something doth approach.
What cursed foot wanders this way to-night,
To cross my obsequies, and true love's rites?
What, with a torch!-muffle me, night, a while 3.



Enter ROMEO and BALTHASAR, with a Torch, Mattock, &c.

ROM. Give me that mattock, and the wrenching iron.

Hold, take this letter; early in the morning
See thou deliver it to my lord and father.
Give me the light? Upon thy life I charge thee,
Whate'er thou hear'st or seest, stand all aloof,
And do not interrupt me in my course.

Why I descend into this bed of death,
Is, partly, to behold my lady's face :

But, chiefly, to take thence from her dead finger

"The obsequies that I for thee will keep,

"Nightly shall be, to strew thy grave, and weep."

JOHNSON. Mr. Pope has followed no copy with exactness; but took the first and fourth lines from the elder quarto, omitting the two intermediate verses, which I have restored. STEEVENS.

The folio follows the quarto of 1599. In the text the seven lines are printed as they appear in the quarto 1597. MALONE.

3 — MUFFLE me, night, a while.] Thus, in Drayton's Polyolbion :

"But suddenly the clouds which on the winds do fly,
"Do muffle him againe —."

Muffle was not become a low word even in the time of Milton, as the Elder Brother in Comus uses it:


Unmuffle, ye faint stars," &c.

A muffler, as I have already observed, was a part of female dress. See Merry Wives of Windsor, Act IV. Sc. II.


A precious ring; a ring, that I must use
In dear employment: therefore hence, be gone:-
But if thou, jealous, dost return to pry
In what I further shall intend to do,

By heaven, I will tear thee joint by joint,
And strew this hungry churchyard with thy limbs :
The time and my intents are savage-wild' ;
More fierce, and more inexorable far,

Than empty tigers, or the roaring sea.

BAL. I will be gone, sir, and not trouble you.

ROM. So shalt thou show me friendship.-Take thou that:

Live, and be prosperous: and farewell, good fellow. BAL. For all this same, I'll hide me hereabout; His looks I fear, and his intents I doubt. [Retires. ROM. Thou détestable maw, thou womb of death,


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4 - dear employment:] That is, action of importance. Gems were supposed to have great powers and virtues. JOHNSON. See vol. v. p. 77, n. 3.

Ben Jonson uses the word dear in the same sense :

"Put your known talents on so dear a business."

Catiline, Act I. Again, in Chapman's version of the 10th book of the Odyssey: full pitching on

"The dearest joint his head was plac'd upon."


Again, in the ancient MS. romance of The Sowdon of Babyloyne, p. 14:

"Now telle we of the messengere
"That went to Charlemayne,
"Certyfyinge him by letters dere

"How the Romaynes were slayne." STEEVENS. See Timon of Athens, Act V. Sc. II. s-savage-wild ;] Here the speech concludes in the old copy. STEEVENS.


détestable] This word, which is now accented on the second syllable, was once accented on the first; therefore this line did not originally seem to be inharmonious. So, in The Tragedie of Croesus, 1604:

"Court with vain words and détestable lyes." Again, in Shakspeare's King John, Act III. Sc. III. :

"And I will kiss thy détestable bones." STEEVENS.

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