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Black and portentous must this humour prove,
Unless good counsel may the cause remove.

BEN. My noble uncle, do you know the cause?
MON. I neither know it, nor can learn of him.
BEN. Have you impórtun'd him by any means?

MON. Both by myself, and many other friends:
But he, his own affections' counsellor,
Is to himself-I will not say, how true-
But to himself so secret and so close,
So far from sounding and discovery,
As is the bud bit with an envious worm,
Ere he can spread his sweet leaves to the air,
Or dedicate his beauty to the sun.9

Ben. Have you impórtun'd &c.] you importun'd &c.] These two speeches also omitted in edition 1597, but inserted in 1599. POPE.

9 Or dedicate his beauty to the sun.] [Old copy-same.] When we come to consider, that there is some power else besides balmy air, that brings forth, and makes the tender buds spread themselves, I do not think it improbable that the poet wrote:

Or dedicate his beauty to the sun.

Or, according to the more obsolete spelling, sunne; which brings it nearer to the traces of the corrupted text. THEOBALD.

I cannot but suspect that some lines are lost, which connected this simile more closely with the foregoing speech: these lines, if such there were, lamented the danger that Romeo will die of his melancholy, before his virtues or abilities were known to the world. JOHNSON.

I suspect no loss of connecting lines. An expression somewhat similar occurs in Timon, Act IV. sc. ii:

"A dedicated beggar to the air."

I have, however, adopted Theobald's emendation, Mr. M. Mason observes "that there is not a single passage in our author where so great an improvement of language is obtained, by so slight a deviation from the text." STEEVENS.

Dr. Johnson's conjecture is, I think, unfounded; the simile relates solely to Romeo's concealing the cause of his melancholy, and is again used by Shakspeare in Twelfth Night:

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Could we but learn from whence his sorrows grow, We would as willingly give cure, as know.

Enter ROMEO, at a distance.

BEN. See, where he comes: So please you, step aside;

I'll know his grievance, or be much denied.
MON. I would, thou wert so happy by thy stay,
To hear true shrift.-Come, madam, let's away.
[Exeunt MONTAGUE and Lady.

BEN. Good morrow, cousin.


Is the day so young?1

66 -She never told her love,

"But let concealment, like a worm i' th' bud,
"Feed on her damask cheek."

In the last Act of this play our poet has evidently imitated the Rosamond of Daniel; and in the present passage might have remembered the following lines in one of the Sonnets of the same writer, who was then extremely popular. The lines, whether remembered by our author or not, add such support to Mr. Theobald's emendation, that I should have given it a place in my text, but that the other mode of phraseology was not uncommon in Shakspeare's time:

“And whilst thou spread'st unto the rising sunne,
"The fairest flower that ever saw the light,
"Now joy thy time, before thy sweet be done."

Daniel's Sonnets, 1594.

The line quoted by Mr. Steevens does not appear to me to be adverse to this emendation. The bud could not dedicate its beauty to the sun, without at the same time dedicating it to the air.

A similar phraseology, however, to that of my text may be found in Daniel's 14th, 32d, 44th, and 53d Sonnets.


1 Is the day so young?] i. e. is it so early in the day? The same expression (which might once have been popular) I meet with in Acolastus, a comedy, 1540: "It is yet young nyghte, or there is yet moche of the nyghte to come." STEEVENS.

BEN. But new struck nine.


Ah me! sad hours seem long.

Was that my father that went hence so fast?

BEN. It was:-What sadness lengthens Romeo's hours?

ROM. Not having that, which, having, makes them short.

BEN. In love?

ROM. Out

BEN. Of love?

ROM. Out of her favour, where I am in love. BEN. Alas, that love, so gentle in his view, Should be so tyrannous and rough in proof!

ROM. Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still, Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will!"

-to his will!] Sir T. Hanmer, and after him Dr. Warburton, read—to his ill. The present reading has some obscurity; the meaning may be, that love finds out means to pursue his desire. That the blind should find paths to ill is no great wonder. JOHNSON.

It is not unusual for those who are blinded by love to overlook every difficulty that opposes their pursuit. NICHOLS.

What Romeo seems to lament is, that love, though blind, should discover pathways to his will, and yet cannot avail himself of them; should perceive the road which he is forbidden to take.

The quarto, 1597, reads

Should, without laws, give pathways to our will! i. e. being lawless itself, prescribe laws to others.


This passage seems to have been misapprehended. Benvolio has lamented that the God of love, who appears so gentle, should be a tyrant. It is no less to be lamented, adds Romeo, that the blind god should yet be able to direct his arrows at those whom he wishes to hit, that he should wound whomever he wills, or desires to wound. MALone.

Where shall we dine?-O me!-What fray was


Yet tell me not, for I have heard it all.

Here's much to do with hate, but more with love:Why then, O brawling love! O loving hate!

Why then, O brawling love! &c.] Of these lines neither the sense nor occasion is very evident. He is not yet in love with an enemy; and to love one and hate another is no such uncommon state, as can deserve all this toil of antithesis. JOHNSON.

Had Dr. Johnson attended to the letter of invitation in the next scene, he would have found that Rosaline was niece to Capulet. ANONYMUS.

Every sonnetteer characterises Love by contrarieties. Watson begins one of his canzonets:

"Love is a sowre delight, a sugred griefe,

"A living death, an ever-dying life," &c. Turberville makes Reason harangue against it in the same


"A fierie frost, a flame that frozen is with ise!

"A heavie burden light to beare! A vertue fraughte with vice!" &c.

Immediately from The Romaunt of the Rose: "Loue it is an hateful pees,

"A free aquitaunce without reles,

"An heavie burthen light to beare,

"A wicked wawe awaie to weare;

"And health full of maladie,
"And charitie full of envie ;-

"A laughter that is weping aie,

"Rest that trauaileth night and daie," &c.

This kind of antithesis was very much the taste of the Provençal and Italian poets; perhaps it might be hinted by the ode of Sappho preserved by Longinus. Petrarch is full of it:

"Pace non trovo, e non hó da far guerra;

"E temo, e spero, e ardo, e son un ghiaccio;
"E volo sopra'l ciel, e ghiaccio in terra;

"E nulla stringo, e tutto'l mondo abbraccio." &c.

Sonnet 105.

Sir Thomas Wyat gives a translation of this sonnet, without any notice of the original, under the title of Description of the contrarious Passions in a Louer, amongst the Songes and Sonnettes, by the Earle of Surrey, and others, 1574. FARMER.

O any thing, of nothing first create!
O heavy lightness! serious vanity!
Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms!

Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health!
Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!—

This love feel I, that feel no love in this.
Dost thou not laugh?


No, coz, I rather weep.

ROM. Good heart, at what?

At thy good heart's oppression.

ROM. Why, such is love's transgression.*Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast; Which thou wilt propagate, to have it prest With more of thine: this love, that thou hast shown,

Doth add more grief to too much of mine own. Love is a smoke rais'd with the fume of sighs; Being purg'd, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes; Being vex'd, a sea nourish'd with lovers' tears:



Why, such is love's transgression.] Such is the consequence of unskilful and mistaken kindness. JOHNSON.


Being purg'd, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes;] The author may mean being purged of smoke, but it is perhaps a meaning never given to the word in any other place. I would rather read, Being urg'd, a fire sparkling-. Being excited and inforced. To urge the fire is the technical term. JOHNSON. Dr. Akenside in his Hymn to Cheerfulness, has the same expression:


"Haste, light the tapers, urge the fire,

"And bid the joyless day retire." REED.

Again, in Chapman's version of the 21st Iliad:

"And as a caldron, under put with store of fire-
"Bavins of sere wood urging it," &c. STEEVENs.

Being vex'd, &c.] As this line stands single, it is likely that the foregoing or following line that rhymed to it is lost.


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