Abbildungen der Seite


SAM. My naked weapon is out; quarrel, I will back thee.

GRE. How? turn thy back, and run?

SAM. Fear me not.

GRE. No, marry: I fear thee!

SAM. Let us take the law of our sides; let them begin.

GRE. I will frown, as I pass by; and let them take it as they list.

SAM. Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them; which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it.

word two, which was inadvertently omitted by the compositor in the quarto 1599, and of course in the subsequent impressions, I have restored from the first quarto of 1597, from which, in almost every page, former editors have drawn many valuable emendations in this play. The disregard of concord is in cha


It should be observed, that the partizans of the Montague family wore a token in their hats, in order to distinguish them from their enemies, the Capulets. Hence throughout this play, they are known at a distance. This circumstance is mentioned by Gascoigne, in a Devise of a Masque, written for the Right Honourable Viscount Mountacute, 1575:

"And for a further proofe, he shewed in hys hat

"Thys token which the Mountacutes did beare alwaies, for that

"They covet to be knowne from Capels, where they pass, "For ancient grutch whych long ago 'tweene these two houses was." MALONE.

I will bite my thumb at them; which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it.] So it signifies in Randolph's Muses Looking-Glass, Act III. sc. iii. p. 45:

Orgylus. To bite his thumb at me.

Argus. Why should not a man bite his thumb?

66 Orgylus. At me? were I scorn'd to see men bite their thumbs;

"Rapiers and daggers," &c. GREY.

ABR. DO you bite your thumb at us,
SAM. I do bite my thumb, sir.


ABR. Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?

SAM. Is the law on our side, if I

GRE. No.


SAM. No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir; but I bite my thumb, sir.

GRE. Do you quarrel, sir?

ABR. Quarrel, sir? no, sir.

SAM. If you do, sir, I am for you; I serve as good a man as you.

ABR. No better.
SAM. Well, sir.

Dr. Lodge, in a pamphlet called Wits Miserie &c. 1596, has this passage: "Behold next I see Contempt marching forth, giving mee the fico with his thombe in his mouth." In a translation from Stephens's Apology for Herodotus, in 1607, p. 142, I meet with these words: "It is said of the Italians, if they once bite their fingers' ends in a threatning manner, God knows, if they set upon their enemie face to face, it is because they can, not assail him behind his backe." Perhaps Ben Jonson ridicules this scene of Romeo and Juliet, in his New Inn

"Huff. How, spill it?

"Spill it at me?

[ocr errors]

Tip. I reck not, but I spill it." STEEVENS.

This mode of quarrelling appears to have been common in our author's time. "What swearing is there, (says Decker, describing the various groupes that daily frequented the walks of St. Paul's Church,) what shouldering, what justling, what jeering, what byting of thumbs, to beget quarrels !" THE DEAD TERM, 1608. MALONE.

Enter BENVOLIO," at a Distance.

GRE. Say-better; here comes one of my master's kinsmen.8

SAM. Yes, better, sir.

ABR. You lie.

SAM. Draw, if you be men.-Gregory, remember thy swashing blow.9

[They fight. BEN. Part, fools; put up your swords; you know not what [Beats down their Swords.

you do.


TYB. What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds?

"Enter Benvolio,] Much of this scene is added since the first edition; but probably by Shakspeare, since we find it in that of the year 1599. POPE.


here comes one of my master's kinsmen.] Some mistake has happened in this place: Gregory is a servant of the Capulets, and Benvolio was of the Montague faction. FARMer.

he sees

Perhaps there is no mistake. Gregory may mean Tybalt, who enters immediately after Benvolio, but on a different part of the stage. The eyes of the servant may be directed the Tybalt coming, and in the mean time, Benvolio enters on the opposite side. STEEVENS.



thy swashing blow.] Ben Jonson uses this expression in his Staple for News: "I do confess a swashing blow." In The Three Ladies of London, 1584, Fraud says:

"I will flaunt and brave it after the lusty swash."

Again, in As you like it:

"I'll have a martial and a swashing outside.”

See Vol. VIII. p. 38, n. 8.

To swash seems to have meant to be a bully, to be noisily valiant. So, Green, in his Card of Fancy, 1608: "-in spending and spoiling, in swearing and swashing." Barrett, in his Alwearie, 1580, says, that "to swash is to make a noise with swordes against tergats." STEEVens.

Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon thy death.

BEN. I do but keep the peace; put up thy sword, Or manage it to part these men with me.

TYB. What, drawn, and talk of peace? I hate the word,

As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee:

Have at thee, coward.

[They fight.

Enter several Partizans of both Houses, who join the Fray; then enter Citizens, with Clubs.

1 CIT. Clubs, bills,' and partizans! strike! beat them down!

Down with the Capulets! down with the Monta


Enter CAPULET, in his Gown; and Lady CAPULET.

CAP. What noise is this?-Give me my long sword,2 ho!

Clubs, bills, &c.] When an affray arose in the streets, clubs was the usual exclamation. See Vol. VIII. p. 166, n. 3, and Vol. XIII. p. 35, n. 6. MALONE.

2 Give me my long sword,] The long sword was the sword used in war, which was sometimes wielded with both hands.

See Vol. V. p. 76, n. 3. MALone.


This long sword is mentioned in The Coxcomb, a comedy by Beaumont and Fletcher, where the justice says:

"Take their confessions, and my long sword;

"I cannot tell what danger we may meet with." Chapman, without authority from Homer, has equipped Neptune with this weapon:

"King Neptune, with his long sword,-" Iliad XV. It appears that it was once the fashion to wear two swords of different sizes at the same time.

So, in Decker's Satiromastix, 1602: "Peter Salamander, tie

[blocks in formation]

LA. CAP. A crutch, a crutch!--Why call you for a sword?

CAP. My sword, I say!-Old Montague is come, And flourishes his blade in spite of me.

Enter MONTAGUE and Lady Montague.

MON. Thou villain Capulet,-Hold me not, let

me go.

LA. MON. Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe.

Enter Prince, with Attendants.

PRIN. Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace,
Profaners of this neighbour-stained steel,-
Will they not hear?-what ho! you men, you

That quench the fire of your pernicious rage
With purple fountains issuing from your veins,
On pain of torture, from those bloody hands
Throw your mis-temper❜d weapons3 to the ground,
And hear the sentence of your moved prince.
Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word,
By thee, old Capulet, and Montague,
Have thrice disturb'd the quiet of our streets;
And made Verona's ancient citizens
Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments,
To wield old partizans, in hands as old,

The little sword was the weapon commonly worn, the dress sword. STEEVENS.

The little sword was probably nothing more than a dagger. MALONE.

3-mis-temper'd weapons] are angry weapons. So, in King John:

"This inundation of mis-temper'd humour," &c.


« ZurückWeiter »