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Sam. I ftrike quickly, being mov'd.

Greg. But thou art not quickly mov'd to ftrike. Sam. A dog of the houfe of Montague' moves me. Greg. To move, is-to ftir; and to be valiant, is-to ftand to it: therefore, if thou art mov'd, thou runn'ft away.

I believe that Shakspeare formed his drama on the poem en titled The Tragical Hyftory of Romeus and Juliet, 1562, (which very rare piece the reader will find at the end of the notes on this tragedy,) rather than on Painter's Novel, for these reasons :

1. In the poem the prince of Verona is called Efcalus; fo alfo in the play. In Painter's tranflation from Boileau he is named Signor Efcala, and fometimes Lord Bartholomew of Efcala. 2. The meffenger employed by friar Lawrence to carry a letter to Romeo to inform him when Juliet would awake from her trance, is in Painter's tranflation called Anfelme. In the poem, and in the play, fryar John is employed in this bufinefs. 3 The cir cumftance of Capulet's writing down the names of the guests whom he invites to fupper, is found in the poem and in the play, but is not mentioned by Painter. 4. Several paffages of Romeo and Juliet appear to have been formed on hints furnished by the poem, and fome expreffions are borrowed from thence.

With respect to the name of Romeo, this alfo Shakspeare might have had from the poem'; for in one place that name is given to him. MALONE.

It is plain, from many circumstances, that Shakspeare had read this novel, both in its profaick and metrical form. He might likewise have met with other poetical pieces on the fame fubject. We are not yet at the end of our discoveries relative to the originals of our author's dramatic pieces. STEEVENS.

This ftory was well known to the English poets before the time of Shakspeare. In an old collection of poems, called "A gorgeous "Gallery of gallant Inventions, 1578," I find it mentioned:


Sir Romeus' annoy but trifle feems to mine." And again, Romeus and Juliet are celebrated in "A poor Knight bis Palace of private Pleafures, 1579."

I quote thefe paffages for the fake of obferving, that, if Shakfpeare had not read Painter's translation, it is not likely that he would have altered the name to Romeo. There was another novel on the fubject by L. de Porto; which has been lately printed at Venice. FARMER.

The two entries which I have quoted from the books at Stationers' Hall, may poffibly difpofe Dr. Farmer to retract his obfervation concerning Shakspeare's changing the names.

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Sam. A dog of that houfe fhall move me to ftand I will take the wall of any man or maid of Montague's.

Greg. That fhews thee a weak flave; for the weakeft goes to the wall.

Sam. True; and therefore women, being the weaker veffels, are ever thruft to the wall:-therefore I will push Montague's men from the wall, and thruft his maids to the wall.

Greg. The quarrel is between our mafters, and us their men.

Sam. "Tis all one, I will fhew myfelf a tyrant: when I have fought with the men, I will be civil with maids; I will cut off their heads.

Greg. The heads of the maids?

Sam. Av, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads; take it in what fenfe thou wilt.

Greg. They muft take it in fenfe that feel it. Sam. Me they fhall feel, while I am able to ftand: and, 'tis known, I am a pretty piece of flesh.

Greg. 'Tis well, thou art not fish; if thou hadft, thou hadft been poor John. Draw thy tool; here comes of the houfe of the Montagues *.


3 civil with the maids;] So both the folios and the 4to 1609. Modern editors have altered the word civil to cruel, I think without neceffity. EDITOR.

4 Here comes of the house of the Montagues.] I believe the author


Here comes two of the house of the Montagues.

The word two was inadvertently omitted in the quarto of 1599, from which the fubfequent impreffions were printed; but in the first edition of 1597, the paffage stands thus:

"Here comes trvo of the Montagues

which confirms the emendation. The difregard of concord is in character, and was probably intended.

It fhould be obferved, 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 circumftance is mentioned by Gaf

Enter Abram, and Balthafar

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

Greg. How? turn thy back, and run ?

Sam. Fear me not.

Greg. No, marry; I fear thee!

Sam. Let us take the law of our fides; let them begin.

Greg. I will frown, as I pafs by; and let them take it as they lift.


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


coigne, in a Devise of a Mafque, written for the right honourable vifcount Mountacute, 1575 :

"And for a further proofe he fhewed in hys hat

"Thys token which the Mountacutes did beare alwaies,

for that

"They covet to be known from Capels, where they pafs,

"For ancient grutch whych long ago 'tweene thefe

houfes was."


5 I will bite my thumb at them; which is a difgrace to them, if they bear it.] So it fignifies in Randolph's Mufes Looking Glafs, act iii. fc. 3. p. 45..

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Orgylus. To bite his thumb at me.

Argus. "Why should not a man bite his thumb ; Orgylus." At me? were I fcorn'd to see men bite their thumbs ;

"Rapiers and daggers, &c." Dr. GREY.

Dr. Lodge, in a pamphlet called Wits Miferic, &c. 1596, has this paffage- "Behold next I fee Contempt marching forth, giving mee the fico with his thumbe in his mouth." In a tranflation from Stephens's Apology for Herodotus, in 1607, page 142, I meet with these words: "It is faid of the Italians, if they once "bite their fingers' ends in a threatning manner, God knows, if they "fet upon their enemies face to face, it is because they cannot "affail them behind their backs." Perhaps Ben Jonfon ridicules this fcene of Romeo and Juliet, in his New Inn:

"Huff. How, Spill it?

Spill it at me?

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


Abr. Do you bite your thumb at us, fir?
Sam. I do bite my thumb, fir.

Abr. Do you bite your thumb at us, fir?
Sam. Is the law on our fide, if I fay-ay?
Greg. No.

Sam. No, fir, I do not bite my thumb at you, fir; but I bite my thumb, fir.

Greg. Do you quarrel, fir?

Abr. Quarrel, fir? no, fir.

Sam. If you do, fir, I am for you; I ferve as good

a man as you.

Abr. No better.

Sam. Well, fir.

6 Enter Benvolio.

Greg. Say-better; here comes one of my mafter's kinfmen 7.

Sam. Yes, better, fir.

Abr. You lye.

Sam. Draw, if you be men.-Gregory, remember thy fwashing blow ".


[They fight.


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

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

7" Here comes one of my Mafler's kinfinen." Some mistake has happened in this place: Gregory is a fervant of the Capulets; and Benvolio was of the Montague faction. FARMER.

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 fervant may be directed the way he fees Tybalt coming, and in the mean time, Benvolio enters on the opposite fide. STEEVENS.

-thy fwashing blow.] Ben Jonfon ufes this expreffion in his

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Ben. Part, fools; put up your swords; You know not what you do.

Enter Tybalt.

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

Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon thy death.

Ben. I do but keep the peace; put up thy fword, 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.

Enter three or four citizens, with clubs.

Cit. Clubs, bills, and partizans! strike! beat them down!

Down with the Capulets! down with the Montagues!

Enter old Capulet, in his gown; and lady Capulet.


Cap. What noife is this? Give me my long fword, ho!

Staple for News: "I do confess a swashing blow." In the Three Ladies of London, 1584, Fraud fays:


"I will flaunt it and brave it after the lufty Swash." To fwab feems to have meant to be a bully, to be noifily valiant. So, Green, in his Card of Fancy, 1608, in fpending and fpoiling, in fwearing and fwashing." Barrett, in his Alvcarie, 1580, fays, that "to fab is to make a noife with fwordes against tergats. ." See vol. iii. p. 303. STEEVENS.

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9 Give me my long fword] The long fword was the fword used in war, which was fometimes wielded with both hands. JOHNSON. This long word is mentioned in The Coxcomb, a comedy by Beaumont and Fletcher, where the justice says:

"Take their confeffions, and my long fword;

"I cannot tell what danger we may meet with." It appears that it was once the fashion to wear two fwords of different fizes at the fame time.

Soin Decker's Satiromaflix :

"Peter Salamander, tie up your great and your little favor."



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