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Prince. Give me the letter, I will look on it.— Where is the county's page, that rais'd the watch?— Sirrah, what made your master in this place?
Page. He came with flowers to strew his lady's
Their course of love, the tidings of her death:
Cap. O, brother Montague, give me thy hand:
Mon. But I can give thee more :
Cap. As rich shall Romeo by his lady lie;
* Mercutio and Paris.
vo L. X. K
Prince. A glooming peace this morning with it brings; The sun for sorrow will not show his head: Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things; Some shall be pardon'd, and some punished: For never was a story of more woe, Than this of Juliet and her Romeo. [Ereunt.
This play is one of the most pleasing of our author's performances. The scenes are busy and various, the incidents numerous and important, the catastrophe irresistibly affecting, and the process of the action carried on with such probability, at least with such congruity to popular opinions, as tragedy requires. Here is one of the few attempts of Shakspeare to exhibit the conversation of gentlemen, to repsesent the airy sprightliness of juvenile elegance. Mr. Dryden mentions a tradition, which might easily reach his time, of a declaration made by Shakspeare, that he was obliged to kill Mercutio in the third Act, lest he should have been killed by him. Yet he thinks him no such formidable person, but that he might have lived through the play, and died in his bed, without danger to the poet. Dryden well knew, had he been in quest of truth, in a pointed sentence, that more regard is commonly had to the words than the . thought, and that it is very seldom to be rigorously understood. Mercutio’s wit, gaiety, and courage, will always procure him friends that wish him a longer life; but his death is not precipitated, he has lived out the time allotted him in the construction of the play; nor do I doubt the ability of Shakspeare to have continued his existence, though some of his sallies are perhaps out of the reach of Dryden; whose genius was not very fertile of merriment, nor ductile to humour, but acute, argumentative, comprehensive, and sublime. The Nurse is one of the characters in which the author delighted: he has, with great subtilty of distinction, drawn her
at once loguacious and secret, obsequious and insolent, trusty
and dishonest. His comick scenes are happily wrought, but his pathetick
strains are always polluted with some unexpected deprava
His persons, however distressed, have a conceit left
them in their misery, a miserable conceit.