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stage directions' which are usually for the better (Camb. edd.).

The principal textual problem of the play concerns the relation of the first two Quartos. All critics agree that the First Quarto is a pirated text, made up from notes taken in the theatre, eked out by occasional access to the MS. The great majority of its countless divergences from the other Qq can be accounted for, as the school of Mommsen would account for all, by omission, mutilation,1 or botching.2 Some of the most superb passages are so far preserved that we can be certain they existed entire in the play as performed in 1597. In a certain proportion of cases the First Quarto even preserves readings palpably more genuine than those of the Second, and every editor has admitted more or fewer of them into his text.3 But a considerable residue tends to confirm the assertion of the title-page of the Second Quarto, that its text was 'newly corrected, augmented, and amended.' The Cambridge editors, while expressing their general accord with Mommsen's view, yet demur in the one

1 A good instance (out of scores) is iii. 1. 202, where the genuine Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill,' becomes: Mercy to all but murderers, pardoning none that kill.'

Tycho Mommsen: Shakespeare's Romeo und Julia (1859). an exemplary critical edition of the two texts printed face to face. Mommsen's too peremptory rejection of the revision theory has tended to make this attitude orthodox in Germany in the analogous case of Hamlet, where that theory has still firmer ground. His uncompromising advocacy of the Second Quarto has been supported (not without extrava

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instance of ii. 6. 16-37,-the meeting of Romeo and Juliet at the Friar's cell,-though they

know of no other passage of equal length where the same can be affirmed with certainty.' The divergence here is indeed startling. Here are a few lines from the dialogue of the lovers in Q1:

Jul. Romeo.

Rom. My Juliet welcome. As do waking eyes
Closed in Night's mists attend the frolick Day,
So Romeo hath expected Juliet,

And thou art come.


I am, if I be Day,

Come to my Sun: shine forth and make me fair.

Rom. All beauteous fairness dwelleth in thine eyes.
Jul. Romeo, from thine all brightness doth arise.

Fri. Come, wantons, come, the stealing hours do pass,
Defer embracements till some fitter time.

Part for a while, you shall not be alone

Till holy Church have joined ye both in one.

Rom. Lead, holy Father, all delay seems long.

Jul. Make haste, make haste, this lingering doth us wrong.

Compare this with the later dialogue :—

Jul. Good even to my ghostly confessor.

Fri. L. Romeo shall thank thee, daughter, for us both.
Jul. As much to him, else is his thanks too much.

Rom. Ah, Juliet, if the measure of thy joy

Be heap'd like mine and that thy skill be more

To blazon it, then sweeten with thy breath

This neighbour air, and let rich music's tongue
Unfold the imagined happiness that both
Receive in either by this dear encounter.

Jul. Conceit, more rich in matter than in words,
Brags of his substance, not of ornament :

They are but beggars that can count their worth;
But my true love is grown to such excess

I cannot sum up sum of half my wealth.

Fri. L. Come, come with me, and we will make short work; For, by your leaves, you shall not stay alone

Till holy church incorporate two in one.

The two dialogues do not differ merely in expres


siveness and effect; they embody different conceptions of the lovers' character, and even of the psychology of love. In the first they fling to and fro light lyric phrases of love-longing; in the second they thrill with a passion too deep for utterance.

A few passages in the final text have perhaps survived from a 'Romeo and Juliet' conceived throughout in the slighter and more conventional manner of the first passage: e.g. Juliet's antithetical see-saw in iii. 2. 75:

Beautiful tyrant! fiend angelical!

Dove-feather'd raven! wolvish-ravening lamb !

and Romeo's extravagance in iii. 3.

But it is futile to attempt to distinguish these by a comparison of the two Quartos.1

On the other hand, it is impossible to attribute to Shakespeare the rude travesty offered by the First Quarto of the lamentations over Juliet (iv. 5.). Even in the Qq and Ff the naïve iterativeness of simple mourners is carried to the verge of the grotesque; in Q, the writer rings the changes on a few stock phrases of the tragic stage, themselves ignorantly mutilated. 'Cruel, unjust, impartial destinies' is the burden of Capulet's cry.

The theory of an earlier form of the play receives no support from the German version acted by the English players, under the title 'Von Romeo undth

1 How futile is apparent from the expedients to which Brandes finds himself reduced in his bold revival of the 'first sketch' theory (Shakespeare, E. T. p. 91). Another passage in this antithetic style (i. 1. 184 f.) is omitted in Q; while that just quoted (iii. 2. 75, 76) is retained. Brandes is

Julitha,' at Nördlingen, 1604, as "Tragoedia von Romeo und Julia,' at Dresden, 1626, and elsewhere in Germany. The extant version is, according to Creizenach, 'obviously of the latter half of the seventeenth century, and local allusions indicate Austria.

It was clearly not taken from the First Quarto of 1597, but from the current text; cf. esp. iii. 1.' (Die Schauspiele der englischen Comoedianten, Einl. xli.).i

The probability that the play underwent some kind of revision between 1597 and 1599 gives us little help in approaching the difficult problem of its original date. The most definite datum we have is the sonnet Ad Gulielmum Shakespeare' in which John Weever, probably in 1595, enumerated, among Shakespeare's famous characters

Romeo, Richard, more whose names I know not,

Their sugred tongues and power attractive beuty.

Certain straws of evidence point towards an earlier date. The Nurse's allusion to the earthquake (i. 3. 23) suggests 1591; and Daniel possibly caught a phrase or two of his description of the dead Rosamond 2—

Decayed roses of discolour'd cheeks

Do yet retain dear notes of former grace,
And ugly death sits fair within her face—

from Romeo's wonderful dying hymn to Juliet; which

1 Mr. Fleay, however, knows that the German play was 'founded on Shakespeare's play of 1591' (Life and Work of. Shakespeare, p. 308).


Complaint of Rosamond, 1592. A still clearer parallelism is Rom. and Jul. v. 3. 94 :beauty's ensign yet Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks,

And death's pale flag is not ad. vanced there,

with Ros. 773:—

And nought-respecting death.
Plac'd his pale colours (th' ensigne
of his might)
Upon his new-got spoil.

Also Rom. and Jul. v. 3. 112,
103, 92, 93, 108, with Ros. 834-
840, 841, 845, 851, respectively.


would place the play before 1592.

metic of the Nurse is an insecure trust, and if it were surer, it is very doubtful whether it has any bearing upon the date of the play. Grant that Juliet's age was to be fourteen, and that the story of her weaning and the earthquake had been independently imagined, the number of years which had passed since the earthquake would in any case be eleven or thereabouts. And though Daniel had the reputation of making undue use of others' (and notably of Shakespeare's) wit, it is to be considered that the fine trait of the lingering 'roses' in the cheeks of the dead Rosamond lay pretty near at hand for a poet prone to play choicely with his heroine's name:—

Rose of the world, that sweeten'd so the same.

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On the other hand, many indications point to a date nearer to that of Weever's sonnet. Weever himself associates it with the Lucrece and the Venus, as well as with Richard '-alone of all the dramas. It is in fact linked both with the poems and with Richard II., as well as with the Midsummer-Night's Dream, by the lyric style and the lyric conception of character, as well as by many striking echoes of phrase and motive.1

The characteristic speech of Romeo and Juliet is a lyric speech, exhausting the last possibilities of expression, but not yet, like the speech of Hamlet,

1 Sarrazin has compared Judet's appeal to the Friar

out of thy long-experienced time, Give me some present counsel, or, behold,

Twixt my extremes and me this
bloody knife
Shall play the umpire-

with Lucrece, 1. 1840, ... by this
bloody knife' (in which Lucrece
has stabbed herself)

We will revenge the death of this true wife.

Where it is to be noted that Juliet's intention to stab herself is not taken from Brooke. Can this have been suggested by the Lucrece story? (J. B. xxix. 103). Parallels to the sonnets have been pointed out by Isaac, J. B. xix. 187.

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