If further confirmation could be needed of the underlying significance of allusion traceable throughout this play, it might amply be supplied by fresh reference to the first scene in which the Nurse makes her appearance on the stage, and is checked by Lady Capulet in the full tide of affectionate regret for her lost husband. We can well imagine Anne Boleyn cutting short the regrets of some indiscreet courtier for Sir Thomas More in the very words of the text;
Enough of this; I pray thee, hold thy peace.
The “parlous knock” which left so big a lump upon the brow of the infant Juliet is evidently an allusion to the declaration of Elizabeth’s illegitimacy while yet in her cradle. The seal of bastardy set upon the baby brow of
Anne Boleyn’s daughter may well be said to have “broken” it.
The counsel of the Nurse to Juliet in Act iii. Scene 5 to forsake Romeo for Paris indicates the bias of the hierarchy in favour of Essex—“a lovely gentleman”—rather than of the ultra-Protestant policy of Burghley, who doubtless in the eyes of courtiers and churchmen was “a dish-clout to him.”
These were a few of the points, set down at random,
which he had been enabled to verify within the limits
of a single play. They would suffice to give
an idea of the process by which, when applied in detail
to every one of Shakespeare’s plays, he trusted
to establish the secret history and import of each,
not less than the general sequence and significance
of all. Further instalments of this work would
probably be issued in the forthcoming or future Transactions
of the Newest Shakespeare Society; and it was confidently
expected that the final monument of his research when
thoroughly completed and illustrated by copious appendices,
would prove as worthy as any work of mere English
scholarship could hope to be of a place beside the
inestimable commentaries of Gervinus, Ulrici, and the
phicomaniacal Company for the Confusion of Shakespeare and Diffusion of Verbiage (Unlimited).
CHIMAERA BOMBINANS IN VACUO.