Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 March 2007
Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night
That runaways' eyes may wink and Romeo
Leap to these arms untalked of and unseen.
Lovers can see to do their amorous rites
By their own beauties; or, if love be blind,
It best agrees with night. Come, civil night,
Thou sober-suited matron all in black,
And learn me how to lose a winning match
Played for a pair of stainless maidenhoods.
Hood my unmanned blood, bating in my cheeks,
With thy black mantle till strange love grown bold
Think true love acted simple modesty.
Come night, come Romeo; come, thou day in night
O, I have bought the mansion of a love
But not possessed it, and though I am sold,
Not yet enjoyed. So tedious is this day
As is the night before some festival
To an impatient child that hath new robes
And may not wear them.(Romeo 3.2.5-17, 26—31)
In Liverpool University in 1899, Kenneth Muir reports, Dr Friedel, a lecturer in French, was denied an extension to his appointment, much to the dismay of the then Professor of English, Sir Walter Raleigh. The main charge against Friedel was that he had set for translation into French prose Juliet's soliloquy, as she awaited the consummation of her marriage.
In 1817, in contrast, Hazlitt had deliberately cited the soliloquy precisely in the teeth of the ethos of Thomas Bowdler:
We the rather insert the passage here, inasmuch as we have no doubt it has been expunged from the Family Shakespeare. Such critics do not perceive that the feelings of the heart sanctify, without disguising, the impulses of nature. Without refinement themselves, they confound modesty with hypocrisy.