THE PLAY

ACT 2

ACT 2 PROLOGUE

CHORUS

Now old desire doth in his death-bed lie,

opens

And young affection ° to be his heir

That fair for which love groan’d for and would die,

With tender Juliet match’d, is now not fair.

5Now Romeo is beloved and loves again,

Alike bewitched by the charm of looks,

But to his foe supposed he must complain,

And she steal love’s sweet bait from fearful hooks:

Being held a foe, he may not have access

10To breathe such vows as lovers use to swear;

And she as much in love, her means much less

To meet her new-beloved anywhere:

But passion lends them power, time means, to meet

Tempering extremities with extreme sweet.

❖❖❖

ACT 2, SCENE 1

Mercutio and Benvolio wonder where Romeo has gone, and Mercutio mocks Romeo’s love of Rosaline.

Outside the Capulet orchard wall:

Enter ROMEO alone

ROMEO

Can I go forward when my heart is here?

Turn back dull earth and find thy center out.

Enter BENVOLIO and MERCUTIO

BENVOLIO

Romeo, my cousin, Romeo! Romeo!

MERCUTIO

He is wise, and on my life he hath stolen home to bed.

BENVOLIO

5He ran this way and leapt this orchard wall.

Call, good Mercutio.

MERCUTIO

summon (as in a spirit)

Nay, I’ll ° too.

Romeo, Humors, Madman, Passion, Lover,

Appear thou in the likeness of a sigh,

Speak but one rhyme, and I’ll be satisfied:

10Cry out at me, “Aye me,” pronounce but “love” and “dove.”

good friend

Speak to my ° Venus one fair word,

blind

One nickname for her ° son and heir,

Young Abraham: Cupid he that shot so true,

When King Cophetua[1] loved the beggar maid.

15He hears me not, he stirreth not, he moveth not.

The ape is dead, and I must conjure him.

I conjure thee by Rosaline’s bright eyes,

By her high forehead,[2] and her scarlet lip,

By her fine foot, straight leg, and quivering thigh,

20And the domains that there adjacent lie,

That in thy likeness, thou appear to us.

BENVOLIO

And if he hears you, that will anger him.

MERCUTIO

This cannot anger him. It would anger him

To raise a spirit in his mistress’s circle,

25Of some strange nature, letting it there stand

Till she had laid it, and conjured it down.

appeal

That were some spite. My °

Is fair and honest, and, his mistress’s name,

I conjure only but to raise him up.

BENVOLIO

30Come, he hath hidden himself among these trees

humid

To be comforted by the ° night.

Blind is his love, which best befits the dark.

MERCUTIO

If love be blind, love cannot hit the mark.

Now he will sit under a medlar tree,[3]

35And wish his mistress were that kind of fruit,

As maids call medlars when they laugh alone.

O Romeo, that she were, O that she were

An open arse, and thou a “poperin” pear.[4]

Romeo, goodnight, I’ll go to my trundle bed,

40This field bed is too cold for me to sleep.

Come, shall we go?

BENVOLIO

Go then, for it is in vain

To seek him here that means not to be found.

Exit BENVOLIO and MERCUTIO

ROMEO

He laughs at scars that never felt a wound.

 

❖❖❖

ACT 2, SCENE 2

Juliet appears in a window above Romeo, and she thinks she’s alone. She talks to herself, lamenting Romeo’s nature as a Montague. She wishes he would abandon his name, or that she could abandon hers, so that they could be together. Upon hearing this, Romeo reveals himself and professes his love to Juliet. Juliet shares the feelings of love, but worries that Romeo’s feelings might be fleeting. The Nurse calls for Juliet, and the couple once again declares their love for each other, Juliet promising to send somebody to him at nine the next morning.

In the Capulet orchard:

Enter JULIET on balcony

ROMEO

But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?

It is the East, and Juliet is the Sun.

Arise, fair Sun, and kill the envious Moon,

Who is already sick and pale with grief

5That thou, her maid, art far more fair than she.

Be not her maid, since she is envious,

Her vestal livery[5] is but sick and green,

And none but fools do wear it. Cast it off.

It is my lady, O it is my love, O that she knew she were.

10She speaks, yet she says nothing. What of that?

communicates

Her eye °; I will answer it.

I am too bold. ‘Tis not to me she speaks:

Two of the fairest stars in all the Heaven,

Having some business, do entreat her eyes

15To twinkle in their spheres till they return.

What if her eyes were there and they in her head?

The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars

As daylight does a lamp; her eye in Heaven

Would through the airy region stream so bright

20That birds would sing and think it were not night.

See how she leans her cheek upon her hand?

O, that I were a glove upon that hand

That I might touch that cheek!

JULIET

Aye, me.

ROMEO

25She speaks.

O, speak again, bright Angel! For thou art

As glorious to this night, being over my head

As is a winged messenger of Heaven

Unto the white, upturned, wondering eyes

30Of mortals that fall back to gaze on him

straddles

When he ° the lazy, puffing clouds

And sails upon the bosom of the air.

JULIET

why

O Romeo, Romeo, ° art thou Romeo?

Deny thy father and refuse thy name.

35Or if thou will not, be but sworn my love,

And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.

ROMEO

[To himself] Shall I hear more or shall I speak at this?

JULIET

‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy.

Thou art thou self, though, not a Montague.

40What’s Montague? It is nor hand nor foot,

Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part

Belonging to a man.

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet.

45So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called,

Retain that divine perfection which he owes.

remove; cast away

Without that title Romeo, ° thy name,

And for thy name which is no part of thee,

Take all myself.

ROMEO

50I take thee at thy word,

Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized.

Henceforth, I never will be Romeo.

JULIET

concealed

What man art thou, that thus ° by night,

private thoughts

So stumbles on my °?

ROMEO

55By a name, I know not how to tell thee who I am.

My name, dear Saint, is hateful to myself

Because it is an enemy to thee.

Had I it written, I would tear the word.

JULIET

My ears have not yet drunk a hundred words

60Of thy tongue’s uttering, yet I know the sound.

Art thou not Romeo and a Montague?

ROMEO

Neither, fair Saint, if either thee dislike.

JULIET

How camest thou hither?

Tell me, and wherefore?

65The orchard walls are high and hard to climb

And the place death, considering who thou art,

If any of my kinsmen find thee here.

ROMEO

fly over

With love’s light wings did I ° these walls,

For stony limits cannot hold love out,

70And what love can do, that dares love attempt,

Therefore thy kinsmen are no stop to me.

JULIET

If they do see thee, they will murder thee.

ROMEO

Alas, there lies more peril in thine eyes,

Than twenty of their swords. Look thou but sweet,

immune
hostility

75And I am ° against their °.

JULIET

I would not for the world they saw thee here.

ROMEO

I have night’s cloak to hide me from their eyes,

And, but thou love me, let them find me here.

My life were better ended by their hate

80Than death prolonged, wanted of thy love.

JULIET

By whose direction found’st thou out this place?

ROMEO

By love, that first did prompt me to inquire.

He lent me counsel, and I lent him eyes.

I am no pilot; yet, were thou as far

85As the vast shore washeth with the farthest sea,

I should adventure for such merchandise.

JULIET

Thou knowest the mask of night on my face,

Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek

For that which thou hast heard me speak tonight.

gladly
formalities

90° would I dwell on °. Fain, fain deny

good manners

What I have spoke. But farewell °!

Dost thou love me? I know thou wilst say “Aye,”

And I will take thy word. Yet, if thou swear’st,

Thou might prove false. At lovers’ perjuries

95They say Jove[6] laughs. O gentle Romeo

If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully.

Or if thou think I am too quickly won,

destruction

I’ll frown and °, and say thee nay

So thou wilt woo; but else not for the world.

100In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond:

immodest

And therefore thou might think my behavior °.

But trust me, gentleman, I’ll prove more true

standoffish

Than those who have more cunning to be °.

I should have been more strange, I must confess,

105But that thou overheard, ere I was ‘ware,

My true love’s passion. Therefore, pardon me,

And not impute this yielding to light love,

Which the dark night hath so discovered.

ROMEO

Lady, by yonder blessed moon I vow,

110That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops—

JULIET

O swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,

That monthly changes in her circled orb,

Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.

ROMEO

What shall I swear by?

JULIET

115Do not swear at all.

Or if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,

worship

Which is the god of my °,

And I’ll believe thee.

ROMEO

If my heart’s dear love—

JULIET

120Well, do not swear. Although I joy in thee,

I have no joy in this contract tonight.

It is too rash, too unadvis’d, too sudden,

Too like the lightning which doth cease to be

Ere one can say, “It lightens.” Sweet, good night.

125This bud of love by summer’s ripening breath

May prove a beauteous flower when we next meet.

Goodnight, goodnight! As sweet repose and rest,

Come to my heart, as that within my breast.

ROMEO

O wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?

JULIET

130What satisfaction can’st thou have tonight?

ROMEO

Th’ exchange of thy love’s faithful vow for mine.

JULIET

I gave thee mine before thou did’st request it,

And yet I wish it would to give again.

ROMEO

Would’st thou withdraw it? For what purpose, love?

JULIET

135But to be frank and give it to thee again,

And yet I wish but for the thing I have.

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,

My love as deep; the more I give to thee,

The more I have, for both are infinite.

NURSE calls from within

140I hear some noise within, dear love. Adieu!

[Calls within] Anon, good nurse! [To ROMEO] Sweet Montague, be true.

Stay but a little. I will come again.

Exit JULIET

ROMEO

O blessed, blessed night! I am afraid,

Being in night, all this is but a dream,

145Too flattering-sweet to be substantial.

Enter JULIET again

JULIET

Three words, dear Romeo, And goodnight, indeed.

intentions

If that thy ° of love be honorable,

Thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow,

By one that I’ll procure to come to thee,

150Where and what time thou wilt perform the rite.

And all my fortunes at thy foot I’ll lay

And follow thee, my lord, throughout the world.

NURSE

[From within] Madam!

JULIET

I come, anon! [To ROMEO] But if thou mean not well,

155I do beseech thee—

NURSE

[From within] Madam!

JULIET

By and by, I come!

[To ROMEO] To cease thy strife, and leave me to my grief,

Tomorrow I will send.

ROMEO

160So thrive my soul—

JULIET

A thousand times goodnight!

Exit JULIET

ROMEO

A thousand times the worse to want thy light.

Love goes toward love, as schoolboys from their books,

But love from love, toward school with heavy looks.

ROMEO starts to go

Enter JULIET again

JULIET

165Hush, Romeo! Hush! O, for a falc’ner’s voice

To lure this tassel-gentle back again.[7]

familial duties

° is hoarse and may not speak aloud

Else would I tear the cave where Echo[8] lies

And make her airy tongue more hoarse than mine

170From repetition of “My Romeo.”

ROMEO

It is my soul that calls upon my name.

How silver-sweet sound lovers’ tongues by night,

attentive

Like softest music to ° ears.

JULIET

Romeo!

ROMEO

175My sweet?

JULIET

What o’clock tomorrow shall I send to thee?

ROMEO

By the hour of nine.

JULIET

I will not fail. Tis twenty years ‘till then.

I have forgot why I did call thee back.

ROMEO

180Let me stand here ‘till thou remember it.

JULIET

I shall forget, to have thee still stand there,

Remembering how I love thy company.

ROMEO

And I’ll still stay to have thee still forget,

Forgetting any other home but this.

JULIET

185‘Tis almost morning. I would have thee gone,

spoiled child’s

And yet no further than a ° bird

That lets it hop a little from his hand

Like a poor prisoner in twisted cuffs,

And with a silken thread, plucks it back again,

190So loving-jealous of its liberty.

ROMEO

I would I were thy bird.

JULIET

Sweet, so would I,

Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.

Goodnight, goodnight. Parting is such sweet sorrow

195That I shall say goodnight ‘till it be morrow.

Exit JULIET

ROMEO

Sleep dwell upon thine eyes, peace in thy breast,

Would I were sleep and peace so sweet to rest.

spiritual

Hence will I to my ° friar’s cell.

good fortune

His help to crave, and my dear ° to tell.

Exit ROMEO

❖❖❖

ACT 2, SCENE 3

Friar Lawrence carries a basket of herbs and plants as he contemplates the goodness of the earth. Romeo finds the friar. The friar notices that Romeo hasn’t slept, and asks if Romeo slept with Rosaline in sin. Romeo denies it and describes his new love of Juliet. The friar is concerned at how quickly Romeo’s feelings have changed. Romeo convinces the friar to perform a wedding for Romeo and Juliet. The friar hopes that some good may come of it, perhaps even an end to the feud between the Capulets and Montagues.

Friar Lawrence’s cell in Verona; early morning:

Enter FRIAR alone with a basket

FRIAR

The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,

Checkering the eastern clouds with streaks of light;

And fleckèd darkness like a drunkard reels

From forth day’s path and Titan’s fiery wheels.[9]

5Now ere the sun advance his burning eye,

The day to cheer, and night’s dank dew to dry,

I must fill up this reed basket of ours

With deadly weeds, and precious juiced flowers.

The earth, that’s nature’s mother, is her tomb,

10And is her burying grave, and is her womb.

And from her womb children of diverse kind

We sucking on her natural bosom find.

Many for many virtues excellent,

None but for some, and yet all different.

15O, how great is the powerful grace that lies

In plants, herbs, stones, and their true qualities.

For naught so vile here on the earth doth live

But to the earth some special good doth give.

Nor aught so good but strained from that fair use—

20Used unnaturally—stumbles on abuse.

Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied,

And vice sometimes, by action, dignified.

Enter ROMEO

FRIAR

With the infant rind of this weak flower,

Poison hath residence, and medicine power.

25For this being smelt, with that part cheers our parts,

Being tasted, slays all senses with the heart.

Two such opposèd kings encamp them still,

virtue
desire

In man as well as herbs, °, and °.

And where the worser is predominant,

30Full soon, the canker death eats up that plant.

ROMEO

Good morrow, Father.

FRIAR

Benedicte.[10]

What early tongue so sweet salutes me?

troubled

Young son, it argues a ° head

35If you so soon bade good morrow to thy bed.

Care keeps his watch in every old man’s eye,

And where care lodges, sleep will never lie.

But where unbruisèd youth with unstuffed brain

Doth couch his limbs, there golden sleep doth reign.

40Therefore thy earliness doth me assure

Thou art uproused with some distemperature:

Or if not so, then here I hit it right:

Our Romeo hath not been in bed tonight.

ROMEO

That last is true. The sweeter rest was mine.

FRIAR

45God pardon sin! Wast thou with Rosaline?

ROMEO

With Rosaline, my ghostly Father? No,

I have forgot that name, and that name’s woe.

FRIAR

That’s my good son! But where hast thou been, then?

ROMEO

I’ll tell thee ere thou ask it me again.

50I have been feasting with mine enemy

Where on a sudden one hath wounded me,

And, by me, wounded. Both our remedies

remedy

Within thy help and holy ° lies.

I bear no hatred, blessed man: for now

benefits

55My intervention likewise ° my foe.

FRIAR

simple

Be plain, good son, and ° in thy drift.

absolution

Riddling confession finds but riddling °.

ROMEO

Then plainly know my heart’s dear love is set

On the fair daughter of rich Capulet.

60As mine on hers, so hers is set on mine,

And all combined, save what thou must combine

By holy marriage. Where, and when, and how

We met, we wooed, and made exchange of vow

I’ll tell thee as we pass, but this I pray:

65That thou consent to marry us today.

FRIAR

Holy Saint Francis, what a change is here!

Is Rosaline that thou didst love so dear

So soon forsaken? Young men’s love then lies

Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.

Jesus
salt water; tears

70° Maria, what a deal of °

Hath washed thy sallow cheeks for Rosaline?

How much salt water thrown away in waste,

To season[11] love, that of it doth not taste.

The sun not yet thy sighs from heaven clears,

75Thy old groans ring yet in mine ancient ears.

Lo, here upon thy cheek the stain doth sit

Of an old tear that is not washed off yet.

If ever you were you, and these woes thine,

Thou and these woes were all for Rosaline.

80And art thou changed, pronounce this sentence then:

Women may fall[12] when there’s no strength in men.

ROMEO

scolded

Thou ° me oft for loving Rosaline.

FRIAR

For doting, not for loving, pupil mine.

ROMEO

advised

And ° me bury love.

FRIAR

85Not in a grave

To lay one in, another out to have.

ROMEO

I pray thee, chide me not. Her I love now

Doth grace for grace and love for love allow.

The other did not so.

FRIAR

90O, she knew well,

Thy love did read by rote,[13] and could not spell.

But come young waverer,[14] come, go with me,

In one respect I’ll thy assistant be,

For this alliance may so happy prove,

95To turn your households’ rancor to pure love.

ROMEO

O, let us hence. I stand on sudden haste.

FRIAR

Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast.

Exit all

❖❖❖

ACT 2, SCENE 4

Benvolio and Mercutio wonder where Romeo has been. Benvolio found out from a Montague servant that Romeo never returned home the night before. Benvolio tells Mercutio that Tybalt has challenged Romeo to a duel. Mercutio describes why he hates Tybalt. When Romeo arrives, Mercutio mocks Romeo for being weak because of his love for Rosaline. Romeo neglects to tell them about Juliet. The Nurse enters with a Capulet servant, Peter. Romeo tells her to pass on a message: have Juliet meet him for confessional at Friar Lawrence’s cell that afternoon, where Friar Lawrence will marry them. The Nurse agrees.

Somewhere in Verona; morning:

Enter BENVOLIO and MERCUTIO

MERCUTIO

Where the devil should this Romeo be? Came he not home tonight?

BENVOLIO

Not to his father’s. I spoke with his man.

MERCUTIO

Why, that same pale, hard-hearted wench, that Rosaline, torments

him so, that he will sure run mad.

BENVOLIO

5Tybalt, the kinsman to old Capulet,

Hath sent a letter to his father’s house.

MERCUTIO

A challenge, I would swear.

BENVOLIO

accept

Romeo will °.

MERCUTIO

Any man that can write may answer a letter.

BENVOLIO

10Nay, he will answer the letter’s master, how he dares, being dared.

MERCUTIO

Alas, poor Romeo, he is already dead: stabbed with a white

wench’s black eye; shot through the ear with a love-song; the very

pin[15] of his heart cleft with the blind bow-boy’s butt-shaft.[16] And is

he a man to encounter Tybalt?

BENVOLIO

15Why, what is Tybalt?

MERCUTIO

More than the Prince of Cats,[17] I can tell you. O, he’s the

courageous Captain of Compliments. He fights like you sing

pricksong,[18] keeps time, distance and proportion; he rests, his

minim[19] rest, one, two, and the third in your bosom. The very

20butcher of a silk button, a dualist, a dualist; a gentleman of the

very first house,[20] of the first and second cause; ah, the immortal

passado! the punto reverso! the hay![21]

BENVOLIO

The what?

MERCUTIO

The pox[22] of such antic,[23] lisping, affecting fanasticoes, these new

25tuners of accents! By Jesu, a very good blade! A very tall man! A

old man

very good whore! Why, is not this a lamentable thing, °,

that we should be thus afflicted with these strange flies, these

fashion-mongers, these pardon-me’s, who stand so much on the

new form that they cannot sit at ease on the old bench. O, their

30bones, their bones![24]

Enter ROMEO

BENVOLIO

Here comes Romeo, here comes Romeo.

MERCUTIO

Without his roe,[25] like a dried herring. O flesh, flesh, how art thou

verse

fishified! Now is he for the ° that Petrarch flowed in.

Laura to his lady was but a kitchen-wench; marry, she had a

35better love to be-rhyme her; Dido, a dowdy;[26] Cleopatra, a gipsy;

good-for-nothings

Helen and Hero, ° and harlots; Thisbe,[27] a grey eye or

two, but not worth mention.

[To Romeo] Signior Romeo, bonjour! There’s a French salutation to

baggy pants

your French °. You gave us the counterfeit[28] fairly last night.

ROMEO

40Good morrow to you both. What counterfeit

Did I give you?

MERCUTIO

counterfeit coin

The slip, sir, the °. Can you not conceive?

ROMEO

Pardon, good Mercutio, my business was vital, and in such a case

as mine a man may strain courtesy.

MERCUTIO

45That’s as much as to say: Such a case as yours constrains a man to

bow in the hams.

ROMEO

Meaning to curtsy.

MERCUTIO

Thou hast most kindly hit it.

ROMEO

A most courteous explanation.

MERCUTIO

perfect example

50Nay, I am the ° of courtesy.

ROMEO

Pink for flower.

MERCUTIO

Right.

ROMEO

Why, then is my pump well flowered.[29]

MERCUTIO

Well said. Follow me this jest now, till thou has worn out thy

55pump, that when the single role of it is worn, the jest may remain,

after the wearing, solely singular.

ROMEO

O single-soled jest,[30] solely singular for the singleness.

MERCUTIO

Come between us, good Benvolio. My wits fail.

ROMEO

Swits and spurs, swits and spurs,[31] or I’ll win this match.

MERCUTIO

60Nay, if our wits run the wild goose chase, I am done: for thou

hast more of the wild-goose in one of thy wits than I am sure I

have in my whole five. Was I with you there for the goose?

ROMEO

Thou wast never with me for anything when thou was not there

prostitute

for the °.

MERCUTIO

65I will bite thee by the ear for that jest.

ROMEO

Nay, good goose, bite not.

MERCUTIO

Thy wit is a very bitter sweeting; it is a most sharp sauce.

ROMEO

And is it not, then, well served to a sweet goose?

MERCUTIO

stretchy leather

O, here’s a wit like ° that stretches from an inch narrow

forty-five inches

70to an ° broad.

ROMEO

fat

I stretch it out for that word “”°, which added to the goose,

proves thee far and wide a broad goose.

MERCUTIO

Why, is not this better now than groaning for love? Now art thou

sociable; now art thou Romeo; now art thou what thou art, by art

idiot

75as well as by nature: for this riveling love is like a great °,

loose
jester’s baton

that runs ° up and down to hide his ° in a hole.

BENVOLIO

Stop there, stop there.

MERCUTIO

Thou desirest me to stop in my tale against the hair.[32]

BENVOLIO

Thou wouldst else have made thy tale large.

MERCUTIO

80O, thou art deceived; I would have made it short: For I was come

to the whole depth of my tale, and meant indeed to occupy the

argument no longer.

Enter NURSE and her man, PETER

ROMEO

Here comes goodly stuff. A sail, a sail!

BENVOLIO

Two, two: a shirt and a smock.[33]

NURSE

85Peter.

PETER

At your service.

NURSE

My fan, Peter.

MERCUTIO

Good Peter, to hide her face, for her fan’s the fairer face.

NURSE

God ye good morrow, gentlemen.

MERCUTIO

90God ye good evening, fair gentlewoman.

NURSE

Is it good evening?

MERCUTIO

indecent

Tis no less, I tell ye, for the ° hand of the dial is now upon

the prick[34] of noon.

NURSE

Out upon you! What kind of man are you?

ROMEO

95One, gentlewoman, that God hath made, for himself to mar.

NURSE

By my troth,[35] well said. “For himself to mar,” quoth he? Gentlemen, can any of you tell me where I may find the young

Romeo?

ROMEO

I can tell you, but young Romeo will be older when you have

100found him than he was when you sought him.

I am the youngest of that name, for lack of a worse.

NURSE

You speak well.

MERCUTIO

Yea, is the worst well? Very well took, in faith, wisely, wisely.

NURSE

If you be he, sir, I desire some confidence[36] with you.

BENVOLIO

105She will indite[37] him to some supper.

MERCUTIO

A bawd[38], a bawd, a bawd!

So ho!

ROMEO

What hast thou found?

MERCUTIO

No hare sir, unless it be a hare in Lenten pie,[39] that is somewhat

110stale and hoar[40] ere it be spent.

                                    He walks by them and sings

‘An old hare hoar,

And an old hare hoar

Is very good meat in Lent.

But a hare that is hoar,

115Is too much for a score,[41]

When it hoars ere it be spent.’[42]

Romeo, will you come to your father’s? We’ll dinner thither.

ROMEO

I will follow you.

MERCUTIO

Farwell, ancient lady; farewell, [singing] ‘Lady, Lady, lady.’

Exit BENVOLIO and MERCUTIO

NURSE

con man

120Marry, farewell! I pray you, sir, what ° was this

trickery

that was so full of °?

ROMEO

A gentleman, Nurse, that loves to hear himself talk, and will

speak more in a minute, than he will stand to in a month.

NURSE

If he speak anything against me, I’ll take him down, even if he

energetic
fellows

125were ° than he is, with twenty such °; and if I could,

I’d find those that shall. Scurvy knave! I am none of his flirt-girls,

I am none of his skains-mates.[43]

She turns to PETER

And thou like a knave must stand by, and see every knave use me at his pleasure?

PETER

130I saw no man use you at his pleasure; if I had, my weapon should

quickly have been out, I warrant you. I dare draw as

soon as another man, if I see occasion in a good quarrel and the law on

my side.

NURSE

Now afore God, I am so vexed, that every part about me quivers.

135Scurvy knave! Pray you, sir, a word. And as I told you, my young

lady bid me inquire you out; what she bid me say, I will keep to

myself, but first let me tell ye, if ye should lead her in a fool’s

paradise, as they say, it would be very gross kind of behavior, as

they say.  For the gentlewoman is young, and therefore, if you

double cross

140should ° with her, truly it were an ill thing to be offered

poor behavior

to any gentlewoman, and very °.

ROMEO

Nurse, commend me to thy lady and mistress, I protest[44] unto

thee—

NURSE

Good heart, and in faith, I will tell her as much. Lord, Lord, she

145will be a joyful woman.

ROMEO

What wilt thou tell her Nurse? Thou dost not hear me.

NURSE

I will tell her, sir, that you do protest, which as I take it, is a

gentlemanlike offer.

ROMEO

confession

Bid her devise some means to come to ° this afternoon, and

have confession

150there she shall at Friar Lawrence’s cell ° and married.

Here is for thy pains.

ROMEO offers her money.

NURSE

No, truly sir, not a penny.

ROMEO

Go to; I say you shall.

NURSE

This afternoon, sir? Well, she shall be there.

ROMEO

155And stay, good Nurse, behind the abbey wall.

Within this hour my man shall be with thee,

And bring thee cords made like a tackled stair,[45]

Which to the high top-gallant[46] of my joy

Must be my convoy in the secret night.

pay you for

160Farewell, be trusty, and I’ll ° thy pains.

Farewell. Commend me to thy mistress.

NURSE

Now God in heaven bless thee! Hark you, sir.

ROMEO

What sayest thou, my dear Nurse?

NURSE

Is your man secret? Did you never hear say,

165Two may keep counsel, putting one away?

ROMEO

I warrant thee, my man’s as true as steel.

NURSE

Well, sir, my mistress is the sweetest lady. Lord, Lord, when ‘twas

burbling baby

a little °. O, there is a nobleman in town, one Paris,

eagerly

that would ° lay knife aboard.[47] But she, good soul, would

170happily see a toad, a very toad, than him. I anger her sometimes,

and tell her that Paris is the properer man, but I’ll warrant you,

piece of cloth

when I say so, she looks as pale as any ° in the versall[48]

world. Doth not rosemary[49] and Romeo begin both with a letter?

ROMEO

Aye, Nurse, what of that? Both with an “R.”

NURSE

175Ah, mocker! That’s the dog’s name;[50] R is for the—no, I know it

begins with some other letter—and she hath the prettiest

sententious[51] of it, of you and rosemary, that it would do you good

to hear it.

ROMEO

Commend me to thy lady.

NURSE

180Aye, a thousand times. Peter?

PETER

Anon.

NURSE

quickly

Before and °.

Exit all

❖❖❖

ACT 2, SCENE 5

Juliet waits for the Nurse to return. When the Nurse returns, Juliet begs her for information. The Nurse delays, saying she’s too tired and her body is too sore. Juliet pressures her until the Nurse gives in and tells her that Romeo is waiting to marry her at Friar Lawrence’s cell.

Somewhere outside the Capulet estate:

Enter JULIET

JULIET

The clock struck nine when I did send the Nurse.

In half an hour she promised to return.

Perchance she cannot meet him. That’s not so:

feeble; slow

O, she is °! Love’s heralds should be thoughts

5Which ten times faster glide than the sun’s beams

Driving back shadows over lowering hills.

Therefore do nimble-pinioned doves draw Love,[52]

And therefore hath the wind-swift Cupid[53] wings.

Now is the sun upon the highmost hill

10Of this day’s journey, and from nine till twelve,

Is three long hours, yet she is not come.

Had she affections and warm, youthful blood,

She would be as swift in motion as a ball,

throw

My words would ° her to my sweet love,

15And his to me. But old folks,

Many feign as they were dead,

Unwieldy, slow, heavy, and pale as lead.

Enter NURSE and PETER

O God, she comes. O, honey Nurse, what news?

Hast thou met with him? Send thy man away.

NURSE

20Peter, stay at the gate.

Exit PETER

JULIET

Now, good sweet Nurse—

O, Lord, why lookest thou sad?

Though news be sad, yet tell them merrily.

If good, thou shames the music of sweet news

25By playing it to me with so sour a face.

NURSE

O, I am weary. Let me rest awhile.

Fie,[54] how my bones ache! What a jaunt I had!

JULIET

I would thou had’st my bones, and I thy news.

Nay, come, I pray thee, speak. Good, good Nurse, speak.

NURSE

30Jesu, what haste? Can you not wait awhile?

Do you not see that I am out of breath?

JULIET

How art thou out of breath, when thou hast breath

To say to me, that thou art out of breath?

The excuse that thou dost make in this delay,

35Is longer than the tale thou dost excuse.

Is thy news good or bad? Answer to that.

Say either, and I’ll stay the circumstance.[55]

Let me be satisfied, is’t good or bad?

NURSE

Well, you have made a foolish choice. You know not how to

40choose a man. Romeo, no, not he, though his face be better than

any man’s; and his leg excels all mens’; and for a hand, and a foot,

and a body, though not much to talk on, yet they are past

compare. He is not the flower of courtesy, but I’ll warrant him as

gentle as a lamb. Go thy ways, wench; serve God. What, have you

45dined at home?

JULIET

No, no. But all this did I know before.

What says he of our marriage? What of that?

NURSE

Lord, how my head aches! What a head have I?

It beats as it would fall in twenty pieces.

at the other

50My back ° side! Oh my back, my back.

curse

° your heart for sending me about

To catch my death with jaunting up and down.

JULIET

I’faith, I am sorry that thou art not well.

Sweet, sweet, sweet Nurse, tell me, what says my love?

NURSE

55Your love says, like an honest gentleman,

And a courteous, and a kind, and a handsome,

And I warrant, a virtuous—Where is your mother?

JULIET

Where is my mother?

Why she is within, where should she be?

60How oddly thou repliest.

“Your love says like an honest gentleman:

Where is your mother?”

NURSE

Oh God’s lady dear,[56]

Are you so hot? Marry, come up, I trow.

homemade ointment

65Is this the ° for my aching bones?

Henceforward do your messages yourself.

JULIET

What a fuss! Come, what says Romeo?

NURSE

Have you got leave to go to shrift today?

JULIET

I have.

NURSE

hurry

70Then ° you hence to Friar Lawrence’s cell,

There waits a husband to make you a wife.

Now comes the wanton blood up in your cheeks;

They turn to scarlet, straight, at any news.

Hie you to church. I must another way

75To fetch a ladder by which your love

Must climb a bird’s nest soon when it is dark,

I am the drudge, and toil in your delight.

But you shall bear the burden soon at night.

Go. I’ll to dinner; hie you to the cell.

JULIET

80Hie to high fortune! Honest Nurse, farewell.

Exit all

❖❖❖

ACT 2, SCENE 6

Romeo and Friar Lawrence wait at the cell. Romeo says his current joy far outweighs any misfortune that may come. Juliet arrives. They all exit and the friar performs the wedding.

Friar Lawrence’s cell in Verona:

Enter FRIAR and ROMEO

FRIAR

So smile the heavens upon this holy act,

That, after hours, with sorrow chide us not!

ROMEO

Amen, amen, but come what sorrows will,

equal

They cannot ° the exchange of joy

5That one short minute gives me of her sight.

Do thou but close our hands with holy words,

Then love-devouring death do what he dare,

It is enough I may but call her mine.

FRIAR

These violent delights have violent ends,

gun powder

10And in their triumph die like fire and °.

Which, as they kiss, consume. The sweetest honey

Is loathsome in his own deliciousness

destroys

And is the taste ° the appetite.

Therefore love moderately. Long love doth so.

15Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.

Enter JULIET

FRIAR

Here comes the Lady. O, so light a foot

hardships of life

Will never wear out the everlasting °.

spider’s web

A lover may bestride the °,

That idles in the wanton summer air,

20And yet not fall, so light is vanity.

JULIET

Good evening to my ghostly confessor.

FRIAR

Romeo shall thank thee, daughter, for us both.

JULIET

And same to him, else is his thanks too much.

ROMEO

Ah Juliet, if the measure of thy joy

25Be heaped like mine, and since thy skill be more

describe

To ° it, then sweeten with thy breath

This neighbor air,[57] and let rich music’s tongue

Unfold the imagined happiness that we

Receive in either, by this dear encounter.

JULIET

Understanding

30°, 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.

FRIAR

35Come, 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.

Exit all


  1. King Cophetua: An African king who had no interest in women until he fell in love with a beggar woman outside his palace.
  2. high forehead: a sign of female beauty
  3. Now he will sit…medlar tree: Medlar tree fruit, also called the “open-arse,” was resemble to an anus.
  4. poperin pear: pun for male genitalia; “pop her in”
  5. Vestal livery: clothing worn by the maidens of Diana, the Roman goddess of the moon
  6. Jove: Another name for Jupiter, the king of gods in Roman mythology
  7. O, for a falc’ner’s voice / To lure this tassel-gentle back again: Juliet wishes she could call back Romeo the way a falconer calls back a male falcon (“tassel-gentle”).
  8. Echo: a figure from Greek legend; a woman who wasted away from heartbreak and remains only as the voice that echoes back to you
  9. Titan’s firey wheels: reference to Helios, Greek god of the sun
  10. Benedicte: a blessing
  11. To season: as in to salt
  12. Women may fall: women will fail morally
  13. by rote: memorization without understanding
  14. young waverer: indecisive young man
  15. pin: peg marking the center of a target
  16. butt-shaft: arrow with no barb
  17. Prince of Cats: a figure from a popular story, Reynard the Fox, who is also called Tybalt
  18. Pricksong: or “pricked-song,” is music performed from written notation, instead of from memory or by ear
  19. minim: to rest half a note
  20. very first house: a prestigious school for fencing
  21. the immortal…the hay: Italian fencing terms
  22. pox: exclamation of irritation
  23. antic: possibly grotesque or “antique,” though due to the era’s spelling and the context “antic” is likely
  24. their bones: pun on French “bon”
  25. roe: fish eggs, or the “ro” in Romeo
  26. dowdy: unattractively dressed woman
  27. Laura…Thisbe: classical figures who killed themselves for love
  28. You gave us the counterfeit: i.e., you ditched us
  29. my pump well flowered: i.e., my feet are tired from dancing
  30. single-soled jest: weak joke
  31. Swits and spurs: i.e., make your horse go faster
  32. against the hair: against the grain
  33. a shirt and a smock: meaning, a man and a woman
  34. prick: clock point; male genitalia
  35. By my troth: Upon my word
  36. confidence: The Nurse fumbles on the word “conference.”
  37. indite: Benvolio mocks the nurse by purposefully fumbling the word “invite.”
  38. bawd: a hare; a go-between for prostitutes
  39. Lenten pie: pie with no meat
  40. hoar: moldy; pun on the word “whore”
  41. for a score: to pay for
  42. An old…be spent: If the Nurse were a whore, she would be like old bread that is only eaten as a last resort.
  43. skains-mates: friends who carry knives
  44. protest: The Nurse mistakes the word “protest” for “propose.”
  45. cords made like a tackled stair: a rope ladder
  46. top-gallant: the top of the mast of a ship
  47. lay knife aboard: lay to claim Juliet
  48. versall: the Nurse fumbles on the word “universal”
  49. rosemary: In Hamlet, it is said that rosemary is “for remembrance” of the dead.
  50. dog’s name: “R” sounds like a dog’s growl
  51. sententious: the Nurse fumbles on the word “sentence”
  52. nimble-pinioned doves draw Love: as doves pull Venus in her chariot
  53. Cupid: son of Venus and god of desire, affection, and love
  54. Fie: Here, an exclamation, like “oh!”
  55. stay the circumstance: wait for details
  56. Oh God’s lady dear: Holy Mary, mother of God
  57. This neighbor air: this air we share

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Romeo and Juliet by Rebecca Olson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.