ACT 4, SCENE 1
Paris meets with Friar Lawrence, informing him that the wedding will be held on Thursday in a supposed attempt to soothe Juliet’s grief over murdered Tybalt. Juliet arrives for confession, and Paris attempts to pressure her into confessing her love for him. After Paris leaves, Juliet tells the Friar she is resolved to kill herself if he can offer no solution out of the impending marriage. The Friar offers her a plan: agree to the marriage, but drink a poison the night before that will make her appear dead while in reality leaving her asleep. The Friar will then send word to Romeo, who will return and rescue Juliet once she awakes in the family tomb. Juliet accepts.
Friar Lawrence’s cell in Verona:
Enter Friar Lawrence and County Paris
On Thursday, sir? The time is very soon.
My father Capulet will have it so,
And I am nothing slow to stall his haste.
You say you do not know the Lady’s mind?
5Uneven is the course. I like it not.
Immoderately she weeps for Tybalt’s death,
And therefore have I little talk of love,
For Venus smiles not in a house of tears.
Now, sir, her father counts it dangerous
10That she doth give her sorrow so much sway;
And in his wisdom hastes our marriage
To stop the ° of her tears,
Which, too much minded by herself alone,
May be put from her by society.
15Now you do know the reason of this haste.
[To himself] I would I knew not why it should be slowed.
[To PARIS] Look, sir, here comes the lady towards my cell.
Happily met, my lady and my wife.
That may be, sir, when I may be a wife.
20That “may be” must be, love, on Thursday next.
What must be shall be.
That’s a certain °.
Come you to make confession to this father?
To answer that, I would confess to you.
25Do not deny to him that you love me.
I will confess to you that I love him.
So will ye – I am sure that you love me.
If I do so, it will be of more worth
Being spoke behind your back than to your face.
30Poor soul, thy face is much abused with tears.
The tears have got ° victory by that,
For it was bad enough before their spite.
Thou wrong’st it more than tears, with that report.
That is no slander, sir, when it’s a truth,
35And what I said, I said it to my face.
Thy face is mine, and thou hast slandered it.
It may be so, for it is not mine own. —
Are you at leisure, Holy Father, now,
Or shall I come to you at evening Mass?
40My leisure serves me, somber daughter, now.
My lord, we must ask for this time alone.
God shield I should disturb devotion!
Juliet, on Thursday early will I rouse you.
Till then, adieu, and keep this holy kiss.
He kisses her
45O, shut the door! And when thou hast done so,
Come weep with me – past hope, past care, past help.
O Juliet, I already know thy grief;
It strains me past the compass of my wits.
I hear thou must – and nothing may postpone it –
50On Thursday next be married to the County.
Tell me not, Friar, that thou hearest of this,
Unless thou tell me how I may prevent it:
If in thy wisdom thou canst give no help,
Do thou but call my resolution wise,
55And with this knife I’ll help it presently.
God joined my heart and Romeo’s, thou our hands.
And ere this hand – by thee to Romeo sealed –
Shall be the label to another deed,
Or my true heart with treacherous revolt
60Turn to another, this shall slay them both.
Therefore 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, arbitrating that,
65Which the commission of thy years and art
Could not to this issue true honor bring.
Be not so long to speak; I long to die
If what thou speak’st speak not of remedy.
Hold, daughter! I do spy a kind of hope
70Which craves as desperate an execution
As that is desperate which we would prevent.
If rather than to marry County Paris
Thou hast the strength or will to slay thyself,
Then it is likely thou wilt undertake
75A thing like death to chide away this shame,
That copes with Death himself to ‘scape from it;
And, if thou darest, I’ll give thee remedy.
O bid me leap – rather than marry Paris –
From off the battlements of any tower,
80Or walk in thievish ways, or bid me lurk
Where serpents are; chain me with roaring bears
Or hide me nightly in a charnel house,
O’ercovered ° with dead men’s rattling bones,
With reeky shanks and yellow chapless skulls;
85Or bid me go into a new-made grave
And hide me with a dead man in his tomb;
Things that, to hear them told, have made me tremble,
And I will do it without fear or doubt
To keep myself a faithful unstained wife
90To my dear lord, my dearest Romeo.
Hold then: go home, be merry, give consent
To marry Paris. Wednesday is tomorrow.
Let not thy nurse lie with thee in thy chamber.
And when thou art alone, take thou this vial,
95And this distilling liquor drink thou off,
When presently through all thy veins shall run
A cold and drowsy humor; for no pulse
Shall keep his native rhythm but °.
No warmth, no breath shall testify thou livest;
100The roses in thy lips and cheeks shall fade
To many ashes. Thy eyes’ windows fall
Like Death when he shuts up the day of life;
Each part, deprived of supple government
Shall, stiff and stark and cold, appear like death,
105And in this borrowed likeness of shrunk death
Thou shalt continue two and forty hours
And then awake, as from a pleasant sleep.
Now when the bridegroom in the morning comes
To rouse thee from thy bed, there art thou dead;
110Then, as the manner of our country is,
In thy best robes uncovered on the °
Be borne to burial in thy kindred’s grave;
Thou shall be borne to that same ancient vault
Where all the kindred of the Capulets lie.
115In the meantime, by then thou shalt awake,
Shall Romeo by my letters know our plan,
And hither shall he come, and he and I
Will watch thy waking, and that very night
Shall Romeo bear thee hence to Mantua.
120And this shall free thee from this present shame,
If no inconstant toy nor womanish fear
° thy valor in the acting it.
Give me, give me! O, tell not me of fear!
He gives her the vial
Hold! Get you gone, be strong and prosperous
125In this resolve. I’ll send a Friar with speed
To Mantua with my letters to thy lord.
Love give me strength, and strength shall help afford.
Farewell, dear Father.
ACT 4, SCENE 2
Juliet returns to find her family preparing for the wedding. Repentant, she asks for forgiveness and agrees to marry Paris. Lord Capulet, in his excitement, decides to advance the ceremony from Thursday to Wednesday (tomorrow). Ignoring his wife’s protests, he instructs her to be with Juliet while he finishes preparations and sends word to Paris of the changed itinerary.
Somewhere within the Capulet estate:
Enter Capulet, Lady capulet, Nurse, and Servingmen
So many guests invite as here are writ.
Gives a list to a SERVANT, who then exits.
Sirrah, go hire me twenty cunning cooks.
You shall have none °, sir, for I’ll test if they will lick their fingers.
How canst thou test them so?
5Marry sir, ‘tis an ill cook that will not lick his own fingers:
Therefore he that will not lick his fingers goes not with me.
Go, be gone.
We shall be much ° for this time.
What, is my daughter gone to Friar Lawrence?
Well he may chance to do some good on her.
A peevish, self-willed ° it is.
See, here she commeth from confession.
How now, my headstrong?
15Where have you been °?
Where I have learnt me to repent the sin
Of disobedient opposition
To you and your behests, and am °
By holy Lawrence to fall prostrate here [Juliet kneels]
20To beg your pardon. Pardon, I beseech you!
Henceforward I am ever ruled by you.
Now before God, this holy reverend Friar,
All our whole city is much ° to him!
Send for the County. Go tell him of this.
25I’ll have this knot knit up tomorrow morning.
I met the youthful lord at Lawrence’s cell,
And gave him what becomed love I might,
Not stepping o’er the bounds of modesty.
Why, I am glad on’t. This is well. Stand up.
30This is as’t should be. Let me see the County.
Aye, marry, go I say, and fetch him hither.
Nurse, will you go with me into my closet
To help me sort such needful ornaments
As you think fit to furnish me tomorrow?
35No, not till Thursday. There’s time enough.
Go, Nurse, go with her.
We’ll to church tomorrow.
Exit Juliet and Nurse
Methinks on Thursday would be time enough.
I say I will have this dispatched tomorrow.
40I pray, my Lord, let it be Thursday.
I say tomorrow while she’s in the mood.
We shall be short in our °.
‘Tis now near night.
Tush, I will stir about.
45And all things shall be well, I warrant thee, wife.
Go thou to Juliet, help to ° her up.
I’ll not to bed tonight. Let me alone;
I’ll play the housewife  for this once.— [calls servants] What ho?
They are all °.— Well, I will walk myself
50To County Paris, to prepare up him
Against tomorrow. My heart is wondrous light
Since this same wayward girl is so reclaimed.
ACT 4, SCENE 3
Juliet sends the nurse and Lady Capulet from her bedroom on the pretext of getting rest. She then experiences a series of doubts about the plan: what if the poison doesn’t work? What if the Friar actually intends to kill her to preserve the sanctity of her first marriage? What if she wakes up too early and suffocates? What if waking in the tomb will drive her insane? She rebuts most of these fears and drinks the poison, falling into a death-like trance.
Juliet’s chambers within the Capulet estate:
Enter JULIET and NURSE
Aye, those attires are best; but gentle Nurse
I pray thee leave me to myself tonight
For I have need of many °
To move the heavens to smile upon my state,
5Which, well thou know’st, is cross and full of sin.
Enter LADY CAPULET
What, are you busy – do you need my help?
No, madam, we have ° such necessaries
As are ° for our state tomorrow.
So please you, let me now be left alone;
10And let the Nurse this night sit up with you,
For I am sure you have your hands full all
In this so sudden business.
Get thee to bed and rest, for thou hast need.
Exit NURSE and LADY CAPULET
God knows when we shall meet again.
I have a faint cold fear thrills through my veins,
That almost freezes up the heat of life.
I’ll call them back again to comfort me.—
20Nurse!— What should she do here?
My dismal scene I needs must act alone.
Takes out vial.
What if this mixture should not work at all?
Shall I be married then tomorrow morning?
25No, no, this shall forbid it.
Takes out knife.
Lie thou there.
What if it be a poison, which the Friar
Subtly hath ministered to have me dead,
Lest in this marriage he should be dishonored,
Because he married me before to Romeo?
30I fear it is. And yet methinks it should not,
For he hath still been tried a holy man.
How, if when I am laid into the tomb,
I wake before the time that Romeo
Comes to redeem me? There’s a fearful point:
35Shall I not then be ° in the vault,
To whose foul mouth no healthsome air breathes in,
And there die strangled ere my Romeo comes?
Or, if I live, is it not very °
The horrible ° of death and night,
40Together with the terror of the place—
As in the vault, an ancient receptacle
Where for these many hundred years the bones
Of all my buried ancestors are packed:
Where bloody Tybalt, yet but green in earth,
45Lies festering in his shroud; where, as they say,
At some hours in the night spirits °.
Alack, alack, is it not like that I
In early waking, what with loathsome smells,
And shrieks like mandrakes torn out of the earth,
50That living mortals hearing them run mad—
O, if I wake, shall I not be distraught,
° with all these hideous fears,
And madly play with my forefathers’ joints?
And pluck the mangled Tybalt from his shroud?
55And, in this rage, with some great kinsman’s bone,
As with a club, dash out my desperate brains?
O look, methinks I see my cousin’s ghost,
Seeking out Romeo that did ° his body
Upon a rapier’s point. Stay, Tybalt, stay!
60Romeo, Romeo, Romeo! Here’s drink; I drink to thee.
She drinks and falls upon her bed within the curtains.
ACT 4, SCENE 4
The Capulets work through the night in preparation. Hearing Paris’ arrival, Lord Capulet tells the Nurse to wake Juliet.
Somewhere within the Capulet estate:
Enter LADY CAPULET and NURSE
Hold, take these keys and fetch more spices, Nurse.
They call for dates and ° in the pastry.
Come, stir, stir, stir! The second cock hath crowed;
The curfew bell hath rung. ‘Tis three o’clock:
5Look to the baked meats, good Angelica,
Spare not for cost.
Go, you cotquean, go,
Get you to bed. Faith, you’ll be sick tomorrow
For this night’s watching.
10No, not a whit. What! I have watched ere now
All night for lesser cause, and ne’er been sick.
Aye, you have been a ° in your time,
But I will watch you from such watching now.
Exit LADY CAPULET and NURSE
A jealous-hood, a jealous-hood! Now, fellow, what is there?
Enter three or four SERVINGMEN with spits, logs, and baskets
15Things for the cook, sir, but I know not what.
Make haste, make haste, sirrah! Fetch drier logs.
Call Peter; he will show thee where they are.
I have a head sir, that will find out logs,
And never trouble Peter for the matter.
Thou shalt be loggerhead.—Good Father, ‘tis day.
The County will be here with music soon,
For so he said he would. I hear him near.
Nurse! Wife! What ho! What, Nurse, I say!
25Go waken Juliet, go trim her up,
I’ll go and chat with Paris. Hie, make haste,
Make haste. The bridegroom: he is come already.
Make haste, I say!
Exit all but NURSE
ACT 4, SCENE 5
The Nurse enters Juliet’s bedroom, assuming her to be asleep, but then discovers her to be (apparently) dead. Lady Capulet, Lord Capulet, Paris, and Friar Lawrence arrive consecutively and grieve at seeing Juliet in her current state. The Friar reassures the family that Juliet is surely well in heaven and urges them to bring her to church to begin the funeral rites. After they leave, musicians hired for the wedding linger, and, unconcerned by the day’s events, joke and banter about music before making their exit.
Juliet’s chambers within the Capulet estate:
Mistress? What, mistress? Juliet? °, I warrant her, she.
Why, lamb! Why, lady! Fie, you °!
Why, love, I say! Madam, sweetheart! Why, bride!
What, not a word? You take your ° now,
5Sleep for a week, for the next night I warrant
The County Paris hath set up his rest
That you shall rest but little.—God forgive me.
Marry and Amen! How sound is she asleep.
I must needs wake her.—Madam, madam, madam!
10Aye, let the County take you in your bed;
He’ll fright you up, i’faith. Will it not be?
What, dressed and in your clothes and down again?
I must needs wake you. Lady, lady, lady!
Alas, alas! Help, help! My lady’s dead!
15O ° that ever I was born!
Some aqua-vitae, ho! My lord, my lady!
Enter LADY CAPULET
What noise is here?
O lamentable day!
What is the matter?
20Look, look! O heavy day!
O me, O me! My child, my only life!
Revive, look up, or I will die with thee!
Help, help! Call help!
For shame, bring Juliet forth. Her Lord is come.
25She’s dead, deceased, she’s dead. Alack the day!
Alack the day! She’s dead, she’s dead, she’s dead.
Ha! Let me see her. Out, alas—she’s cold!
Her blood is settled, and her joints are stiff;
Life and these lips have long been separated.
30Death lies on her like an untimely frost
Upon the sweetest flower of all the field.
O lamentable day!
O woeful time!
Death, that hath ta’en her hence to make me wail,
35Ties up my tongue and will not let me speak.
Enter FRIAR LAWRENCE and PARIS with MUSICIANS
Come, is the bride ready to go to church?
Ready to go, but never to return.
O son, the night before thy wedding day
Hath Death lain with thy wife. There she lies,
40Flower as she was, deflowered by him.
Death is my son-in-law; Death is my heir.
My daughter he hath wedded. I will die
And leave him all life living. All is Death’s.
Have I thought long to see this morning’s face,
45And doth it give me such a sight as this?
Accursed, unhappy, wretched, hateful day!
Most miserable hour that e’er time saw
In lasting labor of his pilgrimage.
But one, poor one, one poor and loving child,
50But one thing to rejoice and solace in,
And cruel Death hath catched it from my sight.
O woe, O woeful, woeful, woeful day!
Most lamentable day, most woeful day
That ever, ever I did yet behold.
55O day, O day, O day, O hateful day,
Never was seen so black a day as this:
O woeful day, O woeful day!
Beguiled, divorcèd, wrongèd, spited, slain!
Most detestable Death, by thee beguiled,
60By cruel, cruel thee quite overthrown.
O love, O life; not life, but love in death.
Despised, distressèd, hated, martyred, killed!
Uncomfortable time, why cam’st thou now
To murder, murder our solemnity?
65O child, O child, my soul and not my child!
Dead art thou! Alack, my child is dead,
And with my child, my joys are burièd.
Peace, ho! For shame! Confusion’s cares lives not
In these °. Heaven and yourself
70Had part in this fair maid. Now heaven hath all,
And all the better it is for the maid.
Your part in her, you could not keep from Death,
But heaven keeps his part in eternal life.
The most you sought was her promotion,
75For ‘twas your heaven she should be advanced.
And weep ye now, seeing she is advanced
Above the clouds, as high as heaven itself?
O in this love, you love your child so ill
That you run mad seeing that she is well.
80She’s not well married that lives married long,
But she’s best married that dies married young.
Dry up your tears and stick your rosemary
On this fair corpse, and, as the custom is,
In all her best ° bear her to Church.
85For though some nature bids us all lament,
Yet nature’s tears are reason’s merriment.
All things that we ordained festival
Turn from their office to black funeral.
Our instruments to melancholy bells,
90Our wedding cheer to sad burial feast,
Our solemn hymns to sullen ° change,
Our bridal flowers serve for a buried corpse,
And all things change them to the contrary.
Sir, go you in, and madam, go with him;
95And go, sir Paris. Every one prepare
To follow this fair corpse unto her grave.
The heavens do frown upon you for some ill;
Move them no more, by crossing their high will.
Exit all but NURSE and MUSICIANS
Faith, we may put up our pipes and be gone.
100Honest good fellows, ah, put up, put up!
For well you know, this is a pitiful case.
Aye, by my troth, the case may be amended.
Musicians, O musicians! “Heart’s Ease,” “Heart’s Ease.”
O, and you will have me live, play “Heart’s Ease.”
105Why “Heart’s Ease?”
O musicians, because my heart itself plays “My heart is full of
woe.” O play me some merry ° to comfort me.
Not a dump, no—’tis no time to play now.
You will not then?
I will then give it to you soundly.
What will you give us?
No money, on my faith, but the °. I will ° you the
115Then will I give you the serving-creature.
Then will I lay the serving-creature’s daggers on your °. I will
carry no °; I’ll re you, I’ll fa you. Do you note me?
If you re us and you fa us, you’ll note us.
Pray you put up your dagger, and put out your wit. Then have at
120you with my wit.
I will ° you with an iron wit and put up my iron dagger.
Answer me like men:
[Sings] When griping griefs the heart doth wound,
And doleful dumps the mind oppress,
125 Then music with her silver sound—
Why “silver sound?” Why “music with her silver sound?”
What say you, Simon Catling?
Marry, sir, because silver hath a sweet sound.
°! What say you, Hugh Rebeck?
130I say “silver sound” because musicians sound for silver.
Prates too! What say you, James Sound-Post?
Faith, I know not what to say.
O, I cry you mercy! You are the singer. I will say for you: It is
“music with her silver sound” because musicians have no gold for
[Sings] Then Music with her silver sound
With speedy help doth lend °.
Farewell, fiddlers! Farewell!
What a pestilent knave is this man!
140Hang him, Jack. Come, we’ll be in here, tarry for the mourners, and
- Venus: a mythical goddess often representing love ↵
- Hastes our marriage: To move quickly with the wedding ↵
- May be put from her by society: Paris is saying that with company, she might cry less ↵
- I would I knew not what it should be slowed: Friar Lawrence wants to be heard by the audience, not Paris, and is saying that he wishes he didn't know what was to come. ↵
- Come you to make confession to this father?: Paris is asking Juliet if she has come to confess to the Friar. Confession is a common practice in the Catholic religion. ↵
- I will confess to you that I love him: Juliet is using tricky and playful language to confuse Paris and keep him under the impression that she does love him. In fact, she is actually saying that she will confess that she loves Romeo. ↵
- For it was bad enough before their spite: Her face was abused and dirty enough before the tears. She is trying to get Paris to leave her alone. ↵
- Shall be the label to another deed: That Juliet should be married to both Romeo and Paris. ↵
- the commission of thy years and art: the authority of your age and skills ↵
- Which craves as...which we would prevent: the friar is saying that his plan is as difficult as their current situation, but that it could work. ↵
- charnel house: structure that stores burial remains ↵
- reeky shanks and yellow chapless skulls: smelly bones and jawless skulls ↵
- As the manner of our country is: it was common to bury families all in the same tomb or cemetery. ↵
- thy lord: Romeo ↵
- lick their fingers: The servingman speaks with a dialect of the lower class. Licking their fingers is a sign that a cook likes their own cooking, so they must be a good hire. ↵
- this knot knit up tomorrow morning: this means Juliet will be married in the morning, a day earlier than planned. ↵
- Sensitivity note: housewife in this context represents another example of Shakespeare's assumed gender roles. Keep in mind that though this may have been a common phrase in his time, it does not mean it was an accurate or respectful statement. ↵
- Nurse: Juliet is breaking her soliloquy to call out for the nurse before quickly coming to her senses and thinking to herself again. ↵
- yet but green in earth: freshly buried ↵
- mandrakes: plants whose roots grow in a humanlike shape and, according to legend, shriek when torn from the ground. ↵
- O look, methinks...I drink to thee: This rambling from Juliet conveys her confusion and fear in this moment. These fears of death and what could be in the vial fill her head until she settles on drinking it. ↵
- pastry: pastry-making room ↵
- The second cock hath crowed: tradition had it that the cock crows first at midnight, then at 3AM, and then an hour before the sun rises ↵
- Angelica: a plant used for flavoring, baking, and candies. ↵
- cotquean: here, a man doing women’s work or displaying womanish tendencies. ↵
- Mass: word used to agree with someone else ↵
- A merry whoreson: i.e., he’s a funny son of a sex worker ↵
- loggerhead: could mean blockhead; could also mean having a big head (out of proportion to the body) ↵
- hath set up his rest: has resolved ↵
- lasting labor of his pilgrimage: i.e., in all his days ↵
- had part in this fair maid: i.e., were alive in her ↵
- rosemary: the herb was sometimes used in funeral ceremonies ↵
- put up our pipes: pipe instruments were traditionally used at weddings; “put up” here means “put away.” ↵
- the case may be amended: referring to either the case of Juliet’s death, or his instrument case ↵
- “Heart’s Ease”: a popular song at the time. ↵
- the minstrel: insulting term for “musician” ↵
- the serving-creature: insulting term for “servant” ↵
- I’ll re you, I’ll fa you: re and fa are both names of musical notes ↵
- Catling: a string used for instruments ↵
- Rebeck: a bowed instrument ↵
- sound for silver: i.e., make sound for money ↵
- Sound-Post: a small component used in violins and other similar instruments. ↵
- cry you mercy: beg your pardon ↵
- Hang him: phrase used to disregard or ignore someone ↵
- stay dinner: wait for dinner ↵
food and drink
a ladies’ man
woe the day
songs of lamentation
a musical note
a stupid answer