THE PLAY

ACT 5

ACT 5, SCENE 1

Balthasar, a friend of Romeo’s, brings him news that Juliet is dead and lies in the Capulet tomb. Resolved to find her and join her in death, Romeo first visits an apothecary and bribes him to obtain an illegal (and lethal) poison.

A market street in Mantua:

Enter ROMEO

ROMEO

If I may trust the flattering truth of sleep

foreshadow

My dreams ° some joyful news at hand.

My bosom’s lord[1] sits lightly in his throne:

And all this day an unaccustomed spirit

5Lifts me above the ground with cheerful thoughts.

I dreamt my lady came and found me dead—

Strange dream that gives a dead man leave to think—

And breathed such life with kisses in my lips,

That I revived and was an Emperor.

10Ah me, how sweet is love itself possessed,[2]

dreams

When but love’s ° are so rich in joy!

Enter ROMEO’s man BALTHASAR

News from Verona! How now, Balthasar?

Dost thou not bring me letters from the Friar?

How doth my lady? Is my father well?

15How doth my lady Juliet? That I ask again,

For nothing can be ill if she be well.

BALTHASAR

Then she is well and nothing can be ill.

Her body sleeps in Capel’s monument,

And her immortal part with angels lives.

20I saw her laid low in her kindred’s vault,

And presently took post to tell it you.

O, pardon me for bringing this ill news,

duty

Since you did leave it for my °,  sir.

ROMEO

Is it e’en so? Then I deny you, stars!

25Thou knowest my lodging. Get me ink and paper,

And hire post horses.[3] I will hence tonight.

BALTHASAR

I do beseech you sir, have patience.

imply

Your looks are pale and wild, and do °

accident, or failed attempt

Some °.

ROMEO

30Tush, thou art deceived!

Leave me, and do the thing I bid thee do.

Hast thou no letters to me from the Friar?

BALTHASAR

No, my good lord.

ROMEO

No matter; get thee gone.

35And hire those horses. I’ll be with thee straight.

Exit BALTHASAR

Well, Juliet, I will lie with thee tonight.

Let’s see for means.[4] O mischief, thou art swift

To enter in the thoughts of desperate men!

I do remember an apothecary—

40And hereabouts he dwells—which late I noted

clothes

In tattered ° with overwhelming brows,

herbs

Culling of °. Meager were his looks.

Sharp misery had worn him to the bones.

And in his needy shop a tortoise hung,

45An alligator stuffed, and other skins

Of ill-shaped fishes. And about his shelves,

small

A ° amount of empty boxes:

Green earthen pots, bladders, and musty seeds,

Remnants of packthread, and old cakes of roses

50Were thinly scattered to make up a show.

extreme poverty

Noting this °, to myself I said,

“An if a man did need a poison now—

Whose sale is present death in Mantua—

miserable; vile

Here lives a ° wretch would sell it him.”

55O, this same thought did but forerun my need,

And this same needy man must sell it me.

As I remember, this should be the house.

Being holiday, the beggar’s shop is shut.—

What ho, apothecary?”

Enter APOTHECARY

APOTHECARY

60Who calls so loud?

ROMEO

Come hither, man. I see that thou art poor.

gold coins

Hold, there is forty °. Let me have

small drink

A ° of poison, such soon-speeding stuff

As will disperse itself through all the veins

65That life-weary taker may fall dead,

chest

And that the ° may be discharged of breath

As violently as hasty powder fired

Doth hurry from the fatal cannon’s womb.

APOTHECARY

Such mortal drugs I have, but Mantua’s law

70Is death to any he that utters them.

ROMEO

Art thou so bare and full of wretchedness

And fearest to die? Famine is in thy cheeks,

Need and oppression starveth in thy eyes,

Contempt and beggary hangs upon thy back.

75The world is not thy friend, nor the world’s law.

The world affords no law to make thee rich:

Then be not poor, but break it and take this.

APOTHECARY

My poverty, but not my will, consents.

ROMEO

I pray thy poverty and not thy will.

APOTHECARY gives him the poison

APOTHECARY

80Put this in any liquid thing you will

And drink it off, and if you had the strength

Of twenty men, it would dispatch you straight.

ROMEO

There is thy gold: worse poison to men’s souls,

Doing more murder in this loathsome world

85Than those poor compounds that thou must not sell.

I sell thee poison; thou hast sold me none.

Farewell, buy food, and get thyself in flesh.[5]

Exit APOTHECARY

medicinal drink

Come, ° and not poison, go with me

To Juliet’s grave, for there must I use thee.

Exit ROMEO

 

❖❖❖

ACT 5, SCENE 2

Friar John returns to Friar Lawrence, informing him that his letter could not be delivered to Romeo due to an outbreak of sickness. Aware that Juliet will soon awake, Friar Lawrence heads to the Capulet tomb to retrieve Juliet and keep her safe until Romeo can return.

Friar Lawrence’s cell in Verona:

Enter FRIAR JOHN

FRIAR JOHN

Holy Franciscan Friar, brother, ho?

Enter FRIAR LAWRENCE

FRIAR LAWRENCE

This same should be the voice of Friar John.

Welcome from Mantua!  What says Romeo?

Or if his mind be writ, give me his letter.

FRIAR JOHN

another friar

5I went to find a ° out,

One of our order, to accompany me,

Who was in this city visiting the sick,

And, finding him, the searchers of the town

Suspected that we both were in a house

10Where the infectious pestilence did reign,

Sealed up the doors and would not let us forth,[6]

So that my speed to Mantua there was stayed.

FRIAR LAWRENCE

Who bare my letter then to Romeo?

FRIAR JOHN

I could not send it—here it is again—

15Nor get a messenger to bring it thee,

So fearful were they of infection.

FRIAR LAWRENCE

Unhappy fortune!  By my Brotherhood,

The letter was not nice but full of charge[7]

Of dear import, and the neglecting it

20May do much danger.  Friar John, go hence,

Get me an iron crow[8] and bring it straight

Unto my cell.

FRIAR JOHN

Brother, I’ll go and bring it thee.

Exit FRIAR JOHN

FRIAR LAWRENCE

Capulet family tomb

Now must I to the ° alone.

25Within this three hours will fair Juliet wake.

She will beshrew me much that Romeo

Hath had no notice of these accidents.

But I will write again to Mantua

And keep her at my cell ‘til Romeo come.

30Poor living corpse, closed in a dead man’s Tomb.

Exit FRIAR LAWRENCE

 

❖❖❖

ACT 5, SCENE 3

Paris mourns at the Capulet tomb, but hides when he hears someone (Romeo) approaching. As he reaches the tomb, Romeo commands Balthasar to leave; Balthazar leaves but decides to linger secretly. Paris confronts Romeo as he attempts to open the tomb. They fight, and Romeo kills Paris. Romeo enters the tomb and lays Paris inside it. Approaching Juliet, Romeo grieves for her death and the luster of her still-lively beauty. He drinks the poison and dies. Friar Lawrence arrives and witnesses the scene as Juliet wakes, offering to hide her away among a convent of nuns. She refuses. Hearing guards approaching, Juliet kills herself with Romeo’s dagger. The Prince, the Capulets, and the Montagues are summoned by the guards. Friar Lawrence summarizes the events leading to this point and is corroborated by Balthazar and Romeo’s letter to his father. In remorse, lords Capulet and Montague make peace.

The Churchyard, outside the Capulet Tomb, later moving within the tomb:

Enter PARIS and his PAGE

PARIS

at a distance

Give me thy torch, boy. Hence, and stand °.

Yet put it out, for I would not be seen.

Under those young trees, lay thee all along,[9]

Holding thy ear close to the hollow ground.

5So shall no foot upon the churchyard tread,

Being loose, unfirm, with digging up of graves,

But thou shalt hear it. Whistle then to me

As signal that thou hearest something approach.

Give me those flowers. Do as I bid thee; go!

PAGE

10I am almost afraid to stand alone,

Here in the churchyard, yet I will adventure.

PARIS

Sweet flower, with flowers thy bridal bed I strew—

O woe, thy canopy is dust and stones!—

Which with sweet water nightly I will dew,

15Or, lacking that, with tears distilled by moans.

The obsequies that I for thee will keep,[10]

Nightly shall be to strew thy grave and weep.

The PAGE whistles

The boy gives warning; something doth approach.

What cursed foot wanders this way tonight,

20To cross my obsequies and true love’s right?

What, with a torch?  Muffle me, night, a while.

Enter ROMEO and BALTHASAR

ROMEO

pickaxe
crowbar

Give me the ° and the °.

And take this letter early in the morning;

See thou deliver it to my lord and father.

25Give me the light. Upon thy life I charge thee,

Whate’er thou hearest or seest, stand all aloof,

And do not interrupt me in my course.

Why I descend into this bed of death

Is partly to behold my lady’s face,

30But chiefly to take thence from her dead finger

A precious ring, a ring that I must use,

In dear employment;[11] therefore hence, be gone.

curious

But if thou, °, dost return to pry,

In what I farther shall intend to do,

35By heaven, I will tear thee joint by joint,

And strew this hungry churchyard with thy limbs.

The time and my intents are savage, wild,

More fierce and more inexorable far

Than empty tigers, or the roaring sea.

BALTHASAR

40I will be gone, sir, and not trouble ye.

ROMEO

In this thou shows me friendship. [hands BALTHASAR money] Take thou that.

Live and be prosperous, and farewell, good fellow!

BALTHASAR and ROMEO part

BALTHASAR

For all this same, I’ll hide me hereabout.

His looks I fear, and his intents I doubt.

ROMEO

mouth

45Thou detestable °, thou womb of death,

Gorged with the dearest morsel of the earth,

Thus I enforce thy rotten jaws to open,

spite

And in °, I’ll cram thee with more food!

PARIS

arrogant

This is that banished ° Montague

50That murdered my love’s cousin, with which grief

It is supposed the fair creature died,

And here is come to do some villainous shame

To the dead bodies. I will apprehend him.

[To ROMEO] Stop thy unhallowed toil, vile Montague!

55Can vengeance be pursued further than death?

Condemned villain, I do apprehend thee!

Obey and go with me, for thou must die.

ROMEO

I must indeed, and therefore I came hither.

Good gentle youth, tempt not a desperate man,

60Fly hence and leave me. Think upon these gone;

Let them affright thee. I beseech thee, youth,

Put not another sin upon my head

By urging me to fury. O, begone!

By heaven, I love thee better than myself,

65For I come hither armed against myself.

Stay not: be gone, live, and hereafter say,

A madman’s mercy bid thee run away.

PARIS

I do defy thy commiseration,

And apprehend thee for a felon here.

ROMEO

70Wilt thou provoke me?  Then have at thee, boy!

ROMEO and PARIS fight

PAGE

O Lord, they fight!  I will go call the Watch.

Exit PAGE

PARIS

O, I am slain!  If thou be merciful,

Open the tomb; lay me with Juliet.

PARIS dies

ROMEO

examine

In faith, I will. Let me ° this face.

75Mercutio’s kinsman, noble County Paris!

What said my man, when my betossèd soul

Did not attend him as we rode?  I think

He told me Paris should have married Juliet.

Said he not so?  Or did I dream it so?

80Or am I mad, hearing him talk of Juliet,

To think it was so?  O, give me thy hand,

One writ with me in sour misfortune’s book!

I’ll bury thee in a triumphant grave.

A grave? O, no. A lantern, slaughtered youth,

85For here lies Juliet, and her beauty makes

This vault a feasting presence full of light.

ROMEO arranges PARIS in the Capulet tomb

Death, lie thou there, by a dead man interred.

How oft when men are at the point of death

Have they felt merry, which their keepers call

90A lightning before death. O, how may I

Call this a lightning? O my love, my wife,

Death that has sucked the honey of thy breath

Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty.

banner

Thou art not conquered. Beauty’s ° yet

95Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks,

And death’s pale flag is not advanced there.

Tybalt, lie you there in that bloody sheet?

O, what more favor can I do to thee

in half

Than with that hand that cut thy youth °

cut off

100To ° his that was thine enemy?

Forgive me, cousin. Ah, dear Juliet,

Why are thou yet so fair? I will believe—

Shall I believe—that unsubstantial Death is amorous,[12]

And that the lean abhorrèd monster keeps

lover

105Thee here in dark to be his °?

For fear of that I still will stay with thee,

And never from this palace of dim night

Depart again, here, here will I remain

With worms that are thy chambermaids.  O, here

110Will I set up my everlasting rest,

And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars

From this world-wearied flesh.  Eyes, look your last.

Arms, take your last embrace.  And lips, O, you

The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss

115A dateless bargain to engrossing death.

He kisses JULIET

Come, bitter conduct.  Come, unsavory guide,

Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on

The dashing rocks thy seasick weary bark!

honest

Here’s to my love! O ° apothecary,

120Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss, I die.

ROMEO drinks the poison and dies

Enter FRIAR LAWRENCE with a lantern, crowbar and a spade

FRIAR LAWRENCE

Saint Francis[13] be my speed! How oft tonight

Have my old feet tripped on gravestones.—Who’s there?

BALTHASAR

Here’s one, a friend, and one that knows you well.

FRIAR LAWRENCE

Bliss be upon you!  Tell me, good my friend,

125What torch is yond that vainly lends his light

To grubs and eyeless skulls?  As I discern,

It burns in the Capulets’ monument.

BALTHASAR

It does so, holy sir,

And there’s my master, one that you love.

FRIAR LAWRENCE

130Who is it?

BALTHASAR

Romeo.

FRIAR LAWRENCE

How long hath he been there?

BALTHASAR

Full half an hour.

FRIAR LAWRENCE

Go with me to the vault.

BALTHASAR

135I dare not, sir.

My master knows not but I am gone hence,

And fearfully did menace me with death,

If I did stay to look on his intents.

FRIAR LAWRENCE

Stay then, I’ll go alone.  Fear comes upon me.

unfortunate

140O, much I fear some ill ° thing.

BALTHASAR

As I did sleep under this young tree here,

I dreamt my master and another fought

And that my master slew him.

Exit BALTHASAR

FRIAR LAWRENCE

Romeo!

145Alas! Alas!  What blood is this which stains

burial place

The stony entrance of this °?

What mean these masterless and gory swords

To lie discolored by this place of peace?

Romeo! O, pale. Who else? What, Paris too?

150And steeped in blood? Ah, what an unkind hour

Is guilty of this lamentable chance?

The lady stirs.

JULIET

O comfortable Friar, where is my lord?

I do remember well where I should be.

155And there I am. Where is my Romeo?

FRIAR LAWRENCE

I hear some noise.—Lady, come from that nest

Of death, contagion, and unnatural sleep.

A greater power than we can contradict

Hath thwarted our intents. Come, come away,

160Thy husband in thy bosom there lies dead,

And Paris too. Come, I’ll dispose of thee

Among a sisterhood of holy nuns.

Stay not to question, for the Watch is coming.

Come, go, good Juliet. I dare no longer stay.

Exit FRIAR LAWRENCE

JULIET

165Go get thee hence, for I will not away.

What’s here? A cup closed in my true love’s hand?

Poison I see has been his timeless end!

selfish person

O °, drank all and left no friendly drop

To help me after!  I will kiss thy lips.

170Happ’ly some poison yet doth hang on them,

To make me die with a restorative.

She kisses ROMEO

Thy lips are warm.

Enter PAGE and WATCH

WATCHMAN 1

Lead, boy! Which way?

JULIET

Yea, noise?  Then I’ll be brief.  O happy dagger,

175This is thy sheath. There rust, and let me die.

JULIET stabs herself and dies

PAGE

This is the place, there where the torch doth burn.

CHIEF WATCHMAN

The ground is bloody!  Search about the churchyard.

Go, some of you; whoe’er you find, arrest.

Pitiful sight!  Here lies the County slain,

180And Juliet bleeding, warm, and newly dead,

Who here hath lain these two days burièd.

Go tell the Prince. Run to the Capulets.

Raise up the Montagues. Some others search.

We see the ground whereon these woes do lie,

185But the true ground of all these piteous woes

decipher

We cannot without circumstance °.

Enter 2nd WATCHMAN escorting BALTHASAR

2nd WATCHMAN

Here’s Romeo’s man; we found him in the churchyard.

CHIEF WATCHMAN

Hold him in safety ‘til the Prince comes hither.

Enter 3rd WATCHMAN escorting FRIAR LAWRENCE

3rd WATCHMAN

Here is a Friar that trembles, sighs, and weeps.

190We took this mattock and spade from him

As he was coming from this churchyard’s side.

CHIEF WATCHMAN

A great suspicion! Stay the Friar too.

Enter PRINCE

PRINCE

What misadventure is so early up

That calls our person from our morning rest?

Enter CAPULET and LADY CAPULET

CAPULET

195What could it be that they so shrieked abroad?

LADY CAPULET

O, the people in the street cry “Romeo,”

Some “Juliet,” and some “Paris,” and all run

With open outcry toward our monument.

PRINCE

What fear is this which startles in our ears?

CHIEF WATCHMAN

200Sovereign, here lies the County Paris slain,

And Romeo dead, and Juliet, dead before,

Warm and new killed.

PRINCE

Search, seek, and know how this foul murder comes.

CHIEF WATCHMAN

Here is a Friar, and slaughtered Romeo’s man,

205With instruments upon them fit to open

These dead men’s tombs.

 

CAPULET

O heavens!  O wife, look how our daughter bleeds!

This dagger hath mista’en, for lo, his house[14]

Is empty on the back of Montague

210And is mis-sheathed in my daughter’s bosom.

LADY CAPULET

O me, this sight of death is as a bell

That warns my old age to a sepulcher.[15]

Enter MONTAGUE

PRINCE

Come, Montague, for thou art early up

To see thy son and heir, now early down.

MONTAGUE

215Alas, my liege, my wife is dead tonight!

Grief of my son’s exile hath stopped her breath.

What further woe conspires against mine age?

PRINCE

Look and thou shalt see.

MONTAGUE

rude

[To ROMEO] Oh, thou °! What manners is this

hurry

220To ° before thy father to a grave?

PRINCE

Seal up the mouth of outrage for a while,

‘Til we can clear these ambiguities

source

And know their °, their head, their true descent;

And then will I be general of your woes

225And lead you even to death.[16] Meantime, forebear,

And let mischance be slave to patience.[17]

Bring forth the parties of suspicion.

FRIAR LAWRENCE

I am the greatest, able to do least,

Yet most suspected as the time and place

230Doth make[18] against me of this direful murder.

And here I stand, both to impeach and purge,

Myself condemned and myself excused.

PRINCE

Then say at once what thou dost know in this!

FRIAR LAWRENCE

I will be brief, for my short date of breath

235Is not so long as is this tedious tale.

Romeo there, dead, was husband to that Juliet,

And she, there dead, that’s Romeo’s faithful wife.

I married them, and their stol’n marriage day

Was Tybalt’s doomsday, whose untimely death

240Banished the new-made bridegroom from this city,

For whom, and not for Tybalt, Juliet pined.

You, to remove that siege of grief from her

by force

Betrothed and would have married her °

To County Paris.  Then comes she to me,

245And with wild looks bid me devise some means

To rid her from this second marriage,

Or in my cell there would she kill herself.

Then gave I her, so tutored by my art,

A sleeping potion, which so took effect,

250As I intended, for it wrought on her

The form of death. Meantime I wrote to Romeo

That he should hither come as this dire night

To help to take her from the borrowed grave

Being the time the potion’s force should cease.

255But he which bore my letter, Friar John,

Was stayed by accident, and yesternight

Returned my letter back. Then all alone

At the prefixed hour of her waking

Came I to take her from her kindred’s vault,

260Meaning to keep her closely at my cell,

‘Til I conveniently could send to Romeo.

But when I came some minute ere the time

Of her awakening, here untimely lay

The noble Paris, and true Romeo, dead.

265She wakes, and I entreated her come forth

And bear this work of heaven[19] with patience.

But then a noise did scare me from the tomb,

And she, too desperate, would not go with me

But as it seems, did violence on herself.

270All this I know, and to the marriage her Nurse is privy.

And if aught in this miscarried by my fault,[20]

Let my old life be sacrificed some hour before his time

Unto the rigor of severest law.

PRINCE

We still have known thee for a holy man.

275Where’s Romeo’s man? What can he say to this?

BALTHASAR

I brought my master news of Juliet’s death,

by horseback

And then ° he came from Mantua,

To this same place, to this same monument.

This letter he early bid me give his father,

280And threatened me with death, going in the vault,

If I departed not, and left him there.

PRINCE

Give me the letter; I will look on it.

Where is the County’s page that raised the Watch?

Sirrah, what made your master[21] in this place?

PAGE

285He came with flowers to strew his lady’s grave,

And bid me stand aloof, and so I did.

open

Anon comes one with light to ° the tomb,

And, by and by, my master drew on him,

And then I ran away to call the Watch.

PRINCE

290[reading letter] This letter doth make good the Friar’s words.

Their course of love, the tidings of her death;

And here he writes that he did buy a poison

Of a poor apothecary, and there with it

Came to this vault to die and lie with Juliet.

295Where be these enemies? Capulet? Montague?

See what a scourge is laid upon your hate

That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love!

And I, for winking at your discords,[22] too

Have lost a brace of kinsmen. All are punished.

CAPULET

300O brother Montague, give me thy hand.

dowry

This is my daughter’s °, for no more

Can I demand.

MONTAGUE

But I can give thee more,

For I will raise her statue in pure gold

305That whiles Verona by that name is known,[23]

praised

There shall be no figure at such rate be °

As that of true and faithful Juliet.

CAPULET

As rich shall Romeo’s[24] by his lady’s lie,

Poor sacrifices for our enmity.

PRINCE

310A glooming peace this morning with it brings.

The sun for sorrow shall not show his head.

Go hence to have more talk of these sad things.

Some shall be pardoned, and some punishèd.

For never was a story of more woe

315Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

Exit all


  1. My bosom’s lord: my heart
  2. love itself possessed: i.e., love in real life
  3. post horses: horses for rent, which were kept at inns
  4. Let’s see for means: i.e., how can I do this?
  5. get thyself in flesh: meaning, “get some meat on your bones”
  6. “Here in…let us forth”: he was quarantined because the searchers suspected him of having the plague
  7. not nice but full of charge: not trivial, but full of important instructions
  8. iron crow: an iron rod used as a lever
  9. all along: flat
  10. The obsequies that I for thee will keep: i.e., the funeral rites that I will perform for you
  11. In dear employment: i.e., for important reasons
  12. unsubstantial Death is amorous: i.e., death is in love with Juliet
  13. Saint Francis: the patron saint of Italy
  14. his house: the dagger’s sheath
  15. That warns my old age to a sepulcher: i.e., makes her feel old
  16. And lead you even to death: i.e., be your leader in grief
  17. let mischance be slave to patience: i.e., let patience guide your misfortune
  18. make: give evidence
  19. this work of heaven: i.e., this tragedy
  20. if aught in this miscarried by my fault: i.e., if anything in this was my fault
  21. what made your master: i.e., what was he doing?
  22. winking at your discords: turning a blind eye
  23. whiles Verona by that name is known: while Veronia is called Verona
  24. Romeo’s: meaning Romeo’s statue

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.