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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act III. Scene II.

Romeo and Juliet

The Same.CAPULET’S Orchard.


Jul.Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds,

Towards Phœbus’ lodging; such a waggoner

As Phæthon would whip you to the west,

And bring in cloudy night immediately.

Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night!

That runaway’s eyes may wink, and Romeo

Leap to these arms, untalk’d 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,

Play’d for a pair of stainless maidenhoods:

Hood my unmann’d 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!

For thou wilt lie upon the wings of night,

Whiter than new snow on a raven’s back.

Come, gentle night; come, loving, black-brow’d night,

Give me my Romeo: and, when he shall die,

Take him and cut him out in little stars,

And he will make the face of heaven so fine

That all the world will be in love with night,

And pay no worship to the garish sun.

O! I have bought the mansion of a love,

But not possess’d it, and, though I am sold,

Not yet enjoy’d. 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. O! here comes my nurse,

Enter Nurse with cords.

And she brings news; and every tongue that speaks

But Romeo’s name speaks heavenly eloquence.

Now nurse, what news? What hast thou there? the cords

That Romeo bade thee fetch?

Nurse.Ay, ay, the cords.[Throws them down.

Jul.Ah me! what news? why dost thou wring thy hands?

Nurse.Ah well-a-day! he’s dead, he’s dead, he’s dead!

We are undone, lady, we are undone!

Alack the day! he’s gone, he’s killed, he’s dead!

Jul.Can heaven be so envious?

Nurse.Romeo can,

Though heaven cannot. O! Romeo, Romeo;

Who ever would have thought it? Romeo!

Jul.What devil art thou that dost torment me thus?

This torture should be roar’d in dismal hell.

Hath Romeo slain himself? say thou but ‘I,’

And that bare vowel, ‘I,’ shall poison more

Than the death-darting eye of cockatrice:

I am not I, if there be such an ‘I;’

Or those eyes shut that make thee answer ‘I.’

If he be slain, say ‘I;’ or if not ‘no:’

Brief sounds determine of my weal or woe.

Nurse.I saw the wound, I saw it with mine eyes,

God save the mark! here on his manly breast:

A piteous corse, a bloody piteous corse;

Pale, pale as ashes, all bedaub’d in blood,

All in gore blood; I swounded at the sight.

Jul.O break, my heart!—poor bankrupt, break at once!

To prison, eyes, ne’er look on liberty!

Vile earth, to earth resign; end motion here;

And thou and Romeo press one heavy bier!

Nurse.O Tybalt, Tybalt! the best friend I had:

O courteous Tybalt! honest gentleman!

That ever I should live to see thee dead!

Jul.What storm is this that blows so contrary?

Is Romeo slaughter’d, and is Tybalt dead?

My dearest cousin, and my dearer lord?

Then, dreadful trumpet, sound the general doom!

For who is living if those two are gone?

Nurse.Tybalt is gone, and Romeo banished;

Romeo, that kill’d him, he is banished.

Jul.O God! did Romeo’s hand shed Tybalt’s blood?

Nurse.It did, it did; alas the day! it did.

Jul.O serpent heart, hid with a flowering face!

Did ever dragon keep so fair a cave?

Beautiful tyrant! fiond angelical!

Dove-feather’d raven! wolvish-ravening lamb!

Despised substance of divinest show!

Just opposite to what thou justly seem’st;

A damned saint, an honourable villain!

O, nature! what hadst thou to do in hell

When thou didst bower the spirit of a fiend

In mortal paradise of such sweet flesh?

Was ever book containing such vile matter

So fairly bound? O! that deceit should dwell

In such a gorgeous palace.

Nurse.There’s no trust,

No faith, no honesty in men; all naught,

All perjur’d, all dissemblers, all forsworn.

Ah! where’s my man? give me some aqua vitœ:

These griefs, these woes, these sorrows make me old.

Shame come to Romeo!

Jul.Blister’d be thy tongue

For such a wish! he was not born to shame:

Upon his brow shame is asham’d to sit;

For ’tis a throne where honour may be crown’d

Sole monarch of the universal earth.

O! what a beast was I to chide at him.

Nurse.Will you speak well of him that kill’d your cousin?

Jul.Shall I speak ill of him that is my husband?

Ah! poor my lord, what tongue shall smooth thy name,

When I, thy three-hours wife, have mangled it?

But, wherefore, villain, didst thou kill my cousin?

That villain cousin would have kill’d my husband:

Back, foolish tears, back to your native spring;

Your tributary drops belong to woe,

Which you, mistaking, offer up to joy.

My husband lives, that Tybalt would have slain;

And Tybalt’s dead, that would have slain my husband:

All this is comfort; wherefore weep I then?

Some word there was, worser than Tybalt’s death,

That murder’d me: I would forget it fain;

But O! it presses to my memory,

Like damned guilty deeds to sinners’ minds.

‘Tybalt is dead, and Romeo banished!’

That ‘banished,’ that one word ‘banished,’

Hath slain ten thousand Tybalts. Tybalt’s death

Was woe enough, if it had ended there:

Or, if sour woe delights in fellowship,

And needly will be rank’d with other griefs,

Why follow’d not, when she said ‘Tybalt’s dead,’

Thy father, or thy mother, nay, or both,

Which modern lamentation might have mov’d?

But with a rearward following Tybalt’s death,

‘Romeo is banished!’ to speak that word

Is father, mother, Tybalt, Romeo, Juliet,

All slain, all dead: ‘Romeo is banished!’

There is no end, no limit, measure, bound

In that word’s death; no words can that woe sound.—

Where is my father and my mother, nurse?

Nurse.Weeping and wailing over Tybalt’s corse:

Will you go to them? I will bring you thither.

Jul.Wash they his wounds with tears: mine shall be spent,

When theirs are dry, for Romeo’s banishment.

Take up those cords. Poor ropes, you are beguil’d,

Both you and I, for Romeo is exil’d:

He made you for a highway to my bed,

But I, a maid, die maiden-widowed.

Come, cords; come, nurse; I’ll to my wedding bed;

And death, not Romeo, take my maidenhead!

Nurse.Hie to your chamber; I’ll find Romeo

To comfort you: I wot well where he is.

Hark ye, your Romeo will be here to-night:

I’ll to him; he is hid at Laurence’ cell.

Jul.O! find him; give this ring to my true knight,

And bid him come to take his last farewell.[Exeunt.