From Romeo and Juliet. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan.
*Line numbers have been adjusted.
1. fearful, apparently combining the sense of 'full of fear' and
of 'terrible' in consequence of the awful nature of his calamities.
4. doom, sentence.
5, 6. What sorrow ... not? With what fresh sorrow am I to
8. tidings, news, information; used by Shakespeare both as a
singular and a plural noun; literally things that happen, and then
information about such things.
9. dooms-day, death; literally the day of death; cp. R. III. V. 1. 12, "Why, then, All-Souls' day is my body's dooms-day."
10. vanished. The nearest approach in Shakespeare to the word
used in this sense is in Lucr. 1041, "more vent for passage of her
breath; Which, thronging through her lips, so vanisheth As smoke
from Aetna." Heath conjectured issued, and it seems not impossible that the word was caught by the copyist from "banishment"
in the line below.
16. Be patient ... wide, cp. R. II. i. 3. 275-93.
17. Verona walls. Cp. J. C. i. 1. 63, "Tiber banks"; Oth.
i. 1. 151, "Cyprus wars," and for other instances of substantives
converted into adjectives, see Abb. § 22.
19. Hence-banished, to be hence banished.
21. mis-term'd, called by too favourable a name: for banished
the first quarto gives banishment, which many editors adopt. For
a similar insistence on a single word as in the case of "banished"
here, cp. M. V. v. 1. 197-200, K. J. iii. 1. 12-5; R. III. i. 3. 292-4.
22. Thou cutt'st ... axe, i.e. you merely employ an euphemism.
23. And smilest ... me, and look cheerfully upon that which is
death to me.
25. calls death, calls a capital one.
26. rush'd aside, violently thrust aside; the word is common
in modern parlance in the phrase to 'rush' a measure through a
31. every unworthy thing, every insignificant creature that
has no claim to such happiness.
33. more validity, a more valid title to honour, a greater
privilege; in A. W. v. 3. 192, "Whose ... rich validity Did lack
parallel," the word is used in the simpler sense of value.
34. More honourable state, a higher position: more courtship, not, it seems to me, 'more courtesy,' as is generally interpreted,
but 'a better opportunity for wooing'; in M. V. ii. 8. 44, the
word means 'courting,' "employ your chiefest thoughts To
courtship and such fair ostents of love"; in A. Y. L. iii. 2. 364,
the senses of courtesy, civility, and courting are blended together,
"an old religious uncle of mine ... who was in his youth an
inland man; one that knew courtship well, for there he fell in
love"; and in this blended sense Schmidt takes the word here.
36. the white wonder ... hand, that hand of Juliet's so wondrously fair; cp. M. N. D. iii. 2. 144, "O let me kiss That
princess of pure white," sc. her hand.
38. vestal, see note on ii. 2. 8: for who, personifying an
irrational antecedent; see Abb. § 264.
39. their own kisses, sc. when they meet each other.
40. 3. But Romeo ... death. The old copies vary considerably in
these lines, and transpositions and omissions have been employed
by the editors to get rid of the repetition involved; I follow the
text and order of lines given by Grant White, Furness, and
45. No sudden ... mean, no sudden means of death, however
poor, ignoble, that means might be. Shakespeare uses both the
singular and the plural form of the word mean and the plural
form as a singular noun, as so commonly nowadays.
48. Howlings attend it, it is accompanied by howls and groans;
cp. iii. 2. 44.
49. a divine, a man of priestly office.
52. fond, foolish; see note on ii. 2. 98.
55. Adversity's sweet milk, the food that sweetens adversity;
cp. A. Y. L. ii. 1. 12, et seqq.
57. Hang up philosophy! away with philosophy! throw it
aside for a more convenient season.
59. Displant a town, transplant it to the scene of my exile,
and so bring Juliet with it.
60. prevails not, is of no use.
62. How should they, how is it to be expected that they should
have? when that, for the conjunctional affix, see Abb. § 287.
63. Let me ... estate, let me argue with you as to the position
in which you are placed by being exiled. So, W. T. iv. 4. 411,
"can he speak? hear? Know man from man? dispute his own
estate?" i.e. reason of his own affairs, but perhaps with the added
sense of vindicating his right to what he possesses.
70. Taking ... grave, lying my full length on the ground, as I
soon shall do in my grave. Cp. A. Y. L. ii. 6. 2, "Here lie I
down and measure out my grave"; Lear, i. 4. 100, "If you will
measure your lubber's length again, tarry," i.e. if you wish to be
knocked down again.
72. Mist-like ... eyes, cp. above, i. 1. 176.
74. Who's there? said, like "Stay-a-while," "By-and-by," "I come, I come," in the following lines, to the person knocking,
whom the Friar fancies to be someone come to arrest Romeo.
76. study, private reading-room.
77. simpleness, folly.
79. errand, business on which I come, message that I bring;
the ulterior etymology of the word is disputed, though we get
the word from A. S. arende, a message, business.
85, 6. O woful ... predicament. The old copies all give these
words to the Nurse, the present arrangement being Farmer's.
Delius would leave them with the Nurse, on the ground that
throughout this and the following scenes the readiness of the
Friar to act is in contrast with the vain wailings of the Nurse
and Romeo. But such language seems much out of place in the
87. Blubbering, weeping copiously, effusively, the radical sense
being that of bubbling up; generally used derisively. The sense
of weeping till the face swells is due to the influence of the
adjective blubber = swollen.
90. so deep an O, such cries of affliction, such depths of despair; possibly, from the words fall into, with the idea of a deep
92. Well, ... all, well, we must all die some day, and then at all
events our troubles will be at an end.
94. an old murderer, a confirmed murderer; but said for the
sake of the antithesis with the childhood of our joy in the next
98. My conceal'd lady, "my lady, whose being so, together
with our marriage which made her so, is concealed from the
world " (Heath): cancell'd, rendered void, annulled; originally to
obliterate by drawing lines over a writing in the form of lattice-
work, from Lat. cancellus, a grating.
103. deadly level of a gun, gun levelled with deadly aim.
106, 7. In what part ... lodge, cp. Cymb. ii. 4. 19, 20, "Could I
find out The woman's part in me!", where the action is implied;
for anatomy, = body, cp. T. N. iii. 2. 67, "I'll eat the rest of
the anatomy," where, as here, the expression is a scornful one.
108. mansion. Cp. above, iii. 2. 26, where Juliet uses with such
pride a term that in Romeo's mouth is here so disdainful.
109. cries out, proclaims.
112. Unseemly ... man, whereby you, who in form are a man,
are transformed into an effeminate woman, a transformation that
ill becomes you.
113. Or ill-beseeming ... both, or, rather I should call you, a
hideous animal, partaking the form of a man, and the effeminate
nature of a woman; with the idea in seeming of specious
114. amazed, astounded; literally bewildered: order, the
religious society of which he was a member, the Franciscan
Order of monks. See note on v. 2. 1.
11-5. temper'd, framed, conditioned.
116. Hast thou ... myself? will you after having committed one
rash crime, now commit another equally rash?
118. damned hate, an act of hatred against yourself for which
you will consign your soul to perdition; though perhaps damned
means no more than accursed, execrable.
119. Why rail'st ... earth? Probably, as Malone remarks,
Shakespeare is here following Brooke's Romeus and Juliet, in
which such railing is found, though Ulrici suggests that the
railing may be supposed to have taken place before the scene
120, 1. all three ... once, all have a share in you, all go to the
making up of you: lose, hastily throw away.
122. wit, good sense.
123. Which, though you, seeing that you.
126. is but ... wax, is no better than a form moulded out of wax.
127. Digressing from, if you abandon.
128. Thy dear love ... perjury, you make a hollow mockery of
the oaths you have so solemnly taken (in marriage).
129. that love, that loved one: cherish. A reference to the
Marriage Service in which the husband swears that he takes his
wife "for better, for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and
in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part."
130, 1. Thy wit, ... both, that good sense which, if properly
used, so well becomes your outwardly comely form and the
passion with which your heart is inspired, being distorted by the
way in which you employ it towards yourself and your heart's
132. Like powder ... flask. "The ancient English soldiers,
using match-locks instead of locks with fints, were obliged to
carry a lighted match hanging at their belts, very near to the
wooden flask in which they kept their powder" (Steevens).
134. dismember'd, utterly destroyed; in a literal sense, blown
to pieces: thine own defence, that which should be your protection.
135. rouse thee, shake off this morbid despondency.
136. For whose ... dead, for desire of whom you were lately at
the point of death; see his passionate language to the Friar, ii. 3,
or perhaps the reference may be to words supposed to be spoken
while Romeo was in hiding at the Friar's cell.
137. There, in that matter; would, wished, sought, to.
141. A pack ... back, instead of a burden to be wearily borne,
a shower of blessings descends upon you; so T. G. iii. 1. 20, "a
pack of woes."
143. misbehaved, ill-mannered; not gratified at being made
love to by happiness in all its bright attire, but disdainful and
144. pout'st upon, make a wry face at; cp. Cor. v. i. 52, "The
veins unfill'd, our blood is cold, and then We pout upon the
146. decreed, determined upon between you; cp. M. A. i. 3.
35, "I have decraed not to sing in my cage."
147. Ascend, sc. by the rope ladder: hence, be off at once!
148. But look ... not, take care not to delay: the watch, the
night police who were posted at a certain hour.
149. pass to Mantua, make your way out of the city to
150. a time, a suitable opportunity.
151. To blaze, to make public, proclaim; originally to blow,
as with a trumpet.
157. Which heavy ... unto, to which they will be all the more
disposed on account of their sorrow for Tybalt.
160. what learning is! what a fine thing it is to be learned!
The omission of the article is frequent in Shakespeare in exclamations of astonishment, etc.; so J. C. i. 3. 42, "Cassius,
what night is this?", i.e. what a terrible night this is; Cymb. iv.
4. 35, "what thing it is that I never Did see man die!", i.e.
what a disgrace it is that I never took part in battle.
165. is revived by this, sc. by the proof she had given, in
sending the ring, of her continued love in spite of knowing that
he had slain Tybalt.
166. here stands ... state, this is the position in which you
stand, what you must do. Johnson explains, "The whole of
your fortune depends on this."
170. signify, make known by letter or messenger.
173. past joy, beyond all other joy.
174. so brief, so briefly, with such few words of farewell.
How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan, 1916. Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/romeo_3_3.html >.