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Romeo and Juliet

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ACT IV SCENE II Hall in Capulet's house. 
[ Enter CAPULET, LADY CAPULET, Nurse, and two Servingmen ]
CAPULETSo many guests invite as here are writ.
[Exit First Servant]
Sirrah, go hire me twenty cunning cooks.
Second ServantYou shall have none ill, sir; for I'll try if they
can lick their fingers.
CAPULETHow canst thou try them so?
Second ServantMarry, sir, 'tis an ill cook that cannot lick his
own fingers: therefore he that cannot lick his
fingers goes not with me.
CAPULETGo, be gone.
[Exit Second Servant]
We shall be much unfurnished for this time.10
What, is my daughter gone to Friar Laurence?
NurseAy, forsooth.
CAPULETWell, he may chance to do some good on her:
A peevish self-will'd harlotry it is.
NurseSee where she comes from shrift with merry look.
[Enter JULIET]
CAPULETHow now, my headstrong! where have you been gadding?
JULIETWhere I have learn'd me to repent the sin
Of disobedient opposition
To you and your behests, and am enjoin'd
By holy Laurence to fall prostrate here,
And beg your pardon: pardon, I beseech you!20
Henceforward I am ever ruled by you.
CAPULETSend for the county; go tell him of this:
I'll have this knot knit up to-morrow morning.
JULIETI met the youthful lord at Laurence' cell;
And gave him what becomed love I might,
Not step o'er the bounds of modesty.
CAPULETWhy, I am glad on't; this is well: stand up:
This is as't should be. Let me see the county;
Ay, marry, go, I say, and fetch him hither.
Now, afore God! this reverend holy friar,30
Our whole city is much bound to him.
JULIETNurse, will you go with me into my closet,
To help me sort such needful ornaments
As you think fit to furnish me to-morrow?
LADY CAPULETNo, not till Thursday; there is time enough.
CAPULETGo, nurse, go with her: we'll to church to-morrow.
[Exeunt JULIET and Nurse]
LADY CAPULETWe shall be short in our provision:
'Tis now near night.
CAPULETTush, I will stir about,
And all things shall be well, I warrant thee, wife:
Go thou to Juliet, help to deck up her;40
I'll not to bed to-night; let me alone;
I'll play the housewife for this once. What, ho!
They are all forth. Well, I will walk myself
To County Paris, to prepare him up
Against to-morrow: my heart is wondrous light,
Since this same wayward girl is so reclaim'd.

Next: Romeo and Juliet, Act 4, Scene 3


Explanatory Notes for Act 4, Scene 2

From Romeo and Juliet. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan.

2. twenty. "Twenty cooks for half-a-dozen guests! Either Capulet has altered his mind strangely, or Shakespeare forgot what he had just made him tell us [iii. 4. 27, 'Therefore we'll have some half-a-dozen friends And there an end']" (Ritson).

5. try them, test them, see what they are fit for.

6, 7. 'tis an ill ... fingers. For this adage Steevens quotes Puttenham's Arte of English Poesie, "As the old cocke crowes so doeth the chick: A bad cooke that cannot his owne fingers lick"; the licking of the fingers being for the purpose of testing the food he is cooking.

7, 8. goes not with me, will not be engaged by me.

10. unfurnish'd, unprepared; so used in H. V. i. 2. 148, of England not prepared for defence.

15. my headstrong, sc. one, my obstinate girl: gadding, used in a contemptuous way, going about from place to place in an aimless way, as if she was not likely to have any settled or useful purpose.

16. learn'd me, learned for myself, to my profit; see Abb. § 220.

21. I am ever ruled, I am and ever shall be obedient to your wishes.

25. becomed love, becoming, decorous, marks of love; the passive participle for the active.

26. Not stepping o'er, without exceeding, transgressing, the, etc.

30, 1. Now, afore ... him. A confusion of constructions between 'Now, afore God, all our city is much bound to this reverend holy friar,' and 'Now, afore God, this reverend holy friar has laid the whole city under great obligations': afore God, I say it in the presence of God, i.e. I call God to witness the truth of what I say. Cp. above, iii. 4. 34.

32. closet, private room, or cupboard, for keeping clothes.

33. To help me sort, to help me to choose out; for the omission of 'to' before sort, see Abb. § 349. The idiom is still in use among Scotch people.

34. to furnish me, to dress me, for me to wear; cp. M. A. iii. 1. 103, "Come, go in: I'll show thee some attires, and have thy counsel Which is the best to furnish me to-morrow"; said by Hero to her Nurse on the eve of her marriage.

37. We shall be ... provision, if the wedding takes place a day before that already fixed, our arrangements for its celebration will be incomplete; provision includes everything necessary for the feast; cp. Lear, ii. 4. 208, "I am now from home, and out of that provision Which shall be needful for your entertainment."

38. I will stir about, I will busy myself in hurrying on the preparations.

40. to deck up her, in 1. 45, below, we have "prepare him up" (quartos "prepare up him") and in iv. 4. 25, "trim her up"; and as there is no reason for emphasis here, Lettsom would transpose the adverb and pronoun.

41. let me alone, do not interfere with me, leave me to manage matters in my own way; said with a self-satisfied air of confidence in his powers to smooth away all difficulties.

42. I'll play ... once, for once and away I will take upon myself to see to household affairs.

43. They are all forth, all the servants are out of doors, none of them within call.

45. Against, see note on iii. 4. 32.

46. wayward, perverse; "originally a headless form of aweiward, adverb... Thus wayward is away-ward, i.e. turned away, perverse.... It is a parallel formation to fro-ward. It is now often made to mean bent on one's way" ... (Skeat, Ety. Dict.): reclaim'd, brought to her right senses; a metaphor from falconry, in which sport to 'reclaim' (i.e. to call back) a hawk was to bring it back to obedience in stooping to the lure; thus Cotgrave, "Reclame, a loud calling, whooting, whooping, to make a Hawk stoop unto the lure"; cp. Haml. ii. 1. 34, "A savageness in unreclaimed blood."


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) < >.


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