Romeo and Juliet
Please see the bottom of the page for explanatory notes.
|ACT V SCENE III ||A churchyard; in it a tomb belonging to the Capulets.|| |
|[Enter PARIS, and his Page bearing flowers and a torch]|
|PARIS||Give me thy torch, boy: hence, and stand aloof:|
|Yet put it out, for I would not be seen.|
|Under yond yew-trees lay thee all along,|
|Holding thine ear close to the hollow ground;|
|So 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 hear'st something approach.|
|Give me those flowers. Do as I bid thee, go.|
|PAGE||[Aside] I am almost afraid to stand alone ||10|
|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,|
|Or, wanting that, with tears distill'd by moans:|
|The obsequies that I for thee will keep|
|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 to-night,|
|To cross my obsequies and true love's rite?||20|
|What with a torch! muffle me, night, awhile.|
Enter ROMEO and BALTHASAR, with a torch,
mattock, etc. ]|
|ROMEO||Give me that mattock and the wrenching iron.|
|Hold, take this letter; early in the morning|
|See thou deliver it to my lord and father.|
|Give me the light: upon thy life, I charge thee,|
|Whate'er thou hear'st 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;|
|But chiefly to take thence from her dead finger||30|
|A precious ring, a ring that I must use|
|In dear employment: therefore hence, be gone:|
|But if thou, jealous, dost return to pry|
|In what I further shall intend to do,|
|By 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||I will be gone, sir, and not trouble you.||40|
|ROMEO||So shalt thou show me friendship. Take thou that:|
|Live, and be prosperous: and farewell, good fellow.|
|BALTHASAR||[Aside] For all this same, I'll hide me hereabout:
|His looks I fear, and his intents I doubt.|
|ROMEO||Thou detestable maw, thou womb of death,|
|Gorged with the dearest morsel of the earth,|
|Thus I enforce thy rotten jaws to open,|
|And, in despite, I'll cram thee with more food!|
|[Opens the tomb]|
|PARIS||This is that banish'd haughty Montague,|
|That murder'd my love's cousin, with which grief,||50|
|It is supposed, the fair creature died;|
|And here is come to do some villanous shame|
|To the dead bodies: I will apprehend him.||[Comes forward]
|Stop thy unhallow'd toil, vile Montague!|
|Can 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 came I hither.|
|Good gentle youth, tempt not a desperate man;|
|Fly hence, and leave me: think upon these gone;||60|
|Let them affright thee. I beseech thee, youth,|
|Put not another sin upon my head,|
|By urging me to fury: O, be gone!|
|By heaven, I love thee better than myself;|
|For I come hither arm'd against myself:|
|Stay not, be gone; live, and hereafter say,|
|A madman's mercy bade thee run away.|
|PARIS||I do defy thy conjurations,|
|And apprehend thee for a felon here.|
|ROMEO||Wilt thou provoke me? then have at thee, boy!||70|
|PAGE||O Lord, they fight! I will go call the watch.|
|PARIS||O, I am slain!||[Falls]
|If thou be merciful,|
|Open the tomb, lay me with Juliet.|
|ROMEO||In faith, I will. Let me peruse this face.|
|Mercutio's kinsman, noble County Paris!|
|What said my man, when my betossed 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?||80|
|Or 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, slaughter'd youth,|
|For here lies Juliet, and her beauty makes|
|This vault a feasting presence full of light.|
|Death, lie thou there, by a dead man interr'd.||[Laying PARIS in the tomb]
|How oft when men are at the point of death|
|Have they been merry! which their keepers call|
|A lightning before death: O, how may I||90|
|Call this a lightning? O my love! my wife!|
|Death, that hath suck'd the honey of thy breath,|
|Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty:|
|Thou art not conquer'd; beauty's ensign yet|
|Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks,|
|And death's pale flag is not advanced there.|
|Tybalt, liest thou there in thy bloody sheet?|
|O, what more favour can I do to thee,|
|Than with that hand that cut thy youth in twain|
|To sunder his that was thine enemy?||100|
|Forgive me, cousin! Ah, dear Juliet,|
|Why art thou yet so fair? shall I believe|
|That unsubstantial death is amorous,|
|And that the lean abhorred monster keeps|
|Thee here in dark to be his paramour?|
|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 chamber-maids; O, here|
|Will I set up my everlasting rest,||110|
|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|
|A dateless bargain to engrossing death!|
|Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavoury guide!|
|Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on|
|The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary bark!|
|Here's to my love!||[Drinks]
|O true apothecary!|
|Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.||120|
Enter, at the other end of the churchyard, FRIAR
LAURENCE, with a lantern, crow, and spade
|FRIAR LAURENCE||Saint Francis be my speed! how oft to-night|
|Have my old feet stumbled at graves! Who's there?|
|BALTHASAR||Here's one, a friend, and one that knows you well.|
|FRIAR LAURENCE||Bliss be upon you! Tell me, good my friend,|
|What torch is yond, that vainly lends his light|
|To grubs and eyeless skulls? as I discern,|
|It burneth in the Capel's monument.|
|BALTHASAR||It doth so, holy sir; and there's my master,|
|One that you love.|
|FRIAR LAURENCE||Who is it?|
|FRIAR LAURENCE||How long hath he been there?|
|BALTHASAR||Full half an hour.||130|
|FRIAR LAURENCE||Go with me to the vault.|
|BALTHASAR||I 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 LAURENCE||Stay, then; I'll go alone. Fear comes upon me:|
|O, much I fear some ill unlucky thing.|
|BALTHASAR||As I did sleep under this yew-tree here,|
|I dreamt my master and another fought,|
|And that my master slew him.|
|Alack, alack, what blood is this, which stains||140|
|The stony entrance of this sepulchre?|
|What mean these masterless and gory swords|
|To lie discolour'd by this place of peace?||[Enters the tomb]
|Romeo! O, pale! Who else? what, Paris too?|
|And steep'd 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,|
|And there I am. Where is my Romeo?||150|
|FRIAR LAURENCE||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.|
|Thy 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,||[Noise again]
|I dare no longer stay.|
|JULIET||Go, get thee hence, for I will not away.||[Exit FRIAR LAURENCE]
|What's here? a cup, closed in my true love's hand?|
|Poison, I see, hath been his timeless end:|
|O churl! drunk all, and left no friendly drop|
|To help me after? I will kiss thy lips;|
|Haply some poison yet doth hang on them,|
|To make die with a restorative.||[Kisses him]
|Thy lips are warm.|
|First Watchman||[Within] Lead, boy: which way?
|JULIET||Yea, noise? then I'll be brief. O happy dagger!||[Snatching ROMEO's dagger]
|This is thy sheath;||[Stabs herself]
|there rust, and let me die.|
|[Falls on ROMEO's body, and dies]|
|[Enter Watch, with the Page of PARIS]|
|PAGE||This is the place; there, where the torch doth burn.|
|First Watchman||The ground is bloody; search about the churchyard:||171|
|Go, some of you, whoe'er you find attach.|
|Pitiful sight! here lies the county slain,|
|And Juliet bleeding, warm, and newly dead,|
|Who here hath lain these two days buried.|
|Go, tell the prince: run to the Capulets:|
|Raise up the Montagues: some others search:|
|We see the ground whereon these woes do lie;|
|But the true ground of all these piteous woes|
|We cannot without circumstance descry.||180|
|[Re-enter some of the Watch, with BALTHASAR]|
|Second Watchman||Here's Romeo's man; we found him in the churchyard.|
|First Watchman||Hold him in safety, till the prince come hither.|
|[Re-enter others of the Watch, with FRIAR LAURENCE]|
|Third Watchman||Here is a friar, that trembles, sighs and weeps:|
|We took this mattock and this spade from him,|
|As he was coming from this churchyard side.|
|First Watchman||A great suspicion: stay the friar too.|
|[Enter the PRINCE and Attendants]|
|PRINCE||What misadventure is so early up,|
|That calls our person from our morning's rest?|
|[Enter CAPULET, LADY CAPULET, and others]|
|CAPULET||What should it be, that they so shriek abroad?|
|LADY CAPULET||The people in the street cry Romeo,||190|
|Some Juliet, and some Paris; and all run,|
|With open outcry toward our monument.|
|PRINCE||What fear is this which startles in our ears?|
|First Watchman||Sovereign, here lies the County Paris slain;|
|And Romeo dead; and Juliet, dead before,|
|Warm and new kill'd.|
|PRINCE||Search, seek, and know how this foul murder comes.|
|First Watchman||Here is a friar, and slaughter'd Romeo's man;||200|
|With 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|
|Is empty on the back of Montague,--|
|And it 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 sepulchre.|
|[Enter MONTAGUE and others]|
|PRINCE||Come, Montague; for thou art early up,|
|To see thy son and heir more early down.|
|MONTAGUE||Alas, my liege, my wife is dead to-night;|
|Grief of my son's exile hath stopp'd her breath:||210|
|What further woe conspires against mine age?|
|PRINCE||Look, and thou shalt see.|
|MONTAGUE||O thou untaught! what manners is in this?|
|To press before thy father to a grave?|
|PRINCE||Seal up the mouth of outrage for a while,|
|Till we can clear these ambiguities,|
|And know their spring, their head, their|
|And then will I be general of your woes,|
|And lead you even to death: meantime forbear,|
|And let mischance be slave to patience.||220|
|Bring forth the parties of suspicion.|
|FRIAR LAURENCE||I am the greatest, able to do least,|
|Yet most suspected, as the time and place|
|Doth make 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 LAURENCE||I will be brief, for my short date of breath|
|Is not so long as is a tedious tale.|
|Romeo, there dead, was husband to that Juliet;||230|
|And she, there dead, that Romeo's faithful wife:|
|I married them; and their stol'n marriage-day|
|Was Tybalt's dooms-day, whose untimely death|
|Banish'd the new-made bridegroom from the city,|
|For whom, and not for Tybalt, Juliet pined.|
|You, to remove that siege of grief from her,|
|Betroth'd and would have married her perforce|
|To County Paris: then comes she to me,|
|And, with wild looks, bid me devise some mean|
|To rid her from this second marriage,||240|
|Or in my cell there would she kill herself.|
|Then gave I her, so tutor'd by my art,|
|A sleeping potion; which so took effect|
|As I intended, for it wrought on her|
|The form of death: meantime I writ to Romeo,|
|That he should hither come as this dire night,|
|To help to take her from her borrow'd grave,|
|Being the time the potion's force should cease.|
|But he which bore my letter, Friar John,|
|Was stay'd by accident, and yesternight||250|
|Return'd my letter back. Then all alone|
|At the prefixed hour of her waking,|
|Came I to take her from her kindred's vault;|
|Meaning to keep her closely at my cell,|
|Till I conveniently could send to Romeo:|
|But when I came, some minute ere the time|
|Of her awaking, here untimely lay|
|The noble Paris and true Romeo dead.|
|She wakes; and I entreated her come forth,|
|And bear this work of heaven with patience:||260|
|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.|
|All this I know; and to the marriage|
|Her nurse is privy: and, if aught in this|
|Miscarried by my fault, let my old life|
|Be sacrificed, some hour before his time,|
|Unto the rigour of severest law.|
|PRINCE||We still have known thee for a holy man.|
|Where's Romeo's man? what can he say in this?||270|
|BALTHASAR||I brought my master news of Juliet's death;|
|And then in post he came from Mantua|
|To this same place, to this same monument.|
|This letter he early bid me give his father,|
|And threatened me with death, going in the vault,|
|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 in this place?||279|
|PAGE||He came with flowers to strew his lady's grave;|
|And bid me stand aloof, and so I did:|
|Anon comes one with light to ope the tomb;|
|And by and by my master drew on him;|
|And then I ran away to call the watch.|
|PRINCE||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 'pothecary, and therewithal|
|Came to this vault to die, and lie with Juliet.|
|Where be these enemies? Capulet! Montague!||290|
|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 too|
|Have lost a brace of kinsmen: all are punish'd.|
|CAPULET||O brother Montague, give me thy hand:|
|This is my daughter's jointure, for no more|
|Can I demand.|
|MONTAGUE||But I can give thee more:|
|For I will raise her statue in pure gold;|
|That while Verona by that name is known,|
|There shall no figure at such rate be set||300|
|As that of true and faithful Juliet.|
|CAPULET||As rich shall Romeo's by his lady's lie;|
|Poor sacrifices of our enmity!|
|PRINCE||A glooming peace this morning with it brings;|
|The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head:|
|Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things;|
|Some shall be pardon'd, and some punished:|
|For never was a story of more woe|
|Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.|
Back to Romeo and Juliet, Scenes
Explanatory Notes for Act 5, Scene 3
From Romeo and Juliet. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan.
Stage Direction. A churchyard. "It is clear that Shakespeare, or some writer whom he followed, had in mind the
churchyard of Saint Mary the Old in Verona, and the monument of
the Scaligers which stood in it. We have nothing in England
which corresponds to this scene, and no monument or vault in
which such scenes as this could be exhibited" ... (Hunter).
1. aloof, away, at a distance; "from a, prep. + loof, luff,
weather-gage, windward direction; perhaps immediately from
Du. loef, in te loef, to the windward"... (Murray, Eng. Dict.).
2. Yet, contradicting his first order to give him the torch.
3. lay ... along, lie down at full length.
4. Holding ... ground, in which position the tread of any one
approaching would be more easily heard; hollow, and therefore
more readily reverberating to any sound; so T. S., Ind. ii. 48,
"And fetch shrill echoes from the hollow earth."
6. Being, it being.
7. But thou ... it, without your hearing it.
10. to stand alone, to be alone; there being no reference to his
standing or his lying down as directed by Paris.
13. canopy, covering...: is dust and stones, i.e. not a fitting canopy for one like
14. Which, sc. the "bridal bed": sweet water, scented, perfumed, water.
15. distill'd by moans, forced from the eyes by grief.
16. obsequies, funeral rites; Lat. obsequiae, funeral rites,
literally 'following close upon': keep, observe, pay.
9. cursed, because interrupting him.
20. To cross my obsequies, to hinder the obsequies I am paying.
21. Muffle, wrap me in darkness; Steevens compares the word,
used in a neuter sense, Comus, 330, "Unmuffle, ye faint stars";
and Dyce points out that a 'muffler' "is a sort of wrapper worn
by women, which generally covered the mouth and chin, but
sometimes almost the whole face." In M. W. iv. 2. 73, one is
produced by Mrs. Ford to disguise Falstaff in.
22. mattock, a kind of pick-axe for tearing up the earth.
26. all aloof, quite away; so that he might not witness what
28. Why I descend, my reason for descending.
32. In dear employment, in a matter of the greatest importance; "'dear' is used of whatever touches us nearly either
in love or hate, joy or sorrow" (Cl. Pr. Edd. on Haml. i. 2. 182,
"my dearest foe").
33. jealous, suspicious; cp. Lear, i. 4. 75, "which I have
rather blamed as mine own jealous curiosity."
34. shall intend to do, may have an intention of doing; shall
indicating some further intention he certainly will have.
35. joint by joint, piecemeal, each joint from the other.
36. hungry, as though the churchyard was for ever longing for
fresh corpses, never satisfied however many might be buried in it.
37. The time ... savage-wild, the thoughts in my mind are wild
even to savageness and this midnight hour well accords with
39. empty, starving.
41. that, giving him money.
43. For all this same, in spite of all these injunctions and
44. His looks I fear, not as regards his own personal safety,
but as regards Romeo's intentions against himself.
45. Detestable. Accented on the first syllable, as in iv. 5. 56,
K. J. iii. 4. 29.
48. And, in despite ... food, out of hatred to you, not to satisfy
your gluttonous voracity, I will cram you with my own body also.
50. with which grief, owing to which grief.
52. is come, the omission of the nominative is most common
with 'has,' 'is,' 'was'; see Abb. § 400.
55. Can vengeance ... death? is it possible that you are not
satisfied with the vengeance you have already taken in killing
Tybalt? a particular, not a general, question.
56. Condemned, not merely condemned by law, but accursed
for his intentions.
58. therefore, for that very purpose.
59. Good gentle youth. "The gentleness of Romeo was shown
before as softened by love, and now it is doubled by love and
sorrow, and awe of the place where he is" (Coleridge).
60. gone, dead; a euphemism.
61. Let them affright thee, let their deaths deter you from
such a rash act as that of seizing a man so desperate as myself.
62. another sin, i.e. of killing him.
67. A madman's ... away, a madman in a lucid interval of mercy
bade you run away, and thus you escaped to tell the tale.
68. conjurations, earnest appeals, entreaties; cp. R. II. iii. 2.
23, H. V. i. 2. 29; the verb in this sense is common enough.
70. have at thee, see note on i. 1. 59.
71. the watch, the police, as we should now say.
74. peruse, examine closely; originally meaning to use
thoroughly or carefully.
76. betossed, storm-tossed, violently agitated.
77. attend him, pay heed to his words.
78. should have, was to have; see Abb. § 325.
81. To think, in thinking; the infinitive used indefinitely.
82. One writ ... book, one, like myself, entered as a debtor in
misfortune's account-book; or perhaps only enrolled in the list of
83. triumphant, glorious, splendid; cp. A. C. ii. 2. 189, "a
most triumphant lady."
84. a lantern. "A spacious round or octagonal turret full of
windows, by means of which cathedrals, and sometimes halls, are
illuminated. See the beautiful lantern at Ely Minster" (Steevens).
86. a feasting presence, a stateroom in all the splendour of a
feast; cp. R. II. i. 3. 289, "Suppose ... The grave whereon thou
tread'st the presence strewed"; H. VIII. iii. 1. 17, "the two
great cardinals Wait in the presence."
87. Death, the abstract for the concrete; Lettsom conjectures
Dead, and Dyce so reads: a dead man, sc. himself, whom he now
regards as nothing better than dead.
89. keepers, attendants.
90. A lightning before death. "A proverbial phrase, partly
deduced from observation of some extraordinary effort of nature,
often made in sick persons just before death; and partly from a
superstitious notion of an ominous and preternatural mirth,
supposed to come on at that period, without any ostensible
reason." So in Addison's pathetic description of Sir Roger's
death, Spectator No. 115, "Indeed we were once in great hope
of his recovery, upon a kind message that was sent him from the
widow lady whom he had made love to the forty last years of his
life; but this only proved a lightning before death."
90-2. How may I ... Death, but my merry mood (sc. as exhibited
in 1. 89) has none of the brightness which lights up the minds of
dying men: the honey ... breath, your honeyed breath; cp.
Haml. iii. 1. 164, "That suck'd the honey of his music vows."
93. no power ... upon, no power to deface.
94, 5. beauty's ensign ... cheeks, beauty's ensign, the roseate
flush of youth and health, still flies proudly in your cheeks; a
metaphor from a flag flying bravely on the walls of a fortress
that defies its besiegers.
96. is not advanced there, has not yet been able to displace the
ensign of your beauty; advanced, a technical term for the waving
of standards, as in M. W. iii. 4. 85, "I must advance the colours
of my love. And not retire;" K. J. ii. 1. 207, "These flags of
France, that are advanced here Before the eye and prospect of
97. sheet, winding-sheet, in which it is customary to wrap a
corpse, as in iii. H. VI. i. 1. 129, ii. 5. 114.
101. Forgive me, cousin. "Inexpressibly beautiful and moving
is this gentleness of Romeo's in his death hour. His yearning to
be at peace with his foe, his beseeching pardon of him and calling
him kinsman in token of final atonement, his forbearance and
even magnanimity towards Paris, his words of closing consideration and kindly farewell to his faithful Balthasar, all combine to
crown Romeo as the prince of youthful gentlemen and lovers" (Clarke).
103. unsubstantial, immaterial, incorporeal; cp. Lear, iv. 1. 7,
"Thou unsubstantial air that I embrace."
107. this palace of dim night, the darkness of the tomb.
109. thy chamber-maids, your attendants; in Hamlet the
imagery regarding worms is of a very different type; see iv. 2.
20 et seqq.
110. Will I set up ... rest, I am determined to find my last long
home. The origin of the phrase 'to set up one's rest' has been
much debated. According to Steevens, it is taken from the
manner of firing the harquebuses, which was so heavy that a
supporter, called a rest, was fixed in the ground before the piece
was levelled to take aim. Others derive it from a term used in
games at cards, more particularly primero, in which the rest was
the stake laid down, and 'to set up one's rest' was to announce
the highest stake that the player was prepared to make on the
cards he held in his hand. Probably the two ideas were combined to express a settled resolution.
111, 2. And shake ... flesh, and, weary as I am of life, no longer
submit to be driven hither and thither as my ill-starred fate may
115. A dateless ... death, an eternal bargain with death that
sooner or later seizes on everything; dateless is here used in a
legal sense; and in R. II. i. 2. 151, "The sly slow hours shall
not determinate The dateless limit of thy dear exile," both "dateless" and "determinate" are allusive to the same phraseology:
so too engrossing in the sense of purchasing or seizing in the
116. conduct, conductor; as above, iii. 1. 120; here the drug
he is about to swallow. Possibly, from the combination of conduct, pilot, and bark, Shakespeare, as in R. III. i. 4. 46, was
thinking of Charon, the ferryman of souls over the river Styx ... conductor of
118. sea-sick, life being commonly compared to an ocean.
119. true, sc. in having said that the effect of the drug would
be instantaneous, and perhaps with the sense of his being a true
physician of his (Romeo's) evils.
121. be my speed, guide and help me.
122. stumbled. In those days of omens considered an unlucky
accident; so in R. III. iii. 4. 86, Hastings, when on his way to
death, after speaking of an ill dream of Stanley's, continues,
"Three times to-day my foot-cloth horse did stumble. And
startled, when he look'd upon the Tower, As loath to bear me to
the slaughter-house"; on which Tawney quotes Melton's Astrologaster, "That if a man stumbles in the morning, as soon as he
comes out of doores, it is a sign of ill lucke."
125. yond, that which I see yonder.
126. grubs, insects, worms, etc.: as I discern, as well as I can
132. My master ... hence, my master fancies I have gone home.
135. Fear, not the physical fear of some danger to himself, but
a presentiment of some evil befallen Romeo.
137-9. As I did sleep ... him. Balthasar believes that what he
had actually seen was nothing but a dream, or possibly he may
not like to confess that he really witnessed the combat.
142. masterless. that no longer own a master; again applied
to swords in Cymb. ii. 4. 60.
143. To lie discolourd, by lying stained with blood; the infinitive used indefinitely; see Abb, § 356: this place of peace,
this place which should be sacred from all quarrels.
145. what an unkind hour, what a cruel hour is this which
148. comfortable. In speaking of "certain words dealing with
the agent," Walker, Crit. Exam. etc., pp. 99, 100, says "comfortable — and in like manner uncomfortable and discomfortable —
are uniformly applied to a person, or to a thing personified, the
idea of will and purpose being always implied in them." Among
other passages which he quotes in illustration are Tim. iv. 3. 497,
A. W. i. 1. 86, Lear, i. 4. 327, R. II. iii. 2. 36, and that in the
151. that nest, as we should say, 'that den,' though nest gives
a fuller idea of abundance. In "a nest of traitors," W. T. ii.
3. 81, there is the same idea of fullness.
152. unnatural. Steevens says that the sleep of Juliet was unnatural as being brought on by drugs, and this has always seemed
to me to be the sense. Delius and Schmidt interpret "where it is unnatural to sleep."
153. contradict, contend against.
155. Thy husband ... dead, your husband lying there in your
arms is dead.
156. dispose of thee, make arrangements for your living.
158. to question, to talk, to discuss what is best.
162. timeless, untimely, premature.
163. O churl, said in loving reproach.
164. To help me after, to enable me to follow you.
166. a restorative, a medicine which will restore me to the
truest life, a life of union with you in death.
169. there rust, not in your own natural sheath, but in the
sheath of my breast; the first quarto gives rest, which many
editors prefer, and possibly this is supported by the antithesis
with Let me die, though to me rust seems the more expressive
172. whoe'er. For neglect of the inflection of who, see Abb.
§ 274: attach, apprehend; a legal term.
175. this two days, see note on iv. 3. 40.
177. some others search, let some seek out others.
178. these woes, these miserable ones.
179. ground, with a wretched pun.
180. circumstance, further detail, particulars, or perhaps inquiry into such detail; cp. above, ii. 5. 36.
186. A great suspicion. Said with true Dogberry solemnity.
187. is so early up. As if the misadventure, like himself, had
risen early from bed, was stirring early; cp., for the quasi-personification, K. J. v. 5. 21, "The day shall not be up so soon
189. should it be, can it possibly be.
192. With open outcry, like dogs in full cry after game.
193. startles, suddenly bursts forth; this intransitive use is
now obsolete, to 'start' being used in its stead.
195. dead before, as she had been supposed to be.
197. know, ascertain by inquiry.
202. hath mista'en, has mistaken its proper abode: his house,
203. on the back, daggers being worn behind the back.
204. And it mis-sheathed, for it, the reading of the second
quarto, most editors prefer is, which the other copies give. In
this case the words "for, lo, ... Montague" are parenthetical.
205. 6. is as a bell ... sepulchre, is like a bell summoning me
to my death: cp. K. J. ii. 1. 201, "Who is it that hath warned
us to the walls?" and Macb. ii. 1. 62-4. "the bell invites me.
Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell That summons thee to
heaven or to hell."
208. down, struck down in death; with a play on the words
up and down.
211. conspires ... age, conspires to put an end to an old man
213. O thou untaught! O ill-disciplined one! manners, regarded as a singular in thought; see Abb. § 335.
214. To press ... grave? comparing the rudeness to that of
pressing before a father into a room, etc.
215. the mouth of outrage, your passionate exclamations.
Staunton compares i. H. VI. iv. 1. 126, "are you not ashamed
With this immodest clamorous outrage To trouble and disturb the
king and us?". where the reference is to the "audacious prate"
of York, Somerset, etc.
216. ambiguities, obscure relation of events; now generally
used of language which may bear two meanings.
217. descent, origin; carrying on the metaphor of a stream
that flows downward from its source.
218, 9. will I ... death, I will put myself at the head of your
grievances and lead you on to vengeance, even if that vengeance
be the death of those to whom those grievances are due.
220. And let ... patience, and let calamity submit patiently to
calm endurance; patiently control your sense of injury.
221. parties of suspicion, those suspected, those who have a
part, share, in the suspicion that is abroad.
222. I am ... least, I, though least capable (physically) of such
a deed, am most suspected of having committed it.
224. Doth make against me, tell against me, as witnesses
against me; time and place is to be taken as a single idea.
225, 6. both to impeach ... excused, to accuse myself while
pleading my excuse, and at the same time to clear myself while
decreeing my condemnation; i.e. to accuse myself on account of
my actions, to excuse myself on account of my intentions. For
a similar collocation, cp. A. C. iv. 12, 8, 9, "His fretted fortunes
give him hope, and fear, Of what he has, and has not"; W. T.
iii. 6. 165, "though I with death, and with Reward, did threaten
and encourage him Not doing it, and being done." In impeach
the original idea is that of hindering, F. empecher, to hinder, the
first step in an accusation being to hinder the accused from
227. in this, in, or of, this matter.
228, 9. for my short ... tale, for the short time I have to live is
not long enough for a tedious tale; my short date of breath = the
short date of my breath; cp. for the transposition, A. C. iv. 6.
39, "My latter part of life," i.e. the latter part of my life;
Haml. iv. 5. 213, "His means of death," i.e. the means of his
death; and see Abb. § 423.
232. their stol'n marriage-day, the day of their stolen marriage,
of their marriage stealthily celebrated.
234. Banish'd, caused to be banished.
236. siege, attack, assault; cp. above, i. 1. 218. and K. J.
V. 7. 16, "his (sc. death's) siege is now Against the mind." So
Lamb talks of "an obsession of grief."
239. bid, past tense.
240. rid her from, enable her to escape from.
245. form, appearance.
246. as this dire night. Allen on Temp. i. 2. 70, "as at this
time," considers as in such expressions to mark a greater or less
precision or emphasis; Abbott, § 114, though regarding as in
definitions of time as apparently redundant, thinks that here it
may mean 'as (he did come),' which seems to me to be a great
forcing of language.
247. borrowed grave, grave not properly her own.
248. Being the time. "This belongs to 'as this dire night'"
250. stay'd, prevented.
252. hour, metrically a dissyllable; see Abb. § 480.
254. closely, in secrecy.
256. some minute, a minute or so.
258. true, faithful in his love.
260. this work of heaven, i.e. Romeo's death.
262. too desperate, sc. to care for life without Romeo: would
not go, refused to go.
263. as it seems. The Friar having left her was not actual
witness of her suicide.
267. some hour, some short time. i.e. for it cannot be long
before I shall die in the course of nature.
269. still, ever: for, as being.
270. what can ... this? what evidence can he give as to this
272. in post, see note on v. i. 21.
275. going in the vault, as he entered the vault.
278. raised, summoned, called up.
279. what made your master, what was your master doing
here? what business or object had he in coming here.
282. Anon, suddenly; see note on ii. 2. 137.
283. by and by, presently, after a short interval.
285. make good, confirm, substantiate.
291. See, what ... hate, see how your hatred is punished.
292. That heaven ... love! in the fact that heaven employs the
love that was exchanged between Romeo and Juliet (and which
should have been a bond of union to the two families) as a
means to crush all happiness out of your lives.
293. winking at, partially closing my eyes to, not taking that
vigorous notice which, as the head of the state, I was bound to
296. This is ... jointure, the only dowry you can make my daughter; jointure, properly the property estated on the wife by
the husband when they are joined in marriage.
299. by that name, as 'Verona.'
300. at such rate be set, be valued at so high a price.
302. As rich, in equal splendour.
303. Poor ... enmity, an inadequate atonement for our hatred.
304. glooming, gloomy; which the fourth folio gives. The participle seems more forcible from its notion of activity.
305. for sorrow, on account of sorrow.
306. Go hence, to have, accompanying me hence, in order that
we may have.
307. Some ... punished. In the novel from which the plot is
taken, says Steevens, we find that the Nurse was banished for
concealing the marriage, Balthasar set at liberty as having only
acted in obedience to Romeo's orders, the Apothecary tortured
and hanged, and the Friar allowed to retire to a hermitage near
How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan, 1916. Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2010. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/romeo_5_3.html >.
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