Even or odd, of all days in the year,
Come Lammas Eve at night shall she be fourteen.
Susan and she—God rest all Christian souls!—
Were of an age. Well, Susan is with God.
She was too good for me. But, as I said,
On Lammas Eve at night shall she be fourteen.
That shall she. Marry, I remember it well.
‘Tis since the earthquake now eleven years,
And she was weaned—I never shall forget it—
Of all the days of the year, upon that day.
For I had then laid wormwood to my dug,
Sitting in the sun under the dovehouse wall.
My lord and you were then at Mantua.—
Nay, I do bear a brain.—But, as I said,
When it did taste the wormwood on the nipple
Of my dug and felt it bitter, pretty fool,
To see it tetchy and fall out with the dug!
“Shake!” quoth the dovehouse. ‘Twas no need, I trow,
To bid me trudge.
And since that time it is eleven years,
For then she could stand alone. Nay, by the rood,
She could have run and waddled all about,
For even the day before, she broke her brow.
And then my husband—God be with his soul!
He was a merry man—took up the child.
“Yea,” quoth he, “Dost thou fall upon thy face?
Thou wilt fall backward when thou hast more wit,
Wilt thou not, Jule?” and, by my holy dame,
The pretty wretch left crying and said “ay.”
To see now, how a jest shall come about!
I warrant, an I should live a thousand years,
I never should forget it. “Wilt thou not, Jule?” quoth he.
And, pretty fool, it stinted and said “ay.”
Even or odd, of all the days in the year, she’ll be fourteen
on the night of Lammas Eve. She and my daughter Susan—God rest all Christian
souls—were born that same day. Well, Susan died and is now with God. She was
too good for me. But, as I said, on the night of Lammas Eve, Juliet will be
fourteen. Yes, she will indeed. I remember it well. It’s been eleven years
since the earthquake, and it was on that very day that she stopped nursing
from my breast. I’ll never forget it. I had put some bitter wormwood on my breast
as I was sitting in the sun, under the wall of the dovehouse. Your husband
and you were in Mantua. Oh my, what a great memory I have! As I said, when
Juliet tasted the bitter wormwood on my nipple, the pretty little thing got
angry with my breast. That’s when the earthquake hit and the dovehouse
started to shake. You didn’t have to tell me to get out of there. It’s been
eleven years since then. She could stand up by herself then. No, in fact, by
then she could run and waddle all over the place. I remember because just the
day before she had cut her forehead. My husband—God rest his soul, he was a
merry man—picked Juliet up. “Oh,” he said, “Did you fall on your face? You’ll
fall backward when you grow up, won’t you, Jule?” And, by God, the pretty
little thing stopped crying and said, “Yes.” To watch a joke come true! Even
if I live a thousand years I’ll never forget it. “Won’t you, Jule,” he said.
And the pretty fool stopped crying and said, “Yes.”
Enough of this. I pray thee, hold thy peace.
Enough. Please be quiet.
* * * *
Yes, madam. Yet I cannot choose but laugh
To think it should leave crying and say “ay.”
And yet, I warrant, it had upon its brow
A bump as big as a young cockerel’s stone,
A perilous knock, and it cried bitterly.
“Yea,” quoth my husband, “Fall’st upon thy face?
Thou wilt fall backward when thou comest to age.
Wilt thou not, Jule?” It stinted and said “ay.”
Yes ,madam. But I have to laugh when I think that the baby
stopped crying and said, “Yes.” What’s more, I swear she had a bump on her
forehead as big as a rooster’s testicle. It was quite a knock she took, and
she was crying bitterly. “Yes,” said my husband, “Did you fall on your face?
You’ll fall backward when you grow up, won’t you, Jule?” And she stopped
crying and said, “Yes.’
And stint thou too, I pray thee, Nurse, say I.
Stop now, Nurse, please.
Peace, I have done. God mark thee to his grace!
Thou wast the prettiest babe that e’er I nursed.
An I might live to see thee married once,
I have my wish.
Peace. I’m done. May you recieve God’s grace. You were the
prettiest baby I ever nursed. If I live to see you get married someday, my
wishes will be fulfilled.
Marry, that “marry” is the very theme
I came to talk of. Tell me, daughter Juliet,
How stands your disposition to be married?
In fact, marriage is exactly what I came here to discuss.
Tell me, Juliet my daughter, what do you think about getting married?
It is an honor that I dream not of.
It;s an honor that I don’t think about at all.
An honor! Were not I thine only nurse,
I would say thou hadst sucked wisdom from thy teat.
“An honor!” If I weren’t the only nurse you’ve had, I’d say
you’d sucked wisdom from the breast that fed you.
* * * * *
Well, think of marriage now. Younger than you
Here in Verona, ladies of esteem
Are made already mothers. By my count,
I was your mother much upon these years
That you are now a maid. Thus then in brief:
The valiant Paris seeks you for his love.
Well, you should start thinking about marriage. In Verona
girls from noble families who are younger than you have already become
mothers. By my count, I was already your mother at around your age, while you
remain a virgin. So, to be brief: the valiant Paris wants to marry you.
A man, young lady! Lady, such a man
As all the world. Why, he’s a man of wax.
What a man, young lady! He’s a man as great as any other in
the world. He’s so perfect it’s as if he were sculpted from wax.
Verona’s summer hath not such a flower.
Verona in the summertime has no flower as fine as him.
Nay, he’s a flower. In faith, a very flower.
He’s a fine flower, absolutely, a flower.
* * * * *
85 * * * *
90 * * * *
What say you? Can you love the gentleman?
This night you shall behold him at our feast.
Read o’er the volume of young Paris’ face
And find delight writ there with beauty’s pen.
Examine every married lineament
And see how one another lends content,
And what obscured in this fair volume lies
Find written in the margin of his eyes.
This precious book of love, this unbound lover,
To beautify him only lacks a cover.
The fish lives in the sea, and ’tis much pride
For fair without the fair within to hide.
That book in many’s eyes doth share the glory
That in gold clasps locks in the golden story.
So shall you share all that he doth possess
By having him, making yourself no less.
What do you say, Juliet? Can you love this gentleman? Tonight
he’ll be at our feast. Look at his face and delight in his beauty. Examine
how all the lines of his features combine to make him handsome. And what you
can’t see in his beauty, find by looking in his eyes. This wonderful, loving
man lacks only a bride to make him perfect. As fish do not hide from the sea,
neither should a beauty like you hide from a handsome man like him. Everyone
thinks he’s handsome, and whoever becomes his bride would be equally loved.
You would share all that he possesses, and lose nothing by having him.
No less? Nay, bigger. Women grow by men.
Lose nothing? No, you’d get bigger. Men make women bigger (editor’s note: by making them pregnant).
Speak briefly. Can you like of Paris, love?
Answer me now. Can you love Paris?
I’ll look to like if looking liking move.
But no more deep will I endart mine eye
Than your consent gives strength to make it fly.
I’ll look at him with the intent to like him, if looking at
him moves me to like him. But I won’t let myself fall for him any more than
your permission allows.
Madam, the guests are come, supper served up, you called, my
young lady asked for, the Nurse cursed in the pantry, and every thing in
extremity. I must hence to wait. I beseech you, follow straight.
Madam, the guests are here and dinner is served. Your guests
call for you and Juliet, while the servants in the pantry are cursing the
Nurse. Things are getting out of control. I must rush off to serve the
guests. Please, follow right after me.
We follow thee.—Juliet, the county stays.
We’ll follow you. Juliet, Paris is waiting for you.
Go, girl, seek happy nights to happy days.
Go, Juliet, and find the man who’ll give you happy nights
that follow happy days.