Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds,
Toward Phoebus’ lodging. Such a wagoner
As Phaeton would whip you to the west
And bring in cloudy night immediately.
Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night,
That runaways’ eyes may wink, and Romeo
Leap to these arms, untalked 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
Played for a pair of stainless maidenhoods.
Hood my unmanned blood bating in my cheeks,
With thy black mantle, till strange love, grow 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 upon a raven’s back.
Come, gentle night, come, loving, black-browed night,
Give me my Romeo. And when I 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.
Oh, I have bought the mansion of a love,
But not possessed it, and though I am sold,
Not yet enjoyed. 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.
Move faster you fiery-footed horses, bearing the sun
toward its nighttime resting place. The mythological Phaeton would whip you
so hard that you would already have brought the sun west and night would come
immediately. Come night, with your darkness, so that Romeo can come to me
without anyone knowing and leap into my arms. In the dark, lovers can still
see enough, by the light of their own beauty, to make love. Or, if love is
blind, then it is best suited to the night. Come, night, you widow dressed in
black, and teach me how to win my love so that we both can lose our
virginity. Hide the blood rushing to my cheeks in your darkness, until my shy
love grows bold enough to think of love-making as simple and true. Come,
night. Come, Romeo. You’re like a day during the night, lying on the wings of
night even whiter than snow on the wings of a raven. Come, gentle night.
Come, loving, dark night. Give me my Romeo. And when I die, take him and cut
him into stars that will make the night sky so beautiful that the entire
world will fall in love with the night and forget about the tasteless sun.
Oh, I have bought the mansion of love, but not yet possessed it. I belong to
Romeo, but have not yet been enjoyed by him. This day is so long and dull,
just as the night before some festival is to an impatient child forced to
wait to put on her fancy new clothes.
Enter NURSE with cords
The NURSE enters carrying the rope ladder.
* * * * *
Oh, here comes my Nurse,
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 bid thee fetch?
Oh, here comes my Nurse, bringing news. Every voice
that speaks Romeo’s name speaks with heavenly beauty. Now, Nurse, what’s your
news? What is that you have there? The rope ladder Romeo told you to get?
Ay, ay, the cords.
Yes, yes, the ladder.
Ay me, what news? Why dost thou wring thy hands?
Oh no, what’s your news? Why are you wringing your
* * *
Ah, weraday! 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!
Though heaven cannot. O Romeo, Romeo!
Who ever would have thought it? Romeo!
Romeo can be, though God is not. Oh, Romeo, Romeo! Who
ever would have guessed? Romeo!
45 * * * *
What devil art thou that dost torment me thus?
This torture should be roared in dismal hell.
Hath Romeo slain himself? Say thou but “ay,”
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 makes thee answer “ay.”
If he be slain, say “ay,” or if not, “no.”
Brief sounds determine of my weal or woe.
What kind of a devil are you to torment me in this way?
This sort of torture is fit only for hell. Has Romeo killed himself? Say
“yes” and that single word will poison me more terribly than could even the
deadly gaze of the mythological cockatrice. I will cease to be myself if you
say that Romeo killed himself. If he’s dead, say “Yes.” If not, say “No.”
Those little words will determine my joy or pain.
* * *
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 bedaubed in blood,
All in gore blood. I swoonèd at the sight.
I saw the wound. I saw it with my own eyes. God bless
that wound—here on his manly chest. A pitiful corpse, a bloody, pitiful
corpse. Pale, pale as ashes and covered in blood. Gory with blood. I fainted
at the sight of it.
* * *
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.
Oh, my poor, bankrupt heart is breaking. Go to prison,
eyes, so you will never again be free to look at the world. I’ll bury my body
in the earth, where it will lie motionless and share a single coffin with
O Tybalt, Tybalt, the best friend I had!
O courteous Tybalt! Honest gentleman!
That ever I should live to see thee dead.
Oh Tybalt, Tybalt, the best friend I ever had. Oh,
well-mannered, honorable Tybalt. If only I had not lived long enough to see
What storm is this that blows so contrary?
Is Romeo slaughtered, 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?
What storm is this to cause so many different
disasters? Has Romeo been killed, and Tybalt too? Tybalt, my dearest cousin,
and Romeo who as my husband was even more dear to me? May the last trumpet
play to signal the onset of doomsday, because who could remain alive if those
two are gone?
Tybalt is gone, and Romeo banishèd.
Romeo that killed him—he is banishèd.
Tybalt is dead. Romeo has been banished. It was Romeo
who killed Tybalt, which is why he was banished.
O God, did Romeo’s hand shed Tybalt’s blood?
Oh God, did Romeo’s hand shed Tybalt’s blood?
It did, it did. Alas the day, it did.
It did, it did. Unfortunately it did.
75 * * * *
80 * * * *
O serpent heart hid with a flowering face!
Did ever dragon keep so fair a cave?
Beautiful tyrant! Fiend angelical!
Dove-feathered raven, wolvish-ravening lamb!
Despisèd substance of divinest show,
Just opposite to what thou justly seem’st.
A damnèd saint, an honorable villain!
O nature, what hadst thou to do in hell
When thou didst bower the spirit of a fiend
In moral paradise of such sweet flesh?
Was ever book containing such vile matter
So fairly bound? Oh, that deceit should dwell
In such a gorgeous palace!
Oh, he has a traitor’s heart hidden behind a pretty
face! Did any dragon ever nest in such a pretty cave? He’s a beautiful
tyrant! A fiendish angel! A raven hiding under the feathers of a dove! A lamb
that kills like a wolf! A hateful reality hidden by a beautiful appearance.
The exact opposite of what he seemed. He seemed a saint but should be damned!
He’s a villain who seemed honorable! Oh nature, what were you doing in hell
when you placed the soul of a devil in the paradise of such a perfect man?
Has any book with such awful contents ever had a more beautiful cover? Oh,
how could such betrayal hide in such a gorgeous body!
* * * * *
There’s no trust,
No faith, no honesty in men. All perjured,
All forsworn, all naught, all dissemblers.
Ah, where’s my man?—Give me some aqua vitae.—
These griefs, these woes, these sorrows make me old.
Shame come to Romeo!
There is no trust, faith, or honesty in men. They all
break their oaths. They’re all wicked. They all lie. Where’s my servant? —
Get me some brandy — These griefs, these miseries, these sorrows make me old.
Shame on Romeo!
* * * * *
Blistered be thy tongue
For such a wish! He was not born to shame.
Upon his brow shame is ashamed to sit,
For ’tis a throne where honor may be crowned.
Sole monarch of the universal earth,
Oh, what a beast was I to chide at him!
May blisters cover your tongue for making a wish like
that! Romeo was not born to have anything to do with shame. Shame could never
be connected to him, because he is destined only to experience great and
total honor. Oh, I was such a beast to condemn him.
Will you speak well of him that killed your cousin?
You’re going to speak well of the man who killed your
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 killed 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 murdered me. I would forget it fain,
But oh, it presses to my memory,
Like damnèd guilty deeds to sinners’ minds.
“Tybalt is dead, and Romeo banishèd.”
That “banishèd,” that one word “banishèd”
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 ranked with other griefs,
Why followed not, when she said “Tybalt’s dead,”
“Thy father” or “thy mother,” nay, or both,
Which modern lamentations might have moved?
But with a rearward following Tybalt’s death,
“Romeo is banishèd.” To speak that word,
Is father, mother, Tybalt, Romeo, Juliet,
All slain, all dead. “Romeo is banishèd.”
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
Should I speak badly of my own husband? Ah, my poor
husband, who will speak well of you when I, your wife of three hours, have
been calling you such dreadful names? But why, you villain, did you kill my
cousin? Because my villain of a cousin would have killed you, my husband. I
refuse to cry. These tears which seem like sadness for Tybalt’s death are
actually tears of joy that Romeo is still alive. My husband, whom Tybalt
would have killed, is alive. And Tybalt, who wanted to kill my husband, is
dead. This is good news. So why am I crying? Because there was news that’s
even worse than that of Tybalt’s death. Worse news that kills me inside. I
wish I could forget it, but it forces its way into my memory the way sins
obsess guilty minds. “Tybalt is dead, and Romeo has been banished.” That word
“banished,” that single word “banished,” is worse than the death of ten
thousand Tybalts. Tybalt’s death would been misery enough even if nothing
else had happened. Or, if misery loves company, and one grief must
necessarily follow another, then it would have been better had the Nurse,
after telling me that Tybalt was dead, then told me that my mother or my
father, or even both, were gone. That would have pushed me into normal
feelings of grief. But to tell me that Tybalt’s is dead and then say, “Romeo
has been banished.” To say that is the same as saying that my father, my
mother, Tybalt, Romeo, and Juliet have all been killed, are all dead. “Romeo
has been banished.” The death contained in those four words is infinite,
unmeasurable. No words can express that misery. Where are my father and
Weeping and wailing over Tybalt’s corse.
Will you go to them? I will bring you thither.
Crying over Tybalt’s corpse. Will you join them? I’ll
bring you there.
* * * * *
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 beguiled,
Both you and I, for Romeo is exiled.
He made you for a highway to my bed,
But I, a maid, die maiden-widowèd.
Come, cords.—Come, Nurse. I’ll to my wedding bed.
And death, not Romeo, take my maidenhead!
Do they wash Tybalt’s wounds with their tears? My tears
will still be flowing because of Romeo’s banishment when their tears for Tybalt
have gone dry. Take this rope ladder, this poor rope ladder made useless
because Romeo has been exiled. He made this ladder to be his passageway to my
bed, but I am a virgin and now will die a virgin and a widow. Come with me,
rope ladder. Come with me, Nurse. I’m going to my wedding bed. Death, not
Romeo, will take my virginity!
Hie to your chamber. I’ll find Romeo
To comfort you. I wot well where he is.
Hark ye, your Romeo will be here at night.
I’ll to him. He is hid at Lawrence’ cell.
Go to your bedroom. I’ll go bring Romeo to comfort you.
I know where he is. Pay attention: your Romeo will be here tonight. I’ll get
him. He’s hiding in Friar Lawrence’s cell.
JULIET (gives the NURSE a ring)O, find him! Give this ring to my true knight,
And bid him come to take his last farewell.
JULIET (gives the NURSE a ring) Oh,
find him! Give this ring to my true knight! Tell him to come here to give me
his last goodbye.