Romeo, come forth. Come forth, thou fearful man.
Affliction is enamoured of thy parts,
And thou art wedded to calamity.
Romeo, come here. Come here, you frightened man.
Trouble follows you, and you’re married to catastrophe.
Father, what news? What is the Prince’s doom?
What sorrow craves acquaintance at my hand
That I yet know not?
Father, what’s the news? Did the Prince state how I am
to be punished? What unknown suffering is coming for me?
Is my dear son with such sour company.
I bring thee tidings of the Prince’s doom.
My dear son, you’re too familiar with suffering. I do
have news for you about the Prince’s punishment for you.
What less than doomsday is the Prince’s doom?
Is it anything less than my death?
A gentler judgment vanished from his lips:
Not body’s death, but body’s banishment.
His judgment was gentler than that. You won’t be
executed, but will be banished from Verona.
Ha, banishment! Be merciful, say “death,”
For exile hath more terror in his look,
Much more than death. Do not say “banishment.”
Banishment! Be merciful: say “death.” Exile is much
worse to me than death. Don’t say “banishment.”
Hence from Verona art thou banishèd.
Be patient, for the world is broad and wide.
You are banished from Verona. Be patient, the world is
big and anything can happen.
* * * *
There is no world without Verona walls
But purgatory, torture, hell itself.
Hence “banishèd” is banished from the world,
And world’s exile is death. Then “banishèd,”
Is death mistermed. Calling death “banishment,”
Thou cutt’st my head off with a golden ax
And smilest upon the stroke that murders me.
The world outside Verona’s walls is like purgatory,
torture, hell itself. Being banished from Verona is the same as being
banished from the world, and being banished from the world is the same as
death. Banishment is just a different name for death. So telling me that I’m
banished is like cutting off my head with a golden ax and smiling while
O deadly sin! O rude unthankfulness!
Thy fault our law calls death, but the kind Prince,
Taking thy part, hath rushed aside the law,
And turned that black word “death” to “banishment.”
This is dear mercy, and thou seest it not.
Oh, deadly sin! Oh, you rude, unthankful child! Your
crime is punishable by death, but the Prince in his kindness defended you and
bypassed the law by replacing death with banishment. This is mercy, but you
can’t see it.
‘Tis torture and not mercy. Heaven is here,
Where Juliet lives, and every cat and dog
And little mouse, every unworthy thing,
Live here in heaven and may look on her,
But Romeo may not. More validity,
More honorable state, more courtship lives
In carrion flies than Romeo. They may seize
On the white wonder of dear Juliet’s hand
And steal immortal blessing from her lips,
Who even in pure and vestal modesty,
Still blush, as thinking their own kisses sin.
But Romeo may not. He is banishèd.
Flies may do this, but I from this must fly.
They are free men, but I am banishèd.
And sayst thou yet that exile is not death?
Hadst thou no poison mixed, no sharp-ground knife,
No sudden mean of death, though ne’er so mean,
But “banishèd” to kill me?—“Banishèd”!
O Friar, the damnèd use that word in hell.
Howling attends it. How hast thou the heart,
Being a divine, a ghostly confessor,
A sin-absolver, and my friend professed,
To mangle me with that word “banishèd”?
It’s torture, not mercy. Heaven is in Verona because
this is where Juliet lives. Every cat and dog and little mouse, every
unworthy creature, that lives in Verona lives in heaven because it can see
her. But I won’t be able to. Carrion-eating flies will have more vitality, a
more blessed existences, and more romance than I will. They can touch
Juliet’s white hand and can steal kisses from her sweet lips, which, though
she is a pure virgin, blush when they touch each other because they think
it’s a sin. But Romeo can’t touch her hand or kiss her. Flies can kiss her,
but I must fly from the city. Flies are free, but I’ve been banished. Do you
still argue that exile isn’t death? You didn’t have some poison, sharpened
knife, or some other weapon that you could have used to kill me quickly,
nothing so disgraceful, other than banishment? Oh Friar, damned souls use the
word “banishment” to describe hell. They howl the word. How, as a priest,
confessor, and my friend, can you have the heart to say to me the word
Thou fond mad man, hear me a little speak.
You silly madman, listen to me for a second.
Oh, thou wilt speak again of banishment.
Now you’re just going to talk again about banishment.
I’ll give thee armor to keep off that word—
Adversity’s sweet milk, philosophy—
To comfort thee though thou art banishèd.
I’ll protect you from that word by using the cure for
adversity—philosophy—which will comfort you even though you’ve been banished.
* * * *
Yet “banishèd”? Hang up philosophy!
Unless philosophy can make a Juliet,
Displant a town, reverse a prince’s doom,
It helps not, it prevails not. Talk no more.
In the face of banishment, screw philosophy! Unless
philosophy can create a Juliet, move an entire town to a new place, or
reverse a prince’s punishment, it can’t help me. Stop talking.
Oh, then I see that madmen have no ears.
Ah, I’ve discovered that madmen are deaf.
How should they, when that wise men have no eyes?
Why should madmen hear, when wise men can’t see?
Let me dispute with thee of thy estate.
Let me argue with you about your situation.
65 * * * *
Thou canst not speak of that thou dost not feel.
Wert thou as young as I, Juliet thy love,
An hour but married, Tybalt murderèd,
Doting like me, and like me banishèd,
Then mightst thou speak, then mightst thou tear thy hair
And fall upon the ground, as I do now,
Taking the measure of an unmade grave.
You can’t talk about something you don’t feel. If you
were as young as I am, in love with Juliet, married to her for just an hour,
and had murdered Tybalt… If you loved her as I do and were banished as I am,
then you could talk about it. Though instead you might tear out your hair and
fall to the ground the way I do right now (ROMEO falls on the ground) in order to measure out your grave.
Knocking from within
Knocking sounds from offstage.
Arise. One knocks. Good Romeo, hide thyself.
Get up. Someone’s knocking. Hide, good Romeo.
Not I, unless the breath of heartsick groans,
Mistlike, infold me from the search of eyes.
The only way I’ll hide is if my heartsick groans
produce a mist that covers me from people’s searching eyes.
Hark, how they knock!—Who’s there?—Romeo, arise.
Thou wilt be taken.—Stay awhile.—Stand up.
They knock again!— Who’s there?— Romeo, stand up.
They’ll catch you.— Hold on a moment.—Romeo, stand up.
Run to my study.—By and by!—God’s will,
What simpleness is this!—I come, I come.
Hide in my study.—Just a minute—For the love of God,
don’t be so stupid! I’m coming. I’m coming.
Who knocks so hard? Whence come you? What’s your will?
Who is it that is knocking so hard? Where do you come
from? What do you want?
NURSE (from within) Let me come in, and
you shall know my errand.
I come from Lady Juliet.
(from offstage) Let me in,
and I’ll tell you why I’m here. I come from Lady Juliet.
(opens the door) Welcome then.
FRIAR LAWRENCE (opening the door) Welcome,
The NURSE enters
O holy Friar, O, tell me, holy Friar,
Where is my lady’s lord? Where’s Romeo?
Oh, holy Friar, Oh, tell me, holy Friar, where is my
lady’s husband? Where’s Romeo?
There on the ground, with his own tears made drunk.
There, on the ground, drunk on his own tears.
85 * * * *
Oh, he is even in my mistress’ case,
Just in her case. O woeful sympathy,
Piteous predicament! Even so lies she,
Blubbering and weeping, weeping and blubbering.
Stand up, stand up. Stand, an you be a man.
For Juliet’s sake, for her sake, rise and stand.
Why should you fall into so deep an O?
He’s acting like Juliet, exactly like her. Oh awful
sympathy! What a dreadful predicament! She’s lying on the ground just like
him, blubbering and weeping, weeping and blubbering. Stand up. Stand up.
Stand up if you’re a man. For Juliet’s sake, for her sake, rise and stand.
Why do you moan so terribly?
Ah sir, ah sir. Death’s the end of all.
Well, sir, well... death comes for everybody.
* * *
Spakest thou of Juliet? How is it with her?
Doth she not think me an old murderer,
Now I have stained the childhood of our joy
With blood removed but little from her own?
Where is she? And how doth she? And what says
My concealed lady to our canceled love?
What of Juliet? How is she? Does she think that I’m a
cold-blooded murderer because I corrupted our newfound love by killing her
relative? Where is she? How is she? What does my wife say about our love?
Oh, she says nothing, sir, but weeps and weeps,
And now falls on her bed, and then starts up,
And “Tybalt” calls, and then on Romeo cries,
And then down falls again.
Oh, she says nothing, sir. Instead she weeps and weeps.
She falls on her bed, then starts to get up, then calls out Tybalt’s name and
then your name and then she falls back down on the bed.
* * * *
As if that name,
Shot from the deadly level of a gun,
Did murder her, as that name’s cursed hand
Murdered her kinsman. O, tell me, Friar, tell me,
In what vile part of this anatomy
Doth my name lodge? Tell me, that I may sack
The hateful mansion. (draws his dagger)
She calls out my name as if it were a bullet that had
shot from a gun and murdered her, just as I murdered her cousin. Tell me,
Friar, in what vile part of my body does my name rest? Tell me, so I can cut
it out of myself. (He draws his dagger)
Hold thy desperate hand.
Art thou a man? Thy form cries out thou art.
Thy tears are womanish. Thy wild acts denote
The unreasonable fury of a beast.
Unseemly woman in a seeming man,
And ill-beseeming beast in seeming both!
Thou hast amazed me. By my holy order,
I thought thy disposition better tempered.
Hast thou slain Tybalt? Wilt thou slay thyself,
And slay thy lady that in thy life lives
By doing damnèd hate upon thyself?
Why rail’st thou on thy birth, the heaven, and earth?
Since birth and heaven and earth, all three do meet
In thee at once, which thou at once wouldst lose?
Fie, fie, thou shamest thy shape, thy love, thy wit,
Which, like a usurer, abound’st in all
And usest none in that true use indeed
Which should bedeck thy shape, thy love, thy wit.
Thy noble shape is but a form of wax,
Digressing from the valor of a man;
Thy dear love sworn but hollow perjury,
Killing that love which thou hast vowed to cherish;
Thy wit, that ornament to shape and love,
Misshapen in the conduct of them both,
Like powder in a skill-less soldier’s flask,
Is set afire by thine own ignorance;
And thou dismembered with thine own defence.
What, rouse thee, man! Thy Juliet is alive,
For whose dear sake thou wast but lately dead—
There art thou happy. Tybalt would kill thee,
But thou slew’st Tybalt—there art thou happy.
The law that threatened death becomes thy friend
And turns it to exile—there art thou happy.
A pack of blessings light upon thy back,
Happiness courts thee in her best array,
But, like a misbehaved and sullen wench,
Thou pout’st upon thy fortune and thy love.
Take heed, take heed, for such die miserable.
Go, get thee to thy love, as was decreed.
Ascend her chamber, hence, and comfort her.
But look thou stay not till the watch be set,
For then thou canst not pass to Mantua,
Where thou shalt live, till we can find a time
To blaze your marriage, reconcile your friends,
Beg pardon of the Prince, and call thee back
With twenty hundred thousand times more joy
Than thou went’st forth in lamentation.—
Go before, Nurse. Commend me to thy lady,
And bid her hasten all the house to bed,
Which heavy sorrow makes them apt unto.
Romeo is coming.
Stop! Don’t do anything out of desperation. Are you a
man? You look like a man. But your tears are womanly. Your wildness is like
the irrational fury of a beast. You’re like an inappropriate woman hiding
within a man, or, even worse, a shameful beast hiding within a half-man,
half-woman! You amaze me. By my holy order, I swear I thought you were stronger
and more stable than this. Have you killed Tybalt? Will you kill yourself,
and in performing such a sin also kill your wife, who shares your life? Why
are you ranting about your birth, the heavens, and the earth? You are made of
the joining of all three, and now want nothing to do with them? You bring
shame to your body, your love, and your mind. You are blessed with all three,
but like a moneylender you do not use your body, love, or mind for their true
purpose. Without honor or nobility, your body is just a wax figure. The love
that you swore is just a hollow lie, since you now threaten to kill the love
that you vowed to cherish. Your mind, that key to both your body and your
love, has failed to handle both of them. You’re like an unskilled soldier who
accidentally explodes his own gunpowder because he does not know how to use
it: you end up killing yourself with the very thing meant to protect you. Now
get a hold of yourself, man! Your Juliet is alive (for whose sake you were
just threatening to kill yourself). That is something to be happy about.
Tybalt tried to kill you, but you killed Tybalt. That is something to be
happy about. The law that promised death for you was mercifully changed into
exile—another thing to be happy about. You have been blessed multiple times,
and are surrounded by brightest happiness. But like a misbehaved and sullen
girl, you’re pouting about your bad luck and thwarted love. Now listen to me:
those who act the way you are now die miserable. Go, be with your love, as we
planned. Climb up to her bedroom and comfort her. But make sure to leave
before the watchmen take their positions, because they will stop you before
you can escape to Mantua. You’ll live in Mantua until we can announce your
marriage publicly, make peace between your families, and beg the Prince to
pardon you. Then we’ll welcome you back with twenty hundred thousand times
more joy than you’ll feel when leaving. Nurse, go to Juliet before Romeo
follows. Give my regards to your lady, and tell her to hurry everybody in her
house to bed. They’re sorrow is likely to make them want to go to sleep,
anyway. Romeo is coming.
O Lord, I could have stayed here all the night
To hear good counsel. Oh, what learning is!
My lord, I’ll tell my lady you will come.
O Lord, I could stay here all night listening to good
advice like yours. Education is amazing! (speaking to
ROMEO) My lord, I’ll tell my lady you will come.
Do so, and bid my sweet prepare to chide.
Do that, and tell my beloved to be ready to scold me.
* * *
Here, sir, a ring she bid me give you, sir. (gives ROMEO JULIET’s ring)
Hie you, make haste, for it grows very late.
Here, sir, take this ring she asked me to give you. (she gives ROMEO JULIET’s ring) Hurry,
it’s getting late.
The NURSE exits.
How well my comfort is revived by this!
This ring lifts my spirits!
* * * *
Go hence. Good night. And here stands all your state:
Either be gone before the watch be set,
Or by the break of day disguised from hence.
Sojourn in Mantua. I’ll find out your man,
And he shall signify from time to time
Every good hap to you that chances here.
Give me thy hand. ‘Tis late. Farewell, good night.
Now go. Good night. And remember that everything
depends on you being out of Verona before the night watch takes its position,
or that you disguise yourself and leave after daybreak. Stay awhile in
Mantua. I’ll find your servant, and every once in a while through him I’ll
send you news about every good thing that occurs for you here. Give me your
hand. It’s late. Farewell. Good night.
But that a joy past joy calls out on me,
It were a grief so brief to part with thee.
Here I go to experience a joy greater than any other,
but even so I’m sad to have to leave you so quickly. Farewell.