Romeus and Juliet: Lines 2515-2610
Now throughout Italy this common use they have,
That all the best of every stock are earthéd in one grave:
For every household, if it be of any fame,
Doth build a tomb, or dig a vault, that bears the household's name;
Wherein, if any of that kindred hap to die,
The Capulets her corpse in such a one did lay,
Where Tybalt, slain of Romeus, was laid the other day.
Another use there is, that whosoever dies,
Borne to their church with open face upon the bier he lies,
In wonted weed attired, not wrapped in winding sheet.
So, as by chance he walked abroad, our Romeus' man did meet
His master's wife; the sight with sorrow straight did wound
His honest heart; with tears he saw her lodgéd underground.
And, for he had been sent to Verone for a spy,
And for he knew her death did touch his master most,
Alas, too soon, with heavy news he hied away in post;
And in his house he found his master Romeus,
Where he, besprent with many tears, began to speak him thus:
"Sire, unto you of late is chanced so great a harm,
That sure, except with constancy you seek yourself to arm,
I fear that straight you will breathe out your latter breath,
And I, most wretched wight, shall be th'occasion of your death.
Know, sir, that yesterday, my lady and your wife,
And for because on earth she found nought but unrest,
In heaven hath she sought to find a place of quiet rest
And with these weeping eyes myself have seen her laid
Within the tomb of Capulets": and herewithal he stayed.
This sudden message' sound, sent forth with sighs and tears,
Our Romeus received too soon with open list'ning ears
And thereby hath sunk in such sorrow in his heart,
That lo, his sprite annoyéd sore with torment and with smart,
Was like to break out of his prison house perforce,
But earnest love that will not fail him till his end,
This fond and sudden fantasy into his head did send:
That if near unto her he offered up his breath,
That then a hundred thousand parts more glorious were his death.
Eke should his painful heart a great deal more be eased,
And more also, he vainly thought, his lady better pleased.
Wherefore when he his face hath washed with water clean,
Lest that the stains of driéd tears might on his cheeks be seen,
And so his sorrow should of everyone be spied,
Straight, weary of the house, he walketh forth abroad:
His servant, at the master's hest, in chamber still abode;
And then fro street to street he wand'reth up and down,
To see if he in any place may find, in all the town,
A salve meet for his sore, an oil fit for his wound;
And seeking long -- alack, too soon! -- the thing he sought, he found.
An apothecary sat unbusied at his door,
Whom by his heavy countenance he guessed to be poor.
And in his shop he saw his boxes were but few,
Wherefore our Romeus assuredly hath thought,
What by no friendship could be got, with money should be bought;
For needy lack is like the poor man to compel
To sell that which the city's law forbiddeth him to sell.
Then by the hand he drew the needy man apart,
And with the sight of glitttring gold inflaméd hath his heart:
"Take fifty crowns of gold," quoth he, "I give them thee,
So that, before I part from hence, thou straight deliver me
Some poison strong, that may in less than half an hour
The wretch by covetise is won, and doth assent
To sell the thing, whose sale ere long, too late, he doth repent.
In haste he poison sought, and closely he it bound,
And then began with whispering voice thus in his ear to round:
"Fair sir," quoth he, "be sure this is the speeding gear,
And more there is than you shall need; for half of that is there
Will serve, I undertake, in less than half an hour
To kill the strongest man alive; such is the poison's power."
Then Romeus, somewhat eased of one part of his care,
Returning home again, he sent his man away
To Verone town, and chargeth him that he, without delay,
Provide both instruments to open wide the tomb,
And lights to show him Juliet; and stay till he shall come
Near to the place whereas his loving wife doth rest,
And chargeth him not to bewray the dolours of his breast.
Peter, these heard, his leave doth of his master take;
Betime he comes to town, such haste the painful man did make:
And then with busy care he seeketh to fulfil,
Would God, he had herein broken his master's hest!
Would God, that to the friar he had discloséd all his breast!
But Romeus the while with many a deadly thought
Provokéd much, hath caused ink and paper to be brought,
And in few lines he did of all his love discourse,
How by the friar's help, and by the knowledge of the nurse,
The wedlock knot was knit, and by what mean that night
And many mo he did enjoy his happy heart's delight;
Where he the poison bought, and how his life should end;