Romeus and Juliet: Lines 2915-3020

  And then the ancient friar began to make discourse,
Even from the first, of Romeus' and Juliet's amours;
How first by sudden sight the one the other chose,
And 'twixt themself did knit the knot which only death might loose;
And how, within a while, with hotter love oppressed,
Under confession's cloak, to him themself they have addressed,
And how with solemn oaths they have protested both,
That they in heart are marriéd by promise and by oath;
And that except he grant the rites of church to give,
They shall be forced by earnest love in sinful state to live:
Which thing when he had weighed, and when he understood
That the agreement 'twixt them twain was lawful, honest, good,
And all things peiséd well, it seeméd meet to be,
For like they were of nobleness, age, riches, and degree:
Hoping that so, at length, ended might be the strife,
Of Montagues and Capulets, that led in hate their life,
Thinking to work a work well pleasing in God's sight,
In secret shrift he wedded them; and they the self-same night
Made up the marriage in house of Capulet,
As well doth know, if she be asked, the nurse of Juliet.
He told how Romeus fled for reaving Tybalt's life,
And how, the whilst, Paris the earl was offered to his wife;
And how the lady did so great a wrong disdain,
And how to shrift unto his church she came to him again;
And how she fell flat down before his feet aground,
And how she sware, her hand and bloody knife should wound
Her harmless heart, except that he some mean did find
To disappoint the earl's attempt; and spotless save her mind.
Wherefore, he doth conclude, although that long before
By thought of death and age he had refused for evermore
The hidden arts which he delighted in, in youth, --
Yet won by her importuneness, and by his inward ruth,
And fearing lest she would her cruel vow discharge
His closed conscience he had opened and set at large;
And rather did he choose to suffer for one time
His soul to be spotted somedeal with small and easy crime,
Than that the lady should, weary of living breath,
Murther herself, and danger much her seely soul by death:
Wherefore his ancient arts again he puts in ure,
A certain powder gave he her, that made her sleep so sure,
That they her held for dead; and how that Friar John
With letters sent to Romeus to Mantua is gone;
Of whom he knoweth not as yet, what is become;
And how that dead he found his friend within her kindred's tomb.
He thinks with poison strong, for care the young man sterved,
Supposing Juliet dead; and how that Juliet hath carved,
With Romeus' dagger drawn, her heart, and yielded breath,
Desirous to accompany her lover after death;
And how they could not save her, so they were afeard,
And hid themself, dreading the noise of watchmen, that they heard.
And for the proof of this his tale, he doth desire
The judge to send forthwith to Mantua for the friar,
To learn his cause of stay, and eke to read his letter;
And, more beside, to th'end that they might judge his cause the better,
He prayeth them depose the nurse of Juliet,
And Romeus'man whom at unwares beside the tomb he met.
  Then Peter, not so much erst as he was, dismayed;
"My lords," quoth he, "too true is all that Friar Laurence said.
And when my master went into my mistress'grave,
This letter that I offer you, unto me then he gave,
Which he himself did write, as I do understand,
And charged me to offer them unto his father's hand."
The opened packet doth contain in it the same
That erst the skilful friar said; and eke the wretch's name
That had at his request the deadly poison sold,
The price of it, and why he bought, his letters plain have told.
The case unfolded so and open now it lies,
That they could wish no better proof, save seeing it with their eyes;
So orderly all things were told and triéd out,
That in the press there was not one that stood at all in doubt.
  The wiser sort, to council called by Escalus,
Have given advice, and Escalus sagely decreeth thus:
The nurse of Juliet is banished in her age,
Because that from the parents she did hide the marriage,
Which might have wrought much good had it in time been known,
Where now by her concealing it a mischief great is grown;
And Peter, for he did obey his master's hest,
ln wonted freedom had good leave to lead his life in rest,
Th'apothecary high is hangéd by the throat,
And for the pains he took with him the hangman had his coat.
But now what shall betide of this grey-bearded sire?
Of Friar Laurence thus arraigned, that good barefooted friar
Because that many times he worthily did serve
The commonwealth, and in his life was never found to swerve,
He was dischargéd quite, and no mark of defame
Did seem to blot or touch at all the honour of his name.
But of himself he went into an hermitage,
Two miles from Verone town, where he in prayers passed forth his age;
Till that from earth to heaven his heavenly sprite did fly,
Five years he lived an hermit and an hermit did he die.
  The strangeness of the chance, when triéd was the truth,
The Montagues and Capulets hath moved so to ruth,
That with their emptied tears their choler and their rage
Was emptied quite; and they, whose wrath no wisdom could assuage,
Nor threat'ning of the prince, ne mind of murthers done,
At length, so mighty Jove it would, by pity they are won.
  And lest that length of time might from our minds remove
The memory of so perfect, sound, and so approvéd love,
The bodies dead, removed from vault where they did die,
ln stately tomb, on pillars great of marble, raise they high.
On every side above were set, and eke beneath,
Great store of cunning epitaphs, in honour of their death.
And even at this day the tomb is to be seen;
So that among the monuments that in Verona been,
There is no monument more worthy of the sight,
Than is the tomb of Juliet and Romeus her knight.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]