Romeus and Juliet: Lines 429-516



  Oh, how we can persuade ourself to what we like,
430

And how we can dissuade our mind, if aught our mind mislike!
Weak arguments are strong, our fancies straight to frame
To pleasing things, and eke to shun if we mislike the same.
The maid had scarcely yet ended the weary war,
Kept in her heart by striving thoughts, when every shining star
Had paid his borrowed light, and Phoebus spread in skies
His golden rays, which seemed to say, now time it is to rise.
And Romeus had by this forsaken his weary bed,
Where restless he a thousand thoughts had forgéd in his head.
And while with ling'ring step by Juliet's house he passed,
440
And upwards to her windows high his greedy eyes did cast,
His love that looked for him there 'gan he straight espy.
With pleasant cheer each greeted is; she followeth with her eye
His parting steps, and he oft looketh back again
But not so oft as he desires; warely he doth refrain.
What life were like to love, if dread of jeopardy
Y-soured not the sweet, if love were free from jealousy!
But she more sure within, unseen of any wight,
When so he comes, looks after him till he be out of sight.
In often passing so, his busy eyes he threw,
450

That every pane and tooting hole the wily lover knew.
In happy hour he doth a garden plot espy,
From which, except he warely walk, men may his love descry;
For lo, it fronted full upon her leaning place,
Where she is wont to show her heart by cheerful friendly face.
And lest the arbours might their secret love bewray,
He doth keep back his forward foot from passing there by day;
But when on earth the Night her mantle black hath spread;
Well armed he walketh forth alone, ne dreadful foes doth dread.
Whom maketh Love not bold, nay,whom makes he not blind?
460
He reaveth danger's dread oft-times out of the lover's mind.
By night he passeth here, a week or two in vain;
And for the missing of his mark his grief hath him nigh slain.
And Juliet that now doth lack her heart's relief,
Her Romeus' pleasant eyne, I mean, is almost dead for grief.
Each day she changeth hours (for lovers keep an hour
When they are sure to see their love in passing by their bower).
Impatient of her woe, she happed to lean one night
Within her window, and anon the moon did shine so bright
That she espied her love: her heart revivéd sprang;
470
And now for joy she claps her hands, which erst for woe she wrang.
Eke Romeus, when he saw his long desiréd sight,
His mourning cloak of moan cast off, hath clad him with delight.
Yet dare I say, of both that she rejoicéd more:
His care was great, hers twice as great was all the time before;
For whilst she knew not why he did himself absent,
Aye doubting both his health and life, his death she did lament
For love is fearful oft where is no cause of fear,
And what love fears, that love laments, as though it chancéd were.
Of greater cause alway is greater work y-bred;
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While he nought doubteth of her health, she dreads lest he be dead.
When only absence is the cause of Romeus' smart,
By happy hope of sight again he feeds his fainting heart.
What wonder then if he were wrapped in less annoy?
What marvel if by sudden sight she fed of greater joy
His smaller grief or joy no smaller love do prove;
Ne, for she passed him in both, did she him pass in love:
But each of them alike did burn in equal flame,
The well-beloving knight and eke the well-beloved dame.
Now whilst with bitter tears her eyes as fountains run,
490
With whispering voice, y-broke with sobs, thus is her tale begun:
"O Romeus, of your life too lavas sure you are,
That in this place, and at this time, to hazard it you dare.
What if your deadly foes, my kinsmen, saw you here?
Like lions wild, your tender parts asunder would they tear.
In ruth and in disdain, I, weary of my life,
With cruel hand my mourning heart would pierce with bloody knife.
For you, mine own, once dead, what joy should I have here?
And eke my honour stained, which I than life do hold more dear."
"Fair lady mine, dame Juliet, my life," quod he,
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"Even from my birth committed was to fatal sisters three.
They may in spite of foes draw forth my lively thread;
And they also, whoso saith nay, asunder may it shred.
But who to reave my life, his rage and force would bend,
Perhaps should try unto his pain how I it could defend.
Ne yet I love it so, but always for your sake,
A sacrifice to death I would my wounded corpse betake.
If my mishap were such, that here before your sight,
I should restore again to death, of life, my borrowed light,
This one thing and no more my parting sprite would rue,
510
That part he should before that you by certain trial knew
The love I owe to you, the thrall I languish in,
And how I dread to lose the gain which I do hope to win;
And how I wish for life, not for my proper ease,
But that in it you might I love, you honour, serve and please,
Till deadly pangs the sprite out of the corpse shall send."
And thereupon he sware an oath, and so his tale had end.








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