Romeus and Juliet: Lines 565-616



  This barefoot friar girt with cord his grayish weed,
For he of Francis' order was, a friar, as I rede.
Not as the most was he, a gross unlearned fool,
But doctor of divinity proceeded he in school.
The secrets eke he knew in Nature's works that lurk;
By magic's art most men supposed that he could wonders work.
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Ne doth it ill beseem divines those skills to know,
If on no harmful deed they do such skilfulness bestow;
For justly of no art can men condemn the use,
But right and reason's lore cry out against the lewd abuse.
The bounty of the friar and wisdom hath so won
The townsfolks' hearts, that well nigh all to Friar Laurence run
To shrive themself; the old, the young, the great and small;
Of all he is beloved well, and honoured much of all.
And, for he did the rest in wisdom far exceed,
The prince by him, his counsel craved, was holp at time of need.
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Betwixt the Capulets and him great friendship grew,
A secret and assuréd friend unto the Montague.
Loved of this young man more than any other guest,
The friar eke of Verone youth aye likéd Romeus best;
For whom he ever hath in time of his distress,
As erst you heard, by skilful lore found out his harm's redress:
To him is Romeus gone, ne stay'th he till the morrow;
To him he painteth all his case, his passéd joy and sorrow.
How he hath her espied with other dames in dance,
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And how that first to talk with her himself he did advance;
Their talk and change of looks he 'gan to him declare,
And how so fast by faith and troth they both y-coupléd are,
That neither hope of life, nor dread of cruel death,
Shall make him false his faith to her, while life shall lend him breath.
And then with weeping eyes he prays his ghostly sire
To further and accomplish all their honest hearts' desire.
A thousand doubts and mo in th'old man's head arose,
A thousand dangers like to come the old man doth disclose,
And from the spousal rites he redeth him refrain,
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Perhaps he shall be bet advised within a week or twain.
Advice is banished quite from those that follow love,
Except advice to what they like their bending mind do move.
As well the father might have counselled him to stay
That from a mountain's top thrown down is falling half the way
As warn his friend to stop amid his race begun,
Whom Cupid with his smarting whip enforceth forth to run.
Part won by earnest suit, the friar doth grant at last;
And part, because he thinks the storms, so lately overpast,
Of both the households' wrath, this marriage might appease;
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So that they should not rage again, but quite for ever cease
The respite of a day he asketh to devise
What way were best, unknown, to end so great an enterprise.
The wounded man that now doth deadly pains endure,
Scarce patient tarrieth whilst his leech doth make the salve to cure:
So Romeus hardly grants a short day and a night,
Yet needs he must, else must he want his only heart's delight.








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