Romeus and Juliet: Lines 827-918



  Th'appointed hour is come; he, clad in rich array,
Walks toward his desiréd home: good fortune guide his way.
Approaching near the place from whence his heart had life,
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So light he wox, he leapt the wall, and there he spied his wife,
Who in the window watched the coming of her lord;
Where she so surely had made fast the ladder made of cord,
That dangerless her spouse the chamber window climbs,
Where he ere then had wished himself above ten thousand times.
The windows close are shut; else look they for no guest;
To light the waxen quariers, the ancient nurse is pressed,
Which Juliet had before prepared to be light,
That she at pleasure might behold her husband's beauty bright.
A kerchief white as snow ware Juliet on her head,
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Such as she wonted was to wear, attire meet for the bed.
As soon as she him spied, about his neck she clung,
And by her long and slender arms a great while there she hung.
A thousand times she kissed, and him unkissed again,
Ne could she speak a word to him, though would she ne'er so fain.
And like betwixt his arms to faint his lady is;
She fets a sigh and clappeth close her closéd mouth to his;
And ready then to sownd she lookéd ruthfully,
That lo, it made him both at once to live and eke to die.
These piteous painful pangs were haply overpast,
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And she unto herself again returnéd home at last.
Then, through her troubled breast, even from the farthest part,
An hollow sigh, a messenger, she sendeth from her heart.
O Romeus, quoth she, in whom all virtues shine,
Welcome thou art into this place, where from these eyes of mine
Such teary streams did flow, that I suppose well-nigh
The source of all my bitter tears is altogether dry.
Absence so pined my heart, which on thy presence fed,
And of thy safety and thy health so much I stood in dread.
But now what is decreed by fatal destiny,
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I force it not; let Fortune do, and death, their worst to me.
Full recompensed am I for all my passéd harms,
In that the Gods have granted me to clasp thee in mine arms.
The crystal tears began to stand in Romeus' eyes,
When he unto his lady's words 'gan answer in this wise:
"Though cruel Fortune be so much my deadly foe,
That I ne can by lively proof cause thee, fair dame, to know
How much I am by love enthralléd unto thee,
Ne yet what mighty power thou hast, by thy desert, on me,
Ne torments that for thee I did ere this endure,
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Yet of thus much, ne will I feign, I may thee well assure,
The least of many pains which of thy absence sprung,
More painfully than death itself my tender heart hath wrung.
Ere this, one death had reft a thousand deaths away,
But life prolongéd was by hope of this desiréd day,
Which so just tribute pays of all my passéd moan,
That I as well contented am as if myself alone
Did from the Ocean reign unto the sea of Ind.
Wherefore now let us wipe away old cares out of our mind.
For as the wretched state is now redressed at last,
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So is it skill behind our back the curséd care to cast.
Since Fortune of her grace hath place and time assigned,
Where we with pleasure may content our uncontented mind,
In Lethes hide we deep all grief and all annoy,
Whilst we do bathe in bliss, and fill our hungry hearts with joy.
And, for the time to come, let be our busy care
So wisely to direct our love, as no wight else be ware;
Lest envious foes by force despoil our new delight,
And us throw back from happy state to more unhappy plight."
Fair Juliet began to answer what he said,
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But forth in haste the old nurse stepped, and so her answer stayed.
"Who takes not time," quoth she, "when time well offered is,
Another time shall seek for time, and yet of time shall miss.
And when occasion serves, whoso doth let it slip,
Is worthy sure, if I might judge, of lashes with a whip.
Wherefore if each of you hath harmed the other so,
And each of you hath been the cause of other's wailéd woe,
Lo here a field" -- she showed a field-bed ready dight --
"Where you may, if you list, in arms revenge yourself by fight."
Whereto these lovers both 'gan easily assent,
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And to the place of mild revenge with pleasant cheer they went,
Where they were left alone -- the nurse is gone to rest --
How can this be? They restless lie, ne yet they feel unrest.
I grant that I envy the bliss they livéd in;
Oh that I might have found the like, I wish it for no sin,
But that I might as well with pen their joys depaint,
As heretofore I have displayed their secret hidden plaint.
Of shivering care and dread I have felt many a fit,
But Fortune such delight as theirs did never grant me yet.
By proof no certain truth can I unhappy write,
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But what I guess by likelihood, that dare I to indite.
The blindfold goddess that with frowning face doth fray,
And from their seat the mighty kings throws down with headlong sway.
Beginneth now to turn to these her smiling face;
Needs must they taste of great delight, so much in Fortune's grace.
If Cupid, god of love, be god of pleasant sport,
I think, O Romeus, Mars himself envies thy happy sort.
Ne Venus justly might, as I suppose, repent,
If in thy stead, O Juliet, this pleasant time she spent.







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