Romeo and Juliet: Act 3, Scene 5

aloft: i.e., in the second-story acting space above the back of the main stage.
           Enter ROMEO and JULIET aloft.

  1   Wilt thou be gone? it is not yet near day:
  2   It was the nightingale, and not the lark,
  3   That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear;
  4   Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate-tree:
  5   Believe me, love, it was the nightingale.

  6   It was the lark, the herald of the morn,
  7   No nightingale. Look, love, what envious streaks
  8   Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east.
9. Night's candles: i.e., the stars.
  9   Night's candles are burnt out, and jocund day
 10   Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.
 11   I must be gone and live, or stay and die.

 12   Yon light is not daylight, I know it, I:
13. some meteor that the sun exhal'd: Meteors were thought to be luminous vapors which the sun's heat drew from the earth.
 13   It is some meteor that the sun exhal'd,
 14   To be to thee this night a torch-bearer,
 15   And light thee on thy way to Mantua.
 16   Therefore stay yet; thou need'st not to be gone.

17. ta'en: taken, arrested.
 17   Let me be ta'en, let me be put to death;
 18   I am content, so thou wilt have it so.
 19   I'll say yon grey is not the morning's eye,
20. reflex of Cynthia's brow: i.e., moonlight.
21-22. beat / The vaulty heaven: echo in the arched heaven.
 20   'Tis but the pale reflex of Cynthia's brow;
 21   Nor that is not the lark, whose notes do beat
 22   The vaulty heaven so high above our heads.
23. care: desire.
 23   I have more care to stay than will to go:
 24   Come, death, and welcome! Juliet wills it so.
 25   How is't, my soul? let's talk; it is not day.

26. hie hence: hasten away from here.
 26   It is, it is: hie hence, be gone, away!
 27   It is the lark that sings so out of tune,
28. Straining: straining its voice with.  sharps: high notes. 29. division: variations on a melody.
30. This: i.e., this lark that we hear singing now.
31-32. Some say ... changed voices too: 31. change: exchange
 28   Straining harsh discords and unpleasing sharps.
 29   Some say the lark makes sweet division;
 30   This doth not so, for she divideth us.
 31   Some say the lark and loathed toad change eyes,
 32   O, now I would they had changed voices too,
33. arm from arm: out of each other's arms. affray: frighten.
 33   Since arm from arm that voice doth us affray,
34. hunt's-up: a song that announces the coming of dawn.
 34   Hunting thee hence with hunt's-up to the day.
 35   O, now be gone; more light and light it grows.

 36   More light and light; more dark and dark our woes!

           Enter NURSE.

 37   Madam!

 38   Nurse?

 39   Your lady mother is coming to your chamber:
 40   The day is broke; be wary, look about.

           [Exit Nurse.]

 41   Then, window, let day in, and let life out.

 42   Farewell, farewell! one kiss, and I'll descend.

           [Romeo climbs down from Juliet's window.]

43. friend: lover.
 43   Art thou gone so? love, lord, ay, husband, friend!
 44   I must hear from thee every day in the hour,
 45   For in a minute there are many days:
46. by this count: i.e., by my way of counting (in which every minute away from you counts as a day). much in years: very old.
 46   O, by this count I shall be much in years
 47   Ere I again behold my Romeo!

      ROMEO  [From below.]
 48   Farewell!
 49   I will omit no opportunity
 50   That may convey my greetings, love, to thee.

 51   O think'st thou we shall ever meet again?

 52   I doubt it not; and all these woes shall serve
 53   For sweet discourses in our time to come.

54. ill-divining: prophesying of evil.
 54   O God, I have an ill-divining soul!
 55   Methinks I see thee, now thou art below,
 56   As one dead in the bottom of a tomb.
 57   Either my eyesight fails, or thou look'st pale.

 58   And trust me, love, in my eye so do you:
59. Dry sorrow drinks our blood: thirsty sorrow drinks up our blood [and so we both look bloodless, pale].
 59   Dry sorrow drinks our blood. Adieu, adieu!


 60   O Fortune, Fortune! all men call thee fickle:
61. what dost thou: what business have you.  him / That is renown'd for faith: him who is honored for his faithfulness [i.e., Romeo].
 61   If thou art fickle, what dost thou with him
 62   That is renown'd for faith? Be fickle, fortune;
 63   For then, I hope, thou wilt not keep him long,
 64   But send him back.

      LADY CAPULET  [Within.]
 64                                   Ho, daughter! are you up?

 65   Who is't that calls? is it my lady mother?
66. not down: not yet in bed.
67. What unaccustom'd cause procures her hither?: what extraordinary reason brings her here?
She goeth down from the window:
 66   Is she not down so late, or up so early?
 67   What unaccustom'd cause procures her hither?

         [She goeth down from the window.]

           Enter Mother [LADY CAPULET].

68. how now, Juliet!: i.e., what's the matter with you, Juliet?
 68   Why, how now, Juliet!

 68                                          Madam, I am not well.

69. your cousin's: i.e., Tybalt's.
 69   Evermore weeping for your cousin's death?
 70   What, wilt thou wash him from his grave with tears?
71. An if: even if.
 71   An if thou couldst, thou couldst not make him live;
 72   Therefore, have done: some grief shows much of love,
73. shows still some want of wit: always shows some lack of good sense.
 73   But much of grief shows still some want of wit.

74. feeling: affecting.
 74   Yet let me weep for such a feeling loss.

75-76. So shall you feel the loss, but not the friend / Which you weep for: [weeping as you are now doing] will make you feel the loss of your friend, but won't allow you to embrace the friend that you are weeping for.
 75   So shall you feel the loss, but not the friend
 76   Which you weep for.

 76                                  Feeling so the loss,
77. ever weep the friend: continually weep for the friend.
 77   I cannot choose but ever weep the friend.

 78   Well, girl, thou weep'st not so much for his death,
 79   As that the villain lives which slaughter'd him.

 80   What villain madam?

 80                                    That same villain, Romeo.

      JULIET  [Aside.]
 81   Villain and he be many miles asunder.—
 82   God pardon him! I do, with all my heart;
83. like: so much as.  Juliet allows her mother to believe that her heart grieves for Tybalt and has a grievance against Romeo because Romeo killed Tybalt, but we know that Juliet really grieves because Romeo is gone. Juliet continues to use the same kind of double meanings in the following lines.
 83   And yet no man like he doth grieve my heart.

 84   That is because the traitor murderer lives.

 85   Ay, madam, from the reach of these my hands:
86. venge: avenge.
 86   Would none but I might venge my cousin's death!

 87   We will have vengeance for it, fear thou not:
 88   Then weep no more. I'll send to one in Mantua,
89. runagate: renegade.
90. unaccustom'd dram: i.e., poison. Lady Capulet is making a bitter pun on "dram" as meaning a small drink of liquor which will make one feel good.
 89   Where that same banish'd runagate doth live,
 90   Shall give him such an unaccustom'd dram,
 91   That he shall soon keep Tybalt company:
 92   And then, I hope, thou wilt be satisfied.

 93   Indeed, I never shall be satisfied
 94   With Romeo, till I behold him—dead—
 95   Is my poor heart so for a kinsman vex'd.
 96   Madam, if you could find out but a man
97. To bear a poison: to deliver a poison [to Romeo]. temper it: modify the poison.
 97   To bear a poison, I would temper it,
 98   That Romeo should, upon receipt thereof,
 99   Soon sleep in quiet. O, how my heart abhors
100   To hear him named, and cannot come to him
101. wreak: take revenge.  But we know that Juliet's revenge on Romeo would be to have him in her bed again.
102. his body that: the body of him who.
101   To wreak the love I bore my cousin
102   Upon his body that slaughter'd him!

103   Find thou the means, and I'll find such a man.
104   But now I'll tell thee joyful tidings, girl.

105   And joy comes well in such a needy time:
106   What are they, I beseech your ladyship?

107. careful father: father full of care [for your welfare].
108. to  . . .  heaviness: in order to relieve you of your sorrow.
109. sorted out: picked out.  sudden: soon to come.
107   Well, well, thou hast a careful father, child;
108   One who, to put thee from thy heaviness,
109   Hath sorted out a sudden day of joy,
110   That thou expect'st not nor I look'd not for.

111   Madam, in happy time, what day is that?

112   Marry, my child, early next Thursday morn,
113   The gallant, young and noble gentleman,
114   The County Paris, at Saint Peter's Church,
115   Shall happily make thee there a joyful bride.

116   Now, by Saint Peter's Church and Peter too,
117   He shall not make me there a joyful bride.
118   I wonder at this haste; that I must wed
119   Ere he, that should be husband, comes to woo.
120   I pray you, tell my lord and father, madam,
121   I will not marry yet; and, when I do, I swear,
122   It shall be Romeo, whom you know I hate,
123   Rather than Paris. These are news indeed!

124   Here comes your father; tell him so yourself,
125   And see how he will take it at your hands.

           Enter CAPULET and NURSE.

126. drizzle dew: i.e., become misty.
127. the sunset of my brother's son: i.e., the death of Tybalt.
129. conduit: water pipe, fountain.
126   When the sun sets, the air doth drizzle dew;
127   But for the sunset of my brother's son
128   It rains downright.
129   How now! a conduit, girl? what, still in tears?
130   Evermore showering? In one little body
131. Thou counterfeit'st: You appear to be the image of. bark: sailing ship.
131   Thou counterfeit'st a bark, a sea, a wind;
132   For still thy eyes, which I may call the sea,
133   Do ebb and flow with tears; the bark thy body is,
134   Sailing in this salt flood; the winds, thy sighs;
135   Who, raging with thy tears, and they with them,
136. Without a sudden calm: unless there is a sudden calm.  overset: capsize.
136   Without a sudden calm, will overset
137   Thy tempest-tossed body. How now, wife!
138   Have you deliver'd to her our decree?

139. but she will none, she gives you thanks: i.e., but she says "No, thank you."
139   Ay, sir; but she will none, she gives you thanks.
140   I would the fool were married to her grave!

141. Soft!: wait a minute, what's this?  take me with you: let me understand what you mean.
143. proud: elated [at the news of her wedding to Paris].
144. wrought: worked hard to secure.
145. bride: bridegroom.
141   Soft! take me with you, take me with you, wife.
142   How! will she none? doth she not give us thanks?
143   Is she not proud? doth she not count her blest,
144   Unworthy as she is, that we have wrought
145   So worthy a gentleman to be her bride?

146. Not proud, you have; but thankful, that you have: [I am] not elated [that] you have [arranged this marriage]; but [I am] thankful that you have [arranged this marriage, out of love for me].
146   Not proud, you have; but thankful, that you have:
147   Proud can I never be of what I hate;
148   But thankful even for hate, that is meant love.

149. chopp'd logic: illogical logic, shallow argument.
149   How, how, how, how, chopp'd logic! What is this?
150   "Proud," and "I thank you," and "I thank you not";
151. minion: spoiled darling.
151   And yet "not proud." Mistress minion, you,
152   Thank me no thankings, nor, proud me no prouds,
153. fettle: prepare, fix up. This word was usually used in reference to horses. 'gainst: against; i.e., in preparation for.
155. hurdle: a sledge used to drag prisoners to the gallows.
156. Out: an exclamation of indignant reproach.  green-sickness: the proverbial pallor of young, unmarried women.  carrion: corpse, rotten meat.  baggage: good-for-nothing.
157. tallow-face: Tallow is "a hard fatty substance made from rendered animal fat, used in making candles and soap."  Fie, fie! what, are you mad?: Maybe Lady Capulet says this to her husband and means that Capulet has gone too far. Or maybe Lady Capulet is joining her husband in abusing their daughter.
153   But fettle your fine joints 'gainst Thursday next,
154   To go with Paris to Saint Peter's Church,
155   Or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither.
156   Out, you green-sickness carrion! Out, you baggage!
157   You tallow-face!

157                              Fie, fie! what, are you mad?

158   Good father, I beseech you on my knees,
159   Hear me with patience but to speak a word.

160   Hang thee, young baggage! disobedient wretch!
161   I tell thee what: get thee to church o' Thursday,
162   Or never after look me in the face:
163   Speak not, reply not, do not answer me;
164. My fingers itch: i.e., I can hardly resist slapping you down.
164   My fingers itch. Wife, we scarce thought us blest
165   That God had lent us but this only child;
166   But now I see this one is one too much,
167   And that we have a curse in having her.
168. hilding: worthless person.
168   Out on her, hilding!

168                                    God in heaven bless her!
169. rate: berate.
169   You are to blame, my lord, to rate her so.

170   And why, my Lady Wisdom? hold your tongue,
171. smatter: chatter.
171   Good Prudence; smatter with your gossips, go.

172   I speak no treason.

172. God-i-god-en: literally, "God yield ye [give you] good evening," but here, an impatient exclamation equivalent to "for God's sake!"
172                                  O, God-i-god-en.

173   May not one speak?

173                               Peace, you mumbling fool!
174. Utter your gravity o'er a gossip's bowl: say your wisdom over a bowl you share with one of your cronies.
174   Utter your gravity o'er a gossip's bowl;
175   For here we need it not.

175                                      You are too hot.

176. God's bread!: literally, Christ's sacrament, but Capulet is just cursing.
176   God's bread! it makes me mad! Day, night, work, play,
177   Alone, in company, still my care hath been
178   To have her match'd, and having now provided
179   A gentleman of noble parentage,
180. demesnes: estates. nobly lien'd: well connected.
180   Of fair demesnes, youthful, and nobly lien'd,
181   Stuff'd, as they say, with honourable parts,
182   Proportion'd as one's thought would wish a man;
183. puling: whimpering.
184. mammet: doll-baby. in her fortune's tender: when good fortune is offered her.
186-187. pardon me . . . pardon you: excuse me . . . set you free.
183   And then to have a wretched puling fool,
184   A whining mammet, in her fortune's tender,
185   To answer "I'll not wed; I cannot love,
186   I am too young; I pray you, pardon me."
187   But, as you will not wed, I'll pardon you:
188   Graze where you will you shall not house with me:
189. I do not use to jest: i.e., I'm not kidding.
190. advise: consider well.
191-192. An . . . And: if . . . if.
189   Look to't, think on't, I do not use to jest.
190   Thursday is near; lay hand on heart, advise.
191   An you be mine, I'll give you to my friend;
192   And you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets,
193   For, by my soul, I'll ne'er acknowledge thee,
194   Nor what is mine shall never do thee good:
195. I'll not be forsworn: I'll never go back on my word.
195   Trust to't, bethink you; I'll not be forsworn.


196   Is there no pity sitting in the clouds,
197   That sees into the bottom of my grief?
198   O, sweet my mother, cast me not away!
199   Delay this marriage for a month, a week;
200   Or, if you do not, make the bridal bed
201   In that dim monument where Tybalt lies.

202   Talk not to me, for I'll not speak a word.
203   Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee.


204   O God!—O nurse, how shall this be prevented?
205. my faith in heaven: my marriage vow is registered in heaven. 206-8. How shall that faith ... leaving earth?:
205   My husband is on earth, my faith in heaven;
206   How shall that faith return again to earth,
207   Unless that husband send it me from heaven
208. counsel me: advise me.
209. practise stratagems: play dirty tricks.
208   By leaving earth? Comfort me, counsel me!
209   Alack, alack, that heaven should practise stratagems
210   Upon so soft a subject as myself!
211   What say'st thou? Hast thou not a word of joy?
212   Some comfort, nurse.

212                                   Faith, here it is.
213. all the world to nothing: i.e., it's a safe bet.
214. ne'er: never. challenge: claim.
213   Romeo is banish'd; and all the world to nothing,
214   That he dares ne'er come back to challenge you;
215   Or, if he do, it needs must be by stealth.
216   Then, since the case so stands as now it doth,
217   I think it best you married with the county.
218   O, he's a lovely gentleman!
219. Romeo's  . . .  him: Romeo's a dish-rag in comparison to him.
220. so  . . .  eye: so fresh, so lively, so beautiful an eye.
221. Beshrew my very heart: curse my own heart; i.e., my heart be cursed if I'm not right.
219   Romeo's a dishclout to him. An eagle, madam,
220   Hath not so green, so quick, so fair an eye
221   As Paris hath. Beshrew my very heart,
222   I think you are happy in this second match,
223   For it excels your first: or if it did not,
224   Your first is dead; or 'twere as good he were,
225. As living here and you no use of him: since he is living here [on earth], but you can't have any use of him [as a husband].
225   As living here and you no use of him.

226   Speakest thou from thy heart?

227. beshrew: curse.
227   And from my soul too, else beshrew them both.

228. Amen: There is a hidden meaning in Juliet's "Amen!" Juliet has asked if the Nurse's advice to marry Paris comes from her heart, and the Nurse has replied that it comes from both her heart and soul, "else beshrew [curse] them both." So, when Juliet says, "Amen," she means "cursed indeed be your heart and soul for giving such advice."
228   Amen!

229   What?

230   Well, thou hast comforted me marvellous much.
231   Go in: and tell my lady I am gone,
232   Having displeased my father, to Laurence' cell,
233   To make confession and to be absolved.

234   Marry, I will; and this is wisely done.


235. Ancient damnation: damned old woman.
235   Ancient damnation! O most wicked fiend!
236   Is it more sin to wish me thus forsworn,
237   Or to dispraise my lord with that same tongue
238   Which she hath praised him with above compare
239   So many thousand times? Go, counsellor;
240. bosom: private thoughts. twain: separated.
240   Thou and my bosom henceforth shall be twain.
241   I'll to the friar, to know his remedy;
242   If all else fail, myself have power to die.