-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.
Romeus and Juliet: Lines 1141-1180
These said, her tender heart, by pain oppresséd sore,
Restrained her tears, and forced her tongue to keep her talk in store;
And then as still she was, as if in sownd she lay,
And then again, wroth with herself, with feeble voice 'gan say:
"Ah, cruel murthering tongue, murth'rer of others' fame,
How durst thou once attempt to touch the honour of his name?
Whose deadly foes do yield him due and earnéd praise;
For though his freedom be bereft, his honour not decays.
Why blam'st thou Romeus for slaying of Tybalt,
Whither shall he, alas, poor banished man, now fly?
What place of succour shall he seek beneath the starry sky?
Since she pursueth him, and him defames by wrong,
That in distress should be his fort, and only rampire strong.
Receive the recompense, O Romeus, of thy wife,
Who, for she was unkind herself, doth offer up her life,
In flames of ire, in sighs, in sorrow and in ruth,
So to revenge the crime she did commit against thy truth."
These said, she could no more; her senses all 'gan fail,
Her limbs she stretchéd forth, she drew no more her breath:
Who had been there might well have seen the signs of present death.
The nurse that knew no cause why she absented her,
Did doubt lest that some sudden grief too much tormented her.
Each where but where she was the careful beldam sought;
Last, of the chamber where she lay she haply her bethought;
Where she with piteous eye her nurse-child did behold,
Her limbs stretched out, her outward parts as any marble cold.
The nurse supposed that she had paid to death her debt,
"Ah, my dear heart," quoth she, "how grieveth me thy death!
Alas, what cause hast thou thus soon to yield up living breath?"
But while she handled her, and chaféd every part,
She knew there was some spark of life by beating of her heart,
So that a thousand times she called upon her name;
There is no way to help a trance but she hath tried the same:
She openeth wide her mouth, she stoppeth close her nose,
She bendeth down her breast, she wrings her fingers and her toes,
And on her bosom cold she layeth clothés hot;