-- 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 1181-1256
At length doth Juliet heave faintly up her eyes,
And then she stretcheth forth her arm, and then her nurse she spies.
But when she was awaked from her unkindly trance,
"Why dost thou trouble me," quoth she, "what drave thee, with mischance,
To come to see my sprite forsake my breathless corse?
Go hence, and let me die, if thou have on my smart remorse.
For who would see her friend to live in deadly pain?
Alas, I see my grief begun for ever will remain.
Or who would seek to live, all pleasure being past?
Wherefore since that there is none other remedy,
Come, gentle death, and rive my heart at once, and let me die."
The nurse with trickling tears, to witness inward smart,
With hollow sigh fetched from the depth of her appalléd heart,
Thus spake to Juliet, y-clad with ugly care:
"Good lady mine, I do not know what makes you thus to fare;
Ne yet the cause of your unmeasured heaviness.
But of this one I you assure, for care and sorrow's stress,
This hour large and more I thought, so God me save,
"Alas, my tender nurse and trusty friend," quoth she,
"Art thou so blind that with thine eye thou canst not easely see
The lawful cause I have to sorrow and to mourn,
Since those the which I held most dear, I have at once forlorn."
Her nurse then answered thus: "Methinks it sits you ill
To fall in these extremities that may you guiltless spill.
For when the storms of care and troubles do arise,
Then is the time for men to know the foolish from the wise.
You are accounted wise, a fool am I your nurse;
Tybalt your friend is dead; what, ween you by your tears
To call him back again? think you that he your crying hears?
You shall perceive the fault, if it be justly tried,
Of his so sudden death, was in his rashness and his pride.
Would you that Romeus himself had wrongéd so,
To suffer himself causeless to be outraged of his foe,
To whom in no respect he ought a place to give?
Let it suffice to thee, fair dame, that Romeus doth live,
And that there is good hope that he, within a while,
How well y-born he is, thyself, I know, canst tell,
By kindred strong,and well allied, of all belovéd well.
With patience arm thyself, for though that Fortune's crime,
Without your fault, to both your griefs, depart you for a time'
I dare say, for amends of all your present pain,
She will restore your own to you, within a month or twain,
With such contented ease as never erst you had;
Wherefore rejoice a while in hope, and be ne more so sad.
And that I may discharge your heart of heavy care,
To learn his present state, and what in time to come
He minds to do; which known by me, you shall know all and some.
But that I dread the whilst your sorrows will you quell,
Straight would I hie where he doth lurk, to Friar Laurence' cell.
But if you 'gin eftsoons, as erst you did, to mourn,
Whereto go I? you will be dead, before I thence return.
So I shall spend in waste my time and busy pain.
So unto you, your life once lost, good answer comes in vain;
So shall I rid myself with this sharp-pointed knife;
So shall your Romeus, despising lively breath,
With hasty foot, before his time, run to untimely death.
Where, if you can awhile, by reason, rage suppress,
I hope at my return to bring the salve of your distress.
Now choose to have me here a partner of your pain,
Or promise me to feed on hope till I return again."
Her mistress sends her forth, and makes a grave behest
With reason's reign to rule the thoughts that rage within her breast.
When hugy heaps of harms are heaped before her eyes,
'Twixt well assuréd trust, and doubtful lewd despair:
Now black and ugly be her thoughts; now seem they white and fair.
As oft in summer tide black clouds do dim the sun,
And straight again in clearest sky his restless steeds do run,
So Juliet's wand'ring mind y-clouded is with woe,
And by and by her hasty thought the woes doth overgo.