-- 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 1349-1480
When after raging fits appeaséd was his rage,
So wisely did the friar unto his tale reply,
That he straight cared for his life, that erst had care to die.
"Art thou," quoth he, "a man? Thy shape saith, so thou art;
Thy crying, and thy weeping eyes denote a woman's heart.
For manly reason is quite from off thy mind outchased,
And in her stead affections lewd and fancies highly placed:
So that I stood in doubt, this hour, at the least,
If thou a man or woman wert, or else a brutish beast.
A wise man in the midst of troubles and distress
As when the winter flaws with dreadful noise arise,
And heave the foamy swelling waves up to the starry skies,
So that the bruiséd bark in cruel seas betost,
Despaireth of the happy haven, in danger to be lost,
The pilot bold at helm, cries, 'Mates, strike now your sail,'
And turns her stem into the waves that strongly her assail;
Then driven hard upon the bare and wrackful shore,
In greater danger to be wracked than he had been before,
He seeth his ship full right against the rock to run,
Sometimes the beaten boat, by cunning government,
The anchors lost, the cables broke, and all the tackle spent,
The rudder smitten off, and overboard the mast,
Doth win the long desiréd port, the stormy danger past:
But if the master dread, and overpressed with woe
Begin to wring his hands, and lets the guiding rudder go,
The ship rents on the rock, or sinketh in the deep,
And eke the coward drenchéd is: So, if thou still beweep
And seek not how to help the changes that do chance,
Other account thee wise, prove not thyself a fool;
Now put in practice lessons learned of old in wisdom's school.
The wise man saith, 'Beware thou double not thy pain,
For one perhaps thou may'st abide, but hardly suffer twain.'
As well we ought to seek things hurtful to decrease,
As to endeavour helping things by study to increase.
The praise of true freedom in wisdom's bondage lies,
He winneth blame whose deeds be fond, although his words be wise.
Sickness the body's gaol, grief gaol is of the mind,
Fortune can fill nothing so full of hearty grief,
But in the same a constant mind finds solace and relief.
Virtue is always thrall to troubles and annoy,
But wisdom in adversity finds cause of quiet joy.
And they most wretched are that know no wretchedness,
And after great extremity mishaps aye waxen less.
Like as there is no weal but wastes away sometime,
So every kind of wailéd woe will wear away in time.
If thou wilt master quite the troubles that thee spill,
A sundry med'cine hath each sundry faint disease,
But patience, a common salve, to every wound gives ease.
The world is alway full of chances and of change,
Wherefore the change of chance must not seem to a wise man strange.
For tickel Fortune doth, in changing, but her kind,
But all her changes cannot change a steady constant mind.
Though wavering Fortune turn from thee her smiling face,
And Sorrow seek to set himself in banished Pleasure's place,
Yet may thy marred state be mended in a while,
For as her happy state no long while standeth sure,
Even so the heavy plight she brings, not always doth endure.
What need so many words to thee that art so wise?
Thou better canst advise thyself, than I can thee advise.
Wisdom, I see, is vain, if thus in time of need
A wise man's wit unpractiséd doth stand him in no stede.
I know thou hast some cause of sorrow and of care,
But well I wot thou hast no cause thus franticly to fare.
Affection's foggy mist thy feebled sight doth blind;
If thou would'st view thy state with an indifferent eye,
I think thou would'st condemn thy plaint, thy sighing, and thy cry.
With valiant hand thou mad'st thy foe yield up his breath,
Thou hast escaped his sword and eke the laws that threaten death.
By thy escape thy friends are fraughted full of joy,
And by his death thy deadly foes are laden with annoy.
Wilt thou with trusty friends of pleasure take some part ?
Or else to please thy hateful foes be partner of their smart ?
Why cry'st thou out on love? Why dost thou blame thy fate?
Dost thou repent the choice that thou so late didst choose?
Love is thy Lord; thou ought'st obey and not thy prince accuse.
For thou hast found, thou know'st, great favour in his sight.
He granted thee, at thy request, thy only heart's delight.
So that the gods envied the bliss thou lived'st in;
To give to such unthankful men is folly and a sin.
Methinks I hear thee say, the cruel banishment
Is only cause of thy unrest; only thou dost lament
That from thy native land and friends thou must depart,
And so oppressed with weight of smart that thou dost feel,
Thou dost complain of Cupid's brand, and Fortune's turning wheel.
Unto a valiant heart there is no banishment,
All countries are his native soil beneath the firmament.
As to the fish the sea, as to the fowl the air,
So is like pleasant to the wise each place of his repair.
Though froward Fortune chase thee hence into exile,
With doubled honour shall she call thee home within a while.
Admit thou should'st abide abroad a year or twain,
Though thou ne may'st thy friends here in Verona see,
They are not banished Mantua, where safely thou may'st be.
Thither they may resort, though thou resort not hither,
And there in surety may you talk of your affairs together.
Yea, but this while, alas, thy Juliet must thou miss,
The only pillar of thy health, and anchor of thy bliss.
Thy heart thou leav'st with her, when thou dost hence depart,
And in thy breast incloséd bear'st her tender friendly heart.
But if thou rue so much to leave the rest behind,
So shall the moan decrease wherewith thy mind doth melt,
Compared to the heavenly joys which thou hast often felt.
He is too nice a weakling that shrinketh at a shower,
And he unworthy of the sweet, that tasteth not the sour.
Call now again to mind thy first consuming flame,
How didst thou vainly burn in love of an unloving dame?
Hadst thou not well nigh wept quite out thy swelling eyne
Did not thy parts, fordone with pain, languish away and pine?
Those griefs and others like were haply overpast,
From whence thou art now fall'n, that, raiséd up again,
With greater joy a greater while in pleasure may'st thou reign.
Compare the present while with times y-past before,
And think that Fortune hath for thee great pleasure yet in store.
The whilst, this little wrong receive thou patiently,
And what of force must needs be done, that do thou willingly.
Folly it is to fear that thou canst not avoid,
And madness to desire it much that cannot be enjoyed.
To give to Fortune place, not aye deserveth blame,