-- 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 1781-1874
In absence of her knight the lady no way could
Keep truce between her griefs and her, though ne'er so fain she would;
And though with greater pain she cloakéd sorrow's smart,
Yet did her paléd face disclose the passions of her heart.
Her sighing every hour, her weeping everywhere,
Her reckless heed of meat, of sleep, and wearing of her gear,
The careful mother marks; then of her health afraid,
Because the griefs increaséd still, thus to her child she said:
"Dear daughter, if you should long languish in this sort,
Your loving father's life and mine, that love you more
Than our own proper breath and life. Bridle henceforth therefore
Your grief and pain, yourself on joy your thought to set,
For time it is that now you should our Tybalt's death forget.
Of whom since God hath claimed the life that was but lent,
He is in bliss, ne is there cause why you should thus lament.
You can not call him back with tears and shriekings shrill:
It is a fault thus still to grudge at God's appointed will."
The seely soul had now no longer power to feign,
With heavy broken sighs, with visage pale and dead:
"Madam, the last of Tybalt's tears a great while since I shed.
Whose spring hath been ere this so laded out by me,
That empty quite and moistureless I guess it now to be.
So that my painéd heart by conduits of the eyne
No more henceforth, as wont it was, shall gush forth dropping brine."
The woeful mother knew not what her daughter meant,
And loth to vex her child by words, her peace she warely hent.
But when from hour to hour, from morrow to the morrow,
All means she sought of her and household folk to know
The certain root whereon her grief and bootless moan doth grow.
But lo, she hath in vain her time and labour lore,
Wherefore without all measure is her heart tormented sore.
And sith herself could not find out the cause of care,
She thought it good to tell the sire how ill his child did fare.
And when she saw her time, thus to her fere she said:
"Sir, if you mark our daughter well, the countenance of the maid,
And how she fareth since that Tybalt unto death,
Her face shall seem so changed, her doings eke so strange,
That you will greatly wonder at so great and sudden change.
Not only she forbears her meat, her drink, and sleep,
But now she tendeth nothing else but to lament and weep.
No greater joy hath she, nothing contents her heart
So much as in the chamber close to shut herself apart;
Where she doth so torment her poor afflicted mind,
That much in danger stands her life, except some help we find.
But, out, alas, I see not how it may be found,
For though with busy care I have employed my wit,
And used all the ways I knew to learn the truth of it,
Neither extremity ne gentle means could boot;
She hideth close within her breast her secret sorrow's root.
This was my first conceit, that all her ruth arose
Out of her cousin Tybalt's death, late slain of deadly foes;
But now my heart doth hold a new repugnant thought;
Some greater thing, not Tybalt's death, this change in her hath wrought.
Herself assuréd me that many days ago
That I then could not guess what thing else might her grieve;
But now at length I have bethought me; and I do believe
The only crop and root of all my daughter's pain
Is grudging envy's faint disease: perhaps she doth disdain
To see in wedlock yoke the most part of her feres,
Whilst only she unmarriéd doth lose so many years.
And more perchance she thinks you mind to keep her so;
Wherefore despairing doth she wear herself away with woe.
Therefore, dear sir, in time take on your daughter ruth;
Join her at once to some in link of marriage,
That may be meet for our degree, and much about her age:
So shall you banish care out of your daughter's breast,
So we her parents, in our age, shall live in quiet rest."
Whereto 'gan easily her husband to agree,
And to the mother's skilful talk thus straightway answered he:
"Oft have I thought, dear wife, of all these things ere this,
But evermore my mind me gave, it should not be amiss
By farther leisure had a husband to provide;
But since her state doth stand on terms so perilous,
And that a maiden daughter is a treasure dangerous,
With so great speed I will endeavour to procure
A husband for our daughter young, her sickness faint to cure,
That you shall rest content, so warely will I choose,
And she recover soon enough the time she seems to lose.
The whilst seek you to learn, if she in any part
Already hath, unware to us, fixéd her friendly heart;
Lest we have more respect to honour and to wealth,
Whom I do hold as dear as th'apple of mine eye,
And rather wish in poor estate and daughterless to die,
Than leave my goods and her y-thralled to such a one,
Whose churlish dealing, I once dead, should be her cause of moan."