Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- 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.

Romeo and Juliet: Act 1, Scene 2

COUNTY: Count.
          Enter CAPULET, COUNTY PARIS,
          and the Clown [Capulet's Servant].

1. bound: under oath.
1   But Montague is bound as well as I,
  2   In penalty alike; and 'tis not hard, I think,
  3   For men so old as we to keep the peace.

4. reckoning: reputation.
  4   Of honourable reckoning are you both;
  5   And pity 'tis you lived at odds so long.
6. suit: earnest request [to marry Capulet's daughter, Juliet].
  6   But now, my lord, what say you to my suit?

  7   But saying o'er what I have said before:
8. stranger: newcomer.
  8   My child is yet a stranger in the world;
  9   She hath not seen the change of fourteen years,
 10   Let two more summers wither in their pride,
 11   Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride.

 12   Younger than she are happy mothers made.

 13   And too soon marr'd are those so early made.
14-15. The earth ... my earth: i.e., All my other children have died, so she is my only heir and best hope for earthly happiness.
 14   The earth hath swallow'd all my hopes but she;
 15   She is the hopeful lady of my earth.
 16   But woo her, gentle Paris, get her heart,
17. My will to her consent is but a part: i.e., what I want will play only a small part in her decision about whether or not she will consent to marry you. 18-19. An she agree ... voice: i.e., if she agrees to marry you, I will give my consent and support in order that she may have what she wants.
 17   My will to her consent is but a part;
 18   An she agree, within her scope of choice
 19   Lies my consent and fair according voice.
 20   This night I hold an old accustom'd feast,
 21   Whereto I have invited many a guest,
22. store: collection, assembly [of friends].
23. my number: my number of friends.
 22   Such as I love; and you, among the store,
 23   One more, most welcome, makes my number more.
 24   At my poor house look to behold this night
 25   Earth-treading stars that make dark heaven light.
 26   Such comfort as do lusty young men feel
 27   When well-apparell'd April on the heel
 28   Of limping winter treads, even such delight
29. fennel: a fragrant flowering plant, thought to awaken love.
30. Inherit: enjoy, possess, experience.
 29   Among fresh fennel buds shall you this night
 30   Inherit at my house; hear all, all see,
 31   And like her most whose merit most shall be:
32-33. Which  . . .  none: When you have carefully viewed the many [ladies present], my daughter, though she adds to the number [of ladies present], may not add anything to the total merit [of the beautiful ladies present].
 32   Which on more view of many, mine, being one,
 33   May stand in number, though in reckoning none.
 34   Come, go with me.

           [To Servant, giving a paper.]

34. sirrah: This is a customary term of address to an inferior.
 34                                      Go, sirrah, trudge about
 35   Through fair Verona; find those persons out
 36   Whose names are written there, and to them say,
 37   My house and welcome on their pleasure stay.

40. yard: yardstick. last: shoemaker's form.
           Exit [with Paris].

 38   Find them out whose names are written here! It is
 39   written, that the shoemaker should meddle with his
 40   yard, and the tailor with his last, the fisher with
 41   his pencil, and the painter with his nets; but I am
 42   sent to find those persons whose names are here
43. find: learn.
44. In good time: i.e., here comes help, just at the time I need it. The servant recognizes Romeo and Benvolio as gentlemen, so he's sure they can read.
 43   writ, and can never find what names the writing
 44   person hath here writ. I must to the learned. —In good time!

           Enter BENVOLIO and ROMEO.

45. Tut, man, one fire burns out another's burning:
46. another's anguish: the anguish of another pain.
47. Turn  . . .  turning: i.e., if you get dizzy by spinning around, cure yourself by spinning around the other way.
48. cures with another's languish: is cured by the distress of another grief.
 45   Tut, man, one fire burns out another's burning,
 46   One pain is lessen'd by another's anguish;
 47   Turn giddy, and be holp by backward turning;
 48   One desperate grief cures with another's languish:
 49   Take thou some new infection to thy eye,
 50   And the rank poison of the old will die.

51. plantain-leaf: It was used as a band-aid for minor wounds.
 51   Your plantain-leaf is excellent for that.

 52   For what, I pray thee?

52. broken shin: skinned shin.
 52                                       For your broken shin.

 53   Why, Romeo, art thou mad?

54-55. bound more than a mad-man is; / Shut up in prison: Strict confinement was the usual treatment for insanity.
56. God-den: good evening (used after noon).
 54   Not mad, but bound more than a mad-man is;
 55   Shut up in prison, kept without my food,
 56   Whipp'd and tormented and—God-den, good fellow.

57. gi': give you.
 57   God gi' god-den. I pray, sir, can you read?

58. Ay, mine own fortune in my misery: Yes, I can read from my current misery the fact that my fortune is to be miserable.
 58   Ay, mine own fortune in my misery.

59. without book: by heart. Perhaps the servant thinks that what Romeo has just said is the title of a poem that Romeo has memorized.
 59   Perhaps you have learned it without book: but, I
 60   pray, can you read any thing you see?

 61   Ay, if I know the letters and the language.

62. rest you merry: This is a conventional phrase of farewell, like the current (C.E. 2017) "Have a good day!" Apparently the servant has decided that it's time to move on because he isn't going to get a straight answer from Romeo.
 62   Ye say honestly, rest you merry!

 63   Stay, fellow; I can read.

           He reads the letter.

 64   "Signior Martino and his wife and daughters;
 65   County Anselme and his beauteous sisters; the lady
 66   widow of Vitravio; Signior Placentio and his lovely
 67   nieces; Mercutio and his brother Valentine; mine
 68   uncle Capulet, his wife and daughters; my fair niece
 69   Rosaline; Livia; Signior Valentio and his cousin
 70   Tybalt, Lucio and the lively Helena." A fair
 71   assembly: whither should they come?

72. Up: In the city houses of affluent people the main dwelling space was "up," on the second floor. Most of the first floor would be taken up with the kitchen, laundry room, storage rooms, etc.
 72   Up.

 73   Whither?

 74   To supper; to our house.

 75   Whose house?

 76   My master's.

 77   Indeed, I should have ask'd that before.

 78   Now I'll tell you without asking. My master is the
 79   great rich Capulet; and if you be not of the house
80. crush: drink.
 80   of Montagues, I pray, come and crush a cup of wine.
 81   Rest you merry!


 82   At this same ancient feast of Capulet's
83. so loves: loves so.
 83   Sups the fair Rosaline whom thou so loves,
 84   With all the admired beauties of Verona:
85. unattainted: unprejudiced.
 85   Go thither; and, with unattainted eye,
 86   Compare her face with some that I shall show,
87. thy swan i.e., Rosaline.
 87   And I will make thee think thy swan a crow.

88. religion: pious belief.
89-91. then turn tears  . . .  liars: then turn my tears into fires, and let my eyes (which though often drowned in tears of love for Rosaline, never could let that love die) be burnt for being transparent liars.
 88   When the devout religion of mine eye
 89   Maintains such falsehood, then turn tears to fires;
 90   And these, who often drown'd could never die,
 91   Transparent heretics, be burnt for liars!
 92   One fairer than my love! The all-seeing sun
 93   Ne'er saw her match since first the world begun.

 94   Tut, you saw her fair, none else being by,
95. Herself ... eye: i.e., compared only with herself.  poised: balanced.  96. that crystal scales: i.e., Romeo's eyes.
 95   Herself poised with herself in either eye;
 96   But in that crystal scales let there be weigh'd
 97   Your lady's love against some other maid
 98   That I will show you shining at this feast,
 99   And she shall scant show well that now shows best.

100   I'll go along, no such sight to be shown,
101   But to rejoice in splendor of mine own.