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-- 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 3, Scene 3

           Enters FRIAR [LAURENCE].

1. fearful: full of fear.
2. parts: qualities.
  1   Romeo, come forth; come forth, thou fearful man:
  2   Affliction is enamour'd of thy parts,
  3   And thou art wedded to calamity.

           [Enter] ROMEO.

4. doom: judgment, sentence.
  4   Father, what news? what is the prince's doom?
  5   What sorrow craves acquaintance at my hand,
  6   That I yet know not?

  6                                  Too familiar
  7   Is my dear son with such sour company:
  8   I bring thee tidings of the prince's doom.

9. doomsday: i.e., death.

10. vanish'd: Shakespeare must be using "vanish'd" to mean "issued," but I can't see why.
  9   What less than doomsday is the prince's doom?

 10   A gentler judgment vanish'd from his lips,
 11   Not body's death, but body's banishment.

 12   Ha, banishment! be merciful, say "death";
 13   For exile hath more terror in his look,
 14   Much more than death: do not say "banishment."

 15   Hence from Verona art thou banished:
16. Be patient: Compose yourself.

17. without: outside of.

20. world's exile: exile from the world.
 16   Be patient, for the world is broad and wide.

 17   There is no world without Verona walls,
 18   But purgatory, torture, hell itself.
 19   Hence "banished" is banish'd from the world,
 20   And world's exile is death: then "banished"
 21   Is death mis-term'd: calling death "banished,"
 22   Thou cutt'st my head off with a golden axe,
 23   And smilest upon the stroke that murders me.

 24   O deadly sin! O rude unthankfulness!
25. Thy  . . .  death: our law decrees death as the punishment for your crime. 26. rush'd aside: brushed aside.
 25   Thy fault our law calls death; but the kind prince,
 26   Taking thy part, hath rush'd aside the law,
 27   And turn'd that black word "death" to "banishment."
28. dear: precious, rare.
 28   This is dear mercy, and thou seest it not.

 29   'Tis torture, and not mercy: heaven is here,
 30   Where Juliet lives; and every cat and dog
 31   And little mouse, every unworthy thing,
 32   Live here in heaven and may look on her;
33. validity: worth, dignity.
34. courtship: (1) courtliness; (2) opportunity to woo. 35. carrion-flies: Romeo is referring to ordinary flies, which feast on carrion—rotten meat.
 33   But Romeo may not. More validity,
 34   More honourable state, more courtship lives
 35   In carrion-flies than Romeo: they may seize
 36   On the white wonder of dear Juliet's hand
 37   And steal immortal blessing from her lips,
 38   Who even in pure and vestal modesty,
39. Still blush: always blush.  as thinking their own kisses sin: as if they [Juliet's lips] think that their kissing [i.e., touching one another] is a sin.
 39   Still blush, as thinking their own kisses sin;
 40   But Romeo may not; he is banished:
 41   Flies may do this, but I from this must fly:
 42   They are free men, but I am banished.
 43   And say'st thou yet that exile is not death?
 44   Hadst thou no poison mix'd, no sharp-ground knife,
45. sudden mean of death, though ne'er so mean: some quick means of death, no matter how contemptible.
 45   No sudden mean of death, though ne'er so mean,
 46   But "banished" to kill me? "Banished"?
 47   O friar, the damned use that word in hell;
 48   Howlings attend it: how hast thou the heart,
49. ghostly confessor: i.e., spiritual counselor.
 49   Being a divine, a ghostly confessor,
 50   A sin-absolver, and my friend profess'd,
 51   To mangle me with that word "banished"?

52. fond: foolish.
 52   Thou fond mad man, hear me but speak a word.

 53   O, thou wilt speak again of banishment.

 54   I'll give thee armour to keep off that word:
 55   Adversity's sweet milk, philosophy,
 56   To comfort thee, though thou art banished.

 57   Yet "banished"? Hang up philosophy!
 58   Unless philosophy can make a Juliet,
59. Displant: transplant.
60. prevails not: is of no effect.
 59   Displant a town, reverse a prince's doom,
 60   It helps not, it prevails not. Talk no more.

 61   O, then I see that madmen have no ears.

62. wise men have no eyes: Romeo's point is that one glance at him should make it obvious to the wise Friar Laurence that Romeo cannot live without Juliet.
63. dispute: discuss, present another point of view.  of thy estate: concerning the state of your affairs.
 62   How should they, when that wise men have no eyes?

 63   Let me dispute with thee of thy estate.

 64   Thou canst not speak of that thou dost not feel:
 65   Wert thou as young as I, Juliet thy love,
 66   An hour but married, Tybalt murdered,
 67   Doting like me and like me banished,
 68   Then mightst thou speak, then mightst thou tear thy hair,
 69   And fall upon the ground, as I do now,
 70   Taking the measure of an unmade grave.

           Enter Nurse [within] and knock.

 71   Arise; one knocks; good Romeo, hide thyself.

 72   Not I; unless the breath of heartsick groans,
 73   Mist-like, infold me from the search of eyes.


 74   Hark, how they knock!—Who's there?—Romeo, arise;
75. taken: arrested.  Stay a while!: wait a moment! This is said to whoever is knocking at the door.
 75   Thou wilt be taken.—Stay awhile!—Stand up;


 76   Run to my study.—By and by!—God's will,
77. simpleness: foolishness.
 77   What simpleness is this!—I come, I come!


 78   Who knocks so hard? whence come you? what's your will?

      Nurse  [Within.]
 79   Let me come in, and you shall know my errand;
 80   I come from Lady Juliet.

 80                                     Welcome, then.

           Enter NURSE.

 81   O holy friar, O, tell me, holy friar,
 82   Where is my lady's lord, where's Romeo?

 83   There on the ground, with his own tears made drunk.

84. he is even in my mistress' case: he is in exactly the same state as my mistress. 85. sympathy: similarity [of suffering].
 84   O, he is even in my mistress' case,
 85   Just in her case! O woful sympathy!
 86   Piteous predicament! Even so lies she,
 87   Blubbering and weeping, weeping and blubbering.
88. an you be a man: if you are a man.
 88   Stand up, stand up; stand, an you be a man:
 89   For Juliet's sake, for her sake, rise and stand;
90. O: i.e., fit of groaning.
 90   Why should you fall into so deep an O?

 91   Nurse!

92. Death's the end of all: This saying means "things can't be so bad—at least you're not dead."
 92   Ah sir! ah sir! Death's the end of all.

 93   Spakest thou of Juliet? how is it with her?
94. old: experienced, hardened.
 94   Doth she not think me an old murderer,
 95   Now I have stain'd the childhood of our joy
96. blood removed but little from her own: i.e., blood of a near relative (Tybalt).
 96   With blood removed but little from her own?
 97   Where is she? and how doth she? and what says
98. conceal'd lady: secret wife.  to: about.
 98   My conceal'd lady to our cancell'd love?

 99   O, she says nothing, sir, but weeps and weeps;
100   And now falls on her bed; and then starts up,
101   And Tybalt calls; and then on Romeo cries,
102   And then down falls again.

102                                        As if that name,
103. level: aim.
103   Shot from the deadly level of a gun,
104   Did murder her; as that name's cursed hand
105   Murder'd her kinsman. O, tell me, friar, tell me,
106. this anatomy: i.e., my body.
107. sack: attack and destroy.
106   In what vile part of this anatomy
107   Doth my name lodge? tell me, that I may sack
108   The hateful mansion.

108. Hold: stop. Romeo does something, such as pulling out a dagger, that shows he means to kill himself.
108                                   Hold thy desperate hand:
109   Art thou a man? thy form cries out thou art:
110   Thy tears are womanish; thy wild acts denote
111. unreasonable: irrational.
112-113. Unseemly woman ... seeming both: unseemly woman dwelling within one who seems to be a man, or [even worse] unseemly beast dwelling within one who seems to be both a man and a woman.
115. better temper'd: stronger, more stable.
111   The unreasonable fury of a beast:
112   Unseemly woman in a seeming man!
113   Or ill-beseeming beast in seeming both,
114   Thou hast amazed me! By my holy order,
115   I thought thy disposition better temper'd.
116   Hast thou slain Tybalt? wilt thou slay thyself?
117   And slay thy lady that in thy life lives,
118   By doing damned hate upon thyself?
119. Why  . . .   birth: why do you bittery complain that you were ever born? 120-121. birth, and heaven, and earth, all three do meet / In thee at once:
122. shape: human form.  wit: intellect.
123. like a usurer: Shakespeare is thinking of a usurer as a rich person who hoards his wealth and never puts any of it to its proper, productive use. 125. bedeck: adorn.
119   Why rail'st thou on thy birth, the heaven and earth?
120   Since birth, and heaven, and earth, all three do meet
121   In thee at once; which thou at once wouldst lose.
122   Fie, fie, thou shamest thy shape, thy love, thy wit;
123   Which, like a usurer, abound'st in all,
124   And usest none in that true use indeed
125   Which should bedeck thy shape, thy love, thy wit.
126. form of wax: waxwork figure.
126   Thy noble shape is but a form of wax,
127   Digressing from the valour of a man;
128   Thy dear love sworn but hollow perjury,
129   Killing that love which thou hast vow'd to cherish;
130   Thy wit, that ornament to shape and love,
131. Misshapen: deformed.  conduct: guidance.
131   Misshapen in the conduct of them both,
132. powder: gunpowder. flask: powder horn.
132   Like powder in a skilless soldier's flask,
133   Is set afire by thine own ignorance,
134. thou dismember'd with thine own defence: i.e., you are blown to bits by that which should defend you from harm.
134   And thou dismember'd with thine own defence.
135   What, rouse thee, man! thy Juliet is alive,
136   For whose dear sake thou wast but lately dead;
137. happy: fortunate.
137   There art thou happy: Tybalt would kill thee,
138   But thou slew'st Tybalt; there are thou happy too:
139   The law that threaten'd death becomes thy friend
140   And turns it to exile; there art thou happy:
141   A pack of blessings lights up upon thy back;
142   Happiness courts thee in her best array;
143. mishaved: misbehaved.
143   But, like a mishaved and sullen wench,
144   Thou pout'st upon thy fortune and thy love.
145   Take heed, take heed, for such die miserable.
146. as was decreed: as was already planned on and agreed to.
146   Go, get thee to thy love, as was decreed,
147   Ascend her chamber, hence and comfort her.
148. watch be set: guard be posted. The watch would be set at dusk, but as it turns out, Romeo doesn't leave Verona until almost dawn.
148   But look thou stay not till the watch be set,
149   For then thou canst not pass to Mantua;
150   Where thou shalt live, till we can find a time
151. blaze: make known.  reconcile your friends: i.e., get your families to agree to approve the marriage.
151   To blaze your marriage, reconcile your friends,
152   Beg pardon of the prince, and call thee back
153   With twenty hundred thousand times more joy
154   Than thou went'st forth in lamentation.
155   Go before, nurse: commend me to thy lady;
156   And bid her hasten all the house to bed,
157   Which heavy sorrow makes them apt unto:
158   Romeo is coming.

159   O Lord, I could have stay'd here all the night
160. counsel: advice, philosophy.  O, what learning is!" The Nurse is very impressed by how well the learned Friar can talk.
160   To hear good counsel: O, what learning is!
161   My lord, I'll tell my lady you will come.

162. chide: scold. Romeo says to the Nurse, "bid my sweet prepare to chide," as though he deserves chiding from Juliet, but why? Because he killed Tybalt? Because he's going to be later than she expected?
162   Do so, and bid my sweet prepare to chide.

163   Here, sir, a ring she bid me give you, sir:
164   Hie you, make haste, for it grows very late.

           [Exit Nurse.]

165   How well my comfort is revived by this!

166. here stands all your state: all of your fortunes depends on what I am about to tell you.
166   Go hence; good night; and here stands all your state:
167   Either be gone before the watch be set,
168   Or by the break of day disguised from hence.
169   Sojourn in Mantua; I'll find out your man,
170-171. he shall signify from time to time / Every good hap to you that chances here: he will tell you news, from time to time, of all the happenings that work to your benefit here in Verona.
170   And he shall signify from time to time
171   Every good hap to you that chances here:
172   Give me thy hand; 'tis late: farewell; good night.

173   But that a joy past joy calls out on me,
174. brief: hastily.
174   It were a grief, so brief to part with thee.
175   Farewell.