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A dram of poison; such soon-speeding gear
As will disperse itself through all the veins,
That the life-weary taker may fall dead;
And that the trunk may be discharg'd of breath
As violently, as hasty powder fir'd

Doth hurry from the fatal cannon's womb.

Ap. Such mortal drugs I have; but Mantua's law Is death to any he that utters them.

Rom. Art thou so bare, and full of wretchedness, And fear'st to die? famine is in thy cheeks, Need and oppression starveth in thy eyes," Contempt and beggary hang upon thy back, The world is not thy friend, nor the world's law: The world affords no law to make thee rich; Then, be not poor, but break it, and take this.

Ap. My poverty, but not my will, consents. Rom. I pay thy poverty, and not thy will. Ap. Put this in any liquid thing you will, And drink it off; and, if you had the strength Of twenty men, it would despatch you straight.

Rom. There is thy gold; worse poison to men's souls,

Doing more murders in this loathsome world, Than these poor compounds that thou may'st not sell:

I sell thee poison, thou hast sold me none.
Farewell; buy food, and get thyself in flesh.-

Thus the old copies. Otway copied the line in his Caius Marius, only changing starveth to stareth, which has been adopted into the text by Singer, and may be right. Pope changed "starveth in thy eyes to "stare within thy eyes." As it stands, the expression conveys a strong sense, though it will hardly bear analysing. The two nouns with a verb in the singular was not ungrammatical according to old usage. In the next line, the first quarto has, "Upon thy back hangs ragged misery," which is strangely preferred by some editors.


Come, cordial, and not poison, go with me
To Juliet's grave, for there must I use thee.



Enter Friar JOHN.

John. Holy Franciscan friar! brother, ho!

Enter Friar LAURENCE.

Lau. This same should be the voice of friar John.

Welcome from Mantua: What says Romeo?
Or, if his mind be writ, give me his letter.
John. Going to find a barefoot brother out,
One of our order, to associate me,1
Here in this city visiting the sick,

And finding him, the searchers of the town,
Suspecting that we both were in a house
Where the infectious pestilence did reign,
Seal'd up the doors, and would not let us forth;
So that my speed to Mantua there was stay'd.

1 Each friar had always a companion assigned him by the superior, when he asked leave to go out. In the Visitatio Notabilis de Seleborne, a curious record printed in White's Natural History of Selborne, Wykeham enjoins the canons not to go abroad without leave from the prior, who is ordered on such occasions to assign the brother a companion, "ne suspicio sinistra vel scandalum oriatur." There is a similar regulation in the statutes of Trinity College, Cambridge. So in the poem :

"Apace our frier John to Mantua him hyes,

And, for because in Italy it is a wonted gyse

That friers in the towne should seldome walke alone, But of theyr covent ay should be accompanide with one Of his profession, straight a house he fyndeth out, In mynde to take some frier to walke the town about." Shakespeare has departed from the poem, in supposing the pestilence to rage at Verona instead of Mantua.

Lau. Who bare my letter, then, to Romeo?
John. I could not send it, here it is again,
Nor get a messenger to bring it thee,
So fearful were they of infection.

Lau. Unhappy fortune! by my brotherhood,
The letter was not nice, but full of charge,
Of dear import; and the neglecting it
May do much danger. Friar John, go hence;
Get me an iron crow, and bring it straight
Unto my cell.


John. Brother, I'll go and bring it thee.
Lau. Now must I to the monument alone.
Within this three hours will fair Juliet wake;
She will beshrew me much, that Romeo
Hath had no notice of these accidents;
But I will write again to Mantua,

And keep her at my cell till Romeo come:
Poor living corse, clos'd in a dead man's tomb !



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A Church-Yard in it a Monument belonging to the Capulets.


Enter PARIS, and his Page, bearing Flowers and a Torch.

Yet put it out, for I would not be seen.
Under yond' yew-trees lay thee all along,1

Par. Give me thy torch, boy: hence, and stand aloof;

2 That is, was not on a trivial or idle matter, but on a subject of importance. See Act iii. sc. 1, note 9.

1 All the old copies except the first quarto have "young trees” instead of "yew-trees."


Holding thine ear close to the hollow ground;
So shall no foot upon the church-yard tread,
(Being loose, unfirm, with digging up of graves,)
But thou shalt hear it: whistle then to me,
As signal that thou hear'st something approach.
Give me those flowers. Do as I bid thee; go.

Page. I am almost afraid to stand alone
Here in the church-yard; yet I will adventure.


Par. Sweet flower, with flowers thy bridal bed
I strew.

O woe! thy canopy is dust and stones,
Which with sweet water nightly I will dew;
Or, wanting that, with tears distill'd by moans:
The obsequies, that I for thee will keep,
Nightly shall be, to strew thy grave and weep.
[The Boy whistles.
The boy gives warning, something doth approach.
What cursed foot wanders this way to-night,
To cross my obsequies, and true-love's rite?
What! with a torch ?—muffle me, night, awhile.


Enter ROMEO and BALTHASAR, with a Torch, Mattock, &c.

Rom. Give me that mattock, and the wrenching iron.

2 Instead of these six lines, the quarto of 1597 has the following seven, which are preferred by some editors:

"Sweet flower, with flowers I strew thy bridal bed:
Sweet tomb, that in thy circuit dost contain
The perfect model of eternity,

Fair Juliet, that with angels dost remain,
Accept this latest favour at my hands,
That living honour'd thee, and, being dead,
With funeral praises do adorn thy tomb."



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Hold, take this letter: early in the morning
See thou deliver it to my lord and father.
Give me the light: Upon thy life I charge thee,
Whate'er thou hear'st or seest, stand all aloof,
And do not interrupt me in my course.
Why I descend into thi bed of death,
Is, partly, to behold my lady's face;

But, chiefly, to take thence from her dead finger A precious ring, a ring that I must use

In dear employment. Therefore hence, begone: But if thou, jealous, dost return to pry

In what I further shall intend to do,

By Heaven, I will tear thee joint by joint,
And strew this hungry church-yard with thy limbs.
The time and my intents are savage-wild;
More fierce, and more inexorable far,
Than empty tigers, or the roaring sea.

Bal. I will be gone, sir, and not trouble you. Rom. So shalt thou show me friendship.—Take thou that:

Live, and be prosperous; and farewell, good fellow.
Bal. For all this same, I'll hide me hereabout:
His looks I fear, and his intents I doubt. [Retires.
Rom. Thou detestable maw, thou womb of death,
Gorg'd with the dearest morsel of the earth,
Thus I enforce thy rotten jaws to open,

[Breaking open the Door of the Monument. And, in despite, I'll cram thee with more food!

Par. This is that banish'd haughty Montague, That murder'd my love's cousin ;- with which grief, It is supposed, the fair creature died; — And here is come to do some villainous shame To the dead bodies: I will apprehend him.


Stop thy unhallow'd toil, vile Montague:

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