Shakespeare’s Narrative Sources: Italian Novellas and Their European Dissemination

Tragical History – Semidiplomatic Edition 1562

The Tragical Historye of Romeus and Iuliet, written firſt in Italian by Bandell, and nowe in Engliſhe by Ar. Br. In aedibus Richardi Tottelli. Cum Privilegio.


To the Reader.

The God of all glorye created vniverſallye all creatures, to ſette forth hiſ prayſe, both thoſe whiche we eſteme profitable in vſe and pleaſure, and alſo thoſe, whiche we accompte noyſome, and lothſome. But principally he hath appointed man, the chiefeſt inſtrument of his honour, not onely, for miniſtryng matter thereof in man himſelf: but as well in gathering out of other, the occaſions of publiſhing Godſ goodnes, wiſdome, & power. And in like ſort, euerye dooyng of man hath by Goddes dyſpenſacion ſome thynge, whereby God may, and ought to be honored. So the good doynges of the good, & the euill actes of the wicked, the hapy ſucceſſe of the bleſſed, and the wofull procedinges of the miſerable, doe indiuers ſorte ſound one prayſe of God. And as eche flower yeldeth hony to the bee: ſo euery exaumple miniſtreth good leſsons, to the well diſpoſed mynd. The glorious triumphe of the continent man vpon the luſtes of wanton fleſhe, incourageth men to honeſt reſtraynt of wyld affections the ſhamefull and wretchedendeſ of ſuch, as haue yelded their libertie thrall to fowle deſires, teache men to witholde them ſelues from the hedlong fall of looſe diſhoneſtie. So, to lyke effect, by ſundry meanes, the good mans exaumple byddeth men to be good, and the euill mans miſchefe; warneth men not to be euyll. To this good ende, ſerue all ill endes, of yll begynnynges. And to this ende (good Reader) is this tragicall matter written, to deſcribe vnto thee a coople of vnfortunate lovers, thralling themſelues to vnhoneſt deſire, neglecting the authoritie and aduiſe of parents and frends, conferring their principall counſels with dronken goſſyppes, and ſuperſtitious friers (the naturally fite inſtrumentes of vnchaſtitie) attemptyng all aduentures of peryll, for th attaynyng of their wiſhed luſt, vſyng auriculer confeſſion (the kay of whoredome, and treaſon) for furtheraunce of theyr purpoſe, abuſyng the honorable name of lawefull mariage, to cloke the ſhame of ſtolne contracts , finallye, by all meanes of vnhoneſt lyfe, haſtyng to moſt vnhappye death. This preſident (good Reader) ſhall be to thee, as the ſlaues of Lacedemon, oppreſſed with exceſſe of drinke, deformed and altered from likenes of men, both in mynde, and vſe of body, were to the free borne children, ſo ſhewed to them by their parentes, to thintent to rayſe in them an hateful lothying of ſo filthy beaſtlynes. Hereunto if you applye it, ye ſhall deliuer my dooing from offence, and profit your ſelues. Though I ſaw the ſame argument lately ſet foorth on ſtage with more commendation, then I can looke for: (being there much better ſet forth then I haue or can dooe) yet the ſame matter penned aſ it is, may serue to lyke good effect, if the readers do brynge with them lyke good myndes, to conſider it. Which hath the more incouraged me to publishe it, ſuche as it is. Ar. Br.

                    To the Reader.

Amid the desert rockes, the mountaine beare,

   Bringes forth vnformed, vnlyke her selfe her yong:

   Nought els but lumpes of fleshe withouten heare,

   In tract of time, her often lycking tong

Geues them such shape, as doth (ere long) delight

   The lookers on: Or when one dogge doth shake

   With moosled mouth, the ioyntes too weake to fight.

   Or when vpright he standeth by his stake,

(A noble creast,) or wylde in sauage wood,

   A dosyn dogges one holdeth at a baye,

   With gaping mouth, and stayned iawes with blood,

   Or els, when from the farthest heauens, they

The lode stares are, the wery pilates marke,

   In stormes to gyde to hauen the tossed barke.

                                                   Right so my muse

   Hath (now at length) with trauell long brought forth

   Her tender whelpes, her diuers kindes of style,

   Such as they are, or nought, or little worth,

   Which carefull trauell, and a longer whyle,

May better shape. The eldest of them loe,

   I offer to the stake, my youthfull woorke,

   Which one reprochefull mouth might ouerthrowe:

   The rest (vnlickt as yet) a whyle shall lurke,

Tyll tyme geue strength, to meete and match in fight

   With slaunders whelpes. Then shall they tell of stryfe

   Of noble tryumphes, and deedes of martial might,

   And shall geue rules of chast and honest lyfe.

The whyle I pray that ye with fauour blame,

   Or rather not reproue the laughing game

                                        Of this my muse.


                    The Argument.

Loue hath inflamed twayne by ſodayn ſight.

   And both do graunt the thing that both deſire

   They wed in ſhrift by counſellof a frier.

   Yong Romeus clymes fayre Juliets bower by night.

Three monthes he doth enioy his cheefe delight.

   By Tybalts rage, provoked vnto yre,

   He payeth death to Tybalt for his hyre.

   A baniſht man he ſcapes by ſecret flight.

New mariage is offred to his wyfe.

   She drinkes a drinke that ſeemes to reave her breath.

   They bury her, that ſleping yet hath lyfe.

Her huſband heares the tydinges of her death.

   He drinkes his bane. And ſhe with Romeus knyfe,

When ſhe awakes, her ſelfe (alas) ſhe  ſleath.



There is beyond the Alps,

         a towne of auncient fame,

Whoſe bright renoune yet ſhineth cleare,

         Verona men it name.

   Bylt in an happy time,

         bylt on a fertile ſoyle:

Maynteined by the heavenly fates,

         and by the towniſh toil.

   The fruitfull hilles aboue,

         the pleaſant uales belowe,

The ſilver ſtreame with channell depe,

         that through the towne doth flow:

   The ſtore of ſpringes that ſerue

         for vſe, and eke for eaſe:

And other moe commodittes

         which profite may and pleaſe.

   Eke many certaine ſignes

         of thinges betyde of olde,

To fyll the houngry eyes of thoſe

         that curiouſly beholde:

   Doe make this towne to be

         preferde aboue the reſt

Of Lumbard townes, or at the leaſt,

         compared with the beſt.

   In which while Eſcalus,

         as prince alone dyd raigne,

To reache rewarde vnto the good,

         to pay the lewde with payne.

   Alas (I rewe to thinke)

         an heauy happe befell:

Which Boccace ſkant (not my rude tong)

         were able forth to tell.

   Within my trembling hande,

         my penne doth ſhake for feare:

And on my colde amſed head,

         upright doth ſtand my heare.

   But ſith ſhe doth commaunde,

         whoſe heſt I muſt obaye,

In moorning verſe, a wofull chaunce

         to tell I will aſſaye.

   Helpe learned Pallas, helpe,

         ye muſes with your arte,

Helpe all ye damned feendes to tell,

         of ioyes retournd to ſmart.

   Helpe eke ye ſiſters three,

         my ſkilleſſe penne tindyte:

For you it cauſd which I (alas)

         unable am to wryte.

   There were two auncient ſtockes,

         which Fortune high dyd place

Aboue the reſt, indewd with welth,

         and nobler of their race.

   Loued of the common ſort,

         loued of the Prince alike:

And like vnhappy were they both,

         when fortune liſt to ſtrike.

   Whoſe prayſe with equall blaſt,

         fame in her trumpet blew:

The one was clipd Capelet,

         and thother Montagew.

   A wonted vſe it is,

         that men of likely ſorte,

(I wot not by what furye forſd)

         envye eche others porte.

   So theſe, whoſe egall ſtate

         bred enuye pale of hew,

And then, of grudging enuyes roote,

         blacke hate and rancor grewe.

   As of a little ſparke,

         oft ryſeth mighty fyre,

So of a kyndled ſparke of grudge,

         in flames flaſhe out theyr yre.

   And then theyr deadly foode,

         firſt hatched of trifling ſtryfe:

Did bathe in bloud of ſmarting woundes,

         it reued breth and lyfe.

   No legend lye I tell,

         ſcarce yet theyr eyes be drye:

That did behold the griſly ſight,

         with wet and weping eye.

   But when the prudent prince,

         who there the ſcepter helde,

So great a new diſorder in

         his common weale beheld:

   By ientyl meane he ſought,

         their choler to aſſuage:

And by perſwaſion to appeaſe,

         their blameful furious rage.

   But both his woordes and tyme,

         the prince hath ſpent in vayne:

So rooted was the inward hate,

         he loſt his buyſy payne.

   When friendly ſage aduiſe,

         ne ientyll woords auayle:

By thondring threats, and princely powere

         their courage gan he quayle.

   In hope that when he had

         the waſting flame ſuppreſt,

In time he ſhould quyte quench the ſparks

         that boornd within their breſt.

   Now whilſt thee kyndreds do

         remayne in this eſtate,

And eceh with outward frendly ſhew

         dooth hyde his inward hate:

   One Romeus, who was

         of race a Montague,

Upon whoſe tender chyn, as yet,

         no manlyke beard there grewe.

   Whoſe beauty and whoſe ſhape

         ſo farre the reſt did ſtayne:

That from the cheefe of Veron youth

         he greateſt fame dyd gayne.

   Hath founde a mayde ſo fayre

          (he found ſo foule his happe)

Whoſe beauty, ſhape, and comely grace,

         did ſo his heart entrappe,

   That from his owne affayres,

         his thought ſhe did remoue:

Onely he ſought to honor her,

         to ſerue her, and to loue.

   To her he writeth oft,

         oft meſſengers are ſent:

At length (in hope of better ſpede)

         himſelfe the louer went:

   Preſent to pleade for grace,

         which abſent was not founde:

And to diſcouer to her eye

         his new receaued wounde.

   But ſhe that from her youth

         was foſtred euermore

With vertues foode, and taught in ſchole

         of wiſdomes ſkilfull lore:

   By aunſwere did cutte of

         thffections of his loue,

That he no more occaſion had

         ſo vayne a ſuite to moue.

   So ſterne ſhe was of chere,

          (for all the payne he tooke)

That in reward of toyle, ſhe would

         not geue a frendly looke.

   And yet how much ſhe did

         with conſtant mind retyre;

So much the more his feruent minde

         was prickt fourth by deſyre.

   But when he many monthes,

         hopeleſſe of his recure,

Had ſerued her, who forced not

         what paynes he did endure:

   At length he thought to leaue

         Verona, and to proue,

If chaunge of place might chaunge awaye

         his ill beſtowed loue.

   And ſpeaking to himſelfe,

         thus gan he make his mone:

What booteth me to loue and ſerue

         a fell vnthankfull one,

   Sith that my humble ſute

         and labour ſowede in vayne,

Can reap none other fruiet at all

         but ſcorne and proude diſdayne:

   What way ſhe ſeekes to goe,

         the ſame I ſeeke to runne:

But ſhe the path wherein I treade,

         with ſpedy flight doth ſhunne.

   I can not liue, except

         that nere to her I be:

She is ay beſt content when ſhe

         is fartheſt of from me.

   Wherefore henceforth I will

         farre from her take my flight:

Perhaps mine eye once baniſhed

         by abſence from her ſight:

   This fyre of myne, that by

         vher pleaſant eyne is fed:

Shall little and little weare away,

         and quite at laſt be ded.

   But whileſt he did decree

         this purpoſe ſtill to kepe:

A contrary repugnant thought

         ſanke in his breſt ſo depe:

   That doutefull is he now,

         which of the twayne is beſt:

In ſighs, in teares,in plainte,in care,

         in ſorow and vnreſt.

   He mones the daye, he wakes

         the long and wery night,

So deepe hath loue with pearcing hand,

         ygraud her bewty bright.

   Within his breſt, and hath

         ſo maſtred quite his hart:

 That he of force muſt yeld as thrall,

         no way is left to ſtart.

   He can not ſtaye his ſteppe,

         but forth ſtill muſt he ronne,

 He languiſheth and melts awaye,

         as ſnow againſt the ſonne.

   His kyndred and alyes,

         do wonder what he ayles,

And eche of them in frendly wiſe,

         his heauy hap bewayles.

   But one emong the reſt,

         the truſtieſt of his feeres.

 Farre more then he with counſel fild,

         and ryper of his years.

   Gan ſharply him rebuke,

         ſuche loue to him he bare:

 That he wasfelow of his ſmart,

         and partner of his care.

   What meaneſt thou Romeus

          (quoth he) what doting rage

Dooth make thee thus conſume away,

         the beſt parte of thine age,

   In ſeking her that ſcornes,

         and hydes her from thy ſight:

 Not forſing all thy great expence,

         ne yet thy honor bright.

   Thy teares, thy wretched lyfe,

         ne thine unſpotted truth:

Which are of force (I weene) to moue

         the hardeſt heart to ruthe.

   Now for our frendſhips ſake,

         and for thy health I pray:

That thou hencefoorth become thyne owne,

         O geue no more away.

   Unto a thankles wight,

         thy precious free eſtate:

In that thou loueſt ſuch a one,

         thou ſeemſt thy ſelfe to hate.

   For ſhe doth loue els where,

          (and then thy time is lorne)

Or els (what booteth thee to ſue)

         loues court ſhe hath forſworne.

   Both yong thou art of yeares,

         and high in Fortunes grace:

What man is better ſhapd than thou?

         Who hath a ſwetter face?

   By painfull ſtudies meane,

         great learning haſt thou wonne:

Thy parentes haue none other heyre,

         thou art theyr onely ſonne.

   What greater griefe (trowſt thou?)

         what wofull dedly ſmart

Should ſo be able to diſſtraine

         thy ſeely fathers heart?

   As in his age to ſee

         thee plonged deepe in vyce:

When greateſt hope he hath to heare

         thy vertues fame ariſe.

   What ſhall thy kinſmen thinke,

         thou cauſe of all theyr ruthe?

Thy dedly foes do laugh to ſkorne

         thy yll employed youth.

   Wherefore my counſell is,

         that thou henceforth beginne

To knowe and flye the errour which

         to long thou liuedſt in.

   Remoue the veale of loue,

         that keepes thine eyes ſo blynde:

That thou ne canſt the ready path

         of thy forefatherſfynde.

   But if vnto thy will

         ſo much in thrall thou art:

Yet in ſome other place beſtowe

         thy witles wandring hart.

   Chooſe out ſome worthy dame,

         her honor thou and ſerue,

Who will geue eare to thy complaint

         and pitty ere thou ſterue.

   But ſow no more thy paynes

         in ſuch a barrayne ſoyle:

As yeldes in harueſt time no crop

         in recompence of toyle.

   Ere long the towniſhe dames

         together will reſort:

Some one of bewty, favour, ſhape,

         and of ſo louely porte:

   With ſo faſt fixed eye,

         perhaps thou mayſt beholde:

That thou ſhalt quite forget thy loue,

         and paſſions paſt of olde.

   The young mans liſtning eare

         receiude the holeſome ſounde,

And reaſons truth yplanted ſo,

         within his head had grounde:

   That now with healthy cool

         ytempred is the heate:

And piecemeale wears away the greefe

         that erſt his heart dyd freate.

   To his approued frend,

         a ſolemne othe he plight:

At euery feaſt ykept by day,

         and banquet made by night:

   At pardons in the churche,

         at games in open ſtreate:

And euery where he would reſort

         where Ladies wont to meete.

   Eke ſhould his ſauage heart

         lyke all indifferently:

For he would view and iudge them all

         with vnallured eye.

   How happy had he been.

         had he not been forſworne:

But twyſe as happy had he been

         had he been neuer borne.

   For ere the Moone could thryſe

         her waſted hornes renew,

Falſe Fortune caſt for him poore wretch,

         a myſſchiefe newe to brewe.

   The wery winter nightes

         reſtore the Chriſtmas games:

And now the ſeaſon doth inuite

         to banquet towniſh dames.

   And fyrſt in Capels houſe,

         the chiefe of all the kyn:

Sparth for no coſt, the wonted vſe

         of banquets to begyn.

   No Lady fayre or fowle,

         was in Verona towne:

No knight or gentleman

         of high or lowe renowne:

   But Capilet himſelfe

         hath byd vnto his feaſt:

Or by his name in paper ſent,

         appoynted as a geaſt.

Yong damſels thether flocke,

         of bachelers a route:

Not ſo much for the banquets ſake,

         as bewties to ſearch out.

   But not a Montaguew

         would enter at his gate:

For as you heard, the Capilets,

         and they were at debate.

   Saue Romeus, and he.

         in maſke with hidden face:

The ſupper done, with other fiue

         dyd preaſe into the place.

   When they had maſkd a whyle,

         with dames in courtly wiſe:

All dyd vnmaſke, the reſt dyd ſhew

         them to theyr ladies eyes.

   But baſhfull Romeus,

         with ſhamefaſt face forſooke

The open preaſes, and him withdrew

         into the chambers nook.

   But brighter than the ſunne,

         the waxen torches ſhone:

That mauger what he could, he was

         eſpyd of every one.

   But of the women cheefe,

         theyr gaſing eyes that threwe,

To wonder at his ſightly ſhape

         and bewties ſpotles hewe.

   With which the heauens him had

         and nature ſo bedect:

That Ladies thought the faireſt dames

         were foule in his reſpect.

   And in theyr head beſide,

         an other wonder roſe,

How he durſt put himſelfe in throng

         among ſo many foes.

   Ofcourage ſtoute they thought

         his cumming to procede:

And women loue an hardy hart

         as I in ſtories rede.

   The Capilets diſdayne

         the preſence of theyr foe:

Yet they ſuppreſſe theyr ſtyred yre,

         the cauſe I do not knowe

   Perhaps toffend their geſtes

         the courteous knights are loth,

Perhaps they ſtay from ſharp reuenge,

         dreadyng the Princes wroth.

   Perhaps for that they ſhamd

         to exerciſe theyr rage:

Within their houſe, gainſt one alone

         and him of tender age.

   They vſe no taunting talk,

         ne harme himby theyr deede:

They neyther ſay, what makſt thou here,

         ne yet they ſay God ſpede.

   So that he freely might

         the Ladies view at eaſe.

And they alſo behelding him,

         their chaunge of fanſies pleaſe.

   Which nature had him taught

         to doe with ſuch a grace,

That there was none but ioyed at

         his being there in place.

   With upright beame he weyd

         the bewty of eche dame,

And iudgd who beſt, and who next her,

         was wrought in natures frame.

   At length he ſaw a mayd,

         right fayr, of perfect ſhape:

Which Theſeus, or Paris would

         haue choſen to their rape.

   Whom erſt he neuer ſawe,

         of all ſhe pleaſde him moſt:

Within himſelfe he ſaid to her,

         thou iuſtly mayſt thee boſte.

   Of perfit ſhapes renoune,

         and Beauties ſounding prayſe:

Whoſe like ne hath, ne ſhale ſeene,

         ne liueth in our dayes

   And whileſt he fixd on her

         his partiall perced eye,

His former loue, for which of late

         he ready was to dye.

   Is nowe as quite forgotte,

         as it had neuer been:

The prouerb ſaith vnminded oft

         are they that are vnſeene.

   And as out of a planke

         a nayle a nayle doth driue:

So nouell loue out of the minde

         the auncient loue doth riue.

   This ſodain kindled fyre

         in time is wox ſo great:

That only death, and both theyr blouds

         might quench the fiery heate.

   When Romeus ſaw himſelfe

         in this new tempest toſt:

Where both was hope of pleaſant port,

         and daunger to be loſt:

   He doubtefull, ſkaſely knew

         what countenance to keepe

In Lethies floud his wonted flames

         were quenchd and drenchd deepe.

   Yea he forgets himſelfe,

         ne is the wretch ſo bolde

To aſke her name, that without force

         hath him in bondage folde.

   Ne how tunlooſe his bondes

         doth the poore foole deviſe,

But onely ſeeketh by her ſight

         to feede his haungry eyes.

   Through them he ſwalloweth downe

         loues ſweete empoyſonde baite,

How ſurely are the wareles wrapt

         by thoſe that lye in wayte?

   So is the poyſon ſpred

         throughout his bones and veines:

That in a while (alas the while)

         it haſteth deadly paines

   Whilſt Iuliet (for ſo

         this gentle damſell hight)

From ſyde to ſyde on euery one

         dyd caſt about her ſight:

   At laſt her floating eyes

         were ancored faſt on him,

Who for her ſake dyd baniſhe health

         and fredome from eceh limme.

   He in her ſight did ſeeme

         to paſſe the reſt as farre

As Phoebus ſhining beames do paſſe

         the brightnes of a ſtarre.

   In wayte laye warlike loue

         with golden bowe and ſhaft,

And to his ear with ſteady hand

         the bowſtring vp he raft.

   Till now ſhe had eſcapde

         his ſharpe inflaming darte:

Till now he liſted not aſſaulte

         her yong and tender hart.

   His whetted arrow looſde,

         ſo touchd her to the quicke:

That through the eye it ſtrake the hart,

         and there the hedde did ſticke.

   It booted not to ſtriue,

         for why, ſhe wanted ſtrength:

The weaker aye vnto the ſtrong

         of force muſt yeld at length.

   The pomps now of the feaſt

         her heart gyns to deſpyſe:

And onely ioyeth when her eyen

         meete with her louers eyes.

   When their new ſmitten heartes

         had fed on louing gleames:

Whilſt, paſſing too and fro theyr eyes,

         ymingled were theyr beames.

   Each of theſe louers gan

         by others lookes to knowe:

That frendſhip in their breſt had roote,

         and both would haue it grow.

   When thus in both theyr harts

         had Cupide made his breache:

And eche of them had ſought the meane

         to end the warre by ſpeache.

   Dame Fortune did aſſent

         theyr purpoſe to aduaunce:

With torche in hand a comly knight

         did fetch her foorth to daunce.

   She quit her ſelfe ſo well,

         and with ſo trim a grace:

That ſhe the cheefe prayſe wan that night

         from all Verona race.

   The whilſt our Romeus,

         a place had warely wonne:

Nye to the ſeate where ſhe muſt ſit,

         the daunce once beyng donne.

   Fayre Iuliet tourned to,

         her chayre with pleaſant cheere:

And glad ſhe was her Romeus

         approched was ſo neere.

   At thone ſide of her chayre,

         her louer Romeo:

And on the other ſide there ſat

         one cald Mercutio.

   A courtier that eche where

         was highly had in pryce:

For he was coorteous of his ſpeche,

         and pleaſant of deviſe.

   Euen as a Lyon would

         among the lambes be bolde:

Such was among the baſhfull maydes,

         Mercutio to beholde.

   With frendly gripe he ſeiſd

         fayre Iuliets ſnowiſh hand:

A gyft he had that nature gaue

         him in his ſwathing band.

   That froſen mountayne yſe

         was neuer halfe ſo cold

As were his handes, though nere ſo neer

         the fire he dyd them holde.

   As ſoone as had the knight

         the vyrgins right hand raught:

Within his trembling hand her left

         hath louing Romeus caught.

   For he wiſt well himſelfe

         for her abode moſt payne:

And well he wiſt ſhe loued him beſt,

         vnles ſhe liſt to fayne.

   Then ſhe with tender hand

         his tender palme hath preſt:

What ioy trow you was graffed ſo

         in Romeus clouen breaſt:

   The ſwdain ſweete delight

         hath ſtopped quite his tong.

Ne can he claime of her his right,

         ne craue redreſſe of wrong.

   But ſhe eſpyd ſtraight waye

         by chaunging of his hwe

From pale to red, from red to pale,

         and ſo from pale anew:

   That vehment loue was cauſe,

         why ſo his tong dyd ſtay:

And ſo much more ſhe longed to heare

         what loue could teache him ſaye.

   When ſhe had longed long,

         and he long held his peace,

And her deſire of hearing him,

         by ſylence dyd encreaſe.

   At laſt with trembling voyce

         and ſhamefaſt chere, the mayde

Unto her Romeus tournde her ſelfe,

         and thus to him ſhe ſayde.

   O bleſſed be the time

         of thy arriuall here:

But ere ſhe could ſpeak forth the reſt,

         to her loue drewe ſo nere:

   And ſo within her mouth,

         her tongue he glewed faſt,

That no one woord could ſcape her more,

         then what already paſt.

   In great contented eaſe

         the yong man ſtraight is rapt,

What chaunce (ȹ he) vnware to me

         O lady myne is hapt:

   That geues you worthy cauſe,

         my cumming here to bliss:

Fayre Iuliet was come agayne

         vnto her ſelfe by this.

   Fyrſt ruthfully ſhe lookd,

         then ſayd with ſmylyng chere:

Meruayle no whit my heartes delight,

         my onely knight and fere,

   Mercutious yſy hande

         had all to froſen myne,

And of thy goodnes thou agayne

         haſt warmed it with thine.

   Whereto with ſtayed brow,

         gan Romeus to replye

If ſo the gods haue graunted me,

         ſuche fauour from the ſkye,

   That by my being here,

         ſome ſeruice I haue donne

That pleaſeth you I am as glad,

         as I a realme had wonne,

   O well beſtowed time.

         that hath the happy hyre,

Which I woulde wyſh if I might haue,

         my wiſhed harts deſire.

   For I of God woulde craue,

         as pryſe of payines forpaſt.

To ſerue, obey and honour you,

         ſo long as lyfe ſhall laſt.

   As proofe ſhall teache you playne,

         if that you like to trye

His faltles truth, that nill for ought,

         vnto his lady lye.

   But if my tooched hand,

         haue warmed yours ſome dele

Aſſure your ſelf the heat is colde,

         which in your hand you fele.

   Compard to ſuche quick ſparks

         and glowing furious gleade,

As from your bweuties pleaſaunt eyne,

         loue cauſed to proceade.

   Which haue ſo ſet on fyre,

         eche feling parte of myne.

   That lo, my mynde doeth melt awaye:

         my vtwerdparts doe pyne.

   And but you helpe all whole,

         to aſhes ſhall I toorne:

Wherefore (alas) haue ruth on him,

         whom you do force to boorne.

   Euen with his ended tale,

         the torches daunce had ende,

And Iuliet of force muſt part

from her new choſen frend.

   His hand ſhe claſped hard,

         and all her partes did ſhake:

When lay ſureles with whiſpring voyce

         thus did ſhe aunſwer make.

   You are no more your owne

          (dear friend) then I am yours

(My honour ſaued) preſt tobey

         your will, while life endures,

   Lo here the lucky lot

         that ſild true louers finde:

Eche takes away the others hart,

         and leaues the owne behinde.

   A happy life is loue

         if God graunt from aboue,

That hart with hart by euen waight

         doo make exchaunge of loue.

   But Romeus gone from her,

         his heart for care is colde:

He hath forgot to aſke her name

         that hath his hart in holde.

   With forged careles cheere,

         of one he ſeekes to knowe,

Both how ſhe hight, and whence ſhe cammee,

         that him enchuanted ſo.

   So hath he learnd her name,

         and knowth ſhe is no geaſt.

Her father was a Capilet,

         and maſter of the feaſt.

   Thus hath hiſfoe in choyſe

         to geue him lyfe or death:

That ſcarſely can his wofull breaſt

         keepe in the liuely breath.

   Wherefore with piteous plaint

         feerce Fortune doth he blame:

That in his ruth and wretched plight

         doth ſeeke her laughing game.

   And he reproueth loue,

         cheefe cauſe of his vnreſt:

Who eaſe and freedome hath exilde

         out of his youthfull breſt.

   Twiſe hath he made him ſerue,

         hopeles of his rewarde:

Of both the ylles to chooſe the leſſe,

         I weene the choice were hard.

   Fyrſt to a ruthleſſe one

         he made him ſue for grace:

And now with ſpurre he forceth him

         to ronne an endles race.

   Amyd theſe ſtormy ſeas

         one ancor doth him holde,

He ſerueth not a cruell one,

         as he had done of olde.

   And therfore is content,

         and chooſeth ſtill to ſerue:

Though hap ſhould ſwear that guerdonles

         the wretched wight ſhould ſterue.

   The lot of Tantalus

         is Romeus lyke to thine

For want of foode amid his fwde,

         the myſer ſtyll doth pine.

   As carefull was the mayde

         what way were beſt deuiſe

To learne his name, that entertaind

         her in ſo gentle wiſe.

   Of whome her hart receiued

         ſo deepe, ſo wyde a wounde,

An auncient dame ſhe calde to her,

         and in her ear gan rounde.

   This olde dame in her youth,

         had nurſt her with her mylke,

With ſlender nedle taught her ſow,

         and how to ſpin with ſilke.

   What twayne are thoſe (quoth ſhe)

         which preaſe vnto the doore,

Whoſe pages in theyr hand doe beare,

         two toorches light before.

   And then as eche of them

         had of his houſhold name,

So ſhe him namde yet once agayne

         the yong and wyly dame.

   And tell me who is he

         with vyſor in his hand

That yender doth in maſking weede

         beſyde the window ſtand.

   His name is Romeus

          (ſayd ſhe) a Montegewe.

Whoſe fathers pryde firſt ſtyrd the ſtrife

         which both your houſholdes rewe.

   The woord of Montegew,

         her ioyes did ouerthrow,

And ſtraight in ſteade of happy hope,

         dyſpayre began to growe.

   What hap haue I quoth ſhe,

         to loue my fathers foe?

What, am I wery of my wele?

         What, doe I wiſhe my woe?

   But though her grieuous paynes

         diſtrained her tender hart,

Yet with an outward ſhewe of ioye

         ſhe cloked inward ſmart.

   And of the courtlyke dames

         her leaue ſo courtly tooke,

That none dyd geſſe the ſodain change

         by changing of her looke.

   Then at her mothers heſt

         to chamber ſheher hyde

So well ſhe faynde, mother ne nurce,

         the hidden harme deſcride.

   But when ſhe ſhould haue ſlept

         as wont ſhe was, in bed,

Not halfe a winke of quiet ſlepe

         could harber in her bed.

   For loe, an hugy heape

         of dyuers thoughtes ariſe

That reſt haue baniſht from her hart,

         and ſlumber from her eyes.

   And now from ſide to ſide

         ſhe toſſeth and ſhe turnes,

And now for feare ſhe ſheuereth,

         and now for loue ſhe burnes.

   And now ſhe lykes her choyſe,

         and now her choyſe ſhe blames,

And now eche houre within her head,

         a thouſand fanſies frames

   Sometime in mynde to ſtop,

         amyd her courſe begonne

Sometime ſhe vowes what ſo betyde,

         thattempted race to ronne.

   Thus dangers dred and loue,

         within the mayden fought,

The fight was feerce continuyng long

         by their contrary thought.

   In tourning maſe of loue

         ſhe wandreth too and fro,

Then ſtandeth doutfull what to doe,

         laſt ouerpreſt with woe.

   How ſo her fanſies ceaſe,

         her teares dyd neuer blyn,

With heauy cheere and wringed hands,

         thus doth her plaint begyn.

   Ah ſily foole (quoth ſhe)

         ycought in ſoottill ſnare:

Ah wretched wench bewrapt in woe,

         ah caytife clad with care.

   Whence come theſe wandring thoughtes

         to thy vnconſtant breſt?

By ſtraying thus from rayſons lore,

         that reue thy wonted reſt.

   What if his ſuttell brayne,

         to fayne haue taught his tong?

And ſo the ſnake that lurkes in graſſe,

         thy tender hart hath ſtong?

   What if with frendly ſpeache

         the traytor lye in wayte?

As oft the poyſond hooke is hid,

         wrapt in the pleaſant bayte?

   Oft vnder cloke of truth,

         hath falſhood ſerued her luſt:

And toornd theyr honor into ſhame,

         that did ſo ſlightly truſt.

   What, was not Dido ſo,

         a crouned Queene: defamd?

And eke for ſuch an heynouſ cryme,

         haue men not Theſeus blamd?

   A thouſand ſtories more,

         to teache me to beware:

In Boccace, and in Ouids bookes

         too playnely written are.

   Perhaps the great reuenge

         he cannot woorke by ſtrength:

By ſuttel ſleight (my honor ſtaynde)

         he hopes to worke at length.

   So ſhall I ſeeke to finde

         my fathers foe his game:

So I befylde, report ſhall take

         her trompe of blacke defame.

   Whence ſhe with puffed cheeke

         ſhall blowe a blaſt ſo ſhrill

Of my diſprayſe, that with the noyſe

         Verona ſhall ſhe fill.

   Then I a laughing ſtocke

         through all the towne becomme:

Shall hide my ſelfe, but not my ſhame,

         within an hollowe toombe.

   Straight vnderneth her foote,

         ſhe treadeth in the duſt

Her troubleſom thought as wholy vaine,

         ybred of fond diſtruſt.

   No no by God aboue,

         I wot it well quoth ſhee,

Although I raſhely ſpake before,

         in no wiſe can it bee.

   That where ſuch perfet ſhape,

         with pleaſant bewty reſtes:

There crooked craft and trayſon blacke,

         ſhould be appoynted geſtes.

   Sage writers ſay, the thoughts

         are dwelling in the eyne:

Then ſure I am aſ Cupid raignes

         that Romeus is myne.

   The tong the meſſenger,

         eke call they of the mynd:

So that I ſee he loueth me,

         ſhall I then be vnkynd?

   His faces roſy hew,

         I ſaw full oft to ſeeke:

And ſtraight againe it flaſhed foorth,

         and ſpred in eyther cheeke.

   His fyxed heauenly eyne,

         that through me quite did perce

His thoughts vnto my hart, my thought

         they ſemed to rehearce.

   What ment his foltring tunge,

         in telling of his tale:

The trembling of his ioynts and eke

         his cooller waxen pale?

   And whilſt I take with him,

         hym ſelf he hath exylde,

Out of him ſelf (as ſeemed me)

         ne was I ſure begylde.

   Thoſe arguments of loue,

         craft wrate not in his face

But natures hande when all deceyte,

         was baniſhd out of place

   What other certain ſignes

         ſeke I of his good wil?

Theſe doo ſuffiſe, and ſtedfaſt I

         will loue and ſerue him ſtill.

   Till Attropos ſhall cut,

         my fatall thread of lyfe,

So that he mynde to make of me

         his lawfull wedded wyfe.

   For ſo perchaunce this new

         aliance may procure

Vnto our houſes ſuche a peace

         as euer ſhall endure

   Oh how we can perſwade,

         our ſelf to what we like

And how we can diſwade our mynd,

         if ought our mynd miſlyke.

   Weake arguments are ſtronge,

         our fanſies ſtreyght to frame,

To pleaſing things, and eke to ſhonne,

         if we miſlike the ſame.

   The mayde had ſcarſely yet

         ended the wery warre,

Kept in her heart by ſtriuing thoughtes

         when euery ſhining ſtarre

   Had payd his borowed light,

         and Phebus ſpred in ſkies

His golden rayes, which ſeemd to ſay:

         now time it is to riſe.

   And Romeus had by this

         forſaken his wery bed:

Where reſtles he a thouſand thoughts

         had forged in his hed.

   And while with lingring ſtep

         by Iuliets houſe he paſt:

And vpward to her windowes high

         his gredy eyes did caſt:

   His loue that looked for him,

         there gan he ſtraight eſpie,

With pleaſant cheere eche greeted is,

         ſhe followeth with her eye

   His parting ſteppes, and he

         oft looketh backe againe:

But not ſo oft as he deſyres,

         warely he doth refraine.

   What life were lyke to loue,

         if dred of ieopardy,

Yſowred not the ſweete, if loue

         were free from ieloſy.

   But ſhe more ſure within,

         vnſeene of any wight,

When ſo he comes, lookes after him,

         till he be out of ſight.

   In often paſſing ſo,

         his buſy eyes he threw,

That euery pane and tooting hole

         the wily louer knew.

   In happy houre he doth

         a garden plot eſpye:

From which except he warely walke,

         men may his loue deſcrye.

   For lo, it fronted full,

         vpon her leaning place:

Where ſhe is woont to ſhew her heart

         by cheerefull frendly face.

   And leſt the arbors might

         theyr ſecret loue bewraye:

He doth keepe backe his forward foote

         from paſſing there by daye.

   But when on earth the night

         her mantel blacke hath ſpred:

Well armd he walketh foorth alone,

         ne dreadfull foes doth dred.

   Whom maketh loue not bold,

         naye whom makes he not blynde?

He reueth daungers dread oft times

         out of the loues minde.

   By night he paſſeth here,

         a weeke or two in vayne:

And for the miſſing of his marke.

         his griefe hath him nye ſlaine.

   And Iuliet that now

         both lacke her hearts releefe:

Her Romeus pleaſant eyen (I meene)

         is almoſt dead for greefe.

   Eche day ſhe chaungeth howres,

          (for louers keepe an howre)

When they are ſure to ſee theyr loue

         in paſſing by their howre.

   Impacient of her woe,

         ſhe hapt to leane one night

Within her window, and anon

         the Moone did ſhine ſo bright.

   That ſhe eſpyde her loue,

         her hart reuiued, ſprang,

And now for ioy ſhe clappes her handes,

         which erſt for woe ſhe wrang.

   Eke Romeus when he ſawe

         his long deſired ſight:

His moorning cloke of mone caſt of,

         hath clad him with delight.

   Yet dare I ſay, of both,

         that ſhe reioyced more:

His care was great, hers twiſe as great,

         was all the tyme before:

   For whilſt ſhe knew not why

         he dyd himſelfe abſent:

Ay douting both his health and lyfe,

         his death ſhe dyd lament.

   For loue is fearefull oft,

         where is no cauſe of feare:

And what loue feares, that loue laments,

         as though it chaunced weare.

   Of greater cauſe alway

         iſ greater woorkeybred:

While he nought douteth of her helth,

         ſhe dreads leſt he be ded.

   When onely abſence is

         the cauſe of Romeus ſmart:

By happyhope of ſight agayne

         he feedes his faynting hart.

   What woonder then if he

         were wrapt in leſſe annoye?

What maruell if by ſodain ſight

         ſhe fed of greater ioye?

   His ſmaller greefe or ioy,

         no ſmaller loue doo proue:

   Ne for ſhe paſſed him in both,

         did ſhe him paſſe in loue.

   But eche of them alike

         dyd burne in equall flame:

The welbelouing knight, and eke

         the welbeloued dame.

   Now whilſt with bitterteares

         her eyes as fountaynes ronne:

With whiſpering voyce ybroke with ſobs,

         thus is her tale begonne.

   Oh Romeus (of your lyfe)

         too lauas ſure yon are:

That in this place, and at thys tyme

         to hasard it you dare.

   What if your dedly foes

         my kynſmen, ſaw you here?

Lyke Lyons wylde, your tender partes

         aſonder would they teare.

In ruth and in diſdayne,

         I weary of my lyfe:

With cruell hand my moorning hart

         would perce with bloudy knyfe.

   For you myne owne once dead,

         what ioy ſhould I haue heare?

And eke my honor ſtaynde which I

         then lyfe doe holde more deare.

   Fayre lady myne dame Iuliet

         my lyfe (quod he)

Euen from my byrth committed was

         to fatall ſiſters three.

   They may in ſpyte of foes,

         draw foorth my liuely threed:

And they alſo, who ſo ſayth nay,

         a ſonder may it ſhreed.

   But who to reaue my lyfe,

         his rage and force would bende:

Perhaps ſhould trye vnto his payne

         how I it could defende.

   Ne yet I loue it ſo,

         but alwayes for your ſake,

A ſacrifice to death I would

         my wounded corps betake.

   If my miſhappe were ſuch,

         that here before your ſight,

I ſhould reſtore agayne to death,

         of lyfe my borowde light:

   This one thing and no more

         my parting ſprite would rewe:

That part he ſhould, before that you

         by certaine triall knew

   The loue I owe to you,

         the thrall I languiſh in:

And how I dread to looſe the gayne

         which I doe hope to win.

   And how I wiſhe for lyfe,

         not for my propre eaſe:

But that in it, you might I loue,

         you honor, ſerue and pleaſe.

   Tyll dedly pangs the ſprite

         out of the corps ſhall ſend:

And therupon he ſware an othe,

         and ſo his tale had ende.

Imprinted at London in Flete ſtrete within Temble barre, at the ſigne of the hand and ſtarre, by Richard Tottill the .xix. day of Nouember. An. do. 1562.