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

Painter - Modernised edition






















I am sure that they which measure the greatness of Gods

works, according to the capacity of their rude and simple

understanding, will not lightly adhibit credit unto this history,

so well for the variety of strange accidents which be therein

described, as for the novelty and strangeness of so rare and

perfect amity. But they that have read Pliny, Valerius

Maximus, Plutarch, and divers other writers, doe find that, in

old time a great number of men and women have died, some of

excessive joy, some of overmuch sorrow, and some of other

passions. And amongst the same, love is not the least, which

when it seizeth upon any kind and gentle subject, and finds no

resistance to serve for a rampart to stay the violence of his

course, by little and little undermineth, melteth, and

consumeth the virtues of natural powers in such wise as the

spirit yielding to the burden abandoneth the place of life,

which is verified by the pitiful and unfortunate death of two

lovers that surrendered their last breath in one Tomb at

Verona, a city of Italy, wherein repose yet to this day (with

great marvel) the bones and remnants of their late loving

bodies. An history no less wonderful than true.












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                                                                                        If then

particular affection which of good right everyman ought to

bear to the place where he was born, doe not deceive those

that travail, I think they will confess with me that few cities in

Italy can surpass the said city of Verona, as well for the

navigable river called Adissa, which passeth almost through

the midst of the same, and thereby a great traffic into Almaine,

as also for the prospect towards the fertile mountains and

pleasant valleys which do environ the same, with a great

number of very clear and lively fountains that serve for the

ease and commodity of the place. Omitting (besides many

other singularities) four bridges, and an infinite number of

other honourable antiquities, daily apparent unto those, that

be too curious to view and look upon them.


1. Description of











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                                                                             Which places I

have somewhat touched, because this most true History which

I purpose hereafter to recite, dependeth thereupon the

memory whereof to this day is so well known at Verona, as

uneath their blubbered eyes be yet dry that saw and beheld

that lamentable sight.


2. The narrator

introduces the woeful

story he is about to























                                          When the Senior Escala was Lord of

Verona, there were two families in the city, of far greater

fame than the rest, as well for riches as nobility: the one called

the Montesches and the other the Capellets. But like as most

commonly there is discord amongst them, which be of

semblable degree in honour, even so there happened a certain

enmity between them: and for so much as the beginning

thereof was unlawful, and of ill foundation, so likewise in

process of time it kindled to such flame, as by divers and

sundry devises practised on both sides, many lost their lives.


3. The old grudge

between the two












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The Lord Bartholomeu of Escala (of whom we have already

spoken), being Lord of Verona, and seeing such disorder in his

commonwealth, assayed divers and sundry ways to reconcile

those two houses, but all in vain: for their hatred had taken

such root, as the same could not be moderated by any wise

counsel or good advice: between whom no other thing could

be accorded but giving over armour, and weapon for the time,

attending some other season more convenient, and with better

leisure to appease the rest.


4. Lord Escala’s

useless intervention































                                              In the time that these things were

a-doing, one of the family of Montesches called Rhomeo, of the

age of 20 or 21 years, the comeliest and best conditioned

Gentleman that was amongst the Veronian youth, fell in love

with a young Gentlewoman of Verona, and in few days was so

attached with her beauty, and good behaviour, as he

abandoned all other affairs and business to serve and honour

her. And after many letters, ambassades, and presents, he

determined in the end to speak unto her, and to disclose his

passions, which he did without any other practice. But she,

which was virtuously brought up, knew how to make him so

good answer to cut of his amorous affections, as he had no lust

after that time to return any more, and showed herself so

austere, and sharp of speech, as she vouchsafed not with one

look to behold him.


5. Presentation of

Rhomeo and his love

for a young Veronese

































                                 But how much the young gentleman saw

her whist, and silent, the more he was inflamed, and after he

had continued certain months in that service without remedy

of his grief, he determined in the end to depart Verona, for

proof if by change of the place he might alter his affection,

saying to himself: “What doe I mean to love one that is so

unkind, and thus doth disdain me. I am all her own, and yet

she flieth from me. I can no longer live, except her presence I

doe enjoy. And she hath no contented mind, but when she is

furthest from me. I will then from henceforth estrange myself

from her, for it may so come to pass by not beholding her, that

this fire in me which takes increase and nourishment by her

fair eyes, by little and little may die and quench”.

6. Rhomeo decides to

leave Verona.




















minding to put in proof what he thought, at one instant he

was reduced to the contrary who, not knowing whereupon to

resolve, passed days and nights in marvellous plaints and

lamentations. For love vexed him so near, and had so well

fixed the gentlewomans beauty within the bowels of his heart

and mind, as not able to resist, he fainted with the charge and

consumed by little and little as the snow against the Sun.


7. Rhomeo has also a

contrary thought and

is prey of despair.
















Whereof his parents and kindred did marvel greatly bewailing

his misfortune,

8. Rhomeo’s parents

and friends lament

his plight.















































                            but above all other one of his companions of

riper age, and counsel, than he, began sharply to rebuke him.

For the love that he bare him was so great as he felt his

martyrdom, and was partaker of his passion which caused him

by often viewing his friends disquietness in amorous pangs, to

say thus unto him: “Rhomeo, I marvel much that thou

spendeth the best time of thine age, in pursuit of a thing, from

which thou sees thyself despised and banished, without

respect either to thy prodigal dispense, to your honour, to thy

tears, or to thy miserable life, which be able to move the most

constant to pity. Wherefore I pray thee for the love of our

ancient amity, and for thine health sake, that thou wilt learn to

be thine own man, and not to alienate thy liberty to any so

ingrate as she is: for so far as I can conjecture by things that

are passed between you, either she is in love with some other,

or else determineth never to love any. Thou art young, rich in

goods and fortune, and more excellent in beauty than any

gentleman in this city: thou art well learned, and the only son

of the house whereof thou comest. What grief would it be to

thy poor old father and other thy parents, to see thee so

drowned in this dungeon of vice, specially at that age wherein

thou oughtest rather to put them in some hope of thy virtue?

Begin then from henceforth to acknowledge thine error,

wherein thou hast hitherto lived, doe away that amorous veil

or coverture which blindeth thine eyes and letteth thee to

follow the right path, wherein thine ancestors have walked, or

else if thou do feel thyself so subject to thine own will, yield

thy heart to some other place, and choose some mistress

according to thy worthiness, and henceforth doe not sow thy

pains in a soil so barren whereof thou reapest no fruit: the

time approaches when all the dames of the city shall assemble,

where thou may behold such one as shall make thee forget thy

former grieves”.



9. One of his friends

rebukes him and

adivses him to look at

other girls.
























                          This young Gentleman attentively hearing all

the persuading reasons of his friend, began somewhat to

moderate that heat and to acknowledge all the exhortations

which he had made to be directed to good purpose. And then

determined to put them in all the feasts and assemblies of the

city, without bearing affection more to one woman than to an

other. And continued in this manner of life 2 or 3 months,

thinking by that means to quench the sparks of ancient flames.


10. Rhomeo follows

his friend’s advice

and attends feasts

and parties



















It chanced then within few days after, about the feast of

Christmas, when feasts and banquets most commonly be used,

and masks according to the customs frequented that Anthonie

Capellet, being the chief of that family, and one of the most

principal lords of the city too, made a banquet and, for the

better solemnization thereof, invited all the noble men and

dames, to which feast resorted the most part of the youth of



11. Anthonie

Capellet’s feast at

























              The family of the Capellets (as we have declared in

the beginning of this History) was at variance with the

Montesches, which was the cause that none of that family

repaired to that banquet, but only the young Gentleman

Rhomeo, who came in a mask after supper with certain other

young gentlemen. And after they had remained a certain space

with their vizards on, at length they did put of the same,



12. No Montague is

invited but Rhomeo

goes masked with

some friends. After a

while they unmask





















Rhomeo very shamefast, withdrew himself into a corner of the



13. Rhomeo

withdraws into a




















            But by reason of the light of the torches which burned

very bright, he was by and by known and looked upon of the

whole company, but specially of the ladies for, besides his

native beauty wherewith nature had adorned him, they

marvelled at his audacity how he durst presume to enter so

secretly into the house of that Family which had little cause to

do him any good.


14. Rhomeo is gazed

upon by the ladies

for his beauty and
















                              Notwithstanding, the Capellets dissembling

their malice, either for the honour of the company, or else for

respect of his age, did not misuse him either in word or deed.


15. Despite his being

a Montague, no one

at the feast braves

him for being there.





















By means whereof with free liberty he beheld and viewed the

ladies at his pleasure, which he did so well, and with grace so

good, as there was none but did very well like the presence of

his person. And after he had particularly given judgement

upon the excellency of each one, according to his affection, he

saw one gentlewoman amongst the rest of surpassing beauty,



16 Rhomeo notices a

girl notices a girl and

falls in love at first























who (although he had never seen her before) pleased him

above the rest, and attributed unto her in heart the chiefest

place for all perfection in beauty. And feasting her incessantly

with piteous looks, the love which he bare to his first

gentlewoman was overcome with this new fire, which took

such nourishment and vigour in his heart, as he was not able

never to quench the same but by death only: as you may

understand by one of the strangest discourses, that ever any

mortal man devised


17. Rhomeo forgets

about his previous

love. The narrator

comments on his

sudden change and

prefigures the tragic




















                                   The young Rhomeo then feeling himself

thus tossed with this new tempest, could not tell what

countenance to use, but was so surprised and changed with

these last flames, as he had almost forgotten himself, in such

wise as he had not audacity to enquire what she was, and

wholly bent himself to feed his eyes with her sight, wherewith

he moistened the sweet amorous venom, which did so

empoison him, as he ended his days with a kind of most cruel


18. Rhomeo feels as in

a tempest tossed and

does not dare ask the

girl her name. The

narrator comments

on the tragic

empoisoning of

Roméo with love













               The gentlewoman that did put Rhomeo to such pain,

was called Iulietta, and was the daughter of Capellet, the

master of the house where that assembly was


19. The narrator

reveals that the girl’s

name is Iulietta.





















                                                                          who, as her eyes

did roll and wander to and fro, by chance espied Rhomeo,

which unto her seemed to be the goodliest personage that ever

she saw. And love (which lay in wait never until that time),

assailing the tender heart of that young gentlewoman, touched

her so at the quick, as for any resistance she could make was

not able to defend his forces and then began to set at naught

the royalties of the feast, and felt no pleasure in her heart but

when she had a glimpse by throwing or receiving some sight

or look of Rhomeo.


20. Iulietta sees

Rhomeo and forgets

about the feast.
















                                 And after they had contented each others

troubled heart with millions of amorous looks which

oftentimes interchangeably encountered and met together, the

burning beams gave sufficient testimony of loves privy onsets.



21. The two youths

gaze at each other

and become aware of

mutual love.

















Love having made the hearts breach of those two lovers, as

they two sought means to speak together, Fortune offered

them a very meet and apt occasion. A certain lord of that

troupe and company took Iulietta by the hand to dance,

wherein she behaved herself so well, and with so excellent

grace, as she won that day the price of honour from all the

damsels of Verona.


22. Narrator’s

comment on love and

on fortune’s role.

Iulietta is invited to



















                                          Rhomeo, having foreseen the place

whereunto she minded to retire, approached the same, and so

discretely used the matter as he found the means at her return

to sit beside her. Iulietta, when the dance was finished,

returned to the very place where she was set before, and was

placed between Rhomeo and an other gentleman called

Mercutio, which was a courtlike gentleman, very well beloved

of all men, and by reason of his pleasant and courteous

behaviour was in every company well entertained.


23. Rhomeo takes a

seat next to hers and

when Iulietta returns

from the dance she

sist between him and
















that was of audacity among maidens, as a lion is among lambs,

seized incontinently upon the hand of Iulietta, whose hands

wontedly were so cold both in winter and summer as the

mountain ice, although the fires heat did warm the same.


24. Iulietta’s right

hand is seized by

Mercutio’s cold hand.

















Rhomeo, which sat upon the left side of Iulietta, seeing that

Mercutio held her by the right hand, took her by the other that

he might not be deceived of his purpose, and straining the

same a little, he felt himself so pressed with that new favour,

as he remained mute, not able to answer.


25. Iulietta’s left hand

is seized by Rhomeo.

Emotion prevents

him from talking to












































                                                                    But she, perceiving

by his change of colour that the fault proceeded of the

vehemence of love, desiring to speak unto him, turned herself

towards him, and with trembling voice joined with virginal

shamefastness, intermeddled with a certain bashfulness, said

to him: “Blessed be the hour of your near approach”. But

minding to proceed in further talk, love had so closed up her

mouth, as she was not able to end her tale. Whereunto the

young gentleman all ravished with joy and contentation,

sighing, asked her what was the cause of that right fortunate

blessing. Iulietta somewhat more emboldened with pitiful look

and smiling countenance said unto him: “Sir, do not marvel if I

do bless your coming hither, because sir Mercutio a good time

with frosty hand hath wholly frozen mine, and you of your

courtesy have warmed the same again”. Whereunto

immediately Rhomeo replied: “Madame if the heavens have

bene so favourable to employ me to do you some agreeable

service being repaired hither by chance amongst other

gentlemen, I esteem the same well bestowed, craving no

greater benefit for satisfaction of all my contestations received

in this world, than to serve, obey, and honour you so long as

my life doth last, as experience shall yield more ample proof

when it shall please you to give further assay. Moreover, if you

have received any heat by touch of my hand, you may be well

assured that those flames be dead in respect of the lively

sparks and violent fire which sorts from your fair eyes, which

fire hath so fiercely inflamed all the most sensible parts of my

body, as if I be not succoured by the favour of your good

graces, I doe attend the time to be consumed to dust”.

26. Iulietta sees

Rhomeo blush and

starts talking.

Rhomeo declares his




























had he made an end of those last words, but the dance of the

Torch was at an end. Whereby Iulietta, which wholly burnt

with love, straightly clasping her hand with his, had no leisure

to make other answer, but softly thus to say: “My dear friend, I

know not what other assured witnesses you desire of Love, but

that I let you understand that you be no more your own, than I

am yours, being ready and disposed to obey you so far as

honour shall permit, beseeching you for the present time to

content yourself with this answer, until some other season

meets to communicate more secretly of our affairs”.


27. Iulietta avows her

love and

acknolwedges his.

She invites him to

talk again privately























seeing himself pressed to part with the company, and for that

he knew not by what means he might see her again that was

his life and death, demanded of one of his friends what she

was, who made answer that she was the daughter of Capellet,

the Lord of the house, and master of that days feast (who

wroth beyond measure that fortune had sent him to so

dangerous a place, thought it impossible to bring to end his

enterprise begun).


28. Rhomeo asks his

friends who the girls

is and when he is

told he despairs.









































                          Iulietta, covetous on the other side, to know

what young Gentleman he was which had so courteously

entertained her that night, and of whom she felt the new

wound in her heart, called an old gentlewoman of honour

which had nursed her and brought her up, unto whom she

said, leaning upon her shoulder: “Mother, what two young

gentlemen be they which first go forth with the two torches

before them?” Unto whom the old gentlewoman told the name

of the houses whereof they came. Then she asked her again:

“What young gentleman is that which holds the vizard in his

hand, with the damask cloak about him?”. bene “It is (quod

she) Rhomeo Montesche, the son of your Fathers capital

enemy and deadly foe to all your kin”. But the maiden at the

only name of Montesche was altogether amazed, despairing

for ever to attain to husband her great affectioned friend

Rhomeo, for the ancient hatred between those two families.

Nevertheless she knew so well how to dissemble her grief and

discontented mind, as the old Gentlewoman perceived

nothing, who then began to persuade her to retire into her

chamber, whom she obeyed, and being in her bed, thinking to

take her wonted rest, a great tempest of divers thoughts began

to environ and trouble her mind, in such wise as she was not

able to close her eyes, but turning here and there, fantasied

diverse things in her thought, sometimes purposed to cut of

the whole attempt of that amorous practice, sometimes to

continue the same. Thus was the poor pucell vexed with two

contraries, the one comforted her to pursue her intent, the

other proposed the imminent peril whereunto indiscreetly she

headlong threw herself.


29. Iulietta finds out

Rhomeo’s name and




















                                         And after she had wondered of long

time in this amorous Labyrinth, she knew not whereupon to

resolve, but wept incessantly, and accused herself, saying: “Ah

Caitiff and miserable creature, from whence do rise these

unaccustomed travails which I feel in mind, provoking me to

loose my rest: but unfortunate wretch, what doe I know if that

young Gentleman doe love me as he sayeth. It may be under

the veil of sugared words he goeth about to steal away mine

honour, to be revenged of my Parents which have offended

his, and by that means to my everlasting reproach to make me

the fable of the Verona people”.


30. Iulietta is worried

that Rhomeo might

want to dishonour

























                                                       Afterwards suddenly as she

condemned that which she suspected in the beginning, said:

“Is it possible that under such beauty and rare comeliness,

disloyalty and Treason may have their siege and lodging? If it

be true that the face is the faithful messenger of the minds

conceit, I may be assured that he doeth love me: for I marked

so many changed colours in his face in time of his talk with

me, and saw him so transported and besides himself, as I

cannot wish any other more certain luck of love, wherein I

will persist immutable to the last gasp of life, to the intent I

may have him to be my husband.


31. Iulietta changes

her mind and believes

that Rhomeo’s beauty

can only reflect moral
















                                                        For it may so come to pass,

as this new alliance shall engender a perpetual peace and

amity between his house and mine”.

32. Iulietta thinks that

their marriage might

appease the feud.
















                                                            Arresting then upon this

determination still, as she saw Rhomeo passing before her

Fathers gate, she showed herself with merry countenance, and

followed him so with look of eye, until she had lost his sight.

And continuing this manner of life for certain days, Rhomeo

not able to content himself with looks, daily did behold and

mark the situation of the house, and one day amongst others

he espied Iulietta at her chamber window, bounding upon a

narrow lane, right over against which Chamber he had a

garden, which was the cause that Rhomeo fearing discovery of

their love, began the day time to pass no more before the gate,

but so soon as the night with his brown mantel had covered

the earth, he walked alone up and down that little street.


33. Iulietta sees

Rhomeo pass under

her window several

times. He eventually

finds a way to enter

her garden at night.





















after he had bene there many times, missing the chiefest cause

of his coming, Iulietta impatient of her evil, one night repaired

to her window, and perceived through the brightness of the

Moon her friend Rhomeo under her window, no less attended

for, than he himself was waiting

34. Rhomeo walks

past Iulietta’s

window and she sees

him in the moonlight


































                                                       Then she secretly with tears

in her eyes, and with voice interrupted by sighs, said: “Signor

Rhomeo, methinks that you hazard your person too much, and

commit the same into great danger at this time of the night, to

protrude your self to the mercy of them which mean you little

good. Who if they had taken would have cut you in pieces, and

mine honour (which I esteem dearer than my life,) hindered

and suspected for ever”. “Madame” answered Rhomeo, “my life

is in the hand of God, who only can dispose the same: howbeit

if any man had sought means to bereave me of life, I should (in

the presence of you) have made him known what mine ability

had bene to defend the same. Notwithstanding life is not so

dear, and of such estimation with me, but that I could

vouchsafe to sacrifice the same for your sake: and although my

mishap had ben so great, as to be dispatched in that place, yet

had I no cause to be sorry therefore, except it had bene by

losing the means and way how to make you understand the

good will and duty which I bear you: desiring not to conserve

the same for any commodity that I hope to have thereby, nor

for any other respect, but only to love, serve, and honour you,

so long as breath shall remain in me”.


35. Iulietta worries

about Rhomeo’s

safety. He swears

that he will be her












































                                                             So soon as he had made

an end of his talk, love and pity began to seize upon the heart

of Iulietta, and leaning her head upon her hand, having her

face all besprent with tears, she said unto Rhomeo: “Sir

Rhomeo, I pray you not to renew that grief again: for the only

memory of such inconvenience, makes me to counterpoise

between death and life, my heart being so united with yours,

as you cannot receive the least injury in this world, wherein I

shall not be so great a partaker as your self: beseeching you for

conclusion, that if you desire your own health and mind, to

declare unto me in few words, what your determination is to

attain: for if you covet any other secrete thing at my hands,

more than mine honour can well allow, you are marvellously

deceived: but if your desire be godly, and that the friendship

which you protest to bear me, be founded upon virtue, and to

be concluded by marriage, receiving me for your wife and

lawful spouse, you shall have such part in me, as whereof

without any regard to the obedience and reverence that I owe

to my parents, or to the ancient enmity of our families, I will

make you the only Lord and master, and of all the things that I

possess, being prest and ready in all points to follow your

commandment. But if your intent be otherwise, and think to

reap the fruit of my virginity, under pretence of wanton amity,

you be greatly deceived, and doe pray you to avoid and suffer

me from henceforth to live in rest amongst mine equals”.


36. Iulietta tells him

that they either get

married or he should

go away.






























Rhomeo which looked for none other thing holding up his

hands to the heavens, with incredible joy and contentation,

answered: “Madame for so much as it hath pleased you to doe

me that honour to accept me for such a one, I accord and

consent to your request, and doe offer unto you the best part

of my heart, which shall remain with you for gauge and sure

testimony of my saying, until such time as God shall give me

leave to make you the entire owner and possessor of the same.

And to the intent I may begin mine enterprise, tomorrow I will

to the Friar Laurence for counsel in the same, who besides

that he is my ghostly Father, is accustomed to give me

instruction in all my other secrete affairs, and fail not bene (if

you please) to meet me again in this place at this very hour, to

the intent I may give you to understand the devise between

him and me”, which she liked very well, and ended their talk

for that time.


37. Rhomeo promises

that he will talk to

frère Laurent and

they part.
















                              Rhomeo receiving none other favour at her

hands for that night, but only words.

38. Rhomeo finds no

other satisfaction

than pleasant words.






























                                                                This Friar Laurence of

whom hereafter we shall make more ample mention, was an

ancient Doctor of Divinity, of the order of the Friars Minors,

who besides the happy profession which he had made in study

of holy writ, was very skilful in Philosophy, and a great

searcher of nature secrets, and exceeding famous in Magic

knowledge, and other hidden and secret sciences, which

nothing diminished his reputation, because he did not abuse

the same. And this Friar through his virtue and piety, had so

well won the citizens hearts of Verona, as he was almost the

confessor to them all, and of men generally reverenced and

beloved: and many times for his great prudence was called by

the lords of the city, to the hearing of their weighty causes.

And amongst other he was greatly favoured by the lord of

Escale, that time the principal governor of Verona, and of the

family of Montesches, and of the Capellets, and of many other.


39. Description of

Friar Laurence as a

man respected by























The young Rhomeo (as we have already declared) from his

tender age, bare a certain particle amity to Friar Laurence, and

departed to him his secrets, by means whereof so soon as he

was gone from Iulietta, went straight to the Friars Franciscans,

where from point to point he discoursed the success of his love

to that good father and the conclusion of marriage between

him and Iulietta, adding upon the end of talk, that he would

rather choose shameful death, than to fail her of his promise.


40. Rhomeo

confesses his secret

to the Friar and asks

him to marry him to





















To whom the good Friar after he had debated divers matters,

and proposed all the inconveniences of that secrete marriage,

exhorted him to more mature deliberation of the same:

notwithstanding, all the alleged persuasions were not able to

revoke his promise.


41. Friar Laurence

tries to dissuade




















                                 Wherefore the Friar vanquished with his

stubbornness, and also forecasting in his mind that the

marriage might be some means of reconciliation of those two

houses, in the end agreed to his request, entreating him, that

he might have one day respit for leisure to excogitate what

was best to be done.



42. He eventually

consents as he thinks

that the marriage

may help assuage the

























                                 But if Rhomeo for his part was careful to

provide for his affairs, Iulietta likewise did her endeavour. For

seeing that she had none about her to whom she might

discover her passions, she devised to impart the whole to her

nurse which lay in her chamber, appointed to wait upon her,

to whom she committed the entire secrets of the love between

Rhomeo and her. And although the old woman in the

beginning resisted Iulietta her intent, yet in the end she knew

so well how to persuade and win her, that she promised in all

that she was able to do, to be at her commandment.


43. Iulietta discloses

her secret love to the

nurse, who

eventually promises

to help her.
















                                                                                    And then

she sent her with all diligence to speak to Rhomeo, and to

know of him by what means they might be married, and that

he would do her to understand the determination between

Friar Laurence and him.


44. The nurse goes to

Rhomeo to enquire

about how to proceed
























                                        Whom Rhomeo answered, how the

first day wherein he had informed Friar Laurence of the

matter, the said Friar deferred answer until the next, which

was the very same, and that it was not past one hour sithens

he returned with final resolution, and that Friar Laurence and

he had devised, that she the Saturday following, should crave

leave of her mother to go to confession, and to repair to the

church of saint Francis, where in a certain chapel secretly they

should be married, praying her in any wise not to fail to be




45. Rhomeo instructs

the Nurse to

accompany Iulietta

to shrine the

following Saturday.























           Which thing she brought to pass with such discretion,

as her mother agreed to her request: and accompanied only

with her governess, and a young maiden, she repaired thither

at the determined day and time. And so soon as she was

entered the church, called for the good Doctor Friar Laurence,

unto whom answer was made that he was in the shriving

chapel, and forthwith advertisement was given him of her



46. Iulietta is allowed

by her mother to go

to confession and is

escorted to church by

the nurse and

another woman.




















               So soon as Friar Laurence was certified of Iulietta, he

went into the body of the Church, and willed the old woman

and young maiden to go hear service, and that when he had

heard the confession of Iulietta, he would send for them again.

Iulietta being entered a little Cell with Friar Laurence, he shut

fast the door as he was wont to do, where Rhomeo and he had

bene together shut fast in, the space of one whole hour before.


47. Friar Laurence

accompanies Iulietta

to the confessional,

where  they find




























Then Friar Laurence after that he had shrived them, said to

Iulietta: “Daughter, as Rhomeo here present hath certified me,

you be agreed and contented to take him to husband, and he

likewise you for his espouse and wife. Do you now still persist

and continue in that mind?” The Lovers answered that they

desired none other thing. The Friar seeing their conformed and

agreeable wills, after he had discoursed somewhat upon the

commendation of marriage dignity, pronounced the usual

words of the Church, and she having received the ring from

Rhomeo, they rose up before the Friar, who said unto them: “If

you have any other thing to confer together, do the same with

speed: for I purpose that Rhomeo shall go from hence so

secretly as he can”.


48. Friar Laurence

celebrates the secret

marriage (Iulietta

receives the ring)




















                                 Rhomeo sorry to go from Iulietta said

secretly unto her, that she should send unto him after diner

the old woman, and that he would cause to be made a corded

ladder the same evening, thereby to climb up to her chamber

window, where at more leisure they would devise of their



49. Rhomeo tells

Iulietta to send him the

old nurse and he will

by climb to Iulietta’s

window by way of a

corded ladder.



















                   Things determined between them, either of them

retired to their house with incredible contentation, attending

the happy hour for consummation of their marriage.


50. The two lovers























Rhomeo was come home to his house, he declared wholly

what had passed between him and Iulietta, unto a servant of

his called Pietro, whose fidelity he had so greatly tried, as he

durst have trusted him with his life, and commanded him with

expedition to provide a ladder of cords with 2 strong hooks of

iron fastened to both ends, which he easily did, because they

were much used in Italy.


51. Rhomeo informs

his servant, Pietro,

and orders him to get

him a cord ladder.




















                                         Iulietta did not forget in the evening

about five of the clock, to send the old woman to Rhomeo,

who having prepared all things necessary, caused the ladder to

be delivered unto her, and prayed her to require Iulietta the

same evening not fail to be at the accustomed place.



52. Iulietta sends her

Nurse to Rhomeo,

who gives her the


















                                                                                    But if this

journey seemed long to these two passioned lovers, let other

judge, that have at other times assayed the like: for every

minute of an hour seemed to them a thousand years, so that

if they had had power to commande the heavens (as Josua

did the sun) the earth had incontinently bene shadowed with

darkest clouds.


53. Narrator’s

comment on lovers’

impatience (Biblical

ref. to Joshua 10).






















                        The appointed hour come, Rhomeo put on the

most sumptuous apparel he had, and conducted by good

fortune near to the place where his heart took life, was so fully

determined of his purpose, as easily he climbed up the garden

wall. Being arrived hard to the window, he perceived Iulietta,

who had already so well fastened the ladder to draw him up,

as without any danger at all he entered her chamber, which

was so clear as the day, by reason of the tapers of virgin wax,

which Iulietta had caused to be lighted, that she might the

better behold her Rhomeo.


54. Rhomeo arrives at

Iulietta’s house and

climbs to her














































                                            Iulietta for her part was but in her

night kerchief: who so soon as she perceived him colled him

about the neck, and after she had kissed and rekissed him a

million of times, began to embrace him between her arms,

having no power to speak unto him, but by sighs only, holding

her mouth close against his, and being in this trance beheld

him with pitiful eye, which made him to live and die together.

And afterwards somewhat come to her self, she said with sighs

deeply fetched from the bottom of her heart: “Ah Rhomeo, the

example of all virtue and gentleness, you be most heartily

welcome to this place, wherein for your lack and absence, and

for fear of your person, I have gushed forth so many tears, as

the spring is almost dry: but now that I hold you between my

arms, let death and fortune doe what they list, for I count my

self more than satisfied of all my sorrows past, by the favour

alone of your presence”: whom Rhomeo with weeping eye,

giving over silence answered: “Madame forsomuch as I never

received so much of fortunes grace, as to make you feel by

lively experience what power you had over me, and the

torment every minute of the day sustained for your occasion, I

do assure you the least grief that vexeth me for your absence,

is a thousand times more painful than death, which long time

or this had cut of the thread of my life, if the hope of this

happy journey had not been, which paying me now the just

tribute of my weepings past, maketh me better content and

more glad, than if the whole world were at my commandment,

beseeching you (without further memory of ancient grief) to

take advice in time to come how we may content our

passionate hearts, and to sort our affairs with such wisdom

and discretion as our enemies without advantage may let us

continue the remnant of our days in rest and quiet”.


55. Rhomeo and

Iulietta kiss and talk,

rejoycing for their

happiness and

remembering their

past sorrows.















                                                                                         And as

Iulietta was about to make answer, the old woman came in the

meantime, and said unto them: “He that wasteth time in talk,

recovereth the same too late.


56. The Nurse urges

them to stop talking

and waste no more














                                                But for so much as either of you

hath endured such mutual pains, behold (quod she) a camp

which I have made ready”, (showing them the field bed which

she had prepared and furnished,)


57. The Nurse the bed

as the site of a love


















                                                      wherunto they easily agreed,

and being then between the sheets in privy bed, after they had

gladded and cherished themselves with all kind of delicate

embracements which love was able to devise, Rhomeo

unloosing the holy lines of virginity, took possession of the

place, which was not yet besieged with such joy and

contentation as they can judge which have assayed like



58. They consummate

the marriage. Love as

a war metaphor

















             Their marriage thus consummate, Rhomeo perceiving

the morning make too hasty approach, took his leave, making

promise that he would not fail within a day or two to resort

again to the place by like means and semblable time, until

Fortune had provided sure occasion unfearfully to manifest

their marriage to the whole world.


59. At dawn Rhomeo

takes leave and

promises to return in

the same way until it

is safe to reveal their























                                                       And thus a month or twain,

they continued their joyful minds to their incredible

satisfaction, until Lady fortune envious of their prosperity,

turned her wheel to tumble them into such a bottomless pit, as

they paid her usury for their pleasures past, by a certain most

cruel and pitiful death, as you shall understand hereafter by

the discourse that followeth.


60. They meet for a

few months but then

envious Fortune

changes the happy

course of their love























                                               Now as we have before declared,

the Capellets and the Montesches were not so well reconciled

by the Lord of Verona, but that there rested in them such

sparks of ancient displeasures, as either parts waited but for

some light occasion to draw togethers, which they did in the

Easter holy days, (as bloody men commonly be most willingly

disposed after a good time to commit some nefarious deed)

besides the gate of Boursarie leading to the old castle of

Verona, a troupe of the Capellets reencountered with certain of

the Montesches, and without other woordes began to set upon


61. All the while

Capellets and

Montesches have

kept looking for an

occasion to rekindle

the feud and Easter a

new brawl breaks

near the Boursari




















                     And the Capellets had for chief of their glorious

enterprise one called Thibault cousin Germaine to Iulietta, a

young man strongly made, and of good experience in arms,



62. Description of

Thibault, chief of the






















who exhorted his Companions with stout stomachs to repress

the boldness of the Montesches, that there should from that

time forth no memory of them be left at all. And the rumour of

this fray was dispersed throughout all the corners of Verona,

that succour should come from all parts of the city to depart

the same.


63. Tybalt starts the































              Whereof Rhomeo advertised who walked alongs the

city with certain of his companions, hasted him speedily to

the place where the slaughter of his parents and allies were

committed: and after he had well advised and behold many

wounded and hurt on both sides, he said to his companions:

“My friends let us part then, for they be so flesht one upon an

other, as they will all be hewed to pieces before the game be

done”. And saying so, he thrust himself amids the troupe, and

did no more but part the blows on either side, crying upon

them aloud. “My friends, no more it is time henceforth that

our quarel cease. For besides the provocation of Gods just

wrath, our two families be slanderous to the whole world,

and cause this common wealth to grow unto disorder”. But

they were so eager and furious one against the other, as they

gave no audience to Rhomeo his counsel, and bent themselves

to kill, dismember, and tear each other in pieces.


64. Rhomeo arrives

and tries to part the

enemies, yet to no





































                                                                            And the fight

was so cruel and outrageous between them, as they which

looked on, were amazed to see them endure those blows, for

the ground was all covered with arms, legs, thighs, and blood,

wherein no sign of cowardness appeared, and maintained their

fight so long, that none was able to judge who had the better,

until that Thibault cousin to Iulietta inflamed with ire and

rage, turned towards Rhomeo, thinking with a foin to run

him through. But he was so well armed and defended with a

privy coat which he wore ordinarily for the doubt he had of

the Capellets, as the prick rebounded: unto whom Rhomeo

made answer: “Thibault thou maist know by the patience

which I have had until this present time, that I came not hither

to fight with thee or thine, but to seek peace and atonement

between us, and if thou thinkest that for default of courage I

have failed mine endeavour, thou doest great wrong to my

reputation. And impute this my sufferance to some other

particular respect, rather than to want of stomach. Wherefore

abuse me not, but be content with this great effusion of blood,

and murders already committed, and provoke me not I beseech

thee to pass the bounds of my good will and mind”.


65. Thibault assaults

Rhomeo, who does

not react by invoking

a secret reason that

makes him respect

his adversary.
























Traitor”, said Thibault, “thou thinkest to save thy self by the

plot of thy pleasant tong, but see that thou defend thy self, else

presently I will make thee feel that thy tongue shall not guard

thy corpse, nor yet be the buckler to defend the same from

present death”. And saying so, he gave him a blow with such

fury, as had not other warded the same, he had cut of his head

from his shoulders.



66. Thibault ignores

Rhomeo’s requests

and hits him again




















                                     And the one was no readier to lend, but

the other incontinently was able to pay again, for he being not

only wroth with the blow that he had received, but offended

with the injury which the other had done, began to pursue his

enemy with such courage and vivacity, as at the third blow

with his sword, he caused him to fall backward stark dead

upon the ground, with a prick vehemently thrust into his

throat, which he followed till his sword appeared through the

hinder part of the same, by reason whereof the conflict ceased.


67. Rhomeo gets

incensed and kills





















For besides that Thibault was the chief of his company, he was

also born of one of the noblest houses within the city, which

caused the potestate to assemble his soldiers with diligence for

the apprehension and imprisonment of Rhomeo, who seeing ill

fortune at hand, in secret wise conveyed him self to Friar

Laurence, at the Friars Franciscans.


68. The narrator

mentions Thibaut’s

high-class status.

Soldiers are sent to

apprehend Roméo,

and he flees to Friar


















                                                                               And the Friar

understanding of his fact, kept him in a certain secret place of

his Convent, until Fortune did otherwise provide for his safe

going abroad.


69. Friar Laurence

hides Rhomeo














                           The bruit spread throughout the city, of this

chance done upon the Lord Thibault, the Capellets in

mourning weeds caused the dead body to be carried before the

signiory of Verona, so well to move them to pity, as to demand

justice for the murder:


70. The Capulets

plead for




















                                                    before whom came also the

Montesches, declaring the innocence of Rhomeo, and the

wilful assault of the other.


71. The Montagues

defends Rhomeo

















                                                    The Counsel assembled and

witnesses heard on both parts, a straight commandment was

given by the Lord of the city to give over their weapons, and

touching the offense of Rhomeo because he had killed the

other in his own defence, he was banished Verona for ever.


72. Rhomeo is





















This common misfortune published throughout the city was

generally sorrowed and lamented. Some complained the death

of the Lord Thibault, so well for his dexterity in arms, as for

the hope of his great good service in time to come, if he had

not bene prevented by such cruel death.


73. People in town

mourn for Thibaut.




















                                                                          Other bewailed

(specially the Ladies and Gentlewomen) the overthrow of

young Rhomeo, who besides his beauty and good grace

wherewith he was enriched, had a certain natural allurement,

by virtue whereof he drew unto him the hearts of each man,

like as the stony adamant doth the cancered iron, in such wise

as the whole nation and people of Verona lamented his



74. People in town

(especially women)

mourn for Roméo’s




















                   but above all, unfortunate Iulietta, who advertised

both of the death of her cousin Thibault, and of the

banishment of her husband, made the air sound with infinite

number of mourneful plaints and miserable lamentations. Then

feeling her self too much outraged with extreme passion, she

went into her chamber, and overcome with sorrow threw her

self upon her bed, where she began to reinforce her dolor after

so strange fashion, as the most constant would have bene

moved to pity.


75. Iulietta despairs

for Rhomeo’s lot


























                          Then like one out of her wits, she gazed here

and there, and by Fortune beholding the window whereat

Rhomeo was wont to enter into her chamber, cried out: “Oh

unhappy window, Oh entry most unlucky, wherein were

woven the bitter toil of my former mishaps, if by thy means I

have received at other times some light pleasure or transitory

contentation, thou now makest me pay a tribute so rigorous

and painful, as my tender body not able any longer to support

the same, shall henceforth open the gate to that life where the

ghost discharged from this mortal burden, shall seek in some

place else more assured rest.


76. Iulietta curses the

“unhappy window”

which has let in

Rhomeo and given

her pleasure and

deadly sorrow.






































                                                     Ah Rhomeo, Rhomeo, when

acquaintance first began between us, and I reclined mine ears

unto thy suborned promises, confirmed with so many oaths, I

would never have believed that in place of our continued

amity, and in appeasing of the hatred of our houses, thou

wouldest have sought occasion to break the same by an act so

vituperous and shameful, whereby thy fame shallbe spotted

for ever, and I miserable wretch desolate of spouse and

companion. But if thou had bene so greedy after the Capellets

blood, wherefore didst thou spare the dear blood of mine own

heart when so many times, and in such secret place the same

was at the mercy of thy cruel hands? The victory which thou

shouldest have gotten over me, had it not bene glorious

enough for thine ambitious mind, but for more triumphant

solemnity to be crowned with the blood of my dearest

kinsman? Now get thee hence therefore into some other place

to deceive some other, so unhappy as my self. Never come

again in place where I am, for no excuse shall hereafter take

hold to assuage mine offended mind. In the meantime I shall

lament the rest of my heavy life, with such store of tears, as

my body dried up from all humidity, shall shortly search relief

in earth.” And having made an end of those her words, her

heart was so grievously strained, as she could neither weep

nor speak, and stood so immoveable, as if she had bene in a



77. Iulietta blames

Rhomeo for breaking

the truce between

their families and

falls into a sort of



























              Then being somewhat come again unto her self, with

feeble voice she said: “Ah murderous tongue of other mens

honour, how darest thou so infamously to speak of him whom

his very enemies doe commend and praise? How presumest

thou to impute the blame upon Rhomeo, whose unguiltiness

and innocent deed every man alloweth? Where from

henceforth shall be his refuge? sith she which ought to be the

only bulwark, and assured rampire of his distress, doth pursue

and defame him? Receive, receive then Rhomeo, the

satisfaction of mine ingratitude by the sacrifice which I shall

make of my proper life, and so the fault which I have

committed against thy loyalty, shalbe made open to the world,

thou being revenged and my self punished”.


78. Iulietta now

blames herself for

being unfair to her
















                                                                         And thinking to

use some further talk, all the powers of her body failed her

with signs of present death.


79. Iulietta faints as if

she is dead


















                                                 But the good old woman which

could not imagine the cause of Iulietta her long absence,

doubted very much that she suffered some passion, and sought

her up and down in every place within her fathers palace, until

at length she found her lying a long upon her bed, all the

outward parts of her body so cold as marble.


80. The Nurse looks

for Iulietta and

finally finds her in

her chamber.
























                                                                          But the good old

woman which thought her to be dead, began to cry like one

out of her wits, saying: “Ah dear daughter and nurse-child,

how much doeth thy death now grieve me at the very heart?”

And as she was feeling all the parts of her body, she perceived

some spark of life to be yet within the same, which caused her

to call her many times by her name, till at length she brought

her out of her sound. Then she said unto her: “Why Iulietta

mine own dear darling, what mean you by this turmoiling of

your self? I can not tell from whence this your behaviour and

that immoderate heaviness doe proceed, but well I wot that

within this hour I thought to have accompanied you to the



81. The old nurse

believes her dead but

manages to wake her















           “Alas good mother (answered woeful Iulietta) doe you

not most evidently perceive and see what just cause I have to

sorrow and complain, losing at one instant two persons of the

world which were unto me most dear?”


82. The girl tells her

about her grief.


























                                                                  “Methink, answered

the good woman, that it is not seemly for a Gentlewoman of

your degree to fall into such extremity. For in time of

tribulation wisdom should most prevail. And if the Lord

Thibault be dead, do you think to get him again by tears?

What is he that doth not accuse his overmuch presumption?

Would you that Rhomeo had done that wrong to him, and his

house, to suffer himself outraged and assailed by one, to whom

in manhood and prowess he is not inferior? Suffiseth you that

Rhomeo is alive, and his affairs in such estate, who in time

may be called home again from banishment, for he is a great

lord, and as you know well allied and favoured of all men:

wherefore arm your self from henceforth with patience. For

albeit that fortune doth estrange him from you for a time, yet

sure I am, that hereafter she will restore him unto you again

with greater joy and contentation than before.


83. The Nurse

comforts Iulietta














                                                                            And to the end

that we be better assured in what state he is, if you will

promise me to give over your heaviness, I will today know of

Friar Laurence whether he is gone.”


84. The Nurse

promises her to find

out where Rhomeo is
























                                                            To which request Iulietta

agreed, and then the good woman repaired to S. Francis, where

she found Friar Laurence, who told her that the same night

Rhomeo would not fail at his accustomed hour to visit Iulietta,

and there to do her to understand what he purposed to doe in

time to come. This journey then fared like the voyages of

mariners, who after they have bene tost by great and troublous

tempest, seeing some sun beam pierce the heavens to lighten

the land, assure them selves again, and thinking to have

avoided shipwreck, and suddenly the seas begin to swell, the

waves do roar, with such vehemence and noise, as if they were

fallen again into greater danger than before.


85. Iulietta agrees and

the Nurse goes to S.

Francis where she is

told that Rhomeo

would meet Iulietta at


Narrator’s comment

on the characters’

state of mind (sea

storm simile).


























                                                                             The assigned

hour come, Rhomeo failed not according to his promise to be

in his Garden, where he found his furniture prest to mount the

chamber of Iulietta, who with displayed arms, began so

straightly to embrace him, as it seemed that the soul would

have abandoned her body. And they two more than a large

quarter of an hour were in such agony, as they were not able

to pronounce one word, and wetting each others face fast

closed together, the tears trickeled down in such abundance,

as they seemed to be thoroughly bathed therein.


86. The lovers meet in

Iulietta’s chamber

and despair





































Rhomeo perceiving, and thinking to stay those immoderate

tears, said unto her: “Mine own dearest friend Iulietta, I am

not now determined to recite the particulars of the strange

haps of frail and inconstant Fortune, who in a moment

hoisteth a man up to the highest degree of her wheel, and by

and by, in less space than in the twinkling of an eye, she

throweth him down again so low, as more misery is prepared

for him in one day, than favour in one hundred years: which I

now prove, and have experience in my self, which have bene

nourished delicately amongs my friends, and maintained in

such prosperous state, as you doe little know, (hoping for the

full perfection of my felicity) by means of our marriage to

have reconciled our parents and friends, and to conduct the

residue of my life, according to the scope and lot determined

by almighty God: and nevertheless all mine enterprises be put

back, and my purposes turned clean contrary, in such wise as

from henceforth I must wander like a vagabond through

diverse provinces, and sequestrate my self from my friends,

without assured place of mine abode, which I desire to let you

weet, to the intent you may be exhorted, in time to come,

patiently to bear so well mine absence, as that which it shall

please God to appoint”.


87. Rhomeo’s speech

on inconstant

Fortune and report of

his own banishment.


















































                                      But Iulietta, all affright with tears and

mortal agonies, would not suffer him to pass any further, but

interrupting his purpose, said unto him: “Rhomeo, how canst

thou be so hard hearted and void of all pity, to leave me here

alone, besieged with so many deadly miseries? There is neither

hour nor minute, wherein death doth not appear a thousand

times before me: What and yet my mishap is such, as I can not

die, and therefore doe manifestly perceive, that the same death

preserveth my life, of purpose to delight in my griefs, and

triumph over my evils. And thou like the minister and tyrant

of her cruelty, doest make no conscience (for ought that I can

see) having achieved the sum of thy desires and pleasures on

me, to abandon and forsake me. Whereby I well perceive, that

all the laws of amity are dead and utterly extinguished, for so

much as he, in whom I had greatest hope and confidence, and

for whose sake I am become an enemy to my self, doth disdain

and contemn me. No no Rhomeo, thou must fully resolve thy

self upon one of these 2 points, either to see me incontinently

thrown down headlong from this high window after thee or

else to suffer me to accompany thee into that country or place

whether Fortune shall guide thee: for my heart is so much

transformed into thine, that so soon as I shall understand of

thy departure, presently my life will depart this woeful body:

the continuance whereof I doe not desire for any other

purpose, but only to delight my self in thy presence, and to be

partaker of thy misfortunes. And therefore if ever there lodged

any pity in the heart of Gentleman, I beseech thee Rhomeo

with all humility, that it may now find place in thee, and that

thou wilt vouchsafe to receive me for thy servant, and the

faithful companion of thy mishaps. And if thou think that thou

canst not conveniently receive me in the estate and habit of a

wife, who shall let me to change mine apparel? Shall I be the

first that have used like shifts, to escape the tyranny of

parents? Dost thou doubt that my service will not be so good

unto thee as that of Petre thy servant? Will my loyalty and

fidelity be less than his? My beauty, which at other times thou

hast so greatly commended, is it not esteemed of thee? My

tears, my love, and the ancient pleasures and delights that you

have taken in me, shall they be in oblivion?”


88. Iulietta asks

Rhomeo to go with

him dressed up as a

man otherwise she

will kill herself





































                                                                            Rhomeo seeing

her in these alterations, fearing that worse inconvenience

would chance, took her again between his arms, and kissing

her amorously, said: “Iulietta, the only mistress of my heart, I

pray thee in the name of God, and for the fervent love which

thou bearest unto me, to doe away those vain cogitations,

except thou mean to seek and hazard the destruction of us

both: for if thou persevere in this determination, there is no

remedy but we must both perish: for so soon as thine absence

shall be known, thy father will make such earnest pursuit after

us, that we can not choose but be descried and taken, and in

the end cruelly punished, I as a thief and stealer of thee, and

thou as a disobedient daughter to her father. And so instead of

pleasant and quiet life, our days shalbe abridged by most

shameful death. But if thou wilt recline thy self to reason, (the

right rule of humane life,) and for the time abandon our

mutual delights, I will take such order in the time of my

banishment, as within iij or iiij months without any delay, I

shalbe revoked home again. But if it fall out otherwise (as I

trust not,) how so ever it happen, I will come again unto thee,

and with the help of my friends will fetch thee from Verona by

strong hand, not in counterfeit apparel as a stranger, but like

my spouse and perpetual companion. In the meantime quiet

your self, and be sure that nothing else but death shall divide

and put us asunder”.


89. Rhomeo

dissuades Iulietta

from going with him,

promising her that

his exile will soon be

called off.





















                                                The reasons of Rhomeo so much

prevailed with Iulietta, as she made him this answer: “My dear

friend I will doe nothing contrary to your will and pleasure.

And to what place so ever you repair, my heart shall be your

own, in like sort as you have given yours to be mine. In the

meanwhile I pray you not to fail oftentimes to advertise me by

Friar Laurence, in what state your affairs be, and specially of

the place of your abode”.


90. Iulietta agrees

upon the condition

that Rhomeo sends

her news through

Friar Laurence













                                             Thus these two poor lovers passed

the night together,


91. The lovers spend

the night together












                                    until the day began to appear, which did

separate them, to their extreme sorrow and grief.


92. At dawn the

lovers sadly part.

















having taken leave of Iulietta, went to S. Francis,


93. Rhomeo goes to

Friar Laurence



















                                                                                 and after he

had advertised Friar Laurence of his affairs, departed from

Verona in the habit of a merchant stranger, and used such

expedition, as without hurt he arrived at Mantona,

(accompanied only with Petre his servant, whom he hastily

sent back again to Verona, to serve his father) where he took a

house: and living in honourable company, assayed certain

months to put away the grief which so tormented him.


94. leaves dressed as a

merchant and once in

Mantua sends back

his man He finds

lodging and tries to

keep away




























during the time of his absence, miserable Iulietta could not so

cloke her sorrow, but that through the evil colour of her face,

her inward passion was descried. By reason whereof her

mother, who heard her oftentimes sighing, and incessantly

complaining, could not forbear to say unto her: “Daughter if

you continue long after this sort, you will hasten the death of

your good Father and me, who love you so dearly as our own

lives: wherefore henceforth moderate your heaviness, and

endeavour your self to be merry: think no more upon the

death of your cousin Thibault, whom (sith it pleased God to

call away) do you think to revoke with tears, and to withstand

his almighty will?


95. Iulietta cannot but


Iulietta’s mother

urges her to to give

up suffering for

Tybalt’s death.



















                                 But the poor Gentlewoman not able to

dissemble her grief, said unto her: Madame long time it is

sithens the last tears for Thibault were poured forth, and I

believe that the fountain is so well socked and dried up, as no

more will spring in that place”.


96. Iulietta denies that

her grief is due to

Thibaut’s death.

















                                                      The mother which could not

tell to what effect those words were spoken held her peace, for

fear she should trouble her daughter: and certain days after

seeing her to continue in heaviness and continual griefs,

assayed by all means possible to know, as well of her, as of

other the household servants, the occasion of her sorrow, but

all in vain:


97. Iulietta’s mother

tries to explore the

reasons of her

daughter’s grief, but

in vain.








































                wherewith the poor mother vexed beyond measure,

purposed to let the Lorde Antonio her husband to understand

the case of her daughter. And upon a day seeing him at

convenient leisure, she said unto him: “My Lord, if you have

marked the countenance of our daughter, and her kind of

behaviour sithens the death of the Lord Thibault her cousin,

you shall perceive so strange mutation in her, as it will make

you to marvel: for she is not only contented to forgoe meat,

drink and sleep, but she spendeth her time in nothing else but

in weeping and lamentation, delighting to keep her self

solitary within her chamber, where she tormeteth her self so

outrageously, as if we take not heed, her life is to be doubted,

and not able to know the original of her pain, the more

difficult shall be the remedy: for albeit that I have sought

means by all extremity, yet cannot I learn the cause of her

sickness. And where I thought in the beginning, that it

proceeded upon the death of her cousin, now I doe manifestly

perceive the contrary, specially when she her self did assure

me that she had already wept and shed the last tears for him,

that she was minded to doe. And uncertain whereupon to

resolve, I do think verily that she mourneth for some despite,

to see the most part of her companions married, and she yet

unprovided, persuading with her self (it may be) that we her

parents doe not care for her. Wherefore dear husband, I

heartly beseech you for our rest and her quiet, that hereafter

you be careful to provide for her some marriage worthy of our



98. Iulietta’s mother

discusses her

daughter’s condition

with her husband

and suggests that

they find a good

party for her,

assuming that she is

envious of her mates

who are already






























              whereunto the Lord Antonio willingly agreed, saying

unto her: “Wife, I have many times thought upon that whereof

you speak, notwithstading sith as yet she is not attained to the

age of xviij yeares, I thought to provide a husband at leisure.

Nevertheless things being come to these terms, and knowing

that virgins chastity is a dangerous treasure, I will be mindful

of the same to your contentation, and she matched in such

wise, as she shall think the time hitherto well delayed. In the

meanwhile mark diligently whether she be in love with any to

the end that we have not so great regard to goods, or to the

nobility of the house wherein we mean to bestow her, as to the

life and health of our daughter, who is to me so dear as I had

rather die a beggar without lands or goods, than to bestow her

upon one which shall use and entreat her ill”.


99. Lord Antonio

agrees and asks his

wife to find out

whether she is in love

with someone (“as

yet she is not attained

to the age of xviij





















                                                                               Certain days

after that the Lord Antonio had bruited the marriage of his

Daughter, many Gentlemen were suiters, so well for the

excellency of her beauty, as for her great richesse and revenue.

But above all others the alliance of a young Earle named Paris,

the Count of Lodronne liked the Lord Antonio: unto whom

liberally he gave his consent, and told his wife the party upon

whom he did mean to bestow his daughter.


100. The Count

Lodronne is chosen

by Iulietta’s father

among many noble

suitors; he informs

his wife.























                                                                        The mother very

joyful that they had found so honest a gentleman for their

daughter caused her secretly to be called before her, doing her

to understand what things had passed between her father and

the Count Paris, discoursing unto her the beauty and good

grace of that young Count, the virtues for which he was

commended of all men, joining thereunto for conclusion the

great richesse and favour which he had in the goods of

fortune, by means whereof she and her friends should live in

eternal honour.


101. Iulietta’s mother

informs Iulietta.



































                              But Iulietta which had rather to have bene

torn in pieces than to agree to the marriage, answered her

mother with a more than accustomed stoutness: “Madame, I

much marvel, and therewithal am astounded that you being a

Lady discrete and honourable, will be so liberal over your

daughter as to commit her to the pleasure and will of an other

before, you do know how her mind is bent: you may do as it

pleaseth you, but of one thing I do well assure you, that if you

bring it to pass, it shall be against my will. And touching the

regard and estimation of Count Paris, I shall first lose my life

before he shall have power to touch any part of my body:

which being done, it is you that shall be counted the murderer,

by delivering me into the hands of him, whom I neither can,

will, or know which way to love. Wherefore I pray you to

suffer me henceforth thus to live, without taking any further

care of me, for so much as my cruel fortune hath otherwise

disposed of me.”


102. Iulietta firmly

rejects her mother’s





















                           The dolorous mother which knew not what

judgement to fix upon her daughters answer, like a woman

confused and besides her self went to seek the Lord Antonio,

unto whom without concealing any part of her daughters

answer, she did him understand the whole.


103. The mother is

taken aback and

informs Lord Antonio




















                                                                      The good old man

offended beyond measure, commanded her incontinently by

force to be brought before him, if of her own good will she

would not come.


104. Lord Antonio

summons Iulietta


















                               So soon as she came before her father, her

eyes full of tears, fell down at his feet, which she bathed with

the lukewarm drops that distilled from her eyes in great

abundance, and thinking to open her mouth to cry him mercy,

the sobs and sighs many times stopped her speech, that she

remained dumb not able to frame a word.


105. Once in front of

her father Iulietta

despairs and cannot

speak for sobs and













































                                                                           But the old man

nothing moved with his daughters tears, said unto her in great

rage: “Come hither thou unkind and disobedient daughter,

hast thou already forgotten how many times thou hast heard

spoken at the table, of the puissance and authority our ancient

Romane fathers had over their children? Unto whom it was

not only lawful to sell, gauge, and otherwise dispose them (in

their necessity) at their pleasure, but also which is more, they

had absolute power over their death and life? With what irons,

with what torments, with what racks would those good fathers

chasten and correct thee if they were alive again, to see that

ingratitude, misbehaviour and disobedience which thou usest

towards thy father, who with many prayers and requests hath

provided one of the greatest lords of this province to be thy

husband, a gentleman of best renown, and endued with all

kind of virtues, of whom thou and I be unworthy, both for the

notable masse of goods and substance wherewith he is

enriched, as also for the honour and generosity of the house

whereof he is descended, and yet thou playest the part of an

obstinate and rebellious child against thy fathers will, I take

the omnipotence of that almighty God to witness, which hath

vouchsafed to bring thee forth into this world, that if upon

Tuesday next thou failest to prepare thy self to be at my castle

of Villafranco, where the Count Paris purposeth to meet us,

and there give thy consent to that which thy mother and I

have agreed upon, I will not only deprive thee of my worldly

goods, but also will make thee espouse and marry a prison so

straight and sharp, as a thousand times thou shalt curse the

day and time wherein thou wast born. Wherefore from

henceforth take advisement what thou dost, for except the

promise be kept which I have made to the Count Paris, I will

make thee feel how great the just choler of an offended father

is against a child unkind”.


106. Antonio gets

incensed. He obliges

her to marry Count

Lodronne and go to

Villafranco on

Tuesday to consent to

the marriage.

(Reference to Roman























                                                  And without staying for other

answer of his daughter, the old man departed the chamber,

and left her upon her knees.


107. Lord Antonio

leaves her without

waiting for her reply.


















                                                 Iulietta knowing the fury of her

father, fearing to incur his indignation, or to provoke his

further wrath, retired for that day into her chamber, and

contrived the whole night more in weeping than sleeping.


108. Iulietta retires to

her room and cries.





























the next morning feigning to go hear service, she went forth

with the woman of her chamber to the Friars, where she

caused father Laurence to be called unto her, and prayed him

to hear her confession. And when she was upon her knees

before him, she began her confession with tears, telling him

the great mischief that was prepared for her, by the marriage

accorded between her father, and the Count Paris. And for

conclusion said unto him: “Sir, for so much as you know that I

can not by Gods law be married twice, and that I have but one

God, one husband, and one faith, I am determined (when I am

from hence) with these two hands which you see joined before

you, this day to end my sorrowful life, that my soul may bear

witness in the heavens, and my blood upon the earth of my

faith and loyalty preserved.” Then having ended her talk, she

looked about her, and seemed by her wild countenance, as

though she had devised some sinister purpose.


109. The following

morning Iulietta goes

to Friar Laurence,

informs him of the

organized match

with Paris and

threatens self




























Friar Laurence, astounded beyond measure, fearing lest she

would have executed that which she was determined, said

unto her: “Mistress Iulietta, I pray you in the name of God by

little and little to moderate your conceived grief, and to

content your self whilst you be here, until I have provided

what is best for you to do, for before you part from hence, I

will give you such consolation and remedy for your afflictions,

as you shall remain satisfied and contented”.



110. The Friar

reassures Iulietta

from suicide and

offers her his help



















                                                                              And resolved

upon this good mind, he speedily went out of the Church unto

his chamber, where he began to consider of many things, his

conscience being moved to hinder the marriage between the

Count Paris and her, knowing that by his means she had

espoused an other,


111.  Friar Laurence

leaves her and goes

to his cell. He feels

responsible for

having married her.

















                                           and calling to remembrance what a

dangerous enterprise he had begun, by committing himself to

the mercy of a simple damsel, and that if she failed to be wise

and secret, all their doings should be descried, he defamed,

and Rhomeo her spouse punished.


112. The Friar is

troubled by fears for

the lovers and

himself in case Iulietta

fails to  cope with

such a weighty affair.




















                                                         He then after he had well

debated upon an infinite number of devices, was in the end

overcome with pity, and determined rather to hazard his

honour, than to suffer the adultery of Count Paris with

Iulietta. And being determined hereupon, opened his closet,

and taking a vial in his hand, returned again to Iulietta, whom

he found like one that was in a trance, waiting for news, either

of life, or death.


113. Eventually the

Friar resolves to help

Iulietta and gives her

a vial.


















                          Of whom the good old father demanded upon

what day her marriage was appointed. “The first day of that

appointment (quod she) is upon Wednesday, which is the day

ordained for my consent of marriage accorded between my

father and Count Paris, but the nuptial solemnity is not before

the x day of September”.


114. Friar Laurence

asks Iulietta when the

marriage will take

place (x September)






















                                       “Well then (quod the religious father)

be of good cheer daughter, for our Lord God hath opened a

way unto me both to deliver you and Rhomeo from the

prepared thraldom. I have known your husband from his

cradle, and he hath daily committed unto me the greatest

secrets of his conscience, and I have so dearly loved him again,

as if he had been mine own son. Wherefore my heart can not

abide that any man should do him wrong in that specially

wherein my counsel may stand him instead. And for so much

as you are his wife, I ought likewise to love you, and seek

means to deliver you from the martyrdom and anguish

wherewith I see your heart besieged.


115. Friar Laurence

vows to help and

stand loyal to both

Rhomeo and Iulietta














                                                              Understand then (good

daughter) of a secrete which I purpose to manifest unto you,

and take heed above all things, that you declare it to no living

creature, for therein consisteth your life and death.


116. Friar Laurence

bids Iulietta to
































                                                                                   You be not

ignorant by the common report of the citizens of this city, and

by the same published of me, that I have travailed thorough all

the Provinces of the habitable earth, whereby during the

continual time of xx years, I have sought no rest for my

wearied body, but rather have many times protruded the same

to the mercy of brute beasts in the wilderness, and many times

also to the merciless waves of the seas, and to the pity of

common pirates together with a thousand other dangers and

shipwrecks upon sea and land. So it is good daughter that all

my wandering voyages have not bene altogethers unprofitable.

For besides the incredible contentation received ordinarily in

mind, I have gathered some particular fruit, whereof by the

grace of God you shall shortly feel some experience. I have

proved the secrete properties of stones, of plants, metals, and

other things hidden within the bowels of the earth, wherewith

I am able to help my self against the common law of men,

when necessity doth serve: specially in things wherein I know

mine eternal God to be least offended.


117. The Friar

describes his past

adventures when he

learnt about a

“particular fruit”

which will serve

Iulietta’s purpose.


















                                                                 For as thou knowest I

being approached as it were, even to the brim of my grave, and

that the time draweth near for yielding of mine accompt

before the auditor of all auditors, I ought therefore to have

some deep knowledge and apprehension of Gods judgement

more than I had when the heat of unconsidered youth did boil

within my lusty body.


118. The Friar tells

Iulietta why he wants

to help her.























                                    Know you therefore good daughter, that

with those graces and favours which the heavens prodigally

have bestowed upon me, I have learned and proved of long

time the composition of a certain paste, which I make of divers

soporiferous samples, which beaten afterwards to powder, and

drunk with a quantity of water, within a quarter of an hour

after, bringeth the receiver into such a sleep, and burieth so

deeply the senses and other spirits of life, that the cunningest

Physician will judge the party dead: and besides that it hath a

more marvellous effect, for the person which useth the same

feeleth no kind of grief, and according to the quantity of the

dough, the patient remaineth in a sweet sleep, but when the

operation is perfect and done, he returneth into his first estate.

119. The Friar

describes the virtues

of his sleeping potion












































Now then Iulietta receive mine instruction, and put of all

feminine affection by taking upon you a manly stomach, for

by the only courage of your mind consisteth the hap or mishap

of your affairs. Behold here I give you a vial which you shall

keep as your own proper heart, and the night before your

marriage, or in the morning before day, you shall fill the same

up with water, and drink so much as is contained therein. And

then you shall feel a certain kind of pleasant sleep, which

encroaching by little and little all the parts of your body, will

constrain then in such wise, as unmoveable they shall remain:

and by not doing their accustomed duties, shall loose their

natural feelings, and you abide in such ecstasy the space of 40

hours at the least without any beating of pulse or other

perceptible motion, which shall so astonish them that come to

see you, as they will judge you to be dead, and according to

the custom of our city, you shall be carried to the churchyard

hard by our Church, where you shall be entombed in the

common monument of the Capellets your ancestors, and in the

meantime we will send word to the Lord Rhomeo by a special

messenger of the effect of our device, who now abideth at

Mantua. And the night following I am sure he will not fail to

be here, then he and I together will open the grave, and lift up

your body, and after the operation of the powder is past, he

shall convey you secretly to Mantua, unknown to all your

parents and friends. Afterwards (it may be) time the mother of

truth shall cause concord between the offended city of Verona

and Rhomeo. At which time your common cause may be made

open to the general contentation of all your friends”.


120. Friar urges her to

take manly courage

and drink the potion.

He informs Iulietta of

the stratagem.





























words of the good Father ended, new joy surprised the heart of

Iulietta, who was so attentive to his talk as she forget no one

point of her lesson. Then she said unto him: “Father, doubt not

at all that my heart shall fail in performance of your

commandment: for were it the strongest poison or most

pestiferous venom, rather would I thrust it into my body, than

to consent to fall in the hands of him, whom I utterly mislike

with a right strong reason then may I fortify my self, and offer

my body to any kind of mortal danger to approach and draw

near to him, upon whom wholly dependeth my life and all the

contentation I have in this world”.


121. Iulietta happily

agrees and shows





















                                                              “Go your ways then my

daughter (quod the Friar) the mighty hand of God keep you,

and his surpassing power defend you, and confirm that will

and good mind of yours, for the accomplishment of this work”.



122.  The Friar prays

God to make her

constant in this deed.




































Iulietta departed from Friar Laurence, and returned home to

her fathers palace about xj of the clock, where she found her

mother at the gate attending for her: and in good devotion

demanded if she continued still in her former follies? But

Iulietta with more gladsome cheer than she was wont to use,

not suffering her mother to aske again, said unto her:

“Madame I come from S. Francis Church, where I have tarried

longer peradventure than my duty requireth: how be it not

without fruit and great rest to my afflicted conscience, by

reason of the godly persuasions of our ghostly father Friar

Laurence, unto whom I have made a large declaration of my

life. And chiefly have communicated unto him in confession,

that which hath past between my Lord my father and you,

upon the marriage of Count Paris and me. But the good man

hath reconciled me by his holy words and commendable

exhortations, that where I had mind never to marry, now I am

well disposed to obey your pleasure and commandment.

Wherefore Madame I beseech you to recover the favour and

good will of my father, ask pardon in my behalf, and say unto

him (if it please you) that by obeying his fatherly request, I am

ready to meet the Count Paris at Villafranco, and there in your

presence to accept him for my Lord and husband: in assurance

whereof, by your patience, I mean to repair into my closet, to

make choice of my most precious jewels, that I being richly

adorned and decked, may appear before him more agreeable to

his mind and pleasure”.

123. Iulietta goes

back home and

praises Friar

Laurence with his

mother. She also

agrees to marry

Count Lodronne and

asks her father’s


























                                       The good mother rapt with exceeding

great joy, was not able to answer a word, but rather made

speed to seek out her husband the Lord Antonio, unto whom

she reported the good will of her daughter, and how by means

of Friar Laurence her mind was changed. Whereof the good

old man marvellous joyful, praised God in heart, saying: “wife

this is not the first good turn which we have received of that

holy man, unto whom every Citizen of this Common wealth is

dearly bound. I would to God that I had redeemed xx of his

years with the third part of my goods, so grievous is to me his

extreme old age”.


124. Iulietta’s mother

rejoices and informs

her husband, who

greatly praises the























                               The self same hour the Lord Antonio went

to seek the Count Paris, whom he thought to persuade to go to

Villafranco. But the Count told him again, that the charge

would be too great, and that better it were to reserve that cost

to the marriage day, for the better celebration of the same.

Notwithstanding if it were his pleasure, he would himself go

visit Iulietta: and so they went together.


125. Lord Antonio

goes to inform Count

Lodronne and invite

him to Villafranco,

but the young lover

suggests that he

cancels the visit and

goes to see Iulietta.






















                                                                                The mother

advertised of his coming, caused her Daughter to make her self

ready, and to spare no costly jewels for adorning of her beauty

against the Counts coming, which she bestowed so well for

garnishing of her personage, that before the Count parted

from the house, she had so stolen away his heart, as he lived

not from that time forth, but upon meditation of her beauty,

and slacked no time for acceleration of the marriage day

ceasing not to be importunate upon father and mother for the

end and consummation thereof:


126. Iulietta’s mother

recommends that she

puts up her best

manners to impress

Paris and win his

heart. He is so

seduced that wants

to haste the wedding.


















                                                          And thus with joy enough

passed forth this day and many others until the day before the

marriage, against which time the mother of Iulietta did so well

provide, that there wanted nothing to set forth the

magnificence and nobility of their house.


127. Time passes and

the day before the

wedding day arrives.

Iulietta’s mother has

provided for it


















                                                                   Villafranco whereof

we have made mention, was a place of pleasure, where the

lord Antonio was wont many times to recreate him self a mile

or two from Verona, there the dinner was prepared, for so

much as the ordinary solemnity of necessity must be done at



128. The narrator

comments on

Villafranco, where

the wedding feast

will take place.




















               Iulietta perceiving her time to approach, dissembled

the matter so well as she could: and when time forced her to

retire to her chamber, her woman would have waited upon

her, and have lain in her chamber, as her custom was. But

Iulietta said unto her: “Good and faithful mother, you know

that tomorrow is my marriage day, and for that I would spend

the most part of the night in prayer, I pray you for this time to

let me alone, and tomorrow in the morning about vj of the

clock come to me again to help me make me ready”.


129. The night before

the marriage Iulietta

asks the nurse to

leave her alone as

she wants to pray.


















                                                                                     The good

old woman willing to follow her mind, suffered her alone, and

doubted nothing of that which she did mean to do.


130. The nurse leaves

Iulietta alone.






















being within her chamber having an ewer full of water

standing upon the table filled the vial which the Friar gave her:

and after she had made the mixture, she set it by her bed side,

and went to bed. And being lain, new thoughts began to assail

her, with a concept of grievous death, which brought her into

such case as she could not tell what to doe, but playing

incessantly said:


131. Iulietta prepares

to drink the potion

and starts doubting.




















                             “Am not I the most unhappy and desperate

creature, that ever was born of woman? For me there is

nothing left in this wretched world but mishap, misery, and

mortal woe, my distress hath brought me to such extremity, as

to save mine honour and conscience, I am forced to devour the

drink whereof I know not the virtue:


132. Iulietta laments

her lot














                                                               but what know I (said

she) whether the operation of this powder will be to soon or

too late, or not correspondent to the due time, and that my

fault being discovered, I shall remain a fable to the people?


133. Iulietta fears the

potion will not work























What know I moreover, if the serpents and other venomous

and crawling worms, which commonly frequent the graves

and pits of the earth will hurt me, thinking that I am dead? But

how shall I endure the stink of so many carrions and bones of

mine ancestors which rest in the grave, if by fortune I do

awake before Rhomeo and Friar Laurence doe come to help



134. She fears

serpents or odious

beasts should appear

in the tomb or that

she be stifled by the

odour of the corpses.

























          And as she was thus plunged in the deep contemplation

of things, she thought that she saw a certain vision or fancy of

her cousin Thibault, in the very same sort as she saw him

wounded and imbrued with blood, and musing how that she

must be buried quick amongst so many dead carcases and

deadly naked bones, her tender and delicate body began to

shake and tremble, and her yellow locks to stare for fear, in

such wise as freighted with terror, a cold sweat began to pierce

her heart, and bedew the rest of all her members, in such wise

as she thought that a hundred thousand deaths did stand about

her, haling her on every side, and plucking her in pieces,



135. She thinks she

sees Thibault’s ghost

and other spectres

(she is said to have

blond hair).






















feeling that her forces diminished by little and little, fearing

that through to great debility she was not able to do her

enterprise, like a furious and insensate woman, without

further care, gulped up the water within the vial, then crossing

her arms upon her stomach, she lost at that instant all the

powers of her body, resting in a trance.


136. She eventually

takes the potion and





























                                                                           And when the

morning light began to thrust his head out of his Orient, her

chamber woman which had locked her in with the key, did

open the door, and thinking to awake her, called her many

times, and said unto her: “Mistress, you sleep to long, the

Count Paris will come to raise you. The poor old woman spake

unto the wall, and sang a song unto the deaf. For if all the

horrible and tempestuous sounds of the world had bene

cannoned forth out of the greatest bombards, and sounded

through her delicate ears, her spirits of life were so fast bound

and stopt, as she by no means could awake, wherewith the

poor old woman amazed, began to shake her by the arms and

hands, which she found so cold as marble stone.


137. At dawn the

nurse goes to wake

Iulietta up.



















                                                                               Then putting

hand unto her mouth, soddenly perceived that she was dead,

for she perceived no breath in her. Wherefore like a woman

out of her wits, she ran to tell her mother,



138. The Nurse

discovers Iulietta

apparently dead and

goes screaming to

tell her mother.























                                                                  who so mad as tiger,

bereft of her fawns, hide her self into her daughters chamber,

and in that pitiful state beholding her daughter, thinking her

to be dead, cried out: “Ah cruel death, which hast ended all my

joy and bliss, use thy last scourge of thy wrathful ire against

me, least by suffering me to live the rest of my woeful days,

my torment do increase”. Then she began to fetch such

straining sighs as her heart did seem to cleave in pieces.


139. The mother

despairs (simile of the
























as her cries began to increase, behold the father, the Count

Paris, and a great troupe of gentlemen and ladies, which were

come to honour the feast, hearing no sooner tell of that which

chanced, were stroke into such sorrowful dumps as he which

had beheld their faces would easily have judged that the same

had bene a day of ire and pity,


140. Lord Antonio

and the city of

Verona mourn

Iulietta’s (fake) death.
























                                                          specially the lord Antonio,

whose heart was frapped with such surpassing woe, as neither

tear nor word could issue forth, and knowing not what to doe,

straight way set to seek the most expert physicians of the

town, who after they had inquired of the life past of Iulietta,

deemed by common report, that melancholy was the cause of

that sudden death, and then their sorrows began to renew



141. Iulietta’s father is

struck dumb by the

scene and calls for the

best doctors in town.

They determine that

Iulietta has died of























            And if ever day was lamentable, piteous, unhappy and

fatal, truly it was that wherein Iulietta her death was published

in Verona: for she was so bewailed of great and small, that by

the common plaints the commonwealth seemed to be in

danger, and not without cause. For besides her natural beauty

accompanied with many virtues wherewith nature had

enriched her she was else so humble, wise and debonair, as for

that humility and curtesy she had stolen away the hearts of

every wight, and there was none but did lament her



142. General

lamentation of the

town over Iulietta’s


























                        And whilst these things were in this lamented

state, Friar Laurence with diligence dispatched a Friar of his

Convent, named Friar Anselme, whom he trusted as himself,

and delivered him a letter written with his own hand,

commanding him expressly not to give the same to any other

but to Rhomeo, wherein was contained the chance which had

passed between him and Iulietta, specially the virtue of the

powder, and commanded him the next ensuing night to speed

him self to Verona, for that the operation of the powder that

time would take end, and that he should carry with him back

again to Mantua his beloved Iulietta, in dissembled apparel,

until Fortune had otherwise provided for them.


143. In the meantime

the Friar has sent

Friar Anselme to

Roméo with a letter

































                                                                            The Friar made

such hast as (too late) he arrived at Mantua, within a while

after. And because the manner of Italy is that the Friar

travailing abroad ought to take a companion of his convent to

doe his affairs within the city, the Friar went into his convent,

but because he was entered in, it was not lawful for him to

come out again that day, for that certain days before, one

religious of that convent as it was said, did die of the plague.

Wherefore the magistrates appointed for the health and

visitation of the sick, commanded the warden of the house that

no Friars should wander abroad the city, or talk with any

citizen, until they were licenced by the officers in that behalf

appointed, which was the cause of the great mishap, which

you shall hear hereafter. The Friar being in this perplexity, not

able to goe forth, and not knowing what was contained in the

letter, deferred his journey for that day.


144. Friar Anselme is

stopped in Mantua

because of a brother

who had died of





















                                                                  Whilst things were in

this plight, preparation was made at Verona, to doe the

obsequies of Iulietta. There is a custom also (which is common

in Italy,) to place all the best of one linage and family in one



145. Italian funerary















             whereby Iulietta was laid in the ordinary grave of the

Capellettes, in a churchyard, hard by the Church of the Friars,

where also the Lord Thibault was interred.


146. Iulietta is laid in

the Cappellettes’s

















                                                                       And her obsequies

honourably done, every man returned: whereunto Pietro, the

servant of Rhomeo, gave his assistance.


147. Pietro also

attends the funeral















                                                                  For as we have before

declared, his master sent him back again from Mantua to

Verona, to do his father service, and to advertise him of that

which should chance in his absence there:


148. The narrator

repeats that Rhomeo’s

man had been sent

back to Verona.




















                                                                           who seeing the

body of Iulietta, enclosed in tomb, thinking with the rest that

she had bene dead indeed, incontinently took poste horse, and

with diligence rode to Mantua, where he found his master in

his wonted house, to whom he said, with his eyes full of tears:

“Sir, there is chanced unto you so strange a matter, as if so be

you do not arm your self with constancy, I am afraid that I

shall be the cruel minister of your death. Be it known unto you

sir, that yesterday morning my mistress Iulietta left her life in

this world to seek rest in an other: and with these eyes I saw

her buried in the Churchyard of S. Francis”.


149. Pietro leaves to

Mantua and informs

Rhomeo of Iulietta’s
























                                                                           At the sound of

which heavy message, Rhomeo began woefully to lament, as

though his spirits grieved with the torment of his passion at

that instant would have abandoned his body. But strong love

which would not permit him to faint until the extremity

framed a thought in his fantasy, that if it were possible for him

to die besides her, his death should be more glorious, and she

(as he thought) better contented.


150. At the news

Rhomeo decides to

die and to rest with




























                                                      By reason whereof after bene

he had washed his face for fear to discover his sorrow, he went

out of his chamber, and commanded his man to tarry behind

him, that he might walk thorough out all the corners of the

city, to find proper remedy (if it were possible) for his grief.

And amongst others, beholding an Apothecary’s shop of little

furniture and less store of boxes and other things requisite for

that science, thought that the very poverty of the master

Apothecary would make him willingly yield to that which he

pretended to demand.


151. Rhomeo roams

about and finally

finds a poor

























                                            And after he had taken him aside,

secretly he said unto him: “Sir, if you be the master of the

house, as I think you be, behold here fifty ducats, which I give

you, to the intent you deliver me some strong and violent

poison that within a quarter of an hour is able to procure

death unto him that shall use it”. The covetous Apothecary

enticed by gain, agreed to his request, and feigning to give him

some other medicine before the peoples face, he speedily made

ready a strong and cruel poison,



152. Rhomeo offers

fifty ducates to the

apothecary to buy

the poison. The

apothecary accepts

the money and sells

it to him.


















                                                       afterwards he said unto him

softly: “Sir, I give you more than is needful, for the one half is

able to destroy the strongest man of the world”,


153. The apothecary

describes the

speediness of the

poison to Rhomeo
























                                                                                who after he

had received the poison, returned home, where he commanded

his man to depart with diligence to Verona, and that he should

make provision of candles, a tinderbox, and other instruments

meet for the opining of the grave of Iulietta, and that above all

things he should not fail to attend his coming besides the

churchyard of S. Francis, and upon pain of life to keep his

intent in silence. Which Pietro obeyed in order as his master

had commanded him, and made therein such expedition, as he

arrived in good time to Verona, taking order for all things that

were commanded him.


154.  Rhomeo goes

back home and tells

Pietro to go back to

Verona and to

prepare the necessary

instruments to open

Iulietta’s tomb. He

also urges Pietro to

keep the secret plan

safe. Pietro leaves to





















                                                Rhomeo in the meanwhile being

solicited with mortal thoughts, caused ink and paper to be

brought unto him, and in few words put in writing all the

discourse of his love, the marriage of him and Iulietta the

mean observed for consummation of the same, the help that he

had of Friar Laurence, the buying of his poison, and last of all

his death. Afterwards, having finished his heavy tragedy, he

closed the letters, and sealed the same with his seal, and

directed the superscription thereof to his father:


155. Rhomeo writes a

letter to his father in

which he tells him the

whole story of his

love for Iulietta

























                                                                                 and putting

the letters into his purse, he mounted on horseback, and used

such diligence, that he arrived upon dark night at the city of

Verona, before the gates were shut, where he found his

servant tarrying for him there, with a lantern and instruments

before said, meet for the opening of the grave, unto whom he

said: “Pietro, help me to open this tomb, and so soon as it is

open, I command thee upon pain of thy life, not to come near

me, nor to stay me from the thing I purpose to doe. Behold,

there is a letter which thou shalt present tomorrow in the

morning to my father at his uprising, which peradventure

shall please him better than thou thinkest”.


156. Rhomeo arrives

at Verona at night

and finds his man

waiting for him at

the monument, with

the instruments. He

bids him to go away

and to bring the

letter to his father.



















                                                                        Pietro, not able to

imagine what was his masters intent, stood somewhat aloof to

behold his master’s gestures and countenance.


157. Pietro agrees and

obediently withdraws



















                                                                          And when they

had opened the vault, Rhomeo descended down two steps,

holding the candle in his hand, and began to behold with

pitiful eye, the body of her, which was the organ of his eyes,

and kist it tenderly, holding it hard between his arms, and not

able to satisfy him self with her sight, put his fearful hands

upon the cold stomach of Iulietta.



158. They open the

tomb and Rhomeo

sees Iulietta’s body

and despairs.


























                                                           And after he had touched

her in many places, and not able to feel any certain judgement

of life, he drew the poison out of his box, and swallowing

down a great quantity of the same, cried out: “O Iulietta, of

whom the world was unworthy, what death is it possible my

heart could choose out more agreeable than that which it

suffereth hard by thee? What grave more glorious, than to be

buried in thy tomb? What more worthy or excellent Epitaph

can be vowed for memory, than the mutual and pitiful

sacrifice of our lives?”


159. Rhomeo drinks

the poison and talks

about their sacrifice

for love in the same

tomb as their best





























                                       And thinking to renew his sorrow, his

heart began to fret thorough the violence of the poison, which

by little and little assailed the same, and looking about him,

espied the body of the Lord Thibault, lying next unto Iulietta,

which as yet was not altogether putrefied, and speaking to th

body, as though it had bene alive, said: “In what place so ever

thou art (O cousin Thibault) I most heartily doe cry thee mercy

for the offense which I have done by depriving of thy life: and

if thy ghost doe wish and cry out for vengeance upon me,

what greater or more cruel satisfaction canst thou desire to

have, or henceforth hope for, than to see him which murdered

thee , to be empoisoned with his own hands, and buried by thy



160. Rhomeo sees

Tybalt and asks for




















           Then ending his talk, feeling by little and little that his

life began to fail falling prostrate upon his knees, with feeble

voice he softly said: “O my Lord God, which to redeem me

didst descend from the bosom of thy father, and tokest

humane flesh in the womb of the virgin, I acknowledge and

confess that this body of mine is nothing else but earth and



161. Rhomeo invokes

God’s pity


















          Then ceased upon with desperate sorrow, he fell down

upon the body of Iulietta with such vehemence, as the heart

faint and attenuated with too great torment, not able to bear so

hard a violence, was abandoned of all his sense and natural

powers, in such sort as the siege of his soul failed him at that

instant, and his members stretched forth, remained stiff and




162. Rhomeo dies

upon Iulietta’s body




















                Friar Laurence which knew the certain time of the

powders operation, marvelled that he had no answer of the

letter which he sent to Rhomeo by his fellow Friar Anselme,

departed from S. Francis, and with instruments for the

purpose, determined to open the grave to let in air to Iulietta,

which was ready to wake: and approaching the place, he

espied a light within, which made him afraid,


163. Without news

from Rhomeo, the

Friar goes to the



















                                                                           until that Pietro

which was hard by, had certified him that Rhomeo was within,

and had not ceased there to lament and complain the space of

half an hour.


164. Pietro informs

the Friar about

Rhomeo’s being there















                        And then they two were entered the grave, and

finding Rhomeo without life, made such sorrow as they can

well conceive which love their dear friend with like perfection.


165. They enter the

monument and find

Rhomeo dead.





















And as they were making their complaints, Iulietta rising out

of her trance, and beholding light within the tomb, uncertain

whether it were a dream or fantasy that appeared before her

eyes, coming again to her self, knew Friar Laurence, unto

whom she said: “Father I pray thee in the name of God to

perform thy promise, for I am almost dead”.


166. Iulietta wakes

up and asks the Friar

to be reassured.





























                                                                             And then Friar

Laurence concealing nothing from her, (because he feared to

be taken through his too long abode in that place) faithfully

rehearsed unto her, how he had sent Friar Anselme to Rhomeo

at Mantua, from whom as yet he had received no answer.

Notwithstanding he found Rhomeo dead in the grave, whose

body he pointed unto, lying hard by her, praying her sith it

was so , patiently to bear that sudden misfortune, and that if it

pleased her, he would convey her into some monastery of

women where she might in time moderate her sorrow, and

give rest unto her mind.



167. The Friar tells

Iulietta about

Rhomeo’s death  and

tries to convince her

to go away and stay

in a monastery














































                                          Iulietta had no sooner cast eye upon

the dead corpse of Rhomeo, but began to break the fountain

pipes of gushing tears, which ran forth in such abundance, as

not able to support the furore of her grief, she breathed

without ceasing upon his mouth, and then throwing her self

upon his body, and embracing it very hard, seemed that by

force of sighs and sobs, she would have revived, and brought

him again to life, and after she had kissed and rekissed him a

million of times, she cried out: “Ah the sweet rest of my cares,

and the only port of all my pleasures and pastimes, hadst thou

so sure a heart to choose thy churchyard in this place between

the arms of thy perfect lover, and to end the course of thy life

for my sake in the flower of thy youth when life to thee should

have bene most dear and delectable? how had this tender body

power to resist the furious combat of death, very death it self

being here present? How could thy tender and delicate youth

willingly permit that thou shouldest approach into this filthy

and infected place, where from henceforth thou shalt be the

pasture of worms unworthy of thee? Alas, alas, by what means

shall I now renew my plaints, which time and long patience

ought to have buried and clearly quenched? Ah I miserable

and caitiff wretch, thinking to find remedy for my griefs, I

have sharpened the knife that hath given me this cruel blow,

whereof I receive the cause of mortal wound. Ah happy and

fortunate grave which shalt serve in world to come for witness

of the most perfect alliance that ever was between two most

fortunate lovers, receive now the last sobbing sighs, and

entertainment of the most cruel of all the cruel subjects of ire

and death”.


168. Iulietta sees

Rhomeo dead and




















                       And as she thought to continue her complaints,

Pietro advertised Friar Laurence that he heard a noise besides

the citadel, wherewith being afraid, they speedily departed,

fearing to be taken.


169.Pietro tells the

Friar he has heard a

noise and both leave
































                                 And then Iulietta seeing her self alone, and

in full liberty, toke again Rhomeo between her arms, kissing

him with such affection, as she seemed to be more attainted

with love than death, and drawing out the dagger which

Rhomeo ware by his side, she pricked her self with many

blows against the hart, saying with feeble and pitiful voice:

“Ah death the end of sorrow, and beginning of felicity, thou

art most heartily welcome: fear not at this time to sharpen thy

dart, give no longer delay of life, for fear that my spirit travail

not to find Rhomeos ghost amongst such number of carrion

corpses. And thou my dear lord and loyal husband Rhomeo, if

there rest in thee any knowledge, receive her whom thou hast

so faithfully loved, the only cause of thy violent death, which

frankly offreth up her soul that none but thou shalt joy the

love whereof thou hast made so lawful conquest. And that our

souls passing from this light, may eternally live together in the

place of everlasting joy”. And when she had ended those

words she yielded up her ghost.



170. Iulietta stabs

herself with

Rhomeo’s dagger and





























                                                    While these things thus were

done, the guard and watch of the city by chance passed by,

and seeing light within the grave, suspected straight that they

were necromancers which had opened the tomb to abuse the

dead bodies for aide of their art: and desirous to know what it

meant, went down into the vault, where they found Rhomeo

and Iulietta, with their arms embracing each others neck, as

though there had bene some token of life. And after they had

well viewed them at leisure, they knew in what case they

were. And then all amazed they sought for the thieves which

(as they thought) had done the murder, and in the end found

the good father Friar Laurence and Pietro the servant of dead

Rhomeo (which had hid themselves under a stall) whom they

carried to prison,




171. The watchmen of

the town pass by,

enter the monument,

and find the corpses.

They apprehend the

Friar and Pietro.





















                                 and advertised the lord of Escala, and the

magistrates of Verona of that horrible murder, which by and

by was published throughout the city. Then flocked together

all the citizens, women and children, leaving their houses, to

look upon that pitiful sight,


172. They inform the

Lord Escala. All the

town run to the



























                                             and to the end that in presence of

the whole city, the murder should be known, the magistrates

ordained that the two dead bodies should be erected upon a

stage to the view and sight of the whole world, in such sort

and manner as they were found within the grave, and that

Pietro and Friar Laurence should publicly be examined, that

afterwards there might be no murmur or other pretended

cause of ignorance.



173. The Lord orders

that the corpses be

exhibited upon a

stage high raised

from the ground, and

that the two suspects

be investigated.



























































































































                                    And this good old Friar being upon the

scaffold, having a white beard all wet and bathed with tears,

the judges commanded to declare unto them who were the

authors of that murder, sith at untimely hour he was

apprehended with certain irons besides the grave. Friar

Laurence a round and frank man of talk, nothing moved with

that accusation, said unto them with stout and bold voice: “My

masters, there is none of you all (if you have respect unto my

forepassed life, and to my aged years, and therewithal have

consideration of this heavy spectacle, whereunto unhappy

fortune hath presently brought me) but doeth greatly marvel

of so sudden mutation and change unlooked for, for so much

as these three score and ten or twelve years sithens I came into

this world, and began to prove the vanities thereof, I was

never suspected, touched, or found guilty of any crime which

was able to make me blush, or hide my face, although (before

God) I doe confess my self to be the greatest and most

abominable sinner of the redeemed flock of Christ. So it is

notwithstanding, that sith I am prest and ready to render mine

accompt, and that death, the grave and worms do daily

summon this wretched corps of mine to appear before the

justice seat of God, still weighting and attending to be carried

to my hoped grave, this is the hour I say, as you likewise may

think wherein I am fallen to the greatest damage and prejudice

of my life and honest port, and that which hath engendered

this sinister opinion of me, may peradventure be these great

tears which in abundance trickle down my face, as though the

holy scriptures do not witness, that Jesus Christ moved with

humane pity and compassion, did weep and pour forth tears,

and that many times tears be the faithful messengers of a mans

innocence. Or else the most likely evidence and presumption,

is the suspected hour, which (as the magistrate doth say) doe

make me culpable of the murder, as though all hours were not

indifferently made equal by God their creator, who in his own

person declareth unto us that there be twelve hours in the day,

shewing thereby that there is no exception of hours nor of

minutes, but that one may doe either good or ill at all times

indifferently, as the party is guided or forsaken by the spirit of

God: touching the irons which were found about me, needful it

is not now to let you understand for what use iron was first

made, and that of it self it is not able to increase in man either

good or evil, if not by the mischievous mind of him which

doth abuse it. Thus much I have thought good to tell you, to

the intent that neither tears, nor iron, not yet suspected hour,

are able to make me guilty of the murder, or make me

otherwise than I am, but only the witness of mine own

conscience, which alone if I were guilty should be the accuser,

the witness, and the hangman, which (by reason of mine age

and the reputation I have had amongst you, and the little time

that I have to live in this world should more torment me

within, than all the mortal pains that could be devised. But

(thanks be to mine eternal God) I feel no worm that gnawed,

nor any remorse that pricketh me touching that fact, for which

I see you all troubled and amazed. And to set your hearts at

rest, and to remove the doubts which hereafter may torment

your consciences, I swear unto you by the heavenly parts

wherein I hope to be, that forthwith I will disclose from first to

last the entire discourse of this pitiful tragedy, which

peradventure shall drive you into no less wonder and amaze,

than those two poor passionate lovers were strong and patient,

to expose themselves to the mercy of death, for the fervent and

indissoluble love between them. Then the Fatherly Friar began

to repeat the beginning of the love between Iulietta and

Rhomeo, which by certain space of time confirmed, was

prosecuted by words at the first, then by mutual promise of

marriage, unknown to the world. And as within few days

after, the two lovers feeling themselves sharpened and incited

with stronger onset, repaired unto him under colour of

confession, protesting by other that they were both married,

and that if he would not solemnize that marriage in the face of

the church, they should be constrained to offend God to live in

disordered lust. In consideration whereof, and specially seeing

their alliance to be good and conformable in dignity, richesse

and nobility on both sides, hoping by that means perchance to

reconcile the Montesches and Capellets, and that by doing

such an acceptable work to God, he gave them the churches

blessing in a certain chapel of the Friars church, whereof the

night following, they did consummate the marriage fruits in

the palace of the Capellets. For testimony of which copulation,

the woman of Iuliettaes chamber was able to depose: Adding

moreover, the murder of Thibault, which was cousin to

Iulietta: by reason whereof the banishment of Rhomeo did

follow, and how in the absence of the said Rhomeo, the

marriage being kept secret between them, a new matrimony

was intreated with the Count Paris, which misliked by Iulietta,

she fell down prostrate at his feet in a chapel of S. Francis

Church, with full determination to have killed her self with

her own hands, if he gave her not counsel how she should

avoid the marriage agreed between her father and the Count

Paris. For conclusion, he said, that although he was resolved

by reason of his age and nearness of death to abhor all secret

sciences, wherein in his younger years he had delight,

notwithstanding, pressed with importunity, and moved with

pity, fearing least Iulietta should doe some cruelty against her

self, he stained his conscience, and chose rather with some

little fault to grieve his mind, than to suffer the young

Gentlewoman to destroy her body, and hazard the danger of

her soul. And therefore he opened some part of his ancient

cunning, and gave her a certain powder to make her sleep, by

means whereof she was thought to be dead. Then he told them

how he had sent Friar Anselme to carry letters to Rhomeo of

their enterprise, whereof hitherto he had no answer. Then

briefly he concluded how he found Rhomeo dead within the

grave, who as it is most likely did empoison himself, or was

otherwise smothered or suffocated with sorrow by finding

Iulietta in that state, thinking she had bene dead. Then he told

them how Iulietta did kill her self with the dagger of Rhomeo,

to bear him company after his death, and how it was

impossible for them to save her for the noise of the watch

which forced them to flee from thence.




174. The Friar clears

himself and

recapitulates the

































                                                                  And for more ample

approbation of his saying, he humbly besought the lord of

Verona and the magistrates to send to Mantua for Friar

Anselme to know the cause of his slack return, that the

content of the letter sent to Rhomeo might be seen. To

examine the woman of the chamber of Iulietta, and Pietro the

servant of Rhomeo, who not attending for further request, said

unto them: “My lords when Rhomeo entered the grave, he

gave me this packet, written as I suppose with his own hand,

who gave me express commandment to deliver them to his

father”. The packet opened, they found the whole effect of this

story, specially the apothecarys name, which sold him the

poison, the price, and the cause wherefore he used it, and all

appeared to be so clear and evident, as there rested nothing for

further verification of the same, but their presence at the doing

of the particulars thereof, for the whole was so well declared

in order, as they were out of doubt that the same was true.



175. Magistrates look

for evidence

confirming what the

Friar has just told.

Pietro confirms the

Friar’s words and

produces Rhomeo’s






























And then the lord Bartholomew of Escala, after he had debated

with the magistrates of these events, decreed that the woman

of Iulietta her chamber should be banished, because she did

conceal that privy marriage from the father of Rhomeo, which

if it had bene known in time, had bred to the whole city an

universal benefit. Pietro because he obeyed his masters

commandment, and kept close his lawful secrets, according to

the well conditioned nature of a trusty servant, was set at

liberty. The apothecary taken, rackt, and found guilty, was

hanged. The good old man Friar Laurence (as well for respect

of his ancient service which he had done to the common

wealth of Verona, as also for his virtuous life (for the which he

was specially recommended) was let goe in peace, without any

note of infamy.


176. The Lord’s

sentence: The Nurse

is banished, Pietro is

released, The

Apothecary is hanged

and Friar Laurence is

freed. The apothecary

is hanged.



















                                Notwithstanding by reason of his age, he

voluntarily gave over the world, and closed him self in a

hermitage, two miles from Verona, where he lived v or vj

years, and spent his time in continual prayer, until he was

called out of this transitory world, into the blissful state of

everlasting joy.



177. Friar Laurence

retires to solitary life



















                                And for the compassion of so strange an

infortune, the Montesches and Capellettes poured forth such

abundance of tears, as with the same they did evacuate their

ancient grudge and choler, whereby they were then

reconciled. And they which could not be brought to atonement

by any wisdom or humane counsel, were in the end

vanquished and made friends by pity.


178. The city

mourns. The feuding

families reconcile























                                                            And to immortalize the

memory of so entire and perfect amity, the lord of Verona

ordained that the two bodies of those miraculous lovers should

be fast entombed in the grave where they ended their lives,

where was erected a high marble pillar, honoured with an

infinite number of excellent Epitaphs, which to this day be

apparent, with such noble memory, as amongst all the rare

excellencies, wherewith the city is furnished, there is none

more famous than the monument of Rhomeo and Iulietta.


179. The two lovers

are placed into the

same tomb on a

stately marble pillar

adorned with many