Romeo and Juliet: Act 5, Scene 3

           Enter PARIS and his PAGE
           [bearing flowers, perfumed water,
           and a torch

1. aloof: at a distance.
2. Yet: i.e., on second thought.
3. all along: flat.
  1   Give me thy torch, boy: hence, and stand aloof.
  2   Yet put it out, for I would not be seen.
  3   Under yond yew trees lay thee all along,
  4   Holding thine ear close to the hollow ground;
  5   So shall no foot upon the churchyard tread,
5-7. So shall no foot ... But thou shalt hear it: i.e. That way—being that the churchyard soil is so loose from all the graves dug there—you will hear the lightest footstep.
  6   Being loose, unfirm, with digging up of graves,
  7   But thou shalt hear it: whistle then to me,
  8   As signal that thou hear'st something approach.
  9   Give me those flowers. Do as I bid thee, go.

      PAGE  [Aside.]
10. stand: stay.
11. adventure: take the chance.
 10   I am almost afraid to stand alone
 11   Here in the churchyard; yet I will adventure.

           [Goes to the back of the stage.]

12. Sweet flower: i.e., Juliet.
 12   Sweet flower, with flowers thy bridal bed I strew,—
 13   O woe! thy canopy is dust and stones;—
14. sweet water: perfumed water. dew: sprinkle.
15. wanting: lacking.
16. obsequies: rites for the dead. keep: always perform.
17. strew: scatter flowers over.
 14   Which with sweet water nightly I will dew,
 15   Or, wanting that, with tears distill'd by moans.
 16   The obsequies that I for thee will keep
 17   Nightly shall be to strew thy grave and weep.

           Whistle Boy.

 18   The boy gives warning something doth approach.
 19   What cursed foot wanders this way tonight,
20. cross: interrupt, interfere with.
21. muffle: conceal.

 20   To cross my obsequies and true love's rite?
 21   What, with a torch! muffle me, night, awhile.


           Enter Romeo and [BALTHASAR,
           with a torch, a mattock, and a crowbar].

22. the wrenching iron: i.e., the crowbar.

 "the wrenching iron"
 22   Give me that mattock and the wrenching iron.

           [Takes the tools.]

 23   Hold, take this letter; early in the morning
 24   See thou deliver it to my lord and father.

           [Gives a letter and takes the torch.]

 25   Give me the light. Upon thy life, I charge thee,
26. stand all aloof: stay far away.
 26   Whate'er thou hear'st or seest, stand all aloof,
 27   And do not interrupt me in my course.
 28   Why I descend into this bed of death,
 29   Is partly to behold my lady's face;
30-31. to take ... A precious ring: Romeo is probably lying so that Balthasar won't suspect that he intends suicide.
32. dear employment: urgent business.
33. jealous: suspicious.
 30   But chiefly to take thence from her dead finger
 31   A precious ring — a ring that I must use
 32   In dear employment — therefore hence, be gone.
 33   But if thou, jealous, dost return to pry
 34   In what I further shall intend to do,
 35   By heaven, I will tear thee joint by joint
 36   And strew this hungry churchyard with thy limbs:
 37   The time and my intents are savage-wild,
 38   More fierce and more inexorable far
39. empty: hungry.
 39   Than empty tigers or the roaring sea.

 40   I will be gone, sir, and not trouble you.

 41   So shalt thou show me friendship. Take thou that:

           [Gives him money.]

 42   Live, and be prosperous: and farewell, good fellow.

      BALTHASAR  [Aside.]
43. For all this same: i.e., despite everything he has just said. 44. fear: am anxious about.  doubt: suspect.
 43   For all this same, I'll hide me hereabout:
 44   His looks I fear, and his intents I doubt.


45. maw the mouth, jaws, and guts of a voracious animal. womb: belly. 46. the dearest morsel of the earth i.e., Juliet.
 45   Thou detestable maw, thou womb of death,
 46   Gorged with the dearest morsel of the earth,
 47   Thus I enforce thy rotten jaws to open,
48. in despite to spite [you]. more food i.e., Romeo himself.
 48   And, in despite, I'll cram thee with more food!

           [Opens the tomb.]

 49   This is that banish'd haughty Montague,
 50   That murder'd my love's cousin, with which grief,
 51   It is supposed, the fair creature died;
 52   And here is come to do some villanous shame
 53   To the dead bodies. I will apprehend him.

           [Comes forward.]

 54   Stop thy unhallow'd toil, vile Montague!
 55   Can vengeance be pursued further than death?
 56   Condemned villain, I do apprehend thee:
 57   Obey, and go with me; for thou must die.

 58   I must indeed; and therefore came I hither.
 59   Good gentle youth, tempt not a desperate man;
60. these gone: i.e., all the dead in this churchyard.
 60   Fly hence, and leave me. Think upon these gone;
 61   Let them affright thee. I beseech thee, youth,
 62   Put not another sin upon my head,
 63   By urging me to fury. O, be gone!
 64   By heaven, I love thee better than myself;
65. arm'd against myself: i.e., prepared to kill myself.
 65   For I come hither arm'd against myself.
 66   Stay not, be gone; live, and hereafter say,
 67   A madman's mercy bade thee run away.

68. thy conjuration: i.e., the appeal that you have just made.
 68   I do defy thy conjuration,
 69   And apprehend thee for a felon here.

 70   Wilt thou provoke me? then have at thee, boy!

           [They fight.]

 71   O Lord, they fight! I will go call the watch.


 72   O, I am slain! [Falls.] If thou be merciful,
 73   Open the tomb, lay me with Juliet.


74. peruse: carefully examine.
 74   In faith, I will. Let me peruse this face.
 75   Mercutio's kinsman, noble County Paris!
 76   What said my man, when my betossed soul
77. attend him: pay attention to him.
78. should have: was to have.
 77   Did not attend him as we rode? I think
 78   He told me Paris should have married Juliet:
 79   Said he not so? or did I dream it so?
 80   Or am I mad, hearing him talk of Juliet,
 81   To think it was so? O, give me thy hand,
 82   One writ with me in sour misfortune's book!
83. triumphant: magnificent.
84. lantern: cupola.
 83   I'll bury thee in a triumphant grave;
 84   A grave? O no! a lantern, slaughter'd youth,
 85   For here lies Juliet, and her beauty makes
86. feasting presence: festive royal chamber for receiving guests. 87. Death  . . .  interr'd: Romeo is speaking of himself as the "dead man" who inters Death [the body of Paris].

89. keepers: nurses, attendants.
 86   This vault a feasting presence full of light.
 87   Death, lie thou there, by a dead man interr'd.

           [Laying PARIS in the tomb.]

 88   How oft when men are at the point of death
 89   Have they been merry! which their keepers call
 90   A lightning before death: O, how may I
 91   Call this a lightning? O my love! my wife!
 92   Death, that hath suck'd the honey of thy breath,
 93   Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty:
94. ensign: banner.
 94   Thou art not conquer'd; beauty's ensign yet
 95   Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks,
96. advanced: raised.
97. sheet: shroud.
 96   And death's pale flag is not advanced there.
 97   Tybalt, liest thou there in thy bloody sheet?
 98   O, what more favor can I do to thee,
99. cut thy youth in twain: cut your youth in two.
100. To sunder his: to cut off his [i.e., Romeo's youth].
 99   Than with that hand that cut thy youth in twain
100   To sunder his that was thine enemy?
101   Forgive me, cousin! Ah, dear Juliet,
102   Why art thou yet so fair? shall I believe
103   That unsubstantial death is amorous,
104   And that the lean abhorred monster keeps
105   Thee here in dark to be his paramour?
106. still: forever.

110. set up my everlasting rest: i.e., commit myself to rest [with Juliet] forever. When a player in a card game "set up his rest," he bet all he had—including his "rest," his reserve—on one play.
115. dateless bargain: everlasting contract.  engrossing: monopolizing, all-consuming.
106   For fear of that, I still will stay with thee;
107   And never from this palace of dim night
108   Depart again. Here, here will I remain
109   With worms that are thy chamber-maids; O, here
110   Will I set up my everlasting rest,
111   And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars
112   From this world-wearied flesh. Eyes, look your last!
113   Arms, take your last embrace! and, lips, O you
114   The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss
115   A dateless bargain to engrossing death!

           [Kisses Juliet, then speaks to the container
           of poison.]

116. conduct: guide.
116   Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavoury guide!
117   Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on
118. dashing rocks: rocks which will dash the ship to pieces.  thy sea-sick weary bark: your ship which is sick of voyaging. In Romeo's metaphor, he is the "bark," and the poison is the pilot which will guide him to death.
118   The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary bark!
119   Here's to my love!

119                                           O true apothecary!
120   Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.


lanthorn: lantern.
crow: crowbar.
           Enter FRIAR [LAURENCE] with a lanthorn,
           crow, and spade.

121. Saint Francis be my speed: Saint Francis help me. Friar Laurence is a Franciscan, the order founded by Saint Francis of Assisi (1181 - 1226).
121   Saint Francis be my speed! how oft tonight
122   Have my old feet stumbled at graves! Who's there?

123   Here's one, a friend, and one that knows you well.

124   Bliss be upon you! Tell me, good my friend,
125   What torch is yond, that vainly lends his light
126   To grubs and eyeless skulls? as I discern,
127. the Capel's monument.: the funeral vault of the Capulets.
127   It burneth in the Capel's monument.

128   It doth so, holy sir; and there's my master,
129   One that you love.

129                                Who is it?

129                                                  Romeo.

130   How long hath he been there?

130                                                    Full half an hour.

131   Go with me to the vault.

131                                          I dare not, sir
132   My master knows not but I am gone hence;
133   And fearfully did menace me with death,
134   If I did stay to look on his intents.

135   Stay, then; I'll go alone. Fear comes upon me:
136. unthrifty: unfortunate.
136   O, much I fear some ill unthrifty thing.

137   As I did sleep under this yew-tree here,
138   I dreamt my master and another fought,
139   And that my master slew him.

139                                                    Romeo!

           [Advances to the tomb.]

140   Alack, alack, what blood is this, which stains
141   The stony entrance of this sepulchre?
142-143. What mean these masterless and gory / To lie discolour'd by this place of peace?: what does it mean that these swords, without their owners and covered with gore, lie stained [with blood] next to this place of peace?
142   What mean these masterless and gory swords
143   To lie discolour'd by this place of peace?

           [Enters the tomb.]

144   Romeo! O, pale! Who else? what, Paris too?
145. unkind: unnatural, cruel.
146. lamentable chance: i.e., cruel turn of fortune.
145   And steep'd in blood? Ah, what an unkind hour
146   Is guilty of this lamentable chance!
147   The lady stirs.

           [JULIET wakes.]

148. comfortable: comforting.
148   O comfortable friar, where is my lord?
149   I do remember well where I should be,
150   And there I am. Where is my Romeo?

           [Noise offstage.]

151   I hear some noise. Lady, come from that nest
152   Of death, contagion, and unnatural sleep.
153   A greater power than we can contradict
154   Hath thwarted our intents. Come, come away.
155. in thy bosom: Romeo died upon a kiss, and his body still lies against Juliet's. 156. dispose of thee: provide sanctuary for you.
158. Stay not to question: don't wait to ask questions.
155   Thy husband in thy bosom there lies dead;
156   And Paris too. Come, I'll dispose of thee
157   Among a sisterhood of holy nuns:
158   Stay not to question, for the watch is coming;
159   Come, go, good Juliet,

           [Noise again.]

                                                 I dare no longer stay.

           Exit [FRIAR LAURENCE].

160   Go, get thee hence, for I will not away.
161   What's here? a cup, closed in my true love's hand?
162. timeless: (1) untimely; (2) eternal.
163. churl: miser, selfish person.
164. after: come after, follow.
165. Haply: perhaps.
166. die with a restorative: die by means of a medicine that restores health. She calls the poison "a restorative" because it will restore her to Romeo. Romeo expressed the same idea when he spoke of the poison as "cordial and not poison."
162   Poison, I see, hath been his timeless end:
163   O churl! drunk all, and left no friendly drop
164   To help me after? I will kiss thy lips;
165   Haply some poison yet doth hang on them,
166   To make me die with a restorative.

           [Kisses him.]

167   Thy lips are warm.

      First Watch  [Within]
168   Lead, boy: which way?

169. O happy dagger!: i.e., O dagger found by good chance!
169   Yea, noise? Then I'll be brief. O happy dagger!

           [Snatching Romeo's dagger.]

170. This: i.e., her breast.
170   This is thy sheath; [Stabs herself.] there rust, and let me die.

           [Falls on Romeo's body, and dies.]
           Enter [Paris'] BOY and WATCH.

171   This is the place; there, where the torch doth burn.

      First Watch
172   The ground is bloody; search about the churchyard:
173. attach: take into custody.
173   Go, some of you, whoe'er you find attach.

           [Exeunt some.]

174   Pitiful sight! here lies the county slain,
175   And Juliet bleeding, warm, and newly dead,
176   Who here hath lain these two days buried.
177   Go, tell the prince; run to the Capulets;
178   Raise up the Montagues; some others search.

           [Exeunt others.]

179-180. ground . . . ground: earth . . . basis, reason.
179   We see the ground whereon these woes do lie;
180   But the true ground of all these piteous woes
181. circumstance: details. descry: detect.
181   We cannot without circumstance descry.

           Enter [some of the Watch, with] Romeo's man

      Second Watch
182   Here's Romeo's man; we found him in the churchyard.

      First Watch
183. in safety: securely.
183   Hold him in safety, till the prince come hither.

           Enter FRIAR [LAURENCE] and another

      Third Watch
184   Here is a friar, that trembles, sighs and weeps:
185   We took this mattock and this spade from him,
186   As he was coming from this churchyard side.

      First Watch
187. stay: keep in custody.
187   A great suspicion: stay the friar too.

           Enter the PRINCE [and ATTENDANTS].

188   What misadventure is so early up,
189   That calls our person from our morning's rest?

           Enter Capels [CAPULET, LADY CAPULET].

190   What should it be, that they so shriek abroad?

191   The people in the street cry "Romeo,"
192   Some "Juliet," and some "Paris"; and all run,
193   With open outcry toward our monument.

194   What fear is this which startles in our ears?

      First Watch
195   Sovereign, here lies the County Paris slain;
196   And Romeo dead; and Juliet, dead before,
197   Warm and new kill'd.

198   Search, seek, and know how this foul murder comes.

      First Watch
199   Here is a friar, and slaughter'd Romeo's man;
200   With instruments upon them, fit to open
201   These dead men's tombs.

202   O heavens! O wife, look how our daughter bleeds!
203. hath mista'en: has mistaken, has taken the wrong path. his house: i.e., its scabbard.  204. on the back of Montague: Romeo must have carried his dagger in a scabbard attached to a baldrick, as a quiver of arrows is carried.
203   This dagger hath mista'en—for, lo, his house
204   Is empty on the back of Montague,—
205   And it mis-sheathed in my daughter's bosom!

206   O me! this sight of death is as a bell,
207. That warns my old age to a sepulcher:
207   That warns my old age to a sepulcher.

           Enter MONTAGUE.

208-209. early . . . early: early in the morning . . . early in Romeo's life.
208   Come, Montague; for thou art early up,
209   To see thy son and heir more early down.

210   Alas, my liege, my wife is dead tonight;
211   Grief of my son's exile hath stopp'd her breath:
212   What further woe conspires against mine age?

213   Look, and thou shalt see.

214. O thou untaught!: O you rude person!
215. press before: crowd in front of.
214   O thou untaught! what manners is in this?
215   To press before thy father to a grave?

216. the mouth of outrage: the outcry of impassioned grief.
216   Seal up the mouth of outrage for a while,
217   Till we can clear these ambiguities,
218. their spring, their head, their true descent: i.e., their source.
219-220. And  . . .  death: And then I will be your leader in expressing your woe, and continue to lead you even to the time of our death.  222. the parties of suspicion: i.e., the suspects.
218   And know their spring, their head, their true descent;
219   And then will I be general of your woes,
220   And lead you even to death: meantime forbear,
221   And let mischance be slave to patience.
222   Bring forth the parties of suspicion.

223-225.. I am the greatest  . . .  murder: i.e., I am the one under the greatest suspicion, and least able to excuse myself, because the time and place [where I was found] testify against me in this terrible murder.
226-227. both to impeach and purge / Myself condemned and myself excused: i.e., both to charge myself with what I am guilty of, and to purge my guilt [by confessing my mistakes] for those faults that may be excused.
223   I am the greatest, able to do least,
224   Yet most suspected, as the time and place
225   Doth make against me of this direful murder;
226   And here I stand, both to impeach and purge
227   Myself condemned and myself excused.

228   Then say at once what thou dost know in this.

229. my short date of breath: the brief time I have left to live.
229   I will be brief, for my short date of breath
230   Is not so long as is a tedious tale.
231   Romeo, there dead, was husband to that Juliet;
232   And she, there dead, that Romeo's faithful wife.
233. stol'n: stolen, secret.
233   I married them; and their stol'n marriage-day
234   Was Tybalt's doomsday, whose untimely death
235   Banish'd the new-made bridegroom from the city,
236. pined: wept, and wasted away.
237. siege of grief: storm of grief, assault of grief.
238. perforce: by necessity; i.e., against her will.
236   For whom, and not for Tybalt, Juliet pined.
237   You, to remove that siege of grief from her,
238   Betroth'd and would have married her perforce
239   To County Paris: then comes she to me,
240. mean: means.
240   And, with wild looks, bid me devise some mean
241   To rid her from this second marriage,
242   Or in my cell there would she kill herself.
243. so tutor'd by my art: guided by my expertise [in medicine].
243   Then gave I her, so tutor'd by my art,
244   A sleeping potion; which so took effect
245   As I intended, for it wrought on her
246   The form of death: meantime I writ to Romeo,
247. as this: this very same.
247   That he should hither come as this dire night,
248   To help to take her from her borrow'd grave,
249   Being the time the potion's force should cease.
250   But he which bore my letter, Friar John,
251   Was stay'd by accident, and yesternight
252   Return'd my letter back. Then all alone
253   At the prefixed hour of her waking,
254   Came I to take her from her kindred's vault;
255. closely: secretly.
255   Meaning to keep her closely at my cell,
256   Till I conveniently could send to Romeo:
257   But when I came, some minute ere the time
258   Of her awaking, here untimely lay
259   The noble Paris and true Romeo dead.
260   She wakes; and I entreated her come forth,
261   And bear this work of heaven with patience:
262   But then a noise did scare me from the tomb;
263   And she, too desperate, would not go with me,
264   But, as it seems, did violence on herself.
265   All this I know; and to the marriage
266   Her nurse is privy: and, if aught in this
267   Miscarried by my fault, let my old life
268   Be sacrificed, some hour before his time,
269   Unto the rigour of severest law.

270   We still have known thee for a holy man.
271   Where's Romeo's man? what can he say in this?

272   I brought my master news of Juliet's death;
273. post: great haste.
273   And then in post he came from Mantua
274   To this same place, to this same monument.
275   This letter he early bid me give his father,
276   And threatened me with death, going in the vault,
277   If I departed not and left him there.

278   Give me the letter; I will look on it.
279   Where is the county's page, that raised the watch?
280. what made your master in this place?: what was your master doing in this place?
280   Sirrah, what made your master in this place?

281   He came with flowers to strew his lady's grave;
282   And bid me stand aloof, and so I did:
283   Anon comes one with light to ope the tomb;
284   And by and by my master drew on him;
285   And then I ran away to call the watch.

286   This letter doth make good the friar's words,
287   Their course of love, the tidings of her death:
288   And here he writes that he did buy a poison
289   Of a poor 'pothecary, and therewithal
290   Came to this vault to die, and lie with Juliet.
291   Where be these enemies? Capulet! Montague!
292   See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate,
293. kill your joys: (1) turn your joys to sorrows; (2) kill your children.  with love: by means of love.  294. winking at: shutting my eyes to. 295. brace: pair [Mercutio and Paris].
293   That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love.
294   And I for winking at your discords too
295   Have lost a brace of kinsmen: all are punish'd.

296   O brother Montague, give me thy hand:
297. This: i.e., the handshake.  jointure: marriage portion.
297   This is my daughter's jointure, for no more
298   Can I demand.

298                           But I can give thee more,
299. ray: array, have made.
299   For I will ray her statue in pure gold;
300   That while Verona by that name is known,
301. rate: value.
301   There shall no figure at such rate be set
302   As that of true and faithful Juliet.

303. shall Romeo's by his lady's lie: shall Romeo's statue lie next to his lady's.
303   As rich shall Romeo's by his lady's lie;
304   Poor sacrifices of our enmity!

305   A glooming peace this morning with it brings;
306   The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head
307   Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things;
308   Some shall be pardon'd, and some punished:
309   For never was a story of more woe
310   Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.