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Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

Romeo and Juliet: Act 1, Scene 5

napkins: i.e., dish-towels. In order to clear Capulet's hall for dancing, the servants are taking away the dishes and other things used at the feast.
          And SERVINGMEN come forth with napkins.

      First Servant
  1   Where's Potpan, that he helps not to take away? He
2. trencher: wooden platter.
  2   shift a trencher? he scrape a trencher!

      Second Servant
  3   When good manners shall lie all in one or two
  4   men's hands and they unwashed too, 'tis a foul
Joint Stool6. Away with the joint-stools.
7. court-cupboard: sideboard. plate: gold or silver vessels or utensils. 8. marchpane: marzipan.
  5   thing.

      First Servant
  6   Away with the joint-stools, remove the
  7   court-cupboard, look to the plate. Good thou, save
  8   me a piece of marchpane; and, as thou lovest me, let
  9   the porter let in Susan Grindstone and Nell.

          [Exit Second Servant.]

 10   Antony, and Potpan!

          [Enter ANTHONY and POTPAN.]

 11   Ay, boy, ready.

      First Servant
 12   You are looked for and called for, asked for and
 13   sought for, in the great chamber.

 14   We cannot be here and there too. Cheerly, boys; be
15. the longer liver take all: he who lives the longest gets everything. This is a proverb, meaning that you should enjoy life while it lasts.
 15   brisk awhile, and the longer liver take all.


          Enter all the GUESTS and GENTLEWOMEN
          to the Maskers.

 16   Welcome, gentlemen! ladies that have their toes
17. walk a bout: dance a turn.
 17   Unplagued with corns will walk a bout with you.
 18   Ah ha, my mistresses! which of you all
19. makes dainty: behaves coyly (by refusing to dance). 20. am I come near ye now?: have I hit the mark? This is Capulet's way of strongly encouraging all the ladies to dance.
 19   Will now deny to dance? she that makes dainty,
 20   She, I'll swear, hath corns; am I come near ye now?
 21   Welcome, gentlemen! I have seen the day
22. visor: mask.
 22   That I have worn a visor and could tell
 23   A whispering tale in a fair lady's ear,
 24   Such as would please: 'tis gone, 'tis gone, 'tis gone.
 25   You are welcome, gentlemen! come, musicians, play.

          Music plays, and they dance.

26. A hall, a hall! give room!: Trestle tables
27. turn the tables up: disassemble the tables. Tables were boards laid on trestles.
29. this unlook'd-for sport comes well: this unexpected excitement is welcome. Capulet is referring to the unexpected appearance of Romeo and his friends in masks.
 26   A hall, a hall! give room! and foot it, girls.
 27   More light, you knaves; and turn the tables up,
 28   And quench the fire, the room is grown too hot.
 29   Ah, sirrah, this unlook'd-for sport comes well.
 30   Nay, sit, nay, sit, good cousin Capulet;
 31   For you and I are past our dancing days:
 32   How long is't now since last yourself and I
 33   Were in a mask?

      Second Capulet
 33                                 By'r lady, thirty years.

 34   What, man! 'tis not so much, 'tis not so much:
 35   'Tis since the nuptials of Lucentio,
36-37. Come Pentecost as quickly as it will, / Some five and twenty years: as soon as Pentecost (seven weeks after Easter) arrives, it will be about twenty-five years.
 36   Come Pentecost as quickly as it will,
 37   Some five and twenty years; and then we mask'd.

      Second Capulet
38. his son is elder: because Lucentio's son is already thirty, it must be more than twenty-five years since Lucentio married.
 38   'Tis more, 'tis more, his son is elder, sir;
 39   His son is thirty.

 39                          Will you tell me that?
40. a ward: under guardianship (and therefore under 18 years of age).
 40   His son was but a ward two years ago.

      ROMEO [To a Servingman.]
 41   What lady is that, which doth enrich the hand
 42   Of yonder knight?

 43   I know not, sir.

 44   O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
 45   It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
 46   Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear;
47. dear: precious.
 47   Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!
 48   So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows,
49. As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows: as yonder lady shows [herself to be superior in beauty]. 50. The measure done: when this dance is over. 51. rude: rough.
 49   As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows.
 50   The measure done, I'll watch her place of stand,
 51   And, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand.
 52   Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!
 53   For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.

 54   This, by his voice, should be a Montague.
55. What dares: how dares.
56. antic face: grotesque mask.
57. fleer: mock. solemnity: festivity.
58. stock: family line.
 55   Fetch me my rapier, boy. What dares the slave
 56   Come hither, cover'd with an antic face,
 57   To fleer and scorn at our solemnity?
 58   Now, by the stock and honor of my kin,
 59   To strike him dead, I hold it not a sin.

 60   Why, how now, kinsman! wherefore storm you so?

 61   Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe,
 62   A villain that is hither come in spite,
 63   To scorn at our solemnity this night.

 64   Young Romeo is it?

 64                                       'Tis he, that villain Romeo.

 65   Content thee, gentle coz, let him alone;
66. 'A bears him: he conducts himself. portly: of good deportment, well-mannered.
 66   'A bears him like a portly gentleman;
 67   And, to say truth, Verona brags of him
 68   To be a virtuous and well-govern'd youth:
 69   I would not for the wealth of all the town
 70   Here in my house do him disparagement:
 71   Therefore be patient, take no note of him:
 72   It is my will, the which if thou respect,
 73   Show a fair presence and put off these frowns,
74. An ill-beseeming semblance for a feast: an expression which is inappropriate for a party.
 74   An ill-beseeming semblance for a feast.

75. It fits: i.e., my angry appearance is appropriate.
 75   It fits, when such a villain is a guest:
 76   I'll not endure him.

76-77. He shall be endured: / goodman boy: go to: Capulet is reprimanding Tybalt . . . 
 76                             He shall be endured:
 77   What, goodman boy! I say, he shall: go to;
 78   Am I the master here, or you? go to.
79. God shall mend my soul!: God save my soul!
80. mutiny: riot.
81. set cock-a-hoop: crow (whoop) like the cock of the walk.
 79   You'll not endure him! God shall mend my soul!
 80   You'll make a mutiny among my guests!
 81   You will set cock-a-hoop! you'll be the man!

82. 'tis a shame: it [Romeo's presence] is an insult.
 82   Why, uncle, 'tis a shame.

 82                                         Go to, go to;
 83   You are a saucy boy: is't so, indeed?
84. This trick . . . scath you: i.e., this stupid trick could come back to bite you. I know what: I know what I'm doing.
85. Marry, 'tis time: Capulet is sputtering with anger; he may mean "Indeed, it's time you were taught a lesson." 86. Well said, my hearts!: Capulet calls this out to some other guests, to show that there's nothing wrong. princox: insolent boy.
 84   This trick may chance to scath you. I know what:
 85   You must contrary me! Marry, 'tis time. —
 86   Well said, my hearts! —You are a princox; go:
 87   Be quiet, or —More light, more light! —For shame!
 88   I'll make you quiet. —What, cheerly, my hearts!

      TYBALT [Aside.]
89-90. Patience . . . greeting: i.e, the clash between my anger and the self-control I am forced to show makes my flesh tremble. 91-92. this intrusion . . . gall: this instrusion [Romeo's crashing Capulet's party] will make what now seems sweet turn into bitter poison.
 89   Patience perforce with wilful choler meeting
 90   Makes my flesh tremble in their different greeting.
 91   I will withdraw, but this intrusion shall
 92   Now seeming sweet convert to bitter gall.


      ROMEO [To JULIET.]
 93   If I profane with my unworthiest hand
94. the gentle sin: the apologetic kiss to the hand . . .
 94   This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this:
 95   My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
 96   To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.

97. you do wrong your hand too much:
98. Which mannerly devotion shows in this: i.e., your hand is already showing proper devotion by touching my hand.
100. palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss: Pilgrims who journeyed to the Holy Land brought back palm fronds, so they were called "palmers." "palm to palm is holy palmer's kiss"
 97   Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
 98   Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
 99   For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch,
100   And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss.

101   Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?

102   Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.

103   O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;
104   They pray — grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.

105. Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake: Saints do not take the initiative to look out for your soul, but they do grant requests made in prayer.
105   Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake.

106. move not: remain still.
106   Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take.

          [Kisses her.]

107   Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged.

108   Then have my lips the sin that they have took.

109   Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged!
110   Give me my sin again.

          [Kisses her.]

110. by th' book: according to the rules. Juliet is not serious, as Romeo has wittily twisted the rules [th' book] and language of religion to gain two kisses.
110                                      You kiss by th' book.

      Nurse  [Suddenly appearing.]
111   Madam, your mother craves a word with you.

          [Juliet moves away.]

112. What: who.
112   What is her mother?

112. bachelor: young man.
112                                   Marry, bachelor,
113   Her mother is the lady of the house,
114   And a good lady, and a wise and virtuous
115. withal: with.
115   I nursed her daughter, that you talk'd withal;
116   I tell you, he that can lay hold of her
117. have the chinks: (1) have plenty of money; (2) have a merry time [with her].
117   Shall have the chinks.

          [The Nurse goes after Juliet.]

117                                               Is she a Capulet?
118. dear account: heavy reckoning. my life is my foe's debt: my life is in the power of my enemy [because of my feelings for one of their own].
118   O dear account! my life is my foe's debt.

      BENVOLIO  [Suddenly appearing.]
119. Away . . . best: Romeo and his friends made a big impression with their sudden arrival at the party; Benvolio now wants to make a sudden departure before their fun is blunted.
119   Away, begone; the sport is at the best.

120. Ay, so I fear; the more is my unrest: Yes, I'm afraid you're right, which causes me intense stress. Romeo fears that his wonderful moment with Juliet will be their last.
120   Ay, so I fear; the more is my unrest.

121   Nay, gentlemen, prepare not to be gone;
122. We . . . towards: we have some insignificant refreshments on the way. 123. Is it e'en so?: Is that the way it is? Capulet's guests are leaving, refusing the midnight dessert [i.e., the "banquet"]. 124. honest: worthy.
126. fay: faith.
122   We have a trifling foolish banquet towards.
123   Is it e'en so? why, then, I thank you all
124   I thank you, honest gentlemen; good night.
125   More torches here! Come on then, let's to bed.
126   Ah, sirrah, by my fay, it waxes late:
127   I'll to my rest.

          [Exeunt all but Juliet and Nurse.]

128   Come hither, nurse. What is yond gentleman?

129   The son and heir of old Tiberio.

130   What's he that now is going out of door?

131   Marry, that, I think, be young Petruchio.

132   What's he that follows there, that would not dance?

133   I know not.

134   Go ask his name. —If he be married.
135   My grave is like to be my wedding bed.

136   His name is Romeo, and a Montague;
137   The only son of your great enemy.

138   My only love sprung from my only hate!
139   Too early seen unknown, and known too late!
140. Prodigious: ominous, monstrous.
140   Prodigious birth of love it is to me,
141   That I must love a loathed enemy.

142. tis: this. The Nurse's lack of education shows up in her speech.
142   What's tis? what's tis?

142                                  A rhyme I learn'd even now
143   Of one I danced withal.

          One calls within, "Juliet!"

143. Anon: right away, coming.
143                                      Anon, anon!
144   Come, let's away; the strangers all are gone.