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Ne yet I love it so, but alwayes, for your sake,
A sacrifice to death I would my wounded corps betake.
If my mishappe were such, that here, before your sight,
I should restore agayn to death, of lyfe my borrowed light,
This one thing and no more my parting sprite would rewe,
That part he should before that you by certain trial knew
The love I owe to you, the thrall I languish in,
And how I dread to loose the gayne which I do hope to win;
And how I wish for lyfe, not for my proper ease,
But that in it you inight I love, you honor, serve and please,
Till dedly pangs the sprite out of the corps shall send :"
And thereupon he sware an othe, and so bis tale bad ende.
Now love and pitty boyle in Juliets ruthfull brest;
In windowe on her leaning arme her weary head doth rest:
Her bosome bathd in teares (to witnes inward payne),
With dreary chere to Romeus thus aunswered she agayne:
“ Ah my deere Romeus, kepe in these words, (quod she)
For lo, the thought of such mischaunce already maketh me
For pity and for dred well nigh to veld up breath;
In even ballance peysed are my life and eke my death.
For so my heart is knit, yea made one selfe with yours,
That sure there is no greefe so small, by which your mynd en.
dures, But as you suffer payne, so I doo beare in part (Although it lessens not your greefe) the halfe of all your smart. But these thinges overpast, if of your health and myne You have respect, or pity ought my teer-y-weeping eyen, In few unfained woords your bidden mynd unfolde, That as I see your pleasant face, your heart I may beholde. For if you do intende my honor to defile, In error shall you wander still, as you have done this while: But if your thought be chaste, and have on vertue ground, If wedlocke be the end and marke which your desyre hath found, Obedience set asyde, unto my parents dewe, The quarrel eke that long agoe betwene our housholdes grewe, Both me and mine I will all whole to you betake, And following you where so you goe, my fathers house forsake. But if by wanton love and by unlawfull suite You thinke in rypest yeres to plucke my maydenhoods dainty.
frute, You are begyide; and now your Juliet you beseekes To cease your sute, and suffer her to live among her likes." Then Romeus, whose thought was free from fowle desyre, And to the the top of vertues haight did worthely aspyre, Was fild with greater joy then can my pen expresse, Or, tyll they have enjoyd the like, the hearers hart can gesse.*
* - the hearers hart can gesse.] From these words it should seem that this poein was formerly sung or resited to casual passengers in the streets. See also p. 407, 1. 25:
And then with joyned hands, heavd up into the skies,
He thankes the Gods, and from the heavens for vengeance down
If he have other thought but as his Lady spake;
And then his looke he toornd to her, and thus did answere make:
“ Since, lady, that you like to honor me so much
As to accept me for your spouse, I yeeld myself for such.
In true witnes whereof, because I must depart,
Till that my deede do prove my woord, I leave in pawne my hart.
Tomorrow eke betimes, before the sunne arise,
To Fryer Lawrence will I wende, to learne his sage advise.
He is my gostly syre, and oft he hath me taught
What I should doe in things of waight, when I his ayde hare
And at this self same houre, I plyte you here my faith,
I will be here, if you think good, to tell you what he sayth."
She was contented well; els favour found he none
That night, at lady Juliets hand, save pleasant woords alone.
This barefoote fryer gyrt with cord his grayish weede,
For he of Francis order was a fryer, as I reede.
Not as the most was he, a grosse unlearned foole,
But doctor of divinetie proceded he in schoole.
The secrets eke he knew in Natures woorks that loorke;
By magicks arte most men supposed that he could wonders
woorke. Ne doth it ill beseeme devines those skils to know, If on no harmeful deede they do such skilfulnes bestow; For justly of no arte can men condemne the use, But right and reasons lore crye out agaynst the lewd abuse. The bounty of the fryer and wisdom hath so wonne The townes folks harts, that wel nigh all to fryer Lawrence ronne, To shrive themselfe; the olde, the young, the great and small; Of all he is beloved well, and honord much of all. And, for he did the rest in wisdom farre exceede, The prince by him (his counsell cravde) was holpe at time of
neede. Betwixt the Capilets and him great frendship grew, A secret and assured friend unto the Montague.
“ If any man be here, whom love hath clad with care,
“ To him I speak; if thou wilt speed,” &c. Malone. In former days, when the faculty of reading wus by no means so general as at present, it must have been no unfrequent practice for those who did not possess this accomplishment to gratify their curi. osity by listening while some better educated person read aloud. It is, I think, scarcely probable, that a poem of the length of this Tragicall History should be sung or recited in the streets: And Sir John Maundevile, at the close of his work, intreats “ alle the Rederes and HERERES of his boke, zif it plese hem that thei wolde preyen to God,” &c. - p. 383, 8vo. edit. 1727. By hereres of his boke he un. questionably intended hearers in the sense I have suggested. H. While.
Lord of this yong man more than any other geste,
The fryer eke of Verone youth aye liked Romeus best;
For whom he ever hath in time of his distres,
As earst you heard, by skilful love found out his harmes redresse.
To him is Romeus gonne, ne stayeth he till the morrowe;
To him he painteth all his case, his passed joy and sorrow.
How he hath her espide with other dames in daunce,
And how that fyrst to talke with her him selfe he dyd advaunce ;
Their talke and change of lookes he gan to him declare,
And how so fast by fayth and troth they both y-coupled are,
That neyther hope of lyfe, nor dread of cruel death,
Shall make him false his fayth to her, while lyfe shall lend him
And then with weping eyes he prayes his gostly syre
To further and accomplish all their honest hartes desyre.
A thousand doutes and moe in thold mans hed arose,
A thousand daungers like to comme the old man doth disclose,
And from the spousall rites he readeth him refrayne,
Perhaps he shall be bet advisde within a weeke or twayne.
Advise is banisht quite from those that folowe love,
Except advise to what they like theyr bending mynd do move.
As well the father might have counseld him to stay
That from a mountaines top thrown downe is falling halfe the
waye, As warne his frend to stop amid his race begonne, Whom Cupid with his smarting whip enforceth foorth to ronne. Part wonne by earnest sute, the frier doth graunt at last; And part, because he thinkes the stormes, so lately overpast, Of both the housholds wrath, this marriage might appease; So that they should not rage agayne, but quite for ever cease. The respite of a day he asketh.to devise What way were best, unknown, to ende so great an enterprise. The wounded man that now doth dedly paynes endure, Scarce patient tarieth whilst his leche doth make the salve to cure: So Romeus hardly graunts a short day and a night, Yet nedes he' must, els must he want his onely hartes delight.
You see that Romeus no time or payne doth spare ;
Thinke, that the whilst fayre Juliet is not devoyde of care.
Yong Romeus powreth foorth his hap and his mishap
Into the friers brest;—but where shall Juliet unwrap
The secrets of her hart? to whom shall she unfolde
Her hidden burning love, and eke her thought and care so colde.
The nurse of whom I spake, within her chamber laye,
Upon the mayde she wayteth still; to her she doth bewray
Her new-received wound, and then her ayde doth crave,
In her, she saith, it lyes to spill, in her, her life to save.
Not easily she made the froward nurce to bowe,
But wonne'at length with promest hyre, she made a solemne vowe
To do what she commaundes, as handmayd of her hest;
Her mistres secrets hide she will, within her covert brest.
To Romeus she goes, of him she doth desyre
To know the meane of marriage, by counsell of the fryre.
On Saturday (quod he) if Juliet come to shrift,
She shall be shrived and married :-how lyke you, noorse, this
Now by my truth, (quod she) God's blessing have your hart,
For yet in all my life I have not heard of such a part.
Lord, how you yong men can such crafty wiles devise,
If that you love the daughter well, to bleare the mothers eyes!
An easy thing it is with cloke of holines
To mock the sely mother, that suspecteth nothing lesse.
But that it pleased you to tell me of the case,
For all my many yeres perhaps I should have found it scarse.
Now for the rest let me and Juliet alone;
To get her leave, some feate excuse I will devise anone;
For ibat her golden lockes by sloth have been unkempt,
Or for unawares some wanton dreame the youthfull damsell
drempt, Or for in thoughts of love her ydel time she spent, Or otherwise within her hart deserved to be shent. I know her mother will in no case say her nay; I warrant you, she shall not fayle to come on Saterday. And then she sweares to him, the mother loves her well; And how she gave her sucke in youth, she leaveth not to tell. A pretty babe (quod she) it was when it was yong; Lord howe it could full pretely have prated with it tong! A thousand times and more I laid her on my lappe, And clapt her on the buttocke soft, and kist where I did clappe. And gladder then was I of such a kisse forsooth, Then I had been to have a kisse of some old lecher's mouth. And thus of Juliets youth began this prating noorse, And of her present state to make a tedious long discourse. For though he pleasure tooke in hearing of his love, The message aunswer seemed him to be of more behove. But when these beldames sit at ease upon theyr tayle, The day and eke the candle light before theyr talke shall fayle. And part they say is true, and part they do devise, Yet boldly do they chat of both, when no man checkes theyr lyes. Then he vi crow nes of gold out of his pocket drew, And gave them her;- a slight reward (quod he) and so adiew. In seven yeres twice tolde she had not bowd so lowe Her crooked knees, as now they bowe: she sweares she will be.
stowe Her crafty wit, her time, and all her busy payne, To help him to his hoped blisse; and, cowring downe'agayne, She takes her leave, and home she hyes with spedy pace; The chaumber doore she shuts, and then she saith with smyling
face: Good newes for thee, my gyrle, good tydinges I thee bring, Leave of thy woonted song of care, and now of pleasure sing, For thou mayst hold thyselfe the happiest under sonne, That in so little while so well so worthy a knight hast wonne, The best y-shapde is he and hath the fayrest face, Of all this towne, and there is none hath halfe so good a grace:
So gentle of his speeche, and of his counsell wise:-
And still with many prayses more she heaved him to the skies.
Tell me els what, (quod she) this evermore I thought;
But of our marriage, say at once, what answere have you brought:
Nay, soft, (quod she) I feare your hurt by sodain joye;
I list not play (quod Juliet), although thou list to toye.
How glad, trow you, was she, when she had heard her say,
No farther of then Saturday differred was the day.
Again the auncient nurse doth speake of Romeus,
And then (said she) ne spake to me, and then I spake him thus.
Nothing was done or sayd that she hath left untold,
Save only one that she forgot, the taking of the golde.
“ There is no losse (quod she) sweete wench, to losse of time,
Ne in thine age shall thou repent so much of any crime.
For when I call to mynd my former passed youtlı,
One thing there is which most of all doth cause my endless ruth.
At sixtene yeres I first did choose my loving feere,
And I was fully rype before, I dare well say, a yere.
The pleasure that I lost, that year so overpast,
A thousand times I have bewept, and shali, whyle life doth last.
In fayth it were a shame, yea sinne it were, I wisse,
When thou maist live in happy joy, to set light by thy blisse."
She that this morning could her mistres mynd disswade,
Is now become an oratresse, her lady to perswade.
If any man be here whom love hath clad with care,
To him I speake; if thou wilt speede, thy purse thou must not
Two sorts of men there are, seeld welcome in at doore,
The welthy sparing nigard, and the sutor that is poore.
For glittring gold is wont by kynd to moove the hart;
And oftentimes a slight rewarde doth cause a more desart.
Y-written have I recl, I wot not in what booke,
There is no better way to fishe than with a golden hooke,
Of Romeus these two do sitte and chat awhyle,
And to them selfe they laugh how they the mother shall begyle.
A feate excuse they finde, but sure I know it not,
And leave for her to go to shrift on Saterday, she got.
So well this Juliet, this wily wench, did know
Her mothers angry houres, and eke the true bent of her bowe.
The Saterday betimes, in sober weed y-clad,
She tooke her leave, and forth she went with visage grave and sad.
With her the nurce is sent, as brydle of her lust,
With her the mother sends a mayd almost of equall trust.
Betwixt her teeth the bytte the jenet now hath cought,
So warely eke the vyrgin walks, her mayde perceiveth nought.
She gaseth not in churche on yong men of the towne,
Ne wandreth she from place to place, but straight she kneleth
downe Upon an alters step, where she devoutly prayes, And thereupon her tender knees the wery lady stayes; Whilst she doth send her mayde the certain truth to know, * If frier Lawrence laysure had to heare her shrift, or no.