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For straight my parting sprite, out of this carkas fled;
At ease shall finde my Romeus sprite emong so many ded.
And thou, my louing lord, Romeus, my trusty feere,
If knowledge yet doe rest in thee, if thou these woordes dost heer,
Receue thou her, whom thou didst loue so lawfully, ;
That causd alas ! thy violent death, although vnwillingly;
And therfore willingly offers to thee her gost,
To thend that no wight els but thou might haue iust cause to

Thinioying of my loue, which ay I haue reserved
Free from the rest, bound vnto thee, that hast it well deserued:
That so our parted sprites from light that we see here,
In place of endlesse light and blisse may euer liue y-fere.”

These said, her ruthlesse hand through gyrt her valiant hart: Ah, Ladies, helpe with teares to wayle the ladies dedly smart! She grones, she stretcheth out her limmes, she shuttes her eyes, And from her corps the sprite doth flye;what should I say?

she dyes. The watchemen of the towne the whilst are passed by, And through he gates the candel light within the tomb they

spye; Wherby they did suppose inchaunters to be comme, That with prepared instrumentes had opend wide the tombe, In purpose to abuse the bodies of the ded, Which, by their science ayde abusde, do stand them oft in sted. Theyr curious harts desire the trueth herof to know; Then they by certaine steppes descend, where they do fynd


In clasped armes y-wrapt the husband and the wyfe,
In whom as yet they seemd to see somme certaine markes of

But when more curiously with leysure they did vew, ..
The certainty of both theyr deathes assuredly they knew :
Then here and there so long with carefull eye they sought,
That at the length hidden they found the murthrers ;--so they

thought. In dungeon depe that night they lodgde them vnder grounde; The next day do they tell the prince the mischefe that they

found. The newes was by and by throughout the towne dyspred, Both of the takyng of the fryer, and of the two found ded. Thether might you haue seene whole housholdes forth to ronne, For to the tombe where they did heare this wonder straunge was

donne, The great, the small, the riche, the poore, the yong, the olde, With hasty pace do ronne to see, but rew when they beholde.

And that the murtherers to all men might be knowne,
Like as the murders brute abrode through all the towne was

The prince did straight ordaine, the corses that were founde
Should be set forth vpon a stage hye raysed from the grounde,
Right in the selfe same fourme, (shewde forth to all mens sight,)
That in the hollow valt they had been found that other night;
And eke that Romeus man and fryer Lawrence should
Be openly examined; for. els the people would
Have murmured, or faynd there were some wayghty cause
Why openly they were not calde, and so conuict by lawes.

The holy fryer now, and reuerent by his age, In great reproche set to the shew vpon the open stage, (A thing that ill beseemde a man of siluer heares) His beard as whyte as mylke he bathes with great fast-falling

teares: Whom straight the dredfull judge commaundeth to declare Both, how this murther hath been donne, and who the murth

rers are; For that he pere the tombe was found at howres vnfitte, And had with hym those yron tooles for such a purpose fitte. The frier was of liuely sprite and free of speche, The judges wordes appald him not, ne were his wittes to seeche. But with aduised heed a whyle fyrst did he stay, And then with bold assured voyce aloude thus gan he say: “ My lordes, there is not one emong you, set togyther, So that, (affection set aside,) by wisdome he consider . My former passed lyfe, and this my extreme age, And eke this heauy sight, the wreke of frantike Fortunes rage, But that, amased much, doth wonder at this chaunge, So great, so sodainly befalne, vnlooked for, and straunge. For I that in the space of lx yeres and tenne, Since first I did begin, to soone, to leade my lyfe with men, And with the worldes vaine thinges myselfe I did acquaint, Was neuer yet, in open place, at any time attaynt With any cryme, in waight as heauy as a rushe, Ne is there any stander by can make me gylty blushe; (Although before the face of God I doe confesse: Myselfe to be the sinfulst wretch of all this mighty presse.) When readiest I am and likeliest to make My great accompt, which no man els for me shall vndertake; When wormes, the earth, and death, doe cyte me euery howre, Tappeare before the iudgment seate of euerlasting powre, And falling ripe I steppe vpon my graues brinke, Euen then, am I, most wretched wight, (as eche of you doth

thinke,) i

Through my most haynous deede, with hedlong sway throwne

downe, In greatest daunger of my lyfe, and domage of renowne. The spring, whence in your head this new conceite doth ryse, And in your hart increaseth still your vayne and wrong sur

mise, May be the hugenes of these teares of myne, (percase,) That so aboundantly downe fall by eyther syde my face; As though the memory in scriptures were not kept That Christ our sauiour himselfe for ruth and pittie wept: And more, whoso will reade, y-written shall he fynde, That teares are as true messengers. of mans vngylty mynde. Or els, (a liker proofe,) that I am in the cryme, You say these present yrons are, and the suspected tyme: As though all howres alike had not been made aboue ! Did Christ not say, the day had twelue? whereby he sought to

proue, That no respect of howres ought iustly to be had, But at all times men haue the choyce of dooing good or bad; Euen as the sprite of God the hartes of men doth guyde, Or as it leaueth them to stray from Vertues path asyde. As for the yrons that were taken in my hand, As now I deeme, I neede not seeke to make ye vnderstande To what use yron first was made, when it began; How of it selfe it helpeth not, ne yet can helpe a man. The thing that hurteth is the malice of his will, That such indifferent thinges is wont to vse and order yll. Thus much I thought to say, to cause you so to know. That neither these my piteous teares, though nere so fast they

flowe, Ne yet these yron tooles, nor the suspected time, Can iustly proue the murther donne, or damne me of the

cryme : No one of these hath powre, ne powre haue all the three, To make me other then I am, how so I seeme to be. But sure my conscience, (if so my gylt deserue,) For an appeacher, witnesse, and a hangman, eke should serue; For through mine age, whose heares of long time since were

hore, And credyt greate that I was in, with you, in time tofore, And eke the soiorne short that I on earth must make, That euery day and howre do loke my iourney hence to take, My conscience inwardly should more torment me thrise, Then all the outward deadly payne that all you could deuyse. But God I prayse, I feele no worme that gnaweth me, And from remorses pricking sting I ioy that I am free:

I meane, as touching this, wherwith you troubled are, Wherwith you should be troubled still, if I my speche should

spare. But to the end I may set all your hartes at rest, And plucke out all the scrupuls that are rooted in your brest, Which might perhappes henceforth increasing more and more, Within your conscience also increase your curelesse sore, I sweare by yonder heauens, whither I hope to clym, And for a witnes of my woordes my hart attesteth him, Whose mighty hand doth welde them in their vyolent sway, And on the rolling stormy seas the heauy earth doth stay That I will make a short and eke a true dyscourse Of this most wofull Tragedy, and shew both thend and sourse Of theyr vnhappy death, which you perchaunce no lesse Will wonder at then they (alas !) poore louers in distresse, Tormented much in mynd, not forcing liuely breath, With strong and patient hart dyd yelde themselfe to cruell death: Such was the mutuall loue wherin they burned both, And of theyr promyst frendshippes fayth so stedy was the troth."

And then the auncient frier began to make dyscourse, Euen from the first, of Romeus and Juliets amours; How first by sodayn sight the one the other chose, And twixt them selfe dyd knitte the knotte which onely death

might lose; And how, within a while, with hotter loue opprest, Vnder confessions cloke, to him themselfe they haue addrest; And how with solemne othes they haue protested both, That they in hart are maried by promise and by othe; And that except he graunt the rytes of church to geue, They shal be forst by earnest loue in sinneful state to liue: Which thing when he had wayde, and when he vnderstoode That the agreement twixt them twayn was lawfull, honest,

good, And all thinges peysed well, it seemed meete to bee For lyke they were of noblenesse, age, riches, and degree; Hoping that so at length ended myght be the stryfe ... Of Montagewes and Capelets, that led in hate theyr lyfe, Thinking to woorke a woorke well-pleasing in Gods sight, In secret shrift he wedded them; and they the selfe same night Made vp the mariage in house of Capelet, As well doth know (if she be askt) the nurce of Juliet. He told how Romeus fled for reuing Tybalts lyfe, And how, the whilst, Paris the Earle was offred to hys wyfe; And how the lady dyd so great a wrong dysdayne, And how to shrift vnto his church she came to him agayne ;

And how she fell flat downe before his feete aground,
And how she sware, her hand and blody knife should wound
Her harmeles hart, except that he some meane dyd fynde
To dysappoynt the Earles attempt: and spotles saue her mynde.
Wherfore, he doth conclude, (although that long before)
By thought of death and age he had refusde for euermore
The hidden artes which he delighted in, in youth,...
Yet wonne by her importunenes, and by his inward ruth,
And fearing lest she would her cruell vowe dyscharge,
His closed conscience he had opened and set at large;
And rather did he choose to suffer for one tyme
His soule to be spotted somdeale with small and easy cryme,
Then that the lady should, (wery of liuing breath,)
Murther her selfe, and daunger much her seely soule by

Wherfore his auncient artes agayne he puttes in ure,
A certain powder gaue he her, that made her slepe so sure,
That they her held for dead; and how that frier John
With letters sent to Romeus to Mantua is gone; .
Of whom he knoweth not as yet, what is becomme;
And how that dead he found his frend within her kindreds

tombę. He thinkes with poyson strong, for care the yong man sterude, Supposing Juliet dead; and how that Juliet hath carude, With Romeus dagger drawne her hart, and yelded breath, Desyrous to accompany her louer after death; And how they could not saue her, so they were afeard, And hidde themselfe, dreding the noyse of watchmen, that

they heard. And for the proofe of thys his tale, he doth desyer The iudge to send forthwith to Mantua for the fryer, To learne his cause of stay, and eke to reade his letter; And, more beside, to thend that they might iudge his cause the

better, He prayeth them depose the nurce of Juliet, And Romeus man, whom at vnwares besyde the tombe he

met. Then Peter, not so much, as erst he was, dysmayd: My lordes, (quoth he,) too true is all that fryer Laurence sayd. And when my maister went into my mystres graue, This letter that I offer you, vnto me then he gaue, Which he himselfe dyd write, as I do vnderstand, And charged me to offer them ynto his fathers hand. The opened packet doth conteyne in it the same Thąt erst the skilfull frier said; and eke the wretches name


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