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Romeo and Juliet

by William Shakespeare

Act 5, Scene 1 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

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Romeo and Juliet Act 5, Scene 1



Mantua: a street

Enter ROMEO

Enter ROMEO

ROMEO

If I may trust the flattering truth of sleep,

My dreams presage some joyful news at hand.

presage=foretell

My bosom’s lord sits lightly in his throne,

my bosom’s lord=the spirit of love

And all this day an unaccustomed spirit

Lifts me above the ground with cheerful thoughts.

I dreamt my lady came and found me dead—

Strange dream, that gives a dead man leave to think—

leave=permission

And breathed such life with kisses in my lips

That I revived and was an emperor.

Ah me! How sweet is love itself possessed

When but love’s shadows are so rich in joy!

 

ROMEO

If I may trust the flattering truth of sleep,

My dreams presage some joyful news at hand.

My bosom’s lord sits lightly in his throne,

And all this day an unaccustomed spirit

Lifts me above the ground with cheerful thoughts.

I dreamt my lady came and found me dead—

Strange dream, that gives a dead man leave to think—

And breathed such life with kisses in my lips

That I revived and was an emperor.

Ah me! How sweet is love itself possessed

When but love’s shadows are so rich in joy!

 

Enter ROMEO’s man BALTHASAR

Enter ROMEO’s man BALTHASAR

News from Verona!—How now, Balthasar?

Dost thou not bring me letters from the friar?

How doth my lady? Is my father well?

How fares my Juliet? That I ask again,

For nothing can be ill if she be well.

 

News from Verona!—How now, Balthasar?

Dost thou not bring me letters from the friar?

How doth my lady? Is my father well?

How fares my Juliet? That I ask again,

For nothing can be ill if she be well.

 

BALTHASAR

Then she is well, and nothing can be ill.

Her body sleeps in Capels' monument,

Capel’s monument=Capulets’ tomb

And her immortal part with angels lives.

I saw her laid low in her kindred’s vault

And presently took post to tell it you.

presently=immediately

took post=hired horses

O, pardon me for bringing these ill news,

Since you did leave it for my office, sir.

(since you left it with me as a duty)

 

BALTHASAR

Then she is well, and nothing can be ill.

Her body sleeps in Capels' monument,

And her immortal part with angels lives.

I saw her laid low in her kindred’s vault

And presently took post to tell it you.

O, pardon me for bringing these ill news,

Since you did leave it for my office, sir.

 

ROMEO

Is it e'en so? Then I defy you, stars!

Thou know’st my lodging. Get me ink and paper,

And hire post horses. I will hence tonight.

(post horses were kept at inns for travelers’ use

will hence=go from here)

 

ROMEO

Is it e'en so? Then I defy you, stars!

Thou know’st my lodging. Get me ink and paper,

And hire post horses. I will hence tonight.

 

BALTHASAR

I do beseech you, sir, have patience.

Your looks are pale and wild and do import

Some misadventure.

 

BALTHASAR

I do beseech you, sir, have patience.

Your looks are pale and wild and do import

Some misadventure.

 

ROMEO

Tush, thou art deceived.

Leave me and do the thing I bid thee do.

Hast thou no letters to me from the friar?

 

ROMEO

Tush, thou art deceived.

Leave me and do the thing I bid thee do.

Hast thou no letters to me from the friar?

 

BALTHASAR

No, my good lord.

 

BALTHASAR

No, my good lord.

 

ROMEO

No matter. Get thee gone,

And hire those horses. I’ll be with thee straight.

straight=straightaway

 

ROMEO

No matter. Get thee gone,

And hire those horses. I’ll be with thee straight.

 

Exit BALTHASAR

Exit BALTHASAR

Well, Juliet, I will lie with thee tonight.

Let’s see for means. O mischief, thou art swift

To enter in the thoughts of desperate men!

I do remember an apothecary—

And hereabouts he dwells—which late I noted

late=recently

In tattered weeds, with overwhelming brows,

weeds=clothes

overwhelming brows=bushy eyebrows

Culling of simples. Meager were his looks,

culling of simples=selecting medicinal herbs

meager=impoverished

Sharp misery had worn him to the bones,

And in his needy shop a tortoise hung,

An alligator stuffed, and other skins

Of ill-shaped fishes; and about his shelves

A beggarly account of empty boxes,

Green earthen pots, bladders and musty seeds,

Remnants of packthread and old cakes of roses,

packthread=twine

cakes of roses=pressed rose petals for their perfume

Were thinly scattered to make up a show.

Noting this penury, to myself I said,

“An if a man did need a poison now”—

an if=if

Whose sale is present death in Mantua—

is present death=is punishable by immediate execution

“Here lives a caitiff wretch would sell it him.”

caitiff=miserable

would=who would

Oh, this same thought did but forerun my need,

And this same needy man must sell it me.

As I remember, this should be the house.

Being holiday, the beggar’s shop is shut.

What, ho! Apothecary!

 

Well, Juliet, I will lie with thee tonight.

Let’s see for means. O mischief, thou art swift

To enter in the thoughts of desperate men!

I do remember an apothecary—

And hereabouts he dwells—which late I noted

In tattered weeds, with overwhelming brows,

Culling of simples. Meager were his looks,

Sharp misery had worn him to the bones,

And in his needy shop a tortoise hung,

An alligator stuffed, and other skins

Of ill-shaped fishes; and about his shelves

A beggarly account of empty boxes,

Green earthen pots, bladders and musty seeds,

Remnants of packthread and old cakes of roses,

Were thinly scattered to make up a show.

Noting this penury, to myself I said,

“An if a man did need a poison now”—

Whose sale is present death in Mantua—

“Here lives a caitiff wretch would sell it him.”

Oh, this same thought did but forerun my need,

And this same needy man must sell it me.

As I remember, this should be the house.

Being holiday, the beggar’s shop is shut.

What, ho! Apothecary!

 

Enter APOTHECARY

Enter APOTHECARY

APOTHECARY

     Who calls so loud?

 

APOTHECARY

     Who calls so loud?

 

ROMEO

Come hither, man. I see that thou art poor.

Hold, there is forty ducats. Let me have

A dram of poison, such soon-speeding gear

soon-speeding  gear=quick-working stuff

As will disperse itself through all the veins

That the life-weary taker may fall dead

that=so that

And that the trunk may be discharged of breath

As violently as hasty powder fired

Doth hurry from the fatal cannon’s womb.

 

ROMEO

Come hither, man. I see that thou art poor.

Hold, there is forty ducats. Let me have

A dram of poison, such soon-speeding gear

As will disperse itself through all the veins

That the life-weary taker may fall dead

And that the trunk may be discharged of breath

As violently as hasty powder fired

Doth hurry from the fatal cannon’s womb.

 

APOTHECARY

Such mortal drugs I have, but Mantua’s law

mortal=deadly

Is death to any he that utters them.

any he that utters them=any man who sells them

 

APOTHECARY

Such mortal drugs I have, but Mantua’s law

Is death to any he that utters them.

 

ROMEO

Art thou so bare and full of wretchedness,

And fear’st to die? Famine is in thy cheeks.

Need and oppression starveth in thine eyes.

Contempt and beggary hangs upon thy back.

The world is not thy friend nor the world’s law.

The world affords no law to make thee rich.

affords=provides

Then be not poor, but break it, and take this.

(holds out money)

 

ROMEO

Art thou so bare and full of wretchedness,

And fear’st to die? Famine is in thy cheeks.

Need and oppression starveth in thine eyes.

Contempt and beggary hangs upon thy back.

The world is not thy friend nor the world’s law.

The world affords no law to make thee rich.

Then be not poor, but break it, and take this.

(holds out money)

 

APOTHECARY

My poverty, but not my will, consents.

 

APOTHECARY

My poverty, but not my will, consents.

 

ROMEO

I pay thy poverty and not thy will.

 

ROMEO

I pay thy poverty and not thy will.

 

APOTHECARY

(gives ROMEO poison) Put this in any liquid thing you will

And drink it off; and, if you had the strength

if=even if

Of twenty men, it would dispatch you straight.

 

APOTHECARY

(gives ROMEO poison) Put this in any liquid thing you will

And drink it off; and, if you had the strength

Of twenty men, it would dispatch you straight.

 

ROMEO

(gives APOTHECARY money)

There is thy gold, worse poison to men’s souls,

(gold is more of a poison than poison itself)

Doing more murder in this loathsome world

Than these poor compounds that thou mayst not sell.

I sell thee poison. Thou hast sold me none.

I sell thee poison=I sell thee gold

Farewell. Buy food, and get thyself in flesh.—

Come, cordial and not poison, go with me

cordial=tonic

To Juliet’s grave, for there must I use thee.

 

ROMEO

(gives APOTHECARY money)

There is thy gold, worse poison to men’s souls,

Doing more murder in this loathsome world

Than these poor compounds that thou mayst not sell.

I sell thee poison. Thou hast sold me none.

Farewell. Buy food, and get thyself in flesh.—

Come, cordial and not poison, go with me

To Juliet’s grave, for there must I use thee.

 

Exeunt

Exeunt

 

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