Open Source Shakespeare

The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet

Act IV

Scene 1. Friar Laurence’s cell.

Scene 2. Hall in Capulet’s house.

Scene 3. Juliet’s chamber.

Scene 4. Hall in Capulet’s house.

Scene 5. Juliet’s chamber.

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Act IV, Scene 1

Friar Laurence’s cell.



  • Friar Laurence. On Thursday, sir? the time is very short.
  • Paris. My father Capulet will have it so; 2365
    And I am nothing slow to slack his haste.
  • Friar Laurence. You say you do not know the lady's mind:
    Uneven is the course, I like it not.
  • Paris. Immoderately she weeps for Tybalt's death,
    And therefore have I little talk'd of love; 2370
    For Venus smiles not in a house of tears.
    Now, sir, her father counts it dangerous
    That she doth give her sorrow so much sway,
    And in his wisdom hastes our marriage,
    To stop the inundation of her tears; 2375
    Which, too much minded by herself alone,
    May be put from her by society:
    Now do you know the reason of this haste.
  • Friar Laurence. [Aside] I would I knew not why it should be slow'd.
    Look, sir, here comes the lady towards my cell. 2380

[Enter JULIET]

  • Paris. Happily met, my lady and my wife!
  • Juliet. That may be, sir, when I may be a wife.
  • Paris. That may be must be, love, on Thursday next.
  • Juliet. What must be shall be. 2385
  • Friar Laurence. That's a certain text.
  • Paris. Come you to make confession to this father?
  • Juliet. To answer that, I should confess to you.
  • Paris. Do not deny to him that you love me.
  • Juliet. I will confess to you that I love him. 2390
  • Paris. So will ye, I am sure, that you love me.
  • Juliet. If I do so, it will be of more price,
    Being spoke behind your back, than to your face.
  • Paris. Poor soul, thy face is much abused with tears.
  • Juliet. The tears have got small victory by that; 2395
    For it was bad enough before their spite.
  • Paris. Thou wrong'st it, more than tears, with that report.
  • Juliet. That is no slander, sir, which is a truth;
    And what I spake, I spake it to my face.
  • Paris. Thy face is mine, and thou hast slander'd it. 2400
  • Juliet. It may be so, for it is not mine own.
    Are you at leisure, holy father, now;
    Or shall I come to you at evening mass?
  • Friar Laurence. My leisure serves me, pensive daughter, now.
    My lord, we must entreat the time alone. 2405
  • Paris. God shield I should disturb devotion!
    Juliet, on Thursday early will I rouse ye:
    Till then, adieu; and keep this holy kiss.


  • Juliet. O shut the door! and when thou hast done so, 2410
    Come weep with me; past hope, past cure, past help!
  • Friar Laurence. Ah, Juliet, I already know thy grief;
    It strains me past the compass of my wits:
    I hear thou must, and nothing may prorogue it,
    On Thursday next be married to this county. 2415
  • Juliet. Tell me not, friar, that thou hear'st of this,
    Unless thou tell me how I may prevent it:
    If, in thy wisdom, thou canst give no help,
    Do thou but call my resolution wise,
    And with this knife I'll help it presently. 2420
    God join'd my heart and Romeo's, thou our hands;
    And ere this hand, by thee to Romeo seal'd,
    Shall be the label to another deed,
    Or my true heart with treacherous revolt
    Turn to another, this shall slay them both: 2425
    Therefore, out of thy long-experienced time,
    Give me some present counsel, or, behold,
    'Twixt my extremes and me this bloody knife
    Shall play the umpire, arbitrating that
    Which the commission of thy years and art 2430
    Could to no issue of true honour bring.
    Be not so long to speak; I long to die,
    If what thou speak'st speak not of remedy.
  • Friar Laurence. Hold, daughter: I do spy a kind of hope,
    Which craves as desperate an execution. 2435
    As that is desperate which we would prevent.
    If, rather than to marry County Paris,
    Thou hast the strength of will to slay thyself,
    Then is it likely thou wilt undertake
    A thing like death to chide away this shame, 2440
    That copest with death himself to scape from it:
    And, if thou darest, I'll give thee remedy.
  • Juliet. O, bid me leap, rather than marry Paris,
    From off the battlements of yonder tower;
    Or walk in thievish ways; or bid me lurk 2445
    Where serpents are; chain me with roaring bears;
    Or shut me nightly in a charnel-house,
    O'er-cover'd quite with dead men's rattling bones,
    With reeky shanks and yellow chapless skulls;
    Or bid me go into a new-made grave 2450
    And hide me with a dead man in his shroud;
    Things that, to hear them told, have made me tremble;
    And I will do it without fear or doubt,
    To live an unstain'd wife to my sweet love.
  • Friar Laurence. Hold, then; go home, be merry, give consent 2455
    To marry Paris: Wednesday is to-morrow:
    To-morrow night look that thou lie alone;
    Let not thy nurse lie with thee in thy chamber:
    Take thou this vial, being then in bed,
    And this distilled liquor drink thou off; 2460
    When presently through all thy veins shall run
    A cold and drowsy humour, for no pulse
    Shall keep his native progress, but surcease:
    No warmth, no breath, shall testify thou livest;
    The roses in thy lips and cheeks shall fade 2465
    To paly ashes, thy eyes' windows fall,
    Like death, when he shuts up the day of life;
    Each part, deprived of supple government,
    Shall, stiff and stark and cold, appear like death:
    And in this borrow'd likeness of shrunk death 2470
    Thou shalt continue two and forty hours,
    And then awake as from a pleasant sleep.
    Now, when the bridegroom in the morning comes
    To rouse thee from thy bed, there art thou dead:
    Then, as the manner of our country is, 2475
    In thy best robes uncover'd on the bier
    Thou shalt be borne to that same ancient vault
    Where all the kindred of the Capulets lie.
    In the mean time, against thou shalt awake,
    Shall Romeo by my letters know our drift, 2480
    And hither shall he come: and he and I
    Will watch thy waking, and that very night
    Shall Romeo bear thee hence to Mantua.
    And this shall free thee from this present shame;
    If no inconstant toy, nor womanish fear, 2485
    Abate thy valour in the acting it.
  • Juliet. Give me, give me! O, tell not me of fear!
  • Friar Laurence. Hold; get you gone, be strong and prosperous
    In this resolve: I'll send a friar with speed
    To Mantua, with my letters to thy lord. 2490
  • Juliet. Love give me strength! and strength shall help afford.
    Farewell, dear father!



Act IV, Scene 2

Hall in Capulet’s house.


[Enter CAPULET, LADY CAPULET, Nurse, and two Servingmen]

  • Capulet. So many guests invite as here are writ. 2495
    [Exit First Servant]
    Sirrah, go hire me twenty cunning cooks.
  • Second Servant. You shall have none ill, sir; for I'll try if they
    can lick their fingers.
  • Capulet. How canst thou try them so? 2500
  • Second Servant. Marry, sir, 'tis an ill cook that cannot lick his
    own fingers: therefore he that cannot lick his
    fingers goes not with me.
  • Capulet. Go, be gone.
    [Exit Second Servant] 2505
    We shall be much unfurnished for this time.
    What, is my daughter gone to Friar Laurence?
  • Nurse. Ay, forsooth.
  • Capulet. Well, he may chance to do some good on her:
    A peevish self-will'd harlotry it is. 2510
  • Nurse. See where she comes from shrift with merry look.

[Enter JULIET]

  • Capulet. How now, my headstrong! where have you been gadding?
  • Juliet. Where I have learn'd me to repent the sin
    Of disobedient opposition 2515
    To you and your behests, and am enjoin'd
    By holy Laurence to fall prostrate here,
    And beg your pardon: pardon, I beseech you!
    Henceforward I am ever ruled by you.
  • Capulet. Send for the county; go tell him of this: 2520
    I'll have this knot knit up to-morrow morning.
  • Juliet. I met the youthful lord at Laurence' cell;
    And gave him what becomed love I might,
    Not step o'er the bounds of modesty.
  • Capulet. Why, I am glad on't; this is well: stand up: 2525
    This is as't should be. Let me see the county;
    Ay, marry, go, I say, and fetch him hither.
    Now, afore God! this reverend holy friar,
    Our whole city is much bound to him.
  • Juliet. Nurse, will you go with me into my closet, 2530
    To help me sort such needful ornaments
    As you think fit to furnish me to-morrow?
  • Lady Capulet. No, not till Thursday; there is time enough.
  • Capulet. Go, nurse, go with her: we'll to church to-morrow.

[Exeunt JULIET and Nurse]

  • Lady Capulet. We shall be short in our provision:
    'Tis now near night.
  • Capulet. Tush, I will stir about,
    And all things shall be well, I warrant thee, wife:
    Go thou to Juliet, help to deck up her; 2540
    I'll not to bed to-night; let me alone;
    I'll play the housewife for this once. What, ho!
    They are all forth. Well, I will walk myself
    To County Paris, to prepare him up
    Against to-morrow: my heart is wondrous light, 2545
    Since this same wayward girl is so reclaim'd.



Act IV, Scene 3

Juliet’s chamber.


[Enter JULIET and Nurse]

  • Juliet. Ay, those attires are best: but, gentle nurse,
    I pray thee, leave me to myself to-night, 2550
    For I have need of many orisons
    To move the heavens to smile upon my state,
    Which, well thou know'st, is cross, and full of sin.


  • Lady Capulet. What, are you busy, ho? need you my help? 2555
  • Juliet. No, madam; we have cull'd such necessaries
    As are behoveful for our state to-morrow:
    So please you, let me now be left alone,
    And let the nurse this night sit up with you;
    For, I am sure, you have your hands full all, 2560
    In this so sudden business.
  • Lady Capulet. Good night:
    Get thee to bed, and rest; for thou hast need.

[Exeunt LADY CAPULET and Nurse]

  • Juliet. Farewell! God knows when we shall meet again. 2565
    I have a faint cold fear thrills through my veins,
    That almost freezes up the heat of life:
    I'll call them back again to comfort me:
    Nurse! What should she do here?
    My dismal scene I needs must act alone. 2570
    Come, vial.
    What if this mixture do not work at all?
    Shall I be married then to-morrow morning?
    No, no: this shall forbid it: lie thou there.
    [Laying down her dagger] 2575
    What if it be a poison, which the friar
    Subtly hath minister'd to have me dead,
    Lest in this marriage he should be dishonour'd,
    Because he married me before to Romeo?
    I fear it is: and yet, methinks, it should not, 2580
    For he hath still been tried a holy man.
    How if, when I am laid into the tomb,
    I wake before the time that Romeo
    Come to redeem me? there's a fearful point!
    Shall I not, then, be stifled in the vault, 2585
    To whose foul mouth no healthsome air breathes in,
    And there die strangled ere my Romeo comes?
    Or, if I live, is it not very like,
    The horrible conceit of death and night,
    Together with the terror of the place,— 2590
    As in a vault, an ancient receptacle,
    Where, for these many hundred years, the bones
    Of all my buried ancestors are packed:
    Where bloody Tybalt, yet but green in earth,
    Lies festering in his shroud; where, as they say, 2595
    At some hours in the night spirits resort;—
    Alack, alack, is it not like that I,
    So early waking, what with loathsome smells,
    And shrieks like mandrakes' torn out of the earth,
    That living mortals, hearing them, run mad:— 2600
    O, if I wake, shall I not be distraught,
    Environed with all these hideous fears?
    And madly play with my forefather's joints?
    And pluck the mangled Tybalt from his shroud?
    And, in this rage, with some great kinsman's bone, 2605
    As with a club, dash out my desperate brains?
    O, look! methinks I see my cousin's ghost
    Seeking out Romeo, that did spit his body
    Upon a rapier's point: stay, Tybalt, stay!
    Romeo, I come! this do I drink to thee. 2610

[She falls upon her bed, within the curtains]


Act IV, Scene 4

Hall in Capulet’s house.


[Enter LADY CAPULET and Nurse]

  • Lady Capulet. Hold, take these keys, and fetch more spices, nurse.
  • Nurse. They call for dates and quinces in the pastry.


  • Capulet. Come, stir, stir, stir! the second cock hath crow'd,
    The curfew-bell hath rung, 'tis three o'clock:
    Look to the baked meats, good Angelica:
    Spare not for the cost.
  • Nurse. Go, you cot-quean, go, 2620
    Get you to bed; faith, You'll be sick to-morrow
    For this night's watching.
  • Capulet. No, not a whit: what! I have watch'd ere now
    All night for lesser cause, and ne'er been sick.
  • Lady Capulet. Ay, you have been a mouse-hunt in your time; 2625
    But I will watch you from such watching now.

[Exeunt LADY CAPULET and Nurse]

  • Capulet. A jealous hood, a jealous hood!

[Enter three or four Servingmen, with spits, logs, and baskets]

  • Capulet. Now, fellow, 2630
    What's there?
  • First Servant. Things for the cook, sir; but I know not what.
  • Capulet. Make haste, make haste.
    [Exit First Servant]
    Sirrah, fetch drier logs: 2635
    Call Peter, he will show thee where they are.
  • Second Servant. I have a head, sir, that will find out logs,
    And never trouble Peter for the matter.


  • Capulet. Mass, and well said; a merry whoreson, ha! 2640
    Thou shalt be logger-head. Good faith, 'tis day:
    The county will be here with music straight,
    For so he said he would: I hear him near.
    [Music within]
    Nurse! Wife! What, ho! What, nurse, I say! 2645
    [Re-enter Nurse]
    Go waken Juliet, go and trim her up;
    I'll go and chat with Paris: hie, make haste,
    Make haste; the bridegroom he is come already:
    Make haste, I say. 2650



Act IV, Scene 5

Juliet’s chamber.


[Enter Nurse]

  • Nurse. Mistress! what, mistress! Juliet! fast, I warrant her, she:
    Why, lamb! why, lady! fie, you slug-a-bed!
    Why, love, I say! madam! sweet-heart! why, bride! 2655
    What, not a word? you take your pennyworths now;
    Sleep for a week; for the next night, I warrant,
    The County Paris hath set up his rest,
    That you shall rest but little. God forgive me,
    Marry, and amen, how sound is she asleep! 2660
    I must needs wake her. Madam, madam, madam!
    Ay, let the county take you in your bed;
    He'll fright you up, i' faith. Will it not be?
    [Undraws the curtains]
    What, dress'd! and in your clothes! and down again! 2665
    I must needs wake you; Lady! lady! lady!
    Alas, alas! Help, help! my lady's dead!
    O, well-a-day, that ever I was born!
    Some aqua vitae, ho! My lord! my lady!


  • Lady Capulet. What noise is here?
  • Nurse. O lamentable day!
  • Lady Capulet. What is the matter?
  • Nurse. Look, look! O heavy day!
  • Lady Capulet. O me, O me! My child, my only life, 2675
    Revive, look up, or I will die with thee!
    Help, help! Call help.


  • Capulet. For shame, bring Juliet forth; her lord is come.
  • Nurse. She's dead, deceased, she's dead; alack the day! 2680
  • Lady Capulet. Alack the day, she's dead, she's dead, she's dead!
  • Capulet. Ha! let me see her: out, alas! she's cold:
    Her blood is settled, and her joints are stiff;
    Life and these lips have long been separated:
    Death lies on her like an untimely frost 2685
    Upon the sweetest flower of all the field.
  • Nurse. O lamentable day!
  • Lady Capulet. O woful time!
  • Capulet. Death, that hath ta'en her hence to make me wail,
    Ties up my tongue, and will not let me speak. 2690

[Enter FRIAR LAURENCE and PARIS, with Musicians]

  • Friar Laurence. Come, is the bride ready to go to church?
  • Capulet. Ready to go, but never to return.
    O son! the night before thy wedding-day
    Hath Death lain with thy wife. There she lies, 2695
    Flower as she was, deflowered by him.
    Death is my son-in-law, Death is my heir;
    My daughter he hath wedded: I will die,
    And leave him all; life, living, all is Death's.
  • Paris. Have I thought long to see this morning's face, 2700
    And doth it give me such a sight as this?
  • Lady Capulet. Accursed, unhappy, wretched, hateful day!
    Most miserable hour that e'er time saw
    In lasting labour of his pilgrimage!
    But one, poor one, one poor and loving child, 2705
    But one thing to rejoice and solace in,
    And cruel death hath catch'd it from my sight!
  • Nurse. O woe! O woful, woful, woful day!
    Most lamentable day, most woful day,
    That ever, ever, I did yet behold! 2710
    O day! O day! O day! O hateful day!
    Never was seen so black a day as this:
    O woful day, O woful day!
  • Paris. Beguiled, divorced, wronged, spited, slain!
    Most detestable death, by thee beguil'd, 2715
    By cruel cruel thee quite overthrown!
    O love! O life! not life, but love in death!
  • Capulet. Despised, distressed, hated, martyr'd, kill'd!
    Uncomfortable time, why camest thou now
    To murder, murder our solemnity? 2720
    O child! O child! my soul, and not my child!
    Dead art thou! Alack! my child is dead;
    And with my child my joys are buried.
  • Friar Laurence. Peace, ho, for shame! confusion's cure lives not
    In these confusions. Heaven and yourself 2725
    Had part in this fair maid; now heaven hath all,
    And all the better is it for the maid:
    Your part in her you could not keep from death,
    But heaven keeps his part in eternal life.
    The most you sought was her promotion; 2730
    For 'twas your heaven she should be advanced:
    And weep ye now, seeing she is advanced
    Above the clouds, as high as heaven itself?
    O, in this love, you love your child so ill,
    That you run mad, seeing that she is well: 2735
    She's not well married that lives married long;
    But she's best married that dies married young.
    Dry up your tears, and stick your rosemary
    On this fair corse; and, as the custom is,
    In all her best array bear her to church: 2740
    For though fond nature bids us an lament,
    Yet nature's tears are reason's merriment.
  • Capulet. All things that we ordained festival,
    Turn from their office to black funeral;
    Our instruments to melancholy bells, 2745
    Our wedding cheer to a sad burial feast,
    Our solemn hymns to sullen dirges change,
    Our bridal flowers serve for a buried corse,
    And all things change them to the contrary.
  • Friar Laurence. Sir, go you in; and, madam, go with him; 2750
    And go, Sir Paris; every one prepare
    To follow this fair corse unto her grave:
    The heavens do lour upon you for some ill;
    Move them no more by crossing their high will.


  • First Musician. Faith, we may put up our pipes, and be gone.
  • Nurse. Honest goodfellows, ah, put up, put up;
    For, well you know, this is a pitiful case.


  • First Musician. Ay, by my troth, the case may be amended. 2760

[Enter PETER]

  • Peter. Musicians, O, musicians, 'Heart's ease, Heart's
    ease:' O, an you will have me live, play 'Heart's ease.'
  • First Musician. Why 'Heart's ease?'
  • Peter. O, musicians, because my heart itself plays 'My 2765
    heart is full of woe:' O, play me some merry dump,
    to comfort me.
  • First Musician. Not a dump we; 'tis no time to play now.
  • Peter. You will not, then?
  • First Musician. No. 2770
  • Peter. I will then give it you soundly.
  • First Musician. What will you give us?
  • Peter. No money, on my faith, but the gleek;
    I will give you the minstrel.
  • First Musician. Then I will give you the serving-creature. 2775
  • Peter. Then will I lay the serving-creature's dagger on
    your pate. I will carry no crotchets: I'll re you,
    I'll fa you; do you note me?
  • First Musician. An you re us and fa us, you note us.
  • Second Musician. Pray you, put up your dagger, and put out your wit. 2780
  • Peter. Then have at you with my wit! I will dry-beat you
    with an iron wit, and put up my iron dagger. Answer
    me like men:
    'When griping grief the heart doth wound,
    And doleful dumps the mind oppress, 2785
    Then music with her silver sound'—
    why 'silver sound'? why 'music with her silver
    sound'? What say you, Simon Catling?
  • First Musician. Marry, sir, because silver hath a sweet sound.
  • Peter. Pretty! What say you, Hugh Rebeck? 2790
  • Second Musician. I say 'silver sound,' because musicians sound for silver.
  • Peter. Pretty too! What say you, James Soundpost?
  • Third Musician. Faith, I know not what to say.
  • Peter. O, I cry you mercy; you are the singer: I will say
    for you. It is 'music with her silver sound,' 2795
    because musicians have no gold for sounding:
    'Then music with her silver sound
    With speedy help doth lend redress.'


  • First Musician. What a pestilent knave is this same! 2800
  • Second Musician. Hang him, Jack! Come, we'll in here; tarry for the
    mourners, and stay dinner.