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The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet

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Act V, Scene 1

Mantua. A street.


[Enter ROMEO]

  • Romeo. If I may trust the flattering truth of sleep, 2805
    My dreams presage some joyful news at hand:
    My bosom's lord sits lightly in his throne;
    And all this day an unaccustom'd spirit
    Lifts me above the ground with cheerful thoughts.
    I dreamt my lady came and found me dead— 2810
    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 possess'd, 2815
    When but love's shadows are so rich in joy!
    [Enter BALTHASAR, booted]
    News from Verona!—How now, Balthasar!
    Dost thou not bring me letters from the friar?
    How doth my lady? Is my father well? 2820
    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 Capel's monument,
    And her immortal part with angels lives. 2825
    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 even so? then I defy you, stars! 2830
    Thou know'st my lodging: get me ink and paper,
    And hire post-horses; I will hence to-night.
  • Balthasar. I do beseech you, sir, have patience:
    Your looks are pale and wild, and do import
    Some misadventure. 2835
  • 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. No matter: get thee gone, 2840
    And hire those horses; I'll be with thee straight.
    [Exit BALTHASAR]
    Well, Juliet, I will lie with thee to-night.
    Let's see for means: O mischief, thou art swift
    To enter in the thoughts of desperate men! 2845
    I do remember an apothecary,—
    And hereabouts he dwells,—which late I noted
    In tatter'd weeds, with overwhelming brows,
    Culling of simples; meagre were his looks,
    Sharp misery had worn him to the bones: 2850
    And in his needy shop a tortoise hung,
    An alligator stuff'd, and other skins
    Of ill-shaped fishes; and about his shelves
    A beggarly account of empty boxes,
    Green earthen pots, bladders and musty seeds, 2855
    Remnants of packthread and old cakes of roses,
    Were thinly scatter'd, 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, 2860
    Here lives a caitiff wretch would sell it him.'
    O, 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. 2865
    What, ho! apothecary!

[Enter Apothecary]

  • Romeo. Come hither, man. I see that thou art poor:
    Hold, there is forty ducats: let me have 2870
    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 2875
    Doth hurry from the fatal cannon's womb.
  • 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, 2880
    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. 2885
  • Apothecary. My poverty, but not my will, consents.
  • Romeo. I pay thy poverty, and not thy will.
  • Apothecary. 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. 2890
  • Romeo. There is thy gold, worse poison to men's souls,
    Doing more murders 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. 2895
    Come, cordial and not poison, go with me
    To Juliet's grave; for there must I use thee.