The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (Dowden)/Appendix 2
Analysis of Brooke's "The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Iuliet," with Quotations
Verona described 1–12.
The houses of Capelet and Montagew; their strifes; to allay which Prince Escalus uses first gentle means, and then sterner. (25–50.)
Romeus, a beautiful youth, loves a fair maid, but she, being wise and virtuous, repels him. (51–72.)
After many months of hopeless love, he desires to cure himself by travel; yet cannot resolve upon it:
He languisheth and melts awaye, as snow against the sonne.
His kyndred and alyes do wonder what he ayles. (73–100.)
The trustiest of his friends rebukes him, and advises him to love a kinder mistress:
Some one of bewty, favour, shape, and of so lovely porte:
With so fast fixed eye, perhaps thou mayst beholde:
That thou shalt quite forget thy love, and passions past of olde. (101–140.)
Romeus promises to attend feasts and banquets, and to view other beauties. (141–150.)
Before three months pass, Christmas games begin, and Capel gives a banquet:
No Lady, no knight in Verona
But Capilet himselfe hath byd unto his feast:
Or by his name in paper sent, appoynted as a geast. (151–164.)
Romeus goes masked with other five; when they unmask, he retires to a nook, but is recognised by the torches' light. (165–182.)
The Capilets restrain their ire. (183–190.)
He views the ladies; sees one more beautiful than the rest; and quite forgets his former love. Juliet's eyes anchor on him. Love shoots her with his bow. Their eyes inform them of mutual love. (191–244.)
After a dance, Juliet finds Romeus seated by her:
And on the other side there sat one cald Mercutio,
A courtier that eche where was highly had in pryce:
For he was coorteous of his speche, and pleasant of devise.
Even as a Lyon would emong the lambes be bolde:
Such was emong the bashfull maydes, Mercutio to beholde.
With frendly gripe he ceasd fay re Juliets snowish hand:
A gyft he had that nature gave him in his swathing band.
That frosen mountayne yse was never halfe so cold
As were his handes.
The lovers' hands meet, palm to palm. Romeus cannot speak; Juliet calls the time of his arrival blessed, and then is silent with love; presently they are able to discourse, and Romeus declares his passion. (245–308.)
Juliet, before leaving Romeus, confesses that (her honour saved) she is his. (309–318.)
Romeus learns her name; blames Fortune and Love; but he now serves one who is not cruel. (319–340.)
Juliet, inquiring first concerning others, learns from her old Nurse her lover's name:
And tell me who is he with vysor in his hand
That yender doth in masking weede besyde the window stand.
His name is Romeus (said she) a Montegewe.
Juliet inwardly despairs, but keeps up an outward show of gladness. She cannot sleep, and questions with herself, May not Romeus be false? But treason cannot lurk in a shape so perfect. She will love him, if he mind to make her his lawful wedded wife, for the alliance may procure the houses' peace. (341–428.)
Morning comes; Romeus passes, and sees Juliet at her window; but is wary of danger. This happens often. He discovers a garden-plot fronting full upon her leaning place. Thither, when night has spread her black mantle, he goes armed; but for a week or two in vain. One moonlight night Juliet leans within her window, and espies him. She rejoices even more than he, for she could not account for his absence by day. She is alarmed for his safety:
Oh Romeus (of your lyfe) too lavas sure you are:
That in this place, and at thys tyme to hasard it you dare.
What if your dedly foes my kynsmen saw you here?
He answers that he can defend himself, and loves life only for her sake. Weeping, her head leaning on her arm, she tells her love, and promises that, if wedlock be his end and mark, she will follow him wherever he may go; but if he intends her dishonour, let him cease his suit. Romeus rejoices, and says he will seek advice early tomorrow from Friar Lawrence. (429–564.)
The Friar is described:
The barefoote fryer gyrt with cord his grayish weede,
For he of Frauncis order was, a fryer as I reede.
•••••••The secretes eke he knew in natures woorkes that loorke.
Romeus, not staying till the morrow, goes to him. He advises delay, but, hoping to reconcile the houses by the marriage, is overcome. Romeus consents to the delay of a day and a night. (565–616.)
Juliet's confidante is the ancient Nurse, who lies in her chamber, and whose aid she secures by promised hire. The Nurse goes to Romeus:
On Saterday, quod he, if Juliet come to shrift,
She shalbe shrived and maried.
She promises to devise an excuse for going, and talks of her babe Juliet:
And how she gave her sucke in youth, she leaveth not to tell.
A prety babe (quod she) it was when it was yong:
Lord how it could full pretely have prated with it tong.
Romeus gives her gold; she returns, full of his praises:
But of our marriage say at once, what aunswer have you brought?
Nay soft, quoth she, I feare, your hurt by sodain ioye:
I list not play quoth Juliet, although thou list to toye. (617–714.)
On Saturday Juliet, the Nurse, and a maid, sent by Juliet's mother, go to the church. The Friar dismisses the Nurse and maid to hear "a mass or two." Romeus has already waited two hours in the Friar's cell: "Eche minute seemde an howre, and every howre a day." The lovers are married. Romeus bids Juliet send the Nurse to him for a ladder of cord. They think the day long; if they might have the sun bound to their will "Black shade of night and doubled darke should straight all over hyde." (715–826.)
The hour arrives; Romeus leaps the wall; climbs the ladder. Bride and bridegroom embrace, and talk of their past and present state. The Nurse urges them to consummate their union. (827–918.)
Dawn comes: "The hastines of Phoebus steeds in great despyte they blame." Their bliss lasts a month or twain. On Easter Monday Tibalt, a young Capilet, Juliet's uncle's son, "best exercisd in feates of armes," leads a street-fight against the Montagewes. Romeus seeks to part the combatants: "Not dread, but other waighty cause my hasty hand doth stay." Tybalt addresses him as "coward, traytor boy"; they fight; Tybalt is slain. The Capilets demand Romeus' death; the Montagewes remonstrate; the lookers-on blame Tybalt; the Prince pronounces exile as his sentence, and bids the households lay aside their bloody weapons. (919–1074.)
Juliet weeps and tears her hair; wails Tybalt's death; curses her fatal window; rails against Romeus; and charges herself with murder for touching the honour of his name. The Nurse finds her seemingly dead upon her bed; she revives; breaks into lamentation; is cheered by the Nurse with the hope of Romeus' recall from exile. The Nurse offers to go to Romeus, who lurks in the Friar's cell. Her mistress sends her forth. (1075–1256.)
Romeus does not yet know his doom. The Friar goes forth, learns the sentence, and returns. He tells the Nurse that Romeus shall come at night to Juliet to devise of their affairs. He informs Romeus that the sentence is good, not death but banishment. Romeus is frantic, tears his hair, throws himself on the ground, and prays for death; he blames nature, his time and place of birth, the stars, and Fortune. The Friar rebukes him:
Art thou quoth he a man? thy shape saith, so thou art:
Thy crying and thy weping eyes denote a womans hart.
•••••••So that I stoode in doute this howre (at the least)
If thou a man or woman wert, or els a brutish beast.
He exhorts Romeus to fortitude; he has slain his foe; he is not condemned to death; his friends may resort to him at Mantua. Romeus grows reasonable; the Friar advises him as to how to quit Verona unknown; and bids him visit cheerfully his lady's bower. (1257–1526.)
Night comes; Romeus visits Juliet; he discourses of Fortune, and exhorts Juliet to patience; she pleads to be permitted to accompany him in disguise; he explains that they would be pursued and punished; he hopes to procure his recall to Verona within four months; if he does not, he will then carry her off to a foreign land. Juliet submits, only requiring a promise that Romeus shall, through the Friar, keep her informed of his state. (1527–1700.)
Light begins to appear in the East: "As yet he saw no day, ne could he call it night." Romeus and Juliet embrace and then part:
Then hath these lovers day an ende, their night begonne,
For eche of them to other is as to the world the sunne.
Romeus sets forth, clad as a merchant venturer, to Mantua. He states his grievance to the Duke; he is overwhelmed with sorrow. (1701–1786.)
Juliet pines and pales, though she endeavours to conceal her grief. Her mother notices the change in her; tries to cheer her; bids her forget Tibalt's death. Juliet declares that, a great while since, her last tears for Tybalt were shed. Her mother informs Capilet, and tells him of her suspicion that Juliet pines for envy of her married companions; she urges Capilet to have her married. He replies that she is too young—scarce sixteen years; yet he will seek a husband. (1787–1874.)
County Paris, an Earl's son, becomes a suitor. Her mother informs Juliet, commending "his youthfull yeres, his fayrenes, and his port, and semely grace." Juliet expresses amazement; threatens to slay herself; kneels and implores. Old Capilet comes to her; she grovels at his feet; he charges her with unthankfulness and disobedience:
thou playest in this case
The dainty foole, and stubberne gyrle; for want of skill
Thou dost refuse thy offred weale, and disobey my will.
Unless by Wednesday next she consents, he will disinherit and confine her. (1875–1996.)
Next morning Juliet visits the Friar; states her case; threatens suicide, if marriage with Paris be otherwise unavoidable. The Friar is in perplexity; not five months past, he had wedded her to Romeus; the marriage with Paris is fixed for the tenth day of September. He tells Juliet of his youthful travels, in which he had learnt the virtues of stones, plants, metals. He explains the properties of the sleeping-powder; exhorts her to courage; bids her receive the "vyoll small," and on her marriage-day before the sun clears the sky, fill it with water:
Then drinke it of, and thou shalt feele throughout eche vayne and lim
A pleasant slumber slide, and quite dispred at length
On all thy partes, from every part reve all thy kindly strength.
Her kindred will suppose her dead; will bear her to their forefathers' tomb; the Friar will send to Mantua, and he and Romeus will take her forth that night. (1997–2172.)
Juliet courageously agrees; passes with stately gait through the streets; tells her mother that the Friar has made her another woman, and consents to marry Paris; she will go to her closet to choose out the bravest garments and richest jewels. Old Capilet praises the Friar, and at once goes to inform Paris; who visits Juliet, is charmed, and now only desires to haste the day. (2173–2276.)
The bridal feast is prepared; the dearest things are bought. In Juliet's chamber the Nurse praises Paris ten times more than she had praised Romeus: "Paris shall dwell there still, Romeus shall not retourne," or, if he do, Juliet shall have both husband and paramour. Juliet maintains a cheerful aspect; sends away the Nurse, for she would spend the night in prayer; then hides the viol under her bolster, and retires to bed. She doubts the unknown force of the powder. Will it work at all? Serpents and venomous worms may lurk in the tomb. How shall she endure the stench of corpses? Will she not be stifled? She thinks she sees Tybalt's dead body; she is in a cold sweat; fearing her own weakness, she swiftly drinks the mixture, then crosses her arms on her breast, and falls into a trance. (2277–2402.)
At sunrise the Nurse would wake her: "Lady you slepe to long, (the Earle) will rayse you by and by." She finds that Juliet is dead; the mother laments; the father, Paris, and a rout of gentlemen and ladies enter; old Capilet has no power to weep or speak:
If ever there hath been a lamentable day,
A day, ruthfull, unfortunate and fatall, then I say
this is that day. (2403–2472.)
Meanwhile Friar Lawrence sends a friar of his house to Romeus with a letter, bidding him come "the next night after that," to take Juliet from the tomb. Friar John hies to Mantua; seeks, according to custom, a companion brother, but, plague being in the house, is detained, and not knowing the contents of the letter, he defers till the morrow. All in Capilet's house is changed from marriage to funeral; according to the Italian manner Juliet is borne to the tomb with open face and in wonted weed. Romeus' man, sent to Verona as a spy, sees the funeral, and bears tidings to his master. Thinking that his death would be more glorious if he died near Juliet, Romeus resolves to go to Verona. He wanders through Mantua streets, sees an apothecary sitting outside his poor shop, furnished with few boxes, and bribes him with gold to sell poison, "speeding gere," contrary to the law. (2473–2588.)
Romeus sends his man, Peter, to Verona, bidding him provide instruments to open the tomb. He calls for ink and paper, and writes an account of the events and his design, to be given to his father. At Verona Peter meets him with lantern and instruments. He orders Peter to leave him, and early in the morning to deliver the letter to his father. Romeus descends into the vault, finds Juliet dead, embraces her, and devours the poison. He addresses Juliet; what more glorious tomb could he have craved? He addresses the dead Tybalt; prays to Christ for his grace; throws himself on Juliet's body, and dies. (2589–2688.)
Friar Lawrence comes to open the tomb, and is startled by the light in it. Peter explains to him that his master is within; the Friar enters and finds the body of Romeus. Juliet awakens; the Friar shows her lover's corpse; exhorts her to patience, and promises to place her in some religious house. She weeps, falls on Romeus' body, covers it with kisses, and laments her loss. Hearing a noise, the Friar and servant fly. Juliet, with a speech welcoming death, plunges Romeus' dagger in her heart. (2689–2792.)
Watchmen, supposing that enchanters were abusing the dead, enter the tomb, find the corpses, arrest the Friar and Peter, and next day inform the Prince. (2793–2808.)
Crowds visit the tomb. By the Prince's order the bodies are placed on a stage. Peter and Friar Lawrence are openly examined. The Friar in a long speech justifies himself, and explains all that had happened. His account is confirmed by Peter and by the letter of Romeus. Prince Escalus banishes the Nurse and lets Peter go free. The apothecary is hanged by the throat. The Friar retires to a hermitage and five years later dies, aged seventy-five (see line 2843). The bodies of the lovers are placed in a stately tomb, supported by great marble pillars:
And even at this day the tombe is to be seene;
So that among the monumentes that in Verona been,
There is no monument more worthy of the sight,
Then is the tombe of Juliet and Romeus her knight. (2809–3020.)