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"Ah pleasant prop of all my thoughts, ah onely grounde Of all the sweete delightes that yet in all my lyfe I founde, Did such assured trust within thy hart repose,
That in this place and at this time, thy church-yard thou hast
Betwixt the armes of me, thy perfect loving make,
And thus by meanes of me to ende thy life, and for my sake! Even in the flowring of thy youth, when unto thee
Thy lyfe most deare (as to the most) and pleasant ought to bee, How could this tender corps withstand the cruell fight
Of furious death, that wonts to fray the stoutest with his sight?
How could thy dainty youth agree with willing hart
In this so fowle infected place to dwell, where now thou art?
Where spitefull Fortune hath appoynted thee to bee
The dainte foode of greedy wormes, unworthy sure of thee.
Alas, alas, alas, what neded now anew
My won'ed sorowes, doubled twise, againe thus to renewe:
Which both the time and eke my patient long abode
Should now at length have quenched quite, and under foote have
Ah wretch and caytive that I am, even when I thought
To fynd my painfull passions salve, I myst the thing I sought;
And to my mortall harme the fatal knife I grounde,
That gave to me so depe, so wide, so crueli dedly wounde.
Ah thou, most fortunate and most unhappy tombe!
For thou shalt beare, from age to age, witnes in time to comme
Of the most perfect league betwixt a payre of lovers,
That were the most unfortunate and fortunate of others;
Receave the latter sigh, receave the latter pang,
Of the most cruell of crueli slaves that wrath and death ay
And when our Juliet would continue still her mone,
The fryer and the servant fled, and left her there alone;
For thev a sodayne novse fast by the place did heare,
And lest they might be taken there, greatly they stoode in
When Juliet saw herselfe left in the vaulte alone,
That freely she might wocrke her will, for let or stay was none,
Then once for all she tooke the cause of all her harmes,
The body dead of Romeus, and clasped it in her armes;
Then she with earnest kisse sufficiently did prove,
That more then by the feare o death, she was attaint by love;
And then, past deadly feare, (for lyfe ne had she care)
With hasty hand she did draw out the dagger that he ware.
"O welcome death, quoth she, end of unhappines,
That also art beginning of assured happines,
Feare not to dart me nowe, thy stripe no longer stay,
Prolong no longer now my lyfe, I hate this long delaye;
For straight my parting sprite, out of this carkas fled,
At ease shall finde my Romeus sprite emong so many ded.
And thou my loving lord, Romeus, my trusty feere,
If knowledge yet doe rest in thee, if thou these woordes dost heer,
Receve thou her, whom thou didst love so lawfully,
That causd alas! thy violent death, although unwillingly;
And therefore willingly offers to thee her gost,
To thend that no wight els but thou might have just cause to
Thinjoying of my love, which ay I have reserved
Free from the rest, bound unto thee, that hast it well deserved:
That so our parted sprites from light that we see here,
In place of endlesse light and blisse may ever live 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
The watchmen of the towne the whilst are passed by,
And through the gates the candle light within the tombe they spye;
Whereby they did suppose inchaunters to be comme,
That with prepared instruments 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 desyre the truth hereof to know;
Then they by certaine steppes descend, where they do fynd below,
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 murtherers;—so they
In dungeon depe that night they lodgde them under grounde;
The next day do they tell the prince the mischiefe that they found.
The newes was by and by throughout the towne dyspred,
Both of the taking of the fryer, and of the two found ded.
Thether you might have seene whole housholds forth to ronne,
For to the tombe where they did heare this wonder straunge was
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 upon 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 waighty cause
Why openly they were not calde, and so convict by lawes.
The holy fryer now, and reverent by his age,
In great reproche set to the shew upon the open stage, (A thing that ill beseemde a man of silver heares)
His beard as whyte as mylke he bathes with great fast-falling
Whom straight the dredfull judge commaundeth to declare Both, how this murther hath been donne, and who the murther
For that he nere the tombe was found at howres unfitte,
And had with hym those yron tooles for such a purpose fitte.
The frier was of lively sprite and free of speche,
The judges words appald him not, ne were his wittes to seeche.
But with advised heed a whyle fyrst did he stay,
And then with bold assured voyce aloud thus gan he
"My lordes, there is not one among you, set togyther,
So that, affection set aside, by wisdome he consider
My former passed lyfe, and this my extreme age,
And eke this heavy sight, the wreke of frantike Fortunes rage,
But that, amased much, doth wonder at this chaunge,
So great, so sodainly befalne, unlooked for, and straunge.
For I that in the space of sixty yeres and tenne,
Since fyrst I did begin, to soone, to lead my lyfe with men,
And with the worldes vaine thinges myselfe I did acquaint,
Was never yet, in open place, at any time attaynt
With any cryme, in weight as heavy 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 undertake;
When wormes, the earth, and death, doe cyte me every howre,
Tappeare before the judgment seate of everlasting powre,
And falling ripe I steppe upon my graves brinke,
Even then, am I, most wretched wight, as eche of you doth
Through my most haynous deede, with hedlong sway throwne downe,
In greatest daunger of my lyfe, and damage of renowne. The spring, whence in your head this new conceite doth ryse, (And in your hart increaseth still your vayne and wrong sur
May be the hugenes of these teares of myne, percase,
That so abundantly downe fall by eyther syde my face;
As though the memory in scriptures were not kept
That Christ our Saviour himselfe for ruth and pitie wept:
And more, who so will reade, y-written shall he fynde,
That teares are as true messengers of mans ungyĺty mynde.
Or els, a liker proofe that I am in the cryme,
You say these present yrons are, and the suspected time:
As though all howres alike had not been made above!
Did Christ not say, the day had twelve? whereby he sought to
That no respect of howres ought justly to be had;
But at all times men have the choyce of doing good or bad;
Even as the sprite of God the harts of men doth guyde,
Or as it leaveth them to stray from vertues path asyde.
As for the yrons that were taken in my hand,
As now I deeme, I nede not seeke to make ye understand
To what use yron first was made, when it began;
How of it selfe it helpeth not, ne yet can hurt a man.
The thing that hurteth is the malice of his will,
That such indifferent thinges is wont to use 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
Ne yet these yron tooles, nor the suspected time,
Can justly prove the murther donne, or damne me of the cryme:
No one of these hath powre, ne powre have all the three,
To make me other than I am, how so I seeme to be.
But sure my conscience, if I so gylt deserve,
For an appeacher, witnesse, and a hangman, eke should serve;
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 sojorne short that I on earth must make,
That every day and howre do loke my journey hence to take,
My conscience inwardly should more torment me thrise,
Then all the outward deadly payne that all you could devyse.
But God I prayse, I feele no worme that knaweth me,
And from remorses pricking sting I joy that I am free:
I meane, as touching this, wherewith you troubled are,
Wherewith you should be troubled still, if I my speche should
But to the end I may set all your hartes at rest,
And pluck 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 heavens, whither I hope to clym,
(And for a witnes of my woordes my hart attesteth him,
Whose mighty hande doth welde them in theyr violent sway,
And on the rolling stormy seas the heavy 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 unhappy death, which you perchaunce no lesse
Will wonder at then they alas! poore lovers in distresse,
Tormented much in mynd, not forcing lively breath,
With strong and patient hart dyd yelde them selfe to cruell death:
Such was the mutual love wherein they burned both,
And of theyr promyst frend shippes fayth so stedy was the troth."
And then the auncient fryer began to make discourse,
Even from the first, of Romeus and Juliets amours;
How first by sodayn sight the one the other chose,
And twixt themselfe dyd knitte the knotte which onely death might lose;
And how, within a while, with hotter love opprest,
Under confessions cloke, to him themselfe they have addrest;
And how with solemne othes they have protested both,
That they in hart are maried by promise and by othe;
And that except he graunt the rytes of church to geve,
They shal be forst by earnest love in sinneful state to live:
Which thing when he had wayde, and when he understoode
That the agreement twixt them twayne was lawfull, honest,
And all thinges peysed well, it seemed meet to bee
(For lyke they were of noblenesse, age, riches, and degree); Hoping that so at length ended might be the stryfe
Of Montagewes and Capelets, that led in hate theyr lyfe,
Thinking to woorke a worke well-pleasing in Gods sight,
In secret shrift he wedded them; and they the selfe same night
Made up the mariage in house of Capilet,
As well doth know (if she be askt) the nurce of Juliet.
He told how Romeus fled for reving Tybalts lyfe,
And how, the whilst, Paris the earle was offred to his wife ;
And how the lady dyd so great a wrong dysdayne,
And how to shrift unto his church she came to him agayne;
And how she fell flat downe before his feete aground,
And how she sware, her hand and bloody knife should wound
Her harmles hart, except that he some meane dyd fynde
To dysappoynt the earles attempt: and spotles save her mynde.
Wherefore, he doth conclude, although that long before
By thought of death and age he had refusde for evermore
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 lyving breath,
Murther her selfe, and daunger much her seely soule by death: Wherefore his auncient artes agayne he puts in ure,
A certain powder gave he her, that made her slepe so sure,
That they her held for dead; and how that fryer John
With letters sent to Romeus to Mantua is gone;
Of whom he knoweth not as yet, what is become;
And how that dead he found his frend within her kindreds tombe..
He thinkes with poyson strong, for care the yong man stervde,
Supposing Juliet dead; and how that Juliet hath carvde,
With Romeus dagger drawne her hart, and yelded breath,
Desyrous to accompany her lover after death;
And how they could not save her, so they were afeard,
And hidde themselfe, dreading the noyse of watchmen, that they