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Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare

Act 2 Scene 5

page Act 2 Scene 5 Page 1

Original Text

Modern Text

JULIET enters.


The clock struck nine when I did send the Nurse.
In half an hour she promised to return.
Perchance she cannot meet him. That’s not so.
Oh, she is lame! Love’s heralds should be thoughts,
5Which ten times faster glide than the sun’s beams,
Driving back shadows over louring hills.
Therefore do nimble-pinioned doves draw love
And therefore hath the wind-swift Cupid wings.
Now is the sun upon the highmost hill
10Of this day’s journey, and from nine till twelve
Is three long hours, yet she is not come.
Had she affections and warm youthful blood,
She would be as swift in motion as a ball.
My words would bandy her to my sweet love,
15And his to me.
But old folks, many feign as they were dead,
Unwieldy, slow, heavy, and pale as lead.


I sent the Nurse at nine o'clock. Maybe she can’t find him. That can’t be. Oh, she’s slow! Love’s messengers should be thoughts, which fly ten times faster than sunbeams. They should be strong enough to push shadows over the dark hills. That’s the way doves carry Venus so fast, and that’s why Cupid has wings that let him fly as fast as the wind. Now it’s noon. That’s three hours since nine o'clock, but she hasn’t come back. If she was young and passionate, she’d move as fast as a ball. My words would bounce her to my sweet love, and his words would bounce her back to me. But a lot of old people act like they’re already dead—sluggish, slow, fat, and colorless, like lead.
The NURSE and PETER enter.
O God, she comes.—O honey Nurse, what news?
Hast thou met with him? Send thy man away.
Oh my God, here she comes! Oh sweet Nurse, what news do you bring? Have you spoken to him? Send your man away.


20Peter, stay at the gate.


Peter, wait for me at the gate.
PETER exits.


Now, good sweet Nurse— O Lord, why look’st thou sad?
Though news be sad, yet tell them merrily.
If good, thou shamest the music of sweet news
By playing it to me with so sour a face.


Now, good sweet Nurse—Oh Lord, why do you look so sad? Even if the news is sad, tell me with a smile on your face. If the news is good, you’re ruining the sweet news by playing a trick with a sour face like that.