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Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare

  Act 5 Scene 3

page Act 5 Scene 3 Page 12

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  Meantime I writ to Romeo,
That he should hither come as this dire night,
To help to take her from her borrowed grave,
Being the time the potion’s force should cease.
265But he which bore my letter, Friar John,
Was stayed by accident, and yesternight
Returned my letter back. Then all alone
At the prefixèd hour of her waking
Came I to take her from her kindred’s vault,
270Meaning to keep her closely at my cell
Till I conveniently could send to Romeo,
But when I came, some minute ere the time
Of her awakening, here untimely lay
The noble Paris and true Romeo dead.
275She wakes, and I entreated her come forth,
And bear this work of heaven with patience.
But then a noise did scare me from the tomb,
And she, too desperate, would not go with me,
But, as it seems, did violence on herself.
280All this I know, and to the marriage
Her Nurse is privy. And if aught in this
Miscarried by my fault, let my old life
Be sacrificed some hour before his time
Unto the rigor of severest law.
In the meantime I wrote to Romeo and told him to come here on this awful night to help remove her from her temporary grave when the sleeping potion wore off. But the man who carried my letter, Friar John, was held up by an accident. Last night he gave me the letter back. So I came here alone at the hour when she was supposed to wake up. I came to take her out of her family’s tomb, hoping to hide her in my cell until I could make contact with Romeo. But by the time I got here, just a few minutes before Juliet woke up, Paris and Romeo were already dead. She woke up, and I asked her to come out of the tomb with me and endure this tragedy with patience. But then a noise sent me running scared from the tomb. She was too desperate to come with me, and it seems that she killed herself. I know all of this. And her Nurse knows about the marriage too. If any part of this tragedy is my fault, let my old life be sacrificed and let me suffer the most severe punishment.


285We still have known thee for a holy man.—
Where’s Romeo’s man? What can he say in this?


We have always known you to be a holy man. Where’s Romeo’s man? What does he have to say about this?


I brought my master news of Juliet’s death,
And then in post he came from Mantua
To this same place, to this same monument.
290 (shows a letter) This letter he early bid me give his father,
And threatened me with death, going in the vault,
If I departed not and left him there.


I brought my master news of Juliet’s death. And then he rode from Mantua here to this tomb. (he shows a letter) Earlier this morning he asked me to give this letter to his father. When he went into the vault, he threatened me with death if I didn’t leave him alone there.