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 flowe,

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 pray se, 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 any othe;
And that except he graunt the rytes of chuc to geve,
They shal be forst by earnest love in sinnefi 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

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And for the proofe of this his tale, he doth desyer

The judge to send forthwith to Mantua for the fryer,

To learne his cause of stay, and eke to read his letter;

And, more beside, to thend that they might judge his cause the better,

He prayeth them depose the nurce of Juliet,

And Romeusm at unawares besyde the tombe he met.
Then Peter, not nuch, as erst he was, dismayd:

My lordes, quoth he, too true is all that fryer Laurence sayd.
And when my maister went into my mystres grave,
This letter that I offer you, unto me he gave,
Which he him selfe dyd write, as I do understand,
And charged me to offer them unto his fathers hand.

The opened packet doth conteyne in it the same

That erst the skilfull fryer said; and eke the wretches name
That had at his request the dedly poyson sold,

The price of it, and why he bought, his letters plaine have tolde.
The case unfolded so and open now it lyes,

That they could wish no better proofe, save seeing it with theyr


So orderly all thinges were tolde, and tryed out,

That in the prease there was not one that stoode at all in doute. The wyser sort, to counsell called by Escalus,

Here geven advice, and Escalus sagely decreeth thus:

The nurse of Juliet is banisht in her age,

Because that from the parentes she did hyde the mariage, Which might have wrought much good had it in time been


Where now by her concealing it a mischeefe great is growne;
And Peter, for he dyd obey his masters hest,

In woonted freedome had good leave to lead his lyfe in rest:
Thapothecary high is hanged by the throte,

And, for the paynes he tooke with him, the hangman had his cote.
But now what shall betyde of this gray-bearded syre,

Of fryer Lawrence thus araynde, that good barefooted fryre?

Because that many time he woorthily did serve

The common welth, and in his lyfe was never found to swerve, He was discharged quyte, and no mark of defame

Did seem to blot or touch at all the honour of his name.

But of himselfe he went into an hermitage,

Two miles from Veron towne, where he in prayers past forth his


Till that from earth to heaven his heavenly sprite dyd flye:
Fyve years he lived an hermite, and an hermite dyd he dye.
The straungnes of the chaunce, when tryed was the truth,
The Montagewes and Capelets bath moved so to ruth,
That with their emptyed tears theyr choler and theyr rage
Has emptied quite; and they, whose wrath no wisdom could as-


Nor threatning of the prince, ne mynde of murthers donne, At length, (so mighty Jove it would) by pitye they are wonne.

And lest that length of time might from our myndes remove
The memory of so perfect, sound, and so approved love,
The bodies dead, removed from vaulte where they did dye,
In stately tombe, on pillars great of marble, rayse they hye.
On every side above were set, and eke beneath,

Great store of cunning epitaphes, in honor of theyr death.
And even at this day the tombe is to be seene;*
So that among the monuments that in Verona been,
There is no monument more worthy of the sight,
Then is the tombe of Juliet and Romeus her knight.

¶ Imprinted at London in Fleete Strete within Temble bar, at the signe of the hand and starre, by Richard Tottill the xix day of November, An. do 1562.

* Breval says in his Travels, 1726, that when he was at Verona, his guide shewed him an old building, then converted into a house for orphans, in which the tomb of these unhappy lovers had been; but it was then destroyed. Malone.


T. S. Manning, Printer, No. 143, North Third Street.


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