Paulina’s speech and analysis.

Romeo and Juliet | Act 2, Scene 5 | 1-77

The clock struck nine when I did send the nurse…

Arden 3 | René Weiss. London: Methuen, 2012

Enter Juliet.

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.
O, she is lame! Love’s heralds should be thoughts,
Which ten times faster glides than the sun’s beams,                             5
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
Of this day’s journey, and from nine till twelve                                        10
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,
And his to me.                                                                                                    15
But old folks, many feign as they were dead,
Unwieldy, slow, heavy and pale as lead.

Enter Nurse [and Peter].

O God, she comes. O honey Nurse, what news?
Hast thou met with him? Send thy man away.

Peter, stay at the gate.                                                                                    20

([Exit Peter.])

Now, good sweet Nurse – O Lord, why lookest 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.

I am aweary, give me leave awhile.                                                           25
Fie, how my bones ache. What a jaunt have I!

I would thou hadst my bones and I thy news.
Nay, come, I pray thee, speak, good, good Nurse, speak.

Jesu, what haste! Can you not stay a while?
Do you not see that I am out of breath?                                                  30

How art thou out of breath when thou hast breath
To say to me that thou art out of breath?
The excuse that thou dost make in this delay
Is longer than the tale thou dost excuse.
Is thy news good or bad? Answer to that,                                               35
Say either, and I’ll stay the circumstance.
Let me be satisfied, is’t good or bad?

Well, you have made a simple choice. You know
not how to choose a man. Romeo? No, not he. Though
his face be better than any man’s, yet his leg excels all                    40
men’s; and for a hand and a foot and a body, though
they be not to be talked on, yet they are past compare.
He is not the flower of courtesy, but I’ll warrant him
as gentle as a lamb. Go thy ways, wench, serve God.
What, have you dined at home?                                                                45

No, no. But all this did I know before.
What says he of our marriage, what of that?

Lord, how my head aches! What a head have I!
It beats as it would fall in twenty pieces.
My back a’ t’other side, ah, my back, my back!                                   50
Beshrew your heart for sending me about
To catch my death with jauncing up and down.

I’faith, I am sorry that thou art not well.
Sweet, sweet, sweet Nurse, tell me, what says my love?

Your love says, like an honest gentleman,                                               55
And a courteous, and a kind, and a handsome,
And, I warrant, a virtuous – Where is your mother?

Where is my mother! Why, she is within.
Where should she be? How oddly thou repliest!
‘Your love says, like an honest gentleman’,                                              60
‘Where is your mother!’

O God’s Lady, dear,
Are you so hot? Marry come up, I trow.
Is this the poultice for my aching bones?
Henceforward do your messages yourself.

Here’s such a coil! Come, what says Romeo?                                       65

Have you got leave to go to shrift today?

I have.

Then hie you hence to Friar Laurence’ cell;
There stays a husband to make you a wife.
Now comes the wanton blood up in your cheeks;                               70
They’ll be in scarlet straight at any news.
Hie you to church; I must another way,
To fetch a ladder by the which your love
Must climb a bird’s nest soon when it is dark.
I am the drudge and toil in your delight,                                                  75
But you shall bear the burden soon at night.
Go, I’ll to dinner. Hie you to the cell.

Hie to high fortune! Honest Nurse, farewell.


Line Analysis
Arden 3 | 2012


Short: 9
Medium: 5
Long: 2
Total: 16

End-stopped: 5
Mid-line: 11

Periods: 7
Exclamations: 1
Questions: 7
Unfinished: 1

What studied torments, tyrant, hast for me?
What wheels? Racks? Fires? What flaying? Boiling?
In leads or oils? what old or newer torture
Must I receive, whose every word deserves
To taste of thy most worst? Thy tyranny,
Together working with thy jealousies–
Fancies too weak for boys, too green and idle
For girls of nine– O, think what they have done
And then run mad indeed, stark mad! for all
Thy by-gone fooleries were but spices of it.
That thou betray’dst Polixenes,’twas nothing:
That did but show thee, of a fool, inconstant
And damnable ingrateful. Nor was’t much,
Thou wouldst have poison’d good Camillo’s honour,
To have him kill a king. Poor trespasses.
More monstrous standing by: whereof I reckon
The casting forth to crows thy baby-daughter
To be or none or little; though a devil
Would have shed water out of fire ere done’t.
Nor is’t directly laid to thee, the death
Of the young prince, whose honourable thoughts–
Thoughts high for one so tender– cleft the heart
That could conceive a gross and foolish sire
Blemish’d his gracious dam: this is not, no,
Laid to thy answer. But the last,–O, lords,
When I have said, cry ‘woe!’ The queen, the queen,
The sweet’st, dear’st creature’s dead, and vengeance for’t
Not dropp’d down yet.

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