Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Roger Apfelbaum
Not Peer Reviewed

Romeo and Juliet (Modern)

Enter Romeo.
Romeo If I may trust the flattering truth of sleep,
My dreams presage some joyful news at hand.
2725My bosom's lord sits lightly in his throne,
And all this day an unaccustomed spirit
Lifts me above the ground with cheerful thoughts.
I dreamt my Lady came and found me dead --
Strange dream that gives a dead man leave to think! --
2730And breathed such life with kisses in my lips [2730]
That I revived and was an emperor.
Ah me, how sweet is love itself possessed
When but loves shadows are so rich in joy! Enter Romeo's man [Balthasar, booted].
2735News from Verona! How now, Balthasar,
Dost thou not bring me letters from the Friar?
How doth my Lady? Is my Father well?
How fares my Juliet? That I ask again,
For nothing can be ill if she be well.
2740Balthasar Then she is well and nothing can be ill.
Her body sleeps in Capels' monument,
And her immortal part with angels lives.
I saw her laid low in her kindred's vault
And presently took post to tell it you.
2745Oh, pardon me for bringing these ill news,
Since you did leave it for my office, sir.
Romeo Is it e'en so? Then I defy you, stars! --
Thou knowest my lodging. Get me ink and paper,
2750And hire post-horses. I will hence tonight.
Balthasar I do beseech you sir, have patience.
Your looks are pale and wild and do import
Some misadventure.
Tush, thou art deceived.
2755Leave me, and do the thing I bid thee do.
Hast thou no letters to me from the Friar?
No, my good Lord.
No matter. Get thee gone,
2760And hire those horses. I'll be with thee straight. Balthasar Exits.
Well, Juliet, I will lie with thee tonight.
Let's see for means. O mischief, thou art swift
To enter in the thoughts of desperate men.
I do remember an apothecary,
2765And hereabouts a dwells, which late I noted
In tattered weeds, with overwhelming brows,
Culling of simples. Meager were his looks;
Sharp misery had worn him to the bones;
And in his needy shop a tortoise hung,
2770An alligator stuffed, and other skins
Of ill-shaped fishes; and about his shelves
A beggarly account of empty boxes,
Green earthen pots, bladders, and musty seeds,
Remnants of packthread, and old cakes of roses
2775Were thinly scattered to make up a show.
Noting this penury, to myself I said,
"An if a man did need a poison now,
Whose sale is present death in Mantua,
Here lives a caitiff wretch would sell it him."
2780Oh, this same thought did but forerun my need,
And this same needy man must sell it me.
As I remember, this should be the house.
Being holiday, the beggar's shop is shut. --
What ho, Apothecary!
Romeo Come hither, man. I see that thou art poor.
Hold, there is forty ducats. Let me have
A dram of poison, such soon-speeding gear,
2790As will disperse itself through all the veins,
That the life-weary taker may fall dead,
And that the trunk may be discharged of breath
As violently as hasty powder fired
Doth hurry from the fatal cannon's womb.
2795Apothecary Such mortal drugs I have, but Mantua's law
Is death to any he that utters them.
Romeo Art thou so bare and full of wretchedness,
And fearest to die? Famine is in thy cheeks,
Need and oppression starveth in thy eyes,
2800Contempt and beggary hangs upon thy back.
The world is not thy friend, nor the world's law;
The world affords no law to make thee rich.
Then be not poor, but break it and take this.
Apothecary My poverty but not my will consents.
2805Romeo I pay thy poverty and not thy will.
Apothecary Put this in any liquid thing you will
And drink it off, and if you had the strength
Of twenty men it would dispatch you straight.
Romeo There is thy gold, 2810worse poison to men's souls,
Doing more murder in this loathsome world
Then these poor compounds that thou mayest not sell.
I sell thee poison; thou hast sold me none.
Farewell, buy food, and get thyself in flesh. [Exit Apothecary.]
2815Come Cordial and not poison, go with me
To Juliet's grave, for there must I use thee.