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Romeo and Juliet

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ACT IV SCENE IV Hall in Capulet's house. 
[Enter LADY CAPULET and Nurse]
LADY CAPULETHold, take these keys, and fetch more spices, nurse.
NurseThey call for dates and quinces in the pastry.
CAPULETCome, stir, stir, stir! the second cock hath crow'd,
The curfew-bell hath rung, 'tis three o'clock:
Look to the baked meats, good Angelica:
Spare not for the cost.
NurseGo, you cot-quean, go,
Get you to bed; faith, You'll be sick to-morrow
For this night's watching.
CAPULETNo, not a whit: what! I have watch'd ere now
All night for lesser cause, and ne'er been sick.10
LADY CAPULETAy, you have been a mouse-hunt in your time;
But I will watch you from such watching now.
[Exeunt LADY CAPULET and Nurse]
CAPULETA jealous hood, a jealous hood!
[ Enter three or four Servingmen, with spits, logs, and baskets ]
Now, fellow,
What's there?
First ServantThings for the cook, sir; but I know not what.
CAPULETMake haste, make haste.
[Exit First Servant]
Sirrah, fetch drier logs:
Call Peter, he will show thee where they are.
Second ServantI have a head, sir, that will find out logs,
And never trouble Peter for the matter.
CAPULETMass, and well said; a merry whoreson, ha!20
Thou shalt be logger-head. Good faith, 'tis day:
The county will be here with music straight,
For so he said he would: I hear him near.
[Music within]
Nurse! Wife! What, ho! What, nurse, I say!
[Re-enter Nurse]
Go waken Juliet, go and trim her up;
I'll go and chat with Paris: hie, make haste,
Make haste; the bridegroom he is come already:26
Make haste, I say.

Next: Romeo and Juliet, Act 4, Scene 5


Explanatory Notes for Act 4, Scene 4

From Romeo and Juliet. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan.

2. pastry, the room in which paste (i.e. dough baked for the outside of pies, etc.) is made; formed on the same analogy as pantry, a room in which bread (Lat. panis, bread,) was kept, buttery, (i.e. bottlery), a room in which the bottling of wine was done, spicery, a place where spices were kept. We now use the word less correctly for the paste itself.

3. the second ... crow'd, the cock has crowed a second time.

4. The curfew-bell, i.e. the bell for covering or putting out the fires, was formerly rung at night, in the summer at nine, in the winter at eight, o'clock; and elsewhere Shakespeare uses the word in its proper signification. It has therefore been supposed that in the presesn instance what is meant is that the same bell which was used for the curfew was now rung as the morning bell, i.e. as the signal to get up and light the fires.

5. baked meats, meat baked in pastry: whether Angelica is Lady Capulet or the Nurse is uncertain.

6. Spare not for cost, do not be sparing, stingy, on account of the expense; do not count the cost of what you provide: cotquean, a busy-body in household affairs; the derivation of the first element of the word is uncertain; -quean, according to Skeat, is "absolutely the same word as queen, the original sense being 'woman.'" By some editors this speech is given to Lady Capulet as being one that the Nurse would not venture to make to her master; but Dyce points out that in the first quarto Capulet's answer is "I warrant thee Nurse I have ere now watcht," etc. Others suppose that considerable latitude of speech was allowed to a servant who had so long been in the family.

7. sick, ill.

8. watching, keeping awake; as very frequently in Shakespeare.

11. a mouse-hunt, one who runs after women.

12. But I ... now, but I will take care that you do not sit up all night for such purposes now.

13. A jealous-hood, what, you are jealous of me, are you? jealous-hood, jealousy; the abstract for the concrete.

17, 8. I have a head, ... matter, I have a head on my shoulders (i.e. I have plenty of sense) and shall be able to find out where the logs are without troubling Peter in the matter; cp. the Nurse's compliment to herself, i. 3. 29, "Nay, I do bear a brain."

19. Mass, by the mass. i.e. the sacrament of the Eucharist.

20. Thou shalt be logger-head, we'll call you logger-head, since you boast yourself so keen in finding out logs; logger-head, i.q. log-head, like block-head, though, as Skeat points out, it is difficult to account for the syllable -er. Possibly the word was originally 'loggat-head,' loggats or loggats being small blocks of wood thrown at fruit which could not otherwise be got at.

21. music, i.e. the band of musicians who were to play the "hunt's-up" to awaken the bride on the wedding morning; see note on iii. 5. 34; the word in this sense occurs frequently in Shakespeare: straight, straightway, immediately.

26. the bridegroom he. For the insertion of the pronoun, see Abb. § 243.


How to cite the explanatory notes:

Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan, 1916. Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < >.


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