Romeo and Juliet
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|ACT V SCENE II ||Friar Laurence's cell.|| |
|[Enter FRIAR JOHN]|
|FRIAR JOHN||Holy Franciscan friar! brother, ho!|
|[Enter FRIAR LAURENCE]|
|FRIAR LAURENCE||This same should be the voice of Friar John.|
|Welcome from Mantua: what says Romeo?|
|Or, if his mind be writ, give me his letter.|
|FRIAR JOHN||Going to find a bare-foot brother out|
|One of our order, to associate me,|
|Here in this city visiting the sick,|
|And finding him, the searchers of the town,|
|Suspecting that we both were in a house|
|Where the infectious pestilence did reign,||10|
|Seal'd up the doors, and would not let us forth;|
|So that my speed to Mantua there was stay'd.|
|FRIAR LAURENCE||Who bare my letter, then, to Romeo?|
|FRIAR JOHN||I could not send it,--here it is again,--|
|Nor get a messenger to bring it thee,|
|So fearful were they of infection.|
|FRIAR LAURENCE||Unhappy fortune! by my brotherhood,|
|The letter was not nice but full of charge|
|Of dear import, and the neglecting it|
|May do much danger. Friar John, go hence;||20|
|Get me an iron crow, and bring it straight|
|Unto my cell.|
|FRIAR JOHN||Brother, I'll go and bring it thee.|
|FRIAR LAURENCE||Now must I to the monument alone;|
|Within three hours will fair Juliet wake:|
|She will beshrew me much that Romeo|
|Hath had no notice of these accidents;|
|But I will write again to Mantua,|
|And keep her at my cell till Romeo come;|
|Poor living corse, closed in a dead man's tomb!||30|
Next: Romeo and Juliet, Act 5, Scene 3
Explanatory Notes for Act 5, Scene 2
From Romeo and Juliet. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan.
1. Holy Franciscan friar. "Friar Laurence and his associates
must be supposed to belong to the Franciscan order of friars. In
his kindliness, his learning, and his inclination to mix with and,
perhaps, control the affairs of the world he is no unapt representative of one of this distinguished order in its best days...
Warton says the Franciscans 'managed the machines of every
important operation or event, both in the religious and political
world'" (Knight). The Franciscan orders include the three
orders of the Minorites and all the less important associations
who trace their rule to St. Francis of Assisi. The rule originally
prescribed by St. Francis was very strict, and, rigidly enforced,
would have made all the members of the order pious beggars. It
soon became one of the most important of the medieval monastic
orders, and produced a long array of distinguished theologians
3, 4. what says ... letter. The two alternatives, if they had
exactly corresponded in form, would have been either 'tell me
what Romeo says, or, if he has written, let me see what his
letter contains,' or, 'what does Romeo say, or, if he has written,
what does he write? let me see his letter.'
5. a bare-foot brother, a member of our order, who, as our
rules enjoin, goes barefooted in his walks.
6, 7. to associate me ... sick, to accompany me in my visits to
the sick. "Each friar," says Steevens, "has always a companion
assigned him by the Superior [of the Monastery] when he asks
leave to go out; and thus, says Baretti, they are a check upon
each other." Cp. Webster, The Devil's Law-Case, iii. 3, "mischiefs are like the visits of Franciscan friars, They never come to
prey upon us single." Malone, though he afterwards withdrew
the conjecture, wished to transpose 11. 7 and 8. The construction is made sufficiently harsh by the nominative finding him
without any finite verb, but the searchers of the town clearly
goes with suspecting, not with visiting. For the participle used
with a nominative absolute, see Abb. § 376.
8. the searchers of the town, those appointed to find out what
houses were infected by the plague and to prevent all communication with them. Malone points out that in Romeus and Juliet
the plague is represented as raging at Verona, not at Mantua.
9. were in a house, belonged to a convent; house, i.e. religious
11. Seal'd up the doors, put the official seal upon the doors,
thus marking the house as one not to be entered from the outside
or quitted by its inmates.
12. So that ... stay'd, so that the haste I should have made to go to Mantua was prevented by my being confined there.
14. here it is again, I now return it to you.
16. they, the messengers I wished to employ.
17. by my brotherhood, I swear by my holy order.
18. nice, trivial, of slight importance; cp. above, iii. 1. 159: full of charge, of weighty consequence.
19. dear, precious, vital, important.
21. crow, crowbar; to wrench open the tomb; straight, immediately.
25. this three hours, see note on iv. 3. 40.
26. beshrew, reproach; literally 'curse.'
27. accidents, events, sc. the interruption of communication
owing to the plague.
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) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/romeo_5_2.html >.
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