Act II - Scene V

Capulet's orcharda

Enter Juliet.

The clock struck nine when I did send the nurse;
In half an hour she promis'd 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 glide than the sun's beams(5)
Driving back shadows over low'ring hills.
Therefore do nimble-pinion'd 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 look'st thou
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.(25)
I am aweary, give me leave awhile.
Fie, how my bones ache! What a jaunt have I had!
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 awhile?(30)
Do you not see that I am out of breath?
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.(35)
Is thy news good or bad? Answer to that.
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(40)
his face be better than any man's, yet his leg excels all
men's; and for a hand and a foot, and a body, though
they be not to be talk'd 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.(45)
What, have you din'd at home?
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.(50)
My back o’ t’ other side,—ah, my back, my back!
Beshrew your heart for sending me about
To catch my death with jaunting up and down!
I’ faith, I am sorry that thou art not well.
Sweet, sweet, sweet nurse, tell me, what says my love?(55)
Your love says, like an honest gentleman, 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 reply'st!(60)
‘Your love says, like an honest gentleman,
“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?(65)
Henceforward do your messages yourself.
Here's such a coil! Come, what says Romeo?
Have you got leave to go to shrift to-day?
I have.
Then hie you hence to Friar Laurence’ cell;(70)
There stays a husband to make you a wife.
Now comes the wanton blood up in your cheeks:
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(75)
Must climb a bird's nest soon when it is dark.
I am the drudge, and toil in your delight;
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.(80)



  1. This statement refers to the consummation of their marriage that night. The Nurse complains that she must find a ladder so that Romeo can climb through Juliet's window that night, but teases Juliet that she is the one who will have "toil" that night.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  2. The Nurse's fragmentation of Romeo's body parts recalls Juliet's description of Romeo before the balcony scene (2.2). Unlike Juliet who dismisses the importance of Romeo's body parts, the Nurse uses this description in order to prove Romeo is a worthy man.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  3. Notice how the Nurse delays telling Juliet the news. In this way she is able to inflate her own importance. As the messenger who holds the information, she is able to shape it. This is another instance in which an adult intervenes in Romeo and Juliet's love.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  4. "Heralds" means messengers. Here, Juliet unintentionally touches on one of the themes presented in the previous scene: there are too many messengers, or people intervening, in Romeo and Juliet's love. This is also foreshadowing as their reliance on messengers will eventually lead to the tragic end of the story.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff