Act V - Scene II

Verona. Friar Laurence's Cell.

Enter Friar John.

Holy Franciscan friar, brother, ho!

Enter 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.
Going to find a barefoot brother out,(5)
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.
Who bare my letter, then, to Romeo?
I could not send it—here it is again—
Nor get a messenger to bring it thee,(15)
So fearful were they of infection.
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.
Brother, I'll go and bring it thee.


Now, must I to the monument alone.
Within this three hours will fair Juliet wake.(25)
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, clos'd in a dead man's tomb!(30)



  1. The pestilence, also known as the Black Plague, was an extremely deadly pandemic that spread throughout Europe and Asia between 1346 and 1353. It is estimated that the disease killed about 60% of Europe's population. Due to a lack of medical knowledge at the time, quarantines, such as the one Friar John is talking about, were considered the most effective method of prevention.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  2. A "barefoot brother" refers to a member of the Franciscan Friars, Friar John's religious order. Franciscan Friars were known for their extreme religious fervor and commitment to poverty. The "barefoot" that characterizes the friar is a reference to his poverty.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff