sent Frier Anselme to Rhomeo at Mantua, fro~ whome as yet he had receiued no answer. Notwithstanding he fou~d Rhomeo dead in the graue, whose body he pointed vnto, lying hard by hir, praying hir sith it was so, paci|ently to beare that sodaine misfortune, & that if it plea|sed hir, he wold conuey hir into some monastery of wo|men where she might in time moderate hir sorow, and giue rest vnto hir minde. Iulietta had no sooner cast eye vpon the dead corpse ofRhomeo, but began to breake the fountaine pipes of gushing teares, which ran forth in such aboundance, as not able to support the furor of hir grief, she breathed without ceasing vpo~ his mouth, and then throwing hir self vpon his body, & it very hard, séemed that by force of sighs and sobs, she wold haue reuiued, and brought him againe to life, and after she had kissed and rekissed him a million of times, she cried out:
Ah the swete rest of my cares, & the only porte of all my pleasures and pastymes, hadst thou sure a heart to choose thy Churchyarde in this place be|twene the armes of thy perfect louer, and to ende the course of thy life for my sake in the floure of thy youth whe~ life to thée shold haue bene most dear & delectable? how had this tender body power to resist ye furious co~|bat of death, very death it self being here present? How could thy fe~der & delicate youth willingly permit that thou shouldest approch into this filthy & infected place, where fro~ henceforth thou shalt be ye pasture of worms vnworthy of thée? Alas, alas, by what meanes shall I now renew my plaints, which time and long pacience ought to haue buried and clearly quenched? Ah I mi|serable and caitife wretch, thinking to finde remedie for my griefs, I haue sharpned the knife that hath me this cruel blow, whereof I receiue the cause of mor|tall wound. Ah happy and fortunate graue which shalt
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serue in world to come for witnesse of the most perfect alia~ce that euer was betwene two most fortunate lo|uers, receiue now the last sobbing sighes, & intertain|ment of the most cruel of all the cruell subiects of ire & death.
And as she thought to co~tinue hir co~plaints, Pie|tro aduertised FrierLaurence ye he heard a noise bisides the citadel, wherwith being afraid, they depar|ted, fearing to be taken. And then Iulietta seing hir self alone, & in full libertie, toke againe Rhomeo betwene hir armes, kissing him with such affection, as she semed to be more attainted with loue tha~ death, and drawing out ye dagger which Rhomeo ware by his side, she pric|ked hir self with many blowes against the hart, saying with feble & pitiful voyce:
Ah death ye end of sorow, and beginning of felicity, thou art most heartily welcome: feare not at this time to sharpen thy dart: giue no lon|ger delay of life, for fear that my sprite trauaile not to findeRhomeos ghost amonges such numbre of carion corpses. And thou my deare Lord and loyall husbande Rhomeo, if there rest in thée any knowledge, receiue hir whome thou hast so faithfully loued, the only cause of thy violent death, which frankely offreth vp hir soule that none but thou shalt ioy the loue wherof thou hast made so lawfull conquest. And that our soules pas|sing from this light, may eternally liue together in the place of euerlasting ioy: and when she had ended those words she yelded vp hir gost. While these things thus were done, the garde & watch of the Citie by cha~ce pas|sed by, & séeing light wtin the graue, suspected straight ye they were Necroma~cers which had opened ye to a|buse the dead bodies for aide of their arte: & desirous to know what it me~t, we~t downe into ye vaut, where they Rhomeo & Iulietta, wt their armes imbracing others neck, as though there had ben some toke~ of life.
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And after they had well viewed them at leisure, they knew in what case they were. And the~ all amazed they sought for the theues which (as they thought) had done the murder, and in the end found the good father Frier Laurence andPietro ye seruaunt of dead Rhomeo (which had hid themselues vnder a stall) whome they caried to prison, and aduertised the Lord of Escala, and the Ma|gistrates of Verona of that horrible murder, which by and by was published throughout the Citie. Then floc|ked together all the Citezens, women & children, lea|uing their houses, to looke vpon that pitifull sight, and to the ende that in presence of the whole Citie, ye mur|der should be knowne, the Magistrates ordained that the two deade bodies should be erected vpon a stage to the view and sight of the whole world, in such sort and maner as they were found within the graue, and that Pietro and Frier Laurence should publikely be exami|ned, that afterwardes there might be no murmure or other pretended cause of ignorance. And this good olde Frier being vpon the scaffold, hauing a white beard all wet & bathed wt teares, the iudges co~mau~ded to declare vnto them who were the authors of that murder, sith at vntimely houre he was apprehended with certaine irons bisides the graue. Frier Laurence a rounde and franke man of talke, nothing moued with that accusa|tion, sayd vnto them with stoute and bolde voyce:
My masters, there is none of you all (if you haue respect vn|to my forepassed life, and to my aged yeres, and there|withall haue co~sideration of this heauy spectacle, wher|vnto vnhappy fortune hath presently brought me) but doeth greatly maruell of so sodaine mutation & change vnlooked for, for so much as these thrée score and ten or twelue yeares sithens I came into this world, and be|gan to proue the vanities thereof, I was neuer suspec|ted,
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touched, or found gilty of any crime which was a|ble to make me blush, or hide my face, although (before God) I doe confesse my self to be the greatest and most abhominable sinner of al the redéemed flock of Christ. So it is notwithstanding, that sith I am prest & ready to render mine accompt, and that death, the graue and wormes do daily summo~ this wretched corps of mine appeare before the iustice seate of God, still waigh|ting and to be caried to my hoped graue, this is the houre I say, as you likewise may thinke wherin I am fallen to the greatest damage & preiudice of my life and honest port, and that which hath inge~dred this sinister opinion of me, may peradue~ture be these great teares which in abundance trickle downe my face, as though the holy scriptures do not witnesse, that Iesus Christ moued with humane pitie and compassion, did wepe and pour forth teares, & that many times teares be the faithfull messengers of a mans innocency. Or else the most likely euidence and presumption, is the suspected houre, which (as the magistrate doth say) doe make me culpable of the murder, as though all houres were not indifferently made equall by God their creat|tor, who in his owne person declareth vnto vs ye there be twelue houres in the day, shewing therby that there is no exception of houres nor of minutes, but that one may doe either good or yll at all times indifferently, as the partie is guided or forsaken by the sprite of God: touching the yrons which were found about me, néede|full it is not now to let you vnderstand for what vse Iron was first made, and that of it self it is not able to increase in man either good or euill, if not by the mis|cheuous minde of him which doth abuse it. Thus much I haue thought good to tell you, to the intent that ney|ther teares, nor iron, ne yet suspected houre, are able
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to make me guiltie of the murder, or make me other|wise than I am, but onely the witnesse of mine owne conscience, which alone if I were guilty should be the accuser, the witnesse, and the hangman, which (by rea|son of mine age and the reputation I haue had amongs you, and the litle time that I haue to liue in this world should more torment me within, than all the mortall paines that could be deuised. But (thankes be to mine eternall God) I féele no worme that gnaweth, nor any remorse that pricketh me touching that fact, for which I sée you all troubled & amazed. And to set your hearts at rest, and to remoue the doubts which hereafter may torment your consciences, I sweare vnto you by al the heauenly parts wherein I hope to be, that forth with I will disclose fro~ first to last the entire discourse of this pitifull tragedie, which peraduenture shall driue you into no lesse wondre and amaze, than those two pore passionate louers were strong and pacient, to expone themselues to the mercy of death, for the feruent and indissoluble loue betwene them. Then the Fatherly Frier began to repeate the beginning of the loue be|twene Iuhetta and Rhomeo,which by certaine space of time confirmed, was prosecuted by woordes at the first, then by mutuall promise of mariage, vnknowne to the world. And as wythin fewe dayes after, the two louers féeling themselues sharpned and incited with stronger onset, repaired vnto him vnder colour of con|fession, protesting by othe that they were both mari|ed, and that if he would not solempnize that mariage in the face of the Church, they should be constrained to offend God to liue in disordred lust. In consideration whereof, and specially seeing their alliance to be good and conformable in dignitie, richesse and Nobilitie on both sides, hoping by that meanes perchance to recon|cile