Friar Lawrence’s cell.
(Friar John; Friar Lawrence)
Friar John, who has been sent to Mantua bearing Friar Laurence’s letter explaining to Romeo all that is going on, return to tell Laurence that due to an outbreak of plague he was prevented from delivering the note. Worried, Laurence sends John to find him a crowbar, as he will have to get Juliet out of the tomb himself. He plans to keep her in his cell until he can get the news to Romeo. (30 lines)
Enter Friar John.
Holy Franciscan friar! Brother, ho!
Enter Friar Lawrence.
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,
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,
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,
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,
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.
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!