Romeo and Juliet Book Cover

 

Romeo and Juliet:

A Verse Translation

ISBN: 978-0-9752743-1-6

176 pages

 

Buy the paperback at Amazon.com

 

Kindle Edition

Nook edition

 

 

paperback

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy Shakespeare in beautiful verse translations

 

Enjoy Shakespeare with Sir Toby, Feste, and Sir Andrew

 

 

 

 

Romeo and Juliet: A Verse Translation Excerpt

This excerpt from Act Two shows how carefully the Enjoy Shakespeare translations recreate all of Shakespeare's effects.

 

Shakespeare usually wrote in blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter). But in this scene, he mostly employed rhyming couplets. This translation recreates those couplets, rhyming wherever Shakespeare rhymed.

 


 

from Act Two

 

Scene Three. Friar Lawrence’s Cell

[Enter FRIAR LAWRENCE with a basket]

FRIAR LAWRENCE

The gray-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,

Slicing the eastern clouds with streaks of light,

And mottled darkness like a drunkard reels

From daylight’s path and Titan’s fiery wheels.

Before the sun can raise its burning eye,

To cheer the day and drink the night’s dew dry,

I must fill up this wicker crate of ours

With toxic weeds and precious-nectared flowers.

The earth, our natural mother, is a tomb;

What is her burying ground serves as her womb;

And from her womb come children of all kinds,

Friar Lawrence

and Romeo

speak in couplets

in this scene,

a total of

47 pairs of

rhymed lines.

All sucking from her natural breast one finds,

Many with many powers excellent,

Not one without one, yet all different.

Each plant and herb and stone, innate in it,

There lies some rich medicinal benefit.

For on this earth the vilest things that live

Add to the earth some special good they give;

And every good when stretched past proper use,

Rejects its nature, stumbling on abuse.

A virtue turns to vice, when misapplied;

Acts born of vice are sometimes dignified.

[Enter ROMEO]

Within the infant bud of this small flower

Resides a poison and a healing power:

If it is sniffed, one sense is overjoyed;

If tasted, then all senses are destroyed.

These two opposing kings contest this place

In man as well as herbs—brute will and grace;

And anywhere the worst comes out on top,

The canker worm will soon wipe out the crop.

ROMEO

Good morning, father!

FRIAR LAWRENCE

                                         Benedicite.

What early tongue’s so sweetly greeting me?

Young man, it indicates a troubled head

To say goodbye this early to your bed.

Unease stands watch in every old man’s eye,

And where it beds down sleep will never lie;

But where an unbruised youth with unstuffed brain

Plops down his limbs, there golden sleep will reign.

And since you’re up so early, I attest

Some turbulence in you disturbed your rest;

If that’s not so, then now I’ve guessed it right:

Our Romeo has not been in bed tonight.

ROMEO

The last is true. A sweeter peace was mine.

FRIAR LAWRENCE

God pardon sin! Were you with Rosaline?

ROMEO

With Rosaline, my holy father? No.

I have forgot that name, and all its woe.

FRIAR LAWRENCE

That’s good my son. But then where have you been?

ROMEO

I’ll tell you—you won’t need to ask again.

I have been feasting with my enemy,

Where one, all of a sudden, wounded me

Whom I have wounded too. What we endure,

Your holy medicine will surely cure.

I bear no hatred, blessed man—Oh, no—

For my petition likewise aids my foe.

FRIAR LAWRENCE

Speak plainly, son, without circumlocution—

Puzzling confession, puzzling absolution.

ROMEO

The plain truth is my dear heart’s love is set

On the fair daughter of rich Capulet.

As mine is set on hers, hers is on mine,

And all is joined, save what you must combine

By holy marriage. When, and where, and how

We met and courted, and exchanged our vow,

I’ll tell you as we go, but this I pray,

That you’ll consent to marry us today.

FRIAR LAWRENCE

Holy Saint Francis! What a change is here!

Is Rosaline, whom you just loved so dear,

So quickly cast aside? Young men’s love lies

Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.

Jesu Maria, think of all the brine

That rinsed your sallow cheeks for Rosaline!

How much salt water thrown away in waste,

To marinate a love it did not taste!

The sun has not yet cleared away your sighs,

Your frown still glares into my ancient eyes.

Look there, right on your face I see the streaks

Of some old tears still not washed off your cheeks.

If you are you, and your grief’s genuine

You and your grief were meant for Rosaline.

Could you have changed? Repeat this maxim then:

Women may fall, when there’s no strength in men.

ROMEO

For loving Rosaline, a reprimand.

FRIAR LAWRENCE

For doting, not for loving—understand.

ROMEO

And told to bury love.

FRIAR LAWRENCE

                                         Not in a tomb,

To toss out one, so others will have room.

ROMEO

Don’t scold me, please. The one I love, you see,

Gives love for love and also favors me,

Not like the other one.

FRIAR LAWRENCE

                                       She knew too well

You cite your love by rote, yet cannot spell.

But come, my wavering one, let’s work on this.

There is one reason why I should assist,

For this alliance may turn out to be

A means to change discord to harmony.

ROMEO

Then let us hurry. There’s no time to waste.

FRIAR LAWRENCE

Wisely, and slow. I’ve stumbled when I’ve raced.

[Exit]

© 2004 by Kent Richmond

 

Romeo and Juliet Prologue

 

Buy the paperback at Amazon.com

 

Kindle Edition

Nook edition