Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

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33 ‘I trow’ – ‘I promise.’ The whole phrase is the equivalent of: ‘I didn’t need telling to be off’ (when the earthquake struck).

36 ‘high-lone’ – ‘all alone, by herself’. ‘by th’rood’ – ‘rood’ is an old word for the Cross.

43 ‘holidame’ – This actually means ‘holiness’ (‘holy-dom’), but the Nurse probably takes it as a mild oath to Mary – ‘by my holy dame’. The Nurse’s tale here of her husband’s jest is entertaining enough, but it adds to the growing theme in this scene of juxtaposing Juliet’s infancy with her sexual maturity and presumed desire to ‘fall backwards’ (into bed).

53 ‘stone’ – ‘testicle’. The Nurse’s tendency to speak inappropriately is already well established after only a few lines.

56 ‘perilous’ – meaning ‘serious’ here, rather than actually ‘dangerous’.

59 ‘God mark thee to his grace’ – ‘God mark you out for his grace.’

76 ‘a man of wax’ – ‘perfect, as if modelled in wax’.

77 ‘Verona’s summer hath not such a flower,’ – Lady Capulet’s imagery joins the thematic movement in the play from winter to spring and now to summer.

83 ‘every married lineament’ – ‘harmoniously combined features’. The phrase also, obviously, suggests Juliet and Paris’s forthcoming marriage. Paris’s suit to Capulet seems to be taking on a life of its own. Initially, Capulet sounded doubtful about his daughter marrying so young, but Lady Capulet, who apparently was a mother to Juliet at fourteen years of age seems to have no objection. Now Juliet has been told of Paris’s intentions. All of this could simply be leading to a long period of betrothal, but there is perhaps an underlying sense of the Capulet family getting themselves rushed into this arrangement without proper consideration. It is also an effective dramatic ploy to have Romeo looking after Rosaline at the Capulet’s party and Juliet observing the County Paris, so that the surprise and instant passion of the meeting of the two lovers has its full impact.

86 ‘margent’ – ‘margin’. Books often have extraneous material written in the margins, sometimes explaining what is expressed in the text.

87-88 ‘this unbound lover,/ To beautify him only lacks a cover.’ – A volume of pages, to be complete, needs to be bound inside a cover, just as Paris hopes to be bound in marriage. The idea perhaps includes the notion of Juliet embracing him; it also tends to suggest – in a rather sexist manner – that in a marriage, the woman provides the outward beauty and the man the inner sense.

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William Shakespeare