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  • Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

  • THE PROLOGUE [Enter Chorus.]

  • CHORUS Two households, both alike in dignity,

  • In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,

  • Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes

  • A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life; Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows

  • Doth with their death bury their parents' strife. The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,

  • And the continuance of their parents' rage, Which but their children's end naught could remove,

  • Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage; The which, if you with patient ears attend,

  • What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend. [Exeunt.]

  • ACT I. Scene I. A public place.

  • [Enter Sampson and Gregory armed with swords and bucklers.]

  • SAMPSON Gregory, o' my word, we'll not carry coals.

  • GREGORY No, for then we should be colliers.

  • SAMPSON I mean, an we be in choler we'll draw.

  • GREGORY Ay, while you live, draw your neck out o' the collar.

  • SAMPSON I strike quickly, being moved.

  • GREGORY But thou art not quickly moved to strike.

  • SAMPSON A dog of the house of Montague moves me.

  • GREGORY To move is to stir; and to be valiant is to stand:

  • therefore, if thou art moved, thou runn'st away.

  • SAMPSON A dog of that house shall move me to stand: I will take the wall of any man or maid of Montague's.

  • GREGORY That shows thee a weak slave; for the weakest goes to the

  • wall.

  • SAMPSON True; and therefore women, being the weaker vessels, are ever thrust to the wall: therefore I will push Montague's men

  • from the wall and thrust his maids to the wall.

  • GREGORY The quarrel is between our masters and us their men.

  • SAMPSON 'Tis all one, I will show myself a tyrant:

  • when I have fought with the men I will be cruel with the maids, I will cut off their heads.

  • GREGORY The heads of the maids?

  • SAMPSON Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads;

  • take it in what sense thou wilt.

  • GREGORY They must take it in sense that feel it.

  • SAMPSON Me they shall feel while I am able to stand: and 'tis known I am a pretty piece of flesh.

  • GREGORY 'Tis well thou art not fish; if thou hadst,

  • thou hadst been poor-John.--Draw thy tool; Here comes two of the house of Montagues.

  • SAMPSON My naked weapon is out: quarrel! I will back thee.

  • GREGORY How! turn thy back and run?

  • SAMPSON Fear me not.

  • GREGORY No, marry; I fear thee!

  • SAMPSON Let us take the law of our sides; let them begin.

  • GREGORY I will frown as I pass by; and let them take it as they list.

  • SAMPSON Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them; which is

  • disgrace to them if they bear it. [Enter Abraham and Balthasar.]

  • ABRAHAM Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?

  • SAMPSON I do bite my thumb, sir.

  • ABRAHAM Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?

  • SAMPSON Is the law of our side if I say ay?

  • GREGORY No.

  • SAMPSON No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir; but I bite my

  • thumb, sir.

  • GREGORY Do you quarrel, sir?

  • ABRAHAM Quarrel, sir! no, sir.

  • SAMPSON But if you do, sir, am for you: I serve as good a man as

  • you.

  • ABRAHAM No better.

  • SAMPSON Well, sir.

  • GREGORY Say better; here comes one of my master's kinsmen.

  • SAMPSON Yes, better, sir.

  • ABRAHAM You lie.

  • SAMPSON Draw, if you be men.--Gregory, remember thy swashing blow.

  • [They fight.] [Enter Benvolio.]

  • BENVOLIO Part, fools! put up your swords; you know not what you do.

  • [Beats down their swords.] [Enter Tybalt.]

  • TYBALT What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds?

  • Turn thee Benvolio, look upon thy death.

  • BENVOLIO I do but keep the peace: put up thy sword, Or manage it to part these men with me.

  • TYBALT What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word

  • As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee: Have at thee, coward!

  • [They fight.] [Enter several of both Houses, who join the fray; then enter

  • Citizens with clubs.]

  • 1 CITIZEN Clubs, bills, and partisans! strike! beat them down! Down with the Capulets! Down with the Montagues!

  • [Enter Capulet in his gown, and Lady Capulet.]

  • CAPULET What noise is this?--Give me my long sword, ho!

  • LADY CAPULET A crutch, a crutch!--Why call you for a sword?

  • CAPULET My sword, I say!--Old Montague is come,

  • And flourishes his blade in spite of me. [Enter Montague and his Lady Montague.]

  • MONTAGUE Thou villain Capulet!-- Hold me not, let me go.

  • LADY MONTAGUE Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe.

  • [Enter Prince, with Attendants.]

  • PRINCE Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace, Profaners of this neighbour-stained steel,--

  • Will they not hear?--What, ho! you men, you beasts, That quench the fire of your pernicious rage

  • With purple fountains issuing from your veins,-- On pain of torture, from those bloody hands

  • Throw your mistemper'd weapons to the ground And hear the sentence of your moved prince.--

  • Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word, By thee, old Capulet, and Montague,

  • Have thrice disturb'd the quiet of our streets; And made Verona's ancient citizens

  • Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments, To wield old partisans, in hands as old,

  • Canker'd with peace, to part your canker'd hate: If ever you disturb our streets again,

  • Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace. For this time, all the rest depart away:--

  • You, Capulet, shall go along with me;-- And, Montague, come you this afternoon,

  • To know our farther pleasure in this case, To old Free-town, our common judgment-place.--

  • Once more, on pain of death, all men depart. [Exeunt Prince and Attendants; Capulet, Lady Capulet, Tybalt,

  • Citizens, and Servants.]

  • MONTAGUE Who set this ancient quarrel new abroach?--

  • Speak, nephew, were you by when it began?

  • BENVOLIO Here were the servants of your adversary And yours, close fighting ere I did approach:

  • I drew to part them: in the instant came The fiery Tybalt, with his sword prepar'd;

  • Which, as he breath'd defiance to my ears, He swung about his head, and cut the winds,

  • Who, nothing hurt withal, hiss'd him in scorn: While we were interchanging thrusts and blows,

  • Came more and more, and fought on part and part, Till the prince came, who parted either part.

  • LADY MONTAGUE O, where is Romeo?--saw you him to-day?--

  • Right glad I am he was not at this fray.

  • BENVOLIO Madam, an hour before the worshipp'd sun Peer'd forth the golden window of the east,

  • A troubled mind drave me to walk abroad; Where,--underneath the grove of sycamore

  • That westward rooteth from the city's side,-- So early walking did I see your son:

  • Towards him I made; but he was ware of me, And stole into the covert of the wood:

  • I, measuring his affections by my own,-- That most are busied when they're most alone,--

  • Pursu'd my humour, not pursuing his, And gladly shunn'd who gladly fled from me.

  • MONTAGUE Many a morning hath he there been seen,

  • With tears augmenting the fresh morning's dew, Adding to clouds more clouds with his deep sighs:

  • But all so soon as the all-cheering sun Should in the farthest east begin to draw

  • The shady curtains from Aurora's bed, Away from light steals home my heavy son,

  • And private in his chamber pens himself; Shuts up his windows, locks fair daylight out

  • And makes himself an artificial night: Black and portentous must this humour prove,

  • Unless good counsel may the cause remove.

  • BENVOLIO My noble uncle, do you know the cause?

  • MONTAGUE I neither know it nor can learn of him.

  • BENVOLIO Have you importun'd him by any means?

  • MONTAGUE Both by myself and many other friends;

  • But he, his own affections' counsellor, Is to himself,--I will not say how true,--

  • But to himself so secret and so close, So far from sounding and discovery,

  • As is the bud bit with an envious worm Ere he can spread his sweet leaves to the air,

  • Or dedicate his beauty to the sun. Could we but learn from whence his sorrows grow,

  • We would as willingly give cure as know.

  • BENVOLIO See, where he comes: so please you step aside; I'll know his grievance or be much denied.

  • MONTAGUE I would thou wert so happy by thy stay

  • To hear true shrift.--Come, madam, let's away, [Exeunt Montague and Lady.]

  • [Enter Romeo.]

  • BENVOLIO Good morrow, cousin.

  • ROMEO Is the day so young?

  • BENVOLIO But new struck nine.

  • ROMEO Ay me! sad hours seem long.

  • Was that my father that went hence so fast?

  • BENVOLIO It was.--What sadness lengthens Romeo's hours?

  • ROMEO Not having that which, having, makes them short.

  • BENVOLIO In love?

  • ROMEO Out,--

  • BENVOLIO Of love?

  • ROMEO Out of her favour where I am in love.

  • BENVOLIO Alas, that love, so gentle in his view,

  • Should be so tyrannous and rough in proof!

  • ROMEO Alas that love, whose view is muffled still,

  • Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will!-- Where shall we dine?--O me!--What fray was here?

  • Yet tell me not, for I have heard it all. Here's much to do with hate, but more with love:--

  • Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate! O anything, of nothing first create!

  • O heavy lightness! serious vanity! Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms!

  • Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health! Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!--

  • This love feel I, that feel no love in this. Dost thou not laugh?

  • BENVOLIO No, coz, I rather weep.

  • ROMEO Good heart, at what?

  • BENVOLIO At thy good heart's oppression.

  • ROMEO Why, such is love's transgression.--

  • Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast; Which thou wilt propagate, to have it prest

  • With more of thine: this love that thou hast shown Doth add more grief to too much of mine own.

  • Love is a smoke rais'd with the fume of sighs; Being purg'd, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes;

  • Being vex'd, a sea nourish'd with lovers' tears: What is it else? a madness most discreet,

  • A choking gall, and a preserving sweet.-- Farewell, my coz.

  • [Going.]

  • BENVOLIO Soft! I will go along: An if you leave me so, you do me wrong.

  • ROMEO Tut! I have lost myself; I am not here:

  • This is not Romeo, he's some other where.

  • BENVOLIO Tell me in sadness who is that you love?

  • ROMEO What, shall I groan and tell thee?

  • BENVOLIO Groan! why, no;

  • But sadly tell me who.

  • ROMEO Bid a sick man in sadness make his will,--

  • Ah, word ill urg'd to one that is so ill!-- In sadness, cousin, I do love a woman.

  • BENVOLIO I aim'd so near when I suppos'd you lov'd.

  • ROMEO A right good markman!--And she's fair I love.

  • BENVOLIO A right fair mark, fair coz, is soonest hit.

  • ROMEO Well, in that hit you miss: she'll not be hit

  • With Cupid's arrow,--she hath Dian's wit; And, in strong proof of chastity well arm'd,

  • From love's weak childish bow she lives unharm'd. She will not stay the siege of loving terms

  • Nor bide th' encounter of assailing eyes, Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold:

  • O, she's rich in beauty; only poor That, when she dies, with beauty dies her store.

  • BENVOLIO Then she hath sworn that she will still live chaste?

  • ROMEO She hath, and in that sparing makes huge waste;

  • For beauty, starv'd with her severity, Cuts beauty off from all posterity.

  • She is too fair, too wise; wisely too fair, To merit bliss by making me despair:

  • She hath forsworn to love; and in that vow Do I live dead that live to tell it now.

  • BENVOLIO Be rul'd by me, forget to think of her.

  • ROMEO O, teach me how I should forget to think.

  • BENVOLIO By giving liberty unto thine eyes;

  • Examine other beauties.

  • ROMEO 'Tis the way To call hers, exquisite, in question more:

  • These happy masks that kiss fair ladies' brows, Being black, puts us in mind they hide the fair;

  • He that is strucken blind cannot forget The precious treasure of his eyesight lost:

  • Show me a mistress that is passing fair, What doth her beauty serve but as a note

  • Where I may read who pass'd that passing fair? Farewell: thou canst not teach me to forget.

  • BENVOLIO I'll pay that doctrine, or else die in debt.

  • [Exeunt.]

  • Scene II. A Street. [Enter Capulet, Paris, and Servant.]

  • CAPULET But Montague is bound as well as I,

  • In penalty alike; and 'tis not hard, I think, For men so old as we to keep the peace.

  • PARIS Of honourable reckoning are you both;

  • And pity 'tis you liv'd at odds so long. But now, my lord, what say you to my suit?

  • CAPULET But saying o'er what I have said before:

  • My child is yet a stranger in the world, She hath not seen the change of fourteen years;

  • Let two more summers wither in their pride Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride.

  • PARIS Younger than she are happy mothers made.

  • CAPULET And too soon marr'd are those so early made.

  • The earth hath swallowed all my hopes but she,-- She is the hopeful lady of my earth:

  • But woo her, gentle Paris, get her heart, My will to her consent is but a part;

  • An she agree, within her scope of choice Lies my consent and fair according voice.

  • This night I hold an old accustom'd feast, Whereto I have invited many a guest,

  • Such as I love; and you among the store, One more, most welcome, makes my number more.

  • At my poor house look to behold this night Earth-treading stars that make dark heaven light:

  • Such comfort as do lusty young men feel When well apparell'd April on the heel

  • Of limping winter treads, even such delight Among fresh female buds shall you this night

  • Inherit at my house; hear all, all see, And like her most whose merit most shall be:

  • Which, among view of many, mine, being one, May stand in number, though in reckoning none.

  • Come, go with me.--Go, sirrah, trudge about Through fair Verona; find those persons out

  • Whose names are written there, [gives a paper] and to them say, My house and welcome on their pleasure stay.

  • [Exeunt Capulet and Paris].

  • SERVANT Find them out whose names are written here! It is written that the shoemaker should meddle with

  • his yard and the tailor with his last, the fisher with his pencil, and the painter with his nets; but I am

  • sent to find those persons whose names are here writ, and can never find what names the writing person

  • hath here writ. I must to the learned:--in good time! [Enter Benvolio and Romeo.]

  • BENVOLIO Tut, man, one fire burns out another's burning,

  • One pain is lessen'd by another's anguish; Turn giddy, and be holp by backward turning;

  • One desperate grief cures with another's languish: Take thou some new infection to thy eye,

  • And the rank poison of the old will die.

  • ROMEO Your plantain-leaf is excellent for that.

  • BENVOLIO For what, I pray thee?

  • ROMEO For your broken shin.

  • BENVOLIO Why, Romeo, art thou mad?

  • ROMEO Not mad, but bound more than a madman is;

  • Shut up in prison, kept without my food, Whipp'd and tormented and--God-den, good fellow.

  • SERVANT God gi' go-den.--I pray, sir, can you read?

  • ROMEO Ay, mine own fortune in my misery.

  • SERVANT Perhaps you have learned it without book:

  • but I pray, can you read anything you see?

  • ROMEO Ay, If I know the letters and the language.

  • SERVANT Ye say honestly: rest you merry!

  • ROMEO Stay, fellow; I can read. [Reads.] 'Signior Martino and his wife and daughters;

  • County Anselmo and his beauteous sisters; the lady widow of Vitruvio; Signior Placentio and