ACT I SCENE I

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Romeo and Juliet

PROLOGUE
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 5
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love,
And the continuance of their parents’ rage, 10
Which, but their children’s end, nought 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.
ACT I SCENE I Verona. A public place.
Enter SAMPSON and GREGORY, of the house of Capulet, 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. 5
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 10
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 15
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 20
maids, and 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. 25
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 the Montagues. 30
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. 35
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 a disgrace to them, if they bear it.
Enter ABRAHAM and BALTHASAR
ABRAHAM Do you bite your thumb at us, sir? 40
SAMPSON I do bite my thumb, sir.
ABRAHAM Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
SAMPSON Aside to GREGORY Is the law of our side, if I say
ay?
GREGORY No. 45
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 If you do, sir, I am for you: I serve as good a man as you. 50
ABRAHAM No better.
SAMPSON Well, sir.
GREGORY Say ‘better:’ here comes one of my master’s kinsmen.
SAMPSON Yes, better, sir.
ABRAHAM You lie. 55
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. 60
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! 65
They fight
Enter, several of both houses, who join the fray; then enter Citizens, with clubs
First 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, 70
And flourishes his blade in spite of me.
Enter MONTAGUE and LADY MONTAGUE
MONTAGUE Thou villain Capulet,–Hold me not, let me go.
LADY MONTAGUE Thou shalt not stir a foot to seek a foe.
Enter PRINCE, with Attendants
PRINCE Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace,
Profaners of this neighbour-stained steel,– 75
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, 80
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 85
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. 90
For this time, all the rest depart away:
You Capulet; shall go along with me:
And, Montague, come you this afternoon,
To know our further pleasure in this case,
To old Free-town, our common judgment-place. 95
Once more, on pain of death, all men depart.
Exeunt all but MONTAGUE, LADY MONTAGUE, and BENVOLIO
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: 100
I drew to part them: in the instant came
The fiery Tybalt, with his sword prepared,
Which, as he breathed defiance to my ears,
He swung about his head and cut the winds,
Who nothing hurt withal hiss’d him in scorn: 105
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. 110
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, 115
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, 120
Pursued 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 dew.
Adding to clouds more clouds with his deep sighs; 125
But all so soon as the all-cheering sun
Should in the furthest east begin to draw
The shady curtains from Aurora’s bed,
Away from the light steals home my heavy son,
And private in his chamber pens himself, 130
Shuts up his windows, locks far 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? 135
MONTAGUE I neither know it nor can learn of him.
BENVOLIO Have you importuned 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– 140
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. 145
Could we but learn from whence his sorrows grow.
We would as willingly give cure as know.
Enter ROMEO
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, 150
To hear true shrift. Come, madam, let’s away.
Exeunt MONTAGUE and LADY MONTAGUE
BENVOLIO Good-morrow, cousin.
ROMEO Is the day so young?
BENVOLIO But new struck nine.
ROMEO Ay me! sad hours seem long. 155
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– 160
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, 165
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! 170
O any thing, 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! 175
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? 180
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 185
Doth add more grief to too much of mine own.
Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs;
Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers’ eyes;
Being vex’d a sea nourish’d with lovers’ tears:
What is it else? a madness most discreet, 190
A choking gall and a preserving sweet.
Farewell, my coz.
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; 195
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. 200
ROMEO Bid a sick man in sadness make his will:
Ah, word ill urged to one that is so ill!
In sadness, cousin, I do love a woman.
BENVOLIO I aim’d so near, when I supposed you loved.
ROMEO A right good mark-man! And she’s fair I love. 205
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. 210
She will not stay the siege of loving terms,
Nor bide the encounter of assailing eyes,
Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold:
O, she is rich in beauty, only poor,
That when she dies with beauty dies her store. 215
BENVOLIO Then she hath sworn that she will still live chaste?
ROMEO She hath, and in that sparing makes huge waste,
For beauty starved with her severity
Cuts beauty off from all posterity.
She is too fair, too wise, wisely too fair, 220
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 ruled by me, forget to think of her.
ROMEO O, teach me how I should forget to think. 225
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 230
Being black put 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 235
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

Romeo and Juliet, Act 1, Scene 2