Romeo and Juliet


fool, it stinteddeg and said, “Ay.”

Lady Capulet. Enough of this. I pray thee hold thy


Nurse. Yes, madam. Yet I cannot choose but laugh

To think it should leave crying and say, “Ay.”

And yet, I warrant, it had upon itdeg brow

A bump as big as a young cock’rel’s stone;

A perilous knock; and it cried bitterly.

“Yea,” quoth my husband, “fall’st upon thy face?

Thou wilt fall backward when thou comest to age,

Wilt thou not, Jule?” It stinted and said, “Ay.”

Juliet. And stint thou too, I pray thee, nurse, say I.

Nurse. Peace, I have done. God mark thee to His


Thou wast the prettiest babe that e’er I nursed.

And I might live to see thee married once,

I have my wish.

Lady Capulet. Marry,deg that “marry” is the very theme

I came to talk of. Tell me, daughter Juliet,

How stands your dispositions to be married?

Juliet. It is an honor that I dream not of.

Nurse. An honor? Were not I thine only nurse,

I would say thou hadst sucked wisdom from thy


Lady Capulet. Well, think of marriage now. Younger

than you,

Here in Verona, ladies of esteem,

Are made already mothers. By my count,

I was your mother much upon these yearsdeg

That you are now a maid. Thus then in brief:

The valiant Paris seeks you for his love.

48 stinted stopped 52 it its 63 Marry indeed 72 much upon these years the same length of time

Nurse. A man, young lady! Lady, such a man

As all the world–Why, he’s a man of wax.deg

Lady Capulet. Verona’s summer hath not such a


Nurse. Nay, he’s a flower, in faith–a very flower.

Lady Capulet. What say you? Can you love the gentle-


This night you shall behold him at our feast.

Read o’er the volume of young Paris’ face,

And find delight writ there with beauty’s pen;

Examine every married lineament,deg

And see how one another lends content;deg

And what obscured in this fair volume lies

Find written in the margentdeg of his eyes.

This precious book of love, this unbounddeg lover,

To beautify him only lacks a cover.deg

The fish lives in the sea, and ’tis much pride

For fair without the fair within to hide.deg

That book in many’s eyes doth share the glory,

That in gold clasps locks in the golden story;

So shall you share all that he doth possess,

By having him making yourself no less.

Nurse. No less? Nay, bigger! Women grow by men.

Lady Capulet. Speak briefly, can you like ofdeg Paris’


Juliet. I’ll look to like, if looking liking move;

But no more deep will I endart mine eye

Than your consent gives strength to make it fly.

Enter Servingman.

Servingman. Madam, the guests are come, supper 76 man of wax man of perfect figure 83 married lineament harmo-nious feature 84 one another lends content all enhance one another 86 margent marginal commentary 87 unbound (1) without cover (2) uncaught 88 only lacks a cover i.e., only a wife is lacking 89-90 The fish . . . to hide i.e., the fair sea is made even fairer by hiding fair fish within it 96 like of be favorable to

served up, you called, my young lady asked for,

the nurse curseddeg in the pantry, and everything in

extremity. I must hence to wait.deg I beseech you

follow straight.deg [Exit.]

Lady Capulet. We follow thee. Juliet, the County


Nurse. Go, girl, seek happy nights to happy days.


[Scene 4. A street.]

Enter Romeo, Mercutio, Benvolio, with five or six other Maskers; Torchbearers.

Romeo. What, shall this speech be spoke for our


Or shall we on without apology?

Benvolio. The date is out of such prolixity.deg

We’ll have no Cupid hoodwinkeddeg with a scarf,

Bearing a Tartar’s painted bow of lath,

Scaring the ladies like a crowkeeper;deg

Nor no without-book prologue,deg faintly spoke

After the prompter, for our entrance;

But, let them measuredeg us by what they will,

We’ll measure them a measuredeg and be gone.

Romeo. Give me a torch. I am not for this ambling.

Being but heavy, I will bear the light.

102 the nurse cursed i.e., because she is not helping 103 to wait to serve 104 straight straightway 105 the County stays the Count is waiting 1.4.1 shall . . . excuse i.e., shall we introduce ourselves with the customary prepared speech 3 date . . . prolixity i.e., such wordiness is out of fashion 4 hoodwinked blindfolded 6 crowkeeper boy set to scare crows away 7 without-book prologue memorized speech 9 measure judge 10 measure them a measure dance one dance with them

Mercutio. Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you


Romeo. Not I, believe me. You have dancing shoes

With nimble soles; I have a soul of lead

So stakes me to the ground I cannot move.

Mercutio. You are a lover. Borrow Cupid’s wings

And soar with them above a common bound.deg

Romeo. I am too sore enpierced with his shaft

To soar with his light feathers; and so bound

I cannot bound a pitchdeg above dull woe.

Under love’s heavy burden do I sink.

Mercutio. And, to sink in it, should you burden love–

Too great oppression for a tender thing.

Romeo. Is love a tender thing? It is too rough,

Too rude, too boist’rous, and it pricks like thorn.

Mercutio. If love be rough with you, be rough with


Prick love for pricking,deg and you beat love down.

Give me a case to put my visage in.

A visor for a visor! What care I

What curious eye doth quote deformities?deg

Here are the beetle browsdeg shall blushdeg for me.

Benvolio. Come, knock and enter; and no sooner in

But every man betake him to his legs.deg

Romeo. A torch for me! Let wantons light of heart

Tickle the senseless rushesdeg with their heels;

For I am proverbed with a grandsire phrase,deg

I’ll be a candleholderdeg and look on; 18 bound (1) leap (2) limit 21 pitch height (as in a falcon’s soaring) 28 Prick love for pricking i.e., give love the spur in return 29-31 Give . . . deformities i.e., give me a bag for my mask. A mask for a mask. What do I care who notices my ugliness? 32 beetle brows bushy eyebrows (?) 32 blush be red, i.e., be grotesque 34 betake him to his legs begin dancing 36 rushes (used for floor covering) 37 grandsire phrase old saying 38 candleholder attendant

The game was ne’er so fair, and I am done.deg

Mercutio. Tut! Dun’s the mouse, the constable’s own


If thou art Dun,deg we’ll draw thee from the mire

Of this sir-reverencedeg love, wherein thou stickest

Up to the ears. Come, we burn daylight,deg ho!

Romeo. Nay, that’s not so.

Mercutio. I mean, sir, in delay

We waste our lightsdeg in vain, like lights by day.

Take our good meaning, for our judgment sits

Five times in thatdeg ere once in our five wits.

Romeo. And we mean well in going to this masque,

But ’tis no witdeg to go.

Mercutio. Why, may one ask?

Romeo. I dreamt a dream tonight.deg

Mercutio. And so did I.

Romeo. Well, what was yours?

Mercutio. That dreamers often lie.

Romeo. In bed asleep, while they do dream things true.

Mercutio. O, then I see Queen Mabdeg hath been with


She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes

In shape no bigger than an agate stone

39 The game . . . done i.e., I’ll give up dancing, now that I have enjoyed it as much as I ever shall 40 Dun’s . . . word (Mercutio puns on Romeo’s last clause, saying in effect “You are not done [i.e., “dun”: “dark,” by extension, “silent”] but the mouse is, and it’s time to be quiet) 41 Dun (a common name for a horse, used in an old game, “Dun is in the mire,” in which the players try to haul a heavy log) 42 sir-reverence save your reverence (an apologetic expression, used to introduce indelicate expressions; here used humorously with the word “love”) 43 burn daylight delay 45 lights (1) torches (2) mental faculties 47 that i.e., our good meaning 49 ’tis no wit it shows no discretion 50 tonight last night 53 Queen Mab Fairy Queen (Celtic)

On the forefinger of an alderman,

Drawn with a team of little atomiesdeg

Over men’s noses as they lie asleep;

Her wagon spokes made of long spinners’deg legs,

The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers;

Her traces, of the smallest spider web;

Her collars, of the moonshine’s wat’ry beams;

Her whip, of cricket’s bone; the lash, of film;deg

Her wagoner, a small gray-coated gnat,

Not half so big as a round little worm

Pricked from the lazy finger of a maid;deg

Her chariot is an empty hazelnut,

Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,deg

Time out o’ mind the fairies’ coachmakers.

And in this statedeg she gallops night by night

Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of


On courtiers’ knees, that dream on curtsies straight;

O’er lawyers’ fingers, who straight dream on fees;

O’er ladies’ lips, who straight on kisses dream,

Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,

Because their breath with sweetmeats tainted are.

Sometime she gallops o’er a courtier’s nose,

And then dreams he of smelling out a suit;deg

And sometime comes she with a tithe pig’sdeg tail

Tickling a parson’s nose as ‘a lies asleep,

Then he dreams of another benefice.deg

Sometime she driveth o’er a soldier’s neck,

And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,

Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,

Of healthsdeg five fathom deep; and then anon

Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes,

And being thus frighted, swears a prayer or two 57 atomies tiny creatures 59 spinners spiders 63 film fine filament of some kind 65-66 worm . . . maid (lazy maids were said to have worms breeding in their fingers) 68 joiner squirrel or old grub (both woodworkers and adept at hollowing out nuts) 70 state stately array 78 suit i.e., a petitioner, who may be induced to pay for the courtier’s influence 79 tithe pig tenth pig (considered part of the parson’s tithe) 81 benefice income, “living” 85 healths toasts

And sleeps again. This is that very Mab

That plats the manes of horses in the night

And bakes the elflocksdeg in foul sluttish hairs,

Which once untangled much misfortune bodes.

This is the hag,deg when maids lie on their backs,

That presses them and learns them first to bear,

Making them women of good carriage.deg

This is she–

Romeo. Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace!

Thou talk’st of nothing.

Mercutio. True, I talk of dreams;

Which are the children of an idle brain,

Begot of nothing but vain fantasy;deg

Which is as thin of substance as the air,

And more inconstant than the wind, who woos

Even now the frozen bosom of the North

And, being angered, puffs away from thence,

Turning his side to the dew-dropping South.

Benvolio. This wind you talk of blows us from our-


Supper is done, and we shall come too late.

Romeo. I fear, too early; for my mind misgives

Some consequencedeg yet hanging in the stars

Shall bitterly begin his fearful datedeg

With this night’s revels and expire the term

Of a despised life, closed in my breast,

By some vile forfeit of untimely death.deg

But he that hath the steerage of my course

Direct my sail! On, lusty gentlemen!

Benvolio. Strike, drum.

They march about the stage, and [retire to one side].

90 elflocks hair tangled by elves 92 hag nightmare or incubus 94 carriage (1) posture (2) capacity for carrying children 98 fantasy fancy 107 consequence future event 108 date duration (of the consequence or event) 109-11 expire . . . death (the event is personified here as one who deliberately lends in expectation that the borrower will have to forfeit at great loss)

[Scene 5. A hall in Capulet’s house.]

Servingmen come forth with napkins.deg

First Servingman. Where’s Potpan, that he helps not

to take away? He shift a trencher!deg He scrape a


Second Servingman. When good manners shall lie all

in one or two men’s hands, and they unwashed too,

’tis a foul thing.

First Servingman. Away with the join-stools,deg remove

the court cupboard,deg look to the plate. Good thou,

save me a piece of marchpane,deg and, as thou loves

me, let the porter let in Susan Grindstone and Nell.

Anthony, and Potpan!

Second Servingman. Ay, boy, ready.

First Servingman. You are looked for and called for,

asked for and sought for, in the great chamber.

Third Servingman. We cannot be here and there too.

Cheerly, boys! Be brisk awhile, and the longer liver

take all. Exeunt.

Enter [Capulet, his Wife, Juliet, Tybalt, Nurse, and]

all the Guests and Gentlewomen to the Maskers.

Capulet. Welcome, gentlemen! Ladies that have their

toes 1.5.s.d. (although for reference purposes this edition employs the con ventional post-Elizabethan divisions into scenes, the reader is reminded that they are merely editorial; in the quarto this stage direction is part of the preceding one) 2 trencher wooden plate 7 join-stools stools fitted together by a joiner 8 court cupboard sideboard, displaying plate 9 marchpane marzipan, a confection made of sugar and almonds

Unplagued with corns will walk a boutdeg with you.

Ah, my mistresses, which of you all

Will now denydeg to dance? She that makes dainty,deg

She I’ll swear hath corns. Am I come near ye now?

Welcome, gentlemen! I have seen the day

That I have worn a visor and could tell

A whispering tale in a fair lady’s ear,

Such as would please. ‘Tis gone, ’tis gone, ’tis gone.

You are welcome, gentlemen! Come, musicians, play.

Music plays, and they dance.

A hall,deg a hall! Give room! And foot it, girls.

More light, you knaves, and turn the tables up,

And quench the fire; the room is grown too hot.

Ah, sirrah, this unlooked-for sportdeg comes well.

Nay, sit; nay, sit, good cousin Capulet;

For you and I are past our dancing days.

How long is’t now since last yourself and I

Were in a mask?

Second Capulet. By’r Lady, thirty years.

Capulet. What, man? ‘Tis not so much, ’tis not so


‘Tis since the nuptial of Lucentio,

Come Pentecost as quickly as it will,

Some five-and-twenty years, and then we masked.

Second Capulet. ‘Tis more, ’tis more. His son is elder,


His son is thirty.

Capulet. Will you tell me that?

His son was but a warddeg two years ago.

Romeo. [To a Servingman] What lady’s that which

doth enrich the hand

Of yonder knight?

Servingman. I know not, sir.

19 walk a bout dance a turn 21 deny refuse 21 makes dainty seems to hesitate 28 A hall clear the floor 31 unlooked-for sport (they had not expected maskers) 42 ward minor

Romeo. O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!

It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night

As a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear–

Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!

So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows

As yonder lady o’er her fellows shows.

The measure done, I’ll watch her place of stand

And, touching hers, make blessed my rudedeg hand.

Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!

For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.

Tybalt. This, by his voice, should be a Montague.

Fetch me my rapier, boy. What! Dares the slave

Come hither, covered with an antic face,deg

To fleerdeg and scorn at our solemnity?

Now, by the stock and honor of my kin,

To strike him dead I hold it not a sin.

Capulet. Why, how now, kinsman? Wherefore storm

you so?

Tybalt. Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe,

A villain, that is hither come in spitedeg

To scorn at our solemnity this night.

Capulet. Young Romeo is it?

Tybalt. ‘Tis he, that villain Romeo.

Capulet. Content thee, gentle coz, let him alone.

‘A bears him like a portlydeg gentleman,

And, to say truth, Verona brags of him

To be a virtuous and well-governed youth.

I would not for the wealth of all this town

Here in my house do him disparagement.

Therefore be patient; take no note of him.

It is my will, the which if thou respect,

Show a fair presence and put off these frowns,

An ill-beseeming semblance for a feast.

Tybalt. It fits when such a villain is a guest.

53 rude rough 58 antic face fantastic mask 59 fleer jeer 64 in spite insultingly 68 portly of good deportment

I’ll not endure him.

Capulet. He shall be endured.

What, goodmandeg boy! I say he shall. Go to!deg

Am I the master here, or you? Go to!

You’ll not endure him, God shall mend my soul!deg

You’ll make a mutinydeg among my guests!

You will set cock-a-hoop.deg You’ll be the man!

Tybalt. Why, uncle, ’tis a shame.
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