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The Annotated Romeo and Juliet
Act I
Act 2
Act 3
Act 4
Act 5
Romeo and Juliet Study Guide
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Annotations by Michael J. Cummings...© 2012
Text: W. J. Craig Oxford Edition

Dramatis Personae
ESCALUS, Prince of Verona.
PARIS, a young Nobleman, Kinsman to the Prince.
MONTAGUE & CAPULET, Heads of two Houses at variance with each other.
Uncle to Capulet.
ROMEO, son to Montague.
MERCUTIO, Kinsman to the Prince, & BENVOLIO, Nephew to Montague, Friends to Romeo.
TYBALT, Nephew to Lady Capulet.
FRIAR LAURENCE, a Franciscan.
FRIAR JOHN, of the same Order.
BALTHASAR, Servant to Romeo.
SAMPSON, & GREGORY, Servants to Capulet.
PETER, Servant to Juliet’s Nurse.
ABRAHAM, Servant to Montague.
An Apothecary.
Three Musicians.
Page to Mercutio; Page to Paris; another Page; an Officer.
LADY MONTAGUE, Wife to Montague.
LADY CAPULET, Wife to Capulet.
JULIET, Daughter to Capulet.
Nurse to Juliet.
Chorus, Actor who recites the prologue (introduction).
Prologue

Chor.  Two households, both alike in dignity,
  In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,             4
  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               8
  Do 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, nought could remove,     12
  Is now the two hourstraffick of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.  [Exit.

Notes

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Verona
: City in northeast Italy.
ancient grudge: T
he source on which Shakespeare based the play—The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet (1562), by Arthur Brooke, says envy caused the feud between the Montagues and Capulets. According to Brooke, the ancestors of the Capulets and Montagues were esteemed, well-to-do aristocrats who wished to be the center of attention. Consequently, the Capulets were jealous of the Montagues, and vice versa. And so, Brooke says, a feud was born: "Of grudging envy's root, black hate and rancour grew / As, of a little spark, oft riseth mighty fire."
mutiny: Quarrel; feuding.
star cross'd: Under the influence of ruinous stars.
overthrows: Downfall; ruination; undoing.
two hours: Approximate time for the performance of the play.
traffick: Business; concern.
if you  . . . mend. If you listen carefully, the lines we recite in our performance will fill in the details that I have omitted from this prologue.


Act I. Scene I.
Verona. A Public Place.
 
Enter SAMPSON and GREGORY, armed with swords and bucklers.
     
  Sam.  Gregory, o’ my word, we’ll not carry coals.    
  Gre.  No. for then we should be colliers.       4  
  Sam.  I mean, an we be in choler, we’ll draw. 
  Gre.  Ay, while you live, draw your neck out o’ the collar.     
  Sam.  I strike quickly, being moved.     
  Gre.  But thou art not quickly moved to strike.        8
  Sam.  A dog of the house of Montague moves me.     
  Gre.  To move is to stir, and to be valiant is to stand; therefore, if thou art moved, thou runnest away.     
  Sam.  A dog of that house shall move me to stand: I will take the wall of any man or maid of Montague’s.     
  Gre.  That shows thee a weak slave; for the weakest goes to the wall.      12
  Sam.  ’Tis 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.     
  Gre.  The quarrel is between our masters and us their men.
  Sam.  ’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.     
  Gre.  The heads of the maids?      16
  Sam.  Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads; take it in what sense thou wilt.     
  Gre.  They must take it in sense that feel it.     
  Sam.  Me they shall feel while I am able to stand; and ’tis known I am a pretty piece of flesh.     
  Gre.  ’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.      20
 
Enter ABRAHAM and BALTHASAR.
     
  Sam.  My naked weapon is out; quarrel, I will back thee.     
  Gre.  How! turn thy back and run?     
  Sam.  Fear me not.      24
  Gre.  No, marry; I fear thee!     
  Sam.  Let us take the law of our sides; let them begin.     
  Gre.  I will frown as I pass by, and let them take it as they list
  Sam.  Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them; which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it.      28
  Abr.  Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?     
  Sam.  I do bite my thumb, sir.     
  Abr.  Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?     
  Sam.  [Aside to GREGORY.] Is the law of our side if I say ay?      32
  Gre.  [Aside to SAMPSON.] No.     
  Sam.  No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir; but I bite my thumb, sir.     
  Gre.  Do you quarrel, sir?     
  Abr.  Quarrel, sir! no, sir.      36
  Sam.  If you do, sir, I am for you: I serve as good a man as you.     
  Abr.  No better.     
  Sam.  Well, sir.     
  Gre.  [Aside to SAMPSON.] Say, ‘better;’ here comes one of my master’s kinsmen.      40
  Sam.  Yes, better, sir.     
  Abr.  You lie.     
  Sam.  Draw, if you be men. Gregory, remember thy swashing blow.  [They fight.     
 
Enter BENVOLIO.       44

  Benvolio.  Part, fools!  Put up your swords; you know not what you do.  [Beats down their swords.   
 
Enter TYBALT.
     
  Tyb.  What! art thou drawn among these heartless hinds?      48 
Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon thy death.     
  Ben.  I do but keep the peace: put up thy sword,     
Or manage it to part these men with me.     
  Tyb.  What! drawn, and talk of peace? I hate the word,      52
As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee.     
Have at thee, coward!  [They fight.     
 
Enter several persons of both houses, who join the fray; then enter Citizens, with clubs and partisans.
     
  Citizens.  Clubs, bills, and partisans! strike! beat them down!      56 
Down with the Capulets! down with the Montagues!     
 
Enter CAPULET in his gown, and LADY CAPULET.
     
  Cap.  What noise is this? Give me my long sword, ho!     
  Lady Cap.  A crutch, a crutch! Why call you for a sword?      60
  Cap.  My sword, I say! Old Montague is come,     
And flourishes his blade in spite of me.     
  
Enter MONTAGUE and LADY MONTAGUE.
     
  Mon.  Thou villain Capulet! Hold me not; let me go.      64
  Lady Mon.  Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe.     
 
Enter PRINCE with his Train.
     
  Prin.  Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace,     
Profaners of this neighbour-stained steel,—      68
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      72
Throw your mis-temper’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,      76
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,      80
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:      84
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.      88
Once more, on pain of death, all men depart.  [Exeunt all but MONTAGUE, LADY MONTAGUE, and BENVOLIO.     
  Mon.  Who set this ancient quarrel new abroach?   
Speak, nephew, were you by when it began?     
  Ben.  Here were the servants of your adversary      92
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,      96
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,     100
Till the prince came, who parted either part.     
  Lady Mon.  O! where is Romeo? saw you him to-day?     
Right glad I am he was not at this fray.     
  Ben.  Madam, an hour before the worshipp’d sun     104
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,     108
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,     112
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.     
  Mon.  Many a morning hath he there been seen,     116
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 furthest east begin to draw     120
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,     124
And makes himself an artificial night.     
Black and portentous must this humour prove
Unless good counsel may the cause remove.     
  Ben.  My noble uncle, do you know the cause?     128
  Mon.  I neither know it nor can learn of him.     
  Ben.  Have you importun’d him by any means?   
  Mon.  Both by myself and many other friends:     
But he, his own affections’ counsellor,     132  
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,     136
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.     140
  Ben.  See where he comes: so please you, step aside;     
I’ll know his grievance, or be much denied.     
  Mon.  I would thou wert so happy by thy stay,     
To hear true shrift. Come, madam, let’s away.  [Exeunt MONTAGUE and LADY.   144

Enter ROMEO.
     
  Ben.  Good morrow, cousin.     
  Rom.        Is the day so young?     
  Ben.  But new struck nine.     148
  Rom.  Ay me! sad hours seem long.     
Was that my father that went hence so fast?     
  Ben.  It was. What sadness lengthens Romeo’s hours?     
  Rom.  Not having that, which having, makes them short.     152
  Ben.  In love?     
  Rom.  Out—     
  Ben.  Of love?     
  Rom.  Out of her favour, where I am in love.     156
  Ben.  Alas! that love, so gentle in his view,     
Should be so tyrannous and rough in proof.     
  Rom.  Alas! that love, whose view is muffled still,     
Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will.     160
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!     164
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!     168
Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!     
This love feel I, that feel no love in this.     
Dost thou not laugh?     
  Ben.    No, coz, I rather weep.     172
  Rom.  Good heart, at what?     
  Ben.  At thy good heart’s oppression.     
  Rom.  Why, such is love’s transgression.     
Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast,     176
Which thou wilt propagate to have it press’d     
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;     180
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.     184
Farewell, my coz.  [Going.     
  Ben.   Soft, I will go along;     
An if you leave me so, you do me wrong.     
  Rom.  Tut! I have lost myself; I am not here;     188
This is not Romeo, he’s some other where.     
  Ben.  Tell me in sadness, who is that you love.     
  Rom.  What! shall I groan and tell thee?     
  Ben.   Groan! why, no;     192
But sadly tell me who.     
  Rom.  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.     196
  Ben.  I aim’d so near when I suppos’d you lov’d.     
  Rom.  A right good mark-man! And she’s fair I love.     
  Ben.  A right fair mark, fair coz, is soonest hit.     
  Rom.  Well, in that hit you miss: she’ll not be hit     200
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,     204
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.     208
  Ben.  Then she hath sworn that she will still live chaste?     
  Rom.  She hath, and in that sparing makes huge waste;     
For beauty, starv’d with her severity,     
Cuts beauty off from all posterity.     212
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.     216
  Ben.  Be rul’d by me; forget to think of her.     
  Rom.  O! teach me how I should forget to think.     
  Ben.  By giving liberty unto thine eyes:     
Examine other beauties.     220
  Rom.        ’Tis the way     
To call hers exquisite, in question more.     
These happy masks that kiss fair ladies’ brows     
Being black put us in mind they hide the fair;     224
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     228
Where I may read who pass’d that passing fair?     
Farewell: thou canst not teach me to forget.     
  Ben.  I’ll pay that doctrine, or else die in debt.  [Exeunt.

Notes

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we'll . . . coals
: W
e won't be anybody's fool; we'll stand up for ourselves.
colliers: Coal miners.
choler: Anger.
take the wall: S
tand on the inside of the walkway on high ground that has better footing than the muddy ground nearest the street.
masters: The Montagues and Capulets.
poor John: Cheap salted fish.
list: As they wish; as they listen.
bite my thumb:
Insulting gesture, similar to display the middle finger to someone.
I . . . you: I am going to attack you.
Benvolio:
The name means well-wishing in Italian. Here, Benvolio lives up to his name, trying to act as a peacemaker.
heartless hinds:
An insult. A hind is a female deer. Tybalt is thus calling Benvolio and the others of the Montague household women. He adds to the insult with the adjective heartless, which means cowardly. G. B. Harrison also notes that heartless is a pun—that is, it can be taken to mean “hartless.” A hart is a male deer. (475).
bill:
Weapon with a blade at the end of a long handle.
partisan: Weapon with a blade at the end of a long shaft.
profaners . . . steel:
The prince says they misuse their weapons by staining them with the blood of their neighbors.
bred . . . word: Even the slightest negative remark (airy word) can cause a fight.
made . . . ornaments:
You have caused Verona's elderly citizens to cast away their peaceful behavior and take up arms in order to stop you from killing one another.
wield old . . . peace: Brandish their old weapons in old hands
hands firmly settled in peaceto break up your hateful encounters.
abroach:
Opened or tapped to release contents; astir; active.
withal:
Notwithstanding; besides.
golden window: The sun
.
drave: Drove.
ware: Aware; wary.
Pursu'd . . . his:
Decided it best not to pursue him
Aurora's:
Dawn's. In Roman mythology, Aurora was the goddess of dawn.
heavy: Melancholy.
humour: Mood.
importun'd: Entreated; asked again and again.
his . . . counsellor:
Romeo does not listen to others; he relies on his own feelings for guidance.
happy: Lucky; fortunate.
true shrift: Romeo's explanation; his story; the confession of his thoughts.
view: Manifestation; appearance.
in proof: When one is moved by it; when one is experiencing it.
muffled: Covered over; blindfolded.
Here's much . . . hate: Romeo thinks he is in love with Lord Capulet's niece, Rosaline. But she does not return his love. Romeo is a Montague, and the Capulets hate the Montagues. Romeo believes that Rosalind ignores him because he is a Montague. Thus, Romeo's apparent love for Rosaline is intertwined with the hatred between the Montagues and Capulets.
coz: Cousin.
such . . . transgression: Love causes oppression; love causes heartache.
propagate: Intensify. Romeo thinks Benvolio's questioning only worsens his melancholy.
soft: Hush up; listen to me; wait to hear my thoughts; take notice of what I say.
Cupid: In Roman mythology, the god of love. He is depicted as shooting arrows at young men and women. When an arrow strikes a young man or woman, it makes him or her fall in love.
Dian: Diana, the name the ancient Romans used for the Greek goddess, Artemis. Diana, or Artemis, was the goddess of chastity and of hunting. When Romeo says Rosaline has Dian's wit, he is saying that she is armed against male advances--like the chaste goddess.
ope: Open.
Examine . . . beauties: This line foreshadows Romeo's examination of Juliet, with whom he instantly falls in love.
masks: Some young women wore protective coverings on their faces to protect their complexions from a blazing sun.
strucken: Struck.
Show me . . . fair: If you show me a beautiful woman, her beauty will serve only to remind me that Rosaline's beauty is far greater.
I'll . . .  doctrine: I'll pay you for that advice.


Work Cited
Harrison, G B. Shakespeare: The Complete Works. New York: Harcourt, 1952.


Act I. Scene II.
A Street.
 
Enter CAPULET, PARIS, and Servant.
     
  Cap.  But Montague is bound as well as I,     
In penalty alike; and ’tis not hard, I think,       4
For men so old as we to keep the peace.     
  Par.  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?       8
  Cap.  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      12
Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride.     
  Par.  Younger than she are happy mothers made.     
  Cap.  And too soon marr’d are those so early made.     
Earth hath swallow’d all my hopes but she,      16
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      20
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,      24
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      28
When well-apparel’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,      32
And like her most whose merit most shall be:     
Which on more view, of many mine being one     
May stand in number, though in reckoning none.     
Come, go with me. [To Servant, giving him a paper.] Go, sirrah, trudge about      36
Through fair Verona; find those persons out     
Whose names are written there, and to them say,     
My house and welcome on their pleasure stay.  [Exeunt CAPULET and PARIS.     
  Serv.  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.      40
 
Enter BENVOLIO and ROMEO.
     
  Ben.  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;      44
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.     
  Rom.  Your plantain leaf is excellent for that.      48
  Ben.  For what, I pray thee?     
  Rom.        For your broken shin.     
  Ben.  Why, Romeo, art thou mad?     
  Rom.  Not mad, but bound more than a madman is;      52
Shut up in prison, kept without my food,     
Whipp’d and tormented, and—Good den, good fellow.     
  Serv.  God gi’ good den. I pray, sir, can you read?     
  Rom.  Ay, mine own fortune in my misery.      56
  Serv.  Perhaps you have learn’d it without book: but, I pray, can you read any thing you see?     
  Rom.  Ay, if I know the letters and the language.     
  Serv.  Ye say honestly; rest you merry!  [Offering to go.     
  Rom.  Stay, fellow; I can read. [Reads     60
  Signior Martino and his wife and daughters; County Anselme and his beauteous sisters; the lady widow of Vitruvio; Signior Placentio, and his lovely nieces; Mercutio and his brother Valentine; mine uncle Capulet, his wife and daughters; my fair niece Rosaline; Livia; Signior Valentio and his cousin Tybalt; Lucio and the lively Helena.     
A fair assembly: whither should they come?     
  Serv.  Up.     
  Rom.  Whither?      64
  Serv.  To supper; to our house.     
  Rom.  Whose house?     
  Serv.  My master’s.     
  Rom.  Indeed, I should have asked you that before.      68
  Serv.  Now I’ll tell you without asking. My master is the great rich Capulet; and if you be not of the house of Montagues, I pray, come and crush a cup of wine. Rest you merry!  [Exit.     
  Ben.  At this same ancient feast of Capulet’s,     
Sups the fair Rosaline, whom thou so lov’st,     
With all the admired beauties of Verona:      72
Go thither; and, with unattainted eye     
Compare her face with some that I shall show,     
And I will make thee think thy swan a crow.     
  Rom.  When the devout religion of mine eye      76
Maintains such falsehood, then turn tears to fires!     
And these, who often drown’d could never die,     
Transparent heretics, be burnt for liars!     
One fairer than my love! the all-seeing sun      80
Ne’er saw her match since first the world begun.     
  Ben.  Tut! you saw her fair, none else being by,     
Herself pois’d with herself in either eye;     
But in that crystal scales let there be weigh’d      84
Your lady’s love against some other maid     
That I will show you shining at this feast,     
And she shall scant show well that now shows best.     
  Rom.  I’ll go along, no such sight to be shown,      88
But to rejoice in splendour of mine own.  [Exeunt.     

Notes

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But Montague . . . I
: Capulet and Montague are under orders from the duke to keep the peace.
Of honourable . . . both: Both of you are regarded as honourable men.
Earth . . . she: His daughter (Juliet) is his only hope to give him grandchildren.
fair according: Agreeing; approving.
look to . . . light: Observe the young women (stars) that brighten the moods of young men.
like her . . . be: Like the young lady who stands out as having great merit. You will discover that Juliet is the most meritorious of all.
sirrah: Mister; fellow. The word is used to address servants.
shoemaker . . . nets: The workers and the tools of their trades are mixed up. The shoemaker should be matched with the last (a block shaped like a human foot), the tailor with the yard (measurement), the fisherman with nets, and the painter with the pencil.
In good time: Just in the nick of time. The servant speaks the phrase when he sees Benvolio and Romeo approaching.
holp: Helped.
plantain: Plant used to prepare medicines.
kept . . . food: Kept without the love he wants Rosaline to return.
God gi' good den: God give good evening.
County: Count.
unattainted: Unprejudiced; objective.
these: These eyes.
the devout religion: Vision as it beholds Rosaline.
Herself pois'd . . . herself: Rosaline was alone; Romeo had no other young lady with whom to compare Rosaline.
She . . . best: Though Romeo now perceives Rosaline as the fairest of all young ladies, he will not think so when he compares her with other damsels at the Capulet party.



Act I. Scene III
A Room in CAPULET’S House.  
 
Enter LADY CAPULET and Nurse.
     
  Lady Cap.  Nurse, where’s my daughter? call her forth to me.     
  Nurse.  Now, by my maidenhead, at twelve year old,—       4
I bade her come. What, lamb! what, ladybird!     
God forbid! where’s this girl? what, Juliet!     
 
Enter JULIET.
     
  Jul.  How now! who calls?       8
  Nurse.  Your mother.     
  Jul.        Madam, I am here.     
What is your will?     
  Lady Cap.  This is the matter. Nurse, give leave awhile.      12
We must talk in secret: nurse, come back again;     
I have remember’d me, thou’st hear our counsel.     
Thou know’st my daughter’s of a pretty age.     
  Nurse.  Faith, I can tell her age unto an hour.      16
  Lady Cap.  She’s not fourteen.     
  Nurse.        I’ll lay fourteen of my teeth—     
And yet to my teen be it spoken I have but four—     
She is not fourteen. How long is it now      20
To Lammas-tide?     
  Lady Cap.        A fortnight and odd days.     
  Nurse.  Even or odd, of all days in the year,     
Come Lammas-eve at night shall she be fourteen.      24
Susan and she—God rest all Christian souls!—     
Were of an age. Well, Susan is with God;     
She was too good for me. But, as I said,     
On Lammas-eve at night shall she be fourteen;      28
That shall she, marry; I remember it well.     
’Tis since the earthquake now eleven years;     
And she was wean’d, I never shall forget it,     
Of all the days of the year, upon that day;      32
For I had then laid wormwood to my dug,     
Sitting in the sun under the dove-house wall;     
My lord and you were then at Mantua.     
Nay, I do bear a brain:—but, as I said,      36
When it did taste the wormwood on the nipple     
Of my dug and felt it bitter, pretty fool!     
To see it tetchy and fall out with the dug.     
‘Shake,’ quoth the dove-house: ’twas no need, I trow,      40
To bid me trudge:     
And since that time it is eleven years;     
For then she could stand high lone; nay, by the rood,     
She could have run and waddled all about;      44
For even the day before she broke her brow:     
And then my husband—God be with his soul!     
A’ was a merry man—took up the child:     
‘Yea,’ quoth he, ‘dost thou fall upon thy face?      48
Thou wilt fall backward when thou hast more wit;     
Wilt thou not, Jule?’ and, by my halidom,     

The pretty wretch left crying, and said ‘Ay.’     
To see now how a jest shall come about!      52
I warrant, an I should live a thousand years,     
I never should forget it: ‘Wilt thou not, Jule?’ quoth he;     
And, pretty fool, it stinted and said ‘Ay.’     
  Lady Cap.  Enough of this; I pray thee, hold thy peace.      56
  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 its brow     
A bump as big as a young cockerel’s stone;      60
A parlous knock; and it cried bitterly:     
‘Yea,’ quoth my husband, ‘fall’st upon thy face?     
Thou wilt fall backward when thou com’st to age;     
Wilt thou not, Jule?’ it stinted and said ‘Ay.’      64
  Jul.  And stint thou too, I pray thee, nurse, say I.     
  Nurse.  Peace, I have done. God mark thee to his grace!     
Thou wast the prettiest babe that o’er I nursed:     
An I might live to see thee married once,      68
I have my wish.     
  Lady Cap.  Marry, that ‘marry’ is the very theme     
I came to talk of. Tell me, daughter Juliet,     
How stands your disposition to be married?      72
  Jul.  It is an honour that I dream not of.     
  Nurse.  An honour! were not I thine only nurse,     
I would say thou hadst suck’d wisdom from thy teat.     
  Lady Cap.  Well, think of marriage now; younger than you,      76
Here in Verona, ladies of esteem,     
Are made already mothers: by my count,     
I was your mother much upon these years     
That you are now a maid. Thus then in brief,      80
The valiant Paris seeks you for his love.     
  Nurse.  A man, young lady! lady, such a man     
As all the world—why, he’s a man of wax.     
  Lady Cap.  Verona’s summer hath not such a flower.      84
  Nurse.  Nay, he’s a flower; in faith, a very flower.     
  Lady Cap.  What say you? can you love the gentleman?     
This night you shall behold him at our feast;     
Read o’er the volume of young Paris’ face      88
And find delight writ there with beauty’s pen;     
Examine every married lineament,     
And see how one another lends content;     
And what obscur’d in this fair volume lies      92
Find written in the margent of his eyes.     
This precious book of love, this unbound lover,     
To beautify him, only lacks a cover:     
The fish lives in the sea, and ’tis much pride      96
For fair without the fair within to hide:     
That book in many eyes doth share the glory,     
That in gold clasps locks in the golden story:     
So shall you share all that he doth possess,     100
By having him making yourself no less.     
  Nurse.  No less! nay, bigger; women grow by men.     
  Lady Cap.  Speak briefly, can you like of Paris’ love?     
  Jul.  I’ll look to like, if looking liking move;     104
But no more deep will I endart mine eye     
Than your consent gives strength to make it fly.     
 
Enter a Servant.
     
  Serv.  Madam, the guests are come, supper served up, you called, my young lady asked for, the nurse cursed in the pantry, and everything in extremity. I must hence to wait; I beseech you, follow straight.     108
  Lady Cap.  We follow thee. Juliet, the county stays.     
  Nurse.  Go, girl, seek happy nights to happy days.  [Exeunt.     

Notes

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I have . . . counsel
: I remember that I want you to hear what I have to say.
Lammas-tide:
: Religious feast and harvest festival in England on August 1. Lammas-tide occurs the day after Juliet's birthday.
fortnight: Two weeks.
marry:
By the Virgin Mary (I swear by the Virgin Mary). Marry is used to introduce a sentence or to provide transition.
earthquake: No one knows for certain the earthquake to which the nurse was referring. Because Shakespeare lived in England, some scholars--such as T.W. Baldwin--think he was referring to an earthquake in England in 1580 (one which Shakespeare's audience would remember). However, Verona was heavily damaged in earlier earthquakes hundreds of years before.
wormwood: Plant yielding a bitter-tasting substance.
dug: Nipple of a breast; a breast.
tetchy: Irritable; peevish.
trow: Believe; guess.
trudge: Walk away; take a walk.
stand . . . lone: Stand without help; stand by herself.
by the rood:
By the cross on which Christ was crucified; crucifix (cross with a sculpted, carved or molded figure of Christ). Characters in Shakespeare often swore to the truth of a statement with the expression "by the rood" or "by the holy rood."
broke her brow: Injured her forehead.
A' was: He was.
halidom: A holy or sacred place; a relic of a saint upon which one swears an oath.
stinted: Stopped (crying).
cockerel's stone: Testicle of a young rooster.
parlous: Perilous.
man of wax: Flawless man, as if his likeness had been cast in wax and displayed for all to gaze on in wonder.
lineament: Contour; shape; a feature of the face.
what obscur'd . . . lies: What lies obscur'd in this fair volume.
margent: Margin; border.
For fair . . . hide: For a fair (meaning handsome) man to hide his fair qualities (intelligence, appealing disposition, etc.).
book: Body; outward appearance.
in gold . . . story: In golden locks of hair conceals what is inside his head.
I'll look . . . move: I'll look him over and see whether he interests me romantically.
no more . . . fly: Will not be bold or forward.
straight: Immediately.
stays: Waits for you.


Act I. Scene IV.
A Street.   
 
Enter ROMEO, MERCUTIO, BENVOLIO, with five or six Masquers, Torch-Bearers, and Others.
     
  Rom.  What!
shall this speech be spoke for our excuse,
Or shall we on
without apology?       4
  Ben.  The date is out of such prolixity:     
We’ll have no Cupid hood-wink’d with a scarf,     
Bearing a Tartar’s painted bow of lath,     
Scaring the ladies like a crow-keeper;       8
Nor no without-book prologue, faintly spoke     
After the prompter, for our entrance:     
But, let them measure us by what they will,     
We’ll measure them a measure, and be gone.      12
  Rom.  Give me a torch: I am not for this ambling;     
Being but heavy, I will bear the light.     
  Mer.  Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you dance.     
  Rom.  Not I, believe me: you have dancing shoes      16
With nimble soles; I have a soul of lead     
So stakes me to the ground I cannot move.     
  Mer.  You are a lover; borrow Cupid’s wings,     
And soar with them above a common bound.      20
  Rom.  I am too sore enpierced with his shaft     
To soar with his light feathers
; and so bound     
I cannot bound a pitch above dull woe
:     
Under love’s heavy burden do I sink.      24
  Mer.  And, to sink in it, should you burden love;     
Too great oppression for a tender thing.     
  Rom.  Is love a tender thing? it is too rough,     
Too rude, too boisterous; and it pricks like thorn.      28
  Mer.  If love be rough with you, be rough with love;     
Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down.     
Give me a case to put my visage in:  [Putting on a masque.     
A visor for a visor! what care I,      32
What curious eye doth quote deformities?     
Here are the beetle brows shall blush for me.     
  Ben.  Come, knock and enter; and no sooner in,     
But every man betake him to his legs.      36
  Rom.  A torch for me; let wantons, light of heart,     
Tickle the senseless rushes with their heels,     
For I am proverb’d with a grandsire phrase;     
I’ll be a candle-holder, and look on.      40
The game was ne’er so fair, and I am done.     
  Mer.  Tut! dun’s the mouse, the constable’s own word:     
If thou art Dun, we’ll draw thee from the mire,     
Of—save your reverence—love, wherein thou stick’st      44
Up to the ears. Come, we burn daylight, ho!     
  Rom.  Nay, that’s not so.     
  Mer.        I mean, sir, in delay     
We waste our lights in vain, like lamps by day.      48
Take our good meaning, for our judgment sits     
Five times in that ere once in our five wits.     
  Rom.  And we mean well in going to this masque;     
But ’tis no wit to go.      52
  Mer.        Why, may one ask?     
  Rom.  I dream’d a dream to-night.     
  Mer.        And so did I.     
  Rom.  Well, what was yours?      56
  Mer.        That dreamers often lie.     
  Rom.  In bed asleep, while they do dream things true.     
  Mer.  O! then, I see, Queen Mab hath been with you.     
  Ben.  Queen Mab! What’s she?      60
  Mer.  She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes     
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone     
On the fore-finger of an alderman,     
Drawn with a team of little atomies      64
Athwart men’s noses as they lie asleep:     
Her waggon-spokes made of long spinners’ legs;     
The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers;     
The traces, of the smallest spider’s web;      68
The collars, of the moonshine’s watery beams;     
Her whip, of cricket’s bone; the lash, of film;     
Her waggoner, a small grey-coated gnat,     
Not half so big as a round little worm      72
Prick’d from the lazy finger of a maid;     
Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut,     
Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,     
Time out o’ mind the fairies’ coach-makers.      76
And in this state she gallops night by night     
Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love;     
O’er courtiers’ knees, that dream on curtsies straight;     
O’er lawyers’ fingers, who straight dream on fees;      80
O’er ladies’ lips, who straight on kisses dream;     
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,     
Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are.     
Sometimes she gallops o’er a courtier’s nose,      84
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit;     
And sometimes comes she with a tithe-pig’s tail,     
Tickling a parson’s nose as a’ lies asleep,     
Then dreams he of another benefice;      88
Sometime she driveth o’er a soldier’s neck,     
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,     
Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,     
Of healths five fathom deep; and then anon      92
Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes;     
And, being thus frighted, swears a prayer or two,     
And sleeps again. This is that very Mab     
That plats the manes of horses in the night;      96
And bakes the elf-locks in foul sluttish hairs,     
Which once untangled much misfortune bodes;     
This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,     
That presses them and learns them first to bear,     100
Making them women of good carriage:     
This is she—     
  Rom.        Peace, peace! Mercutio, peace!     
Thou talk’st of nothing.     104
  Mer.        True, I talk of dreams,     
Which are the children of an idle brain,     
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy;     
Which is as thin of substance as the air,     108
And more inconstant than the wind, who woos     
Even now the frozen bosom of the north,     
And, being anger’d, puffs away from thence,     
Turning his face to the dew-dropping south.     112
  Ben.  This wind you talk of blows us from ourselves;     
Supper is done, and we shall come too late.     
  Rom.  I fear too early; for my mind misgives     
Some consequence yet hanging in the stars
Shall bitterly begin his fearful date
With this night’s revels, and expire the term
Of a despised life clos’d in my breast
By some vile forfeit of untimely death
.     120
But he, that hath the steerage of my course,     
Direct my sail! On, lusty gentlemen.     
  Ben.  Strike, drum.  [Exeunt.     

Notes

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shall . . . on
: Romeo asks whether they should announce their arrival at the Capulet party or just go in and mingle.
The date  . . . scarf: It is out of date to have a masked and costumed person--such as someone pretending to be Cupid, the god of love--go ahead of us and announce our arrival.
let them . . . will: Let them judge us as we enter, unannounced.
Give me . . . bear the light:  This is one of many passages that contain wordplay and puns. Here, Romeo says he is heavy, meaning heavy with melancholy. But though he his heavy, he will be light--that is, he will bear a light, the torch.
I am . . . woe: Another example of the wordplay. Notice the use of sore and soar. Notice, too, the use of the first bound (which means shackled) compared with the second bound (which means jump).
case: Mask.
visage: Face.
A visor for a visor: A mask to cover a homely face.
quote: Notice; see.
beetle: Jutting; overhanging.
tickle . . . rushes: Dance on a floor which, by custom, was covered with rushes (marsh plants).
dun's the mouse: The mouse is grayish brown.
we'll . . . mire: Mercutio associated the color dun with mud. Because Romeo is weighted down with melancholy, he is in a mire.
That dreamers . . . true: Still another example of wordplay.
atomies: Tiny creatures.
spinners' legs: Legs of spiders.
grub: Maggot; larva of insects
smelling . . . suit: A pun: (1) shopping for a new suit of clothes or (2) suing for a lady's hand in marriage.
tithe-pig's tail: A tithe was a contribution to support a church. A tithe consist of one-tenth of a person's income or, if he was a farmer, his animals or products. Sometimes, a pig was given to a clergyman as a tithe.
ambuscadoes: Ambuscades, another word for ambushes.
healths . . . deep: Healths is another word for drinking toasts (to your health). A drink five fathoms (thirty feet) deep is a very large glass of beer or liquor. Keep in mind, though, that the toasts are part of a dream.
anon: Soon
plats: Plaits (braids).
hag: Bad dream.
elf-locks: Hair tangled into knots by mischievous elves.
misgives: Says otherwise that.
Some consequence . . . untimely death: Romeo expresses the belief that fate (the stars) will begin to unfold a drama that will end in his death. These lines foreshadow the events to come.


Act I. Scene V.
A Hall in CAPULET’S House.

Musicians waiting. Enter Servingmen.
     
  First Serv.  Where’s Potpan, that he helps not to take away? he shift a trencher! he scrape a trencher!     
  Sec. Serv.  When good manners shall lie all in one or two men’s hands, and they unwashed too, ’tis a foul thing.       4
  First Serv.  Away with the joint-stools, remove the court-cupboard, look to the plate. Good thou, save me a piece of marchpane; and, as thou lovest me, let the porter let in Susan Grindstone and Nell. Antony! and Potpan!     
  Sec. Serv.  Ay, boy; ready.     
  First Serv.  You are looked for and called for, asked for and sought for in the great chamber.     
  Third Serv.  We cannot be here and there too.       8
  Sec. Serv.  Cheerly, boys; be brisk a while, and the longer liver take all.  [They retire behind.     
 
Enter CAPULET and JULIET and Others of his house, meeting the Guests and Maskers.
     
  Cap.  Welcome, gentlemen! ladies that have their toes     
Unplagu’d with corns will walk a bout with you.      12
Ah ha! my mistresses, which of you all     
Will now deny to dance? she that makes dainty, she,     
I’ll swear, hath corns; am I come near ye now?     
Welcome, gentlemen! I have seen the day      16
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.      20
A hall! a hall! give room, and foot it, girls.  [Music plays, and they dance.     
More light, ye knaves! and turn the tables up,     
And quench the fire, the room has grown too hot.     
Ah! sirrah, this unlook’d-for sport comes well.      24
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?      28
  Sec. Cap.        By’r Lady, thirty years.     
  Cap.  What, man! ’tis not so much, ’tis not so much:     
’Tis since the nuptial of Lucentio,     
Come Pentecost as quickly as it will,      32
Some five and twenty years; and then we mask’d.     
  Sec. Cap.  ’Tis more, ’tis more; his son is elder, sir.     
His son is thirty.     
  Cap.        Will you tell me that?      36
His son was but a ward two years ago.     
  Rom.  What lady is that which doth enrich the hand     
Of yonder knight?     
  Serv.  I know not, sir.      40   xxxxx
  Rom.  O! she doth teach the torches to burn bright.     
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night     
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear;     
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!      44
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 rude hand.      48
Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!     
For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.     
  Tyb.  This, by his voice, should be a Montague.     
Fetch me my rapier, boy. What! dares the slave      52
Come hither, cover’d with an antick face,     
To fleer and scorn at our solemnity?     
Now, by the stock and honour of my kin,     
To strike him dead I hold it not a sin.      56
  Cap.  Why, how now, kinsman! wherefore storm you so?     
  Tyb.  Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe;     
A villain that is hither come in spite,     
To scorn at our solemnity this night.      60
  Cap.  Young Romeo, is it?     
  Tyb.        ’Tis he, that villain Romeo.     
  Cap.  Content thee, gentle coz, let him alone:     
He bears him like a portly gentleman;      64
And, to say truth, Verona brags of him     
To be a virtuous and well-govern’d youth.     
I would not for the wealth of all this town     
Here in my house do him disparagement;      68
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.      72
  Tyb.  It fits, when such a villain is a guest:     
I’ll not endure him.     
  Cap.        He shall be endur’d:     
What! goodman boy; I say, he shall, go to;      76
Am I the master here, or you? go to.     
You’ll not endure him! God shall mend my soul!     
You’ll make a mutiny among my guests!     
You will set cock-a-hoop! you’ll be the man!      80
  Tyb.  Why, uncle, ’tis a shame.     
  Cap.        Go to, go to;     
You are a saucy boy—is’t so indeed?—     
This trick may chance to scathe you.—I know what:      84
You must contrary me! marry, ’tis time.     
Well said, my hearts! You are a princox; go:     
Be quiet, or—More light, more light!—For shame!     
I’ll make you quiet. What! cheerly, my hearts!      88
  Tyb.  Patience perforce with wilful choler meeting     
Makes my flesh tremble in their different greeting.     
I will withdraw; but this intrusion shall     
Now seeming sweet convert to bitter gall.  [Exit.      92
  Rom.  [To JULIET.] If I profane with my unworthiest hand     
This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this;     
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand     
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.      96
  Jul.  Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,     
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;     
For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch,     
And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.     100
  Rom.  Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?     
  Jul.  Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.     
  Rom.  O! then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;     
They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.     104
  Jul.  Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake.     
  Rom.  Then move not, while my prayers’ effect I take.     
Thus from my lips, by thine, my sin is purg’d.  [Kissing her.     
  Jul.  Then have my lips the sin that they have took.     108
  Rom.  Sin from my lips? O trespass sweetly urg’d!     
Give me my sin again.     
  Jul.        You kiss by the book.     
  Nurse.  Madam, your mother craves a word with you.     112
  Rom.  What is her mother?     
  Nurse.        Marry, bachelor,     
Her mother is the lady of the house,     
And a good lady, and a wise, and virtuous:     116
I nurs’d her daughter, that you talk’d withal;     
I tell you he that can lay hold of her     
Shall have the chinks.     
  Rom.        Is she a Capulet?     120
O dear account! my life is my foe’s debt.     
  Ben.  Away, be gone; the sport is at the best.     
  Rom.  Ay, so I fear; the more is my unrest.     
  Cap.  Nay, gentlemen, prepare not to be gone;     124
We have a trifling foolish banquet towards.     
Is it e’en so? Why then, I thank you all;     
I thank you, honest gentlemen; good-night.     
More torches here! Come on then, let’s to bed.     128
Ah! sirrah, by my fay, it waxes late;     
I’ll to my rest.  [Exeunt all except JULIET and Nurse.     
  Jul.  Come hither, nurse. What is yond gentleman?     
  Nurse.  The son and heir of old Tiberio.     132
  Jul.  What’s he that now is going out of door?     
  Nurse.  Marry, that, I think, be young Petruchio.     
  Jul.  What’s he, that follows there, that would not dance?     
  Nurse.  I know not.     136
  Jul.  Go, ask his name.—If he be married,     
My grave is like to be my wedding bed.     
  Nurse.  His name is Romeo, and a Montague;     
The only son of your great enemy.     140
  Jul.  My only love sprung from my only hate!     
Too early seen unknown, and known too late!     
Prodigious birth of love it is to me,     
That I must love a loathed enemy.     144
  Nurse.  What’s this, what’s this?     
  Jul.        A rime I learn’d even now     
Of one I danc’d withal.  [One calls within, ‘JULIET!’     
  Nurse.        Anon, anon!—     148
Come, let’s away; the strangers are all gone.  [Exeunt.


Notes

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he . . . away
.: He is not helping to remove the dinner dishes from the table.
trencher: Flat board on which to carve or serve food.
court-cupboard: Sideboard for the storage of dinnerware.
marchpane: Marzipan, a dessert made with sugar, ground almonds, and egg whites.
great chamber: Large room for social gatherings, dining, and dancing.
makes dainty: Is coy.
visor: Mask.
Ethiop: Black African.
wherefore: Why.
portly: Impressive; stately; gentlemanly.
An . . . semblance: A reference to frowns in the previous line.
goodman boy: An insult to scold Tybalt. A goodman was a commoner.
set cock-a-hoop: Cause an uproar. A cock was a faucet in a barrel of beer or another beverage. Capulet is saying that Tybalt's behavior would be like removing the cock and releasing the contents of the barrel. In other words, he would be releasing a flood of bad feelings.
This trick: Tendency to cause trouble.
princox: Proud, conceited person.
scathe: Harm.
Patience . . . meeting: Trying to be patient while I am angry.
saints . . . touch: Christian visitors (pilgrims) in the Holy Land would sometimes come in contact with relics of the saints.
palmer: A Christian on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He would return with a palm branch as a memento of his visit.
Then have . . . took: Now my lips have the sin you gave me with a kiss.
What: Who.
chinks: Money.
fay: Faith.
yond: Yonder.