Romeo and Juliet

The Complete Text on One Page
With Definitions of Difficult Words and Explanations of Difficult Passages

Compiled and Annotated by Michael J. Cummings

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The following version of Romeo and Juliet is based on the text in the authoritative 1914 Oxford Edition of Shakespeare's works, edited by W. J. Craig. The text numbers the lines, including those with stage directions such as "Enter" and "Exit." The annotations (notes and definitions) by Michael J. Cummings appear at the end of each scene. The character list includes descriptions and comments that did not appear in the original manuscript of the play.


Romeo and Juliet: Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet are immature teenagers—in fact, Juliet is not yet fourteen—who fall deeply in love even though their families are bitter enemies. Impatient and rash, they seize the moment and marry in secret. But further efforts to conceal their actions go awry and end tragically. In world literature they have become archetypal ill-fated lovers. Countless other literary and artistic works, including the Academy Award-winning film West Side Story, have been based on this Shakespeare drama. Romeo and Juliet are the main characters, or protagonists. Their antagonists include the opposing family clans, as well as these families' prejudices. In addition, Romeo and Juliet's own immaturity works against them.
Montague, Capulet: Heads of the feuding families.
Lady Montague: Wife of Montague.
Lady Capulet: Wife of Capulet.
Escalus (ESK uh lihs): Prince of Verona.
Paris: Young nobleman, kinsman of Escalus. The Capulets try to pressure Juliet into accepting a marriage proposal from Paris.
Nurse of Juliet: Elderly and unattractive woman who is Juliet's attendant, confidante, and messenger. She has been with Juliet since the girl was an infant, serving as her wet nurse and in many ways as her mother. (The nurse had a daughter, Susan, who was the same age as Juliet. After the child died, the nurse focused her attentions on Juliet). At Juliet's behest, she meets with Romeo to sound him out on his intentions toward Juliet. Her homely language and her preoccupation with the practical, everyday world contrast sharply with the elevated language of Romeo and Juliet and their preoccupation with the idealistic world of love.
Old Man: Cousin to Capulet.
Mercutio: Kinsman of the prince and friend of Romeo. He recognizes the utter stupidity of the feud between the Capulets and the Montagues and understands that overpowering, passionate love—the kind of love that ignores reason and common sense—can lead to tragedy.
Benvolio (ben VOHL yo or ben VOHL e o): Nephew of Montague, cousin and friend to Romeo.
Tybalt (TIH bult): Headstrong nephew of Lady Capulet. Ever ready to fight the Montagues at the slightest provocation, he personifies the hatred generated by feuding families.
Friar Laurence, Friar John: Franciscan priests (robed Catholic monks who follow a regimen established by St. Francis of Assisi). Friar Laurence marries Romeo and Juliet, hoping the marriage will end the Montague-Capulet feud, and tries to help them overcome their problems with a scheme that, unfortunately, goes awry. Friar John, a minor character, is charged with carrying a letter to Romeo.
Balthasar (BAL thuh zar): Servant of Romeo.
Sampson, Gregory: Servants of Capulet.
Peter: Assistant of Juliet's nurse.
Abraham: Servant of Montague.
Apothecary: Poverty-stricken with "famine" in his cheeks, he illegally sells Romeo a deadly poison. Thus, he provides an interesting contrast to Romeo in that he breaks a law to stay alive whereas Romeo breaks a law (the moral law against suicide) to die.
Rosaline (ROZ uh lin): Niece of Lord Capulet and tshe girl with whom Romeo is infatuated before he meets Juliet. Rosaline speaks not lines in the play, but is referred to by Romeo, Benvolio, Mercutio, and Friar Laurence. Oddly, actor David Garrick omitted her character from his 1748 production of Romeo and Juliet in the belief that Romeo's abandonment of her for Juliet was unrealistic.
Page of Paris
Another Page
An Officer
Chorus: The chorus recites the prologue preceding the first act. The prologue sets the scene, Verona, and tells of the "ancient grudge" between the Montague and Capulet families. It contains two of the play’s most famous lines: “From forth the fatal loins of these two foes / a pair of star-crossed lovers take their life.” The chorus also recites a prologue before Act 2.
First Servingman, Second Servingman, Third Servingman: Workers in the Capulet home.
Maskers: Masked guests at the Capulet party in the first act.
Angelica: Lord Capulet speaks this name in line 8 of the fourth scene of Act 4. He appears to be addressing the nurse, but it is possible that he is referring to his wife.
Various Citizens of Verona
Relatives of the Capulets and Montagues
Guards, Watchmen, Attendants

Romeo and Juliet: The Complete Annotated Text

Annotations by Michael J. Cummings

Act 1, Scene 1: Verona, a public place.
Act 1, Scene 2: A street.
Act 1, Scene 3: A room in Capulet's house.
Act 1, Scene 4: A street.
Act 1, Scene 5: A hall in Capulet's house.

Act 2, Scene 1. A lane by the wall of Capulet's orchard.
Act 2, Scene 2. Capulet's orchard.
Act 2, Scene 3. Friar Laurence's cell.
Act 2, Scene 4. A Verona street.
Act 2, Scene 5. Capulet's garden.
Act 2, Scene 6. Friar Laurence's cell.

Act 3, Scene 1: Verona, a public place.
Act 3, Scene 2: Capulet's orchard.
Act 3, Scene 3: Friar Laurence's cell.
Act 3, Scene 4: A room in Capulet's house.
Act 3, Scene 5: Juliet's chamber.

Act 4, Scene 1: Friar Laurence's cell.
Act 4, Scene 2: A hall in Capulet's house.
Act 4, Scene 3: Juliet's chamber.
Act 4, Scene 4: A hall in Capulet's house.
Act 4, Scene 5: Juliet's chamber.

Act 5, Scene 1: A street in Mantua.
Act 5, Scene 2: Friar Laurence's cell.
Act 5, Scene 3: A Verona churchyard with a monument (tomb) of the Capulets.

Prologue to Act 1

CHORUS: 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 hours’ traffick of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.  [Exit.

Prologue Notes

Verona: City in northeast Italy.
ancient grudge: The 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' traffick: Two hours was the approximate time for the performance of the play. Traffick: business; concern; focus.
if you  . . . to 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 1, Scene 1

Verona. 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.       4  
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.        8
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 runnest 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.      12
SAMPSON:  ’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.     
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?      16
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 the Montagues.      20
SAMPSON:  My naked weapon is out; quarrel, I will back thee.     
GREGORY:  How! turn thy back and run?     
SAMPSON:  Fear me not.      24
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 a disgrace to them, if they bear it.      28
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:  [Aside to GREGORY.] Is the law of our side if I say ay?      32
GREGORY:  [Aside to SAMPSON.] 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.      36
SAMPSON:  If you do, sir, I am for you: I serve as good a man as you.     
ABRAHAM:  No better.     
SAMPSON:  Well, sir.     
GREGORY:  [Aside to SAMPSON.] Say, ‘better;’ here comes one of my master’s kinsmen.      40
SAMPSON:  Yes, better, sir.     
ABRAHAM:  You lie.     
SAMPSON:  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.   
TYBALT:  What! art thou drawn among these heartless hinds?      48
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,      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.
CAPULET:  What noise is this? Give me my long sword, ho!     
LADY CAPULET:  A crutch, a crutch! Why call you for a sword?      60
CAPULET:  My sword, I say! Old Montague is come,     
And flourishes his blade in spite of me.     
MONTAGUE:   Thou villain Capulet! Hold me not; let me go.      64
LADY MONTAGUE:   Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe.     
Enter PRINCE with his Train.
PRINCE:  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.     
MONTAGUE:  Who set this ancient quarrel new abroach?   
Speak, nephew, were you by when it began?     
BENVOLIO:  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 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     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.     
MONTAGUE:  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.     
BENVOLIO:  My noble uncle, do you know the cause?     128
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,     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
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.   144

Enter ROMEO.
BENVOLIO:  Good morrow, cousin.     
ROMEO:  Is the day so young?     
BENVOLIO:  But new struck nine.     148
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.     152
BENVOLIO:  In love?     
ROMEO:  Out—     
BENVOLIO:  Of love?     
ROMEO:  Out of her favour, where I am in love.     156
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.     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?     
BENVOLIO: No, coz, I rather weep.     172
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,     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.     
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;     188
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;     192
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.     196
BENVOLIO:  I aim’d so near when I suppos’d you lov’d.     
ROMEO:  A right good mark-man! 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     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
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.     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
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.     220
ROMEO:  ’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.     
BENVOLIO:  I’ll pay that doctrine, or else die in debt.  [Exeunt.

1.1 Notes and Word Definitions

we'll . . . coals: We won't be anybody's fool; we'll stand up for ourselves.
colliers: Coal miners.
choler: Anger.
take the wall: Stand on the inside of the walkway on high ground. That position 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 displaying the middle finger to someone.
I am for 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.
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 peace—to 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 Rosaline 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 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.

Act 1, Scene 2

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,       4
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?       8
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      12
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.     
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.     
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.      40
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;      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.     
ROMEO:  Your plantain leaf is excellent for that.      48
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;      52
Shut up in prison, kept without my food,     
Whipp’d and tormented, and—Good den, good fellow.     
SERVANT:  God gi’ good den. I pray, sir, can you read?     
ROMEO:  Ay, mine own fortune in my misery.      56
SERVANT:  Perhaps you have learn’d it without book: but, I pray, can you read any thing you see?     
ROMEO:  Ay, if I know the letters and the language.     
SERVANT:  Ye say honestly; rest you merry!  [Offering to go.     
ROMEO:  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?     
SERVANT:  Up.     
ROMEO:  Whither?      64
SERVANT:  To supper; to our house.     
ROMEO:  Whose house?     
SERVANT:  My master’s.     
ROMEO:  Indeed, I should have asked you that before.      68
SERVANT:  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.     
BENVOLIO:  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.     
ROMEO:  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.     
BENVOLIO:  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.     
ROMEO:  I’ll go along, no such sight to be shown,      88
But to rejoice in splendour of mine own.  [Exeunt.     

Notes and Word Definitions

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.
the devout religion: Vision as it beholds Rosaline.
these: These eyes.
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 1, Scene 3

A Room in CAPULET’S House.  
Enter LADY CAPULET and Nurse.
LADY CAPULET:  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!     
JULIET:  How now! who calls?       8
NURSE:  Your mother.     
JULIET:  Madam, I am here.     
What is your will?     
LADY CAPULET:  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 CAPULET:  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 CAPULET:  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 CAPULET:  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
JULIET:  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 CAPULET:  Marry, that ‘marry’ is the very theme     
I came to talk of. Tell me, daughter Juliet,     
How stands your disposition to be married?      72
JULIET:  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 CAPULET:  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 CAPULET:  Verona’s summer hath not such a flower.      84
NURSE:  Nay, he’s a flower; in faith, a very flower.     
LADY CAPULET:  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 CAPULET:  Speak briefly, can you like of Paris’ love?     
JULIET:  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.
SERVANT:  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 CAPULET:  We follow thee. Juliet, the county stays.     
NURSE:  Go, girl, seek happy nights to happy days.  [Exeunt.     

Notes and Word Definitions

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 the golden 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 1, Scene 4

A Street.   
Enter ROMEO, MERCUTIO, BENVOLIO, with five or six Masquers, Torch-Bearers, and Others.
ROMEO:  What! shall this speech be spoke for our excuse,
Or shall we on
without apology?       4
 BENVOLIO:  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
ROMEO:  Give me a torch: I am not for this ambling;     
Being but heavy, I will bear the light.     
MERCUTIO:  Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you dance.     
ROMEO:  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.     
MERCUTIO:  You are a lover; borrow Cupid’s wings,     
And soar with them above a common bound.      20
ROMEO:  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
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 boisterous; and it pricks like thorn.      28
MERCUTIO:  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.     
BENVOLIO:  Come, knock and enter; and no sooner in,     
But every man betake him to his legs.      36
ROMEO:  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.     
MERCUTIO:  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!     
ROMEO:  Nay, that’s not so.     
MERCUTIO:  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.     
ROMEO:  And we mean well in going to this masque;     
But ’tis no wit to go.      52
MERCUTIO:  Why, may one ask?     
ROMEO:  I dream’d a dream to-night.     
MERCUTIO:  And so did I.     
ROMEO:  Well, what was yours?      56
MERCUTIO:  That dreamers often lie.     
ROMEO:  In bed asleep, while they do dream things true.     
MERCUTIO:  O! then, I see, Queen Mab hath been with you.     
BENVOLIO:  Queen Mab! What’s she?      60
MERCUTIO:  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—     
ROMEO:  Peace, peace! Mercutio, peace!     
Thou talk’st of nothing.     104
MERCUTIO:  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
BENVOLIO:  This wind you talk of blows us from ourselves;     
Supper is done, and we shall come too late.     
ROMEO:  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.     
BENVOLIO:  Strike, drum.  [Exeunt.     

Notes and Word Definitions

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 consisted 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).
elf-locks: Hair tangled into knots by mischievous elves.
hag: Bad dream.
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 1, Scene 5

A Hall in CAPULET’S House.
Musicians waiting. Enter Servingmen.
FIRST SERVANT:  Where’s Potpan, that he helps not to take away? he shift a trencher! he scrape a trencher!     
SECOND SERVANT:  When good manners shall lie all in one or two men’s hands, and they unwashed too, ’tis a foul thing.       4
FIRST SERVANT:  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!     
SECOND SERVANT:  Ay, boy; ready.     
FIRST SERVANT:  You are looked for and called for, asked for and sought for in the great chamber.     
THIRD SERVANT:  We cannot be here and there too.       8
SECOND SERVANT:  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.
CAPULET:  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
SECOND CAPULET:  By’r Lady, thirty years.     
CAPULET:  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.     
SECOND CAPULET:  ’Tis more, ’tis more; his son is elder, sir.     
His son is thirty.     
CAPULET:  Will you tell me that?      36
His son was but a ward two years ago.     
ROMEO:  What lady is that which doth enrich the hand     
Of yonder knight?     
SERVANT:  I know not, sir.      40
 ROMEO:  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.     
TYBALT:  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
CAPULET:  Why, how now, kinsman! wherefore storm you so?     
TYBALT:  Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe;     
A villain that is hither come in spite,     
To scorn at our solemnity this night.      60
CAPULET:  Young Romeo, is it?     
TYBALT:  ’Tis he, that villain Romeo.     
CAPULET:  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
TYBALT:  It fits, when such a villain is a guest:     
I’ll not endure him.     
CAPULET:  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
TYBALT:  Why, uncle, ’tis a shame.     
CAPULET:  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
TYBALT:  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
ROMEO:  [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
JULIET:  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
ROMEO:  Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?     
JULIET:  Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.     
ROMEO:  O! then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;     
They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.     104
JULIET:  Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake.     
ROMEO:  Then move not, while my prayers’ effect I take.     
Thus from my lips, by thine, my sin is purg’d.  [Kissing her.     
JULIET:  Then have my lips the sin that they have took.     108
ROMEO:  Sin from my lips? O trespass sweetly urg’d!     
Give me my sin again.     
JULIET:  You kiss by the book.     
NURSE:  Madam, your mother craves a word with you.     112
ROMEO:  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.     
ROMEO:  Is she a Capulet?     120
O dear account! my life is my foe’s debt.     
BENVOLIO:  Away, be gone; the sport is at the best.     
ROMEO:  Ay, so I fear; the more is my unrest.     
CAPULET:  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:     
JULIET:  Come hither, NURSE: What is yond gentleman?     
NURSE:  The son and heir of old Tiberio.     132
JULIET:  What’s he that now is going out of door?     
NURSE:  Marry, that, I think, be young Petruchio.     
JULIET:  What’s he, that follows there, that would not dance?     
NURSE:  I know not.     136
JULIET:  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
JULIET:  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?     
JULIET:  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 and Word Definitions

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; Ethiopian.
wherefore: Why.
portly: Impressive; stately; gentlemanly.
An . . . semblance: A reference to frowns in line 71.
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.
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. 

Prologue to Act 2

Enter Chorus.
CHORUS:  Now old desire doth in his death-bed lie,     
  And young affection gapes to be his heir;     
That fair for which love groan’d for and would die,       4
  With tender Juliet match’d, is now not fair.     
Now Romeo is belov’d and loves again,     
  Alike bewitched by the charm of looks,     
But to his foe suppos’d he must complain,       8
  And she steal love’s sweet bait from fearful hooks:     
Being held a foe, he may not have access     
  To breathe such vows as lovers us’d to swear;     
And she as much in love, her means much less      12
  To meet her new-beloved any where:     
But passion lends them power, time means, to meet,     
Tempering extremity with extreme sweet.  [Exit.

Notes and Word Definitions

old desire: Romeo's previous infatuation with Rosaline.
young affection: Romeo's love for Juliet.
fair: Rosaline.
Alike: Again; equally.

Act 2, Scene 1

Verona. A Lane by the wall of CAPULET’S Orchard.
Enter ROMEO.
ROMEO:  Can I go forward when my heart is here?     
Turn back, dull earth, and find thy centre out.  [He climbs the wall, and leaps down within it.       4

BENVOLIO:  Romeo! my cousin Romeo!     
MERCUTIO:  He is wise;     
And, on my life, hath stol’n him home to bed.       8
BENVOLIO:  He ran this way, and leap’d this orchard wall:     
Call, good Mercutio.     
MERCUTIO:  Nay, I’ll conjure too.     
Romeo! humours! madman! passion! lover!      12
Appear thou in the likeness of a sigh:     
Speak but one rime and I am satisfied;     
Cry but ‘Ay me!’ couple but ‘love’ and ‘dove;’     
Speak to my gossip Venus one fair word.      16
One nickname for her purblind son and heir,     
Young Adam Cupid, he that shot so trim     
When King Cophetua lov’d the beggar-maid.     
He heareth not, he stirreth not, he moveth not;      20
The ape is dead, and I must conjure him.     
I conjure thee by Rosaline’s bright eyes,     
By her high forehead, and her scarlet lip,     
By her fine foot, straight leg, and quivering thigh,      24
And the demesnes that there adjacent lie,     
That in thy likeness thou appear to us.
BENVOLIO:  An if he hear thee, thou wilt anger him.     
MERCUTIO:  This cannot anger him: ’twould anger him      28
To raise a spirit in his mistress’ circle     
Of some strange nature, letting it there stand     
Till she had laid it, and conjur’d it down;     
That were some spite: my invocation      32
Is fair and honest, and in his mistress’ name     
I conjure only but to raise up him.     
BENVOLIO:  Come, he hath hid himself among these trees,     
To be consorted with the humorous night:      36
Blind is his love and best befits the dark.     
MERCUTIO:  If love be blind, love cannot hit the mark.     
Now will he sit under a medlar tree,     
And wish his mistress were that kind of fruit      40
As maids call medlars, when they laugh alone.     
O Romeo! that she were, O! that she were     
An open et cœtera, thou a poperin pear.     
Romeo, good night: I’ll to my truckle-bed;      44
This field-bed is too cold for me to sleep:     
Come, shall we go?     
BENVOLIO: Go, then; for ’tis in vain     
To seek him here that means not to be found.  [Exeunt.    48

Notes and Word Definitions

dull earth: Romeo's body.
centre: Juliet.
Nay . . . too: I'll also make him magically appear.
couple . . . 'dove': Recite two lines of poetry with love at the end of one line and dove at the end of the other.
gossip: Confidante.
Venus: Roman name for the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite.
King Cophetua: Legendary ancient king who shunned women until he fell in love with a beggar girl and made her his queen.
demesnes: Lands; properties. Here, the word is a metaphor for Rosaline's body parts.
spite: Offense.
medlar: Tree bearing an apple-shaped fruit.
et cœtera . . . poperin pear:  Euphemisms for  sexual organs.
truckle-bed: Low bed with casters that can easily be moved under a larger bed.

Act 2, Scene 2

CAPULET’S Orchard.     
Enter ROMEO.
ROMEO:  He jests at scars, that never felt a wound.  [JULIET appears above at a window.     
But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?       4
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!     
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,     
Who is already sick and pale with grief,     
That thou her maid art far more fair than she:       8
Be not her maid, since she is envious;     
Her vestal livery is but sick and green,     
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.     
It is my lady; O! it is my love:      12
O! that she knew she were.    
She speaks, yet she says nothing: what of that?     
Her eye discourses; I will answer it.     
I am too bold, ’tis not to me she speaks:      16
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,     
Having some business, do entreat her eyes     
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.     
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?      20
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars     
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven     
Would through the airy region stream so bright     
That birds would sing and think it were not night.      24
See! how she leans her cheek upon her hand:     
O! that I were a glove upon that hand,     
That I might touch that cheek.     
JULIET:  Ay me!      28
ROMEO:  She speaks:     
O! speak again, bright angel; for thou art     
As glorious to this night, being o’er my head,     
As is a winged messenger of heaven      32
Unto the white-upturned wond’ring eyes     
Of mortals, that fall back to gaze on him     
When he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds,     
And sails upon the bosom of the air.      36
JULIET:  O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?     
Deny thy father, and refuse thy name;     
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,     
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.      40
ROMEO:  [Aside.] Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?     
JULIET:  ’Tis but thy name that is my enemy;     
Thou art thyself though, not a Montague.     
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,      44
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part     
Belonging to a man. O! be some other name:     
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose     
By any other name would smell as sweet;      48
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,     
Retain that dear perfection which he owes     
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name;     
And for that name, which is no part of thee,      52
Take all myself.     
ROMEO:  I take thee at thy word.     
Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptiz’d;     
Henceforth I never will be Romeo.      56
JULIET:  What man art thou, that, thus be-screen’d in night,     
So stumblest on my counsel?  
ROMEO:  By a name     
I know not how to tell thee who I am:      60
My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself,     
Because it is an enemy to thee:     
Had I it written, I would tear the word.     
JULIET:  My ears have not yet drunk a hundred words      64
Of that tongue’s uttering, yet I know the sound:     
Art thou not Romeo, and a Montague?     
ROMEO:  Neither, fair maid, if either thee dislike.     
JULIET:  How cam’st thou hither, tell me, and wherefore?      68
The orchard walls are high and hard to climb,     
And the place death, considering who thou art,     
If any of my kinsmen find thee here.     
ROMEO:  With love’s light wings did I o’erperch these walls;      72
For stony limits cannot hold love out,     
And what love can do that dares love attempt;     
Therefore thy kinsmen are no stop to me.     
JULIET:  If they do see thee they will murder thee.      76
ROMEO:  Alack! there lies more peril in thine eye     
Than twenty of their swords: look thou but sweet,     
And I am proof against their enmity.     
JULIET:  I would not for the world they saw thee here.      80
ROMEO:  I have night’s cloak to hide me from their eyes;     
And but thou love me, let them find me here;     
My life were better ended by their hate,     
Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love.      84
JULIET:  By whose direction found’st thou out this place?   
  ROMEO:  By Love, that first did prompt me to inquire;     
He lent me counsel, and I lent him eyes.     
I am no pilot; yet, wert thou as far      88
As that vast shore wash’d with the furthest sea,     
I would adventure for such merchandise.     
JULIET:  Thou know’st the mask of night is on my face,     
Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek      92
For that which thou hast heard me speak tonight.     
Fain would I dwell on form, fain, fain deny     
What I have spoke: but farewell compliment!     
Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say ‘Ay;’      96
And I will take thy word; yet, if thou swear’st,     
Thou mayst prove false; at lovers’ perjuries,     
They say, Jove laughs. O gentle Romeo!     
If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully:     100
Or if thou think’st I am too quickly won,     
I’ll frown and be perverse and say thee nay,     
So thou wilt woo; but else, not for the world.     
In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond,     104
And therefore thou mayst think my haviour light:     
But trust me, gentleman, I’ll prove more true     
Than those that have more cunning to be strange.     
I should have been more strange, I must confess,     108
But that thou over-heard’st, ere I was ’ware,     
My true love’s passion: therefore pardon me,     
And not impute this yielding to light love,     
Which the dark night hath so discovered.     112
ROMEO:  Lady, by yonder blessed moon I swear     
That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops,—     
JULIET:  O! swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,     
That monthly changes in her circled orb,     116
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.
ROMEO:  What shall I swear by?     
JULIET: Do not swear at all;     
Or, if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,     120
Which is the god of my idolatry,     
And I’ll believe thee.     
ROMEO: If my heart’s dear love—     
JULIET:  Well, do not swear. Although I joy in thee,     124
I have no joy of this contract tonight:     
It is too rash, too unadvis’d, too sudden;     
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be     
Ere one can say it lightens. Sweet, good-night!     128
This bud of love, by summer’s ripening breath,     
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.     
Good-night, good-night! as sweet repose and rest     
Come to thy heart as that within my breast!     132
ROMEO:  O! wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?     
JULIET:  What satisfaction canst thou have to-night?     
ROMEO:  The exchange of thy love’s faithful vow for mine.     
JULIET:  I gave thee mine before thou didst request it;     136
And yet I would it were to give again.     
ROMEO:  Wouldst thou withdraw it? for what purpose, love?     
JULIET:  But to be frank, and give it thee again.     
And yet I wish but for the thing I have:     140
My bounty is as boundless as the sea,     
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,     
The more I have, for both are infinite.  [Nurse calls within.     
I hear some noise within; dear love, adieu!     144
Anon, good nurse! Sweet Montague, be true.     
Stay but a little, I will come again.  [Exit above.     
ROMEO:  O blessed, blessed night! I am afeard,     
Being in night, all this is but a dream,     148
Too flattering-sweet to be substantial.     
Re-enter JULIET, above.
JULIET:  Three words, dear Romeo, and goodnight indeed.     
If that thy bent of love be honourable,     152
Thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow,     
By one that I’ll procure to come to thee,     
Where, and what time, thou wilt perform the rite;     
And all my fortunes at thy foot I’ll lay,     156
And follow thee my lord throughout the world.     
NURSE:  [Within.] Madam!     
JULIET:  I come, anon.—But if thou mean’st not well,     
I do beseech thee,—     160
NURSE:  [Within.] Madam!     
JULIET: By and by; I come:—     
To cease thy suit, and leave me to my grief:     
To-morrow will I send.     164
ROMEO: So thrive my soul,—     
JULIET: A thousand times good-night!  [Exit above.     
ROMEO: A thousand times the worse, to want thy light.     
Love goes toward love, as schoolboys from their books;     168
But love from love, toward school with heavy looks.  [Retiring.     
Re-enter JULIET, above.
JULIET:  Hist! Romeo, hist! O! for a falconer’s voice,     
To lure this tassel-gentle back again.     172
Bondage is hoarse, and may not speak aloud,     
Else would I tear the cave where Echo lies,     
And make her airy tongue more hoarse than mine,     
With repetition of my Romeo’s name.     176
ROMEO:  It is my soul that calls upon my name:     
How silver-sweet sound lovers’ tongues by night,     
Like softest music to attending ears!     
JULIET: Romeo!     180
ROMEO: My dear!     
JULIET: At what o’clock to-morrow     
Shall I send to thee?     
ROMEO: At the hour of nine.     184
JULIET:  I will not fail; ’tis twenty years till then.     
I have forgot why I did call thee back.     
ROMEO:  Let me stand here till thou remember it.     
JULIET:  I shall forget, to have thee still stand there,     188
Remembering how I love thy company.     
ROMEO:  And I’ll still stay, to have thee still forget,     
Forgetting any other home but this.     
JULIET:  ’Tis almost morning; I would have thee gone;     192
And yet no further than a wanton’s bird,     
Who lets it hop a little from her hand,     
Like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves,     
And with a silk thread plucks it back again,     196
So loving-jealous of his liberty.     
ROMEO:  I would I were thy bird.     
JULIET:  Sweet, so would I:     
Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.     200
Good-night, good-night! parting is such sweet sorrow     
That I shall say good-night till it be morrow.  [Exit.     
ROMEO:  Sleep dwell upon thine eyes, peace in thy breast!     
Would I were sleep and peace, so sweet to rest!     204
Hence will I to my ghostly father’s cell,     
His help to crave, and my dear hap to tell.  [Exit.
Notes and Word Definitions

envious moon: In ancient mythology, the moon was associated with Diana, the Roman name for the Greek goddess Artemis. Here, Diana—a virgin—is envious of another virgin, Juliet, who outshines Diana as the sun outshines the moon.
vestal livery: Uniforms (livery) worn by the vestal virgins in ancient Rome, including a white headband called an infula and a white veil called a suffibulum.
discourses: Speaks.
wherefore: Why.
doff: Cast off; renounce.
be-screen'd: Hidden.
wherefore: Why.
o'erperch: Climb over.
alack: Alas.
night's cloak: Darkness.
prorogued: Postponed.
pilot: Navigator; sea captain.
Fain: Gladly; willingly.
dwell on form: Act like a proper lady; act according to established customs.
Jove: Roman name for Zeus, king of the gods in Greek mythology.
fond: Too willing to offer affection.
haviour: Behavior.
those that . . . strange: Those who play hard to get; those who act cold and uninterested.
ere: Before.
'ware: Aware.
within: Stage direction indicating that the voice of the nurse is offstage.
tassel-gentle: A tiercel (also spelled without the i), a type of hawk used in falconry.
Bondage is hoarse: Juliet is an adolescent under the supervision of her parents. She does not wish to attract their attention by shouting.
Echo: In ancient mythology, a mountain nymph who falls in love with a young man who rejects her. Consequently, she pines away until nothing is left of her but her echoing voice.
my soul: Juliet.
wanton: Playful or spoiled child.
gyves: Fetters for the leg.
ghostly . . . cell: Cell of his spiritual father, a Franciscan priest named Friar Laurence.

Act 2, Scene 3

Enter FRIAR LAURENCE, with a basket.
FRIAR LAURENCE:  The grey-ey’d morn smiles on the frowning night,   
Chequering the eastern clouds with streaks of light,   
And flecked darkness like a drunkard reels            5
From forth day’s path and Titan’s fiery wheels:   
Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye   
The day to cheer and night’s dank dew to dry,   
I must up-fill this osier cage of ours   
With baleful weeds and precious-juiced flowers.            10
The earth that’s nature’s mother is her tomb;   
What is her burying grave that is her womb,   
And from her womb children of divers kind   
We sucking on her natural bosom find,   
Many for many virtues excellent,            15
None but for some, and yet all different.   
O! mickle is the powerful grace that lies   
In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities:   
For nought so vile that on the earth doth live   
But to the earth some special good doth give,            20
Nor aught so good but strain’d from that fair use   
Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse:   
Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied,   
And vice sometime’s by action dignified.   
Within the infant rind of this weak flower            25
Poison hath residence and medicine power:   
For this, being smelt, with that part cheers each part;   
Being tasted, slays all senses with the heart.   
Two such opposed foes encamp them still   
In man as well as herbs, grace and rude will;            30
And where the worser is predominant,   
Full soon the canker death eats up that plant.   
Enter ROMEO.
ROMEO:  Good morrow, father!   
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Benedicite!            35
What early tongue so sweet saluteth me?   
Young son, it argues a distemper’d head   
So soon to bid good morrow to thy bed:   
Care keeps his watch in every old man’s eye,   
And where care lodges, sleep will never lie;            40
But where unbruised youth with unstuff’d brain   
Doth couch his limbs, there golden sleep doth reign:   
Therefore thy earliness doth me assure   
Thou art up-rous’d by some distemperature;   
Or if not so, then here I hit it right,            45
Our Romeo hath not been in bed to-night.   
ROMEO:  That last is true; the sweeter rest was mine.   
FRIAR LAURENCE:  God pardon sin! wast thou with Rosaline?   
ROMEO:  With Rosaline, my ghostly father? no;   
I have forgot that name, and that name’s woe.            50
FRIAR LAURENCE:  That’s my good son: but where hast thou been, then?   
ROMEO:  I’ll tell thee, ere thou ask it me again.   
I have been feasting with mine enemy,   
Where on a sudden one hath wounded me,   
That’s by me wounded: both our remedies            55
Within thy help and holy physic lies:   
I bear no hatred, blessed man; for, lo!   
My intercession likewise steads my foe.   
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Be plain, good son, and homely in thy drift;   
Riddling confession finds but riddling shrift.            60
ROMEO:  Then plainly know my heart’s dear love is set   
On the fair daughter of rich Capulet:   
As mine on hers, so hers is set on mine;   
And all combin’d, save what thou must combine   
By holy marriage: when and where and how            65
We met we woo’d and made exchange of vow,   
I’ll tell thee as we pass; but this I pray,   
That thou consent to marry us to-day.   
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Holy Saint Francis! what a change is here;   
Is Rosaline, whom thou didst love so dear,            70
So soon forsaken? young men’s love then lies   
Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.   
Jesu Maria! what a deal of brine   
Hath wash’d thy sallow cheeks for Rosaline;   
How much salt water thrown away in waste,            75
To season love, that of it doth not taste!   
The sun not yet thy sighs from heaven clears,   
Thy old groans ring yet in my ancient ears;   
Lo! here upon thy cheek the stain doth sit   
Of an old tear that is not wash’d off yet.            80
If e’er thou wast thyself and these woes thine,   
Thou and these woes were all for Rosaline:   
And art thou chang’d? pronounce this sentence then:   
Women may fall, when there’s no strength in men.   
ROMEO:  Thou chidd’st me oft for loving Rosaline.            85
FRIAR LAURENCE:  For doting, not for loving, pupil mine.   
ROMEO:  And bad’st me bury love.   
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Not in a grave,   
To lay one in, another out to have.   
ROMEO:  I pray thee, chide not; she, whom I love now            90
Doth grace for grace and love for love allow;   
The other did not so.   
FRIAR LAURENCE:  O! she knew well   
Thy love did read by rote and could not spell.   
But come, young waverer, come, go with me,            95
In one respect I’ll thy assistant be;   
For this alliance may so happy prove,   
To turn your households’ rancour to pure love.   
ROMEO:  O! let us hence; I stand on sudden haste.   
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.  [Exeunt.            100

Notes and Word Definitions

Titan's fiery wheels: The sun.
ere: Before.
osier cage: Basket made of intertwining willow twigs.
divers: Various, diverse.
mickle: Mighty.
nought: Nothing.
aught: Anything.
abuse: Misuse.
Benedicite: (pronunciation: bay nay DEE chee tay): Bless you (Latin).
distemper'd: Disturbed; bothered.
wounded: Enchanted; charmed.
physic: Remedy; spiritual healing power.
shrift: Absolution; forgiveness.
Saint Francis: Saint Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), founder of the Franciscan order of Roman Catholic friars.
Jesu Maria: Shortened Latin interjection referring to the Holy Family—Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
brine: Water containing a large amount of salt.
How . . . taste: You spent so much time seasoning your love for Rosaline, but you never tasted what you seasoned.
old groans: Expressions of love for Rosaline.
chidd'st: Chided; scolded.
bad'st: Bade; advised.
she, whom . . . so: Juliet returns my love; Rosaline did not.
she knew . . . spell: Rosaline knew that Romeo was merely reciting expressions of love; they were not from the heart.

Act 2, Scene 4

A Street.
MERCUTIO:  Where the devil should this Romeo be?    
Came he not home to-night?    
BENVOLIO:  Not to his father’s; I spoke with his man.            5
MERCUTIO:  Why that same pale hard-hearted wench, that Rosaline,    
Torments him so, that he will sure run mad.    
BENVOLIO:  Tybalt, the kinsman of old Capulet,    
Hath sent a letter to his father’s house.    
MERCUTIO:  A challenge, on my life.            10
BENVOLIO:  Romeo will answer it.    
MERCUTIO:  Any man that can write may answer a letter.    
BENVOLIO:  Nay, he will answer the letter’s master, how he dares, being dared.    
MERCUTIO:  Alas! poor Romeo, he is already dead; stabbed with a white wench’s black eye; shot through the ear with a love-song; the very pin of his heart cleft with the blind bow-boy’s butt-shaft; and is he a man to encounter Tybalt?    
BENVOLIO:  Why, what is Tybalt?            15
MERCUTIO:  More than prince of cats, I can tell you. O! he is the courageous captain of compliments. He fights as you sing prick-song, keeps time, distance, and proportion; rests me his minim rest, one, two, and the third in your bosom; the very butcher of a silk button, a duellist, a duellist; a gentleman of the very first house, of the first and second cause. Ah! the immortal passado! the punto reverso! the hay!    
BENVOLIO:  The what?    
MERCUTIO:  The pox of such antick, lisping, affecting fantasticoes, these new tuners of accents!—‘By Jesu, a very good blade!—a very tall man! a very good whore.’—Why, is not this a lamentable thing, grandsire, that we should be thus afflicted with these strange flies, these fashion-mongers, these pardonnez-mois, who stand so much on the new form that they cannot sit at ease on the old bench? O, their bons, their bons!    
Enter ROMEO.
BENVOLIO:  Here comes Romeo, here comes Romeo.            20
MERCUTIO:  Without his roe, like a dried herring. O flesh, flesh, how art thou fishified! Now is he for the numbers that Petrarch flowed in: Laura to his lady was but a kitchen-wench; marry, she had a better love to be-rime her; Dido a dowdy; Cleopatra a gipsy; Helen and Hero hildings and harlots; Thisbe, a grey eye or so, but not to the purpose. Signior Romeo, bon jour! there’s a French salutation to your French slop. You gave us the counterfeit fairly last night.    
ROMEO:  Good morrow to you both. What counterfeit did I give you?    
MERCUTIO:  The slip, sir, the slip; can you not conceive?    
Rom  Pardon, good Mercutio, my business was great; and in such a case as mine a man may strain courtesy.    
MERCUTIO:  That’s as much as to say, such a case as yours constrains a man to bow in the hams.            25
ROMEO:  Meaning—to curtsy.    
MERCUTIO:  Thou hast most kindly hit it.    
ROMEO:  A most courteous exposition.    
MERCUTIO:  Nay, I am the very pink of courtesy.    
ROMEO:  Pink for flower.            30
MERCUTIO:  Right.    
ROMEO:  Why, then, is my pump well flowered.    
MERCUTIO:  Well said; follow me this jest now till thou hast worn out the pump, that, when the single sole of it is worn, the jest may remain after the wearing sole singular.    
ROMEO:  O single-soled jest! solely singular for the singleness.    
MERCUTIO:  Come between us, good Benvolio; my wit faints.            35
ROMEO:  Switch and spurs, switch and spurs; or I’ll cry a match.    
MERCUTIO:  Nay, if thy wits run the wild-goose chase, I have done, for thou hast more of the wild-goose in one of thy wits than, I am sure, I have in my whole five. Was I with you there for the goose?   
ROMEO:  Thou wast never with me for anything when thou wast not here for the goose.    
MERCUTIO:  I will bite thee by the ear for that jest.    
ROMEO:  Nay, good goose, bite not.            40
MERCUTIO:  Thy wit is a very bitter sweeting; it is a most sharp sauce.    
ROMEO:  And is it not then well served in to a sweet goose?    
MERCUTIO:  O! here’s a wit of cheveril, that stretches from an inch narrow to an ell broad.    
ROMEO:  I stretch it out for that word ‘broad;’ which added to the goose, proves thee far and wide broad goose.    
MERCUTIO:  Why, is not this better now than groaning for love? now art thou sociable, now art thou Romeo; now art thou what thou art, by art as well as by nature: for this drivelling love is like a great natural, that runs lolling up and down to hide his bauble in a hole.            45
BENVOLIO:  Stop there, stop there.    
MERCUTIO:  Thou desirest me to stop in my tale against the hair.    
BENVOLIO:  Thou wouldst else have made thy tale large.    
MERCUTIO:  O! thou art deceived; I would have made it short; for I was come to the whole depth of my tale, and meant indeed to occupy the argument no longer.    
ROMEO:  Here’s goodly gear!            50
Enter Nurse and PETER.
MERCUTIO:  A sail, a sail!    
BENVOLIO:  Two, two; a shirt and a smock.    
NURSE:  Peter!    
Peter.  Anon!            55
NURSE:  My fan, Peter.    
MERCUTIO:  Good Peter, to hide her face; for her fan’s the fairer face.    
NURSE:  God ye good morrow, gentlemen.    
MERCUTIO:  God ye good den, fair gentlewoman.    
NURSE:  Is it good den?            60
MERCUTIO:  ’Tis no less, I tell you; for the bawdy hand of the dial is now upon the prick of noon.    
NURSE:  Out upon you! what a man are you!    
ROMEO:  One, gentlewoman, that God hath made for himself to mar.    
NURSE:  By my troth, it is well said; ‘for himself to mar,’ quoth a’?—Gentlemen, can any of you tell me where I may find the young Romeo?    
ROMEO:  I can tell you; but young Romeo will be older when you have found him than he was when you sought him: I am the youngest of that name, for fault of a worse.            65
NURSE:  You say well.    
MERCUTIO:  Yea! is the worst well? very well took, i’ faith; wisely, wisely.    
NURSE:  If you be he, sir, I desire some confidence with you.    
BENVOLIO:  She will indite him to some supper.    
MERCUTIO:  A bawd, a bawd, a bawd! So ho!            70
ROMEO:  What hast thou found?    
MERCUTIO:  No hare, sir; unless a hare, sir, in a lenten pie, that is something stale and hoar ere it be spent.  [Sings.
  An old hare hoar, and an old hare hoar,
    Is very good meat in Lent:
  But a hare that is hoar, is too much for a score,
      When it hoars ere it be spent.
Romeo, will you come to your father’s? we’ll to dinner thither.    
ROMEO:  I will follow you.    
MERCUTIO:  Farewell, ancient lady; farewell,
Lady, lady, lady.  [Exeunt MERCUTIO and BENVOLIO.             75
NURSE:  Marry, farewell! I pray you, sir, what saucy merchant was this, that was so full of his ropery?    
ROMEO:  A gentleman, nurse, that loves to hear himself talk, and will speak more in a minute than he will stand to in a month.    
NURSE:  An a’ speak anything against me, I’ll take him down, an a’ were lustier than he is, and twenty such Jacks; and if I cannot, I’ll find those that shall. Scurvy knave! I am none of his flirt-gills; I am none of his skeins-mates.  [To PETER.]  And thou must stand by too, and suffer every knave to use me at his pleasure!    
PETER:  I saw no man use you at his pleasure; if I had, my weapon should quickly have been out, I warrant you. I dare draw as soon as another man, if I see occasion in a good quarrel, and the law on my side.    
NURSE:  Now, afore God, I am so vexed, that every part about me quivers. Scurvy knave! Pray you, sir, a word; and as I told you, my young lady bade me inquire you out; what she bid me say I will keep to myself; but first let me tell ye, if ye should lead her into a fool’s paradise, as they say, it were a very gross kind of behaviour, as they say: for the gentlewoman is young; and, therefore, if you should deal double with her, truly it were an ill thing to be offered to any gentlewoman, and very weak dealing.            80
ROMEO:  Nurse, commend me to thy lady and mistress. I protest unto thee,—    
NURSE:  Good heart! and, i’ faith, I will tell her as much. Lord, Lord! she will be a joyful woman.    
ROMEO:  What wilt thou tell her, nurse? thou dost not mark me.    
NURSE:  I will tell her, sir, that you do protest; which, as I take it, is a gentlemanlike offer.    
ROMEO:  Bid her devise            85
Some means to come to shrift this afternoon;    
And there she shall at Friar Laurence’ cell,    
Be shriv’d and married. Here is for thy pains.    
NURSE:  No, truly, sir; not a penny.    
ROMEO:  Go to; I say, you shall.            90
NURSE:  This afternoon, sir? well, she shall be there.    
ROMEO:  And stay, good nurse; behind the abbey wall:    
Within this hour my man shall be with thee,    
And bring thee cords made like a tackled stair;    
Which to the high top-gallant of my joy            95
Must be my convoy in the secret night.    
Farewell! Be trusty, and I’ll quit thy pains.    
Farewell! Commend me to thy mistress.    
NURSE:  Now God in heaven bless thee! Hark you, sir.    
ROMEO:  What sayst thou, my dear nurse?            100
NURSE:  Is your man secret? Did you ne’er hear say,    
Two may keep counsel, putting one away?    
ROMEO:  I warrant thee my man’s as true as steel.    
NURSE:  Well, sir; my mistress is the sweetest lady—Lord, Lord!—when ’twas a little prating thing,—O! there’s a nobleman in town, one Paris, that would fain lay knife aboard; but she, good soul, had as lief see a toad, a very toad, as see him. I anger her sometimes and tell her that Paris is the properer man; but, I’ll warrant you, when I say so, she looks as pale as any clout in the versal world. Doth not rosemary and Romeo begin both with a letter?    
ROMEO:  Ay, nurse: what of that? both with an R.            105
NURSE:  Ah! mocker; that’s the dog’s name. R is for the—No; I know it begins with some other letter: and she had the prettiest sententious of it, of you and rosemary, that it would do you good to hear it.    
ROMEO:  Commend me to thy lady.    
NURSE:  Ay, a thousand times.  [Exit ROMEO.]  Peter!    
PETER:  Anon!    
NURSE:  Before, and apace.  [Exeunt.            110

Notes and Word Definitions

pin: Center.
cleft: Split.
bow-boy: Cupid, the god of love.
butt-shaft: Arrow.
prince of cats: A cat named Tibert in medieval fables that focused mainly on a red fox named Reynard.
captain of compliments: Well versed in proper behavior; strict observer of the fencing rules.
fights . . . proportion: Fights the way a person sings a song, keeping the proper time, rhythm, etc. A prick-song is music sung while the singer views a copy of the composition. A minim is a half-note in music.
gentleman . . . house: A swordsman trained at the best fencing school.
passado: In fencing, a maneuver in which a swordsman thrusts while advancing a foot.
punto reverso: In fencing, a lunge at the thigh with the sword held high.
hay: Hai, the cry of a fencer when he thrusts straight ahead.
The pox of: A pox on; may misfortune happen to.
antick (antic) . . . accents: Fanciful and affected fellows who speak with pompous, highfalutin language.
fantasticoes: Strange, bizarre persons.
'By . . . whore': Here, Mercutio is quoting what a fantastico (see previous entry) is likely to say: "By heaven, this is a very good sword, a sword that is hot for blood."
pardonnez-mois: In French, pardonnez-moi means pardon me.
bons, their bons: Bons is probably a shortening of bons mots (pronounced bohn moh), French for witticisms or clever expressions. Some editors of Shakespeare's plays use bones instead of bons.
numbers: Poems or verses of the Italian poet Petrarch, (1304-1374), who popularized the sonnet form.
Laura to his lady: Laura compared to Romeo's lady. Laura was a woman to whom Petrarch (see entry immediately above) addressed poems.
be-rime her: Write poems about her.
Dido: In Virgil's ancient epic poem Aeneid, Dido was the Queen of Carthage. She had a love affair with Aeneas and killed herself after he abandoned her. Aeneas was a soldier of Troy in the Trojan War against the Greeks. After Troy fell to the Greeks at the end of the ten-year war, Aeneas escaped the city and sailed to Italy, where he laid the foundation for the Roman civilization. On his way to Italy, he had the affair with Dido.
Cleopatra: Seductive Queen of Egypt from 51 to 49 BC and 48 to 30 BC. She is famous for her love affairs with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.
Helen: Helen of Troy in ancient Greek mythology. She was famous for her beauty.
Hero: In a story in ancient mythology, Leander, a youth of Abydos (a town on the Asian side of present-day Turkey), fell in love with Hero, a beautiful priestess of Aphrodite (Venus), the goddess of love. Hero lived in a tower on the European side of Turkey. Every night, Leander would swim across a narrow strait called the Dardanelles to visit her. However, on one trip he drowned. Hero then plunged to her death from the tower.
hildings: Contemptible persons.
Thisbe: Pyramus and the beautiful Thisbe, both Babylonians, were the subject of a love story by the Roman poet Ovid (43 BC-AD 17) in his long poem Metamorphoses. When Pyramus thinks a lion has killed Thisbe, he kills himself. Thisbe is still alive, however. But when she discovers the body of Pyramus, she also kills herself.
bon jour: Bonjour, French greeting for good day, good morning, hello.
slop: Baggy pants.
slip: (1) Counterfeit coin and (2) slang for evading someone. Mercutio is using another of his puns.
bow . . .hams: Bend his knees and bow, as in a curtsey.
pump well flowered: Shoe with floral designs.
Switch . . . spurs: Romeo urges Mercutio to continue their battle of wits by using an equestrian metaphor, switch and spur, which means ride on at top speed by switching and spurring your horse.
cheveril: Soft, stretchable leather made of the skin of a young goat.
ell: English measurement equivalent to 45 inches.
natural: Fool, jester.
against the hair: Against the growth pattern of hair on an animal. Petting a dog against the hair would be to move the hand forward from tail to head.
gear: thing; stuff.
God ye . . . morrow:
Good morning; good day; God give you a good day.
God ye . . . den: Good morning; good day; God give you a good day.
By my troth: By my faith; by Jove; by heavens.
a’: He.
confidence: Private conversation.
indite: Write. Benvolio is using the word as if it were invite. He may be mocking the nurse's occasional use of malapropisms.
hare: Prostitute.
hoar: Spoiled; moldy.
ropery: Bad conduct; misbehavior.
Jacks: Rogues, knaves.
flirt-gills: Flirtatious women; women of loose morals.
skeins-mates: Criminals.
shrift: Confession (sacrament of penance).
shriv'd: Absolved of sins.
tackled stair: Rope ladder.
top-gallant: Mast above the main mast on a ship.
quit . . . pains: Pay you for your efforts.
fain . . . aboard: Like to marry her
clout: Piece of cloth or rag; or, possibly, cloud.
versal world: Universe; sky.
sententious: Sentence.

Act 2, Scene 5

JULIET:  The clock struck nine when I did send the nurse;   
In half an hour she promis’d to return.   
Perchance she cannot meet him: that’s not so.            5
O! she is lame: love’s heralds should be thoughts,   
Which ten times faster glide than the sun’s beams,   
Driving back shadows over lowering hills:   
Therefore do nimble-pinion’d doves draw Love,   
And therefore hath the wind-swift Cupid wings.            10
Now is the sun upon the highmost hill   
Of this day’s journey, and from nine till twelve   
Is three long hours, yet she is not come.   
Had she affections, and warm youthful blood,   
She’d be as swift in motion as a ball;            15
My words would bandy her to my sweet love,   
And his to me:   
But old folks, many feign as they were dead;   
Unwieldy, slow, heavy and pale as lead.   

Enter Nurse and PETER.             20

O God! she comes. O honey nurse! what news?   
Hast thou met with him? Send thy man away.   
NURSE:  Peter, stay at the gate.  [Exit PETER.   
JULIET:  Now, good sweet nurse; O Lord! why look’st thou sad?   
Though news be sad, yet tell them merrily;            25
If good, thou sham’st the music of sweet news   
By playing it to me with so sour a face.   
NURSE:  I am aweary, give me leave awhile:   
Fie, how my bones ache! What a jaunce have I had!   
JULIET:  I would thou hadst my bones, and I thy news.            30
Nay, come, I pray thee, speak; good, good nurse, speak.   
NURSE:  Jesu! what haste? can you not stay awhile?   
Do you not see that I am out of breath?   
JULIET:  How art thou out of breath when thou hast breath   
To say to me that thou art out of breath?            35
The excuse that thou dost make in this delay   
Is longer than the tale thou dost excuse.   
Is thy news good, or bad? answer to that;   
Say either, and I’ll stay the circumstance:   
Let me be satisfied, is ’t good or bad?            40
NURSE:  Well, you have made a simple choice; you know not how to choose a man: Romeo! no, not he; though his face be better than any man’s, yet his leg excels all men’s; and for a hand, and a foot, and a body, though they be not to be talked on, yet they are past compare. He is not the flower of courtesy, but, I’ll warrant him, as gentle as a lamb. Go thy ways, wench; serve God. What! have you dined at home?   
JULIET:  No, no: but all this did I know before. What says he of our marriage? what of that?   
NURSE:  Lord! how my head aches; what a head have I!   
It beats as it would fall in twenty pieces.   
My back o’ t’ other side; O! my back, my back!            45
Beshrew your heart for sending me about,   
To catch my death with jauncing up and down.   
JULIET:  I’ faith, I am sorry that thou art not well.   
Sweet, sweet, sweet nurse, tell me, what says my love?
NURSE:  Your love says, like an honest gentleman, and a courteous, and a kind, and a handsome, and, I warrant, a virtuous,—Where is your mother? 50
JULIET:  Where is my mother! why, she is within;   
Where should she be? How oddly thou repliest:   
‘Your love says, like an honest gentleman,   
Where is your mother?’   
NURSE:  O! God’s lady dear,            55
Are you so hot? Marry, come up, I trow;   
Is this the poultice for my aching bones?   
Henceforward do your messages yourself.   
JULIET:  Here’s such a coil! come, what says Romeo?   
NURSE:  Have you got leave to go to shrift to-day?            60
JULIET:  I have.   
NURSE:  Then hie you hence to Friar Laurence’ cell,   
There stays a husband to make you a wife:   
Now comes the wanton blood up in your cheeks,   
They’ll be in scarlet straight at any news.            65
Hie you to church; I must another way,   
To fetch a ladder, by the which your love   
Must climb a bird’s nest soon when it is dark;   
I am the drudge and toil in your delight,   
But you shall bear the burden soon at night.            70
Go; I’ll to dinner: hie you to the cell.   
JULIET:  Hie to high fortune! Honest nurse, farewell.  [Exeunt.   

Notes and Word Definitions

pinion'd: Winged.
jaunce: Traveling to and fro; hard journey.
o’ t’: On the.
Beshrew: Shame on; curse.
poultice: Topical remedy applied to a body part.
coil: Commotion; bother; fuss.
shrift: Confession; sacrament of penance.
hie: Go.
drudge: Servant; menial.

Act 2, Scene 6

FRIAR LAURENCE:  So smile the heaven upon this holy act,   
That after hours with sorrow chide us not!   
ROMEO:  Amen, amen! but come what sorrow can,            5
It cannot countervail the exchange of joy   
That one short minute gives me in her sight:   
Do thou but close our hands with holy words,   
Then love-devouring death do what he dare;   
It is enough I may but call her mine.            10
FRIAR LAURENCE:  These violent delights have violent ends,   
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,   
Which, as they kiss consume: the sweetest honey   
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness   
And in the taste confounds the appetite:            15
Therefore love moderately; long love doth so;   
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.   
Here comes the lady: O! so light a foot   
Will ne’er wear out the everlasting flint:            20
A lover may bestride the gossamer   
That idles in the wanton summer air,   
And yet not fall; so light is vanity.   
JULIET: Good even to my ghostly confessor.   
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Romeo shall thank thee, daughter, for us both.            25
JULIET:  As much to him, else are his thanks too much.   
ROMEO:  Ah! Juliet, if the measure of thy joy   
Be heap’d like mine, and that thy skill be more   
To blazon it, then sweeten with thy breath   
This neighbour air, and let rich music’s tongue            30
Unfold the imagin’d happiness that both   
Receive in either by this dear encounter.   
JULIET:  Conceit, more rich in matter than in words,   
Brags of his substance, not of ornament:   
They are but beggars that can count their worth;            35
But my true love is grown to such excess   
I cannot sum up half my sum of wealth.   
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Come, come with me, and we will make short work;   
For, by your leaves, you shall not stay alone   
Till holy church incorporate two in one.  [Exeunt.            40

Notes and Word Definitions
countervail: Act against; offset; counteract.
These violent . . . ends: This line foreshadows the tragic ending.
flint: Very hard quartz.
gossamer: That which is thin, airy, sheer, light; a spider's web.
vanity: Fantasy; unreality.
confessor: Priest who hears a confession of sins.

Act 3, Scene 1

Verona.  A Public Place.
Enter MERCUTIO, BENVOLIO, Page, and Servants.
BENVOLIO:  I pray thee, good Mercutio, let’s retire:  
The day is hot, the Capulets abroad,  
And, if we meet, we shall not ’scape a brawl;            5
For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.  
MERCUTIO:  Thou art like one of those fellows that when he enters the confines of a tavern claps me his sword upon the table and says, ‘God send me no need of thee!’ and by the operation of the second cup draws him on the drawer, when, indeed, there is no need.  
BENVOLIO:  Am I like such a fellow?  
MERCUTIO:  Come, come, thou art as hot a Jack in thy mood as any in Italy; and as soon moved to be moody, and as soon moody to be moved.  
BENVOLIO:  And what to?            10
MERCUTIO:  Nay, an there were two such, we should have none shortly, for one would kill the other. Thou! why, thou wilt quarrel with a man that hath a hair more or a hair less in his beard than thou hast. Thou wilt quarrel with a man for cracking nuts, having no other reason but because thou hast hazel eyes. What eye, but such an eye, would spy out such a quarrel? Thy head is as full of quarrels as an egg is full of meat, and yet thy head hath been beaten as addle as an egg for quarrelling. Thou hast quarrelled with a man for coughing in the street, because he hath wakened thy dog that hath lain asleep in the sun. Didst thou not fall out with a tailor for wearing his new doublet before Easter? with another, for tying his new shoes with old riband? and yet thou wilt tutor me from quarrelling!  
BENVOLIO:  An I were so apt to quarrel as thou art, any man should buy the fee-simple of my life for an hour and a quarter.
MERCUTIO:  The fee-simple! O simple!  
BENVOLIO:  By my head, here come the Capulets.  
MERCUTIO:  By my heel, I care not.            15

Enter TYBALT, and Others.
TYBALT:  Follow me close, for I will speak to them. Gentlemen, good den! a word with one of you.  
MERCUTIO:  And but one word with one of us? Couple it with something; make it a word and a blow.  
TYBALT:  You shall find me apt enough to that, sir, an you will give me occasion.  
MERCUTIO:  Could you not take some occasion without giving?            20
TYBALT:  Mercutio, thou consort’st with Romeo,—  
MERCUTIO:  Consort! What! dost thou make us minstrels? an thou make minstrels of us, look to hear nothing but discords: here’s my fiddlestick; here’s that shall make you dance. ’Zounds! consort!  
BENVOLIO:  We talk here in the public haunt of men:  
Either withdraw unto some private place,  
Or reason coldly of your grievances,            25
Or else depart; here all eyes gaze on us.  
MERCUTIO:  Men’s eyes were made to look, and let them gaze;  
I will not budge for no man’s pleasure, I.  

Enter ROMEO.
TYBALT:  Well, peace be with you, sir. Here comes my man.            30
MERCUTIO:  But I’ll be hang’d, sir, if he wear your livery:  
Marry, go before to field, he’ll be your follower;  
Your worship in that sense may call him ‘man.’  
TYBALT:  Romeo, the hate I bear thee can afford  
No better term than this,—thou art a villain.            35
ROMEO:  Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee  
Doth much excuse the appertaining rage  
To such a greeting; villain am I none,  
Therefore farewell; I see thou know’st me not.  
TYBALT:  Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries            40
That thou hast done me; therefore turn and draw.  
ROMEO:  I do protest I never injur’d thee,  
But love thee better than thou canst devise,  
Till thou shalt know the reason of my love:  
And so, good Capulet, which name I tender            45
As dearly as my own, be satisfied.  
MERCUTIO:  O calm, dishonourable, vile submission!  
Alla stoccata carries it away.  [Draws.  
Tybalt, you rat-catcher, will you walk?  
TYBALT: What wouldst thou have with me?            50
MERCUTIO: Good king of cats, nothing but one of your nine lives, that I mean to make bold withal, and, as you shall use me hereafter, dry-beat the rest of the eight. Will you pluck your sword out of his pilcher by the ears? make haste, lest mine be about your ears ere it be out.  
TYBALT: [Drawing.]  I am for you.  
ROMEO: Gentle Mercutio, put thy rapier up.  
MERCUTIO: Come, sir, your passado.  [They fight.  
ROMEO: Draw, Benvolio; beat down their weapons.            55
Gentlemen, for shame, forbear this outrage!  
Tybalt, Mercutio, the prince expressly hath  
Forbidden bandying in Verona streets.  
Hold, Tybalt! good Mercutio!  [Exeunt TYBALT and his Partisans.  
MERCUTIO: I am hurt.            60
A plague o’ both your houses! I am sped.  
Is he gone, and hath nothing?  
BENVOLIO: What! art thou hurt?  
MERCUTIO: Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch; marry, ’tis enough.  
Where is my page? Go, villain, fetch a surgeon.  [Exit Page.            65
ROMEO: Courage, man; the hurt cannot be much.  
MERCUTIO: No, ’tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door; but ’tis enough, ’twill serve: ask for me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave man. I am peppered, I warrant, for this world. A plague o’ both your houses! ’Zounds, a dog, a rat, a mouse, a cat, to scratch a man to death! a braggart, a rogue, a villain, that fights by the book of arithmetic! Why the devil came you between us? I was hurt under your arm.  
ROMEO:  I thought all for the best.  
MERCUTIO:  Help me into some house, Benvolio,  
Or I shall faint. A plague o’ both your houses!            70
They have made worms’ meat of me: I have it,  
And soundly too:—your houses!  [Exeunt MERCUTIO and BENVOLIO.  
ROMEO: This gentleman, the prince’s near ally,  
My very friend, hath got his mortal hurt  
In my behalf; my reputation stain’d            75
With Tybalt’s slander, Tybalt, that an hour  
Hath been my kinsman. O sweet Juliet!  
Thy beauty hath made me effeminate,  
And in my temper soften’d valour’s steel!

Re-enter BENVOLIO.             80

BENVOLIO: O Romeo, Romeo! brave Mercutio’s dead;  
That gallant spirit hath aspir’d the clouds,  
Which too untimely here did scorn the earth.  
ROMEO: This day’s black fate on more days doth depend;  
This but begins the woe others must end.            85
Re-enter TYBALT.
BENVOLIO: Here comes the furious Tybalt back again.  
ROMEO: Alive! in triumph! and Mercutio slain!  
Away to heaven, respective lenity,  
And fire-ey’d fury be my conduct now!            90
Now, Tybalt, take the villain back again  
That late thou gav’st me; for Mercutio’s soul  
Is but a little way above our heads,  
Staying for thine to keep him company:  
Either thou, or I, or both, must go with him.            95
TYBALT: Thou wretched boy, that didst consort him here,  
Shalt with him hence.  
ROMEO: This shall determine that.  [They fight: TYBALT falls.  
BENVOLIO: Romeo, away! be gone!  
The citizens are up, and Tybalt slain.            100
Stand not amaz’d: the prince will doom thee death  
If thou art taken: hence! be gone! away!  
ROMEO: O! I am Fortune’s fool.  
BENVOLIO: Why dost thou stay?  [Exit ROMEO.  
Enter Citizens, &c.            105

FIRST CITIZEN: Which way ran he that kill’d Mercutio?  
Tybalt, that murderer, which way ran he?  
BENVOLIO: There lies that Tybalt.  
FIRST CITIZEN: Up, sir, go with me.  
I charge thee in the prince’s name, obey.            110
Enter PRINCE, attended; MONTAGUE, CAPULET, their Wives, and Others.
PRINCE: Where are the vile beginners of this fray?  
BENVOLIO: O noble prince! I can discover all  
The unlucky manage of this fatal brawl:  
There lies the man, slain by young Romeo,            115
That slew thy kinsman, brave Mercutio.  
LADY CAPULET: Tybalt, my cousin! O my brother’s child!  
O prince! O cousin! husband! O! the blood is spill’d  
Of my dear kinsman. Prince, as thou art true,  
For blood of ours shed blood of Montague.            120
O cousin, cousin!  
PRINCE: Benvolio, who began this bloody fray?  
BENVOLIO: Tybalt, here slain, whom Romeo’s hand did slay:  
Romeo, that spoke him fair, bade him bethink  
How nice the quarrel was, and urg’d withal            125
Your high displeasure: all this, uttered  
With gentle breath, calm look, knees humbly bow’d,  
Could not take truce with the unruly spleen  
Of Tybalt deaf to peace, but that he tilts  
With piercing steel at bold Mercutio’s breast,            130
Who, all as hot, turns deadly point to point,  
And, with a martial scorn, with one hand beats  
Cold death aside, and with the other sends  
It back to Tybalt, whose dexterity  
Retorts it: Romeo he cries aloud,            135
‘Hold, friends! friends, part!’ and, swifter than his tongue,  
His agile arm beats down their fatal points,  
And ’twixt them rushes; underneath whose arm  
An envious thrust from Tybalt hit the life  
Of stout Mercutio, and then Tybalt fled;            140
But by and by comes back to Romeo,  
Who had but newly entertain’d revenge,  
And to ’t they go like lightning, for, ere I  
Could draw to part them, was stout Tybalt slain,  
And, as he fell, did Romeo turn and fly.            145
This is the truth, or let Benvolio die.  
LADY CAPULET: He is a kinsman to the Montague;  
Affection makes him false, he speaks not true:  
Some twenty of them fought in this black strife  
And all those twenty could but kill one life.            150
I beg for justice, which thou, prince, must give;  
Romeo slew Tybalt, Romeo must not live.  
PRINCE: Romeo slew him, he slew Mercutio;  
Who now the price of his dear blood doth owe?  
MONTAGUE:  Not Romeo, prince, he was Mercutio’s friend,            155
His fault concludes but what the law should end,  
The life of Tybalt.  
PRINCE: And for that offence  
Immediately we do exile him hence:  
I have an interest in your hate’s proceeding,            160
My blood for your rude brawls doth lie a-bleeding;  
But I’ll amerce you with so strong a fine  
That you shall all repent the loss of mine.  
I will be deaf to pleading and excuses;  
Nor tears nor prayers shall purchase out abuses;            165
Therefore use none; let Romeo hence in haste,  
Else, when he’s found, that hour is his last.  
Bear hence this body and attend our will:  
Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill.  [Exeunt.

Notes and Word Definitions

operation: Effect (of drinking).
draws . . . drawer: Orders a bartender or waiter to draw him another glass of beer, wine, etc.
an: If.
doublet: Close-fitting jacket.
riband: Ribbon.
fee-simple: Possession.
consort'st . . . minstrels: Consort is a verb that means associate; the accent is on the second syllable (con SORT). Mercutio, ever the punster, uses consort as a noun, placing the accent on the first syllable (CON sort). When used this way, the word has a different meaning. In this case, consort refers to a small group of classical musicians.
fiddlestick: Sword.
'Zounds: Expression of surprise, anger, amazement, disappointment. The word is a corruption of by His wounds (meaning the wounds of Christ). The word came about after people began pronouncing by His wounds quickly so that it sounded like a single word—'zounds.
my man: The man with whom I wish to speak.
livery: Uniform of a particular group; uniform of a servant.
'man': Servant.
alla stoccata: Sword thrust.
dry-beat: Beat without cutting the skin and drawing blood.
pilcher: Scabbard.
passado: Sword thrust while advancing a foot.
bandying: Fighting; quarreling.
Sped: Sped toward death; mortally wounded.
you shall . . . man: Even when dying, Mercutio cannot resist uttering a pun.
book of arithmetic: Fencing rules.
worms' meat: Corpse upon which worms feed.
hath . . . clouds: Had high hopes in life.
respective lenity: Respectable behavior; good conduct.
nice: Insignificant; petty.
spleen: Temper; anger.
to 't . . . lightning: They quickly draw swords against each other and fight.
ere: Before.
amerce: Punish; penalize.
purchase out: Forgive; pay for.

Act 3, Scene 2

CAPULET’S Orchard.

JULIET: Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds,  
Towards Phœbus’ lodging; such a waggoner  
As Phaethon would whip you to the west,            5
And bring in cloudy night immediately.  
Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night!  
That runaway’s eyes may wink, and Romeo  
Leap to these arms, untalk’d of and unseen!  
Lovers can see to do their amorous rites            10
By their own beauties; or, if love be blind,  
It best agrees with night. Come, civil night,  
Thou sober-suited matron, all in black,  
And learn me how to lose a winning match,  
Play’d for a pair of stainless maidenhoods:            15
Hood my unmann’d blood, bating in my cheeks,  
With thy black mantle; till strange love, grown bold,  
Think true love acted simple modesty.  
Come, night! come, Romeo! come, thou day in night!  
For thou wilt lie upon the wings of night,            20
Whiter than new snow on a raven’s back.  
Come, gentle night; come, loving, black-brow’d night,  
Give me my Romeo: and, when he shall die,  
Take him and cut him out in little stars,  
And he will make the face of heaven so fine            25
That all the world will be in love with night,  
And pay no worship to the garish sun.  
O! I have bought the mansion of a love,  
But not possess’d it, and, though I am sold,  
Not yet enjoy’d. So tedious is this day            30
As is the night before some festival  
To an impatient child that hath new robes  
And may not wear them. O! here comes my nurse,  
Enter Nurse with cords.
And she brings news; and every tongue that speaks            35
But Romeo’s name speaks heavenly eloquence.  
Now nurse, what news? What hast thou there? the cords  
That Romeo bade thee fetch?  
NURSE: Ay, ay, the cords.  [Throws them down.  
JULIET: Ah me! what news? why dost thou wring thy hands?            40
NURSE: Ah well-a-day! he’s dead, he’s dead, he’s dead!  
We are undone, lady, we are undone!  
Alack the day! he’s gone, he’s killed, he’s dead!  
JULIET: Can heaven be so envious?  
NURSE: Romeo can,            45
Though heaven cannot. O! Romeo, Romeo;  
Who ever would have thought it? Romeo!  
JULIET: What devil art thou that dost torment me thus?  
This torture should be roar’d in dismal hell.  
Hath Romeo slain himself? say thou but ‘I,’            50
And that bare vowel, ‘I,’ shall poison more  
Than the death-darting eye of cockatrice:  
I am not I, if there be such an ‘I;’  
Or those eyes shut that make thee answer ‘I.’  
If he be slain, say ‘I;’ or if not ‘no:’            55
Brief sounds determine of my weal or woe.  
NURSE: I saw the wound, I saw it with mine eyes,  
God save the mark! here on his manly breast:  
A piteous corse, a bloody piteous corse;  
Pale, pale as ashes, all bedaub’d in blood,            60
All in gore blood; I swounded at the sight.  
JULIET: O break, my heart!—poor bankrupt, break at once!  
To prison, eyes, ne’er look on liberty!  
Vile earth, to earth resign; end motion here;  
And thou and Romeo press one heavy bier!            65
NURSE: O Tybalt, Tybalt! the best friend I had:  
O courteous Tybalt! honest gentleman!  
That ever I should live to see thee dead!  
JULIET: What storm is this that blows so contrary?  
Is Romeo slaughter’d, and is Tybalt dead?            70
My dearest cousin, and my dearer lord?  
Then, dreadful trumpet, sound the general doom!  
For who is living if those two are gone?  
NURSE: Tybalt is gone, and Romeo banished;  
Romeo, that kill’d him, he is banished.            75
JULIET: O God! did Romeo’s hand shed Tybalt’s blood?  
NURSE: It did, it did; alas the day! it did.  
JULIET: O serpent heart, hid with a flowering face!  
Did ever dragon keep so fair a cave?
Beautiful tyrant! fond angelical!                   80
Dove-feather’d raven! wolvish-ravening lamb!
Despised substance of divinest show!
Just opposite to what thou justly seem’st;
A damned saint, an honourable villain!
O, nature! what hadst thou to do in hell            85
When thou didst bower the spirit of a fiend
In mortal paradise of such sweet flesh?
Was ever book containing such vile matter
So fairly bound? O! that deceit should dwel
In such a gorgeous palace.            90
NURSE: There’s no trust,  
No faith, no honesty in men; all naught,  
All perjur’d, all dissemblers, all forsworn.  
Ah! where’s my man? give me some aqua vitae:  
These griefs, these woes, these sorrows make me old.            95
Shame come to Romeo!  
JULIET: Blister’d be thy tongue  
For such a wish! he was not born to shame:  
Upon his brow shame is asham’d to sit;  
For ’tis a throne where honour may be crown’d            100
Sole monarch of the universal earth.  
Phaeton O! what a beast was I to chide at him.  
NURSE: Will you speak well of him that kill’d your cousin?  
JULIET: Shall I speak ill of him that is my husband?  
Ah! poor my lord, what tongue shall smooth thy name,            105
When I, thy three-hours wife, have mangled it?  
But, wherefore, villain, didst thou kill my cousin?  
That villain cousin would have kill’d my husband:  
Back, foolish tears, back to your native spring;  
Your tributary drops belong to woe,            110
Which you, mistaking, offer up to joy.  
My husband lives, that Tybalt would have slain;  
And Tybalt’s dead, that would have slain my husband:  
All this is comfort; wherefore weep I then?  
Some word there was, worser than Tybalt’s death,            115
That murder’d me: I would forget it fain;  
But O! it presses to my memory,  
Like damned guilty deeds to sinners’ minds.  
‘Tybalt is dead, and Romeo banished!’  
That ‘banished,’ that one word ‘banished,’            120
Hath slain ten thousand Tybalts. Tybalt’s death  
Was woe enough, if it had ended there:  
Or, if sour woe delights in fellowship,  
And needly will be rank’d with other griefs,  
Why follow’d not, when she said ‘Tybalt’s dead,’            125
Thy father, or thy mother, nay, or both,  
Which modern lamentation might have mov’d?  
But with a rearward following Tybalt’s death,  
‘Romeo is banished!’ to speak that word  
Is father, mother, Tybalt, Romeo, Juliet,            130
All slain, all dead: ‘Romeo is banished!’  
There is no end, no limit, measure, bound  
In that word’s death; no words can that woe sound.—  
Where is my father and my mother, nurse?  
NURSE: Weeping and wailing over Tybalt’s corse:            135
Will you go to them? I will bring you thither.  
JULIET: Wash they his wounds with tears: mine shall be spent,  
When theirs are dry, for Romeo’s banishment.  
Take up those cords. Poor ropes, you are beguil’d,  
Both you and I, for Romeo is exil’d:            140
He made you for a highway to my bed,    needly
But I, a maid, die maiden-widowed.  
Come, cords; come, nurse; I’ll to my wedding bed;  
And death, not Romeo, take my maidenhead!  
NURSE:  Hie to your chamber; I’ll find Romeo            145
To comfort you: I wot well where he is.    And that bare vowel, ‘I,’ shall poison more  
Than the death-darting eye of cockatrice:
Hark ye, your Romeo will be here to-night:  
I’ll to him; he is hid at Laurence’ cell.  
JULIET:  O! find him; give this ring to my true knight,  
And bid him come to take his last farewell.  [Exeunt.            150
Notes and Word Definitions

Gallop . . . lodging: In Greek mythology, Apollo (who was sometimes called Phoebus Apollo or simply Phoebus) was the god of the sun. The sun crossing the sky was Apollo driving his golden chariot. Juliet, eager to meet with Romeo, urges Apollo to drive faster to make time pass more quickly.
Phaëton: Son of Helios, the sun god who preceded Apollo. (See above entry.) Phaëton was a reckless driver. When he received permission to drive the sun chariot, he lost control. Consequently, the chariot plunged toward earth. The king of the gods, Zeus (Roman name, Jupiter) struck Phaëton dead with a thunderbolt to prevent him from setting the earth on fire.
That . . . wink: Juliet hopes Romeo will appear with the swiftness of a wink of an eye. The wink may refer to Phaëton or his horses.
civil: Calm, obliging.
learn: Teach.
maidenhood: Virginity.
hood: Cover.
unmann'd: Uncontrolled.
Alack: Alas.
cockatrice: Monster that was part snake and part rooster. It could kill merely by looking at its victim.
weal: Happiness.
corse: Corpse.
swounded: Swooned; fainted.
aqua vitae: Liquor.
I would . . .  fain: I would fain forget it—that is, I would like to forget it.
needly: Appropriately.
thither: There; to them.
wot: Know.

Act 3, Scene 3

FRIAR LAURENCE:  Romeo, come forth; come forth, thou fearful man:  
Affliction is enamour’d of thy parts,  
And thou art wedded to calamity.            5
Enter ROMEO.
ROMEO:  Father, what news? what is the prince’s doom?  
What sorrow craves acquaintance at my hand,  
That I yet know not?  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Too familiar            10
Is my dear son with such sour company:  
I bring thee tidings of the prince’s doom.  
ROMEO:  What less than doomsday is the prince’s doom?  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  A gentler judgment vanish’d from his lips,  
Not body’s death, but body’s banishment.            15
ROMEO:  Ha! banishment! be merciful, say ‘death;’  
For exile hath more terror in his look,  
Much more than death: do not say ‘banishment.’  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Hence from Verona art thou banished.  
Be patient, for the world is broad and wide.            20
ROMEO:  There is no world without Verona walls,  
But purgatory, torture, hell itself.  
Hence banished is banish’d from the world,  
And world’s exile is death; then ‘banished,’  
Is death mis-term’d. Calling death ‘banished,’            25
Thou cutt’st my head off with a golden axe,  
And smil’st upon the stroke that murders me.  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  O deadly sin! O rude unthankfulness!  
Thy fault our law calls death; but the kind prince,  
Taking thy part, hath rush’d aside the law,            30
And turn’d that black word death to banishment:  
This is dear mercy, and thou seest it not.  
ROMEO:  ’Tis torture, and not mercy: heaven is here,  
Where Juliet lives; and every cat and dog  
And little mouse, every unworthy thing,            35
Live here in heaven and may look on her;  
But Romeo may not: more validity,  
More honourable state, more courtship lives  
In carrion flies than Romeo: they may seize  
On the white wonder of dear Juliet’s hand,            40
And steal immortal blessing from her lips,  
Who, even in pure and vestal modesty,  
Still blush, as thinking their own kisses sin;  
Flies may do this, but I from this must fly:  
They are free men, but I am banished.            45
And sayst thou yet that exile is not death?  
Hadst thou no poison mix’d, no sharp-ground knife,  
No sudden mean of death, though ne’er so mean,  
But ‘banished’ to kill me? ‘Banished!’  
O friar! the damned use that word in hell;            50
Howlings attend it: how hast thou the heart,  
Being a divine, a ghostly confessor,  
A sin-absolver, and my friend profess’d,  
To mangle me with that word ‘banished?’  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Thou fond mad man, hear me but speak a word.            55
ROMEO:  O! thou wilt speak again of banishment.  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  I’ll give thee armour to keep off that word;  
Adversity’s sweet milk, philosophy,  
To comfort thee, though thou art banished.  
ROMEO:  Yet ‘banished!’ Hang up philosophy!            60f
Unless philosophy can make a Juliet,  
Displant a town, reverse a prince’s doom,  
It helps not, it prevails not: talk no more.  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  O! then I see that madmen have no ears.  
ROMEO:  How should they, when that wise men have no eyes?            65
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Let me dispute with thee of thy estate.  
ROMEO:  Thou canst not speak of that thou dost not feel:  
Wert thou as young as I, Juliet thy love,  
An hour but married, Tybalt murdered,  
Doting like me, and like me banished,            70
Then mightst thou speak, then mightst thou tear thy hair,  
And fall upon the ground, as I do now,  
Taking the measure of an unmade grave.  [Knocking within.  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Arise; one knocks: good Romeo, hide thyself.  
ROMEO:  Not I; unless the breath of heart-sick groans,            75
Mist-like, infold me from the search of eyes.  [Knocking.  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Hark! how they knock. Who’s there? Romeo arise;  
Thou wilt be taken. Stay awhile! Stand up;  [Knocking.  
Run to my study. By and by! God’s will!  
What wilfulness is this! I come, I come!  [Knocking.            80
Who knocks so hard? whence come you? what’s your will?  
NURSE:  [Within.]  Let me come in, and you shall know my errand:  
I come from Lady Juliet.  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Welcome, then.  
Enter NURSE:             85

NURSE:  O holy friar! O! tell me, holy friar,  
Where is my lady’s lord? where’s Romeo?  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  There on the ground, with his own tears made drunk.  
NURSE:  O! he is even in my mistress’ case,  
Just in her case!            90
FRIAR LAURENCE: O woeful sympathy!  
Piteous predicament! Even so lies she,  
Blubbering and weeping, weeping and blubbering.  
Stand up, stand up; stand, an you be a man:  
For Juliet’s sake, for her sake, rise and stand;            95
Why should you fall into so deep an O?  
ROMEO:  Nurse!  
NURSE:  Ah, sir! ah, sir! Well, death’s the end of all.  
ROMEO:  Spak’st thou of Juliet? how is it with her?  
Doth she not think me an old murderer,            100
Now I have stain’d the childhood of our joy  
With blood remov’d but little from her own?  
Where is she? and how doth she? and what says  
My conceal’d lady to our cancell’d love?  
NURSE:  O! she says nothing, sir, but weeps and weeps;            105
And now falls on her bed; and then starts up,  
And Tybalt calls, and then on Romeo cries,  
And then down falls again.  
ROMEO:   As if that name,  
Shot from the deadly level of a gun,            110
Did murder her; as that name’s cursed hand  
Murder’d her kinsman. O! tell me, friar, tell me,  
In what vile part of this anatomy  
Doth my name lodge? tell me, that I may sack  
The hateful mansion.  [Drawing his sword.            115
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Hold thy desperate hand:  
Art thou a man? thy form cries out thou art:  
Thy tears are womanish; thy wild acts denote  
The unreasonable fury of a beast:  
Unseemly woman in a seeming man;            120
Or ill-beseeming beast in seeming both!  
Thou hast amaz’d me: by my holy order,  
I thought thy disposition better temper’d.  
Hast thou slain Tybalt? wilt thou slay thyself?  
And slay thy lady that in thy life lives,            125
By doing damned hate upon thyself?  
Why rail’st thou on thy birth, the heaven, and earth?  
Since birth, and heaven, and earth, all three do meet  
In thee at once, which thou at once wouldst lose.  
Fie, fie! thou sham’st thy shape, thy love, thy wit,            130
Which, like a usurer, abound’st in all,  
And usest none in that true use indeed  
Which should bedeck thy shape, thy love, thy wit.  
Thy noble shape is but a form of wax,  
Digressing from the valour of a man;            135
Thy dear love, sworn, but hollow perjury,  
Killing that love which thou hast vow’d to cherish;  
Thy wit, that ornament to shape and love,  
Misshapen in the conduct of them both,  
Like powder in a skilless soldier’s flask,            140
To set a-fire by thine own ignorance,  
And thou dismember’d with thine own defence.  
What! rouse thee, man; thy Juliet is alive,  
For whose dear sake thou wast but lately dead;  
There art thou happy: Tybalt would kill thee,            145
But thou slew’st Tybalt; there art thou happy too:  
The law that threaten’d death becomes thy friend,  
And turns it to exile; there art thou happy:  
A pack of blessings light upon thy back;  
Happiness courts thee in her best array;            150
But, like a misbehav’d and sullen wench,  
Thou pout’st upon thy fortune and thy love.  
Take heed, take heed, for such die miserable.  
Go, get thee to thy love, as was decreed,  
Ascend her chamber, hence and comfort her;            155
But look thou stay not till the watch be set,  
For then thou canst not pass to Mantua;  
Where thou shalt live, till we can find a time  
To blaze your marriage, reconcile your friends,  
Beg pardon of the prince, and call thee back            160
With twenty hundred thousand times more joy  
Than thou went’st forth in lamentation.  
Go before, nurse: commend me to thy lady;  
And bid her hasten all the house to bed,  
Which heavy sorrow makes them apt unto:            165
Romeo is coming.  
NURSE:  O Lord! I could have stay’d here all the night  
To hear good counsel: O! what learning is.  
My lord, I’ll tell my lady you will come.  
ROMEO:  Do so, and bid my sweet prepare to chide.            170
NURSE:  Here, sir, a ring she bid me give you, sir.  
Hie you, make haste, for it grows very late.  [Exit.  
ROMEO:  How well my comfort is reviv’d by this!  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Go hence; good-night; and here stands all your state:  
Either be gone before the watch be set,            175
Or by the break of day disguis’d from hence:  
Sojourn in Mantua; I’ll find out your man,  
And he shall signify from time to time  
Every good hap to you that chances here.  
Give me thy hand; ’tis late: farewell; goodnight.            180
ROMEO:  But that a joy past joy calls out on me,  
It were a grief so brief to part with thee:  
Farewell.  [Exeunt.

Notes and Word Definitions

doom: Punishment for killing Tybalt.
without: Outside.
Thy . . . death: Under Verona law, you should receive the death penalty.
carrion . . . flies: Flies that feed on rotting flesh.
vestal: Virginal; chaste.
fond: Foolish.
estate: Situation; predicament.
infold: Enfold.
he is . . . case: He and my mistress are in the same state of mind.
an O: A depression; a sigh.
The . . . mansion: My hateful body.
wit: Intelligence.
Digressing: Straying.
Like . . . flask: Like gunpowder with which a poor marksman loads his weapon.
thou . . . defence: You would be blown up by your own gun.
stay . . . set: Leave before the night watchmen go on duty.
Mantua: City in the Lombardy region of Italy, just south of the Swiss border.
man: Servant.

Act 3, Scene 4

A Room in CAPULET’S House.
CAPULET:  Things have fall’n out, sir, so unluckily,  
That we have had no time to move our daughter:  
Look you, she lov’d her kinsman Tybalt dearly,            5
And so did I: well, we were born to die.  
’Tis very late, she’ll not come down to-night:  
I promise you, but for your company,  
I would have been a-bed an hour ago.  
PARIS:  These times of woe afford no time to woo.            10
Madam, good-night: commend me to your daughter.  
LADY CAPULET:  I will, and know her mind early to-morrow;  
To-night she’s mew’d up to her heaviness.  
CAPULET:  Sir Paris, I will make a desperate tender  
Of my child’s love: I think she will be rul’d            15
In all respects by me; nay, more, I doubt it not.  
Wife go you to her ere you go to bed;  
Acquaint her here of my son Paris’ love;  
And bid her, mark you me, on Wednesday next—  
But, soft! what day is this?            20
PARIS:  Monday, my lord.  
CAPULET:  Monday! ha, ha! Well, Wednesday is too soon;  
O’ Thursday let it be: o’ Thursday, tell her,  
She shall be married to this noble earl.  
Will you be ready? do you like this haste?            25
We’ll keep no great ado; a friend or two;  
For, hark you, Tybalt being slain so late,  
It may be thought we held him carelessly,  
Being our kinsman, if we revel much.  
Therefore we’ll have some half a dozen friends,            30
And there an end. But what say you to Thursday?  
PARIS:  My lord, I would that Thursday were to-morrow.  
CAPULET:  Well, get you gone: o’ Thursday be it then.  
Go you to Juliet ere you go to bed,  
Prepare her, wife, against this wedding-day.            35
Farewell, my lord. Light to my chamber, ho!  
Afore me! it is so very very late,  
That we may call it early by and by.  
Good-night.  [Exeunt.

Notes and Word Definitions

move: Get her to accept a marriage to Paris.
mew'd up: Closed in. Juliet is keeping to her room.
tender: Offer.
soft: Wait a minute.
it is . . . by: It is so late at night that it is almost morning.

Act 3, Scene 5

JULIET’S Chamber.
JULIET:  Wilt thou be gone? it is not yet near day:  
It was the nightingale, and not the lark,  
That pierc’d the fearful hollow of thine ear;            5
Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate tree:  
Believe me, love, it was the nightingale.  
ROMEO:  It was the lark, the herald of the morn,  
No nightingale: look, love, what envious streaks  
Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east:            10
Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day  
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops:  
I must be gone and live, or stay and die.  
JULIET:  Yon light is not daylight, I know it, I:  
It is some meteor that the sun exhales,            15
To be to thee this night a torch-bearer,  
And light thee on thy way to Mantua:  
Therefore stay yet; thou need’st not to be gone.  
ROMEO:  Let me be ta’en, let me be put to death;  
I am content, so thou wilt have it so.            20
I’ll say you grey is not the morning’s eye,  
’Tis but the pale reflex of Cynthia’s brow;  
Nor that is not the lark, whose notes do beat  
The vaulty heaven so high above our heads:  
I have more care to stay than will to go:            25
Come, death, and welcome! Juliet wills it so.  
How is ’t, my soul? let’s talk; it is not day.  
JULIET:  It is, it is; hie hence, be gone, away!  
It is the lark that sings so out of tune,  
Straining harsh discords and unpleasing sharps.            30
Some say the lark makes sweet division;  
This doth not so, for she divideth us:  
Some say the lark and loathed toad change eyes;  
O! now I would they had chang’d voices too,  
Since arm from arm that voice doth us affray,            35
Hunting thee hence with hunts-up to the day.  
O! now be gone; more light and light it grows.  
ROMEO:  More light and light; more dark and dark our woes.  
Enter NURSE:
NURSE:  Madam!            40
JULIET:  Nurse!  
Nurse  Your lady mother is coming to your chamber:  
The day is broke; be wary, look about.  [Exit.  
JULIET:  Then, window, let day in, and let life out.  
ROMEO:  Farewell, farewell! one kiss, and I’ll descend.  [Descends.            45
JULIET:  Art thou gone so? my lord, my love, my friend!  
I must hear from thee every day in the hour,  
For in a minute there are many days:  
O! by this count I shall be much in years  
Ere I again behold my Romeo.            50
ROMEO:  Farewell!  
I will omit no opportunity  
That may convey my greetings, love, to thee.  
JULIET:  O! think’st thou we shall ever meet again?  
ROMEO:  I doubt it not; and all these woes shall serve            55
For sweet discourses in our time to come.  
JULIET:  O God! I have an ill-divining soul:  
Methinks I see thee, now thou art so low,  
As one dead in the bottom of a tomb:  
Either my eyesight fails, or thou look’st pale.            60
ROMEO:  And trust me, love, in my eye so do you:  
Dry sorrow drinks our blood. Adieu! adieu!  [Exit.  
JULIET:  O fortune, fortune! all men call thee fickle:  
If thou art fickle, what dost thou with him  
That is renown’d for faith? Be fickle, fortune;            65
For then, I hope, thou wilt not keep him long,  
But send him back.  
LADY CAPULET:  [Within.]  Ho, daughter! are you up?  
JULIET:  Who is ’t that calls? is it my lady mother?  
Is she not down so late, or up so early?            70
What unaccustom’d cause procures her hither?  
LADY CAPULET:  Why, how now, Juliet!  
JULIET:  Madam, I am not well.  
LADY CAPULET:  Evermore weeping for your cousin’s death?            75
What! wilt thou wash him from his grave with tears?  
And if thou couldst, thou couldst not make him live;  
Therefore, have done: some grief shows much of love;  
But much of grief shows still some want of wit.  
JULIET:  Yet let me weep for such a feeling loss.            80
LADY CAPULET:  So shall you feel the loss, but not the friend  
Which you weep for.  
JULIET:  Feeling so the loss,  
I cannot choose but ever weep the friend.  
LADY CAPULET:  Well, girl, thou weep’st not so much for his death,            85
As that the villain lives which slaughter’d him.  
JULIET:  What villain, madam?  
LADY CAPULET:  That same villain, Romeo.  
JULIET:  [Aside.]  Villain and he be many miles asunder.  
God pardon him! I do, with all my heart;            90
And yet no man like he doth grieve my heart.  
LADY CAPULET:  That is because the traitor murderer lives.  
JULIET:  Ay, madam, from the reach of these my hands.  
Would none but I might venge my cousin’s death!  
LADY CAPULET:  We will have vengeance for it, fear thou not:            95
Then weep no more. I’ll send to one in Mantua,  
Where that same banish’d runagate doth live,  
Shall give him such an unaccustom’d dram  
That he shall soon keep Tybalt company:  
And then, I hope, thou wilt be satisfied.            100
JULIET:  Indeed, I never shall be satisfied  
With Romeo, till I behold him—dead—  
Is my poor heart so for a kinsman vex’d:  
Madam, if you could find out but a man  
To bear a poison, I would temper it,            105
That Romeo should, upon receipt thereof,  
Soon sleep in quiet. O! how my heart abhors  
To hear him nam’d, and cannot come to him,  
To wreak the love I bore my cousin Tybalt  
Upon his body that hath slaughter’d him.            110
LADY CAPULET:  Find thou the means, and I’ll find such a man.  
But now I’ll tell thee joyful tidings, girl.  
JULIET:  And joy comes well in such a needy time:  
What are they, I beseech your ladyship?  
LADY CAPULET:  Well, well, thou hast a careful father, child;            115
One who, to put thee from thy heaviness,  
Hath sorted out a sudden day of joy  
That thou expect’st not, nor I look’d not for.  
JULIET:  Madam, in happy time, what day is that?  
LADY CAPULET:  Marry, my child, early next Thursday morn            120
The gallant, young, and noble gentleman,  
The County Paris, at Saint Peter’s church,  
Shall happily make thee there a joyful bride.  
JULIET:  Now, by Saint Peter’s church, and Peter too,  
He shall not make me there a joyful bride.            125
I wonder at this haste; that I must wed  
Ere he that should be husband comes to woo.  
I pray you, tell my lord and father, madam,  
I will not marry yet; and, when I do, I swear,  
It shall be Romeo, whom you know I hate,            130
Rather than Paris. These are news indeed!  
LADY CAPULET:  Here comes your father; tell him so yourself,  
And see how he will take it at your hands.  
CAPULET:  When the sun sets, the air doth drizzle dew;            135
But for the sunset of my brother’s son  
It rains downright.  
How now! a conduit, girl? what! still in tears?  
Evermore showering? In one little body  
Thou counterfeit’st a bark, a sea, a wind;            140
For still thy eyes, which I may call the sea,  
Do ebb and flow with tears; the bark thy body is,  
Sailing in this salt flood; the winds, thy sighs;  
Who, raging with thy tears, and they with them,  
Without a sudden calm, will overset            145
Thy tempest-tossed body. How now, wife!  
Have you deliver’d to her our decree?  
LADY CAPULET:  Ay, sir; but she will none, she gives you thanks.  
I would the fool were married to her grave!  
CAPULET:  Soft! take me with you, take me with you, wife.            150
How! will she none? doth she not give us thanks?  
Is she not proud? doth she not count her bless’d,  
Unworthy as she is, that we have wrought  
So worthy a gentleman to be her bridegroom?  
JULIET:  Not proud, you have; but thankful, that you have:            155
Proud can I never be of what I hate;  
But thankful even for hate, that is meant love.  
CAPULET:  How now! how now, chop-logic! What is this?  
‘Proud,’ and ‘I thank you,’ and ‘I thank you not;’  
And yet ‘not proud;’ mistress minion, you,            160
Thank me no thankings, nor proud me no prouds,  
But fettle your fine joints ’gainst Thursday next,  
To go with Paris to Saint Peter’s church,  
Or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither.  
Out, you green-sickness carrion! out, you baggage!            165
You tallow face!  
LADY CAPULET:  Fie, fie! what, are you mad?  
JULIET:  Good father, I beseech you on my knees,  
Hear me with patience but to speak a word.  
CAPULET:  Hang thee, young baggage! disobedient wretch!            170
I tell thee what, get thee to church o’ Thursday,  
Or never after look me in the face.  
Speak not, reply not, do not answer me;  
My fingers itch.—Wife, we scarce thought us bless’d  
That God had lent us but this only child;            175
But now I see this one is one too much,  
And that we have a curse in having her.  
Out on her, hilding!  
NURSE:  God in heaven bless her!  
You are to blame, my lord, to rate her so.            180
CAPULET:  And why, my lady wisdom? hold your tongue,  
Good prudence; smatter with your gossips, go.  
NURSE:  I speak no treason.  
CAPULET:  O! God ye good den.  
NURSE:  May not one speak?            185
CAPULET:  Peace, you mumbling fool;  
Utter your gravity o’er a gossip’s bowl;  
For here we need it not.  
LADY CAPULET:  You are too hot.  
CAPULET:  God’s bread! it makes me mad.            190
Day, night, hour, tide, time, work, play,  
Alone, in company, still my care hath been  
To have her match’d; and having now provided  
A gentleman of noble parentage,  
Of fair demesnes, youthful, and nobly train’d,            195
Stuff’d, as they say, with honourable parts,  
Proportion’d as one’s thought would wish a man;  
And then to have a wretched puling fool,  
A whining mammet, in her fortune’s tender,  
To answer ‘I’ll not wed,’ ‘I cannot love,’            200
‘I am too young,’ ‘I pray you, pardon me;’  
But, an you will not wed, I’ll pardon you:  
Graze where you will, you shall not house with me:  
Look to ’t, think on ’t, I do not use to jest.  
Thursday is near; lay hand on heart, advise.            205
An you be mine, I’ll give you to my friend;  
An you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets,  
For, by my soul, I’ll ne’er acknowledge thee,  
Nor what is mine shall never do thee good.  
Trust to ’t, bethink you; I’ll not be forsworn.  [Exit.            210
JULIET:  Is there no pity sitting in the clouds,  
That sees into the bottom of my grief?  
O! sweet my mother, cast me not away:  
Delay this marriage for a month, a week;  
Or, if you do not, make the bridal bed            215
In that dim monument where Tybalt lies.  
LADY CAPULET:  Talk not to me, for I’ll not speak a word.  
Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee.  [Exit.  
JULIET:  O God! O nurse! how shall this be prevented?  
My husband is on earth, my faith in heaven;            220
How shall that faith return again to earth,  
Unless that husband send it me from heaven  
By leaving earth? comfort me, counsel me.  
Alack, alack! that heaven should practise stratagems  
Upon so soft a subject as myself!            225
What sayst thou? hast thou not a word of joy?  
Some comfort, nurse?  
NURSE:  Faith, here it is.
Romeo is banished; and all the world to nothing  
That he dares ne’er come back to challenge you;            230
Or, if he do, it needs must be by stealth.  
Then, since the case so stands as now it doth,  
I think it best you married with the county.  
O! he’s a lovely gentleman;  
Romeo’s a dishclout to him: an eagle, madam,            235
Hath not so green, so quick, so fair an eye  
As Paris hath. Beshrew my very heart,  
I think you are happy in this second match,  
For it excels your first: or if it did not,  
Your first is dead; or ’twere as good he were,            240
As living here and you no use of him.  
JULIET:  Speakest thou from thy heart?  
NURSE:  And from my soul too;  
Or else beshrew them both.  
JULIET:  Amen!            245
NURSE:  What!  
JULIET:  Well, thou hast comforted me marvellous much.  
Go in; and tell my lady I am gone,  
Having displeas’d my father, to Laurence’ cell,  
To make confession and to be absolv’d.            250
NURSE:  Marry, I will; and this is wisely done.  [Exit.  
JULIET:  Ancient damnation! O most wicked fiend!  
Is it more sin to wish me thus forsworn,  
Or to dispraise my lord with that same tongue  
Which she hath prais’d him with above compare            255
So many thousand times? Go, counsellor;  
Thou and my bosom henceforth shall be twain.  
I’ll to the friar, to know his remedy:  
If all else fail, myself have power to die.  [Exit.  
Notes and Word Definitions

severing: Parting.
grey . . . brow: Grey is not the color of dawn but simply a reflection of the moon. Cynthia was another name for Diana (Greek name, Artemis), the goddess of the moon.
division: Music; harmony; melody.
affray: Make afraid.
Hunting . . . hunts-up: Giving your presence away with a "hunts-up," a song that hunters sang while going out in the morning.
discourses: Reminscences.
wit: Intelligence.
Aside: Stage direction indicating that she is whispering to herself.
venge: Avenge.
runagate: Renegade.
dram: Dose of poison.
temper: Prepare.
County: Count.
conduit: Channel carrying a liquid; fountain. (Juliet is still weeping profusely.)
counterfeit'st a bark: Resemble a boat (because Juliet is in a sea of tears).
salt flood: Flood of tears.
take me with you: Take me to your meaning. (Capulet does not understand what his wife is saying.)
chop-logic: Juliet's reasoning makes no sense to her father; it is illogical.
mistress-minion: Miss upstart. (Capulet thinks Juliet is being disrespectful.)
fettle: Prepare.
hurdle: Wooden conveyance on which a person who committed a capital crime was taken to a place of execution.
green-sickness carrion: Rotting corpse.
smatter with: Mingle with; talk with.
O . . . den: O, you are wonderful; you are well-meaning; literally, God give you a good day. Capulet is being sarcastic. He resents the nurse's intrusion into the conversation.
Utter . . . gravity: Say what you are thinking.
God's bread: Allusion to the Holy Eucharist uttered as an interjection. It is the same as saying, "By heaven."
demesnes (duh MAINS): Possessions; lands; wealth; domains.
puling: Whimpering; whining.
mammet: Alternate word for maumet, a doll or any other figure dressed in clothes (such as a scarecrow).
an you: If you.
Graze . . . me: In effect, "Live somewhere else. I will not have you under this roof."
an you: If you.
advise: Take my advice.
all the . . .  nothing: There is no possibility in all the world.
challenge: Be with.
dishclout: Dishcloth.
Beshrew: Curse.
Ancient damnation: Accursed old woman.
Is it . . . compare?: Which is the nurse's worse offense? (1) To urge me to renounce Romeo or (2) to speak ill of him with the same tongue with which she earlier praised him?
Go, counsellor: Stay away from me.
twain: Separated.

Act 4, Scene 1

FRIAR LAURENCE:  On Thursday, sir? the time is very short.  
PARIS:  My father Capulet will have it so;  
And I am nothing slow to slack his haste.            5
FRIAR LAURENCE:  You say you do not know the lady’s mind:  
Uneven is the course, I like it not.  
PARIS:  Immoderately she weeps for Tybalt’s death,  
And therefore have I little talk’d of love;  
For Venus smiles not in a house of tears.            10
Now, sir, her father counts it dangerous  
That she doth give her sorrow so much sway,  
And in his wisdom hastes our marriage  
To stop the inundation of her tears;  
Which, too much minded by herself alone,            15
May be put from her by society.  
Now do you know the reason of this haste.  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  [Aside.]  I would I knew not why it should be slow’d.  
Look, sir, here comes the lady towards my cell.  
Enter JULIET.             20

PARIS:  Happily met, my lady and my wife!  
JULIET:  That may be, sir, when I may be a wife.  
PARIS:  That may be must be, love, on Thursday next.  
JULIET:  What must be shall be.  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  That’s a certain text.            25
PARIS:  Come you to make confession to this father?  
JULIET:  To answer that, I should confess to you.  
PARIS:  Do not deny to him that you love me.  
JULIET:  I will confess to you that I love him.  
PARIS:  So will ye, I am sure, that you love me.            30
JULIET:  If I do so, it will be of more price,  
Being spoke behind your back, than to your face.  
PARIS:  Poor soul, thy face is much abus’d with tears.  
JULIET:  The tears have got small victory by that;  
For it was bad enough before their spite.            35
PARIS:  Thou wrong’st it, more than tears, with that report.  
JULIET:  That is no slander, sir, which is a truth;  
And what I spake, I spake it to my face.  
PARIS:  Thy face is mine, and thou hast slander’d it.  
JULIET:  It may be so, for it is not mine own.            40
Are you at leisure, holy father, now;  
Or shall I come to you at evening mass?  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  My leisure serves me, pensive daughter, now:  
My lord, we must entreat the time alone.  
PARIS:  God shield, I should disturb devotion!            45
Juliet, on Thursday early will I rouse you:  
Till then, adieu; and keep this holy kiss.  [Exit.  
JULIET:  O! shut the door! and when thou hast done so,  
Come weep with me; past hope, past cure, past help!  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Ah! Juliet, I already know thy grief;            50
It strains me past the compass of my wits:  
I hear thou must, and nothing may prorogue it,  
On Thursday next be married to this county.  
JULIET:  Tell me not, friar, that thou hear’st of this,  
Unless thou tell me how I may prevent it:            55
If, in thy wisdom, thou canst give no help,  
Do thou but call my resolution wise,  
And with this knife I’ll help it presently.  
God join’d my heart and Romeo’s, thou our hands;  
And ere this hand, by thee to Romeo seal’d,            60
Shall be the label to another deed,  
Or my true heart with treacherous revolt  
Turn to another, this shall slay them both.  
Therefore, out of thy long-experienc’d time,  
Give me some present counsel; or behold,            65
’Twixt my extremes and me this bloody knife  
Shall play the umpire, arbitrating that  
Which the commission of thy years and art  
Could to no issue of true honour bring.  
Be not so long to speak; I long to die,            70
If what thou speak’st speak not of remedy.  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Hold, daughter; I do spy a kind of hope,  
Which craves as desperate an execution  
As that is desperate which we would prevent.  
If, rather than to marry County Paris,            75
Thou hast the strength of will to slay thyself,  
Then is it likely thou wilt undertake  
A thing like death to chide away this shame,  
That cop’st with death himself to ’scape from it;  
And, if thou dar’st, I’ll give thee remedy.            80
JULIET:  O! bid me leap, rather than marry Paris,  
From off the battlements of yonder tower;  
Or walk in thievish ways; or bid me lurk  
Where serpents are; chain me with roaring bears;  
Or shut me nightly in a charnel-house,            85
O’er-cover’d quite with dead men’s rattling bones,  
With reeky shanks, and yellow chapless skulls;  
Or bid me go into a new-made grave  
And hide me with a dead man in his shroud;  
Things that, to hear them told, have made me tremble;            90
And I will do it without fear or doubt,  
To live an unstain’d wife to my sweet love.  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Hold, then; go home, be merry, give consent  
To marry Paris: Wednesday is to-morrow:  
To-morrow night look that thou lie alone,            95
Let not thy nurse lie with thee in thy chamber:  
Take thou this vial, being then in bed,  
And this distilled liquor drink thou off;  
When presently through all thy veins shall run  
A cold and drowsy humour, for no pulse            100
Shall keep his native progress, but surcease;  
No warmth, no breath, shall testify thou liv’st;  
The roses in thy lips and cheeks shall fade  
To paly ashes; thy eyes’ windows fall,  
Like death, when he shuts up the day of life;            105
Each part, depriv’d of supple government,  
Shall, stiff and stark and cold, appear like death;  
And in this borrow’d likeness of shrunk death  
Thou shalt continue two-and-forty hours,  
And then awake as from a pleasant sleep.            110
Now, when the bridegroom in the morning comes  
To rouse thee from thy bed, there art thou dead:  
Then—as the manner of our country is—  
In thy best robes uncover’d on the bier,  
Thou shalt be borne to that same ancient vault            115
Where all the kindred of the Capulets lie.  
In the mean time, against thou shalt awake,  
Shall Romeo by my letters know our drift,  
And hither shall he come; and he and I  
Will watch thy waking, and that very night            120
Shall Romeo bear thee hence to Mantua.  
And this shall free thee from this present shame;  
If no unconstant toy, nor womanish fear,  
Abate thy valour in the acting it.  
JULIET:  Give me, give me! O! tell me not of fear!            125
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Hold; get you gone, be strong and prosperous  
In this resolve. I’ll send a friar with speed  
To Mantua, with my letters to thy lord.  
JULIET:  Love, give me strength! and strength shall help afford.  
Farewell, dear father!  [Exeunt.            130

Notes and Word Definitions

father: Prospective father-in-law.
Uneven . . . not: I don't like the idea of your marrying her without even asking her for her hand.
Venus: Roman name for the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite.
too much . . . alone: Spending too much time by herself.
put . . . society: Remedied by the company of other people.
a certain text: True.
be . . . price: Mean more.
spite: The temporary change in the appearance of her face caused by the tears.
shield: Forbid.
compass: Reach; understanding.
prorogue: Postpone.
behold: Take note; be aware.
charnel-house: House of the dead; place for the storage of bodies and bones.
chapless: Without the lower jaw.
humour: Fluid.
surcease: Stop; cease.
eyes' windows: Eyelids.
part: Body part.
toy: Feeling; fancy.

Act 4, Scene 2

Hall in CAPULET’S House.
Enter CAPULET, LADY CAPULET, Nurse, and Servingmen.
CAPULET:  So many guests invite as here are writ.  [Exit Servant.  
Sirrah, go hire me twenty cunning cooks.  
SECOND SERVANT:  You shall have none ill, sir; for            5
I’ll try if they can lick their fingers.  
CAPULET:  How canst thou try them so?  
SECOND SERVANT:  Marry, sir, ’tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers: therefore he that cannot lick his fingers goes not with me.  
CAPULET:  Go, be gone.  [Exit Second Servant.  
We shall be much unfurnish’d for this time.            10
What! is my daughter gone to Friar Laurence?  
NURSE:  Ay, forsooth.  
CAPULET:  Well, he may chance to do some good on her:  
A peevish self-will’d harlotry it is.  
NURSE:  See where she comes from shrift with merry look.            15
CAPULET:  How now, my headstrong! where have you been gadding?  
JULIET:  Where I have learn’d me to repent the sin  
Of disobedient opposition  
To you and your behests; and am enjoin’d            20
By holy Laurence to fall prostrate here,  
And beg your pardon. Pardon, I beseech you!  
Henceforward I am ever rul’d by you.  
CAPULET:  Send for the county; go tell him of this:  
I’ll have this knot knit up to-morrow morning.            25
JULIET:  I met the youthful lord at Laurence’ cell;  
And gave him what becomed love I might,  
Not stepping o’er the bounds of modesty.  
CAPULET:  Why, I’m glad on ’t; this is well: stand up:  
This is as ’t should be. Let me see the county;            30
Ay, marry, go, I say, and fetch him hither.  
Now, afore God! this reverend holy friar,  
All our whole city is much bound to him.  
JULIET:  Nurse, will you go with me into my closet,  
To help me sort such needful ornaments            35
As you think fit to furnish me to-morrow?  
LADY CAPULET:  No, not till Thursday; there is time enough.  
CAPULET:  Go, nurse, go with her. We’ll to church to-morrow.  [Exeunt JULIET and NURSE: 
LADY CAPULET:  We shall be short in our provision:  
’Tis now near night.            40
CAPULET:  Tush! I will stir about,  
And all things shall be well, I warrant thee, wife:  
Go thou to Juliet, help to deck up her;  
I’ll not to bed to-night; let me alone;  
I’ll play the housewife for this once. What, ho!            45
They are all forth: well, I will walk myself  
To County Paris, to prepare him up  
Against to-morrow. My heart is wondrous light,  
Since this same wayward girl is so reclaim’d.  [Exeunt.  

Notes and Word Definitions

forsooth: Truly; in truth.
shrift: Confession; sacrament of penance.
county: Count.

Act 4, Scene 3

JULIET’S Chamber.
JULIET:  Ay, those attires are best; but, gentle nurse,  
I pray thee, leave me to myself to-night;  
For I have need of many orisons            5
To move the heavens to smile upon my state,  
Which, well thou know’st, is cross and full of sin.  
LADY CAPULET:  What! are you busy, ho? need you my help?  
JULIET:  No, madam; we have cull’d such necessaries            10
As are behoveful for our state to-morrow:  
So please you, let me now be left alone,  
And let the nurse this night sit up with you;  
For, I am sure, you have your hands full all  
In this so sudden business.            15
LADY CAPULET:  Good-night:  
Get thee to bed, and rest; for thou hast need.  [Exeunt LADY CAPULET and NURSE: 
JULIET:  Farewell! God knows when we shall meet again.  
I have a faint cold fear thrills through my veins,  
That almost freezes up the heat of life:            20
I’ll call them back again to comfort me:  
Nurse! What should she do here?  
My dismal scene I needs must act alone.  
Come, vial.  
What if this mixture do not work at all?            25
Shall I be married then to-morrow morning?  
No, no; this shall forbid it: lie thou there.  [Laying down a dagger.  
What if it be a poison, which the friar  
Subtly hath minister’d to have me dead,  
Lest in this marriage he should be dishonour’d            30
Because he married me before to Romeo?  
I fear it is: and yet, methinks, it should not,  
For he hath still been tried a holy man.  
I will not entertain so bad a thought.  
How if, when I am laid into the tomb,            35
I wake before the time that Romeo  
Come to redeem me? there’s a fearful point!  
Shall I not then be stifled in the vault,  
To whose foul mouth no healthsome air breathes in,  
And there die strangled ere my Romeo comes?            40
Or, if I live, is it not very like,  
The horrible conceit of death and night,  
Together with the terror of the place,  
As in a vault, an ancient receptacle,  
Where, for these many hundred years, the bones            45
Of all my buried ancestors are pack’d;  
Where bloody Tybalt, yet but green in earth,  
Lies festering in his shroud; where, as they say,  
At some hours in the night spirits resort:  
Alack, alack! is it not like that I,            50
So early waking, what with loathsome smells,  
And shrieks like mandrakes’ torn out of the earth,  
That living mortals, hearing them, run mad:  
O! if I wake, shall I not be distraught,  
Environed with all these hideous fears,            55
And madly play with my forefathers’ joints,  
And pluck the mangled Tybalt from his shroud?  
And, in this rage, with some great kinsman’s bone,  
As with a club, dash out my desperate brains?  
O, look! methinks I see my cousin’s ghost            60
Seeking out Romeo, that did spit his body  
Upon a rapier’s point. Stay, Tybalt, stay!  
Romeo, I come! this do I drink to thee.  [She falls upon her bed within the curtains.  

Notes and Word Definitions

orisons: Prayers.
behoveful: Required; necessary.
ere: Before.
like mandrakes': Like those of mandrakes. Mandrakes were plants to which magical powers were once attributed.

Act 4, Scene 4

Hall in CAPULET’S House.
LADY CAPULET:  Hold, take these keys, and fetch more spices, NURSE: 
NURSE:  They call for dates and quinces in the pastry.  
Enter CAPULET.             5

CAPULET:  Come, stir, stir, stir! the second cock hath crow’d,  
The curfew bell hath rung, ’tis three o’clock:  
Look to the bak’d meats, good Angelica:  
Spare not for cost.  
NURSE:  Go, go, you cot-quean, go;            10
Get you to bed; faith, you’ll be sick to-morrow  
For this night’s watching.  
CAPULET:  No, not a whit; what! I have watch’d ere now  
All night for lesser cause, and ne’er been sick.  
LADY CAPULET:  Ay, you have been a mouse-hunt in your time;            15
But I will watch you from such watching now.  [Exeunt LADY CAPULET and NURSE: 
CAPULET:  A jealous-hood, a jealous-hood!  
Enter three or four Serving-men, with spits, logs, and baskets.
Now, fellow,  
What’s there?            20
First SERVANT:  Things for the cook, sir; but I know not what.  
CAPULET:  Make haste, make haste.  [Exit first Serving-man.]  Sirrah, fetch drier logs:  
Call Peter, he will show thee where they are.  
SECOND SERVANT:  I have a head, sir, that will find out logs,  
And never trouble Peter for the matter.  [Exit.            25
CAPULET:  Mass, and well said; a merry whoreson, ha!  
Thou shalt be logger-head. Good faith! ’tis day:  
The county will be here with music straight,  
For so he said he would.  [Music within.]  I hear him near.  
Nurse! Wife! what, ho! What, nurse, I say!            30
Re-enter NURSE:
Go waken Juliet, go and trim her up;  
I’ll go and chat with Paris. Hie, make haste,  
Make haste; the bridegroom he is come already:  
Make haste, I say.  [Exeunt.            35

Notes and Word Definitions

cot-quean: Cotquean, a man who interferes in women's domestic work.
mouse-hunt: Flirt, ladies' man.
jealous-hood: Jealous lady.
Mass: By the mass. The mass is the Roman Catholic liturgy of the Holy Eucharist. By the mass is a phrase similar in meaning to by heavens or by George.
whorseson: Bastard; devil (here used in jest).
logger-head: (1) Iron tool that is heated to warm liquids; (2) blockhead, bonehead. Capulet is using a pun in reply to what the second servant said in line 24.

Act 4, Scene 5

JULIET’S Chamber. 
Enter NURSE:
NURSE:  Mistress! what, mistress! Juliet! fast, I warrant her, she:  
Why, lamb! why, lady! fie, you slug-a-bed!  
Why, love, I say! madam! sweet-heart! why, bride!            5
What! not a word? you take your pennyworths now:  
Sleep for a week; for the next night, I warrant,  
The County Paris hath set up his rest,  
That you shall rest but little. God forgive me,  
Marry, and amen, how sound is she asleep!            10
I needs must wake her. Madam, madam, madam!  
Ay, let the county take you in your bed;  
He’ll fright you up, i’ faith. Will it not be?  
What, dress’d! and in your clothes! and down again!  
I must needs wake you. Lady! lady! lady!            15
Alas! alas! Help! help! my lady’s dead!  
O! well-a-day, that ever I was born.  
Some aqua-vitae ho! My lord! my lady!  
LADY CAPULET:  What noise is here?            20
NURSE:  O lamentable day!  
LADY CAPULET:  What is the matter?  
NURSE:  Look, look! O heavy day!  
LADY CAPULET:  O me, O me! my child, my only life,  
Revive, look up, or I will die with thee!            25
Help, help! Call help.  
CAPULET:  For shame! bring Juliet forth; her lord is come.  
NURSE:  She’s dead, deceas’d, she’s dead; alack the day!  
LADY CAPULET:  Alack the day! she’s dead, she’s dead! she’s dead!            30
CAPULET:  Ha! let me see her. Out, alas! she’s cold;  
Her blood is settled, and her joints are stiff;  
Life and these lips have long been separated:  
Death lies on her like an untimely frost  
Upon the sweetest flower of all the field.            35
NURSE:  O lamentable day!  
LADY CAPULET:  O woeful time!  
CAPULET:  Death, that hath ta’en her hence to make me wail,  
Ties up my tongue, and will not let me speak.  
Enter FRIAR LAURENCE, and PARIS, with Musicians.             40

FRIAR LAURENCE:  Come, is the bride ready to go to church?  
CAPULET:  Ready to go, but never to return.  
O son! the night before thy wedding-day   
Hath Death lain with thy wife. There she lies,  
Flower as she was, deflowered by him.            45
Death is my son-in-law, Death is my heir;  
My daughter he hath wedded: I will die,  
And leave him all; life, living, all is Death’s!  
PARIS:  Have I thought long to see this morning’s face,  
And doth it give me such a sight as this?            50
LADY CAPULET:  Accurs’d, unhappy, wretched, hateful day!  
Most miserable hour, that e’er time saw  
In lasting labour of his pilgrimage!  
But one, poor one, one poor and loving child,  
But one thing to rejoice and solace in,            55
And cruel death hath catch’d it from my sight!  
NURSE:  O woe! O woeful, woeful, woeful day!  
Most lamentable day, most woeful day,  
That ever, ever, I did yet behold!   
O day! O day! O day! O hateful day!            60
Never was seen so black a day as this:  
O woeful day, O woeful day!  
PARIS:  Beguil’d, divorced, wronged, spited, slain!  
Most detestable death, by thee beguil’d,  
By cruel cruel thee quite overthrown!             65
O love! O life! not life, but love in death!  
CAPULET:  Despis’d, distressed, hated, martyr’d, kill’d!  
Uncomfortable time, why cam’st thou now  
To murder, murder our solemnity?  
O child! O child! my soul, and not my child!            70
Dead art thou! dead! alack, my child is dead;  
And with my child my joys are buried!  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Peace, ho! for shame! confusion’s cure lives not  
In these confusions. Heaven and yourself  
Had part in this fair maid; now heaven hath all,            75
And all the better is it for the maid:  
Your part in her you could not keep from death,  
But heaven keeps his part in eternal life.  
The most you sought was her promotion,  
For ’twas your heaven she should be advanc’d;            80
And weep ye now, seeing she is advanc’d  
Above the clouds, as high as heaven itself?  
O! in this love, you love your child so ill,  
That you run mad, seeing that she is well:  
She’s not well married that lives married long;            85
But she’s best married that dies married young.  
Dry up your tears, and stick your rosemary  
On this fair corse; and, as the custom is,  
In all her best array bear her to church;  
For though fond nature bids us all lament,            90
Yet nature’s tears are reason’s merriment.  
CAPULET:  All things that we ordained festival,  
Turn from their office to black funeral;  
Our instruments to melancholy bells,  
Our wedding cheer to a sad burial feast,            95
Our solemn hymns to sullen dirges change,  
Our bridal flowers serve for a buried corse,  
And all things change them to the contrary.  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Sir, go you in; and, madam, go with him;  
And go, Sir Paris; every one prepare            100
To follow this fair corse unto her grave.  
The heavens do lower upon you for some ill;  
Move them no more by crossing their high will.  [Exeunt CAPULET, LADY CAPULET, PARIS, and Friar.  
FIRST MUSICIAN:  Faith, we may put up our pipes, and be gone.  
NURSE:  Honest good fellows, ah! put up, put up, for, well you know, this is a pitiful case.  [Exit.            105
FIRST MUSICIAN:  Ay, by my troth, the case may be amended.  
Enter PETER.
PETER:  Musicians! O! musicians, ‘Heart’s ease, Heart’s ease:’ O! an ye will have me live, play ‘Heart’s ease.’  
FIRST MUSICIAN:  Why ‘Heart’s ease?’  
PETER:  O! musicians, because my heart itself plays ‘My heart is full of woe;’ O! play me some merry dump, to comfort me.            110
SECOND Mus.  Not a dump we; ’tis no time to play now.  
PETER:  You will not then?  
Musicians.  No.  
PETER:  I will then give it you soundly.  
FIRST MUSICIAN:  What will you give us?            115
PETER:  No money, on my faith! but the gleek: I will give you the minstrel.  
FIRST MUSICIAN:  Then will I give you the serving-creature.  
PETER:  Then will I lay the serving-creature’s dagger on your pate, I will carry no crotchets: I’ll re you, I’ll fa you. Do you note me?  
FIRST MUSICIAN:  An you re us, and fa us, you note us.  
SECOND Mus.  Pray you, put up your dagger, and put out your wit.            120
PETER:  Then have at you with my wit! I will dry-beat you with an iron wit, and put up my iron dagger. Answer me like men:
    When griping grief the heart doth wound,
      And doleful dumps the mind oppress,
    Then music with her silver sound—
Why ‘silver sound?’ why ‘music with her silver sound?’ What say you, Simon Catling?  
FIRST MUSICIAN:  Marry, sir, because silver hath a sweet sound.  
PETER:  Pretty! What say you, Hugh Rebeck?  
SECOND Mus.  I say ‘silver sound,’ because musicians sound for silver.            125
PETER:  Pretty too! What say you, James Soundpost?  
Third Mus.  Faith, I know not what to say.   
PETER:  O! I cry you mercy; you are the singer; I will say for you. It is, ‘music with her silver sound,’ because musicians have no gold for sounding:
    Then music with her silver sound
      With speedy help doth lend redress. [Exit.  
FIRST MUSICIAN:  What a pestilent knave is this same!  
SECOND Mus.  Hang him, Jack! Come, we’ll in here; tarry for the mourners, and stay dinner.  [Exeunt.

Notes and Word Definitions

fright: Wake.
aqua-vitae: Liquor.
Have . . . long: I have thought long.
'twas . . . advanc'd: It was your wish to see her live a heavenly life. But now that she has gone to heaven, you lament. Friar Laurence appears to be subtly chiding the Capulets for imposing their will on Juliet.
rosemary: Fragrant herb that scented the air at weddings and funerals.
corse: Corpse.
For though . . . merriment: Human nature makes us weep for Juliet. But reason tells us that she has gone to a joyful place.
dump: Song.
gleek: Mock; imitation.
carry no crotchets: Present no strange or whimsical notions.
Heart's ease: Name of a song.
re: In music, the second note of a major scale.
fa: In music, the fourth note of a major scale.
Catling: Fiddle string made of catgut.
rebeck: Pear-shaped instrument with two or three strings; two- or three-stringed fiddle.
Soundpost: Small dowel inside a stringed-instrument that, with adjustment, alters the quality and volume of the sound.

Act 5, Scene 1

Mantua.  A Street.  
Enter ROMEO.
ROMEO:  If I may trust the flattering truth of sleep,  
My dreams presage some joyful news at hand:  
My bosom’s lord sits lightly in his throne;            5
And all this day an unaccustom’d spirit  
Lifts me above the ground with cheerful thoughts.  
I dreamt my lady came and found me dead;—  
Strange dream, that gives a dead man leave to think,—  
And breath’d such life with kisses in my lips,            10
That I reviv’d, and was an emperor.  
Ah me! how sweet is love itself possess’d,  
When but love’s shadows are so rich in joy!  
Enter BALTHASAR, booted.
News from Verona! How now, Balthasar?            15
Dost thou not bring me letters from the friar?  
How doth my lady? Is my father well?  
How fares my Juliet? That I ask again;  
For nothing can be ill if she be well.  
BALTHASAR:  Then she is well, and nothing can be ill;            20
Her body sleeps in Capel’s monument,  
And her immortal part with angels lives.  
I saw her laid low in her kindred’s vault,  
And presently took post to tell it you.  
O! pardon me for bringing these ill news,            25
Since you did leave it for my office, sir.  
ROMEO:  Is it even so? then I defy you, stars!  
Thou know’st my lodging: get me ink and paper,  
And hire post-horses; I will hence to-night.  
BALTHASAR:  I do beseech you, sir, have patience:            30
Your looks are pale and wild, and do import  
Some misadventure.  
ROMEO:  Tush, thou art deceiv’d;  
Leave me, and do the thing I bid thee do.  
Hast thou no letters to me from the friar?            35
BALTHASAR:  No, my good lord.  
ROMEO:  No matter; get thee gone,  
And hire those horses: I’ll be with thee straight.  [Exit BALTHASAR.  
Well, Juliet, I will lie with thee to-night.  
Let’s see for means: O mischief! thou art swift            40
To enter in the thoughts of desperate men.  
I do remember an apothecary,  
And hereabouts he dwells, which late I noted  
In tatter’d weeds, with overwhelming brows,  
Culling of simples; meagre were his looks,            45
Sharp misery had worn him to the bones:  
And in his needy shop a tortoise hung,  
An alligator stuff’d, and other skins  
Of ill-shap’d fishes; and about his shelves  
A beggarly account of empty boxes,            50
Green earthen pots, bladders, and musty seeds,  
Remnants of packthread, and old cakes of roses,  
Were thinly scatter’d, to make up a show.  
Noting this penury, to myself I said  
An if a man did need a poison now,            55
Whose sale is present death in Mantua,  
Here lives a caitiff wretch would sell it him.  
O! this same thought did but fore-run my need,  
And this same needy man must sell it me.  
As I remember, this should be the house:            60
Being holiday, the beggar’s shop is shut.  
What, ho! apothecary!  
Enter Apothecary.
APOTHECARY:  Who calls so loud?  
ROMEO:  Come hither, man. I see that thou art poor;            65
Hold, there is forty ducats; let me have  
A dram of poison, such soon-speeding gear  
As will disperse itself through all the veins  
That the life-weary taker may fall dead,  
And that the trunk may be discharg’d of breath            70
As violently as hasty powder fir’d  
Doth hurry from the fatal cannon’s womb.  
APOTHECARY:  Such mortal drugs I have; but Mantua’s law  
Is death to any he that utters them.  
ROMEO:  Art thou so bare, and full of wretchedness,            75
And fear’st to die? famine is in thy cheeks,  
Need and oppression starveth in thine eyes,  
Contempt and beggary hang upon thy back;  
The world is not thy friend nor the world’s law:  
The world affords no law to make thee rich;            80
Then be not poor, but break it, and take this.  
APOTHECARY:  My poverty, but not my will, consents.  
ROMEO:  I pay thy poverty, and not thy will.  
APOTHECARY:  Put this in any liquid thing you will  
And drink it off; and, if you had the strength            85
Of twenty men, it would dispatch you straight.  
ROMEO:  There is thy gold, worse poison to men’s souls,  
Doing more murders in this loathsome world  
Than these poor compounds that thou mayst not sell:  
I sell thee poison, thou hast sold me none.            90
Farewell; buy food, and get thyself in flesh.  
Come, cordial and not poison, go with me  
To Juliet’s grave, for there must I use thee.  [Exeunt.
Notes and Word Definitions

My bosom's  . . . throne: My heart beats calmly in my chest.
booted: Wearing riding boots.
apothecary: One who prepares and sells medicinal remedies.
weeds: Clothes.
simples: Herbs or other remedies.
caitiff wretch: Downtrodden, poor person.

Act 5, Scene 2

FRIAR JOHN:  Holy Franciscan friar! brother, ho!  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  This same should be the voice of Friar John.            5
Welcome from Mantua: what says Romeo?  
Or, if his mind be writ, give me his letter.  
FRIAR JOHN:  Going to find a bare-foot brother out,  
One of our order, to associate me,  
Here in this city visiting the sick,            10
And finding him, the searchers of the town,  
Suspecting that we both were in a house  
Where the infectious pestilence did reign,  
Seal’d up the doors, and would not let us forth;  
So that my speed to Mantua there was stay’d.            15
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Who bare my letter then to Romeo?  
FRIAR JOHN:  I could not send it, here it is again,  
Nor get a messenger to bring it thee,  
So fearful were they of infection.  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Unhappy fortune! by my brotherhood,            20
The letter was not nice, but full of charge  
Of dear import; and the neglecting it  
May do much danger. Friar John, go hence;  
Get me an iron crow, and bring it straight  
Unto my cell.            25
FRIAR JOHN:  Brother, I’ll go and bring it thee.  [Exit.  
Fri. L  Now must I to the monument alone;  
Within these three hours will fair Juliet wake:  
She will beshrew me much that Romeo  
Hath had no notice of these accidents;            30
But I will write again to Mantua,  
And keep her at my cell till Romeo come:  
Poor living corse, clos’d in a dead man’s tomb!  [Exit.  

Notes and Word Definitions

associate: Go with.
bare: Showed; carried.
beshrew: Curse.
corse: Corpse.

Act 5, Scene 3

A Churchyard; in it a Monument belonging to the CAPULETS. 
Enter PARIS, and his Page, bearing flowers and a torch.
PARIS:  Give me thy torch, boy: hence, and stand aloof;  
Yet put it out, for I would not be seen.  
Under yond yew-trees lay thee all along,            5
Holding thine ear close to the hollow ground:  
So shall no foot upon the churchyard tread,  
Being loose, unfirm with digging up of graves,  
But thou shalt hear it: whistle then to me,  
As signal that thou hear’st something approach.            10
Give me those flowers. Do as I bid thee; go.  
PAGE:  [Aside.]  I am almost afraid to stand alone  
Here in the churchyard; yet I will adventure.  [Retires.  
PARIS:  Sweet flower, with flowers thy bridal bed I strew,  
O woe! thy canopy is dust and stones;            15
Which with sweet water nightly I will dew,  
Or, wanting that, with tears distill’d by moans:  
The obsequies that I for thee will keep  
Nightly shall be to strew thy grave and weep.  [The Page whistles.  
The boy gives warning something doth approach.            20
What cursed foot wanders this way to-night,  
To cross my obsequies and true love’s rite?  
What! with a torch?—muffle me, night, awhile.  [Retires.  

Enter ROMEO and BALTHASAR, with a torch, mattock, &c.
ROMEO:  Give me that mattock, and the wrenching iron.            25
Hold, take this letter; early in the morning  
See thou deliver it to my lord and father.  
Give me the light: upon thy life I charge thee,  
Whate’er thou hear’st or seest, stand all aloof,  
And do not interrupt me in my course.            30
Why I descend into this bed of death,  
Is partly, to behold my lady’s face;  
But chiefly to take thence from her dead finger  
A precious ring, a ring that I must use  
In dear employment: therefore hence, be gone:            35
But, if thou, jealous, dost return to pry  
In what I further shall intend to do,  
By heaven, I will tear thee joint by joint,  
And strew this hungry churchyard with thy limbs.  
The time and my intents are savage-wild,            40
More fierce and more inexorable far  
Than empty tigers or the roaring sea.  
BALTHASAR:  I will be gone, sir, and not trouble you.  
ROMEO:  So shalt thou show me friendship. Take thou that:  
Live, and be prosperous; and farewell, good fellow.            45
BALTHASAR:  [Aside.]  For all this same, I’ll hide me here about:  
His looks I fear, and his intents I doubt.  [Retires.  
ROMEO:  Thou detestable maw, thou womb of death,  
Gorg’d with the dearest morsel of the earth,  
Thus I enforce thy rotten jaws to open,  [Opens the tomb.            50
And, in despite, I’ll cram thee with more food!  
PARIS:  This is that banish’d haughty Montague,  
That murder’d my love’s cousin, with which grief  
It is supposed the fair creature died;  
And here is come to do some villanous shame            55
To the dead bodies: I will apprehend him.—  [Comes forward.  
Stop thy unhallow’d toil, vile Montague,  
Can vengeance be pursu’d further than death?  
Condemned villain, I do apprehend thee:  
Obey, and go with me; for thou must die.            60
ROMEO:  I must, indeed; and therefore came I hither.  
Good gentle youth, tempt not a desperate man;  
Fly hence and leave me: think upon these gone;  
Let them affright thee. I beseech thee, youth,  
Put not another sin upon my head            65
By urging me to fury: O! be gone:  
By heaven, I love thee better than myself.  
For I come hither arm’d against myself:  
Stay not, be gone; live, and hereafter say  
A madman’s mercy bade thee run away.            70
PARIS:  I do defy thy conjurations,  
And apprehend thee for a felon here.  
ROMEO:  Wilt thou provoke me? then have at thee, boy!  [They fight.  
PAGE:  O Lord! they fight: I will go call the watch.  [Exit.  
PARIS:  [Falls.]  O, I am slain!—If thou be merciful,            75
Open the tomb, lay me with Juliet.  [Dies.  
ROMEO:  In faith, I will. Let me peruse this face:  
Mercutio’s kinsman, noble County Paris!  
What said my man when my betossed soul  
Did not attend him as we rode? I think            80
He told me Paris should have married Juliet:  
Said he not so? or did I dream it so?  
Or am I mad, hearing him talk of Juliet,  
To think it was so? O! give me thy hand,  
One writ with me in sour misfortune’s book:            85
I’ll bury thee in a triumphant grave;  
A grave? O, no! a lanthorn, slaughter’d youth,  
For here lies Juliet, and her beauty makes  
This vault a feasting presence full of light.  
Death, lie thou there, by a dead man interr’d,  [Laying PARIS in the tomb.            90
How oft when men are at the point of death  
Have they been merry! which their keepers call  
A lightning before death: O! how may I  
Call this a lightning? O my love! my wife!  
Death, that hath suck’d the honey of thy breath,            95
Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty:  
Thou art not conquer’d; beauty’s ensign yet  
Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks,  
And death’s pale flag is not advanced there.  
Tybalt, liest thou there in thy bloody sheet?            100
O! what more favour can I do to thee,  
Than with that hand that cut thy youth in twain  
To sunder his that was thine enemy?  
Forgive me, cousin! Ah! dear Juliet,  
Why art thou yet so fair? Shall I believe            105
That unsubstantial Death is amorous,  
And that the lean abhorred monster keeps  
Thee here in dark to be his paramour?  
For fear of that I still will stay with thee,  
And never from this palace of dim night            110
Depart again: here, here will I remain  
With worms that are thy chambermaids; O! here  
Will I set up my everlasting rest,  
And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars  
From this world-wearied flesh. Eyes, look your last!            115
Arms, take your last embrace! and, lips, O you  
The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss  
A dateless bargain to engrossing death!  
Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavoury guide!  
Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on            120
The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary bark!  
Here’s to my love!  [Drinks.]  O true apothecary!  
Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.  [Dies.  
Enter, at the other end of the Churchyard, FRIAR LAURENCE, with a lanthorn, crow, and spade.
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Saint Francis be my speed! how oft to-night            125
Have my old feet stumbled at graves! Who’s there?  
BALTHASAR:  Here’s one, a friend, and one that knows you well.  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Bliss be upon you! Tell me, good my friend,  
What torch is yond, that vainly lends his light  
To grubs and eyeless skulls? as I discern,            130
It burneth in the Capel’s monument.  
BALTHASAR:  It doth so, holy sir; and there’s my master,  
One that you love.  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Who is it?  
BALTHASAR:  Romeo.            135
FRIAR LAURENCE:  How long hath he been there?  
BALTHASAR:  Full half an hour.  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Go with me to the vault.  
BALTHASAR:  I dare not, sir.  
My master knows not but I am gone hence;            140
And fearfully did menace me with death  
If I did stay to look on his intents.  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  Stay then, I’ll go alone. Fear comes upon me;  
O! much I fear some ill unlucky thing.  
BALTHASAR:  As I did sleep under this yew-tree here,            145
I dreamt my master and another fought,  
And that my master slew him.  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  [Advances.]  Romeo!  
Alack, alack! what blood is this which stains  
The stony entrance of this sepulchre?            150
What mean these masterless and gory swords  
To lie discolour’d by this place of peace?  [Enters the tomb.  
Romeo! O, pale! Who else? what! Paris too?  
And steep’d in blood? Ah! what an unkind hour  
Is guilty of this lamentable chance.            155
The lady stirs.  [JULIET wakes.  
JULIET:  O, comfortable friar! where is my lord?  
I do remember well where I should be,  
And there I am. Where is my Romeo?  [Noise within.  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  I hear some noise. Lady, come from that nest            160
Of death, contagion, and unnatural sleep:  
A greater power than we can contradict  
Hath thwarted our intents: come, come away.  
Thy husband in thy bosom there lies dead;  
And Paris too: come, I’ll dispose of thee            165
Among a sisterhood of holy nuns.  
Stay not to question, for the watch is coming;  
Come, go, good Juliet.—[Noise again.]  I dare no longer stay.  
JULIET:  Go, get thee hence, for I will not away.  [Exit FRIAR LAURENCE.  
What’s here? a cup, clos’d in my true love’s hand?            170
Poison, I see, hath been his timeless end.  
O churl! drunk all, and left no friendly drop  
To help me after! I will kiss thy lips;  
Haply, some poison yet doth hang on them,  
To make me die with a restorative.  [Kisses him.            175
Thy lips are warm!  
FIRST WATCH:  [Within.]  Lead, boy: which way?  
JULIET:  Yea, noise? then I’ll be brief. O happy dagger!  [Snatching ROMEO’S dagger.  
This is thy sheath;  [Stabs herself.]  there rest, and let me die.  [Falls on ROMEO’S body and dies.  
Enter Watch, with the Page of PARIS.             180

PAGE:  This is the place; there where the torch doth burn.  
FIRST WATCH:  The ground is bloody; search about the churchyard.  
Go, some of you; whoe’er you find, attach.  [Exeunt some of the Watch.  
Pitiful sight! here lies the county slain,  
And Juliet bleeding, warm, and newly dead,            185
Who here hath lain these two days buried.  
Go, tell the prince, run to the Capulets,  
Raise up the Montagues, some others search:  [Exeunt others of the Watch.  
We see the ground whereon these woes do lie;  
But the true ground of all these piteous woes            190
We cannot without circumstance descry.  
Re-enter some of the Watch, with BALTHASAR.
SECOND WATCH:  Here’s Romeo’s man; we found him in the churchyard.  
FIRST WATCH:  Hold him in safety, till the prince come hither.  
Re-enter others of the Watch, with FRIAR LAURENCE.            195

THIRD WATCH:  Here is a friar, that trembles, sighs, and weeps;  
We took this mattock and this spade from him,  
As he was coming from this churchyard side.  
FIRST WATCH:  A great suspicion: stay the friar too.  
Enter the PRINCE and Attendants.           200

PRINCE:  What misadventure is so early up,  
That calls our person from our morning’s rest?  
Enter CAPULET, LADY CAPULET, and Others.
CAPULET:  What should it be, that they so shriek abroad?  
LADY CAPULET:  The people in the street cry Romeo,            205
Some Juliet, and some Paris; and all run  
With open outcry toward our monument.  
PRINCE:  What fear is this which startles in our ears?  
FIRST WATCH:  Sovereign, here lies the County Paris slain;  
And Romeo dead; and Juliet, dead before,            210
Warm and new kill’d.  
PRINCE:  Search, seek, and know how this foul murder comes.  
FIRST WATCH:  Here is a friar, and slaughter’d Romeo’s man;  
With instruments upon them, fit to open  
These dead men’s tombs.            215
CAPULET:  O, heaven!—O wife! look how our daughter bleeds!  
This dagger hath mista’en!—for, lo, his house  
Is empty on the back of Montague—  
And is mis-sheathed in my daughter’s bosom.  
LADY CAPULET:  O me! this sight of death is as a bell,            220
That warns my old age to a sepulchre.  

Enter MONTAGUE and Others.
PRINCE:  Come, Montague: for thou art early up,  
To see thy son and heir more early down.          
MONTAGUE:   Alas! my liege, my wife is dead to-night;               225
Grief of my son’s exile hath stopp’d her breath.  
What further woe conspires against mine age?  
PRINCE:  Look, and thou shalt see.  
MONTAGUE:  O thou untaught! what manners is in this,            230
To press before thy father to a grave?  
PRINCE:  Seal up the mouth of outrage for a while,  
Till we can clear these ambiguities,  
And know their spring, their head, their true descent;  
And then will I be general of your woes,            235
And lead you even to death: meantime forbear,  
And let mischance be slave to patience.  
Bring forth the parties of suspicion.  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  I am the greatest, able to do least,  
Yet most suspected, as the time and place            240
Doth make against me, of this direful murder;  
And here I stand, both to impeach and purge  
Myself condemned and myself excus’d.  
PRINCE:  Then say at once what thou dost know in this.  
FRIAR LAURENCE:  I will be brief, for my short date of breath            245
Is not so long as is a tedious tale.  
Romeo, there dead, was husband to that Juliet;  
And she, there dead, that Romeo’s faithful wife:  
I married them; and their stolen marriage-day  
Was Tybalt’s doomsday, whose untimely death            250
Banish’d the new-made bridegroom from this city;  
For whom, and not for Tybalt, Juliet pin’d.  
You, to remove that siege of grief from her,  
Betroth’d, and would have married her perforce,  
To County Paris: then comes she to me,            255
And, with wild looks bid me devise some mean  
To rid her from this second marriage,  
Or in my cell there would she kill herself.  
Then gave I her,—so tutor’d by my art,—  
A sleeping potion; which so took effect            260
As I intended, for it wrought on her  
The form of death: meantime I writ to Romeo  
That he should hither come as this dire night,  
To help to take her from her borrow’d grave,  
Being the time the potion’s force should cease.            265
But he which bore my letter, Friar John,  
Was stay’d by accident, and yesternight  
Return’d my letter back. Then, all alone,  
At the prefixed hour of her waking,  
Came I to take her from her kindred’s vault,            270
Meaning to keep her closely at my cell,  
Till I conveniently could send to Romeo:  
But, when I came,—some minute ere the time  
Of her awakening,—here untimely lay  
The noble Paris and true Romeo dead.            275
She wakes; and I entreated her come forth,  
And bear this work of heaven with patience;  
But then a noise did scare me from the tomb,  
And she, too desperate, would not go with me,  
But, as it seems, did violence on herself.            280
All this I know; and to the marriage  
Her nurse is privy: and, if aught in this  
Miscarried by my fault, let my old life  
Be sacrific’d, some hour before his time,  
Unto the rigour of severest law.            285
PRINCE:  We still have known thee for a holy man.  
Where’s Romeo’s man? what can he say in this?  
BALTHASAR:  I brought my master news of Juliet’s death;  
And then in post he came from Mantua  
To this same place, to this same monument.            290
This letter he early bid me give his father,  
And threaten’d me with death, going in the vault,  
If I departed not and left him there.  
PRINCE:  Give me the letter; I will look on it.  
Where is the county’s page that rais’d the watch?            295
Sirrah, what made your master in this place?  
PAGE:  He came with flowers to strew his lady’s grave,  
And bid me stand aloof, and so I did;  
Anon, comes one with light to ope the tomb;  
And by and by my master drew on him;            300
And then I ran away to call the watch.  
PRINCE:  This letter doth make good the friar’s words,  
Their course of love, the tidings of her death:  
And here he writes that he did buy a poison  
Of a poor ’pothecary, and therewithal            305
Came to this vault to die, and lie with Juliet.  
Where be these enemies?—Capulet! Montague!  
See what a scourge is laid upon your hate,  
That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love;  
And I, for winking at your discords too,            310
Have lost a brace of kinsmen: all are punish’d.  
CAPULET:  O brother Montague! give me thy hand:  
This is my daughter’s jointure, for no more  
Can I demand.  
MONTAGUE:   But I can give thee more;            315
For I will raise her statue in pure gold;  
That while Verona by that name is known.  
There shall no figure at such rate be set  
As that of true and faithful Juliet.  
CAPULET:  As rich shall Romeo by his lady lie;            320
Poor sacrifices of our enmity!  
PRINCE:  A glooming peace this morning with it brings;  
The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head:  
Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things:  
Some shall be pardon’d, and some punished:            325
For never was a story of more woe  
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.  [Exeunt.  
Notes and Word Definitions

yond: Yonder.
obsequies: Funeral rites.
muffle: Hide.
mattock: Digging tool similar to a pick.
Aside: Stage direction indicating that the speaker is whispering to himself or another person.
maw: Mouth; jaws; stomach.
conjurations: Requests; pleas; warnings.
betossed: Stressed and preoccupied.
Did not attend: Did not pay attention to.
lanthorn: Lantern.
Death . . . there: Romeo addresses death (personification).
ensign: Sign.
sunder his: End his life. (Romeo is speaking of himself.)
conduct: Guide; conductor.
pilot: Guide; boat captain.
bark: Boat.
lanthorn: Lantern.
crow: Crowbar.
Saint Francis: Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), founder of the Franciscan order of Roman Catholic priests and a canonized saint.
intents: Activities.
attach: Arrest.
We . . . descry: We cannot explain how this happened unless we know the facts.
house: sheath, scabbard.
Seal . . . outrage: G. B. Harrison notes that curtains on the stage close in front of the bodies after the prince speaks this line. (Shakespeare: The Complete Works. Harcourt: New York, 1952, page 509.)
general . . . to death: The prince compares himself to a general who takes command and promises to explain what happened.
my short . . . long: There are not many years left in my life. (The friar is old and may not have long to live.)
mean: Means.
Being . . . cease: By the time the effects of the drug wear off.
aught: Anything.
Anon: A little while later.
This . . . jointure: Joining our families (making peace) is what my daughter would have wanted.

About the Author of This Study Guide

Michael J. Cummings taught English and literature at the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, Pa., and at public schools in Pennsylvania and New York. He also worked as a journalist for seventeen years, five of which he was managing editor of the national publication GRIT when it had a circulation of more than one million. He earned a bachelor's degree in English at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and pursued further studies at Lycoming College in Williamsport and at Elmira College in Elmira, N.Y. In addition, he attended two training workshops at the American Press Institute. He served for a time as a member of the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors. Cummings is the author of more than one thousand freelance articles and several books. He has written more than one hundred Internet literature guides for students and teachers. His Internet site on Shakespeare has been recommended by The New York Times and the BBC.