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Analysis of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

By NASRULLAH MAMBROL on July 25, 2020 • ( 6 )

Shakespeare, more than any other author, has instructed the West in the catastrophes of sexuality, and has invented the formula that the sexual becomes the erotic when crossed by the shadow of death. There had to be one high song of the erotic by Shakespeare, one lyrical and tragi-comical paean celebrating an unmixed love and lamenting its inevitable destruction. Romeo and Juliet is unmatched, in Shakespeare and in the world’s literature, as a vision of an uncompromising mutual love that perishes of its own idealism and intensity.

‚ÄĒHarold Bloom, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human

Romeo and Juliet, regarded by many as William Shakespeare‚Äôs first great play, is generally thought to have been written around 1595. Shakespeare was then 31 years old, married for 12 years and the father of three children. He had been acting and writing in London for five years. His stage credits included mainly histories‚ÄĒthe three parts of Henry VI and Richard III ‚ÄĒand comedies‚ÄĒ The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Taming of the Shrew, The Comedy of Errors, and Love‚Äôs Labour‚Äôs Lost. Shakespeare‚Äôs first tragedy, modeled on Seneca, Titus Andronicus , was written around 1592. From that year through 1595 Shakespeare had also composed 154 sonnets and two long narrative poems in the erotic tradition‚ÄĒ Venus¬† and¬† Adonis ¬† and¬† The¬† Rape¬† of¬† Lucrece.¬† Both¬† his¬† dramatic¬† and¬† nondramatic¬† writing¬† show¬† Shakespeare¬† mastering¬† Elizabethan¬† literary¬† conventions.¬† Then,¬† around 1595, Shakespeare composed three extraordinary plays‚ÄĒR ichard II, A Midsummer Night‚Äôs Dream, and Romeo and Juliet ‚ÄĒin three different genres‚ÄĒhistory, comedy, and tragedy‚ÄĒsignalling a new mastery, originality, and excellence.¬† With¬† these¬† three¬† plays¬† Shakespeare¬† emerged¬† from¬† the¬† shadows¬† of¬† his¬† influences and initiated a period of unexcelled accomplishment. The two parts of Henry IV and Julius Caesar would follow, along with the romantic comedies The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, and Twelfth Night and the great tragedies Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra . The three plays¬† of¬† 1595,¬† therefore,¬† serve¬† as¬† an¬† important¬† bridge¬† between¬† Shakespeare‚Äôs¬† apprenticeship and his mature achievements. Romeo and Juliet, in particular, is a crucial play in the evolution of Shakespeare‚Äôs tragic vision, in his integration of poetry and drama, and in his initial exploration of the connection between love and tragedy that he would continue in Troilus and Cressida, Othello, and Antony¬† and¬† Cleopatra.¬† Romeo¬† and¬† Juliet ¬† is¬† not¬† only¬† one¬† of¬† the¬† greatest¬† love¬† stories in all literature, considering its stage history and the musicals, opera, music, ballet, literary works, and films that it has inspired; it is quite possibly the most popular play of all time. There is simply no more famous pair of lovers than Romeo and Juliet, and their story has become an inescapable central myth in our understanding of romantic love.

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Despite¬† the¬† play‚Äôs¬† persistence,¬† cultural¬† saturation,¬† and¬† popular¬† appeal,¬† Romeo and Juliet has fared less well with scholars and critics, who have generally judged it inferior to the great tragedies that followed. Instead of the later tragedies of character Romeo and Juliet has been downgraded as a tragedy of chance, and, in the words of critic James Calderwood, the star-crossed lovers are ‚Äúinsufficiently endowed with complexity‚ÄĚ to become tragic heroes. Instead ‚Äúthey¬† become¬† a¬† study¬† of¬† victimage¬† and¬† sacrifice,¬† not¬† tragedy.‚Ä̬† What¬† is¬† too¬† often missing in a consideration of the shortcomings of Romeo and Juliet by contrast with the later tragedies is the radical departure the play represented when compared to what preceded it. Having relied on Senecan horror for his first tragedy, Titus¬† Andronicus,¬† Shakespeare¬† located¬† his¬† next¬† in¬† the¬† world¬† of¬† comedy and romance. Romeo and Juliet is set not in antiquity, as Elizabethan convention dictated for a tragic subject, but in 16th-century Verona, Italy. His tragic protagonists are neither royal nor noble, as Aristotle advised, but two teenagers caught up in the petty disputes of their families. The plight of young lovers pitted against parental or societal opposition was the expected subject, since¬† Roman¬† times,¬† of¬† comedy,¬† not¬† tragedy.¬† By¬† showing¬† not¬† the ¬†eventual¬† triumph¬† but¬† the¬† death¬† of¬† the¬† two¬† young¬† lovers¬† Shakespeare¬† violated¬† comic¬† conventions,¬† while¬† making¬† a¬† case¬† that¬† love¬† and¬† its¬† consequences¬† could¬† be¬† treated with an unprecedented tragic seriousness. As critic Harry Levin has observed, Shakespeare‚Äôs contemporaries ‚Äúwould have been surprised, and possibly shocked at seeing lovers taken so seriously. Legend, it had been hereto-fore taken for granted, was the proper matter for serious drama; romance was the stuff of the comic stage.‚ÄĚ

Shakespeare‚Äôs innovations are further evident in comparison to his source material.¬† The¬† plot¬† was¬† a¬† well-known¬† story¬† in¬† Italian,¬† French,¬† and¬† English¬† versions. Shakespeare‚Äôs direct source was Arthur Brooke‚Äôs poem The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet (1562). This moralistic work was intended as¬† a¬† warning¬† to¬† youth¬† against¬† ‚Äúdishonest¬† desire‚Ä̬† and¬† disobeying¬† parental¬† authority. Shakespeare, by contrast, purifies and ennobles the lovers‚Äô passion, intensifies¬† the¬† pathos,¬† and¬† underscores¬† the¬† injustice¬† of¬† the¬† lovers‚Äô¬† destruction.¬† Compressing¬† the¬† action¬† from¬† Brooke‚Äôs¬† many¬† months¬† into¬† a¬† five-day crescendo, Shakespeare also expands the roles of secondary characters such as¬† Mercutio¬† and¬† Juliet‚Äôs¬† nurse¬† into¬† vivid¬† portraits¬† that¬† contrast¬† the¬† lovers‚Äô elevated lyricism with a bawdy earthiness and worldly cynicism. Shakespeare transforms Brooke‚Äôs plodding verse into a tour de force verbal display that is supremely witty, if at times over elaborate, and, at its best, movingly expressive. If the poet and the dramatist are not yet seamlessly joined in Romeo and Juliet, the play still displays a considerable advance in Shakespeare‚Äôs orchestration of verse, image, and incident that would become the hallmark of his greatest achievements.

The play’s theme and outcome are announced in the Prologue:

Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life; Whose misadventur’d piteous overthrows Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife.

Suspense over the lovers‚Äô fate is eliminated at the outset as Shakespeare emphasizes the forces that will destroy them. The initial scene makes this clear as a public brawl between servants of the feuding Montagues and Capulets escalates to involve kinsmen and the patriarchs on both sides, ended only when the Prince of Verona enforces a cease-fire under penalty of death for future offenders of the peace. Romeo, Montague‚Äôs young son, does not participate in the scuffle since he is totally absorbed by a hopeless passion for a young, unresponsive beauty named Rosaline. Initially Romeo appears as a figure of mockery, the embodiment of the hypersensitive, melancholy adolescent lover, who¬† is¬† urged¬† by¬† his¬† kinsman¬† Benvolio¬† to¬† resist¬† sinking¬† ‚Äúunder¬† love‚Äôs¬† heavy¬† burden‚Ä̬† and¬† seek¬† another¬† more¬† worthy¬† of¬† his¬† affection.¬† Another¬† kinsman,¬† Mercutio, for whom love is more a game of easy conquest, urges Romeo to ‚Äúbe¬† rough¬† with¬† love‚Ä̬† and¬† master¬† his¬† circumstances.¬† When¬† by¬† chance¬† it¬† is¬† learned that Rosaline is to attend a party at the Capulets, Benvolio suggests that they should go as well for Romeo to compare Rosaline‚Äôs charms with the other beauties at the party and thereby cure his infatuation. There Romeo sees Juliet, Capulet‚Äôs not-yet 14-year-old daughter. Her parents are encouraging her¬† to¬† accept¬† a¬† match¬† with¬† Count¬† Paris¬† for¬† the¬† social¬† benefit¬† of¬† the¬† family.¬† Love¬† as¬† affectation¬† and¬† love¬† as¬† advantage¬† are¬† transformed¬† into¬† love¬† as¬† all-consuming, mutual passion at first sight. Romeo claims that he ‚Äúne‚Äôer saw true beauty till this night,‚ÄĚ and by the force of that beauty, he casts off his former melancholic¬† self-absorption.¬† Juliet is¬† no¬† less¬† smitten.¬† Sending her nurse¬† to¬† learn the stranger‚Äôs identity, she worries, ‚ÄúIf he be married, / My grave is like to be my wedding bed.‚ÄĚ Both are shocked to learn that they are on either side of the family feud, and their risk is underscored when the Capulet kinsman, Tybalt, recognizes Romeo and, though prevented by Capulet from violence at the party, swears future vengeance. Tybalt‚Äôs threat underscores that this is a play as much about hate as about love, in which Romeo and Juliet‚Äôs passion is¬† increasingly¬† challenged¬† by¬† the¬† public¬† and¬† family¬† forces¬† that¬† deny¬† love‚Äôs¬† authority.

The  first  of  the  couple’s  two  great  private  moments  in  which  love’s  redemptive and transformative power works its magic follows in possibly the most famous single scene in all of drama, set in the Capulets’ orchard, over-looked by Juliet’s bedroom window. In some of the most impassioned, lyrical, and famous verses Shakespeare ever wrote, the lovers’ dialogue perfectly captures the ecstasy of love and love’s capacity to remake the world. Seeing Juliet above at her window, Romeo says:

But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? 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.

He overhears Juliet’s declaration of her love for him and the rejection of what is implied if a Capulet should love a Montague:

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. . . . ’Tis but thy name that is my enemy. Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot, 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 .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, Take all myself.

In  a  beautifully  modulated  scene  the  lovers  freely  admit  their  passion  and  exchange vows of love that become a marriage proposal. As Juliet continues to be called back to her room and all that is implied as Capulet’s daughter, time and space become the barriers to love’s transcendent power to unite.

With the assistance of Friar Lawrence, who regards the union of a Montague and a Capulet as an opportunity ‚ÄúTo turn your households‚Äô rancour to pure¬† love,‚Ä̬† Romeo¬† and¬† Juliet¬† are¬† secretly¬† married.¬† Before¬† nightfall¬† and¬† the¬† anticipated consummation of their union Romeo is set upon by Tybalt, who is by Romeo‚Äôs marriage, his new kinsman. Romeo accordingly refuses his challenge, but it is answered by Mercutio. Romeo tries to separate the two, but in the¬† process¬† Mercutio¬† is¬† mortally¬† wounded.¬† This¬† is¬† the¬† tragic¬† turn¬† of¬† the¬† play¬† as¬† Romeo,¬† enraged,¬† rejects¬† the¬† principle¬† of¬† love¬† forged¬† with¬† Juliet¬† for¬† the claims of reputation, the demand for vengeance, and an identifi cation of masculinity with violent retribution:

My very friend, hath got this mortal hurt In my behalf; my reputation stain‚Äôd With Tybalt‚Äôs slander‚ÄĒTybalt, that an hour Hath been my kinsman. O sweet Juliet, Thy beauty hath made me effeminate And in my temper soft‚Äôned valour‚Äôs steel!

After killing Tybalt, Romeo declares, ‚ÄúO, I am fortune‚Äôs fool!‚ÄĚ He may blame circumstances for his predicament, but he is clearly culpable in capitulating to the values of society he had challenged in his love for Juliet.

The lovers are given one final moment of privacy before the catastrophe. Juliet, awaiting Romeo’s return, gives one of the play’s most moving speeches, balancing sublimity with an intimation of mortality that increasingly accompanies the lovers:

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 That all the world will be in love with night And pay no worship to the garish sun.

Learning the terrible news of Tybalt’s death and Romeo’s banishment, Juliet wins her own battle between hate and love and sends word to Romeo to keep their appointed night together before they are parted.

As Romeo is away in Mantua Juliet‚Äôs parents push ahead with her wedding to Paris. The solution to Juliet‚Äôs predicament is offered by Friar Lawrence who gives her a drug that will make it appear she has died. The Friar is to summon Romeo,¬† who¬† will¬† rescue¬† her¬† when¬† she¬† awakes¬† in¬† the¬† Capulet¬† family¬† tomb.¬† The Friar‚Äôs message to Romeo fails to reach him, and Romeo learns of Juliet‚Äôs death. Reversing his earlier claim of being ‚Äúfortune‚Äôs fool,‚ÄĚ Romeo reacts by declaring, ‚ÄúThen I defy you, stars,‚ÄĚ rushing to his wife and breaking society‚Äôs rules by acquiring the poison to join her in death. Reaching the tomb Romeo is surprised to find Paris on hand, weeping for his lost bride. Outraged by the intrusion¬† on¬† his¬† grief¬† Paris¬† confronts¬† Romeo.¬† They¬† fight,¬† and¬† after¬† killing¬† Paris, Romeo fi nally recognizes him and mourns him as ‚ÄúMercutio‚Äôs kinsman.‚ÄĚ Inside the tomb Romeo sees Tybalt‚Äôs corpse and asks forgiveness before taking leave of Juliet with a kiss:

. . . O, here Will I set up my everlasting rest And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars From this world-wearied flesh.

Juliet¬† awakes¬† to¬† see¬† Romeo¬† dead¬† beside¬† her.¬† Realizing¬† what¬† has¬† happened,¬† she responds by taking his dagger and plunges it into her breast: ‚ÄúThis is thy sheath; there rest, and let me die.‚ÄĚ

Montagues, Capulets, and the Prince arrive, and the Friar explains what has happened and why. His account of Romeo and Juliet’s tender passion and devotion shames the two families into ending their feud. The Prince provides the final eulogy:

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; For never was a story of more woe Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

The¬† sense¬† of¬† loss¬† Verona¬† and¬† the¬† audience¬† feels¬† at¬† the¬† lovers‚Äô¬† deaths¬† is¬† a¬† direct¬† result¬† of¬† Shakespeare‚Äôs¬† remarkable¬† ability¬† to¬† conjure¬† love¬† in¬† all¬† its¬† transcendent power, along with its lethal risks. Set on a collision course with the values bent on denying love‚Äôs sway, Romeo and Juliet manage to create a dreamlike, alternative, private world that is so touching because it is so brief and perishable. Shakespeare‚Äôs triumph here is to make us care that adolescent romance matters‚ÄĒemotionally,¬† psychologically,¬† and¬† socially‚ÄĒand¬† that¬† the¬† premature and unjust death of lovers rival in profundity and significance the fall of kings.

Romeo and Juliet Oxford Lecture by Emma Smith
Analysis of William Shakespeare’s Plays

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Romeo and Juliet Act I Prologue

By William Shakespeare

‘Romeo and Juliet Act I Prologue’ is a narrator spoken sonnet from ‘Romeo and Juliet’ which sets the scene, and alludes to events to come in Shakespeare’s world famous play.

William Shakespeare

His plays and poems are read all over the world.  

Emma Baldwin

Poem Analyzed by Emma Baldwin

B.A. English (Minor: Creative Writing), B.F.A. Fine Art, B.A. Art Histories

‘ Act I Prologue ’  which appears in  Romeo and Juliet  by William Shakespeare is read before the first actors enter the stage.   These lines are spoken by the “Chorus” or a narrator or group of narrators who are there to introduce scenes, characters, or give necessary background detail. They are not seen or heard by the actors on the stage.  

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Explore the Romeo and Juliet Act I Prologue

  • 1 Summary of the Act I Prologue 
  • 2 Structure of Romeo and Juliet Act I Prologue
  • 3 Literary Devices in Act I Prologue 
  • 4 Analysis of the Act I Prologue 

Romeo and Juliet Act I Prologue

Summary of the  Act I  Prologue  

The prologue alludes to the end of the play in which both Romeo and Juliet lost their lives. It is only due to that loss that their “parents’ rage” ends. The lines also specifically address the audience asking them to list with “patient ears” and find out how the events are going to play out.  

Structure of Romeo and Juliet Act I  Prologue

These fourteen lines of the ‘Act I Prologue’  take the form of a traditional Shakespearean sonnet . This form, which became known due to Shakespeare’s mastery of it and fondness for it, is made up of three quatrains , or sets of four lines, and one concluding couplet , or set of two rhyming lines. The poem follows a consistent rhyme scheme that conforms to the pattern of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG and it is written in iambic pentameter . This means that each line contains five sets of two beats, known as metrical feet. The first is unstressed and the second stressed. It sounds something like da-DUM, da-DUM.  

As is common in Shakespeare’s poems , the last two lines are a rhyming pair, known as a couplet. They often bring with them a turn or volta in the poem. They’re sometimes used to answer a question posed in the previous twelve lines, shift the perspective , or even change speakers. The Shakespearean sonnet is now considered to be one of the major sonnet forms, alongside the Petrarchan or Italian sonnet .  

Literary Devices in Act I Prologue  

Shakespeare makes use of several literary devices in ‘Act I Prologue’. These include but are not limited to allusion , alliteration , and enjambment . The first of these, allusion, is the most prominent. This entire fourteen-line sonnet is one extended example of allusion. The lines all suggest what’s going to happen next, tap into themes that are elucidated throughout the next scenes and acts, and suggest what the audience’s reaction is going to be.  

Alliteration occurs when words are used in succession, or at least appear close together, and begin with the same sound. For example, “break” and “blood” in lines three and four and “lovers” and “life” in line six. Another important technique commonly used in poetry is enjambment. It occurs when a line is cut off before its natural stopping point. Enjambment forces a reader down to the next line, and the next, quickly. One has to move forward in order to comfortably resolve a phrase or sentence. For instance, the transition between lines five and six.

Analysis of the  Act I  Prologue  

Lines 1-4  .

Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.

In the first lines of the prologue to the famous play Romeo and Juliet the speaker , who is the “Chorus” addresses the audience. This person is all-knowing and has a full understanding of what is about to happen on stage.  

In the first line, the chorus tells the audience that it is in “Verona” a beautiful of “fair” city that the play is taking place. There are two major households in the city that have a long grudge between them. It has been at a standstill for a period of time but something new is going to happen.  

Lines 5-8  

From forth the fatal loins of these two foes A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life; Whose misadventur’d piteous overthrows Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife.

These families each have a child who is going to be involved in bloodshed and death. It is from the “fatal loins” of the families that a “pair of star-cross’d lovers” emerge. This line is a great example of syncope . Additionally, the reader should take note of the phrase “star-crossed lovers”. Shakespeare coined this term in the ‘Act I Prologue’ which is now used frequently in everyday speech , novels , and movies.  

Lines 9-14  

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, Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage; The which if you with patient ears attend, What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.

In the third quatrain of the ‘Act I Prologue’,  the speaker adds that these two children become lovers and commit suicide. It is their deaths that bring an end to the strife . It was only that which could possibly bring these families around and force them to realize what their feuding could result in.  

In the next lines, the chorus tells the audience to watch for the next “two hours” on the stage as the story of their lives, loves, and deaths play out. The audience should listen patiently and they will learn all the details that the chorus has missed in their introduction.  

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stop hating

imagine someone hating on a revision site

Lee-James Bovey

lol what the hell. i mean being a teacher is probably one of the most important jobs in the world even more important than a doctor. secondary school teachers especially have the most important job, to inspire the next generation.

Thank you – Although a teacher’s role is important I think that most jobs in society work in unison. For example, a teacher couldn’t operate effectively if there weren’t cleaners to make sure the site was kept tidy. Likewise without canteen staff kids would go hungry and wouldn’t have the capacity to learn. In turn, those roles require people to work in factories to make cleaning products and delivery drivers to deliver the catering supplies. Everyone does their bit in society.

poop

how much money do u make in a year what 30,000 wow doctors make millions

Damn, so we are gauging success by money. Then a teacher doesn’t count. Sorry to have let you down.

try to become a doctor or something that will make you succesful

Does a teacher count?

like for real try to become something better in life

Like a Eurovision contestant?

if you can try to get a better job

I am doing my teacher training. So I am on that. Thanks again.

wow try to work harder

That’s great advice. Thank you.

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Baldwin, Emma. "Romeo and Juliet Act I Prologue". Poem Analysis , https://poemanalysis.com/william-shakespeare/romeo-and-juliet-act-i-prologue/ . Accessed 16 July 2024.

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Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.

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Romeo and Juliet is rife with the powerful contrasting passions of Love and Hate. Since this work is a drama, Shakespeare has chosen to convey these emotions through characters’ language. This essay will examine how dialogue is used to demonstrate...

Ambiguous Portrayal of Juliet's Womanhood Anonymous College

In Act 4 Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet, Friar Lawrence, Paris, and Juliet converse about the upcoming marriage of Juliet and Paris. In the scene, Juliet’s new identity of an independent woman is forged through her vigor in dealing with Paris and the...

A Foreshadowing Conversation in Romeo and Juliet Anonymous College

In Romeo and Juliet, many ironic situations foreshadowing their doomed result. In the passage where Tybalt and Capulet debate at the masquerade feast, there are many lines that directly foreshadow two important components of the play: Romeo’s...

The Use of Religious Imagery in Romeo and Juliet Alexandra Best College

Throughout Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare makes heavy use of religious imagery, especially when concerned with the young couple. This imagery serves two purposes in the play. It underlines the purity of Romeo and Juliet’s love by associating it...

Romeo's Impulsiveness in Romeo and Juliet Anonymous 11th Grade

In Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet are doomed from the start, and the audience is aware of this from the prologue. “From forth the fatal loins of these two foes a pair of star-crossed lovers take their...

The Seed of Failure in Romeo and Juliet Michael Luo 9th Grade

Novelist Napoleon Hill once wrote, ‚ÄúThink twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in another.‚ÄĚ His opinion compels people to reconsider and reflect on the consequences and effects...

Are You My Mother? An Analysis of Juliet's Nurse Hayley Eadie 9th Grade

Most modern children grow up listening to their mothers tell fairytales and other fictional stories, but what did they do before the time of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White? In earlier centuries, it was not uncommon for care of small children to be...

Performances and Metatheatre in Marlowe’s Faustus Lea Dokter College

The theatrical device of performing a play within another play has been employed for centuries, most notably in European theatre and literature (Fisher and Greiden xi). The play within a play “describes a strategy for constructing play texts that...

Shakespeare’s presentation of Benvolio and Mercutio and the contrasting effects they have on Romeo. Amy Allison 10th Grade

Shakespeare uses a great number of linguistic and structural devices throughout his play ‚ÄėRomeo and Juliet‚Äô in order to portray the characters and their relationships with one another. In this essay I will explore and analyse the effects and...

The Gift of Free Will Anonymous College

Dutch humanist and scholar Erasmus defines free will as ‚Äúa power of the human will by which man may be able to direct himself towards or turn away from what leads to eternal salvation‚ÄĚ (Erasmus 6). Many literary works of the Renaissance debate the...

Mercutio in Two Romeo and Juliet Films Molly Elizabeth Pinder 9th Grade

Many film adaptations of William Shakespeare‚Äôs classic tragedy of ‚Äústar-crossed lovers‚ÄĚ have been made, both in the original setting and more modern ones (Shakespeare Prologue. 6). Two movies that exemplify this are Franco Zeffirelli‚Äôs Romeo and...

Symbolism of Nature in German Realism: The Uncertain Omnipresence Anonymous College

Nature is an important feature of poetic realism, an offshoot of German realism in the late 19th century. Gottfried Keller, the author of the novel Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe (Romeo and Juliet in the Village), is a Swiss writer who belongs to...

Dark and Light, Romeo and Juliet Anonymous 9th Grade

The Bible states ‚ÄúGod saw light was good, and he separated the light from darkness.‚ÄĚ Though light and dark are separated in Romeo in Juliet , they have entirely different connotations. The presence of light turns the characters belligerent, while...

The Use of Literary Devices to Create Humor in Romeo and Juliet Olivia Xie 11th Grade

In dark and dire situations, humor is often needed to lighten the atmosphere in order to ensure sanity. This proves to be very true in William Shakespeare’s tragic play, Romeo and Juliet. As the plot of the play continues to develop, tragic and...

Deceit in Romeo and Juliet Anonymous 9th Grade

As French writer Luc de Clapiers said, ‚ÄúThe art of pleasing is the art of deception.‚ÄĚ William Shakespeare, an artist of words, employed deceit and trickery in his stories to make them complex and engrossing. Deceit is a subject not often spoken...

poetry essay romeo and juliet

poetry essay romeo and juliet

Romeo and Juliet

William shakespeare, ask litcharts ai: the answer to your questions.

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Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet . Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

Romeo and Juliet: Introduction

Romeo and juliet: plot summary, romeo and juliet: detailed summary & analysis, romeo and juliet: themes, romeo and juliet: quotes, romeo and juliet: characters, romeo and juliet: symbols, romeo and juliet: literary devices, romeo and juliet: quizzes, romeo and juliet: theme wheel, brief biography of william shakespeare.

Romeo and Juliet PDF

Historical Context of Romeo and Juliet

Other books related to romeo and juliet.

  • Full Title: Romeo and Juliet
  • When Written: Likely 1591-1595
  • Where Written: London, England
  • When Published: ‚ÄúBad quarto‚ÄĚ (incomplete manuscript) printed in 1597; Second, more complete quarto printed in 1599; First folio, with clarifications and corrections, printed in 1623
  • Literary Period: Renaissance
  • Genre: Tragic play
  • Setting: Verona, Italy
  • Climax: Mistakenly believing that Juliet is dead, Romeo kills himself on her funeral bier by drinking poison. Juliet wakes up, finds Romeo dead, and fatally stabs herself with his dagger.
  • Antagonist: Capulet, Lady Capulet, Montague, Lady Montague, Tybalt

Extra Credit for Romeo and Juliet

Tourist Trap. Casa di Giulietta, a 12-century villa in Verona, is located just off the Via Capello (the possible origin of the anglicized surname ‚ÄúCapulet‚ÄĚ) and has become a major tourist attraction over the years because of its distinctive balcony. The house, purchased by the city of Verona in 1905 from private holdings, has been transformed into a kind of museum dedicated to the history of Romeo and Juliet , where tourists can view set pieces from some of the major film adaptations of the play and even leave letters to their loved ones. Never mind that ‚Äúthe balcony scene,‚ÄĚ one of the most famous scenes in English literature, may never have existed‚ÄĒthe word ‚Äúbalcony‚ÄĚ never appears in the play, and balconies were not an architectural feature of Shakespeare‚Äôs England‚ÄĒtourists flock from all over to glimpse Juliet‚Äôs famous veranda.

Love Language. While much of Shakespeare’s later work is written in a combination of verse and prose (used mostly to offer distinction between social classes, with nobility speaking in verse and commoners speaking in prose), Romeo and Juliet is notable for its heady blend of poetic forms. The play’s prologue is written in the form of a sonnet, while most of the dialogue adheres strictly to the rhythm of iambic pentameter. Romeo and Juliet alter their cadences when speaking to each another, using more casual, naturalistic speech. When they talk about other potential lovers, such as Rosaline and Paris, their speech is much more formal (to reflect the emotional falsity of those dalliances.) Friar Laurence speaks largely in sermons and aphorisms, while the nurse speaks in blank verse.

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poetry essay romeo and juliet

Speech: “ O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? ”

(from Romeo and Juliet , spoken by Juliet)

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Song of the Witches: “Double, double toil and trouble”

The phoenix and the turtle, sonnet 15: when i consider everything that grows, sonnet 18: shall i compare thee to a summer’s day, sonnet 19: devouring time, blunt thou the lion's paws.

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While William Shakespeare’s reputation is based primarily on his plays, he became famous first as a poet. With the partial exception of the Sonnets (1609), quarried since the early 19th century for autobiographical secrets allegedly encoded in them, the nondramatic writings have traditionally been pushed...

  • Renaissance

Romeo And Juliet Essay for Students and Children

500+ words essay on romeo and juliet.

Romeo and Juliet is the most famous love tragedy written by William Shakespeare. This is a story of love and fate. Furthermore, the basis of this tragic love story is the Old Italian tale translated into English in the sixteenth century. The story is about two young star-crossed lovers whose death results in reconcile between their feuding families. Moreover, Romeo and Juliet is among the most frequently performed plays by Shakespeare .

Romeo and Juliet Essay

Lessons of Love from Romeo and Juliet

First of all, Romeo and Juliet teach us that love is blind. Romeo and Juliet belonged to two influential families. Furthermore, these two families were engaged in a big feud among themselves. However, against all odds, Romeo and Juliet find each other and fall in love. Most noteworthy, they are blind to the fact that they are from rival families. They strive to be together in spite of the threat of hate between their families.

Another important lesson is that love brings out the best in us. Most noteworthy, Romeo and Juliet were very different characters by the end of the story than in the beginning. Romeo was suffering from depression before he met Juliet. Furthermore, Juliet was an innocent timid girl. Juliet was forced into marriage against her will by her parents. After falling in love, the personalities of these characters changed in positive ways. Romeo becomes a deeply passionate lover and Juliet becomes a confident woman.

Life without love is certainly not worth living. Later in the story, Romeo learns that his beloved Juliet is dead. At this moment Romeo felt a heart-shattering moment. Romeo then gets extremely sad and drinks poison. However, Juliet was alive and wakes up to see Romeo dead. Juliet then immediately decides to kill herself due to this massive heartbreak. Hence, both lovers believed that life without love is not worth living.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Legacy of Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays. Furthermore, the play was very popular even in Shakespeare‚Äôs lifetime. Scholar Gary Taylor believes it as the sixth most popular of Shakespeare’s plays. Moreover, Sir William Davenant of the Duke’s Company staged Romeo and Juliet in 1662. The earliest production of Romeo and Juliet was in North America on 23 March 1730.

There were professional performances of Romeo and Juliet in the mid-19th century. In 19th century America, probably the most elaborate productions of Romeo and Juliet took place. The first professional performance of the play in Japan seems to be George Crichton Miln’s company’s production in 1890. In the 20th century, Romeo and Juliet became the second most popular play behind Hamlet.

There have been at least 24 operas based on Romeo and Juliet. The best-known ballet version of this play is Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. Most noteworthy, Romeo and Juliet have a huge impact on literature. Romeo and Juliet made romance as a worthy topic for tragedy. Before Romeo and Juliet, romantic tragedy was certainly unthinkable.

Romeo and Juliet are probably the most popular romantic fictional characters. They have been an inspiration for lovers around the world for centuries. Most noteworthy, the story depicts the struggle of the couple against a patriarchal society. People will always consider Romeo and Juliet as archetypal young lovers.

Q1 State any one lesson of love from Romeo and Juliet?

A1 One lesson of love from Romeo and Juliet is that love brings out the best in us.

Q2 What makes Romeo and Juliet unique in literature?

A2 Romeo and Juliet made romance as a worthy topic for tragedy. This is what makes it unique.

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114 Romeo and Juliet Essay Titles & Examples

Looking for Romeo and Juliet essay titles? The world’s most tragic story is worth writing about!

ūü•Ä Best Romeo and Juliet Essay Titles

ūüĖ§ romeo and juliet essay prompts.

  • ūüŹÜ Best Romeo and Juliet Essay Examples

ūüďĆ Interesting Romeo and Juliet Essay Topics

ūüé≠ easy titles for romeo and juliet essays, ūüĎć exciting romeo and juliet title ideas, ‚Ěď romeo and juliet essay questions.

Romeo and Juliet is probably the most famous tragedy by William Shakespeare. It is a story of two young lovers whose deaths reconcile their feuding families. Whether you are assigned an argumentative, persuasive, or analytical essay on this piece of literature, this article will answer all your questions. Below you’ll find Romeo and Juliet essay examples, thesis ideas, and paper topics.

  • “Romeo and Juliet”: character analysis
  • What role does the setting play in “Romeo and Juliet”?
  • “Romeo and Juliet” and antique tradition of tragic love stories
  • Theme of love in “Romeo and Juliet”
  • What role does the theme of fate play in “Romeo and Juliet”?
  • “Romeo and Juliet”: dramatic structure analysis
  • Analyze the balcony scene in “Romeo and Juliet”
  • “Romeo and Juliet”: feminist criticism
  • The most famous adaptations of “Romeo and Juliet”
  • “Romeo and Juliet” in the world culture

Keep reading to learn the key points you can use to write a successful paper.

  • Original Italian Tale vs. Shakespeare‚Äôs Tragedy

The story described in Shakespeare’s tragedy is based on the Italian tale that was translated into English in the sixteenth century. Original version represents situations and lines from Romeo and Juliet lives.

Shakespeare added a few more main characters: Mercutio, Paris, and Tybalt. Numerous researches state that Shakespeare used three sources to write his tragedy: a novella Giulietta e Romeo by Matteo Bandello, written in 1554; a story Il Novellio, by Masuccio Salernitano; and the Historia Novellamente Ritrovata di Due Nobili Amanti, written by Luigi Da Porto.

You can learn more about these novels to find out similarities and differences between primary sources and Shakespeare’s work

  • Love and Fate in Romeo and Juliet

If you’re going to write Romeo and Juliet essay on fate, read this paragraph. Fate is the fundamental concept of the plot. It makes us look at Romeo and Juliet affair as a single tragedy.

At the same time, another core element of the story is love. From the very beginning of the drama, you will clearly understand that the story will end in tragedy.

Shakespeare shows us the value of fate events.

However, love remains a crucial thematic element. The roles of Nurse, Paris, and Romeo show us a physical attraction, sympathy, and romantic affection while being the embodiment of love. Analyze what type of love is represented by each character in your essay. Explain, what do you think real love is.

  • Value and Duality in Romeo and Juliet

Among the central idea to consider for your Romeo and Juliet essay titles is an issue of value and duality. Shakespeare actively uses duality in his tragedy by representing the deaths of Romeo and Juliet as reasons of tragedy in Verona, which brought new order to the city.

Friar Laurence also reveals ambiguity when he helped Romeo and thus forced young lovers to suffer in the end. The decision to marry couple had a reason to end the conflict between Montague and Capulets.

Romeo and Juliet’s example discloses happiness and blame brought by key episodes and change in society. In your writing, you may analyze how the effect of adoration had influenced Romeo, Juliet, and other people lives.

  • Masculinity in Romeo and Juliet

A lot of Romeo and Juliet essay examples analyze the role of gender and masculinity in the tragedy. Mercutio is shown as a classic example of a real man: active, brave citizen.

He is a person of action. On the other hand, Romeo is described as a boy who seeks for love. Romeo and Juliet love thrown into quarreling world.

You can analyze the reasons why Romeo fights and kills Paris when finding him near Juliet body.

Covering all of the points mentioned above will help you to produce an outstanding Romeo and Juliet essay. Check the samples below to get inspiration and more ideas that you can use in your own paper.

ūüŹÜ Best Romeo and Juliet Topic Ideas & Essay Examples

  • Different Types of Love Portrayed in Shakespeare‚Äôs Romeo and Juliet Term Paper In regards to this communication, the issue of romantic love between Romeo and Juliet is highlighted7. The concept of true love is no where to be seen in Romeo and Juliet’s relationship.
  • William Shakespeare “Romeo and Juliet” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” This paper examines romantic love as the source of joy and fulfillment in “Romeo and Juliet” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Love is the source of pain and suffering in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.
  • The Portrayal of Fate in ‚ÄúRomeo and Juliet‚ÄĚ Thus, the play Romeo and Juliet demonstrates that fate is the invisible, unavoidable force behind the entirety of the human experience.
  • William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” in Baz Luhrmann’s Interpretation The fragility of love in this work is contrasted with its hardness – it can be compared in quality and beauty to a cut diamond.
  • Franco Zeffirelli’s “Romeo and Juliet” Adaptation As the plot of the play develops and the reader gets more involved in the reading of the play, the constant need to read the stage directions has a disruptive effect on the reader’s interaction […]
  • Symbolism and Foreshadowing in “Romeo and Juliet” The love of Juliet to Romeo at the early stages is described as the “bud love, expected to grow into a beauteous flower” when the two meet later.
  • The Renaissance Time During Romeo and Juliet Men and women performed different roles in the household; the man was responsible for farming while the woman took care of the poultry and dairy. In the upper-class, marriages were arranged and the parents chose […]
  • Breaking the Rules: Romeo and Juliet‚Äôs Quest for Independence Finally, the death of Romeo and Juliet puts an end to their love and is powerful enough to reconcile their feuding families.
  • Romeo and Juliet‚Äôs Analysis and Comparison With the Film Romeo Must Die It can be concluded that, in the case of the original Romeo and Juliet, the main heroes are dying, but their families reconcile.
  • Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet: Act 1 Scene 4 Review In this speech alone we see Mercutio in direct opposition to all of the characters in Romeo and Juliet while at the same time we are provided an alternate point of view to the ideals […]
  • Analysis of the Play ‚ÄėRomeo and Juliet‚Äô Another interesting scene of the production that makes it real understanding of the authors work is the casting of the romantic love between Romeo and Juliet, the physical love of the nurse and the contractual […]
  • Forbidden Love in Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare From Freud’s perspective, the characters’ problems can be perceived as the result of a conflict between their superego, id and ego.
  • “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare: Play’s Concept In Romeo and Juliet, the development of characters eventually led to the tragedy of the main characters. The love of Romeo and Juliet is a remarkable love as they have to undergo many obstacles to […]
  • Romeo and Juliet: Analysis of Play Being a tragedy, the story narrates the challenges two lovers, Romeo and Juliet, go through due to the enmity between their respective families. For example, the story of Juliet and Romeo presents a romantic and […]
  • “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Winter’s Tale” Comparison Because of the importance of the role of plants and trees in the two abovementioned plays, it would be reasonable to consider each of the plays in detail.
  • Analysis of ‚ÄúRomeo and Juliet‚ÄĚ Directed by Simon Godwin The actors played in the theater without an audience, and the shooting itself took two and a half weeks, but also due to the director’s attempt to combine the action on the theater stage and […]
  • ‚ÄúAnalysis of Causes of Tragic Fate in Romeo and Juliet Based on Shakespeare‚Äôs View of Fate‚ÄĚ by Jie Li The article is easy to read and makes a compelling case for the reasons that precipitated the tragedy in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
  • “Romeo and Juliet”: Play and Film Preminger et al.claim that poetry is to be educative and pleasurable and both versions of “Romeo and Juliet” meet this criterion regardless of the fact that they had to appeal to the audience of a […]
  • What Shapes More Lovers‚Äô ‚ÄúStory of Romeo and Juliet?‚ÄĚ In Romeo and Juliet, love is the central theme of the tragedy, and the images of the protagonists are mostly shaped by the relationships and challenges they had to face.
  • Friar Lawrence in ‚ÄúRomeo and Juliet‚ÄĚ by Shakespeare The strengths of such friendships can be seen in the way Friar Laurence accepts and anticipates Romeo’s actions, showing that he is ready to hear him as a friend not as a priest, “Doth couch […]
  • Love and Sadness in the First Act of ‚ÄúRomeo and Juliet‚ÄĚ The love story of Romeo and Juliet is well known to most people, but one might forget that Romeo was initially not in love with Juliet; he met her later.
  • Carlo Carlea‚Äôs Film ‚ÄúRomeo and Juliet‚ÄĚ The new adaptation of my play generally made a controversial impression: the actors look suitable for their roles, but the internal theme of the play seems to be not so profoundly got.
  • ‚ÄúRomeo and Juliet‚ÄĚ Staged in Greek Style According to the analysis, it is evident that even though the story, plot, and characters stay the same, the change in the style of “Romeo and Juliet” will have a significant difference from the original […]
  • Personality and Maturity in the Romeo and Juliet Play by W. Shakespeare While this idea is not always true in specific cases, it can be assumed to be true in the case of Romeo and Juliet because of the ways in which they act.
  • Oh Tae-Suk‚Äôs Romeo and Juliet Oh Tae-suk is a South-Korean playwright and director, well-known for his masterful portrayal of modern Korean life and the use of the elements of the traditional Korean theater in his plays.
  • Nurse and Friar Laurence in Shakespeare‚Äôs ‚ÄúRomeo and Juliet‚ÄĚ The way Friar Laurence supported Romeo and Juliet to get Married, The way the Nurse is opposing in her regards of Romeo and Paris, When Friar Laurence clandestinely married them, the way the Nurse is […]
  • Character Analysis of Shakespeare‚Äôs ‚ÄúRomeo and Juliet‚ÄĚ The Renaissance in Italy was a time in which historians and writers were most active, sparking a new wave of literacy in the Italian world, said to be the father of Renaissance Europe.
  • Romeo and Juliet: The Twentieth Century This is the first scene of the play. In the mean time, Capulet learns that Juliet has fallen in love with Romeo, and he is infuriated with the behavior of her daughter.
  • Relationships Among Individuals in Shakespeare’s Plays The events that take place in Athens are symbolic in the sense that they represent the sequence of events during the day whereas the events in the forest represent the dream like circumstances.
  • The Saga as Old as Time: Romeo and Juliet, Vampire Style Basing partially on the plot of Romeo and Juliet story and partially on the problems that modern teenagers face, The Twilight Saga offers a number of issues that are quite topical nowadays, such as the […]
  • The Interpretation of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” by Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli
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  • The Passionate Hatred of Tybalt and the Theme of Revenge in “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare
  • The Perceptions of Love and the Use of Language and Structure in “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare
  • The True Meaning and Experience of Love in “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare
  • The Relationship Between Parents and Children Presented in William Shakespeare‚Äôs “Romeo and Juliet”
  • The Theme of People Being in Unusual Circumstances in Shakespeare‚Äôs “Romeo and Juliet”
  • The Responsible for the Deaths of the Lovers in “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare
  • The Role of Fate and Coincidence in William Shakespeare‚Äôs “Romeo and Juliet”
  • Comparing the Characters of Tybalt and Mercutio in William Shakespeare‚Äôs “Romeo and Juliet”
  • The Role and Representation of the Nurse in William Shakespeare‚Äôs “Romeo and Juliet”
  • The Significance of Mercutio in William Shakespeare‚Äôs “Romeo and Juliet”
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  • True Love in “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare
  • The Use of Dramatic Irony and Other Literary Elements in “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare
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  • Timeless Appeal of William Shakespeare‚Äôs “Romeo and Juliet” and Leonard Bernstein‚Äôs “West Side Story”
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  • How Does Shakespeare Create a Sense of Tragedy in the Final Scene of “Romeo and Juliet”?
  • Are Romeo and Juliet Responsible for Their Deaths?
  • How Does Shakespeare Create Drama and Tension in “Romeo and Juliet”?
  • Why Does Shakespeare Create Sympathy for “Romeo and Juliet”?
  • Is “Romeo and Juliet” Relevant to Modern Life?
  • How Does Shakespeare Create a Dramatic Conclusion in Act Five Scene Three of ‚ÄúRomeo and Juliet‚ÄĚ?
  • How Are Adults Presented in “Romeo and Juliet”?
  • How Are the Main Themes Presented in the Opening Sequence of Baz Luhrman‚Äôs Film “Romeo and Juliet”?
  • Does “Romeo and Juliet” Deserve to Be Considered Pop Culture in the Elizabethan Era?
  • Why Does “Romeo and Juliet” Attract Teenagers?
  • How Did Shakespeare Introduce the Characters of “Romeo and Juliet”?
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  • How Did Hate Cause Major Events in “Romeo and Juliet”?
  • How Does Bas Luhrman‚Äôs Staging of Key Scenes “Romeo and Juliet”?
  • Did Baz Luhrmann Manage to Gain Sympathy for ‚ÄúRomeo and Juliet‚ÄĚ and Interest a Modern Audience?
  • How Does Baz Lurhmann Make “Romeo and Juliet” More Accessible to a Modern Audience?
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The Folger Shakespeare

A Modern Perspective: Romeo and Juliet

By Gail Kern Paster

Does Romeo and Juliet need an introduction? Of all Shakespeare‚Äôs plays, it has been the most continuously popular since its first performance in the mid-1590s. It would seem, then, the most direct of Shakespeare‚Äôs plays in its emotional impact. What could be easier to understand and what could be more moving than the story of two adolescents finding in their sudden love for each other a reason to defy their families‚Äô mutual hatred by marrying secretly? The tragic outcome of their blameless love (their ‚Äúmisadventured piteous overthrows‚ÄĚ) seems equally easy to understand: it results first from Tybalt‚Äôs hotheaded refusal to obey the Prince‚Äôs command and second from accidents of timing beyond any human ability to foresee or control. Simple in its story line, clear in its affirmation of the power of love over hate, Romeo and Juliet seems to provide both a timeless theme and universal appeal. Its immediacy stands in welcome contrast to the distance, even estrangement, evoked by other Shakespeare plays. No wonder it is often the first Shakespeare play taught in schools‚ÄĒon the grounds of its obvious relevance to the emotional and social concerns of young people.

Recent work by social historians on the history of private life in western European culture, however, offers a complicating perspective on the timelessness of Romeo and Juliet. At the core of the play‚Äôs evident accessibility is the importance and privilege modern Western culture grants to desire, regarding it as deeply expressive of individual identity and central to the personal fulfillment of women no less than men. But, as these historians have argued, such conceptions of desire reflect cultural changes in human consciousness‚ÄĒin ways of imagining and articulating the nature of desire. 1 In England until the late sixteenth century, individual identity had been imagined not so much as the result of autonomous, personal growth in consciousness but rather as a function of social station, an individual‚Äôs place in a network of social and kinship structures. Furthermore, traditional culture distinguished sharply between the nature of identity for men and women. A woman‚Äôs identity was conceived almost exclusively in relation to male authority and marital status. She was less an autonomous, desiring self than any male was; she was a daughter, wife, or widow expected to be chaste, silent, and, above all, obedient. It is a profound and necessary act of historical imagination, then, to recognize innovation in the moment when Juliet impatiently invokes the coming of night and the husband she has disobediently married: ‚ÄúCome, gentle night; come, loving black-browed night, / Give me my Romeo‚ÄĚ ( 3.2.21 ‚Äď23).

Recognizing that the nature of desire and identity is subject to historical change and cultural innovation can provide the basis for rereading Romeo and Juliet. Instead of an uncomplicated, if lyrically beautiful, contest between young love and ‚Äúancient grudge,‚ÄĚ the play becomes a narrative that expresses an historical conflict between old forms of identity and new modes of desire, between authority and freedom, between parental will and romantic individualism. Furthermore, though the Chorus initially sets the lovers as a pair against the background of familial hatred, the reader attentive to social detail will be struck instead by Shakespeare‚Äôs care in distinguishing between the circumstances of male and female lovers: ‚Äúshe as much in love, her means much less / To meet her new belov√®d anywhere‚ÄĚ ( 2. Chorus. 11 ‚Äď12, italics added). The story of ‚ÄúJuliet and her Romeo‚ÄĚ may be a single narrative, but its clear internal division is drawn along the traditionally unequal lines of gender.

Because of such traditional notions of identity and gender, Elizabethan theatergoers might have recognized a paradox in the play‚Äôs lyrical celebration of the beauty of awakened sexual desire in the adolescent boy and girl. By causing us to identify with Romeo and Juliet‚Äôs desire for one another, the play affirms their love even while presenting it as a problem in social management. This is true not because Romeo and Juliet fall in love with forbidden or otherwise unavailable sexual partners; such is the usual state of affairs at the beginning of Shakespearean comedy, but those comedies end happily. Rather Romeo and Juliet‚Äôs love is a social problem, unresolvable except by their deaths, because they dare to marry secretly in an age when legal, consummated marriage was irreversible. Secret marriage is the narrative device by which Shakespeare brings into conflict the new privilege claimed by individual desire and the traditional authority granted fathers to arrange their daughters‚Äô marriages. Secret marriage is the testing ground, in other words, of the new kind of importance being claimed by individual desire. Shakespeare‚Äôs representation of the narrative outcome of this desire as tragic‚ÄĒhere, as later in the secret marriage that opens Othello ‚ÄĒmay suggest something of Elizabethan society‚Äôs anxiety about the social cost of romantic individualism.

The conflict between traditional authority and individual desire also provides the framework for Shakespeare‚Äôs presentation of the Capulet-Montague feud. The feud, like the lovers‚Äô secret marriage, is another problem in social management, another form of socially problematic desire. We are never told what the families are fighting about or fighting for; in this sense the feud is both causeless and goal-less. The Chorus‚Äôs first words insist not on the differences between the two families but on their similarity: they are two households ‚Äúboth alike in dignity.‚ÄĚ Later, after Prince Escalus has broken up the street brawl, they are ‚ÄúIn penalty alike‚ÄĚ ( 1.2.2 ). Ironically, then, they are not fighting over differences. Rather it is Shakespeare‚Äôs careful insistence on the lack of difference between Montague and Capulet that provides a key to understanding the underlying social dynamic of the feud. Just as desire brings Romeo and Juliet together as lovers, desire in another form brings the Montague and Capulet males out on the street as fighters. The feud perpetuates a close bond of rivalry between these men that even the Prince‚Äôs threat of punishment cannot sever: ‚ÄúMontague is bound as well as I,‚ÄĚ Capulet tells Paris ( 1.2.1 ). Indeed, the feud seems necessary to the structure of male-male relations in Verona. Feuding reinforces male identity‚ÄĒloyalty to one‚Äôs male ancestors‚ÄĒat the same time that it clarifies the social structure: servants fight with servants, young noblemen with young noblemen, old men with old men. 2

That the feud constitutes a relation of desire between Montague and Capulet is clear from the opening, when the servants Gregory and Sampson use bawdy innuendo to draw a causal link between their virility and their eagerness to fight Montagues: ‚ÄúA dog of that house shall move me to stand,‚ÄĚ i.e., to be sexually erect ( 1.1.12 ). The Montagues seem essential to Sampson‚Äôs masculinity since, by besting Montague men, he can lay claim to Montague women as symbols of conquest. (This, of course, would be a reductive way of describing what Romeo does in secretly marrying a Capulet daughter.) The feud not only establishes a structure of relations between men based on competition and sexual aggression, but it seems to involve a particularly debased attitude toward women. No matter how comic the wordplay of the Capulet servants may be, we should not forget that the sexual triangle they imagine is based on fantasized rape: ‚ÄúI will push Montague‚Äôs men from the wall and thrust his maids to the wall‚ÄĚ ( 1.1.18 ‚Äď19). Gregory and Sampson are not interested in the ‚Äúheads‚ÄĚ of the Montague maidens, which might imply awareness of them as individuals. They are interested only in their ‚Äúmaidenheads.‚ÄĚ Their coarse view of woman as generic sexual object is reiterated in a wittier vein by Mercutio, who understands Romeo‚Äôs experience of awakened desire only as a question of the sexual availability of his mistress: ‚ÄúO Romeo, that she were, O, that she were / An open-arse, thou a pop‚Äôrin pear‚ÄĚ ( 2.1.40 ‚Äď41).

Feuding, then, is the form that male bonding takes in Verona, a bonding which seems linked to the derogation of woman. But Romeo, from the very opening of the play, is distanced both physically and emotionally from the feud, not appearing until the combatants and his parents are leaving the stage. His reaction to Benvolio‚Äôs news of the fight seems to indicate that he is aware of the mechanisms of desire that are present in the feud: ‚ÄúHere‚Äôs much to do with hate, but more with love‚ÄĚ ( 1.1.180 ). But it also underscores his sense of alienation: ‚ÄúThis love feel I, that feel no love in this‚ÄĚ ( 187 ). He is alienated not only from the feud itself, one feels, but more importantly from the idea of sexuality that underlies it. Romeo subscribes to a different, indeed a competing view of woman‚ÄĒthe idealizing view of the Petrarchan lover. In his melancholy, his desire for solitude, and his paradox-strewn language, Romeo identifies himself with the style of feeling and address that Renaissance culture named after the fourteenth-century Italian poet Francesco Petrarca or Petrarch, most famous for his sonnets to Laura. By identifying his beloved as perfect and perfectly chaste, the Petrarchan lover opposes the indiscriminate erotic appetite of a Gregory or Sampson. He uses the frustrating experience of intense, unfulfilled, and usually unrequited passion to refine his modes of feeling and to enlarge his experience of self.

It is not coincidental, then, that Shakespeare uses the language and self-involved behaviors of the Petrarchan lover to dramatize Romeo‚Äôs experience of love. For Romeo as for Petrarch, love is the formation of an individualistic identity at odds with other kinds of identity: ‚ÄúI have lost myself. I am not here. / This is not Romeo. He‚Äôs some other where‚ÄĚ ( 1.1.205 ‚Äď6). Petrarchan desire for solitude explains Romeo‚Äôs absence from the opening clash and his lack of interest in the activities of his gang of friends, whom he accompanies only reluctantly to the Capulet feast: ‚ÄúI‚Äôll be a candle holder and look on‚ÄĚ ( 1.4.38 ). His physical isolation from his parents‚ÄĒwith whom he exchanges no words in the course of the play‚ÄĒfurther suggests his shift from traditional, clan identity to the romantic individualism prefigured by Petrarch.

Shakespeare‚Äôs comic irony is that such enlargement of self is itself a mark of conventionality, since Petrarchism in European literature was by the late sixteenth century very widespread. A more cutting irony is that the Petrarchan lover and his sensual opponent (Sampson or Gregory) have more in common than is first apparent. The Petrarchan lover, in emphasizing the often paralyzing intensity of his passion, is less interested in praising the remote mistress who inspires such devotion than he is in displaying his own poetic virtuosity and his capacity for self-denial. Such a love‚ÄĒlike Romeo‚Äôs for Rosaline‚ÄĒis founded upon frustration and requires rejection. The lover is interested in affirming the uniqueness of his beloved only in theory. On closer look, she too becomes a generic object and he more interested in self-display. Thus the play‚Äôs two languages of heterosexual desire‚ÄĒPetrarchan praise and anti-Petrarchan debasement‚ÄĒappear as opposite ends of a single continuum, as complementary discourses of woman, high and low. Even when Paris and old Capulet, discussing Juliet as prospective bride, vary the discourse to include a conception of woman as wife and mother, she remains an object of verbal and actual exchange.

In lyric poetry, the Petrarchan mistress remains a function of language alone, unheard, seen only as a collection of ideal parts, a center whose very absence promotes desire. Drama is a material medium, however. In drama, the Petrarchan mistress takes on embodiment and finds an answering voice, like Juliet‚Äôs gently noting her sonneteer-pilgrim‚Äôs conventionality: ‚ÄúYou kiss by th‚Äô book‚ÄĚ ( 1.5.122 ). In drama, the mistress may come surrounded by relatives and an inconveniently insistent social milieu. As was noted above, Shakespeare distinguishes sharply between the social circumstances of adolescent males and females. Thus one consequence of setting the play‚Äôs domestic action solely within the Capulet household is to set Juliet, the ‚Äúhopeful lady‚ÄĚ of Capulet‚Äôs ‚Äúearth‚ÄĚ ( 1.2.15 ), firmly into a familial context which, thanks to the Nurse‚Äôs fondness for recollection and anecdote, is rich in domestic detail. Juliet‚Äôs intense focus upon Romeo‚Äôs surname‚ÄĒ‚ÄúWhat‚Äôs Montague? . . . O, be some other name‚ÄĚ ( 2.2.43 , 44 )‚ÄĒis a projection onto her lover of her own conflicted sense of tribal loyalty. Unlike Romeo, whose deepest emotional ties are to his gang of friends, and unlike the more mobile daughters of Shakespearean comedy who often come in pairs, Juliet lives isolated and confined, emotionally as well as physically, by her status as daughter. Her own passage into sexual maturity comes first by way of parental invitation to ‚Äúthink of marriage now‚ÄĚ ( 1.3.75 ). Her father invites Paris, the man who wishes to marry Juliet, to attend a banquet and feast his eyes on female beauty: ‚ÄúHear all, all see, / And like her most whose merit most shall be‚ÄĚ ( 1.2.30 ‚Äď31). Juliet, in contrast, is invited to look only where her parents tell her:

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

But no more deep will I endart mine eye

Than your consent gives strength to make it fly.

( 1.3.103 ‚Äď5)

The logic of Juliet‚Äôs almost instant disobedience in looking at, and liking, Romeo (rather than Paris) can be understood as the ironic fulfillment of the fears in traditional patriarchal culture about the uncontrollability of female desire, the alleged tendency of the female gaze to wander. Petrarchism managed the vexed question of female desire largely by wishing it out of existence, describing the mistress as one who, like the invisible Rosaline of this play, ‚Äúwill not stay the siege of loving terms, / Nor bide th‚Äô encounter of assailing eyes‚ÄĚ ( 1.1.220 ‚Äď21). Once Romeo, in the Capulet garden, overhears Juliet‚Äôs expression of desire, however, Juliet abandons the conventional denial of desire‚ÄĒ‚ÄúFain would I dwell on form; fain, fain deny / What I have spoke. But farewell compliment‚ÄĚ ( 2.2.93 ‚Äď94). She rejects the ‚Äústrength‚ÄĚ implied by parental sanction and the protection afforded by the Petrarchan celebration of chastity for a risk-taking experiment in desire that Shakespeare affirms by the beauty of the lovers‚Äô language in their four scenes together. Juliet herself asks Romeo the serious questions that Elizabethan society wanted only fathers to ask. She challenges social prescriptions, designed to contain erotic desire in marriage, by taking responsibility for her own marriage:

If that thy bent of love be honorable,

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

And follow thee my lord throughout the world.

( 2.2.150 ‚Äď55)

The irony in her pledge‚ÄĒan irony perhaps most obvious to a modern, sexually egalitarian audience‚ÄĒis that Romeo here is following Juliet on an uncharted narrative path to sexual fulfillment in unsanctioned marriage. Allowing her husband access to a bedchamber in her father‚Äôs house, Juliet leads him into a sexual territory beyond the reach of dramatic representation. Breaking through the narrow oppositions of the play‚Äôs two discourses of woman‚ÄĒas either anonymous sexual object (for Sampson and Gregory) or beloved woman exalted beyond knowing or possessing (for Petrarch)‚ÄĒshe affirms her imaginative commitment to the cultural significance of desire as an individualizing force:

                          Come, civil night,

Thou sober-suited matron all in black,

And learn me how to lose a winning match

Played for a pair of stainless maidenhoods.

Hood my unmanned blood, bating in my cheeks,

With thy black mantle till strange love grow bold,

Think true love acted simple modesty.

( 3.2.10 ‚Äď16)

Romeo, when he is not drawn by desire deeper and deeper into Capulet territory, wanders into the open square where the destinies of the play‚Äôs other young men‚ÄĒand in part his own too‚ÄĒare enacted. Because the young man‚Äôs deepest loyalty is to his friends, Romeo is not really asked to choose between Juliet and his family but between Juliet and Mercutio, who are opposed in the play‚Äôs thematic structure. Thus one function of Mercutio‚Äôs anti-Petrarchan skepticism about the idealization of woman is to offer resistance to the adult heterosexuality heralded by Romeo‚Äôs union with Juliet, resistance on behalf of the regressive pull of adolescent male bonding‚ÄĒbeing ‚Äúone of the guys.‚ÄĚ This distinction, as we have seen, is in part a question of speaking different discourses. Romeo easily picks up Mercutio‚Äôs banter, even its sly innuendo against women. Mercutio himself regards Romeo‚Äôs quickness at repartee as the hopeful sign of a return to a ‚Äúnormal‚ÄĚ manly identity incompatible with his ridiculous role as lover:

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 driveling love is like a great natural that runs lolling up and down to hide his bauble in a hole.

( 2.4.90 ‚Äď95)

Implicit here is a central tenet of traditional misogyny that excessive desire for a woman is effeminizing. For Mercutio it is the effeminate lover in Romeo who refuses shamefully to answer Tybalt‚Äôs challenge: ‚ÄúO calm, dishonorable, vile submission!‚ÄĚ he exclaims furiously ( 3.1.74 ). Mercutio‚Äôs death at Tybalt‚Äôs hands causes Romeo temporarily to agree, obeying the regressive emotional pull of grief and guilt over his own part in Mercutio‚Äôs defeat. ‚ÄúWhy the devil came you between us?‚ÄĚ Mercutio asks. ‚ÄúI was hurt under your arm‚ÄĚ ( 3.1.106 ‚Äď8). Why, we might ask instead, should Mercutio have insisted on answering a challenge addressed only to Romeo? Romeo, however, displaces blame onto Juliet: ‚ÄúThy beauty hath made me effeminate / And in my temper softened valor‚Äôs steel‚ÄĚ ( 3.1.119 ‚Äď20).

In terms of narrative structure, the death of Mercutio and Romeo‚Äôs slaying of Tybalt interrupt the lovers‚Äô progress from secret marriage to its consummation, suggesting the incompatibility between romantic individualism and adolescent male bonding. The audience experiences this incompatibility as a sudden movement from comedy to tragedy. Suddenly Friar Lawrence must abandon hopes of using the love of Capulet and Montague as a force for social reintegration. Instead, he must desperately stave off Juliet‚Äôs marriage to Paris, upon which her father insists, by making her counterfeit death and by subjecting her to entombment. The legal finality of consummated marriage‚ÄĒwhich was the basis for Friar Lawrence‚Äôs hopes ‚Äúto turn your households‚Äô rancor to pure love‚ÄĚ ( 2.3.99 )‚ÄĒbecomes the instrument of tragic design. It is only the Nurse who would allow Juliet to accept Paris as husband; we are asked to judge such a prospect so unthinkable that we then agree imaginatively to Friar Lawrence‚Äôs ghoulish device.

In terms of the play‚Äôs symbolic vocabulary, Juliet‚Äôs preparations to imitate death on the very bed where her sexual maturation from girl- to womanhood occurred confirms ironically her earlier premonition about Romeo: ‚ÄúIf he be marri√®d, / My grave is like to be my wedding bed‚ÄĚ ( 1.5.148 ‚Äď49). Her brief journey contrasts sharply with those of Shakespeare‚Äôs comic heroines who move out from the social confinement of daughterhood into a freer, less socially defined space (the woods outside Athens in A Midsummer Night‚Äôs Dream , the Forest of Arden in As You Like It ). There they can exercise a sanctioned, limited freedom in the romantic experimentation of courtship. Juliet is punished for such experimentation in part because hers is more radical; secret marriage symbolically is as irreversible as ‚Äúreal‚ÄĚ death. Her journey thus becomes an internal journey in which her commitment to union with Romeo must face the imaginative challenge of complete, claustrophobic isolation and finally death in the Capulet tomb.

It is possible to see the lovers‚Äô story, as some critics have done, as Shakespeare‚Äôs dramatic realization of the ruling metaphors of Petrarchan love poetry‚ÄĒparticularly its fascination with ‚Äúdeath-marked love‚ÄĚ ( Prologue. 9 ). 3 But, in pondering the implications of Shakespeare‚Äôs moving his audience to identify with this narrative of initiative, desire, and power, we also do well to remember the psychosocial dynamics of drama. By heightening their powers of identification, drama gives the members of an audience an embodied image of the possible scope and form of their fears and desires. Here we have seen how tragic form operates to contain the complex play of desire/identification. The metaphors of Petrarchan idealization work as part of a complex, ambivalent discourse of woman whose ultimate social function is to encode the felt differences between men and women on which a dominant male power structure is based. Romeo and Juliet find a new discourse of romantic individualism in which Petrarchan idealization conjoins with the mutual avowal of sexual desire. But their union, as we have seen, imperils the traditional relations between males that is founded upon the exchange of women, whether the violent exchange Gregory and Sampson crudely imagine or the normative exchange planned by Capulet and Paris. Juliet, as the daughter whose erotic willfulness activates her father‚Äôs transformation from concerned to tyrannical parent, is the greater rebel. Thus the secret marriage in which this new language of feeling is contained cannot here be granted the sanction of a comic outcome. When Romeo and Juliet reunite, it is only to see each other, dead, in the dim confines of the Capulet crypt. In this play the autonomy of romantic individualism remains ‚Äústar-crossed.‚ÄĚ

  • The story of these massive shifts in European sensibility is told in a five-volume study titled A History of Private Life , gen. eds. Philippe Ari√®s and Georges Duby (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1987‚Äď91). The study covers over three millennia in the history of western Europe. For the period most relevant to Romeo and Juliet, see vol. 3, Passions of the Renaissance (1989), ed. Roger Chartier, trans. Arthur Goldhammer, pp. 399‚Äď607.
  • The best extended discussion of the dynamic of the feud is Copp√©lia Kahn, Man‚Äôs Estate: Masculine Identity in Shakespeare (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981), pp. 83ff.
  • Nicholas Brooke, Shakespeare‚Äôs Early Tragedies (London: Methuen, 1968), pp. 82ff.

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Master Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet using Absolute Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet essay, plot summary, quotes and characters study guides.

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Confusion now hath made his masterpiece! Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope The Lord's anointed temple, and stole thence The life o' the building!       — Macbeth , Act II Scene 3

         

The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet

(complete text)

Verona. A public place.

A street.

A room in Capulet’s house.

A street.

A hall in Capulet’s house.

A lane by the wall of Capulet’s orchard.

Capulet’s orchard.

Friar Laurence’s cell.

A street.

Capulet’s orchard.

Friar Laurence’s cell.

A public place.

Capulet’s orchard.

Friar Laurence’s cell.

A room in Capulet’s house.

Capulet’s orchard.

Friar Laurence’s cell.

Hall in Capulet’s house.

Juliet’s chamber.

Hall in Capulet’s house.

Juliet’s chamber.

Mantua. A street.

Friar Laurence’s cell.

A churchyard; in it a tomb belonging to the Capulets.

   

   
       

Prologue

     
. Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes 5
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage, 10
Which, but their children's end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
     

Act I, Scene 1

Verona. A public place.

     

[Enter SAMPSON and GREGORY, of the house of Capulet, armed with swords and bucklers] . Gregory, o' my word, we'll not carry coals. . No, for then we should be colliers. . I mean, an we be in choler, we'll draw. . Ay, while you live, draw your neck out o' the collar. 20 . I strike quickly, being moved. . But thou art not quickly moved to strike. . A dog of the house of Montague moves me. . To move is to stir; and to be valiant is to stand:
therefore, if thou art moved, thou runn'st away. 25 . A dog of that house shall move me to stand: I will
take the wall of any man or maid of Montague's. . That shows thee a weak slave; for the weakest goes
to the wall. . True; and therefore women, being the weaker vessels, 30
are ever thrust to the wall: therefore I will push
Montague's men from the wall, and thrust his maids
to the wall. . The quarrel is between our masters and us their men. . 'Tis all one, I will show myself a tyrant: when I 35
have fought with the men, I will be cruel with the
maids, and cut off their heads. . The heads of the maids? . Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads;
take it in what sense thou wilt. 40 . They must take it in sense that feel it. . Me they shall feel while I am able to stand: and
'tis known I am a pretty piece of flesh. . 'Tis well thou art not fish; if thou hadst, thou
hadst been poor John. Draw thy tool! here comes 45
two of the house of the Montagues. . My naked weapon is out: quarrel, I will back thee. . How! turn thy back and run? . Fear me not. . No, marry; I fear thee! 50 . Let us take the law of our sides; let them begin. . I will frown as I pass by, and let them take it as
they list. . Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them;
which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it. 55

[Enter ABRAHAM and BALTHASAR] . Do you bite your thumb at us, sir? . I do bite my thumb, sir. . Do you bite your thumb at us, sir? . Is the law of our side, if I say 60
ay? . No. . No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir, but I
bite my thumb, sir. . Do you quarrel, sir? 65 . Quarrel sir! no, sir. . If you do, sir, I am for you: I serve as good a man as you. . No better. . Well, sir. . Say 'better:' here comes one of my master's kinsmen. 70 . Yes, better, sir. . You lie. . Draw, if you be men. Gregory, remember thy swashing blow.

[They fight]

[Enter BENVOLIO] . Part, fools!
Put up your swords; you know not what you do.

[Beats down their swords]

[Enter TYBALT] . What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds? 80
Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon thy death. . I do but keep the peace: put up thy sword,
Or manage it to part these men with me. . What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word,
As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee: 85
Have at thee, coward!

. Clubs, bills, and partisans! strike! beat them down! 90
Down with the Capulets! down with the Montagues!

[Enter CAPULET in his gown, and LADY CAPULET] . What noise is this? Give me my long sword, ho! . A crutch, a crutch! why call you for a sword? . My sword, I say! Old Montague is come, 95
And flourishes his blade in spite of me.

[Enter MONTAGUE and LADY MONTAGUE] . Thou villain Capulet,—Hold me not, let me go. . Thou shalt not stir a foot to seek a foe.

[Enter PRINCE, with Attendants] . Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace,
Profaners of this neighbour-stained steel,—
Will they not hear? What, ho! you men, you beasts,
That quench the fire of your pernicious rage
With purple fountains issuing from your veins, 105
On pain of torture, from those bloody hands
Throw your mistemper'd weapons to the ground,
And hear the sentence of your moved prince.
Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word,
By thee, old Capulet, and Montague, 110
Have thrice disturb'd the quiet of our streets,
And made Verona's ancient citizens
Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments,
To wield old partisans, in hands as old,
Canker'd with peace, to part your canker'd hate: 115
If ever you disturb our streets again,
Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace.
For this time, all the rest depart away:
You Capulet; shall go along with me:
And, Montague, come you this afternoon, 120
To know our further pleasure in this case,
To old Free-town, our common judgment-place.
Once more, on pain of death, all men depart.

[Exeunt all but MONTAGUE, LADY MONTAGUE, and BENVOLIO] . Who set this ancient quarrel new abroach? 125
Speak, nephew, were you by when it began? . Here were the servants of your adversary,
And yours, close fighting ere I did approach:
I drew to part them: in the instant came
The fiery Tybalt, with his sword prepared, 130
Which, as he breathed defiance to my ears,
He swung about his head and cut the winds,
Who nothing hurt withal hiss'd him in scorn:
While we were interchanging thrusts and blows,
Came more and more and fought on part and part, 135
Till the prince came, who parted either part. . O, where is Romeo? saw you him to-day?
Right glad I am he was not at this fray. . Madam, an hour before the worshipp'd sun
Peer'd forth the golden window of the east, 140
A troubled mind drave me to walk abroad;
Where, underneath the grove of sycamore
That westward rooteth from the city's side,
So early walking did I see your son:
Towards him I made, but he was ware of me 145
And stole into the covert of the wood:
I, measuring his affections by my own,
That most are busied when they're most alone,
Pursued my humour not pursuing his,
And gladly shunn'd who gladly fled from me. 150 . Many a morning hath he there been seen,
With tears augmenting the fresh morning 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 155
The shady curtains from Aurora's bed,
Away from the light steals home my heavy son,
And private in his chamber pens himself,
Shuts up his windows, locks far daylight out
And makes himself an artificial night: 160
Black and portentous must this humour prove,
Unless good counsel may the cause remove. . My noble uncle, do you know the cause? . I neither know it nor can learn of him. . Have you importuned him by any means? 165 . Both by myself and many other friends:
But he, his own affections' counsellor,
Is to himself—I will not say how true—
But to himself so secret and so close,
So far from sounding and discovery, 170
As is the bud bit with an envious worm,
Ere he can spread his sweet leaves to the air,
Or dedicate his beauty to the sun.
Could we but learn from whence his sorrows grow.
We would as willingly give cure as know. 175

[Enter ROMEO] . See, where he comes: so please you, step aside;
I'll know his grievance, or be much denied. . I would thou wert so happy by thy stay,
To hear true shrift. Come, madam, let's away. 180

[Exeunt MONTAGUE and LADY MONTAGUE] . Good-morrow, cousin. . Is the day so young? . But new struck nine. . Ay me! sad hours seem long. 185
Was that my father that went hence so fast? . It was. What sadness lengthens Romeo's hours? . Not having that, which, having, makes them short. . In love? . Out— 190 . Of love? . Out of her favour, where I am in love. . Alas, that love, so gentle in his view,
Should be so tyrannous and rough in proof! . Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still, 195
Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will!
Where shall we dine? O me! What fray was here?
Yet tell me not, for I have heard it all.
Here's much to do with hate, but more with love.
Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate! 200
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! 205
Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!
This love feel I, that feel no love in this.
Dost thou not laugh? . No, coz, I rather weep. . Good heart, at what? 210 . At thy good heart's oppression. . Why, such is love's transgression.
Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast,
Which thou wilt propagate, to have it prest
With more of thine: this love that thou hast shown 215
Doth add more grief to too much of mine own.
Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs;
Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes;
Being vex'd a sea nourish'd with lovers' tears:
What is it else? a madness most discreet, 220
A choking gall and a preserving sweet.
Farewell, my coz. . Soft! I will go along;
An if you leave me so, you do me wrong. . Tut, I have lost myself; I am not here; 225
This is not Romeo, he's some other where. . Tell me in sadness, who is that you love. . What, shall I groan and tell thee? . Groan! why, no.
But sadly tell me who. 230 . Bid a sick man in sadness make his will:
Ah, word ill urged to one that is so ill!
In sadness, cousin, I do love a woman. . I aim'd so near, when I supposed you loved. . A right good mark-man! And she's fair I love. 235 . A right fair mark, fair coz, is soonest hit. . Well, in that hit you miss: she'll not be hit
With Cupid's arrow; she hath Dian's wit;
And, in strong proof of chastity well arm'd,
From love's weak childish bow she lives unharm'd. 240
She will not stay the siege of loving terms,
Nor bide the encounter of assailing eyes,
Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold:
O, she is rich in beauty, only poor,
That when she dies with beauty dies her store. 245 . Then she hath sworn that she will still live chaste? . She hath, and in that sparing makes huge waste,
For beauty starved with her severity
Cuts beauty off from all posterity.
She is too fair, too wise, wisely too fair, 250
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. . Be ruled by me, forget to think of her. . O, teach me how I should forget to think. 255 . By giving liberty unto thine eyes;
Examine other beauties. . 'Tis the way
To call hers exquisite, in question more:
These happy masks that kiss fair ladies' brows 260
Being black put us in mind they hide the fair;
He that is strucken blind cannot forget
The precious treasure of his eyesight lost:
Show me a mistress that is passing fair,
What doth her beauty serve, but as a note 265
Where I may read who pass'd that passing fair?
Farewell: thou canst not teach me to forget. . I'll pay that doctrine, or else die in debt.

[Exeunt]

     

Act I, Scene 2

A street.

     

[Enter CAPULET, PARIS, and Servant] . But Montague is bound as well as I,
In penalty alike; and 'tis not hard, I think,
For men so old as we to keep the peace. . Of honourable reckoning are you both;
And pity 'tis you lived at odds so long. 275
But now, my lord, what say you to my suit? . 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, 280
Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride. . Younger than she are happy mothers made. . And too soon marr'd are those so early made.
The earth hath swallow'd all my hopes but she,
She is the hopeful lady of my earth: 285
But woo her, gentle Paris, get her heart,
My will to her consent is but a part;
An she agree, within her scope of choice
Lies my consent and fair according voice.
This night I hold an old accustom'd feast, 290
Whereto I have invited many a guest,
Such as I love; and you, among the store,
One more, most welcome, makes my number more.
At my poor house look to behold this night
Earth-treading stars that make dark heaven light: 295
Such comfort as do lusty young men feel
When well-apparell'd April on the heel
Of limping winter treads, even such delight
Among fresh female buds shall you this night
Inherit at my house; hear all, all see, 300
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.
305
Go, sirrah, trudge about
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] . 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 315
writ, and can never find what names the writing
person hath here writ. I must to the learned.—In good time.

[Enter BENVOLIO and ROMEO] . Tut, man, one fire burns out another's burning,
One pain is lessen'd by another's anguish; 320
Turn giddy, and be holp by backward turning;
One desperate grief cures with another's languish:
Take thou some new infection to thy eye,
And the rank poison of the old will die. . Your plaintain-leaf is excellent for that. 325 . For what, I pray thee? . For your broken shin. . Why, Romeo, art thou mad? . Not mad, but bound more than a mad-man is;
Shut up in prison, kept without my food, 330
Whipp'd and tormented and—God-den, good fellow. . God gi' god-den. I pray, sir, can you read? . Ay, mine own fortune in my misery. . Perhaps you have learned it without book: but, I
pray, can you read any thing you see? 335 . Ay, if I know the letters and the language. . Ye say honestly: rest you merry! . Stay, fellow; I can read.

'Signior Martino and his wife and daughters; 340
County Anselme and his beauteous sisters; the lady
widow of Vitravio; 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 345
Tybalt, Lucio and the lively Helena.' A fair
assembly: whither should they come? . Up. . Whither? . To supper; to our house. 350 . Whose house? . My master's. . Indeed, I should have ask'd you that before. . Now I'll tell you without asking: my master is the
great rich Capulet; and if you be not of the house 355
of Montagues, I pray, come and crush a cup of wine.
Rest you merry!

[Exit] . At this same ancient feast of Capulet's
Sups the fair Rosaline whom thou so lovest, 360
With all the admired beauties of Verona:
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. . When the devout religion of mine eye 365
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
Ne'er saw her match since first the world begun. 370 . Tut, you saw her fair, none else being by,
Herself poised with herself in either eye:
But in that crystal scales let there be weigh'd
Your lady's love against some other maid
That I will show you shining at this feast, 375
And she shall scant show well that now shows best. . I'll go along, no such sight to be shown,
But to rejoice in splendor of mine own.

[Exeunt]

     

Act I, Scene 3

A room in Capulet’s house.

     

[Enter LADY CAPULET and Nurse] . Nurse, where's my daughter? call her forth to me. . Now, by my maidenhead, at twelve year old,
I bade her come. What, lamb! what, ladybird!
God forbid! Where's this girl? What, Juliet!

[Enter JULIET] . How now! who calls? . Your mother. . Madam, I am here.
What is your will? . This is the matter:—Nurse, give leave awhile, 390
We must talk in secret:—nurse, come back again;
I have remember'd me, thou's hear our counsel.
Thou know'st my daughter's of a pretty age. . Faith, I can tell her age unto an hour. . She's not fourteen. 395 . I'll lay fourteen of my teeth,—
And yet, to my teeth be it spoken, I have but four—
She is not fourteen. How long is it now
To Lammas-tide? . A fortnight and odd days. 400 . Even or odd, of all days in the year,
Come Lammas-eve at night shall she be fourteen.
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, 405
On Lammas-eve at night shall she be fourteen;
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: 410
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,
When it did taste the wormwood on the nipple 415
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,
To bid me trudge:
And since that time it is eleven years; 420
For then she could stand alone; nay, by the rood,
She could have run and waddled all about;
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: 425
'Yea,' quoth he, 'dost thou fall upon thy face?
Thou wilt fall backward when thou hast more wit;
Wilt thou not, Jule?' and, by my holidame,
The pretty wretch left crying and said 'Ay.'
To see, now, how a jest shall come about! 430
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.' . Enough of this; I pray thee, hold thy peace. . Yes, madam: yet I cannot choose but laugh, 435
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;
A parlous knock; and it cried bitterly:
'Yea,' quoth my husband,'fall'st upon thy face? 440
Thou wilt fall backward when thou comest to age;
Wilt thou not, Jule?' it stinted and said 'Ay.' . And stint thou too, I pray thee, nurse, say I. . Peace, I have done. God mark thee to his grace!
Thou wast the prettiest babe that e'er I nursed: 445
An I might live to see thee married once,
I have my wish. . Marry, that 'marry' is the very theme
I came to talk of. Tell me, daughter Juliet,
How stands your disposition to be married? 450 . It is an honour that I dream not of. . An honour! were not I thine only nurse,
I would say thou hadst suck'd wisdom from thy teat. . Well, think of marriage now; younger than you,
Here in Verona, ladies of esteem, 455
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:
The valiant Paris seeks you for his love. . A man, young lady! lady, such a man 460
As all the world—why, he's a man of wax. . Verona's summer hath not such a flower. . Nay, he's a flower; in faith, a very flower. . What say you? can you love the gentleman?
This night you shall behold him at our feast; 465
Read o'er the volume of young Paris' face,
And find delight writ there with beauty's pen;
Examine every married lineament,
And see how one another lends content
And what obscured in this fair volume lies 470
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
For fair without the fair within to hide: 475
That book in many's eyes doth share the glory,
That in gold clasps locks in the golden story;
So shall you share all that he doth possess,
By having him, making yourself no less. . No less! nay, bigger; women grow by men. 480 . Speak briefly, can you like of Paris' love? . I'll look to like, if looking liking move:
But no more deep will I endart mine eye
Than your consent gives strength to make it fly.

[Enter a Servant] . Madam, the guests are come, supper served up, you
called, my young lady asked for, the nurse cursed in
the pantry, and every thing in extremity. I must
hence to wait; I beseech you, follow straight. . We follow thee. 490

Juliet, the county stays. . Go, girl, seek happy nights to happy days.

[Exeunt]

     

Act I, Scene 4

A street.

     

[Enter ROMEO, MERCUTIO, BENVOLIO, with five or six [p]Maskers, Torch-bearers, and others] . What, shall this speech be spoke for our excuse?
Or shall we on without a apology? . The date is out of such prolixity:
We'll have no Cupid hoodwink'd with a scarf, 500
Bearing a Tartar's painted bow of lath,
Scaring the ladies like a crow-keeper;
Nor no without-book prologue, faintly spoke
After the prompter, for our entrance:
But let them measure us by what they will; 505
We'll measure them a measure, and be gone. . Give me a torch: I am not for this ambling;
Being but heavy, I will bear the light. . Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you dance. . Not I, believe me: you have dancing shoes 510
With nimble soles: I have a soul of lead
So stakes me to the ground I cannot move. . You are a lover; borrow Cupid's wings,
And soar with them above a common bound. . I am too sore enpierced with his shaft 515
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. . And, to sink in it, should you burden love;
Too great oppression for a tender thing. 520 . Is love a tender thing? it is too rough,
Too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn. . 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: 525
A visor for a visor! what care I
What curious eye doth quote deformities?
Here are the beetle brows shall blush for me. . Come, knock and enter; and no sooner in,
But every man betake him to his legs. 530 . 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.
The game was ne'er so fair, and I am done. 535 . Tut, dun's the mouse, the constable's own word:
If thou art dun, we'll draw thee from the mire
Of this sir-reverence love, wherein thou stick'st
Up to the ears. Come, we burn daylight, ho! . Nay, that's not so. 540 . I mean, sir, in delay
We waste our lights in vain, like lamps by day.
Take our good meaning, for our judgment sits
Five times in that ere once in our five wits. . And we mean well in going to this mask; 545
But 'tis no wit to go. . Why, may one ask? . I dream'd a dream to-night. . And so did I. . Well, what was yours? 550 . That dreamers often lie. . In bed asleep, while they do dream things true. . O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
She is the fairies' midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone 555
On the fore-finger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies
Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep;
Her wagon-spokes made of long spiders' legs,
The cover of the wings of grasshoppers, 560
The traces of the smallest spider's web,
The collars of the moonshine's watery beams,
Her whip of cricket's bone, the lash of film,
Her wagoner a small grey-coated gnat,
Not so big as a round little worm 565
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' coachmakers.
And in this state she gallops night by night 570
Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love;
O'er courtiers' knees, that dream on court'sies straight,
O'er lawyers' fingers, who straight dream on fees,
O'er ladies ' lips, who straight on kisses dream,
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues, 575
Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are:
Sometime she gallops o'er a courtier's nose,
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit;
And sometime comes she with a tithe-pig's tail
Tickling a parson's nose as a' lies asleep, 580
Then dreams, he of another benefice:
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 585
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,
And bakes the elflocks in foul sluttish hairs, 590
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,
Making them women of good carriage:
This is she— 595 . Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace!
Thou talk'st of nothing. . True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy, 600
Which is as thin of substance as the air
And more inconstant than the wind, who wooes
Even now the frozen bosom of the north,
And, being anger'd, puffs away from thence,
Turning his face to the dew-dropping south. 605 . This wind, you talk of, blows us from ourselves;
Supper is done, and we shall come too late. . I fear, too early: for my mind misgives
Some consequence yet hanging in the stars
Shall bitterly begin his fearful date 610
With this night's revels and expire the term
Of a despised life closed in my breast
By some vile forfeit of untimely death.
But He, that hath the steerage of my course,
Direct my sail! On, lusty gentlemen. 615 . Strike, drum.

[Exeunt]

     

Act I, Scene 5

A hall in Capulet’s house.

     

[Musicians waiting. Enter Servingmen with napkins] . Where's Potpan, that he helps not to take away? He
shift a trencher? he scrape a trencher! 620 . When good manners shall lie all in one or two men's
hands and they unwashed too, 'tis a foul thing. . 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 625
the porter let in Susan Grindstone and Nell.
Antony, and Potpan! . Ay, boy, ready. . You are looked for and called for, asked for and
sought for, in the great chamber. 630 . We cannot be here and there too. Cheerly, boys; be
brisk awhile, and the longer liver take all.

[Enter CAPULET, with JULIET and others of his house, meeting the Guests and Maskers] . Welcome, gentlemen! ladies that have their toes
Unplagued with corns will have a bout with you. 635
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
That I have worn a visor and could tell 640
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.
A hall, a hall! give room! and foot it, girls.
645
More light, you knaves; and turn the tables up,
And quench the fire, the room is grown too hot.
Ah, sirrah, this unlook'd-for sport comes well.
Nay, sit, nay, sit, good cousin Capulet;
For you and I are past our dancing days: 650
How long is't now since last yourself and I
Were in a mask? . By'r lady, thirty years. . What, man! 'tis not so much, 'tis not so much:
'Tis since the nuptials of Lucentio, 655
Come pentecost as quickly as it will,
Some five and twenty years; and then we mask'd. . 'Tis more, 'tis more, his son is elder, sir;
His son is thirty. . Will you tell me that? 660
His son was but a ward two years ago. . What lady is that, which doth
enrich the hand
Of yonder knight? . I know not, sir. 665 . O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear;
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!
So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows, 670
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.
Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!
For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night. 675 . This, by his voice, should be a Montague.
Fetch me my rapier, boy. What dares the slave
Come hither, cover'd with an antic face,
To fleer and scorn at our solemnity?
Now, by the stock and honour of my kin, 680
To strike him dead, I hold it not a sin. . Why, how now, kinsman! wherefore storm you so? . Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe,
A villain that is hither come in spite,
To scorn at our solemnity this night. 685 . Young Romeo is it? . 'Tis he, that villain Romeo. . Content thee, gentle coz, let him alone;
He bears him like a portly gentleman;
And, to say truth, Verona brags of him 690
To be a virtuous and well-govern'd youth:
I would not for the wealth of all the town
Here in my house do him disparagement:
Therefore be patient, take no note of him:
It is my will, the which if thou respect, 695
Show a fair presence and put off these frowns,
And ill-beseeming semblance for a feast. . It fits, when such a villain is a guest:
I'll not endure him. . He shall be endured: 700
What, goodman boy! I say, he shall: go to;
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! 705 . Why, uncle, 'tis a shame. . Go to, go to;
You are a saucy boy: is't so, indeed?
This trick may chance to scathe you, I know what:
You must contrary me! marry, 'tis time. 710
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! . Patience perforce with wilful choler meeting
Makes my flesh tremble in their different greeting. 715
I will withdraw: but this intrusion shall
Now seeming sweet convert to bitter gall.

[Exit] . If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this: 720
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss. . Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch, 725
And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss. . Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too? . Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer. . O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;
They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair. 730 . Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake. . Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take.
Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged. . Then have my lips the sin that they have took. . Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged! 735
Give me my sin again. . You kiss by the book. . Madam, your mother craves a word with you. . What is her mother? . Marry, bachelor, 740
Her mother is the lady of the house,
And a good lady, and a wise and virtuous
I nursed her daughter, that you talk'd withal;
I tell you, he that can lay hold of her
Shall have the chinks. 745 . Is she a Capulet?
O dear account! my life is my foe's debt. . Away, begone; the sport is at the best. . Ay, so I fear; the more is my unrest. . Nay, gentlemen, prepare not to be gone; 750
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.
Ah, sirrah, by my fay, it waxes late: 755
I'll to my rest.

[Exeunt all but JULIET and Nurse] . Come hither, nurse. What is yond gentleman? . The son and heir of old Tiberio. . What's he that now is going out of door? 760 . Marry, that, I think, be young Petrucio. . What's he that follows there, that would not dance? . I know not. . Go ask his name: if he be married.
My grave is like to be my wedding bed. 765 . His name is Romeo, and a Montague;
The only son of your great enemy. . My only love sprung from my only hate!
Too early seen unknown, and known too late!
Prodigious birth of love it is to me, 770
That I must love a loathed enemy. . What's this? what's this? . A rhyme I learn'd even now
Of one I danced withal.

[One calls within 'Juliet.'] . Anon, anon!
Come, let's away; the strangers all are gone.

[Exeunt]

     

Prologue

     

[Enter Chorus] . Now old desire doth in his death-bed lie, 780
And young affection gapes to be his heir;
That fair for which love groan'd for and would die,
With tender Juliet match'd, is now not fair.
Now Romeo is beloved and loves again,
Alike betwitched by the charm of looks, 785
But to his foe supposed he must complain,
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 use to swear;
And she as much in love, her means much less 790
To meet her new-beloved any where:
But passion lends them power, time means, to meet
Tempering extremities with extreme sweet.

[Exit]

     

Act II, Scene 1

A lane by the wall of Capulet’s orchard.

     

[Enter 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]

[Enter BENVOLIO and MERCUTIO] . Romeo! my cousin Romeo! 800 . He is wise;
And, on my lie, hath stol'n him home to bed. . He ran this way, and leap'd this orchard wall:
Call, good Mercutio. . Nay, I'll conjure too. 805
Romeo! humours! madman! passion! lover!
Appear thou in the likeness of a sigh:
Speak but one rhyme, and I am satisfied;
Cry but 'Ay me!' pronounce but 'love' and 'dove;'
Speak to my gossip Venus one fair word, 810
One nick-name for her purblind son and heir,
Young Adam Cupid, he that shot so trim,
When King Cophetua loved the beggar-maid!
He heareth not, he stirreth not, he moveth not;
The ape is dead, and I must conjure him. 815
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
And the demesnes that there adjacent lie,
That in thy likeness thou appear to us! 820 . And if he hear thee, thou wilt anger him. . This cannot anger him: 'twould anger him
To raise a spirit in his mistress' circle
Of some strange nature, letting it there stand
Till she had laid it and conjured it down; 825
That were some spite: my invocation
Is fair and honest, and in his mistress' name
I conjure only but to raise up him. . Come, he hath hid himself among these trees,
To be consorted with the humorous night: 830
Blind is his love and best befits the dark. . 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
As maids call medlars, when they laugh alone. 835
Romeo, that she were, O, that she were
An open et caetera, thou a poperin pear!
Romeo, good night: I'll to my truckle-bed;
This field-bed is too cold for me to sleep:
Come, shall we go? 840 . Go, then; for 'tis in vain
To seek him here that means not to be found.

[Exeunt]

     

Act II, Scene 2

Capulet’s orchard.

     

[Enter ROMEO] . He jests at scars that never felt a wound. 845

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
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, 850
That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
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! 855
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:
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven, 860
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?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven 865
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek! 870 . Ay me! . 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 875
Unto the white-upturned wondering 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. . O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo? 880
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. . Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this? . 'Tis but thy name that is my enemy; 885
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
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 890
By any other name would smell as sweet;
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 895
Take all myself. . I take thee at thy word:
Call me but love, and I'll be new baptized;
Henceforth I never will be Romeo. . What man art thou that thus bescreen'd in night 900
So stumblest on my counsel? . By a name
I know not how to tell thee who I am:
My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself,
Because it is an enemy to thee; 905
Had I it written, I would tear the word. . My ears have not yet drunk a hundred words
Of that tongue's utterance, yet I know the sound:
Art thou not Romeo and a Montague? . Neither, fair saint, if either thee dislike. 910 . How camest thou hither, tell me, and wherefore?
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. . With love's light wings did I o'er-perch these walls; 915
For stony limits cannot hold love out,
And what love can do that dares love attempt;
Therefore thy kinsmen are no let to me. . If they do see thee, they will murder thee. . Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye 920
Than twenty of their swords: look thou but sweet,
And I am proof against their enmity. . I would not for the world they saw thee here. . I have night's cloak to hide me from their sight;
And but thou love me, let them find me here: 925
My life were better ended by their hate,
Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love. . By whose direction found'st thou out this place? . By love, who first did prompt me to inquire;
He lent me counsel and I lent him eyes. 930
I am no pilot; yet, wert thou as far
As that vast shore wash'd with the farthest sea,
I would adventure for such merchandise. . Thou know'st the mask of night is on my face,
Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek 935
For that which thou hast heard me speak to-night
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,'
And I will take thy word: yet if thou swear'st, 940
Thou mayst prove false; at lovers' perjuries
Then say, Jove laughs. O gentle Romeo,
If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully:
Or if thou think'st I am too quickly won,
I'll frown and be perverse an say thee nay, 945
So thou wilt woo; but else, not for the world.
In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond,
And therefore thou mayst think my 'havior light:
But trust me, gentleman, I'll prove more true
Than those that have more cunning to be strange. 950
I should have been more strange, I must confess,
But that thou overheard'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. 955 . Lady, by yonder blessed moon I swear
That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops— . O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circled orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable. 960 . What shall I swear by? . Do not swear at all;
Or, if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,
Which is the god of my idolatry,
And I'll believe thee. 965 . If my heart's dear love— . Well, do not swear: although I joy in thee,
I have no joy of this contract to-night:
It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden;
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be 970
Ere one can say 'It lightens.' Sweet, good night!
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! 975 . O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied? . What satisfaction canst thou have to-night? . The exchange of thy love's faithful vow for mine. . I gave thee mine before thou didst request it:
And yet I would it were to give again. 980 . Wouldst thou withdraw it? for what purpose, love? . But to be frank, and give it thee again.
And yet I wish but for the thing I have:
My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee, 985
The more I have, for both are infinite.

I hear some noise within; dear love, adieu!
Anon, good nurse! Sweet Montague, be true.
Stay but a little, I will come again. 990

[Exit, above] . O blessed, blessed night! I am afeard.
Being in night, all this is but a dream,
Too flattering-sweet to be substantial.

[Re-enter JULIET, above] . Three words, dear Romeo, and good night indeed.
If that thy bent of love be honourable,
Thy purpose marriage, send me word to-morrow,
By one that I'll procure to come to thee,
Where and what time thou wilt perform the rite; 1000
And all my fortunes at thy foot I'll lay
And follow thee my lord throughout the world. . Madam! . I come, anon.—But if thou mean'st not well,
I do beseech thee— 1005 . Madam! . By and by, I come:—
To cease thy suit, and leave me to my grief:
To-morrow will I send. . So thrive my soul— 1010 . A thousand times good night!

[Exit, above] . A thousand times the worse, to want thy light.
Love goes toward love, as schoolboys from
their books, 1015
But love from love, toward school with heavy looks.

[Retiring]

[Re-enter JULIET, above] . Hist! Romeo, hist! O, for a falconer's voice,
To lure this tassel-gentle back again! 1020
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. . It is my soul that calls upon my name: 1025
How silver-sweet sound lovers' tongues by night,
Like softest music to attending ears! . Romeo! . My dear? . At what o'clock to-morrow 1030
Shall I send to thee? . At the hour of nine. . I will not fail: 'tis twenty years till then.
I have forgot why I did call thee back. . Let me stand here till thou remember it. 1035 . I shall forget, to have thee still stand there,
Remembering how I love thy company. . And I'll still stay, to have thee still forget,
Forgetting any other home but this. . 'Tis almost morning; I would have thee gone: 1040
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,
So loving-jealous of his liberty. 1045 . I would I were thy bird. . Sweet, so would I:
Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.
Good night, good night! parting is such
sweet sorrow, 1050
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.

[Exit above] . Sleep dwell upon thine eyes, peace in thy breast!
Would I were sleep and peace, so sweet to rest!
Hence will I to my ghostly father's cell, 1055
His help to crave, and my dear hap to tell.

[Exit]

     

Act II, Scene 3

Friar Laurence’s cell.

     

[Enter FRIAR LAURENCE, with a basket] . The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,
Chequering the eastern clouds with streaks of light, 1060
And flecked darkness like a drunkard reels
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 1065
With baleful weeds and precious-juiced flowers.
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, 1070
Many for many virtues excellent,
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 1075
But to the earth some special good doth give,
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 sometimes by action dignified. 1080
Within the infant rind of this small flower
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 kings encamp them still 1085
In man as well as herbs, grace and rude will;
And where the worser is predominant,
Full soon the canker death eats up that plant.

[Enter ROMEO] . Good morrow, father. 1090 . Benedicite!
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, 1095
And where care lodges, sleep will never lie;
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-roused by some distemperature; 1100
Or if not so, then here I hit it right,
Our Romeo hath not been in bed to-night. . That last is true; the sweeter rest was mine. . God pardon sin! wast thou with Rosaline? . With Rosaline, my ghostly father? no; 1105
I have forgot that name, and that name's woe. . That's my good son: but where hast thou been, then? . 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, 1110
That's by me wounded: both our remedies
Within thy help and holy physic lies:
I bear no hatred, blessed man, for, lo,
My intercession likewise steads my foe. . Be plain, good son, and homely in thy drift; 1115
Riddling confession finds but riddling shrift. . 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 combined, save what thou must combine 1120
By holy marriage: when and where and how
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. . Holy Saint Francis, what a change is here! 1125
Is Rosaline, whom thou didst love so dear,
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! 1130
How much salt water thrown away in waste,
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 1135
Of an old tear that is not wash'd off yet:
If e'er thou wast thyself and these woes thine,
Thou and these woes were all for Rosaline:
And art thou changed? pronounce this sentence then,
Women may fall, when there's no strength in men. 1140 . Thou chid'st me oft for loving Rosaline. . For doting, not for loving, pupil mine. . And bad'st me bury love. . Not in a grave,
To lay one in, another out to have. 1145 . I pray thee, chide not; she whom I love now
Doth grace for grace and love for love allow;
The other did not so. . O, she knew well
Thy love did read by rote and could not spell. 1150
But come, young waverer, come, go with me,
In one respect I'll thy assistant be;
For this alliance may so happy prove,
To turn your households' rancour to pure love. . O, let us hence; I stand on sudden haste. 1155 . Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.

[Exeunt]

     

Act II, Scene 4

A street.

     

[Enter BENVOLIO and MERCUTIO] . Where the devil should this Romeo be?
Came he not home to-night? 1160 . Not to his father's; I spoke with his man. . Ah, that same pale hard-hearted wench, that Rosaline.
Torments him so, that he will sure run mad. . Tybalt, the kinsman of old Capulet,
Hath sent a letter to his father's house. 1165 . A challenge, on my life. . Romeo will answer it. . Any man that can write may answer a letter. . Nay, he will answer the letter's master, how he
dares, being dared. 1170 . 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? 1175 . Why, what is Tybalt? . 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 1180
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
hai! 1185 . The what? . The pox of such antic, 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, 1190
grandsire, that we should be thus afflicted with
these strange flies, these fashion-mongers, these
perdona-mi's, who stand so much on the new form,
that they cannot at ease on the old bench? O, their
bones, their bones! 1195

[Enter ROMEO] . Here comes Romeo, here comes Romeo. . Without his roe, like a dried herring: flesh, flesh,
how art thou fishified! Now is he for the numbers
that Petrarch flowed in: Laura to his lady was but a 1200
kitchen-wench; marry, she had a better love to
be-rhyme 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 1205
to your French slop. You gave us the counterfeit
fairly last night. . Good morrow to you both. What counterfeit did I give you? . The ship, sir, the slip; can you not conceive? . Pardon, good Mercutio, my business was great; and in 1210
such a case as mine a man may strain courtesy. . That's as much as to say, such a case as yours
constrains a man to bow in the hams. . Meaning, to court'sy. . Thou hast most kindly hit it. 1215 . A most courteous exposition. . Nay, I am the very pink of courtesy. . Pink for flower. . Right. . Why, then is my pump well flowered. 1220 . Well said: follow me this jest now till thou hast
worn out thy pump, that when the single sole of it
is worn, the jest may remain after the wearing sole singular. . O single-soled jest, solely singular for the
singleness. 1225 . Come between us, good Benvolio; my wits faint. . Switch and spurs, switch and spurs; or I'll cry a match. . 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: 1230
was I with you there for the goose? . Thou wast never with me for any thing when thou wast
not there for the goose. . I will bite thee by the ear for that jest. . Nay, good goose, bite not. 1235 . Thy wit is a very bitter sweeting; it is a most
sharp sauce. . And is it not well served in to a sweet goose? . O here's a wit of cheveril, that stretches from an
inch narrow to an ell broad! 1240 . I stretch it out for that word 'broad;' which added
to the goose, proves thee far and wide a broad goose. . 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: 1245
for this drivelling love is like a great natural,
that runs lolling up and down to hide his bauble in a hole. . Stop there, stop there. . Thou desirest me to stop in my tale against the hair. . Thou wouldst else have made thy tale large. 1250 . 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. . Here's goodly gear!

[Enter Nurse and PETER] . A sail, a sail! . Two, two; a shirt and a smock. . Peter! . Anon! . My fan, Peter. 1260 . Good Peter, to hide her face; for her fan's the
fairer face. . God ye good morrow, gentlemen. . God ye good den, fair gentlewoman. . Is it good den? 1265 . 'Tis no less, I tell you, for the bawdy hand of the
dial is now upon the prick of noon. . Out upon you! what a man are you! . One, gentlewoman, that God hath made for himself to
mar. 1270 . 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? . I can tell you; but young Romeo will be older when
you have found him than he was when you sought him: 1275
I am the youngest of that name, for fault of a worse. . You say well. . Yea, is the worst well? very well took, i' faith;
wisely, wisely. . if you be he, sir, I desire some confidence with 1280
you. . She will indite him to some supper. . A bawd, a bawd, a bawd! so ho! . What hast thou found? . No hare, sir; unless a hare, sir, in a lenten pie, 1285
that is something stale and hoar ere it be spent.

An old hare hoar,
And an old hare hoar,
Is very good meat in lent 1290
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. 1295 . I will follow you. . Farewell, ancient lady; farewell,

'lady, lady, lady.'

[Exeunt MERCUTIO and BENVOLIO] . Marry, farewell! I pray you, sir, what saucy
merchant was this, that was so full of his ropery? . A gentleman, nurse, that loves to hear himself talk,
and will speak more in a minute than he will stand
to in a month. 1305 . An a' speak any thing 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 skains-mates. And thou must stand by 1310
too, and suffer every knave to use me at his pleasure? . I saw no man use you a 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. 1315 . 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 bade me say, I will keep to myself:
but first let me tell ye, if ye should lead her into 1320
a fool's paradise, as they say, it were a very gross
kind of behavior, 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. 1325 . Nurse, commend me to thy lady and mistress. I
protest unto thee— . Good heart, and, i' faith, I will tell her as much:
Lord, Lord, she will be a joyful woman. . What wilt thou tell her, nurse? thou dost not mark me. 1330 . I will tell her, sir, that you do protest; which, as
I take it, is a gentlemanlike offer. . Bid her devise
Some means to come to shrift this afternoon;
And there she shall at Friar Laurence' cell 1335
Be shrived and married. Here is for thy pains. . No truly sir; not a penny. . Go to; I say you shall. . This afternoon, sir? well, she shall be there. . And stay, good nurse, behind the abbey wall: 1340
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
Must be my convoy in the secret night.
Farewell; be trusty, and I'll quit thy pains: 1345
Farewell; commend me to thy mistress. . Now God in heaven bless thee! Hark you, sir. . What say'st thou, my dear nurse? . Is your man secret? Did you ne'er hear say,
Two may keep counsel, putting one away? 1350 . I warrant thee, my man's as true as steel. . Well, sir; my mistress is the sweetest lady—Lord,
Lord! when 'twas a little prating thing:—O, there
is a nobleman in town, one Paris, that would fain
lay knife aboard; but she, good soul, had as lief 1355
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? 1360 . Ay, nurse; what of that? both with an R. . Ah. mocker! that's the dog's name; R is for
the—No; I know it begins with some other
letter:—and she hath the prettiest sententious of
it, of you and rosemary, that it would do you good 1365
to hear it. . Commend me to thy lady. . Ay, a thousand times.

Peter! 1370 . Anon! . Peter, take my fan, and go before and apace.

[Exeunt]

     

Act II, Scene 5

Capulet’s orchard.

     

[Enter JULIET] . The clock struck nine when I did send the nurse; 1375
In half an hour she promised to return.
Perchance she cannot meet him: that's not so.
O, she is lame! love's heralds should be thoughts,
Which ten times faster glide than the sun's beams,
Driving back shadows over louring hills: 1380
Therefore do nimble-pinion'd doves draw love,
And therefore hath the wind-swift Cupid wings.
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. 1385
Had she affections and warm youthful blood,
She would be as swift in motion as a ball;
My words would bandy her to my sweet love,
And his to me:
But old folks, many feign as they were dead; 1390
Unwieldy, slow, heavy and pale as lead.
O God, she comes!

O honey nurse, what news?
Hast thou met with him? Send thy man away. 1395 . Peter, stay at the gate.

[Exit PETER] . Now, good sweet nurse,—O Lord, why look'st thou sad?
Though news be sad, yet tell them merrily;
If good, thou shamest the music of sweet news 1400
By playing it to me with so sour a face. . I am a-weary, give me leave awhile:
Fie, how my bones ache! what a jaunt have I had! . I would thou hadst my bones, and I thy news:
Nay, come, I pray thee, speak; good, good nurse, speak. 1405 . Jesu, what haste? can you not stay awhile?
Do you not see that I am out of breath? . How art thou out of breath, when thou hast breath
To say to me that thou art out of breath?
The excuse that thou dost make in this delay 1410
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? . Well, you have made a simple choice; you know not 1415
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, 1420
but, I'll warrant him, as gentle as a lamb. Go thy
ways, wench; serve God. What, have you dined at home? . No, no: but all this did I know before.
What says he of our marriage? what of that? . Lord, how my head aches! what a head have I! 1425
It beats as it would fall in twenty pieces.
My back o' t' other side,—O, my back, my back!
Beshrew your heart for sending me about,
To catch my death with jaunting up and down! . I' faith, I am sorry that thou art not well. 1430
Sweet, sweet, sweet nurse, tell me, what says my love? . 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? . Where is my mother! why, she is within; 1435
Where should she be? How oddly thou repliest!
'Your love says, like an honest gentleman,
Where is your mother?' . O God's lady dear!
Are you so hot? marry, come up, I trow; 1440
Is this the poultice for my aching bones?
Henceforward do your messages yourself. . Here's such a coil! come, what says Romeo? . Have you got leave to go to shrift to-day? . I have. 1445 . 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.
Hie you to church; I must another way, 1450
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.
Go; I'll to dinner: hie you to the cell. 1455 . Hie to high fortune! Honest nurse, farewell.

[Exeunt]

     

Act II, Scene 6

Friar Laurence’s cell.

     

[Enter FRIAR LAURENCE and ROMEO] . So smile the heavens upon this holy act,
That after hours with sorrow chide us not! 1460 . Amen, amen! but come what sorrow can,
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; 1465
It is enough I may but call her mine. . 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 1470
And in the taste confounds the appetite:
Therefore love moderately; long love doth so;
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.

Here comes the lady: O, so light a foot 1475
Will ne'er wear out the everlasting flint:
A lover may bestride the gossamer
That idles in the wanton summer air,
And yet not fall; so light is vanity. . Good even to my ghostly confessor. 1480 . Romeo shall thank thee, daughter, for us both. . As much to him, else is his thanks too much. . 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 1485
This neighbour air, and let rich music's tongue
Unfold the imagined happiness that both
Receive in either by this dear encounter. . Conceit, more rich in matter than in words,
Brags of his substance, not of ornament: 1490
They are but beggars that can count their worth;
But my true love is grown to such excess
I cannot sum up sum of half my wealth. . Come, come with me, and we will make short work;
For, by your leaves, you shall not stay alone 1495
Till holy church incorporate two in one.

[Exeunt]

     

Act III, Scene 1

A public place.

     

[Enter MERCUTIO, BENVOLIO, Page, and Servants] . I pray thee, good Mercutio, let's retire:
The day is hot, the Capulets abroad, 1500
And, if we meet, we shall not scape a brawl;
For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring. . 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 1505
thee!' and by the operation of the second cup draws
it on the drawer, when indeed there is no need. . Am I like such a fellow? . Come, come, thou art as hot a Jack in thy mood as
any in Italy, and as soon moved to be moody, and as 1510
soon moody to be moved. . And what to? . 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, 1515
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 fun of quarrels as an egg is full of 1520
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 1525
his new doublet before Easter? with another, for
tying his new shoes with old riband? and yet thou
wilt tutor me from quarrelling! . 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. 1530 . The fee-simple! O simple! . By my head, here come the Capulets. . By my heel, I care not.

[Enter TYBALT and others] . Follow me close, for I will speak to them. 1535
Gentlemen, good den: a word with one of you. . And but one word with one of us? couple it with
something; make it a word and a blow. . You shall find me apt enough to that, sir, an you
will give me occasion. 1540 . Could you not take some occasion without giving? . Mercutio, thou consort'st with Romeo,— . 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 1545
make you dance. 'Zounds, consort! . We talk here in the public haunt of men:
Either withdraw unto some private place,
And reason coldly of your grievances,
Or else depart; here all eyes gaze on us. 1550 . Men's eyes were made to look, and let them gaze;
I will not budge for no man's pleasure, I.

[Enter ROMEO] . Well, peace be with you, sir: here comes my man. . But I'll be hanged, sir, if he wear your livery: 1555
Marry, go before to field, he'll be your follower;
Your worship in that sense may call him 'man.' . Romeo, the hate I bear thee can afford
No better term than this,—thou art a villain. . Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee 1560
Doth much excuse the appertaining rage
To such a greeting: villain am I none;
Therefore farewell; I see thou know'st me not. . Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries
That thou hast done me; therefore turn and draw. 1565 . I do protest, I never injured 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
As dearly as my own,—be satisfied. 1570 . O calm, dishonourable, vile submission!
Alla stoccata carries it away.

Tybalt, you rat-catcher, will you walk? . What wouldst thou have with me? 1575 . 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, drybeat the rest of the
eight. Will you pluck your sword out of his pitcher
by the ears? make haste, lest mine be about your 1580
ears ere it be out. . I am for you.

[Drawing] . Gentle Mercutio, put thy rapier up. . Come, sir, your passado. 1585

[They fight] . Draw, Benvolio; beat down their weapons.
Gentlemen, for shame, forbear this outrage!
Tybalt, Mercutio, the prince expressly hath
Forbidden bandying in Verona streets: 1590
Hold, Tybalt! good Mercutio!

[TYBALT under ROMEO's arm stabs MERCUTIO, and flies with his followers] . I am hurt.
A plague o' both your houses! I am sped.
Is he gone, and hath nothing? 1595 . What, art thou hurt? . Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch; marry, 'tis enough.
Where is my page? Go, villain, fetch a surgeon.

[Exit Page] . Courage, man; the hurt cannot be much. 1600 . 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 1605
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. . I thought all for the best. 1610 . Help me into some house, Benvolio,
Or I shall faint. A plague o' both your houses!
They have made worms' meat of me: I have it,
And soundly too: your houses!

[Exeunt MERCUTIO and BENVOLIO] . This gentleman, the prince's near ally,
My very friend, hath got his mortal hurt
In my behalf; my reputation stain'd
With Tybalt's slander,—Tybalt, that an hour
Hath been my kinsman! O sweet Juliet, 1620
Thy beauty hath made me effeminate
And in my temper soften'd valour's steel!

[Re-enter BENVOLIO] . O Romeo, Romeo, brave Mercutio's dead!
That gallant spirit hath aspired the clouds, 1625
Which too untimely here did scorn the earth. . This day's black fate on more days doth depend;
This but begins the woe, others must end. . Here comes the furious Tybalt back again. . Alive, in triumph! and Mercutio slain! 1630
Away to heaven, respective lenity,
And fire-eyed fury be my conduct now!

Now, Tybalt, take the villain back again,
That late thou gavest me; for Mercutio's soul 1635
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. . Thou, wretched boy, that didst consort him here,
Shalt with him hence. 1640 . This shall determine that.

[They fight; TYBALT falls] . Romeo, away, be gone!
The citizens are up, and Tybalt slain.
Stand not amazed: the prince will doom thee death, 1645
If thou art taken: hence, be gone, away! . O, I am fortune's fool! . Why dost thou stay?

[Exit ROMEO]

[Enter Citizens, &c] . Which way ran he that kill'd Mercutio?
Tybalt, that murderer, which way ran he? . There lies that Tybalt. . Up, sir, go with me;
I charge thee in the princes name, obey. 1655

Wives, and others] . Where are the vile beginners of this fray? . O noble prince, I can discover all
The unlucky manage of this fatal brawl: 1660
There lies the man, slain by young Romeo,
That slew thy kinsman, brave Mercutio. . Tybalt, my cousin! O my brother's child!
O prince! O cousin! husband! O, the blood is spilt
O my dear kinsman! Prince, as thou art true, 1665
For blood of ours, shed blood of Montague.
O cousin, cousin! . Benvolio, who began this bloody fray? . Tybalt, here slain, whom Romeo's hand did slay;
Romeo that spoke him fair, bade him bethink 1670
How nice the quarrel was, and urged withal
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 1675
With piercing steel at bold Mercutio's breast,
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, 1680
Retorts it: Romeo he cries aloud,
'Hold, friends! friends, part!' and, swifter than
his tongue,
His agile arm beats down their fatal points,
And 'twixt them rushes; underneath whose arm 1685
An envious thrust from Tybalt hit the life
Of stout Mercutio, and then Tybalt fled;
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 1690
Could draw to part them, was stout Tybalt slain.
And, as he fell, did Romeo turn and fly.
This is the truth, or let Benvolio die. . He is a kinsman to the Montague;
Affection makes him false; he speaks not true: 1695
Some twenty of them fought in this black strife,
And all those twenty could but kill one life.
I beg for justice, which thou, prince, must give;
Romeo slew Tybalt, Romeo must not live. . Romeo slew him, he slew Mercutio; 1700
Who now the price of his dear blood doth owe? . Not Romeo, prince, he was Mercutio's friend;
His fault concludes but what the law should end,
The life of Tybalt. . And for that offence 1705
Immediately we do exile him hence:
I have an interest in your hate's proceeding,
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: 1710
I will be deaf to pleading and excuses;
Nor tears nor prayers shall purchase out abuses:
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: 1715
Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill.

[Exeunt]

     

Act III, Scene 2

Capulet’s orchard.

     

[Enter JULIET] . Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds,
Towards Phoebus' lodging: such a wagoner 1720
As Phaethon would whip you to the west,
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. 1725
Lovers can see to do their amorous rites
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, 1730
Play'd for a pair of stainless maidenhoods:
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; 1735
For thou wilt lie upon the wings of night
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, 1740
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
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, 1745
Not yet enjoy'd: so tedious is this day
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,
And she brings news; and every tongue that speaks 1750
But Romeo's name speaks heavenly eloquence.

Now, nurse, what news? What hast thou there? the cords
That Romeo bid thee fetch? . Ay, ay, the cords. 1755

[Throws them down] . Ay me! what news? why dost thou wring thy hands? . 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 kill'd, he's dead! 1760 . Can heaven be so envious? . Romeo can,
Though heaven cannot: O Romeo, Romeo!
Who ever would have thought it? Romeo! . What devil art thou, that dost torment me thus? 1765
This torture should be roar'd in dismal hell.
Hath Romeo slain himself? say thou but 'I,'
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; 1770
Or those eyes shut, that make thee answer 'I.'
If he be slain, say 'I'; or if not, no:
Brief sounds determine of my weal or woe. . I saw the wound, I saw it with mine eyes,—
God save the mark!—here on his manly breast: 1775
A piteous corse, a bloody piteous corse;
Pale, pale as ashes, all bedaub'd in blood,
All in gore-blood; I swounded at the sight. . O, break, my heart! poor bankrupt, break at once!
To prison, eyes, ne'er look on liberty! 1780
Vile earth, to earth resign; end motion here;
And thou and Romeo press one heavy bier! . O Tybalt, Tybalt, the best friend I had!
O courteous Tybalt! honest gentleman!
That ever I should live to see thee dead! 1785 . What storm is this that blows so contrary?
Is Romeo slaughter'd, and is Tybalt dead?
My dear-loved cousin, and my dearer lord?
Then, dreadful trumpet, sound the general doom!
For who is living, if those two are gone? 1790 . Tybalt is gone, and Romeo banished;
Romeo that kill'd him, he is banished. . O God! did Romeo's hand shed Tybalt's blood? . It did, it did; alas the day, it did! . O serpent heart, hid with a flowering face! 1795
Did ever dragon keep so fair a cave?
Beautiful tyrant! fiend angelical!
Dove-feather'd raven! wolvish-ravening lamb!
Despised substance of divinest show!
Just opposite to what thou justly seem'st, 1800
A damned saint, an honourable villain!
O nature, what hadst thou to do in hell,
When thou didst bower the spirit of a fiend
In moral paradise of such sweet flesh?
Was ever book containing such vile matter 1805
So fairly bound? O that deceit should dwell
In such a gorgeous palace! . There's no trust,
No faith, no honesty in men; all perjured,
All forsworn, all naught, all dissemblers. 1810
Ah, where's my man? give me some aqua vitae:
These griefs, these woes, these sorrows make me old.
Shame come to Romeo! . Blister'd be thy tongue
For such a wish! he was not born to shame: 1815
Upon his brow shame is ashamed to sit;
For 'tis a throne where honour may be crown'd
Sole monarch of the universal earth.
O, what a beast was I to chide at him! . Will you speak well of him that kill'd your cousin? 1820 . Shall I speak ill of him that is my husband?
Ah, poor my lord, what tongue shall smooth thy name,
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: 1825
Back, foolish tears, back to your native spring;
Your tributary drops belong to woe,
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: 1830
All this is comfort; wherefore weep I then?
Some word there was, worser than Tybalt's death,
That murder'd me: I would forget it fain;
But, O, it presses to my memory,
Like damned guilty deeds to sinners' minds: 1835
'Tybalt is dead, and Romeo—banished;'
That 'banished,' that one word 'banished,'
Hath slain ten thousand Tybalts. Tybalt's death
Was woe enough, if it had ended there:
Or, if sour woe delights in fellowship 1840
And needly will be rank'd with other griefs,
Why follow'd not, when she said 'Tybalt's dead,'
Thy father, or thy mother, nay, or both,
Which modern lamentations might have moved?
But with a rear-ward following Tybalt's death, 1845
'Romeo is banished,' to speak that word,
Is father, mother, Tybalt, Romeo, Juliet,
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. 1850
Where is my father, and my mother, nurse? . Weeping and wailing over Tybalt's corse:
Will you go to them? I will bring you thither. . Wash they his wounds with tears: mine shall be spent,
When theirs are dry, for Romeo's banishment. 1855
Take up those cords: poor ropes, you are beguiled,
Both you and I; for Romeo is exiled:
He made you for a highway to my bed;
But I, a maid, die maiden-widowed.
Come, cords, come, nurse; I'll to my wedding-bed; 1860
And death, not Romeo, take my maidenhead! . Hie to your chamber: I'll find Romeo
To comfort you: I wot well where he is.
Hark ye, your Romeo will be here at night:
I'll to him; he is hid at Laurence' cell. 1865 . O, find him! give this ring to my true knight,
And bid him come to take his last farewell.

[Exeunt]

     

Act III, Scene 3

Friar Laurence’s cell.

     

[Enter FRIAR LAURENCE] . Romeo, come forth; come forth, thou fearful man: 1870
Affliction is enamour'd of thy parts,
And thou art wedded to calamity.

[Enter ROMEO] . Father, what news? what is the prince's doom?
What sorrow craves acquaintance at my hand, 1875
That I yet know not? . Too familiar
Is my dear son with such sour company:
I bring thee tidings of the prince's doom. . What less than dooms-day is the prince's doom? 1880 . A gentler judgment vanish'd from his lips,
Not body's death, but body's banishment. . Ha, banishment! be merciful, say 'death;'
For exile hath more terror in his look,
Much more than death: do not say 'banishment.' 1885 . Hence from Verona art thou banished:
Be patient, for the world is broad and wide. . There is no world without Verona walls,
But purgatory, torture, hell itself.
Hence-banished is banish'd from the world, 1890
And world's exile is death: then banished,
Is death mis-term'd: calling death banishment,
Thou cutt'st my head off with a golden axe,
And smilest upon the stroke that murders me. . O deadly sin! O rude unthankfulness! 1895
Thy fault our law calls death; but the kind prince,
Taking thy part, hath rush'd aside the law,
And turn'd that black word death to banishment:
This is dear mercy, and thou seest it not. . 'Tis torture, and not mercy: heaven is here, 1900
Where Juliet lives; and every cat and dog
And little mouse, every unworthy thing,
Live here in heaven and may look on her;
But Romeo may not: more validity,
More honourable state, more courtship lives 1905
In carrion-flies than Romeo: they my seize
On the white wonder of dear Juliet's hand
And steal immortal blessing from her lips,
Who even in pure and vestal modesty,
Still blush, as thinking their own kisses sin; 1910
But Romeo may not; he is banished:
Flies may do this, but I from this must fly:
They are free men, but I am banished.
And say'st thou yet that exile is not death?
Hadst thou no poison mix'd, no sharp-ground knife, 1915
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;
Howlings attend it: how hast thou the heart,
Being a divine, a ghostly confessor, 1920
A sin-absolver, and my friend profess'd,
To mangle me with that word 'banished'? . Thou fond mad man, hear me but speak a word. . O, thou wilt speak again of banishment. . I'll give thee armour to keep off that word: 1925
Adversity's sweet milk, philosophy,
To comfort thee, though thou art banished. . Yet 'banished'? Hang up philosophy!
Unless philosophy can make a Juliet,
Displant a town, reverse a prince's doom, 1930
It helps not, it prevails not: talk no more. . O, then I see that madmen have no ears. . How should they, when that wise men have no eyes? . Let me dispute with thee of thy estate. . Thou canst not speak of that thou dost not feel: 1935
Wert thou as young as I, Juliet thy love,
An hour but married, Tybalt murdered,
Doting like me and like me banished,
Then mightst thou speak, then mightst thou tear thy hair,
And fall upon the ground, as I do now, 1940
Taking the measure of an unmade grave.

[Knocking within] . Arise; one knocks; good Romeo, hide thyself. . Not I; unless the breath of heartsick groans,
Mist-like, infold me from the search of eyes. 1945

[Knocking] . Hark, how they knock! Who's there? Romeo, arise;
Thou wilt be taken. Stay awhile! Stand up;

Run to my study. By and by! God's will, 1950
What simpleness is this! I come, I come!

Who knocks so hard? whence come you? what's your will? . Let me come in, and you shall know
my errand; 1955
I come from Lady Juliet. . Welcome, then.

[Enter Nurse] . O holy friar, O, tell me, holy friar,
Where is my lady's lord, where's Romeo? 1960 . There on the ground, with his own tears made drunk. . O, he is even in my mistress' case,
Just in her case! O woful sympathy!
Piteous predicament! Even so lies she,
Blubbering and weeping, weeping and blubbering. 1965
Stand up, stand up; stand, and you be a man:
For Juliet's sake, for her sake, rise and stand;
Why should you fall into so deep an O? . Nurse! . Ah sir! ah sir! Well, death's the end of all. 1970 . Spakest thou of Juliet? how is it with her?
Doth she not think me an old murderer,
Now I have stain'd the childhood of our joy
With blood removed but little from her own?
Where is she? and how doth she? and what says 1975
My conceal'd lady to our cancell'd love? . O, she says nothing, sir, but weeps and weeps;
And now falls on her bed; and then starts up,
And Tybalt calls; and then on Romeo cries,
And then down falls again. 1980 . As if that name,
Shot from the deadly level of a gun,
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 1985
Doth my name lodge? tell me, that I may sack
The hateful mansion.

[Drawing his sword] . Hold thy desperate hand:
Art thou a man? thy form cries out thou art: 1990
Thy tears are womanish; thy wild acts denote
The unreasonable fury of a beast:
Unseemly woman in a seeming man!
Or ill-beseeming beast in seeming both!
Thou hast amazed me: by my holy order, 1995
I thought thy disposition better temper'd.
Hast thou slain Tybalt? wilt thou slay thyself?
And stay thy lady too that lives in thee,
By doing damned hate upon thyself?
Why rail'st thou on thy birth, the heaven, and earth? 2000
Since birth, and heaven, and earth, all three do meet
In thee at once; which thou at once wouldst lose.
Fie, fie, thou shamest thy shape, thy love, thy wit;
Which, like a usurer, abound'st in all,
And usest none in that true use indeed 2005
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;
Thy dear love sworn but hollow perjury,
Killing that love which thou hast vow'd to cherish; 2010
Thy wit, that ornament to shape and love,
Misshapen in the conduct of them both,
Like powder in a skitless soldier's flask,
Is set afire by thine own ignorance,
And thou dismember'd with thine own defence. 2015
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,
But thou slew'st Tybalt; there are thou happy too:
The law that threaten'd death becomes thy friend 2020
And turns it to exile; there art thou happy:
A pack of blessings lights up upon thy back;
Happiness courts thee in her best array;
But, like a misbehaved and sullen wench,
Thou pout'st upon thy fortune and thy love: 2025
Take heed, take heed, for such die miserable.
Go, get thee to thy love, as was decreed,
Ascend her chamber, hence and comfort her:
But look thou stay not till the watch be set,
For then thou canst not pass to Mantua; 2030
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
With twenty hundred thousand times more joy
Than thou went'st forth in lamentation. 2035
Go before, nurse: commend me to thy lady;
And bid her hasten all the house to bed,
Which heavy sorrow makes them apt unto:
Romeo is coming. . O Lord, I could have stay'd here all the night 2040
To hear good counsel: O, what learning is!
My lord, I'll tell my lady you will come. . Do so, and bid my sweet prepare to chide. . Here, sir, a ring she bid me give you, sir:
Hie you, make haste, for it grows very late. 2045

[Exit] . How well my comfort is revived by this! . Go hence; good night; and here stands all your state:
Either be gone before the watch be set,
Or by the break of day disguised from hence: 2050
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; good night. . But that a joy past joy calls out on me, 2055
It were a grief, so brief to part with thee: Farewell.

[Exeunt]

     

Act III, Scene 4

A room in Capulet’s house.

     

[Enter CAPULET, LADY CAPULET, and PARIS] . Things have fall'n out, sir, so unluckily,
That we have had no time to move our daughter: 2060
Look you, she loved her kinsman Tybalt dearly,
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. 2065 . These times of woe afford no time to woo.
Madam, good night: commend me to your daughter. . I will, and know her mind early to-morrow;
To-night she is mew'd up to her heaviness. . Sir Paris, I will make a desperate tender 2070
Of my child's love: I think she will be ruled
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— 2075
But, soft! what day is this? . Monday, my lord, . 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. 2080
Will you be ready? do you like this haste?
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: 2085
Therefore we'll have some half a dozen friends,
And there an end. But what say you to Thursday? . My lord, I would that Thursday were to-morrow. . Well get you gone: o' Thursday be it, then.
Go you to Juliet ere you go to bed, 2090
Prepare her, wife, against this wedding-day.
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. 2095

[Exeunt]

     

Act III, Scene 5

Capulet’s orchard.

     

[Enter ROMEO and JULIET above, at the window] . Wilt thou be gone? it is not yet near day:
It was the nightingale, and not the lark,
That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear; 2100
Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate-tree:
Believe me, love, it was the nightingale. . It was the lark, the herald of the morn,
No nightingale: look, love, what envious streaks
Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east: 2105
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. . Yon light is not day-light, I know it, I:
It is some meteor that the sun exhales, 2110
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. . Let me be ta'en, let me be put to death;
I am content, so thou wilt have it so. 2115
I'll say yon 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: 2120
Come, death, and welcome! Juliet wills it so.
How is't, my soul? let's talk; it is not day. . 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. 2125
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 changed voices too!
Since arm from arm that voice doth us affray, 2130
Hunting thee hence with hunt's-up to the day,
O, now be gone; more light and light it grows. . More light and light; more dark and dark our woes!

[Enter Nurse, to the chamber] . Madam! 2135 . Nurse? . Your lady mother is coming to your chamber:
The day is broke; be wary, look about.

[Exit] . Then, window, let day in, and let life out. 2140 . Farewell, farewell! one kiss, and I'll descend.

[He goeth down] . Art thou gone so? love, lord, ay, husband, friend!
I must hear from thee every day in the hour,
For in a minute there are many days: 2145
O, by this count I shall be much in years
Ere I again behold my Romeo! . Farewell!
I will omit no opportunity
That may convey my greetings, love, to thee. 2150 . O think'st thou we shall ever meet again? . I doubt it not; and all these woes shall serve
For sweet discourses in our time to come. . O God, I have an ill-divining soul!
Methinks I see thee, now thou art below, 2155
As one dead in the bottom of a tomb:
Either my eyesight fails, or thou look'st pale. . And trust me, love, in my eye so do you:
Dry sorrow drinks our blood. Adieu, adieu!

[Exit] . 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;
For then, I hope, thou wilt not keep him long,
But send him back. 2165 . Ho, daughter! are you up? . Who is't that calls? is it my lady mother?
Is she not down so late, or up so early?
What unaccustom'd cause procures her hither?

[Enter LADY CAPULET] . Why, how now, Juliet! . Madam, I am not well. . Evermore weeping for your cousin's death?
What, wilt thou wash him from his grave with tears?
An if thou couldst, thou couldst not make him live; 2175
Therefore, have done: some grief shows much of love;
But much of grief shows still some want of wit. . Yet let me weep for such a feeling loss. . So shall you feel the loss, but not the friend
Which you weep for. 2180 . Feeling so the loss,
Cannot choose but ever weep the friend. . Well, girl, thou weep'st not so much for his death,
As that the villain lives which slaughter'd him. . What villain madam? 2185 . That same villain, Romeo. . Villain and he be many miles asunder.—
God Pardon him! I do, with all my heart;
And yet no man like he doth grieve my heart. . That is, because the traitor murderer lives. 2190 . Ay, madam, from the reach of these my hands:
Would none but I might venge my cousin's death! . We will have vengeance for it, fear thou not:
Then weep no more. I'll send to one in Mantua,
Where that same banish'd runagate doth live, 2195
Shall give him such an unaccustom'd dram,
That he shall soon keep Tybalt company:
And then, I hope, thou wilt be satisfied. . Indeed, I never shall be satisfied
With Romeo, till I behold him—dead— 2200
Is my poor heart for a kinsman vex'd.
Madam, if you could find out but a man
To bear a poison, I would temper it;
That Romeo should, upon receipt thereof,
Soon sleep in quiet. O, how my heart abhors 2205
To hear him named, and cannot come to him.
To wreak the love I bore my cousin
Upon his body that slaughter'd him! . Find thou the means, and I'll find such a man.
But now I'll tell thee joyful tidings, girl. 2210 . And joy comes well in such a needy time:
What are they, I beseech your ladyship? . Well, well, thou hast a careful father, child;
One who, to put thee from thy heaviness,
Hath sorted out a sudden day of joy, 2215
That thou expect'st not nor I look'd not for. . Madam, in happy time, what day is that? . Marry, my child, early next Thursday morn,
The gallant, young and noble gentleman,
The County Paris, at Saint Peter's Church, 2220
Shall happily make thee there a joyful bride. . Now, by Saint Peter's Church and Peter too,
He shall not make me there a joyful bride.
I wonder at this haste; that I must wed
Ere he, that should be husband, comes to woo. 2225
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,
Rather than Paris. These are news indeed! . Here comes your father; tell him so yourself, 2230
And see how he will take it at your hands.

[Enter CAPULET and Nurse] . When the sun sets, the air doth drizzle dew;
But for the sunset of my brother's son
It rains downright. 2235
How now! a conduit, girl? what, still in tears?
Evermore showering? In one little body
Thou counterfeit'st a bark, a sea, a wind;
For still thy eyes, which I may call the sea,
Do ebb and flow with tears; the bark thy body is, 2240
Sailing in this salt flood; the winds, thy sighs;
Who, raging with thy tears, and they with them,
Without a sudden calm, will overset
Thy tempest-tossed body. How now, wife!
Have you deliver'd to her our decree? 2245 . Ay, sir; but she will none, she gives you thanks.
I would the fool were married to her grave! . Soft! take me with you, take me with you, wife.
How! will she none? doth she not give us thanks?
Is she not proud? doth she not count her blest, 2250
Unworthy as she is, that we have wrought
So worthy a gentleman to be her bridegroom? . Not proud, you have; but thankful, that you have:
Proud can I never be of what I hate;
But thankful even for hate, that is meant love. 2255 . 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,
Thank me no thankings, nor, proud me no prouds,
But fettle your fine joints 'gainst Thursday next, 2260
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!
You tallow-face! . Fie, fie! what, are you mad? 2265 . Good father, I beseech you on my knees,
Hear me with patience but to speak a word. . Hang thee, young baggage! disobedient wretch!
I tell thee what: get thee to church o' Thursday,
Or never after look me in the face: 2270
Speak not, reply not, do not answer me;
My fingers itch. Wife, we scarce thought us blest
That God had lent us but this only child;
But now I see this one is one too much,
And that we have a curse in having her: 2275
Out on her, hilding! . God in heaven bless her!
You are to blame, my lord, to rate her so. . And why, my lady wisdom? hold your tongue,
Good prudence; smatter with your gossips, go. 2280 . I speak no treason. . O, God ye god-den. . May not one speak? . Peace, you mumbling fool!
Utter your gravity o'er a gossip's bowl; 2285
For here we need it not. . You are too hot. . God's bread! it makes me mad:
Day, night, hour, tide, time, work, play,
Alone, in company, still my care hath been 2290
To have her match'd: and having now provided
A gentleman of noble parentage,
Of fair demesnes, youthful, and nobly train'd,
Stuff'd, as they say, with honourable parts,
Proportion'd as one's thought would wish a man; 2295
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,
I am too young; I pray you, pardon me.'
But, as you will not wed, I'll pardon you: 2300
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:
An you be mine, I'll give you to my friend;
And you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in 2305
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] . 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 2315
In that dim monument where Tybalt lies. . Talk not to me, for I'll not speak a word:
Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee.

[Exit] . O God!—O nurse, how shall this be prevented? 2320
My husband is on earth, my faith in heaven;
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 2325
Upon so soft a subject as myself!
What say'st thou? hast thou not a word of joy?
Some comfort, nurse. . Faith, here it is.
Romeo is banish'd; and all the world to nothing, 2330
That he dares ne'er come back to challenge you;
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! 2335
Romeo's a dishclout to him: an eagle, madam,
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, 2340
Your first is dead; or 'twere as good he were,
As living here and you no use of him. . Speakest thou from thy heart? . And from my soul too;
Or else beshrew them both. 2345 . Amen! . What? . Well, thou hast comforted me marvellous much.
Go in: and tell my lady I am gone,
Having displeased my father, to Laurence' cell, 2350
To make confession and to be absolved. . Marry, I will; and this is wisely done.

[Exit] . Ancient damnation! O most wicked fiend!
Is it more sin to wish me thus forsworn, 2355
Or to dispraise my lord with that same tongue
Which she hath praised him with above compare
So many thousand times? Go, counsellor;
Thou and my bosom henceforth shall be twain.
I'll to the friar, to know his remedy: 2360
If all else fail, myself have power to die.

[Exit]

     

Act IV, Scene 1

Friar Laurence’s cell.

     

[Enter FRIAR LAURENCE and PARIS] . On Thursday, sir? the time is very short. . My father Capulet will have it so; 2365
And I am nothing slow to slack his haste. . You say you do not know the lady's mind:
Uneven is the course, I like it not. . Immoderately she weeps for Tybalt's death,
And therefore have I little talk'd of love; 2370
For Venus smiles not in a house of tears.
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; 2375
Which, too much minded by herself alone,
May be put from her by society:
Now do you know the reason of this haste. . I would I knew not why it should be slow'd.
Look, sir, here comes the lady towards my cell. 2380

[Enter JULIET] . Happily met, my lady and my wife! . That may be, sir, when I may be a wife. . That may be must be, love, on Thursday next. . What must be shall be. 2385 . That's a certain text. . Come you to make confession to this father? . To answer that, I should confess to you. . Do not deny to him that you love me. . I will confess to you that I love him. 2390 . So will ye, I am sure, that you love me. . If I do so, it will be of more price,
Being spoke behind your back, than to your face. . Poor soul, thy face is much abused with tears. . The tears have got small victory by that; 2395
For it was bad enough before their spite. . Thou wrong'st it, more than tears, with that report. . That is no slander, sir, which is a truth;
And what I spake, I spake it to my face. . Thy face is mine, and thou hast slander'd it. 2400 . It may be so, for it is not mine own.
Are you at leisure, holy father, now;
Or shall I come to you at evening mass? . My leisure serves me, pensive daughter, now.
My lord, we must entreat the time alone. 2405 . God shield I should disturb devotion!
Juliet, on Thursday early will I rouse ye:
Till then, adieu; and keep this holy kiss.

[Exit] . O shut the door! and when thou hast done so, 2410
Come weep with me; past hope, past cure, past help! . Ah, Juliet, I already know thy grief;
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. 2415 . Tell me not, friar, that thou hear'st of this,
Unless thou tell me how I may prevent it:
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. 2420
God join'd my heart and Romeo's, thou our hands;
And ere this hand, by thee to Romeo seal'd,
Shall be the label to another deed,
Or my true heart with treacherous revolt
Turn to another, this shall slay them both: 2425
Therefore, out of thy long-experienced time,
Give me some present counsel, or, behold,
'Twixt my extremes and me this bloody knife
Shall play the umpire, arbitrating that
Which the commission of thy years and art 2430
Could to no issue of true honour bring.
Be not so long to speak; I long to die,
If what thou speak'st speak not of remedy. . Hold, daughter: I do spy a kind of hope,
Which craves as desperate an execution. 2435
As that is desperate which we would prevent.
If, rather than to marry County Paris,
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, 2440
That copest with death himself to scape from it:
And, if thou darest, I'll give thee remedy. . O, bid me leap, rather than marry Paris,
From off the battlements of yonder tower;
Or walk in thievish ways; or bid me lurk 2445
Where serpents are; chain me with roaring bears;
Or shut me nightly in a charnel-house,
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 2450
And hide me with a dead man in his shroud;
Things that, to hear them told, have made me tremble;
And I will do it without fear or doubt,
To live an unstain'd wife to my sweet love. . Hold, then; go home, be merry, give consent 2455
To marry Paris: Wednesday is to-morrow:
To-morrow night look that thou lie alone;
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; 2460
When presently through all thy veins shall run
A cold and drowsy humour, for no pulse
Shall keep his native progress, but surcease:
No warmth, no breath, shall testify thou livest;
The roses in thy lips and cheeks shall fade 2465
To paly ashes, thy eyes' windows fall,
Like death, when he shuts up the day of life;
Each part, deprived of supple government,
Shall, stiff and stark and cold, appear like death:
And in this borrow'd likeness of shrunk death 2470
Thou shalt continue two and forty hours,
And then awake as from a pleasant sleep.
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, 2475
In thy best robes uncover'd on the bier
Thou shalt be borne to that same ancient vault
Where all the kindred of the Capulets lie.
In the mean time, against thou shalt awake,
Shall Romeo by my letters know our drift, 2480
And hither shall he come: and he and I
Will watch thy waking, and that very night
Shall Romeo bear thee hence to Mantua.
And this shall free thee from this present shame;
If no inconstant toy, nor womanish fear, 2485
Abate thy valour in the acting it. . Give me, give me! O, tell not me of fear! . 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. 2490 . Love give me strength! and strength shall help afford.
Farewell, dear father!

[Exeunt]

     

Act IV, Scene 2

Hall in Capulet’s house.

     

[Enter CAPULET, LADY CAPULET, Nurse, and two Servingmen] . So many guests invite as here are writ. 2495

Sirrah, go hire me twenty cunning cooks. . You shall have none ill, sir; for I'll try if they
can lick their fingers. . How canst thou try them so? 2500 . Marry, sir, 'tis an ill cook that cannot lick his
own fingers: therefore he that cannot lick his
fingers goes not with me. . Go, be gone.
2505
We shall be much unfurnished for this time.
What, is my daughter gone to Friar Laurence? . Ay, forsooth. . Well, he may chance to do some good on her:
A peevish self-will'd harlotry it is. 2510 . See where she comes from shrift with merry look.

[Enter JULIET] . How now, my headstrong! where have you been gadding? . Where I have learn'd me to repent the sin
Of disobedient opposition 2515
To you and your behests, and am enjoin'd
By holy Laurence to fall prostrate here,
And beg your pardon: pardon, I beseech you!
Henceforward I am ever ruled by you. . Send for the county; go tell him of this: 2520
I'll have this knot knit up to-morrow morning. . I met the youthful lord at Laurence' cell;
And gave him what becomed love I might,
Not step o'er the bounds of modesty. . Why, I am glad on't; this is well: stand up: 2525
This is as't should be. Let me see the county;
Ay, marry, go, I say, and fetch him hither.
Now, afore God! this reverend holy friar,
Our whole city is much bound to him. . Nurse, will you go with me into my closet, 2530
To help me sort such needful ornaments
As you think fit to furnish me to-morrow? . No, not till Thursday; there is time enough. . Go, nurse, go with her: we'll to church to-morrow.

[Exeunt JULIET and Nurse] . We shall be short in our provision:
'Tis now near night. . Tush, I will stir about,
And all things shall be well, I warrant thee, wife:
Go thou to Juliet, help to deck up her; 2540
I'll not to bed to-night; let me alone;
I'll play the housewife for this once. What, ho!
They are all forth. Well, I will walk myself
To County Paris, to prepare him up
Against to-morrow: my heart is wondrous light, 2545
Since this same wayward girl is so reclaim'd.

[Exeunt]

     

Act IV, Scene 3

Juliet’s chamber.

     

[Enter JULIET and Nurse] . Ay, those attires are best: but, gentle nurse,
I pray thee, leave me to myself to-night, 2550
For I have need of many orisons
To move the heavens to smile upon my state,
Which, well thou know'st, is cross, and full of sin.

[Enter LADY CAPULET] . What, are you busy, ho? need you my help? 2555 . No, madam; we have cull'd such necessaries
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, 2560
In this so sudden business. . Good night:
Get thee to bed, and rest; for thou hast need.

[Exeunt LADY CAPULET and Nurse] . Farewell! God knows when we shall meet again. 2565
I have a faint cold fear thrills through my veins,
That almost freezes up the heat of life:
I'll call them back again to comfort me:
Nurse! What should she do here?
My dismal scene I needs must act alone. 2570
Come, vial.
What if this mixture do not work at all?
Shall I be married then to-morrow morning?
No, no: this shall forbid it: lie thou there.
2575
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,
Because he married me before to Romeo?
I fear it is: and yet, methinks, it should not, 2580
For he hath still been tried a holy man.
How if, when I am laid into the tomb,
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, 2585
To whose foul mouth no healthsome air breathes in,
And there die strangled ere my Romeo comes?
Or, if I live, is it not very like,
The horrible conceit of death and night,
Together with the terror of the place,— 2590
As in a vault, an ancient receptacle,
Where, for these many hundred years, the bones
Of all my buried ancestors are packed:
Where bloody Tybalt, yet but green in earth,
Lies festering in his shroud; where, as they say, 2595
At some hours in the night spirits resort;—
Alack, alack, is it not like that I,
So early waking, what with loathsome smells,
And shrieks like mandrakes' torn out of the earth,
That living mortals, hearing them, run mad:— 2600
O, if I wake, shall I not be distraught,
Environed with all these hideous fears?
And madly play with my forefather's joints?
And pluck the mangled Tybalt from his shroud?
And, in this rage, with some great kinsman's bone, 2605
As with a club, dash out my desperate brains?
O, look! methinks I see my cousin's ghost
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. 2610

[She falls upon her bed, within the curtains]

     

Act IV, Scene 4

Hall in Capulet’s house.

     

[Enter LADY CAPULET and Nurse] . Hold, take these keys, and fetch more spices, nurse. . They call for dates and quinces in the pastry.

[Enter CAPULET] . Come, stir, stir, stir! the second cock hath crow'd,
The curfew-bell hath rung, 'tis three o'clock:
Look to the baked meats, good Angelica:
Spare not for the cost. . Go, you cot-quean, go, 2620
Get you to bed; faith, You'll be sick to-morrow
For this night's watching. . No, not a whit: what! I have watch'd ere now
All night for lesser cause, and ne'er been sick. . Ay, you have been a mouse-hunt in your time; 2625
But I will watch you from such watching now.

[Exeunt LADY CAPULET and Nurse] . A jealous hood, a jealous hood!

[Enter three or four Servingmen, with spits, logs, and baskets] . Now, fellow, 2630
What's there? . Things for the cook, sir; but I know not what. . Make haste, make haste.

Sirrah, fetch drier logs: 2635
Call Peter, he will show thee where they are. . I have a head, sir, that will find out logs,
And never trouble Peter for the matter.

[Exit] . Mass, and well said; a merry whoreson, ha! 2640
Thou shalt be logger-head. Good faith, 'tis day:
The county will be here with music straight,
For so he said he would: I hear him near.

Nurse! Wife! What, ho! What, nurse, I say! 2645

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. 2650

[Exeunt]

     

Act IV, Scene 5

Juliet’s chamber.

     

[Enter 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! 2655
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! 2660
I must needs 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! 2665
I must needs wake you; Lady! lady! lady!
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!

[Enter LADY CAPULET] . What noise is here? . O lamentable day! . What is the matter? . Look, look! O heavy day! . O me, O me! My child, my only life, 2675
Revive, look up, or I will die with thee!
Help, help! Call help.

[Enter CAPULET] . For shame, bring Juliet forth; her lord is come. . She's dead, deceased, she's dead; alack the day! 2680 . Alack the day, she's dead, she's dead, she's dead! . 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 2685
Upon the sweetest flower of all the field. . O lamentable day! . O woful time! . Death, that hath ta'en her hence to make me wail,
Ties up my tongue, and will not let me speak. 2690

[Enter FRIAR LAURENCE and PARIS, with Musicians] . Come, is the bride ready to go to church? . Ready to go, but never to return.
O son! the night before thy wedding-day
Hath Death lain with thy wife. There she lies, 2695
Flower as she was, deflowered by him.
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. . Have I thought long to see this morning's face, 2700
And doth it give me such a sight as this? . Accursed, 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, 2705
But one thing to rejoice and solace in,
And cruel death hath catch'd it from my sight! . O woe! O woful, woful, woful day!
Most lamentable day, most woful day,
That ever, ever, I did yet behold! 2710
O day! O day! O day! O hateful day!
Never was seen so black a day as this:
O woful day, O woful day! . Beguiled, divorced, wronged, spited, slain!
Most detestable death, by thee beguil'd, 2715
By cruel cruel thee quite overthrown!
O love! O life! not life, but love in death! . Despised, distressed, hated, martyr'd, kill'd!
Uncomfortable time, why camest thou now
To murder, murder our solemnity? 2720
O child! O child! my soul, and not my child!
Dead art thou! Alack! my child is dead;
And with my child my joys are buried. . Peace, ho, for shame! confusion's cure lives not
In these confusions. Heaven and yourself 2725
Had part in this fair maid; now heaven hath all,
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; 2730
For 'twas your heaven she should be advanced:
And weep ye now, seeing she is advanced
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: 2735
She's not well married that lives married long;
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: 2740
For though fond nature bids us an lament,
Yet nature's tears are reason's merriment. . All things that we ordained festival,
Turn from their office to black funeral;
Our instruments to melancholy bells, 2745
Our wedding cheer to a sad burial feast,
Our solemn hymns to sullen dirges change,
Our bridal flowers serve for a buried corse,
And all things change them to the contrary. . Sir, go you in; and, madam, go with him; 2750
And go, Sir Paris; every one prepare
To follow this fair corse unto her grave:
The heavens do lour upon you for some ill;
Move them no more by crossing their high will.

[Exeunt CAPULET, LADY CAPULET, PARIS, and FRIAR LAURENCE] . Faith, we may put up our pipes, and be gone. . Honest goodfellows, ah, put up, put up;
For, well you know, this is a pitiful case.

[Exit] . Ay, by my troth, the case may be amended. 2760

[Enter PETER] . Musicians, O, musicians, 'Heart's ease, Heart's
ease:' O, an you will have me live, play 'Heart's ease.' . Why 'Heart's ease?' . O, musicians, because my heart itself plays 'My 2765
heart is full of woe:' O, play me some merry dump,
to comfort me. . Not a dump we; 'tis no time to play now. . You will not, then? . No. 2770 . I will then give it you soundly. . What will you give us? . No money, on my faith, but the gleek;
I will give you the minstrel. . Then I will give you the serving-creature. 2775 . 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? . An you re us and fa us, you note us. . Pray you, put up your dagger, and put out your wit. 2780 . 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, 2785
Then music with her silver sound'—
why 'silver sound'? why 'music with her silver
sound'? What say you, Simon Catling? . Marry, sir, because silver hath a sweet sound. . Pretty! What say you, Hugh Rebeck? 2790 . I say 'silver sound,' because musicians sound for silver. . Pretty too! What say you, James Soundpost? . Faith, I know not what to say. . O, I cry you mercy; you are the singer: I will say
for you. It is 'music with her silver sound,' 2795
because musicians have no gold for sounding:
'Then music with her silver sound
With speedy help doth lend redress.'

[Exit] . What a pestilent knave is this same! 2800 . Hang him, Jack! Come, we'll in here; tarry for the
mourners, and stay dinner.

[Exeunt]

     

Act V, Scene 1

Mantua. A street.

     

[Enter ROMEO] . If I may trust the flattering truth of sleep, 2805
My dreams presage some joyful news at hand:
My bosom's lord sits lightly in his throne;
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— 2810
Strange dream, that gives a dead man leave
to think!—
And breathed such life with kisses in my lips,
That I revived, and was an emperor.
Ah me! how sweet is love itself possess'd, 2815
When but love's shadows are so rich in joy!

News from Verona!—How now, Balthasar!
Dost thou not bring me letters from the friar?
How doth my lady? Is my father well? 2820
How fares my Juliet? that I ask again;
For nothing can be ill, if she be well. . Then she is well, and nothing can be ill:
Her body sleeps in Capel's monument,
And her immortal part with angels lives. 2825
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,
Since you did leave it for my office, sir. . Is it even so? then I defy you, stars! 2830
Thou know'st my lodging: get me ink and paper,
And hire post-horses; I will hence to-night. . I do beseech you, sir, have patience:
Your looks are pale and wild, and do import
Some misadventure. 2835 . Tush, thou art deceived:
Leave me, and do the thing I bid thee do.
Hast thou no letters to me from the friar? . No, my good lord. . No matter: get thee gone, 2840
And hire those horses; I'll be with thee straight.

Well, Juliet, I will lie with thee to-night.
Let's see for means: O mischief, thou art swift
To enter in the thoughts of desperate men! 2845
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,
Sharp misery had worn him to the bones: 2850
And in his needy shop a tortoise hung,
An alligator stuff'd, and other skins
Of ill-shaped fishes; and about his shelves
A beggarly account of empty boxes,
Green earthen pots, bladders and musty seeds, 2855
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,
Whose sale is present death in Mantua, 2860
Here lives a caitiff wretch would sell it him.'
O, this same thought did but forerun my need;
And this same needy man must sell it me.
As I remember, this should be the house.
Being holiday, the beggar's shop is shut. 2865
What, ho! apothecary!

[Enter Apothecary] . Who calls so loud? . Come hither, man. I see that thou art poor:
Hold, there is forty ducats: let me have 2870
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 discharged of breath
As violently as hasty powder fired 2875
Doth hurry from the fatal cannon's womb. . Such mortal drugs I have; but Mantua's law
Is death to any he that utters them. . Art thou so bare and full of wretchedness,
And fear'st to die? famine is in thy cheeks, 2880
Need and oppression starveth in thine eyes,
Contempt and beggary hangs upon thy back;
The world is not thy friend nor the world's law;
The world affords no law to make thee rich;
Then be not poor, but break it, and take this. 2885 . My poverty, but not my will, consents. . I pay thy poverty, and not thy will. . Put this in any liquid thing you will,
And drink it off; and, if you had the strength
Of twenty men, it would dispatch you straight. 2890 . 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.
Farewell: buy food, and get thyself in flesh. 2895
Come, cordial and not poison, go with me
To Juliet's grave; for there must I use thee.

[Exeunt]

     

Act V, Scene 2

Friar Laurence’s cell.

     

[Enter FRIAR JOHN] . Holy Franciscan friar! brother, ho! 2900

[Enter FRIAR LAURENCE] . This same should be the voice of Friar John.
Welcome from Mantua: what says Romeo?
Or, if his mind be writ, give me his letter. . Going to find a bare-foot brother out 2905
One of our order, to associate me,
Here in this city visiting the sick,
And finding him, the searchers of the town,
Suspecting that we both were in a house
Where the infectious pestilence did reign, 2910
Seal'd up the doors, and would not let us forth;
So that my speed to Mantua there was stay'd. . Who bare my letter, then, to Romeo? . I could not send it,—here it is again,—
Nor get a messenger to bring it thee, 2915
So fearful were they of infection. . Unhappy fortune! by my brotherhood,
The letter was not nice but full of charge
Of dear import, and the neglecting it
May do much danger. Friar John, go hence; 2920
Get me an iron crow, and bring it straight
Unto my cell. . Brother, I'll go and bring it thee.

[Exit] . Now must I to the monument alone; 2925
Within three hours will fair Juliet wake:
She will beshrew me much that Romeo
Hath had no notice of these accidents;
But I will write again to Mantua,
And keep her at my cell till Romeo come; 2930
Poor living corse, closed in a dead man's tomb!

[Exit]

     

Act V, Scene 3

A churchyard; in it a tomb belonging to the Capulets.

       

[Enter PARIS, and his Page bearing flowers and a torch] . Give me thy torch, boy: hence, and stand aloof:
Yet put it out, for I would not be seen. 2935
Under yond yew-trees lay thee all along,
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, 2940
As signal that thou hear'st something approach.
Give me those flowers. Do as I bid thee, go. . I am almost afraid to stand alone
Here in the churchyard; yet I will adventure.

[Retires] . Sweet flower, with flowers thy bridal bed I strew,—
O woe! thy canopy is dust and stones;—
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 2950
Nightly shall be to strew thy grave and weep.

The boy gives warning something doth approach.
What cursed foot wanders this way to-night,
To cross my obsequies and true love's rite? 2955
What with a torch! muffle me, night, awhile.

[Retires]

[Enter ROMEO and BALTHASAR, with a torch, mattock, &c] . Give me that mattock and the wrenching iron.
Hold, take this letter; early in the morning 2960
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.
Why I descend into this bed of death, 2965
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:
But if thou, jealous, dost return to pry 2970
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,
More fierce and more inexorable far 2975
Than empty tigers or the roaring sea. . I will be gone, sir, and not trouble you. . So shalt thou show me friendship. Take thou that:
Live, and be prosperous: and farewell, good fellow. . For all this same, I'll hide me hereabout: 2980
His looks I fear, and his intents I doubt.

[Retires] . Thou detestable maw, thou womb of death,
Gorged with the dearest morsel of the earth,
Thus I enforce thy rotten jaws to open, 2985
And, in despite, I'll cram thee with more food!

[Opens the tomb] . This is that banish'd haughty Montague,
That murder'd my love's cousin, with which grief,
It is supposed, the fair creature died; 2990
And here is come to do some villanous shame
To the dead bodies: I will apprehend him.

Stop thy unhallow'd toil, vile Montague!
Can vengeance be pursued further than death? 2995
Condemned villain, I do apprehend thee:
Obey, and go with me; for thou must die. . 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; 3000
Let them affright thee. I beseech thee, youth,
Put not another sin upon my head,
By urging me to fury: O, be gone!
By heaven, I love thee better than myself;
For I come hither arm'd against myself: 3005
Stay not, be gone; live, and hereafter say,
A madman's mercy bade thee run away. . I do defy thy conjurations,
And apprehend thee for a felon here. . Wilt thou provoke me? then have at thee, boy! 3010

[They fight] . O Lord, they fight! I will go call the watch.

[Exit] . O, I am slain!
3015
If thou be merciful,
Open the tomb, lay me with Juliet.

[Dies] . In faith, I will. Let me peruse this face.
Mercutio's kinsman, noble County Paris! 3020
What said my man, when my betossed soul
Did not attend him as we rode? I think
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, 3025
To think it was so? O, give me thy hand,
One writ with me in sour misfortune's book!
I'll bury thee in a triumphant grave;
A grave? O no! a lantern, slaughter'd youth,
For here lies Juliet, and her beauty makes 3030
This vault a feasting presence full of light.
Death, lie thou there, by a dead man interr'd.

How oft when men are at the point of death
Have they been merry! which their keepers call 3035
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,
Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty:
Thou art not conquer'd; beauty's ensign yet 3040
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?
O, what more favour can I do to thee,
Than with that hand that cut thy youth in twain 3045
To sunder his that was thine enemy?
Forgive me, cousin! Ah, dear Juliet,
Why art thou yet so fair? shall I believe
That unsubstantial death is amorous,
And that the lean abhorred monster keeps 3050
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
Depart again: here, here will I remain
With worms that are thy chamber-maids; O, here 3055
Will I set up my everlasting rest,
And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars
From this world-wearied flesh. Eyes, look your last!
Arms, take your last embrace! and, lips, O you
The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss 3060
A dateless bargain to engrossing death!
Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavoury guide!
Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on
The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary bark!
Here's to my love! 3065

O true apothecary!
Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.

3070
LAURENCE, with a lantern, crow, and spade] . Saint Francis be my speed! how oft to-night
Have my old feet stumbled at graves! Who's there? . Here's one, a friend, and one that knows you well. . Bliss be upon you! Tell me, good my friend, 3075
What torch is yond, that vainly lends his light
To grubs and eyeless skulls? as I discern,
It burneth in the Capel's monument. . It doth so, holy sir; and there's my master,
One that you love. 3080 . Who is it? . Romeo. . How long hath he been there? . Full half an hour. . Go with me to the vault. 3085 . I dare not, sir
My master knows not but I am gone hence;
And fearfully did menace me with death,
If I did stay to look on his intents. . Stay, then; I'll go alone. Fear comes upon me: 3090
O, much I fear some ill unlucky thing. . As I did sleep under this yew-tree here,
I dreamt my master and another fought,
And that my master slew him. . Romeo! 3095

Alack, alack, what blood is this, which stains
The stony entrance of this sepulchre?
What mean these masterless and gory swords
To lie discolour'd by this place of peace? 3100

Romeo! O, pale! Who else? what, Paris too?
And steep'd in blood? Ah, what an unkind hour
Is guilty of this lamentable chance!
The lady stirs. 3105

[JULIET wakes] . 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] . I hear some noise. Lady, come from that nest
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; 3115
And Paris too. Come, I'll dispose of thee
Among a sisterhood of holy nuns:
Stay not to question, for the watch is coming;
Come, go, good Juliet,
3120
I dare no longer stay. . Go, get thee hence, for I will not away.

What's here? a cup, closed in my true love's hand?
Poison, I see, hath been his timeless end: 3125
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 die with a restorative.
3130
Thy lips are warm. . Lead, boy: which way? . Yea, noise? then I'll be brief. O happy dagger!

This is thy sheath; 3135

there rust, and let me die.

[Falls on ROMEO's body, and dies]

[Enter Watch, with the Page of PARIS] . This is the place; there, where the torch doth burn. 3140 . The ground is bloody; search about the churchyard:
Go, some of you, whoe'er you find attach.
Pitiful sight! here lies the county slain,
And Juliet bleeding, warm, and newly dead,
Who here hath lain these two days buried. 3145
Go, tell the prince: run to the Capulets:
Raise up the Montagues: some others search:
We see the ground whereon these woes do lie;
But the true ground of all these piteous woes
We cannot without circumstance descry. 3150

[Re-enter some of the Watch, with BALTHASAR] . Here's Romeo's man; we found him in the churchyard. . Hold him in safety, till the prince come hither.

[Re-enter others of the Watch, with FRIAR LAURENCE] . Here is a friar, that trembles, sighs and weeps: 3155
We took this mattock and this spade from him,
As he was coming from this churchyard side. . A great suspicion: stay the friar too.

[Enter the PRINCE and Attendants] . What misadventure is so early up, 3160
That calls our person from our morning's rest?

[Enter CAPULET, LADY CAPULET, and others] . What should it be, that they so shriek abroad? . The people in the street cry Romeo,
Some Juliet, and some Paris; and all run, 3165
With open outcry toward our monument. . What fear is this which startles in our ears? . Sovereign, here lies the County Paris slain;
And Romeo dead; and Juliet, dead before,
Warm and new kill'd. 3170 . Search, seek, and know how this foul murder comes. . Here is a friar, and slaughter'd Romeo's man;
With instruments upon them, fit to open
These dead men's tombs. . O heavens! O wife, look how our daughter bleeds! 3175
This dagger hath mista'en—for, lo, his house
Is empty on the back of Montague,—
And it mis-sheathed in my daughter's bosom! . O me! this sight of death is as a bell,
That warns my old age to a sepulchre. 3180

[Enter MONTAGUE and others] . Come, Montague; for thou art early up,
To see thy son and heir more early down. . Alas, my liege, my wife is dead to-night;
Grief of my son's exile hath stopp'd her breath: 3185
What further woe conspires against mine age? . Look, and thou shalt see. . O thou untaught! what manners is in this?
To press before thy father to a grave? . Seal up the mouth of outrage for a while, 3190
Till we can clear these ambiguities,
And know their spring, their head, their
true descent;
And then will I be general of your woes,
And lead you even to death: meantime forbear, 3195
And let mischance be slave to patience.
Bring forth the parties of suspicion. . I am the greatest, able to do least,
Yet most suspected, as the time and place
Doth make against me of this direful murder; 3200
And here I stand, both to impeach and purge
Myself condemned and myself excused. . Then say at once what thou dost know in this. . I will be brief, for my short date of breath
Is not so long as is a tedious tale. 3205
Romeo, there dead, was husband to that Juliet;
And she, there dead, that Romeo's faithful wife:
I married them; and their stol'n marriage-day
Was Tybalt's dooms-day, whose untimely death
Banish'd the new-made bridegroom from the city, 3210
For whom, and not for Tybalt, Juliet pined.
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,
And, with wild looks, bid me devise some mean 3215
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
As I intended, for it wrought on her 3220
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.
But he which bore my letter, Friar John, 3225
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;
Meaning to keep her closely at my cell, 3230
Till I conveniently could send to Romeo:
But when I came, some minute ere the time
Of her awaking, here untimely lay
The noble Paris and true Romeo dead.
She wakes; and I entreated her come forth, 3235
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.
All this I know; and to the marriage 3240
Her nurse is privy: and, if aught in this
Miscarried by my fault, let my old life
Be sacrificed, some hour before his time,
Unto the rigour of severest law. . We still have known thee for a holy man. 3245
Where's Romeo's man? what can he say in this? . 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.
This letter he early bid me give his father, 3250
And threatened me with death, going in the vault,
I departed not and left him there. . Give me the letter; I will look on it.
Where is the county's page, that raised the watch?
Sirrah, what made your master in this place? 3255 . 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;
And then I ran away to call the watch. 3260 . 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
Came to this vault to die, and lie with Juliet. 3265
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
Have lost a brace of kinsmen: all are punish'd. 3270 . O brother Montague, give me thy hand:
This is my daughter's jointure, for no more
Can I demand. . But I can give thee more:
For I will raise her statue in pure gold; 3275
That while Verona by that name is known,
There shall no figure at such rate be set
As that of true and faithful Juliet. . As rich shall Romeo's by his lady's lie;
Poor sacrifices of our enmity! 3280 . 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:
For never was a story of more woe 3285
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

[Exeunt]

poetry essay romeo and juliet

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The Magic of Poetic Devices: Examples that Illuminate Literature

This essay is about various poetic devices and their examples, illustrating how they enhance the quality and depth of poetry. It covers metaphors, similes, personification, alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia, imagery, hyperbole, and symbolism. The essay explains each device with examples from well-known poems, showing how these tools add layers of meaning and evoke emotions. Poetic devices help transform words into powerful expressions, making poetry a unique and impactful form of art. By understanding these devices, readers can appreciate the richness and complexity of poetic works.

How it works

Poetry, in its essence, is the art of distilling the profound complexities of human experience into a few carefully chosen words. What sets poetry apart from other forms of writing is its unique ability to evoke deep emotions and vivid imagery through the use of various poetic devices. These tools, employed skillfully by poets, add layers of meaning and enhance the aesthetic quality of their work. Let’s delve into some common poetic devices and see how they manifest in poetry to create powerful and lasting impressions.

One of the most recognizable poetic devices is metaphor . This involves making a direct comparison between two unlike things, suggesting that one thing is another to highlight a particular quality. For instance, in William Shakespeare‚Äôs ‚ÄúSonnet 18,‚ÄĚ he writes, ‚ÄúShall I compare thee to a summer‚Äôs day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate.‚ÄĚ Here, Shakespeare uses a metaphor to compare the beloved to a summer day, thereby emphasizing their beauty and gentleness. Metaphors invite readers to see the world through a different lens, often revealing hidden similarities and deeper truths.

Simile is another common device, similar to a metaphor but using ‚Äúlike‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúas‚ÄĚ to make the comparison. Robert Burns‚Äô famous line, ‚ÄúMy love is like a red, red rose,‚ÄĚ is a perfect example. The simile vividly conveys the freshness and beauty of the speaker‚Äôs love by comparing it to a blooming rose. Such comparisons not only create a visual image but also evoke the associated emotions, making the reader feel the intensity of the poet‚Äôs feelings.

Personification breathes life into inanimate objects or abstract concepts by attributing human qualities to them. This device can make descriptions more relatable and vivid. In Emily Dickinson‚Äôs poem ‚ÄúBecause I could not stop for Death,‚ÄĚ Death is personified as a kind carriage driver who ‚Äúkindly stopped for me.‚ÄĚ This portrayal of death as a gentle, courteous figure rather than something to be feared provides a comforting perspective on a typically daunting subject.

Alliteration , the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words, creates a musical effect in poetry. This can enhance the mood or tone of the poem and make it more memorable. For example, in Samuel Taylor Coleridge‚Äôs ‚ÄúThe Rime of the Ancient Mariner,‚ÄĚ the line ‚ÄúThe fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,‚ÄĚ uses alliteration to mimic the sound of the wind and waves, immersing the reader in the maritime setting.

Assonance , the repetition of vowel sounds, similarly contributes to the musical quality of a poem. In ‚ÄúThe Bells‚ÄĚ by Edgar Allan Poe, the repeated use of the ‚Äúe‚ÄĚ sound in ‚Äúmelancholy menace‚ÄĚ enhances the eerie atmosphere of the poem. Both alliteration and assonance are tools that poets use to create rhythm, enhance mood, and make their work more engaging and pleasurable to read.

Onomatopoeia is the use of words that imitate the sounds they describe. This device can make the description more vivid and immediate. Words like ‚Äúbuzz,‚ÄĚ ‚Äúwhisper,‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúclang‚ÄĚ not only describe sounds but also recreate them in the reader‚Äôs mind. In Alfred Lord Tennyson‚Äôs ‚ÄúThe Brook,‚ÄĚ the line ‚ÄúI chatter over stony ways‚ÄĚ uses onomatopoeia to mimic the sound of the brook, making the scene more lively and realistic.

Imagery is perhaps one of the most powerful devices, as it involves the use of vivid and descriptive language to create mental images. Through sensory details, poets can evoke sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures. In ‚ÄúTo Autumn‚ÄĚ by John Keats, the lines ‚ÄúSeason of mists and mellow fruitfulness, / Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun‚ÄĚ paint a rich picture of autumn, allowing readers to experience the scene through multiple senses.

Hyperbole , or deliberate exaggeration, is used to emphasize a point or create a dramatic effect. When used effectively, it can convey the intensity of the poet‚Äôs emotions or the magnitude of a situation. In Andrew Marvell‚Äôs ‚ÄúTo His Coy Mistress,‚ÄĚ he writes, ‚ÄúLove you ten years before the Flood, / And you should, if you please, refuse / Till the conversion of the Jews.‚ÄĚ The hyperbolic expression underscores the depth of his love and the urgency of the moment.

Symbolism involves using symbols to represent ideas or qualities beyond their literal meaning. Symbols can imbue a poem with deeper significance and connect with the reader on a more profound level. In Robert Frost‚Äôs ‚ÄúThe Road Not Taken,‚ÄĚ the roads symbolize life choices, and the act of choosing one path over another reflects the decisions we make and their lasting impact on our lives.

These examples barely scratch the surface of the vast array of poetic devices available to writers. Each device serves a unique purpose and can be employed in countless ways to enrich the text. Through the thoughtful use of metaphors, similes, personification, alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia, imagery, hyperbole, and symbolism, poets can craft works that resonate deeply with readers, leaving lasting impressions and evoking a myriad of emotions. The magic of poetry lies in its ability to transform simple words into powerful expressions of human experience, and these devices are the tools that make that transformation possible.

Remember, this essay is a starting point for inspiration and further research. For more personalized assistance and to ensure your essay meets all academic standards, consider reaching out to professionals at EduBirdie .

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