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Shew me a mistress that is passing fair,
What doth her beauty serve, but as a note
Where I may read, who pass'd that passing fair?
Farewell; thou canst not teach me to forget.
Ben. I'll pay that doctrine, or else die in debt.


A Street.


Enter Capulet, Paris, and Sercant.
Cap. And 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.

Par. Of honourable reckoning are you both;
And pity 'tis, you liv'd at odds so long.
But now, my lord, what say you to my suit?

Cap. But saying o'er what I have said before:
My child is yet a stranger in the world,
She hath not seen the change of fourteen years;
Let two more summers wither in their pride,
Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride.

Par. Younger than she are happy mothers made.
Cap. And too soon marr'd are those so early

The earth hath swallow'd all my hopes but she,
She is the hopeful lady of my earth':
But woo her, gentle Paris, get her heart,
My will to her consent is but a part;
An she agree, within her scope of choice
Lies my consent and fair according voice.
This night I hold an old accustom❜d feast,
Whereto I have invited many a guest,
Such as I love; and you among the store, [more.
One more, most welcome, makes my number
At my poor house, look to behold this night
Earth-treading stars, that make dark heaven light:
Such comfort as do lusty young men feel
When well-apparel'd April on the heel
Of limping winter treads, even such delight
Among fresh female buds shall you this night
Inherit at my house; hear all, all see,

And like her most, whose merits most shall be:
Such, amongst view of many, mine being one,
May stand in number, though in reckoning none.
Come, go with me:-Go, sirrah, trudgex,out
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.


One pain is lessen'd by another's anguish;
Turn giddy, and be holp by backward turning;
One desperategrief cureswith another'slanguish:
Take thou some new infection to thy eye,
And the rank poison of the old will die.

Rom. Your plantain leaf is excellent for that.
Ben. For what, I pray thee?

Rom. For your broken shin.

Ben. Why, Romeo, art thou mad?



10 Rom. Not mad, but bound more than a mad-man
Shut up in prison, kept without my food,
Whipt, and tormented, and-Good-e'en, good
Serv. God gi' good e'en. I pray, sir, can you
Rom. Ay, mine own fortune in my misery.
Serv. Perhaps you have learn'dit without book:
But I pray, can you read any thing you see?
Rom. Ay, if I know the letters and the language.
Serv. Ye say honestly; Rest you merry!
Rom. Stay, fellow; I can read.



[He reads the list.]

"Signior Martino, and his wife, and daughters; County Anselm, and his beauteous sisters; The "lady widow of Vitruvio; Signior Placentio, and 25" his lovely nieces; Mercutio, and his brother "Valentine; Mine uncle Capulet, his wife and "daughters; My fair niece Rosaline; Livia; "Signior Valentio, and his cousin Tybalt; Lucio, and the lively Helena."

30 A fair assembly; Whither should they come? Serv. Up.


Rom. Whither to supper?
Serv. To our house,

Rom. Whose house?

Serv. My master's.


Rom. Indeed, I should have ask'd you that beServ. Now I'll tell you without asking: My master is the great rich Capulet; and if you be not of the house of Montagues, I pray, come and 40 crush a cup of wine2. Rest you merry.

Ben. At this same ancient feast of Capulet's
Sups the fair Rosaline, whom thou so lov'st;
With all the admired beauties of Verona:
Go thither; and, with untainted eye,
45 Compare her face with some that I shall show,
And I will make thee think thy swan a crow.

Serv. Find them out, whose names are written 50 here? It is written-that the shoemaker should meddle with his yard, and the tailor with his last, the fisher with his pencil, and the painter with his nets; but I am sent to find those persons, whose names are here writ, and can never find what 55 names the writing person hath here writ. I must to the learned:In good time.

Enter Benvolio, and Romeo.

Ben. Tut, man! one fire burns out another's burning.

Rom. When the devout religion of mine eye
Maintains such falsehood, then turn tears to fires!
And these,--who, often drown'd,could never die,-
Transparent hereticks, be burnt for liars!
One fairer than my love! the all-seeing sun
Ne'er saw her match, since first the world begun.
Ben. Tut! tut! you saw her fair, none else being
Herself pois'd with herself in either eye:
But in those crystal scales, let there be weigh'd
Your lady's love against some other maid
That I will shew you, shining at this feast,
And she shall scant shew well, that now shews best.
Rom. I'll go along, no such sight to be shewn,
60 But to rejoice in splendour of mine own. [Exeunt.


This is a Gallicism: Fille de terre is the French phrase for an heiress. 2 A cant expression which seems to have been once common among low people. We still say-to crack a bottle. "Your lady's love is the love you bear to your lady, which in our language is commonly used for the lady herself.


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La. Cap. Enough of this; I pray thee, hold thy



Nurse. Yes, madam; Yet I cannot choose but
To think it should leave crying, and say—' Ay;'
5 And yet, I warrant, it had upon its brow
A bump as big as a young cockrel's stone;
A par'lous knock; and it cried bitterly.


Yea,' quoth my husband, 'fall'st upon thy face?
Thou wilt fall backward when thou com❜st to age;
Wilt thou not, Jule?' it stinted, and said- Ay.'
Jul. And stint thou too, I pray thee, nurse, say I.
Nurse. Peace, I have done. God mark thee to
his grace!

Thou wast the prettiest babe that e'er I nurs'd:
15 An I might live to see thee married once,
I have my wish.


Nurse. I'll lay fourteen of my teeth,- [four, And yet, to my teen 'be it spoken, I have but She's not fourteen: How long is 't now to Lam-25


La. Cap. A fortnight, and odd days.

Nurse. Even or odd, of all days in the year,
Come Lammas-eve at night, shall she be fourteen.
Susan and she,-God rest all Christian souls!-30
Were of an age.-Well, Susan is with God;
She was too good for me: But, as I said,
Ou 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:
For I had then laid wormwood to my dug,
Sitting i' 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 worm-wood on the nipple
Of my dug, and felt it bitter, pretty fool!
To see it teachy, and fall out with the dug. [trow,
Shake, quoth the dove-house: 'twas no need, 145
To bid me trudge.

And since that time it is eleven years:
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;

Yea,' quoth he, dost thou fall upon thy face?
Thou wilt fall backward, when thou hast more

• Wilt thou not, Jule?' and, by my holy-dam,
The pretty wretch left crying, and said- Ay:'
To see now, how a jest shall come about!
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.'

i. e. to my sorrow.

La. Cap. Marry, that marry is the very theme
I came to talk of:-Tell me, daughter Juliet,
How stands your disposition to be married?
Jul. It is an honour that I dream not of.
Nurse. An honour! were not I thine only nurse,
I'd say, thou hadst suck'd wisdom from thy teat.
La. Cap. Well, think of marriage now;-
younger than you,
Here in Verona, ladies of esteem,
Are made already mothers: by my count
I was your mother much upon these years
That you are now a maid. Thus then, in brief;-
The valiant Paris seeks you for his love.

Nurse. A man, young lady! lady, such a man,
As all the world- -Why, he's a man of wax.
La. Cap. Verona's summer hath not such a flower.
Nurse. Nay, he's a flower; in faith, a very flower.
La. Cap. What say you? can you love the gen-

This night you shall behold him at our feast:
Read o'er the volume of young Paris' face,
And find delight writ there with beauty's pen;
Examine every several lineament,

40 And see how one another lends content;
And what obscur'd in this fair volume lies,
Find written in the margin 3 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 :

I hat 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,
50 By having him, making yourself no less.
Nurse. No less? nay, bigger; women grow by


La. Cap. Speak briefly, can you like of Paris'
Jul. I'll look to like, if looking liking move:
55 But no more deep will I endart mine eye,
I han your consent gives strength to make it fly.
Enter a Sercant.

Serv. Madam, the guests are come, supper serv'd up, you call'd, my young lady ask'd for, the 60 nurse curs'd in the pantry, and every thing in extremity. I must hence to wait; I beseech you, follow straight.

2 i. e. it stopped, it forbore from weeping.

ancient books were always printed in the margin.

The comments on
La. Cap.

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Enter Romeo, Mercutio, Benvolio, with five or six
Maskers, Torch-bearers, and others.

Rom. What, shall this speech be spoke for our

Or shall we on without apology?

Ben. The date is out of such prolixity':
We'll have no Cupid hood-wink'd with a scarf,
Bearing a Tartar's painted bow of lath,
Scaring the ladies like a crow-keeper2;
Nor no without-book prologue, faintly spoke

After the prompter, for our enterance:
But, let them measure us by what they will,
We'll measure them a measure, and be gone.
Rom. Give me a torch 3,-I am not for this

[I'll be a candle-holder, and look on❝,
The game was ne'er so fair, and I am done.

Mer. Tut! dun's the mouse', the constable's
own word:

5 If thou art dun, we'll draw thee from the mire,
Or (saveyourreverence) love, wherein thou stick'st
Up to the ears.-Come, we burn day-light', ho.
Rom. Nay, that's not so.

Mer. I mean, sir, in delay

10 We waste our lights in vain, like lamps by day, Take our good meaning; for our judgement sits Five times in that, ere once in our five wits.

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Being but heavy, I will bear the light. [dance.
Mer. Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you 25
Rom. Not I, believe me: you have dancing-

With nimble soles; I have a soul of lead,
So stakes me to the ground, I cannot move.

Mer. You are a lover; borrow Cupid's wings,
And soar with them above a common bound.
Rom. I am too sore enpearced with his shaft,
To soar with his light feathers; and so bound,
I cannot bound a pitch above dull woe:
Under love's heavy burthen do I sink.

Mer. And, to sink in it, should you burden love?
Too great oppression for a tender thing.


Mer. O, then, I see, queen Mab hath been with
She is the fairies' midwife; and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agat stone
On the fore-finger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies 10
Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep :
Her waggon-spokes made of long spinners' legs;
The cover, of the wings of grashoppers;
30 The traces, of the smallest spider's web;
The collars, of the moonshine's watry beams;
Her whip, of cricket's bone; the lash, of film :
Her waggoner, a small grey-coated gnat,
Not half so big as a round little worm
35 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 of mind the fairies' coach-makers.
And in this state she gallops night by night
Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of

Rom. Is love a tender thing? it is too rough,
Too rude, too boist'rous; and it pricks like thorn.
Mer. If love be rough with you, be rough with 40

Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down.
Give me a case to put my visage in;

[Putting on a mask.
A visor for a visor!-what care I,
What curious eye doth quote deformities?
Here are the beetle-brows shall blush for me.
Ben. Come, knock, and enter; and no sooner in,
But every man betake him to his legs.


On courtiers' knees, that dream on court'sies
O'er lawyers' fingers, who straight dream on fees:
O'er ladies' lips, who straight on kisses dream;
45 Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
Because their breaths with sweet-meats tainted are.
Sometimes 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,
Then dreams he of another benefice:
Sometime she driveth o'er a soldier's neck,
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,

Rom. A torch for me; let wantons, light of 50

Tickle the senseless rushes with their heels';
For I am proverb'd with a grandsire phrase,—

It was a custom observed by those who came uninvited to a masquerade, with a desire to conceal themselves for the sake of intrigue, or to enjoy the greater freedom of conversation, to preface their entry on these occasions by some speech in praise of the beauty of the ladies, or the generosity of the entertainer; and to the prolixity of such introductions we believe Romeo is made to allude. 2 See note', p. 957. 3 A torch-bearer seems to have been a constant attendant on every troop of masks. To quote is to observe, We have already observed, that it was anciently the custom to strew rooms with rushes, before carpets were in use. The stage was also anciently strewn with rushes. The proverb which Romeo means, is contained in the line immediately following: To hold the candle, is a very common proverbial expression, for being an idle spectator. 'Dun's the mouse, is a proverbial expression, the precise meaning of which cannot be determined. • Draw dun out of the mire, seems to have been a game. • To burn day-light is a proverbial expression, used when candles, &c. are lighted in the day-time. Atomy is no more than an obsolete substitute for atom.

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Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,
Of healths five fathom deep; and then anon
Drums in his ear; at which he starts, and wakes;
And, being thus frighted, swears a prayer or two,
And sleeps again. This is that very Mab,
That plats the manes of horses in the night;
And cakes the elf-locks in foul sluttish hairs',
Which, once untangled, much misfortune bodes.
This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,
That presses them, and learns them first to bear,
Making them women of good carriage.
This is she-

Rom. Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace;
Thou talk'st of nothing.

Mer. True, I talk of dreams;

Which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain phantasy;
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.
Ben. This wind, you talk of, blows us from our-

Supper is done, and we shall come too late.

Rom. I fear, too early: for my mind misgives, Some consequence, yet hanging in the stars, Shall bitterly begin his fearful date

With this night's revels; and expire the term
Of a despised life, clos'd in my breast,
By some vile forfeit of untimely death:
But He, that hath the steerage of my course,
Direct my sail!-On, lusty gentlemen.
Ben. Strike, drum.


Enter Capulet, &c. with the Guests, and the Maskers. 1 Cap. Welcome, gentlemen! ladies, that have their feet

Unplagu'd with corns, will have about with you:→ 5 Ah ha, my mistresses! which of you all [she, Will now deny to dance? she that makes dainty, I'll swear, hath corns; Am I come near you now? You are welcome, gentlemen! I have seen the day, That I have worn a visor; and could tell ⚫ 10A whispering tale in a fair lady's ear, [gone : Such as would please; 'tis gone, 'tis gone, 'tis You are welcome, gentlemen.-Come,musicians, play.


A hall! a hall give room, and foot it, girls. [Musick plays, and they dance. More light, ye 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; 20 For you and I are past our dancing days: How long is 't now, since last yourself and I Were in a mask?

2 Cap. By 'r lady, thirty years.

[much: 1 Cap. What, man! 'tis not so much, 'tis not so 25 'Tis since the nuptial of Lucentio,





A Hall in Capulet's House.

Enter Servants.

1 Serv. Where's Potpan, that he helps not to 40 take away? he shift a trencher! he scrape a trencher!

2 Serv. When good manners shall lie all in one or two men's hands, and they unwash'd too, 'tis a foul thing.

1 Serv. Away with the joint-stools, remove the court-cupboard, look to the plate:- -good thou, save me a piece of march-pane; and, as thou lov'st me, let the porter let in Susan Grindstone, and Nell.-Antony! and Potpan!

2 Serv. Ay, boy: ready.

1 Serv. You are look'd for, and call'd for, ask'd for, and sought for, in the great chamber.


Come pentecost as quickly as it will,
Some five-and-twenty years; and then we mask'd.
2 Cap. 'Tis more, 'tis more: his son is elder, sir;
His son is thirty.

1 Cap. Will you tell me that?

His son was but a ward two years ago.


Rom. What lady's that, which doth enrich the Of yonder knight?

Serv. I know not, sir.


Rom. O, she doth teach the torches to burn Her beauty hangs upon the cheek of night Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear: Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear! So shews a snowy dove trooping with crows,, As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows. The measure done, I'll watch her place of stand, And, touching hers, make happy my rude hand. Did my heart love 'till now? forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty 'till this night.

Tyb.This, by his voice,should be a Montague:Fetch me my rapier, boy:-What, dares the slave Come hither, cover'd with an antick face, To fleer and scorn at our solemnity? Now, by the stock and honour of my kin, 50 To strike him dead I hold it not a sín.

2 Serv. We cannot be here and there too.Cheerly, boys; be brisk a while, and the longer 55 liver take all.


1 Cap. Why, how now, kinsman? wherefore storm you so?

Tyb. Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe;
A villain, that is hither come in spight,
To scorn at our solemnity this night.
1 Cap. Young Romeo, is't?

This was a common superstition, and seems to have had its rise from the horrid disease called the Plica Polonica. 2 Trenchers were still used by persons of good fashion in our author's time. They continued cominon much longer in many public societies, particularly in colleges and inns of court; and are still retained at Lincoln's-Inn. Meaning, perhaps, what we call at present the side-board. * March-pane was a confection made of pistachio-nuts, almonds, and sugar, &c. and in high esteem in Shakspeare's time. It was a constant article in the desserts of our ancestors. This exclamation occurs frequently in the old comedies, and signifies, make room,


Tyb. 'Tis he, that villain Romeo.

1 Cap. Content thee, gentle coz, let him alone, He bears him like a portly gentleman; And, to say truth, Verona brags of him, To be a virtuous and well-govern'd youth: I would not for the wealth of all this town, Here in my house, do him disparagement: Therefore be patient, take no note of him, It is my will; the which if thou respect, Shew a fair presence, and put off these frowns, An ill-beseeming semblance for a feast.

Tyb. It fits, when such a villain is a guest ; I'll not endure him.

1 Cap. He shall be endur'd;

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Rom. Is she a Capulet?

100 dear account! my life is my foe's debt.

What, goodman boy!-I say,he shall:-Go to;-15
Am I the master here, or you? go to.
You'll not endure him!-God shall mendmysoul--
You'll make a mutiny among my guests!
You will set cock-a-hoop! you'll be the man!
Tyb. Why, uncle, 'tis a shame.

1 Cap. Go to, go to,

You are a saucy boy:-Is 't so, indeed?

This trick may chance to scathe you ';-I know


You must contrary me! marry, 'tis timeWell 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. Tyb. Patience perforce, with wilful choler meeting, [ing. Makes my flesh tremble in their different greetI will withdraw: but this intrusion shall, Now seeming sweet, convert to bitter gall. [Exit. Rom. If I profane with my unworthy hand [To Juliet. This holy shrine, the gentle fine is thisMy lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss. Jul. Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,

Which mannerly devotion shews in this; For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch, And-palm to palin is holy palmers' kiss. Rom. Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?| Jul.Ay,pilgrim,lips that they must use in prayer. Rom.O then, dear saints, let lips do whathandsdo; They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair. Jul. Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake. [I take. Rom. Then move not, while my prayer's effect Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purg'd. [Kissing her. Jul.Then have my lips the sin thattheyhavetook. Rom. Sin from my lips? O trespass sweetly urg'd! Give me my sin again.

Jul. You kiss by the book.

1i.e. to do you an injury. ready, at hand.









Ben. Away, begone; the sport is at the best.
Rom. Ay so I fear; the more is my unrest.
1 Cap. Nay, gentlemen, prepare not to be gone;
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:
I'll to my rest.

Jul.Come hither,nurse: What is yon gentleman?
Nurse. The son and heir of old Tiberio.
Jul. What's he that now is going out of door?
Nurse. That, as I think, is young Petruchio.
Jul. What's he that follows there, that would
Nurse. I know not.
[not dance?
Jul. Go, ask his name:- -if he be married,
My grave is like to be my wedding bed.
Nurse. His name is Romeo, and a Montague;
The only son of your great enemy.

Jul. My only love sprung from my only hate! Too early seen unknown, and known too late! Prodigious birth of love it is to me,

That I must love a loathed enemy.

Nurse. What's this? what's this?
Jul. A rhyme I learn'd even now

Of one I danc'd withal. [One calls within, Juliet.
Nurse. Anon, anon :—

Come, let's away; the strangers all are gone. [Exeunt.


Now old desire doth on his death-bed lie,
And young affection gapes to be his heir;
That fair,forwhichlove groan'd sore,andwould die,
With tender Juliet match'd, is now not fair.
Now Romeo is belov'd, and loves again,

Alike bewitched by the charm of looks;
But to his foc suppos'd he must complain, [hooks:
And she steal love's sweet bait from fearful
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 To meet her new-beloved any where: But passion lends them power, time means to meet, Temp'ring extremities with extreme sweet. [Exit Chorus.

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