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The rival Houses of Capulet and Montague were two of the most distinguisned Famì lies in Verona: An "ancient grudge" existed between these Houses, and "civil brawls' were constantly occurring between them, in which the connections and retainers of the opposing heads took part. The Play opens with one of these outbreaks: In the midst of the fray, the Prince of Verona appears, separates the combatants, and declares to Ca pulet and Montague
"If ever you disturb our streets again,
Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace."
Montague and his kinsman Benvolio discourse on the late fray. Romeo joins them.
Enter MONTAGUE, lady MONTAGUE, and BENVOLIO.
Mon. Who set this ancient quarrel now abroach ?—
Ben. Here were the servants of your adversary,
La. Mon. O, where is Romeo !-saw you him to-day
Ben. Madam, an hour before the worshipp'd sun
And gladly shunn'd who gladly fled from me.
Mon. Many a morning hath he there been seen,
And makes himself an artificial night:
Ben. My noble uncle, do you know the cause?
Ere he can spread his sweet leaves to the air,
Could we but learn from whence his sorrows grow,
Enter ROMEO, at a distance.
Ben. See, where he comes: So please you, step aside; I'll know his grievance, or be much denied.
Mon. I would, thou wert so happy by thy stay, To hear true shrift.-Come, madam, let's away.
Ben. Good morrow, cousin.
Ben. But new struck nine.
[Exeunt MONTAGUE, and Lady
Is the day so young?
Ah me! sad hours seem long.
Was that my father that went hence so fast?
Ben. It was:-What sadness lengthens Romeo's hours?
Alas, that love, so gentle in his view,
Should be so tyrannous and rough in proof!
Rom. Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still,
Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will!
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:
O heavy lightness! serious vanity!
Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms!
No, coz, I rather weep.
Rom. Good heart, at what?
At thy good heart's oppression.
Rom. Why, such is love's transgression.-
Love is a smoke rais'd with the fume of sighs;
Soft, I will go along; An if you leave me so, you do me wrong.
Rom. Tut, I have lost myself; I am not here ;
Ben. Tell me in sadness, who she is you love.
Rom. A right good marksman !—And she's fair I love.
And, in strong proof of chastity well arm'd,
From love's weak childish bow she lives unharm'd.
That when she dies, with beauty dies her store.
She hath forsworn to love; and, in that vow,
Do I live dead, that live to tell it now.
Ben. Be rul'd by me, forget to think of her.
Ben. I'll pay that doctrine, or else die in debt.
The "County Paris" loves the lady Juliet, anu receives her father's permission to pre fer his suit.-Capulet gives an entertainment, to which he invites young Paris: At thi feast the fair Rosaline is also to be a guest, and Romeo is persuaded by his cousi Benvolio, to attend, that he may
"Compare her face with some that I shall show,
SCENE III-A Room in Capulet's House.
Enter Lady CAPULET, and Nurse.
La. Cap. Nurse, where's my daughter? call her forth to me.
I bade her come.-What, lamb! what, lady-bird!
Jul. How now, who calls?
What is your will?
Madam, I am here
La. Cap. This is the matter :-Nurse, give leave awhile, We must talk in secret.-Nurse, come back again;
I have remember'd me, thou shalt hear our counsel.
Thou know'st, my daughter's of a pretty age.
Nurse. 'Faith, I can tell her age unto an hour.
I'll lay fourteen of my teeth,
To Lammas-tide ?
A fortnight, and odd days.
Thou wast the prettiest babe that e'er I nurs❜d.
La. Cap. Marry, that marry is the very theme
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.
Jul. I'll look to like, if looking liking move:
Enter a Servant.
Serv. Madam, the guests are come, supper served up, you called, my young lady asked for, the nurse wanted in the pantry, and every thing in extremity. I must hence to wait; I beseech you, follow straight.
La. Cap. We follow thee.-Juliet, the county stays.
SCENE IV.-A Street.
Enter ROMEO, Mercutio, BenvOLIO, with Five or Six Maskers Torch-bearers, and others.
Rom. What, shall this speech be spoke for our excuse?
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,
But let them measure us by what they will,
Rom. Give me a torch,-I am not for this ambling;
Being but heavy, I will bear the light.
Mer. Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you dance.
Under love's heavy burden do I sink.
Mer. And, to sink in it, should you burden love;
Too great oppression for a tender thing.
Rom. Is love a tender thing? it is too rough,
Too rude, o boist❜rous.
Mer. If love be rough with you, be rough with love;
Give me a case to put my visage in:
A visor for a visor!-what care I,
What curious eye doth quote deformities?
Here are the beetle-brows, shall blush for me.
[Putting on a mask
Ben. Come, knock, and enter; and no sooner in,
But every mar. betake him to his legs.
Rom. A torch for me: let wantons, light of heart,
For I am proverb'd with a grandsire phrase,-
But 'tis no wit to go.