Enter SAMPSON and GREGORY of the house of Capulet,
with swords and bucklers
SAMPSON and GREGORY, servants of the Capulet
family, enter carrying swords and small shields.
Gregory, on my word, we’ll not carry coals.
I swear, Gregory, we can’t let them humiliate us, as if we
were carrying coal.
No, for then we should be colliers.
No, because then we’d be like coal miners.
I mean, an we be in choler, we’ll draw.
I mean, if they make us angry, we’ll draw our swords.
Ay, while you live, draw your neck out of collar.
You seem to focus more on getting yourself out of any trouble
that might lead to the hangman’s collar.
I strike quickly, being moved.
I hit hard, when I’m motivated.
But thou art not quickly moved to strike.
But you avoid getting “motivated,” so you don’t ever have to
A dog of the house of Montague moves me.
One of those Montague jerks would motivate me.
To move is to stir, and to be valiant is to stand.
Therefore if thou art moved thou runn’st away.
To be motivated is to act, while to be valiant is to face a
fight. When you’re motivated, you just run away.
A dog of that house shall move me to stand. I will take the
wall of any man or maid of Montague’s.
If I saw a Montague, I’d face him. I’d walk on the side of
the street closer to the wall (forcing the Montague into the gutter).
That shows thee a weak slave, for the weakest goes to the
Then you must be a weakling, because it’s the weak who get
shoved up against a wall.
* * *
‘Tis true, and therefore women, being the weaker vessels, are
ever thrust to the wall. Therefore I will push Montague’s men from the wall,
and thrust his maids to the wall.
That’s true, which is why women, being the weaker sex, get
“thrust to the wall.” So I’ll push Montague’s men into the gutter, and thrust
Montague women to the wall.
The quarrel is between our masters and us their men.
The feud is between our masters and us, their servants.
* * *
‘Tis all one. I will show myself a tyrant. When I have fought
with the men, I will be civil with the maids. I will cut off their heads.
It’s all the same. I’ll be the Montague’s master. After
fighting with the men, I’ll be nice to the maids—I’ll cut off their heads.
The heads of the maids?
You’ll cut off the heads of the maids?
Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads.
Take it in what sense thou wilt.
The heads of the maids or their maidenheads. Interpret my
comment however you prefer.
They must take it in sense that feel it.
It’s the maids you rape or kill or who will have to sense it.
Me they shall feel while I am able to stand, and
’tis known I am a pretty piece of flesh.
The maids will feel me as long as I can stand upright.
Everyone knows I’m a stud.
‘Tis well thou art not fish. If thou hadst, thou hadst been
It’s a good thing you’re not a fish, or else (much like your
erection) you’d be dried and shriveled like salted fish.
Enter ABRAM and another SERVINGMAN
ABRAM and another servant of the Montagues
Draw thy tool! Here comes of the house of Montagues.
Draw your sword! Here come some Montague servants
My naked weapon is out. Quarrel! I will back thee.
I’ve drawn my naked sword. Fight them. I’ll back you up.
How? Turn thy back and run?
How? By turning your back and running?
Fear me not.
Don’t worry about me.
No, marry. I fear thee.
Sorry, but I do worry about you.
Let us take the law of our sides. Let them begin.
Let’s make sure the law is on our sides by getting them to
start the fight.
I will frown as I pass by, and let them take it as they list.
I’ll frown at them as I pass them. How they respond is up to
Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them, which is a
disgrace to them, if they bear it. (bites his thumb)
No, I’ll bite my thumb at them. That’s an insult, and they’ll
be disgraced if they don’t react.
Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
Excuse me, sir, are you biting your thumb at us?
I do bite my thumb, sir.
I am biting my thumb.
Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
But are you biting your thumb at us?
Is the law of our side if I say “ay”?
(whispering to GREGORY) Is the law
on our side if I say yes?
(whispering to SAMPSON) No.
No, sir. I do not bite my thumb at you, sir, but I bite my
I’m not biting my thumb at you. But I am biting my thumb.
Do you quarrel, sir?
Do you want to fight us?
Quarrel, sir? No, sir.
But if you do, sir, I am for you. I serve as good a man as
If you do want to fight, then I’m up for it. My master is as
good as yours.
But not better than mine.
Say “better.” Here comes one of my master’s kinsmen.
(whispering to SAMPSON) Say
“better.” One of our master’s kinsmen has just arrived.
SAMPSON (to ABRAM)
Yes, better, sir.
Yes, my master is better than yours, sir.
You’re a liar.
Draw, if you be men.—Gregory, remember thy washing blow.
Draw your swords, if you’re men. Gregory, get ready to slash
BENVOLIO (beats down their swords) Part,
Put up your swords. You know not what you do.
BENVOLIO (hits their swords with his own) Break
it up, fools! Sheathe your swords. You don’t know what you’re doing.
What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds?
Turn thee, Benvolio. Look upon thy death.
What, have you drawn your sword to fight with servants? Turn
around, Benvolio, and see the man who will kill you.
I do but keep the peace. Put up thy sword,
Or manage it to part these men with me.
I’m just trying to keep the peace. Put away your sword, or
else use it to help me stop this fighting.
What, drawn, and talk of peace? I hate the word,
As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee.
Have at thee, coward!
You hold a drawn sword, and say “peace?” I hate that word,
just as I hate hell, all Montagues, and you. Now we fight, coward!
They fight. Enter, several of both houses, who join
the fray; then enter Citizens, with clubs
BENVOLIO and TYBALT fight. Other Montagues and
Capulets enter and also start fighting. Veronese CITIZENS enter, carrying
Clubs, bills, and partisans! Strike! Beat them down!
Down with the Capulets! Down with the Montagues!
Beat them down with your clubs, spears, and axes. Down with
the Capulets! Down with the Montagues!
Enter old CAPULET in his gown, and his wife, LADY
CAPULET, in a sleeping gown, enters with LADY
What noise is this? Give me my long sword, ho!
What is this noise? Give me my long sword. Now!
A crutch, a crutch! Why call you for a sword?
You need a crutch! Why are you calling for a sword?
Enter old MONTAGUE and his wife, LADY MONTAGUE
MONTAGUE enters, sword drawn, with LADY
My sword, I say! Old Montague is come,
And flourishes his blade in spite of me.
Give me my sword! Old Montague has arrived, and he’s waving
his sword just to infuriate me.
Thou villain Capulet! Hold me not. Let me go.
You are a villain, Capulet! (LADY MONTAGUE
grabs his arm.) Let go of me. Don’t stop me.
Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe.
You’re not taking one step to try to fight an enemy.
Enter PRINCE ESCALUS, with his train
PRINCE ESCALUS enters with his attendants.
* * * * *
75 * * * *
80 * * * *
85 * * * *
Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace,
Profaners of this neighbor-stainèd 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,
On pain of torture, from those bloody hands
Throw your mistempered weapons to the ground,
And hear the sentence of your movèd prince.
Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word,
By thee, old Capulet, and Montague,
Have thrice disturbed 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,
Cankered with peace, to part your cankered hate.
If ever you disturb our streets again,
Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace.
For this time, all the rest depart away.
You, Capulet, shall go along with me,
And, Montague, come you this afternoon
To know our farther pleasure in this case,
To old Free-town, our common judgment-place.
Once more, on pain of death, all men depart.
You rebels and enemies of the peace, who curse your own
weapons by turning them on your neighbors. Do you refuse to listen?—Silence!
You men, you beasts, who can only put out the fire of your anger by spilling
fountains of blood. I will torture you unless you drop your weapons from your
bloody hands and listen to me, your enraged Prince. Because of nothing more
than a casual word from you, Capulet and Montague, three battles have raged
in our city’s streets. These battles have forced Verona’s citizens to take
off their dignified clothes and jewelry and instead pick up old and rusty
spears in order to put an end to your fighting. If any Capulet or Montague
disturbs the peace in the future, they will be executed. Now everyone go
home. Capulet, you come with me in order to hear what else I want from you.
Montague, you come this afternoon to old Free-town, where I deliver my
judgments. Everyone else, leave this place right now or I will have you
Exeunt all but MONTAGUE, LADY MONTAGUE, and BENVOLIO
Everyone exits except MONTAGUE, LADY MONTAGUE,
Who set this ancient quarrel new abroach?
Speak, nephew. Were you by when it began?
Tell me, nephew. Who stirred this old feud up again? Were you
here to see it begin?
* * * * *
100 * * * *
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,
Which, as he breathed defiance to my ears,
He swung about his head and cut the winds,
Who, nothing hurt withal, hissed him in scorn.
While we were interchanging thrusts and blows,
Came more and more and fought on part and part,
Till the Prince came, who parted either part.
Your servants were fighting Montague’s servants when I
arrived. I drew my sword to try to stop them. Just then, the reckless Tybalt
showed up with his sword drawn. He taunted me while swinging his sword
through the air, producing a hissing sound. As we fought, more and more
Capulets and Montagues showed up to join the battle. Finally, the Prince came
and stopped the fighting.
Oh, where is Romeo? Saw you him today?
Right glad I am he was not at this fray.
Where’s Romeo? Have you seen him at all today? I’m happy he
wasn’t around for this fight.
* * *
110 * * * *
115 * * * *
Madam, an hour before the worshipped sun
Peered forth the golden window of the east,
A troubled mind drove me to walk abroad,
Where, underneath the grove of sycamore
That westward rooteth from this city side,
So early walking did I see your son.
Towards him I made, but he was ‘ware of me
And stole into the covert of the wood.
I, measuring his affections by my own,
Which then most sought where most might not be found,
Being one too many by my weary self,
Pursued my humor not pursuing his,
And gladly shunned who gladly fled from me.
Madam, my mind was troubled this morning, so an hour before
dawn I went out for a walk. As I walked, I saw your son beneath the sycamore
grove that grows near the western edge of the city. I walked toward him, but
he noticed me and ran and hid in the woods. I assumed that he must be feeling
the same way I was and did not want to be bothered, since a person is often
at his busiest when he is alone. So I continued on, happy to let him be and
pursue my own private thoughts.
* * * * *
125 * * * *
Many a morning hath he there been seen,
With tears augmenting the fresh morning’s dew,
Adding to clouds more clouds with his deep sighs.
But all so soon as the all-cheering sun
Should in the farthest east begin to draw
The shady curtains from Aurora’s bed,
Away from light steals home my heavy son,
And private in his chamber pens himself,
Shuts up his windows, locks fair daylight out,
And makes himself an artificial night.
Black and portentous must this humor prove
Unless good counsel may the cause remove.
He’s been seen at that spot on many mornings, his tears
adding to the morning dew and his deep sighs thickening the clouds in the
sky. Then, as soon as the happy sun begins to dawn, my unhappy son comes home
in order to hide from the light. He keeps to himself in his bedroom, shutting
his windows to keep out the daylight so that he can sit in an artificial
night. His bad mood is likely to have a bad result, unless someone can give
him good advice and remove the cause of his sadness. This mood of his is
going to bring bad news, unless someone smart can fix what’s bothering him.
My noble uncle, do you know the cause?
My noble uncle, do you know what’s causing his mood?
I neither know it nor can learn of him.
I don’t. And he refuses to tell me.
Have you importuned him by any means?
You’ve done everything possible to get him to explain?
* * * * *
140 * * * *
Both by myself and many other friends.
But he, his own affections’ counselor,
Is to himself—I will not say how true,
But to himself so secret and so close,
So far from sounding and discovery,
As is the bud bit with an envious worm,
Ere he can spread his sweet leaves to the air,
Or dedicate his beauty to the same.
Could we but learn from whence his sorrows grow.
We would as willingly give cure as know.
Both I and many of our friends have tried to speak with him.
But he insists on sharing his thoughts only with himself, though I don’t know
how good the advice is that he’s giving himself. He keeps his secrets so
completely that he’s like a flower bud that can’t open to the air or sun
because it’s been poisoned from within by the bite of a worm. If we could
just find out the cause of his sadness, we’d try to help him as eagerly as we
have tried to learn the reason for his sadness.
See, where he comes. So please you, step aside.
I’ll know his grievance or be much denied.
Here he comes. If it’s all right, please leave us alone. I’ll
make him either tell me what’s wrong or force him to refuse me.
I would thou wert so happy by thy stay
To hear true shrift.—Come, madam, let’s away.
I hope you get to hear the true story. Come, madam, let’s go.
Exeunt MONTAGUE and LADY MONTAGUE. Enter ROMEO
MONTAGUE and LADY MONTAGUE exit. ROMEO enters.
Good morrow, cousin.
Good morning, cousin.
Is the day so young?
Is it still morning?
But new struck nine.
It’s just barely after nine.
Ay me! Sad hours seem long.
Was that my father that went hence so fast?
Oh, my! Time goes by slowly when you’re sad.
Was that my father who just rushed away?
It was. What sadness lengthens Romeo’s hours?
It was. What sadness is making your hours long?
Not having that which, having, makes them short.
Lacking the thing which would make them short.
Are you in love?
So you’re not in love?
Out of her favor, where I am in love.
I am in love. But the one I love does not love me.
Alas, that love, so gentle in his view,
Should be so tyrannous and rough in proof!
Oh, it is sad how love, which in theory seems like such a
gentle thing, should in actual experience be so rough!
* * * * *
165 * * * *
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.
Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate,
O anything of nothing first created!
O heavy lightness, serious vanity,
Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms!
Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health,
Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!
This love feel I, that feel no love in this.
Dost thou not laugh?
How can love, which is supposed to be blind, force you to be
able to do what it wants? Where should we eat? (Noticing
blood) Wait, what fighting happened here? No, don’t tell me. I already
know: it was something that had a lot to with hate, but even more to do with
love. O brawling love! O loving hate! Love that originates from nothing!
Heavy lightness! Serious frivolity! Beautiful shapes smashed together to
create an ugly chaos. Love is like heavy feathers, bright smoke, cold fire,
sick health, waking sleep, the opposite of what it is! That’s the love I
feel, since no one loves me in return. Do you laugh?
No, coz, I rather weep.
No, cousin, I cry.
Good heart, at what?
But why, my good man?
At thy good heart’s oppression.
Beacuse of how love has oppreseed your heart.
* * * * *
180 * * * *
Why, such is love’s transgression.
Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast,
Which thou wilt propagate, to have it pressed
With more of thine. This love that thou hast shown
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 vexed, a sea nourished with loving tears.
What is it else? A madness most discreet,
A choking gall, and a preserving sweet.
Farewell, my coz.
That’s how it works with love. My own sadness is a heavy
weight on my chest, and now you’re going to add your own sadness to mine. The
love you are showing me is only increasing my grief. Love is like a smoke
made out of the sighs of lovers. When the smoke clears, love is a fire
burning in the lovers eyes. But if that love is thwarted, then it is a sea
made out of lover’s tears. What else is love? A wise madness. A sweet candy
that makes you choke. Goodbye, my cousin.
Soft! I will go along.
And if you leave me so, you do me wrong.
Wait! I’ll come with you. If you leave me behind, you’ll be
Tut, I have lost myself. I am not here.
This is not Romeo. He’s some other where.
Man! I’m not acting like myself. It’s as if I’m not even
here. This is not Romeo, he’s somewhere else.
Tell me in sadness, who is that you love.
Tell me, seriously, who is the one you love?
What, shall I groan and tell thee?
What? Should I cry out the name in a groan of sadness?
Groan! Why, no. But sadly, tell me who.
Groan? No. Just tell me who it is.
* * *
A sick man in sadness makes his will,
A word ill urged to one that is so ill.
In sadness, cousin, I do love a woman.
You wouldn’t ask a sick man to “seriously” write out his
will—it would only make him feel worse. Seriously, cousin, I love a woman.
I aimed so near when I supposed you loved.
I figured that when I guessed you were in love.
A right good markman! And she’s fair I love.
Then you have good aim! The woman I love is beautiful.
A right fair mark, fair coz, is soonest hit.
A beautiful “target,” my cousin, is usually the one that is
200 * * * *
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 armed
From love’s weak childish bow, she lives uncharmed.
She will not stay the siege of loving terms,
Nor bide th’ encounter of assailing eyes,
Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold.
Oh, she is rich in beauty, only poor
That when she dies, with beauty dies her store.
Well, now you missed the target. She won’t be hit by Cupid’s
arrow. She’s like Diana, protected by the armor of chastity. She is immune to
the weak and childish arrows of love. She ignores words of love, refuses to
even let you look at her with loving eyes, or open her lap to receive golden
gifts. She’s rich in beauty. But she’s also poor, because when she dies her
beauty will be destroyed along with her.
Then she hath sworn that she will still live chaste?
So she’s sworn to live her life a virgin ?
210 * * * *
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,
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.
She has, and in doing so she wastes her beauty, because by
living in chastity she ensures that she will never pas her beauty on to her
children. She’s too beautiful, too smart, to be allowed to gain entrance to
Heaven by making me despair. She’s sworn never to love, and in that vow has
sentenced me to a kind of living death.
Be ruled by me. Forget to think of her.
Listen to me. Stop thinking about her.
O, teach me how I should forget to think!
How can I stop myself from thinking?
By giving liberty unto thine eyes.
Examine other beauties.
By letting your eyes wander, and looking at other good-looking
220 * * * *
‘Tis the way
To call hers exquisite, in question more.
These happy masks that kiss fair ladies’ brows,
Being black, puts 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
Where I may read who passed that passing fair?
Farewell. Thou canst not teach me to forget.
Such comparisons will only make her own beauty more obvious.
It will be like the masks that pretty girls wear to hide their faces, and
which, by hiding their beauty, make us think of it more. A blind man can’t
forget the precious eyesight he lost. Show me any beautiful girl. Her beauty is
no more than a reminder of where I can see someone who is even more
beautiful. Goodbye. You can’t teach me to forget.
I’ll pay that doctrine or else die in debt.