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THE TRAGEDY OF ROMEO AND JULIET
The First Quarto of Romeo and Juliet appeared in 1597, printed, it is inferred from internal evidence, from copy made up on the basis of a shorthand writer's imperfect report taken at the theatre. The title-page of this edition states that "it hath been often (with great applause) plaid publiquely, by the right Honourable the L. of Hunsdon his servants.” This proves it to have been on the stage between July, 1596, and April, 1597, the months during which the “Lord Hunsdon's servants” were so named. Further evidence of date is purely internal, the most definite being the Nurse's reference to the earthquake of eleven years before (1. iii. 23, 35). If, as is often assumed, this refers to the earthquake of 1580, it places the play in its first form as early as 1591; but the ground of the inference is very weak. The frequency of rime, especially alternate, the lyrical quality of the poetry, and the abundance of verbal quibbling, also point to an early date; but in the absence of any external evidence, or of an authentic copy of the play in its first form, no certain statement can be made as to exact date.
The Second Quarto, published in 1599, claims to be “newly corrected, augmented, and amended,” and a comparison of this text with that of the First Quarto confirms this, indicating that the play was subjected to revision and enlargement by Shakespeare about 1597–98, though not all the additional passages in the Second Quarto are due to the revision. The Third Quarto (1609) was printed from the Second, the Fourth (undated) from the Third, and the Fifth (1637) from the Fourth. The First Folio text follows the Third Quarto, so that the Second Quarto is the chief authority, and forms the basis of the present edition.
The device of escaping from an unwelcome marriage by means of a sleeping potion is found as early as the medieval Greek romance of Abrocomas and Anthia by Xenophon of Ephesus. Massuccio (1476) tells a tale having many points of similarity to the present tragedy; but the earliest known version which is an undoubted direct ancestor of Shakespeare's plot is the history of Romeo and Giulietta narrated by Luigi da Porto, and published in Venice about 1530. The progress of the story towards the Shakespearean form continues through a version in Bandello's Novelle (1554), Boisteau's translation of the same (1559), the English poem of Romeus and Juliet by Arthur Brooke (1562), and Painter's translation of Boisteau in his Palace of Pleasure (1567). In Brooke's address "To the Reader” he states that he "saw the same argument lately set forth on stage;" but no copy of the play alluded to is known to have survived in English. About 1630, however, Jacob Struijs wrote a Romeo and Juliette in Dutch hexameters; and an attempt has been made to prove that this drama is an adaptation of a lost play used by Shakespeare as a basis, and perhaps that to which Brooke refers.
The main lines of the dramatic action and of the chief characters were thus already laid down before Shakespeare worked on the story; and he borrowed also a large amount of detail, especially from the version by Brooke. The episode of the Apothecary and the order of events in the catastrophe go back to Boisteau, but to this last Shakespeare himself added the death of Paris at Juliet's tomb. The Nurse as a great comic figure is first developed by Brooke. The death of Mercutio is due to the old dramatist, but the elaboration of his character and his wit are Shakespeare's, as are also the reducing of Juliet's age from sixteen to fourteen and the opening of the action with the conflict of the factions. The genins of Shakespeare is more pervasive in the extraordinarily intense quality of the great lyric speeches, and in the representation of the growth and enriching of the lovers in passion and character.
The story was dramatized, before Shakespeare, in Italy, Spain, and France, as well as id England ; and many collateral versions in narrative form exist. Shakespeare's tragedy was produced in a corrupt German version in the seventeenth century; and it has been adapted and translated by many hands and in many countries. In Shakespeare's own time the story passed from legend into “ history," and the events were stated to have actually occurred in Verona in the first years of the fourteenth century.
THE TRAGEDY OF ROMEO AND JULIET
[DRAMATIS PERSONÆ ESCALUB, Prince of Verona.
SAMPSON, PARIS, a young nobleman, kinsman to the prince.
servants to Capulet. MONTAGUE, heads of two houses at variance with each PETER, servant to Juliet's nurse. CAPULET, other.
An Apothecary. An old man, of the Capulet family.
Page to Paris ; another Page.
LADY CAPULET, wife to Capulet.
JULIET, daughter to Capulet.
Nurse to Juliet.
SCENE : Verona ; Mantua.]
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. The fearful passage of their death-mark'd
Gre. To move is to stir, and to be valiant is to stand ; therefore, if thou art mov'd, thou run'st away;
Sam. A dog of that house shall move me to stand. I will take the wall of any man or maid of Montague's.
Gre. That shows thee a weak slave; for the weakest goes to the wall.
Sam. "T is 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.
Gre. The quarrel is between our masters and us their men.
Sam. 'Tis all one, I will show myself a tyrant. When I have fought with the men, I will be cruel with the maids; I will cut off their heads.
Gre. The heads of the maids?
Sam. Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads; take it in what sense thou wilt.
Gre. They must take it in sense that feel it.
Sam. Me they shall feel while I am able to stand ; and 't is known I am a pretty piece of flesh.
Gre. 'Tis well thou art not fish; if thou hadst, thou hadst been poor John. Draw thy tool; here comes two of the house of Montagues. Enter two other serving-men [ABRAHAM and
Gre. How ! turn thy back and run ?
SCENE I. (Verona. A public place.]
Capulet, with swords and bucklers.
Gre. No, for then we should be colliers.
Sam. I'mean, an we be in choler, we 'll draw.
Gre. Ay, while you live, draw your neck out o the collar.
Sam. I strike quickly, being mov'd.
Gre. But thou art not quickly mov'd to strike.
Sam. A dog of the house of Montague moves
Sam. Let us take the law of our sides; let them begin.
Gre. I will frown as I pass by, and let them take it as they list.
Sam. Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them; which is disgrace to them, if they bear it.
Abr. Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
Sam. (Aside to Gre.) Is the law of our side, if I say ay ?
Sam. No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir; but I bite my thumb, sir.
Gre. Do you quarrel, sir?
Sam. But if you do, sir, I am for you. I serve as good a man as you.
Abr. No better.
Enter BENVOLIO. Gre. Say “better”; here comes one of my master's kinsmen.
Sam. Yes, better, sir.
Sam. Draw, if you be men. Gregory, remember thy swashing blow. [They fight. 70
Ben. Part, fools ! Put up your swords ; you know not what you do.
Beats down their swords.]
Enter TYBALT. Tyb. What, art thou drawn among these
heartless hinds ? Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon thy death. Ben. I do but keep the peace. Put up thy
sword, Or manage it to part these men with me. · Tyb. What, drawn, and talk of peace ! I hate
the word As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee. Have at thee, coward !
[They fight. Enter three or four Citizens (and OFFICERS),
with clubs or partisans. Off. Clubs, bills, and partisans ! Strike!
Beat them down! Down with the Capulets ! down with the Mon
tagues ! Enter CAPULET in his gown, and LADY CAPU
Enter PRINCE, with his train. Prin. 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, 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, 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, Cank’red with peace, to part your cank'red
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 judgement
place. Once more, on pain of death, all men depart. ta
(Exeunt (all but Montague, Lady
Montague, and Benvolio). Mon. Who set this ancient quarrel new
abroach? Speak, nephew, were you by when it began? Ben. Here were the servants of your adrer
sary, And yours, close fighting ere I did approach. I drew to part them. In the instant came The fiery Tybalt, with his sword prepar'd, Which, as he breath'd defiance to my ears, 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, Till the Prince came, who parted either part. La. Mon. O, where is Romeo ? Saw you him
to-day? Right glad I am he was not at this fray. Ben. Madam, an hour before the wor
shipp'd sun Peer'd forth the golden window of the east, A troubled mind drave me to walk abroad; Where, underneath the grove of sycamore That westward rooteth from the city's side, 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 humour not pursuing his, And gladly shunn'd who gladly fled from me. Mon. Many a morning hath he there been
seen, With tears augmenting the fresh morning's dew,
Cap. What noise is this? Give me my long
sword, ho! La. Cap. 'A crutch, a crutch! why call you
for a sword ? Cap. My sword, I say! Old Montague is And flourishes his blade in spite of me.
Enter MONTAGUE and LADY MONTAGUE. Mon. Thou villain Capulet, - Hold me not, La. Mon. Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek
let me go
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 humour prove Unless good counsel may the cause remove. Ben. My noble uncle, do you know the
cause? Mon. I neither know it nor can learn of him. Ben. Have you importun'd him by any
means ? Mon. 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, 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.
Enter Romeo. Ben. See, where he comes ! So please you,
step aside; I'll know his grievance, or be much deni’d. Mon. I would thou wert so happy by thy
stay To hear true shrift. Come, madam, let's
away., (Exeunt (Montague and Lady). 165 Ben. Good morrow, cousin. Rom.
Is the day so young ? Ben, But new struck nine. Rom.
Ay me! sad hours seem long. Was that my father that went hence so fast ? Ben. It was. What sadness lengthens Ro
meo's hours ? Rom. Not having that which, having, makes
them short. Ben. In love ? Rom. OutBen. Of love ? Rom. Out of her favour, where I am in love.
Ben. Alas, that love, so gentle in his view, 175 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. Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate! O anything, 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! Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!
This love feel I, that feel no love in this.
No, coz, I rather weep.
Rom. 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 Doth add more grief to too much of mine Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs; Being purg'd, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes; Being vex'd, a sea nourish'd with lovers' tears. What is it else? A madness most discreet, A choking gall, and a preserving sweet. Farewell, my coz. Ben.
Soft! I will go along. An if you leave me so, you do me wrong. Rom. Tut, I have left myself; I am not
here. This is not Romeo; he's some otherwhere. Ben. Tell me in sadness, who is that you
love? Rom. What, shall I groan and tell thee? Ben.
Groan! why, no; But sadly tell me who. Rom. Bid a sick man in sadness make his
will, Ah, word ill urg'd to one that is so ill ! In sadness, cousin, I do love a woman. Ben. I aim'd so near, when I suppos'd you
lov'd. Rom. A right good mark-man! And she's
fair I love. Ben. A right fair mark, fair coz, is soonest
hit. Rom. 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. 'Gainst Love's weak childish bow she lives un
harm’d. She will not stay the siege of loving terms, Nor bide the encounter of assailing eyes, Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold. 0, she is rich in beauty, only poor That, when she dies, with beauty dies her store. Ben. Then she hath sworn that she will still
live chaste? Rom. She hath, and in that sparing makes
Ben. Be rul'd by me, forget to think of her.
'Tis the way To call hers, exquisite, in question more. These ha masks that kiss fair ladies' hrows
Being black puts us in mind they hide the fair;
fair? Farewell! Thou canst not teach me to forget. Ben. I'll pay that doctrine, or else die in debt.
[Exeunt. (SCENE II. A street.) Enter CAPULET, PARIS, and the Clown (a SER
VANT). Cap. But Montague is bound as well as I, In penalty alike; and 't is not hard, I think, For men so old as we to keep the peace.
Par. Of honourable reckoning are you both; And pity 't is 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 be
fore. My child is yet a str ger in the world; She hath not seen the change of fourteen years. Let two more summers wither in their pride, 10 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
made. The earth hath swallowed 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 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-apparell'd April on the heel Of limping winter treads, even such delight Among fresh female buds sball you this night Inherit at my house; hear all, all see, And like her most whose merit most shall be. Which on more view of, many, mine being one, May stand in number, though in reckoning
none. Come, go with me. (To Servant.] 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). Serv. Find them out whose names are written here! It is written, that the shoemaker should meddle with his yard, and the tailor with his last, the fisher with his pencil, and the painter with his nets; but I am sent to find those persons whose names are here writ, and can never find what names the writing person
hath here writ. I must to the learned. - In good time.
Enter BENVOLIO and Romeo. Ben. Tut, man, one fire burns out another's
burning, One pain is less'ned by another's anguish; Turn giddy, and be holp by backward turning; One desperate grief cures with another's lar
guish. Take thou some new infection to thy eye, And the rank poison of the old will die. Rom. Your plaintain-leaf is excellent for
that. Ben. For what, I pray thee? Rom.
For your broken shin. Ben. Why, Romeo, art thou mad ? Rom. Not mad, but bound more than a mad
man is ; Shut up in prison, kept without my food, Whipp'd and tormented and — God-den, good
fellow. Serv. God gi' god-den. I pray, sir, can you read ?
Rom. Ay, mine own fortune in my misery."
Serv. Perhaps you have learn'd it without book, But, I pray, can you read anything you Rom. Ay, if I know the letters and the lan
guage. Serv. Ye say honestly. Rest you merry! Rom. Stay, fellow; I can read.
(Reads.) "Signior Martino and his wife and daughters; County Anselme and his beauteous sisters; the lady widow of Vitruvio; Signior Placentio and his lovely nieces ; Mercutio and his brother Valentine ; mine uncle Capulet, his wife, and daughters; my fair niece Rosaline; Livia ; Signior Valentio and his cousin Tybalt; Lucio and the lively Helena." A fair assembly: whither should they come ?
Rom. Indeed, I should have ask'd you that before.
Serv. Now I'll tell you without asking. My master is the great rich Capulet; and if you be not of the house of Montagues, I pray, come and crush a cup of wine. Rest you merry!
(Erit. Ben. At this same ancient feast of Capulet's Sups the fair Rosaline whom thou so loves, 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. 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 heretics, be burnt for liars! One fairer than my love! The all-seeing sun Ne'er saw her match since first the world begun.