Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Roger Apfelbaum
Not Peer Reviewed

Romeo and Juliet (Folio 1, 1623)


Enter Romeo, Mercutio, Benuolio, with fiue or sixe
455other Maskers, Torch-bearers.
Rom. What shall this speeh be spoke for our excuse?
Or shall we on without Apologie?
Ben. The date is out of such prolixitie,
Weele haue no Cupid, hood winkt with a skarfe,
460Bearing a Tartars painted Bow of lath,
Skaring the Ladies like a Crow-keeper.
But let them measure vs by what they will,
Weele measure them a Measure, and be gone.
Rom. Giue me a Torch, I am not for this ambling.
465Being but heauy I will beare the light.
Mer. Nay gentle Romeo, we must haue you dance.
Rom. Not I beleeue me, you haue dancing shooes
With nimble soles, I haue a soale of Lead
So stakes me to the ground, I cannot moue.
470Mer. You are a Louer, borrow Cupids wings,
And soare with them aboue a common bound.
Rom. I am too sore enpearced with his shaft,
To soare with his light feathers, and to bound:
I cannot bound a pitch aboue dull woe,
475Vnder loues heauy burthen doe I sinke.
Hora. And to sinke in it should you burthen loue,
Too great oppression for a tender thing.
Rom. Is loue a tender thing? it is too rough,
Too rude, too boysterous, and it pricks like thorne.
480Mer. If loue be rough with you, be rough with loue,
Pricke loue for pricking, and you beat loue downe,
Giue me a Case to put my visage in,
A Visor for a Visor, what care I
What curious eye doth quote deformities:
485Here are the Beetle-browes shall blush for me.
Ben. Come knocke and enter, and no sooner in,
But euery man betake him to his legs.
Rom. A Torch for me, let wantons light of heart
Tickle the sencelesse rushes with their heeles:
490For I am prouerb'd with a Grandsier Phrase,
Ile be a Candle-holder and looke on,
The game was nere so faire, and I am done.
Mer. Tut, duns the Mouse, the Constables owne word,
If thou art dun, weele draw thee from the mire.
495Or saue your reuerence loue, wherein thou stickest
Vp to the eares, come we burne day-light ho.
Rom. Nay that's not so.
Mer. I meane sir I delay,
We wast our lights in vaine, lights, lights, by day;
500Take our good meaning, for our Iudgement sits
Fiue times in that, ere once in our fine wits.
Rom. And we meane well in going to this Maske,
But 'tis no wit to go.
Mer. Why may one aske?
505Rom. I dreampt a dreame to night.
Mer. And so did I.
Rom. Well what was yours?
Mer. That dreamers often lye.
Ro. In bed a sleepe while they do dreame things true.
510Mer. O then I see Queene Mab hath beene with you:
She is the Fairies Midwife, & she comes in shape no big-
ger then Agat-stone, on the fore-finger of an Alderman,
drawne with a teeme of little Atomies, ouer mens noses as
they lie asleepe: her Waggon Spokes made of long Spin-
515ners legs: the Couer of the wings of Grashoppers, her
Traces of the smallest Spiders web, her coullers of the
Moonshines watry Beames, her Whip of Crickets bone,
the Lash of Philome, her Waggoner, a small gray-coated
Gnat, not halfe so bigge as a round little Worme, prickt
520from the Lazie-finger of a man. Her Chariot is an emptie
Haselnut, made by the Ioyner Squirrel or old Grub, time
out a mind, the Faries Coach-makers: & in this state she
gallops night by night, through Louers braines: and then
they dreame of Loue. On Courtiers knees, that dreame on
525Cursies strait: ore Lawyers fingers, who strait dreamt on
Fees, ore Ladies lips, who strait on kisses dreame, which
oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues, because their
breath with Sweet meats tainted are. Sometime she gal-
lops ore a Courtiers nose, & then dreames he of smelling
530out a sute: & somtime comes she with Tith pigs tale, tick-
ling a Parsons nose as a lies asleepe, then he dreames of
another Benefice. Sometime she driueth ore a Souldiers
necke, & then dreames he of cutting Forraine throats, of
Breaches, Ambuscados, Spanish Blades: Of Healths fiue
535Fadome deepe, and then anon drums in his eares, at which
he startes and wakes; and being thus frighted, sweares a
prayer or two & sleepes againe: this is that very Mab that
plats the manes of Horses in the night: & bakes the Elk-
locks in foule sluttish haires, which once vntangled, much
540misfortune bodes,
This is the hag, when Maides lie on their backs,
That presses them, and learnes them first to beare,
Making them women of good carriage:
This is she.
545Rom. Peace, peace, Mercutio peace,
Thou talk'st of nothing.
Mer. True, I talke of dreames:
Which are the children of an idle braine,
Begot of nothing, but vaine phantasie,
550Which is as thin of substance as the ayre,
And more inconstant then the wind, who wooes
Euen now the frozen bosome of the North:
And being anger'd, puffes away from thence,
Turning his side to the dew dropping South.
555Ben. This wind you talke of blowes vs from our selues,
Supper is done, and we shall come too late.
Rom. I feare too early, for my mind misgiues,
Some consequence yet hanging in the starres,
Shall bitterly begin his fearefull date
560With this nights reuels, and expire the tearme
Of a despised life clos'd in my brest:
By some vile forfeit of vntimely death.
But he that hath the stirrage of my course,
Direct my sute: on lustie Gentlemen.
565Ben. Strike Drum.
They march about the Stage, and Seruingmen come forth
with their napkins.