Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Roger Apfelbaum
Not Peer Reviewed

Romeo and Juliet (Quarto 1, 1597)


Enter Maskers with Romeo and a Page.
Ro: What shall this speech bee spoke for our excuse?
Or shall we on without Apologie.
Benuoleo: The date is out of such prolixitie
Weele haue no Cupid hudwinckt with a Scarfe,
460Bearing a Tartars painted bow of lath,
Scaring the Ladies like a crow-keeper:
461.1Nor no without booke Prologue faintly spoke
After the Prompter, for our entrance.
But let them measure vs by what they will;
Weele measure them a measure and be gone.
Rom: A torch for me I am not for this aumbling,
465Beeing but heauie I will beare the light.
Mer: Beleeue me Romeo I must haue you daunce.
Rom: Not I beleeue me you haue dancing shooes
With nimble soles, I have a soule of lead
So stakes me to the ground I cannot stirre.
Mer: Giue me a case to put my visage in,
A visor for a visor, what care I
What curious eye doth coate deformitie.
Rom: Giue me a Torch, let wantons light of hart
Tickle the senceles rushes with their heeles:
490For I am prouerbd with a Grandsire phrase,
Ile be a candleholder and looke on,
The game was nere so faire and I am done.
Mer: Tut dun's the mouse, the Cunstables old word,
If thou beest Dun, weele draw thee from the mire
495Of this surreuerence loue wherein thou stickst.
Leaue this talke, we burne day light here.
Rom: Nay thats not so. Mer: I meane sir in delay,
We burne our lights by night, like Lampes by day,
500Take our good meaning for our iudgement fits
Three times a day, ere once in her right wits.
Rom: So we meane well by going to this maske:
But tis no wit to goe.
Mer: Why Romeo may one aske?
505Rom: I dreamt a dreame tonight.
Mer: And so did I.
Rom: Why what was yours!
Mer: That dreamers often lie.
Rom: In bed a sleepe while they doe dreame things
510Mer: Ah then I see Queene Mab hath bin with you.
510.1Ben: Queene Mab whats she?
She is the Fairies Midwife and doth come
In shape no bigger than an Aggat stone
512.1On the forefinger of a Burgomaster,
Drawne with a teeme of little Atomi,
A thwart mens noses when they lie a sleepe.
514.1Her waggon spokes are made of spinners webs,
515The couer, of the winges of Grashoppers,
The traces are the Moone-shine watrie beames,
The collers crickets bones, the lash of filmes,
Her waggoner is a small gray coated flie,
Not halfe so big as is a little worme,
519.1Pickt from the lasie finger of a maide,
And in this sort she gallops vp and downe
523.1Through Louers braines, and then they dream of loue:
O're Courtiers knees: who strait on cursies dreame
526.1O're Ladies lips, who dreame on kisses strait:
Which oft the angrie Mab with blisters plagues,
Because their breathes with sweet meats tainted are:
Sometimes she gallops ore a Lawers lap,
And then dreames he of smelling out a sute,
530And sometime comes she with a tithe pigs taile,
530.1Tickling a Parsons nose that lies a sleepe,
And then dreames he of another benefice:
Sometime she gallops ore a souldiers nose,
And then dreames he of cutting forraine throats,
Of breaches ambuscados, countermines,
534.1Of healthes fiue fadome deepe, and then anon
535Drums in his eare: at which he startes and wakes,
And sweares a Praier or two and sleepes againe.
This is that Mab that makes maids lie on their backes,
And proues them women of good cariage.
This is the verie Mab that plats the manes of Horses in
And plats the Elfelocks in foule sluttish haire,
Which once vntangled much misfortune breedes.
545Rom: Peace, peace, thou talkst of nothing.
Mer: True I talk of dreames,
Which are the Chi dren of an idle braine,
Begot of nothing but vaine fantasie,
550Which is as thinne a substance as the aire,
And more inconstant than the winde,
551.1Which wooes euen now the frosē bowels of the north,
And being angred puffes away in haste,
Turning his face to the dew-dropping south.
555Ben: Come, come, this winde doth blow vs from our
Supper is done and we shall come too late.
Ro: I feare too earlie, for my minde misgiues
Some consequence is hanging in the stars,
Which bitterly begins his fearefull date
560With this nights reuels, and expiers the terme
Of a dispised life, closde in this breast,
By some vntimelie forfet of vile death:
But he that hath the steerage of my course
Directs my saile, on lustie Gentlemen.