Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Roger Apfelbaum
Peer Reviewed

Romeo and Juliet (Quarto 2, 1599)


Enter Romeo, Mercutio, Benuolio, with fiue or sixe other
455Maskers, torchbearers.
Romeo. What shall this speech be spoke for our excuse?
Or shall we on without appologie?
Ben. The date is out of such prolixitie,
Weele haue no Cupid, hudwinckt with a skarfe,
460Bearing a Tartars painted bow of lath,
Skaring the Ladies like a Crowkeeper.
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 heauie I will beare the light.
Mercu. Nay gētle Romeo,we must haue you dance.
Ro. Not I beleeue me, you haue dancing shooes
With nimble soles, I haue a soule of Leade
So stakes me to the ground I cannot moue.
470Mer. You are a Louer, borrow Cupids wings,
And sore with them aboue a common bound.
Rom. I am too sore enpearced with his shaft,
To sore with his light feathers, and so bound,
I cannot bound a pitch aboue dull woe,
475Vnder loues heauie birthen do I sincke.
Horatio. And to sink 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 boystrous, and it pricks like thorne.
480 Mer. If loue be rough with you, be rough with loue
Prick loue for pricking, and you beate loue downe,
Giue me a case to put my visage in,
visor for a visor, what care I
What curious eye doth cote deformities:
485Here are the beetle browes shall blush for me.
Benu. Come knock and enter, and no sooner in,
But euery man betake him to his legs.
Ro. A torch for me, let wantons light of heart
Tickle the sencelesse rushes with their heeles:
490For I am prouerbd with a graunsire phrase,
Ile be a candle-holder and looke on,
The game was nere so faire, and I am dum.
Mer. Tut, duns the mouse, the Constables own word:
If thou art dun, weele draw thee from the mire
495Or saue you reuerence loue, wherein thou stickest
Vp to the eares, come we burne daylight ho.
Ro. Nay thats not so.
Mer. I meane sir in delay
We waste 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.
Ro. And we meane well in going to this Mask,
But tis no wit to go.
Mer. Why, may one aske?
505Rom. I dreampt a dreame to night.
Mer. And so did I.
Ro. Well what was yours?
Mer. That dreamers often lie.
Ro. In bed asleep while they do dream things true.
510Mer. O then I see Queene Mab hath bin with you:
She is the Fairies midwife, and she comes in shape no bigger thē
an Agot stone, on the forefinger of an Alderman, drawne with
a teeme of little ottamie, ouer mens noses as they lie asleep: her
waggō spokes made of lōg spinners legs: the couer, of the wings
515of Grashoppers, her traces of the smallest spider web, her collors
of the moonshines watry beams, her whip of Crickets bone, the
lash of Philome, her waggoner, a small grey coated Gnat, not
half so big as a round litle worme, prickt from the lazie finger of
520a man. Her Charriot is an emptie Hasel nut, Made by the Ioyner
squirrel or old Grub, time out a mind, the Fairie Coatchmakers:
and in this state she gallops night by night, throgh louers brains,
and then they dreame of loue. On Courtiers knees, that dreame
525on Cursies strait ore Lawyers fingers who strait dreame on fees,
ore Ladies lips who strait one kisses dream, which oft the angrie
Mab with blisters plagues, because their breath with sweete
meates tainted are. Sometime she gallops ore a Courtiers nose,
and then dreames he of smelling out a sute: and sometime comes
530she with a tithpigs tale, tickling a Persons nose as a lies asleepe,
then he dreams of an other Benefice. Sometime she driueth ore
a souldiers neck, and then dreames he of cutting forrain throates,
of breaches, ambuscados, spanish blades: Of healths fiue fadome
535deepe, and then anon drums in his eare, at which he starts and
wakes, and being thus frighted, sweares a praier or two, & sleeps
againe: this is that very Mab that plats the manes of horses in the
night: and bakes the Elklocks in foule sluttish haires, which
once vntangled, much misfortune 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.
545Romeo. Peace, peace, Mercutio peace,
Thou talkst 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 angerd puffes away from thence,
Turning his side to the dewe dropping South.
555 Ben. This wind you talk of, blows vs from our selues,
Supper is done, and we shall come too late.
Ro. I feare too earlie, for my mind misgiues,
Some consequence yet hanging in the starres,
Shall bitterly begin his fearfull date,
560With this nights reuels, and expire the terme
Of a despised life closde in my brest:
By some vile fofreit 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 Seruing men come forth with
Napkins.