Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Romeo and Juliet (Modern)
  • Editor: Roger Apfelbaum
  • ISBN: 1-55058-299-2

    Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Roger Apfelbaum
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Romeo and Juliet (Modern)

    Enter Sampson and Gregory, with swords and bucklers, of the house of Capulet
    Servingman 5Gregory, on my word we'll not carry coals.
    Gregory No, for then we should be colliers.
    Servingman I mean, and we be in choler we'll draw.
    Gregory Ay, while you live, draw your neck out of collar.
    10Servingman I strike quickly being moved.
    Gregory But thou art not quickly moved to strike.
    Servingman A dog of the house of Montague moves me.
    Gregory To move is to stir, and to be valiant is to stand: therefore if thou art moved thou run'st away.
    Servingman 15A dog of that house shall move me to stand. I will take the wall of any man or maid of Montague's.
    Gregory That shows thee a weak slave, for the weakest goes to the wall.
    Servingman 'Tis true, and therefore women being the weaker 20vessels are ever thrust to the wall: therefore I will push Montague's men from the wall, and thrust his maids to the wall.
    Gregory The quarrel is between our masters and us their men.
    Servingman 'Tis all one, I will show myself a tyrant: when 25I have fought with the men, I will be civil with the maids, I will cut off their heads.
    Gregory The heads of the maids?
    Servingman Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads, take it in what sense thou wilt.
    30Gregory They must take it in sense that feel it.
    Servingman Me they shall feel while I am able to stand, and 'tis known I am a pretty piece of flesh.
    Gregory 'Tis well thou art not fish; if thou hadst, thou hadst bin Poor John. Draw thy tool, here comes of 35the house of Montagues.
    Enter two other Serving-men.
    Servingman My naked weapon is out. Quarrel, I will back thee.
    Gregory How, turn thy back and run?
    Servingman Fear me not.
    40Gregory No, marry, I fear thee!
    Servingman Let us take the law of our sides; let them begin.
    Gregory I will frown as I pass by, and let them take it as they list.
    Servingman Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them, which is disgrace to them if they bear it.
    He bites his thumb.
    45Abram Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
    Servingman I do bite my thumb, sir.
    Abram Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
    Servingman[to Gregory] Is the law of our side if I say "Ay"?
    Gregory No.
    Servingman No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir, but 50I bite my thumb, sir.
    Gregory Do you quarrel sir?
    Abram Quarrel sir? No sir.
    Sampson But if you do, sir, I am for you. I serve as good a man as you.
    Abram No, better!
    55Sampson Well sir.
    Enter Benvolio.
    Gregory Say better, here comes one of my master's kinsmen.
    Sampson Yes, better sir.
    Abram You lie.
    Sampson Draw, if you be men. Gregory, remember thy swashing 60blow.
    They fight.
    Benvolio Part fools! Put up your swords! You know not what you do.
    Enter Tybalt.
    Tybalt What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds? 65Turn thee Benvolio. Look upon thy death.
    Benvolio I do but keep the peace. Put up thy sword,
    Or manage it to part these men with me.
    Tybalt What, drawn and talk of peace? I hate the word
    As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee.
    70Have at thee, coward.
    They fight.
    Enter three of four Citizens with clubs or partisans.
    Officer Clubs, bills, and partisans! Strike, beat them down!
    Down with the Capulets, down with the Montagues!
    Enter old Capulet in his gown, and his Wife.
    75Capulet What noise is this? Give me my long sword, ho!
    Capulet's Wife A crutch, a crutch! Why call you for a sword?
    Capulet My sword I say! Old Montague is come
    And flourishes his blade in spite of me.
    Enter old Montague and his wife.
    80Montague Thou villain Capulet! Hold me not, let me go.
    Montague's Wife Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe.
    Enter Prince Escalus with his train.
    Prince Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace,
    Profaners of this neighbour-stainèd steel --
    85Will 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
    90And 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
    95Cast 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.
    100For 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 Freetown, our common judgment place:
    105Once more, on pain of death, all men depart.
    Exeunt [all but Montague, Montague's wife, and Benvolio].
    Montague Who set this ancient quarrel new abroach?
    Speak, nephew, were you by when it began?
    Benvolio Here were the servants of your adversary
    And yours, close fighting ere I did approach;
    110I 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.
    115While we were interchanging thrusts and blows,
    Came more and more, and fought on part and part,
    Till the Prince came, who parted either part.
    Montague's Wife Oh, where is Romeo? Saw you him today?
    Right glad I am he was not at this fray.
    120Benvolio Madam, an hour before the worshipped sun
    Peered forth the golden window of the east,
    A troubled mind drive me to walk abroad,
    Where underneath the grove of sycamore
    That westward rooteth from this city side,
    125So 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,
    130Being one too many by my weary self,
    Pursued my humor, not pursuing his,
    And gladly shunned who gladly fled from me.
    Montague Many a morning hath he there been seen,
    With tears augmenting the fresh morning's dew,
    135Adding 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,
    140And 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.
    145Benvolio My noble uncle, do you know the cause?
    Montague I neither know it nor can learn of him.
    Benvolio Have you importuned him by any means?
    Montague Both by myself and many other friends,
    But he his own affection's counsellor,
    150Is 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
    155Or dedicate his beauty to the same.
    Could we but learn from whence his sorrows grow,
    We would as willingly give cure as know.
    Enter Romeo
    Benvolio See where he comes. So please you step aside,
    160I'll know his grievance or be much denied.
    Montague I would thou wert so happy by thy stay
    To hear true shrift. -- Come, Madam, let's away.
    Exeunt [Montague and Montague's wife]
    Good morrow, cousin.
    Is the day so young?
    But new struck nine.
    Ay me, sad hours seem long.
    Was that my father that went hence so fast?
    Benvolio It was. What sadness lengthens Romeo's hours?
    Romeo Not having that which, having, makes them short.
    170Benvolio In love?
    Romeo Out --
    Benvolio Of love?
    Romeo Out of her favor where I am in love.
    Benvolio Alas, that love, so gentle in his view,
    175Should be so tyrannous and rough in proof.
    Romeo Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still,
    Should without eyes see pathways to his will.
    Where shall we dine? -- Oh, me! What fray was here?
    Yet tell me not, for I have heard it all:
    180Here's much to do with hate, but more with love.
    Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate,
    O any thing of nothing first create;
    O heavy lightness, serious vanity,
    Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms,
    185Feather 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.
    Doest thou not laugh?
    No, coz, I rather weep.
    Good heart, at what?
    At thy good heart's oppression.
    Romeo Why, such is love's transgression.
    Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast,
    Which thou wilt propagate to have it pressed
    195With more of thine. This love that thou hast shown
    Doth add more grief to too much of mine own.
    Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs,
    Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes,
    Being vexed, a sea nourished with lovers' tears.
    200What is it else? A madness most discreet,
    A choking gall and a preserving sweet.
    Farewell, my coz.
    Soft, I will go along.
    An if you leave me so, you do me wrong.
    205Romeo Tut, I have lost myself. I am not here.
    This is not Romeo, he's some other where.
    Benvolio Tell me in sadness, who is that you love?
    Romeo What, shall I groan and tell thee?
    Benvolio Groan? Why no; but sadly tell me who.
    210Romeo 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.
    Benvolio I aimed so near when I supposed you loved.
    Romeo A right good markman, and she's fair I love.
    215Benvolio A right fair mark, fair coz, is soonest hit.
    Romeo 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.
    220She 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.
    225Benvolio Then she hath sworn that she will still live chaste?
    Romeo She hath, and in that sparing make huge waste,
    For beauty starved with her severity
    Cuts beauty off from all posterity.
    She is too fair, too wise, wisely too fair,
    230To 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.
    Benvolio Be ruled by me; forget to think of her.
    Romeo Oh, teach me how I should forget to think!
    235Benvolio By giving liberty unto thine eyes:
    Examine other beauties.
    '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.
    240He 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?
    245Farewell, thou canst not teach me to forget.
    Benvolio I'll pay that doctrine, or else die in debt.