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A deadly feud exists between the noble families of Capulet and Montague, who reside in Verona. Romeo, son of Montague, and Juliet, daughter of Capulet, become violently enamoured with each other, and are privately married, unknown to their friends, by Laurence, a Franciscan friar. Shortly after their marriage, Tybalt, one of the Capulet faction, in a street brawl, kills Mercutio, and is himself killed by Romeo. For this Romeo is exiled by the Prince of Verona, and retires to Mantua. Capuiet and his wife, ignorant of their daughter's marriage, have resolved to unite her to Paris, a young nobleman of Verona. To avoid this marriage, Juliet takes a drug provided for her by Friar Laurence, which produces a death-like lethargy. Her friends, supposing her to be dead, inter her in the tomb of the Capulets. It is intended by the friar that Romeo shall be advised of these events, so that he may be present when Juliet wakes, and take her away to Mantua. By an error, however, Romeo hears that Juliet is dead, on which he procures poison, and enters the monument in which she is entombed; here he meets Paris, who provokes him to fight, and is killed. Romeo then takes the poison. No sooner is he dead than Juliet wakes from her lethargy, and finding her husband dead by her side, stabs herself; and the play concludes with the reconciliation of the Capulets and Montagues.
The Prince of Verona's Charge to Capulet and Montague.
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 partizans, in hands as old,
Canker'd with peace to part your canker'd 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 further pleasure in this case,
To old Free-town, our common judgment-place.
Once more, on pain of death, all men depart.
Madam, an hour before the worshipp'd sun
Peer'd forth the golden window of the east,
A troubled mind drave me to walk abroad;
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,That most are busied when they are most alone, Pursued my humour, not pursuing his, And gladly shunn'd who gladly fled from me.
Many a morning hath he there been seen,
With tears augmenting the fresh morning's dew,
Adding to clouds more clouds with his deep sighs :
But all so soon as the all-cheering sun
Should in the furthest 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.
Love is a smoke rais'd with the fume of sighs ;
Being purg'd, a fire sparkling in lover's eyes :
Being vex'd, a sea nourish'd with lover's tears :
What is it else ? a madness most discreet,
A choking gall, and a preserving sweet.
Capulet's Description of Juliet's Youth.
My child is yet a stranger in the world,
She hath not seen the change of fourteen years ;
Let two more summers wither in their pride,
Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride.
Capulet's Consent to the Suit of Paris.
The earth hath swallow'd 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
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 more.
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-apparellid April on the heel
Of limping winter treads, even such delight
Among fresh female buds shall you this night
hear all, all see, And like her most whose merit most shall be.
Lady Capulet's Eulogy on Paris. What say you ? can you love the gentleman ? This night you shall behold him at our feast : Read o'er the volume of
And find delight writ there with beauty's pen ;
every married lineament,
And see how one another lends content ;
And what obscur'd in this fair volume lies,
Find written in the margin of his eyes.
This precious book of love, this unbound lover,
To beautify him only lacks a cover :
The fish lives in the sea ; and 'tis much pride
For fair without the fair within to hide :
That book in many's eyes doth share the glory,
That in gold clasps locks in the golden story ;
So shall you share all that he doth possess,
By having him, making yourself no less.
Mercutio's Speech on Dreams.
O, then, I see, queen Mab hath been with you.
She is the fairies' midwife ; and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate stone
On the forefinger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies *
Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep :
Her waggon spokes made of long spinner's legs ;
The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers ;
The traces of the smallest spider's web;
The collars, of the moonshine's wat’ry beams :
Her whip, of cricket’s bone ; the lash, of film;
Her waggoner, a small gray-coated gnat,
Not half so big as a round little worm
Prick'd from the lazy finger of a maid :
Her chariot is an empty hazel nut,
Made by the joiner squirrel, or old grub,
Time out of mind the fairies' coachmakers.
And in this state she gallops night by night
Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love :
On courtiers' knees, that dream on court’sies straight :
O'er lawyers' fingers, who straight dream on fees :
O'er ladies' lips, who straight on kisses dream ;
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are.
Sometimes she gallops o'er a courtier’s nose,
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit ;
And sometimes comes she with a tithe-pig's tail,
Tickling a parson's nose as ’a lies asleep,
Then dreams he of another benefice :
Sometimes she driveth o'er a soldier's neck,
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,
Of healths five fathom deep; and then anon
Drums in his ear ; at which he starts, and wakes ;
And, being thus frighted, swears a prayer or two,
And sleeps again. This is that very Mab, ,
That plats the manes of horses in the night ;