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Romeo and Juliet
Act 1, scene 4

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Contents

Characters in the Play

Entire Play

The prologue of Romeo and Juliet calls the title characters “star-crossed lovers”—and the stars do seem to conspire against these young lovers….

Prologue

Act 1, scene 1

A street fight breaks out between the Montagues and the Capulets, which is broken up by the ruler of Verona,…

Act 1, scene 2

In conversation with Capulet, Count Paris declares his wish to marry Juliet. Capulet invites him to a party that night….

Act 1, scene 3

Lady Capulet informs Juliet of Paris’s marriage proposal and praises him extravagantly. Juliet says that she has not even dreamed…

Act 1, scene 4

Romeo and Benvolio approach the Capulets’ party with their friend Mercutio and others, wearing the disguises customarily donned by “maskers.”…

Act 1, scene 5

Capulet welcomes the disguised Romeo and his friends. Romeo, watching the dance, is caught by the beauty of Juliet. Overhearing…

Act 2, chorus

Again the Chorus’s speech is in the form of a sonnet.

Act 2, scene 1

Romeo finds himself so in love with Juliet that he cannot leave her. He scales a wall and enters Capulet’s…

Act 2, scene 2

From Capulet’s garden Romeo overhears Juliet express her love for him. When he answers her, they acknowledge their love and…

Act 2, scene 3

Determined to marry Juliet, Romeo hurries to Friar Lawrence. The Friar agrees to marry them, expressing the hope that the…

Act 2, scene 4

Mercutio and Benvolio meet the newly enthusiastic Romeo in the street. Romeo defeats Mercutio in a battle of wits. The…

Act 2, scene 5

Juliet waits impatiently for the Nurse to return. Her impatience grows when the Nurse, having returned, is slow to deliver…

Act 2, scene 6

Juliet meets Romeo at Friar Lawrence’s cell. After expressing their mutual love, they exit with the Friar to be married.

Act 3, scene 1

Mercutio and Benvolio encounter Tybalt on the street. As soon as Romeo arrives, Tybalt tries to provoke him to fight….

Act 3, scene 2

Juliet longs for Romeo to come to her. The Nurse arrives with the news that Romeo has killed Tybalt and…

Act 3, scene 3

Friar Lawrence tells Romeo that his punishment for killing Tybalt is banishment, not death. Romeo responds that death is preferable…

Act 3, scene 4

Paris again approaches Capulet about marrying Juliet. Capulet, saying that Juliet will do as she is told, promises Paris that…

Act 3, scene 5

Romeo and Juliet separate at the first light of day. Almost immediately her mother comes to announce that Juliet must…

Act 4, scene 1

Paris is talking with Friar Lawrence about the coming wedding when Juliet arrives. After Paris leaves, she threatens suicide if…

Act 4, scene 2

Capulet energetically directs preparations for the wedding. When Juliet returns from Friar Lawrence and pretends to have learned obedience, Capulet…

Act 4, scene 3

Juliet sends the Nurse away for the night. After facing her terror at the prospect of awaking in her family’s…

Act 4, scene 4

The Capulets and the Nurse stay up all night to get ready for the wedding. Capulet, hearing Paris approach with…

Act 4, scene 5

The Nurse finds Juliet in the deathlike trance caused by the Friar’s potion and announces Juliet’s death. Juliet’s parents and…

Act 5, scene 1

Romeo’s man, Balthasar, arrives in Mantua with news of Juliet’s death. Romeo sends him to hire horses for their immediate…

Act 5, scene 2

Friar John enters, bringing with him the letter that he was to have delivered to Romeo. He tells why he…

Act 5, scene 3

Paris visits Juliet’s tomb and, when Romeo arrives, challenges him. Romeo and Paris fight and Paris is killed. Romeo, in…

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Scene 4
Enter Romeo, Mercutio, Benvolio, with five or six other
Maskers, Torchbearers, and a Boy with a drum.


ROMEO 
 What, shall this speech be spoke for our excuse?
 Or shall we on without apology?
BENVOLIO 
 The date is out of such prolixity.

43
Romeo and Juliet
ACT 1. SC. 4

 We’ll have no Cupid hoodwinked with a scarf,
5 Bearing a Tartar’s painted bow of lath,
 Scaring the ladies like a crowkeeper,
 Nor no without-book prologue, faintly spoke
 After the prompter, for our entrance.
 But let them measure us by what they will.
10 We’ll measure them a measure and be gone.
ROMEO 
 Give me a torch. I am not for this ambling.
 Being but heavy I will bear the light.
MERCUTIO 
 Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you dance.
ROMEO 
 Not I, believe me. You have dancing shoes
15 With nimble soles. I have a soul of lead
 So stakes me to the ground I cannot move.
MERCUTIO 
 You are a lover. Borrow Cupid’s wings
 And soar with them above a common bound.
ROMEO 
 I am too sore enpiercèd with his shaft
20 To soar with his light feathers, and so bound
 I cannot bound a pitch above dull woe.
 Under love’s heavy burden do I sink.
MERCUTIO 
 And to sink in it should you burden love—
 Too great oppression for a tender thing.
ROMEO 
25 Is love a tender thing? It is too rough,
 Too rude, too boist’rous, and it pricks like thorn.
MERCUTIO 
 If love be rough with you, be rough with love.
 Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down.—
 Give me a case to put my visage in.—
30 A visor for a visor. What care I
 What curious eye doth cote deformities?
 Here are the beetle brows shall blush for me.

45
Romeo and Juliet
ACT 1. SC. 4

BENVOLIO 
 Come, knock and enter, and no sooner in
 But every man betake him to his legs.
ROMEO 
35 A torch for me. Let wantons light of heart
 Tickle the senseless rushes with their heels,
 For I am proverbed with a grandsire phrase:
 I’ll be a candle holder and look on;
 The game was ne’er so fair, and I am done.
MERCUTIO 
40 Tut, dun’s the mouse, the constable’s own word.
 If thou art dun, we’ll draw thee from the mire—
 Or, save your reverence, love—wherein thou
 stickest
 Up to the ears. Come, we burn daylight, ho!
ROMEO 
45 Nay, that’s not so.
MERCUTIO  I mean, sir, in delay
 We waste our lights; in vain, light lights by day.
 Take our good meaning, for our judgment sits
 Five times in that ere once in our five wits.
ROMEO 
50 And we mean well in going to this masque,
 But ’tis no wit to go.
MERCUTIO  Why, may one ask?
ROMEO 
 I dreamt a dream tonight.
MERCUTIO  And so did I.
ROMEO 
55 Well, what was yours?
MERCUTIO  That dreamers often lie.
ROMEO 
 In bed asleep while they do dream things true.
MERCUTIO 
 O, then I see Queen Mab hath been with you.

47
Romeo and Juliet
ACT 1. SC. 4

 She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes
60 In shape no bigger than an agate stone
 On the forefinger of an alderman,
 Drawn with a team of little atomi
 Over men’s noses as they lie asleep.
 Her wagon spokes made of long spinners’ legs,
65 The cover of the wings of grasshoppers,
 Her traces of the smallest spider web,
 Her collars of the moonshine’s wat’ry beams,
 Her whip of cricket’s bone, the lash of film,
 Her wagoner a small gray-coated gnat,
70 Not half so big as a round little worm
 Pricked from the lazy finger of a maid.
 Her chariot is an empty hazelnut,
 Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
 Time out o’ mind the fairies’ coachmakers.
75 And in this state she gallops night by night
 Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love;
 On courtiers’ knees, that dream on cur’sies straight;
 O’er lawyers’ fingers, who straight dream on fees;
 O’er ladies’ lips, who straight on kisses dream,
80 Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues
 Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are.
 Sometime she gallops o’er a courtier’s nose,
 And then dreams he of smelling out a suit.
 And sometime comes she with a tithe-pig’s tail,
85 Tickling a parson’s nose as he lies asleep;
 Then he dreams of another benefice.
 Sometime she driveth o’er a soldier’s neck,
 And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
 Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,
90 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

49
Romeo and Juliet
ACT 1. SC. 4

95 And bakes the elflocks in foul sluttish hairs,
 Which once untangled much misfortune bodes.
 This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,
 That presses them and learns them first to bear,
 Making them women of good carriage.
100 This is she—
ROMEO  Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace.
 Thou talk’st of nothing.
MERCUTIO  True, I talk of dreams,
 Which are the children of an idle brain,
105 Begot of nothing but vain fantasy,
 Which is as thin of substance as the air
 And more inconstant than the wind, who woos
 Even now the frozen bosom of the north
 And, being angered, puffs away from thence,
110 Turning his side to the dew-dropping south.
BENVOLIO 
 This wind you talk of blows us from ourselves.
 Supper is done, and we shall come too late.
ROMEO 
 I fear too early, for my mind misgives
 Some consequence yet hanging in the stars
115 Shall bitterly begin his fearful date
 With this night’s revels, and expire the term
 Of a despisèd life closed in my breast
 By some vile forfeit of untimely death.
 But he that hath the steerage of my course
120 Direct my sail. On, lusty gentlemen.
BENVOLIO Strike, drum.
They march about the stage
and then withdraw to the side.