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Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life ;
Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows

Do, with their death, bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children's end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
The which of you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.



SCENE I-A public Place.

Enter SAMPSON and GREGORY, armed with swords and bucklers. SAMPSON. Gregory, o' my word, we'll not carry coals.1 Gre. No, for then we should be colliers.

Sam. I mean, if we be in choler, we'll draw.

Gre. Ay, while you live, draw your neck out o' the collar.
Sam. I strike quickly, being moved.

Gre. But thou art not quickly moved to strike.

Sam. A dog of the house of Montague moves me.

Gre. To move is to stir; and to be valiant is to stand; therefore, if thou art moved, thou runnest away.

Sam. A dog of that house shall move me to stand: I will take

the wall of any man or maid of Montague's.

Gre. That shews thee a weak slave; for the weakest goes to the wall. The quarrel is between our masters, and us their men. Sam. 'Tis all one, I will shew myself a tyrant. Me they shall feel, while I am able to stand: and 'tis known I am a pretty piece of flesh.

Gre. 'Tis well, thou art not fish; if thou hadst, thou hadst been poor John.2 Draw thy tool; here comes two of the house of the Montagues.

Sam. My naked weapon is out; quarrel, I will back thee.
Gre. How? turn thy back and run?

Sam. Fear me not.

Gre. No, marry: I fear thee!

Sam. Let us take the law of our sides; let them begin.

Gre. I will frown as I pass by; and let them take it as they list.

Sam. Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them; 3 which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it.

Enter ABRAM and Balthasar.

Abr. Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
Sam. I do bite my thumb, sir.

Abr. Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
Sam. Is the law of our side, if I say—ay ?

Gre. No.

Sam. No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir; but I bite my thumb, sir.

Gre. Do you quarrel, sir?

Abr. Quarrel, sir! no, sir.

Sam. If you do, sir, I am for you; I serve as good a man as


Abr. No better.

Sam. Well, sir.

Gre. Say-better; here comes one of

Sam. Yes, better.

Abr. You lie.

my master's kinsmen.

Sam. Draw, if you be men.-Gregory, remember thy swashing


[They fight.


Ben. Part, fools; put up your swords; you know not what

you do..

[Beats down their swords.


Tyb. What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds? Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon thy death.

Ben. I do but keep the peace; put up thy sword,

Or manage it to part these men with me.

Tyb. What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate all the Montagues and thee:

Have at thee, coward!

[They fight.

Enter several partisans of both houses, who join the fray; then enter Citizens, with clubs.

First Cit. Clubs, bills, and partisans! strike! beat them down! Down with the Capulets! down with the Montagues!

Enter CAPULET, in his gown, and LADY CAPULET.

Cap. What noise is this ?-Give me my long sword, ho!
La. Cap. A crutch, a crutch!-why call you for a sword?
Cap. My sword, I say!-Old Montague is come,
And flourishes his blade in spite of me.


Mon. Thou villain Capulet-Hold me not, let me go.
La. Mon. Thou shalt not stir a foot to seek a foe.

Enter PRINCE, with Attendants.

Prin. 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 partisans, 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.

[Exeunt PRINCE and Attendants; CAPULET, LADY CAPULET,
TYBALT, Citizens, and Servants.

Mon. Who set this ancient quarrel new abroach ?--
Speak, nephew, were you by when it began?
Ben. Here were the servants of your adversary,
And yours, close fighting ere I did approach:
I drew to part them; in the instant came
The fiery Tybalt, with his sword prepar'd ;
Which, as he breath'd defiance to my ears,
He swung about his head, and cut the winds,
Who, nothing hurt withal, hiss'd him in scorn:
While we were interchanging thrusts and blows,
Came more and more, and fought on part and part,
Till the prince came, who parted either part.

La. Mon. O, where is Romeo ?-saw you him to-day?
Right glad am I he was not at this fray.

Ben. 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;
Where, underneath the grove of sycamore,
That westward rooteth from the city's side-
So early walking did I see your son :

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