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Home > Romeo and Juliet > ACT I - SCENE IV. A street.

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ACT I - SCENE IV. A street.
ROMEO
1    What, shall this speech be spoke for our excuse?
2    Or shall we on without a apology?
BENVOLIO
3    The date is out of such prolixity:
4    We'll have no Cupid hoodwink'd with a scarf,
5    Bearing a Tartar's painted bow of lath,
6    Scaring the ladies like a crow-keeper;
7    Nor no without-book prologue, faintly spoke
8    After the prompter, for our entrance:
9    But let them measure us by what they will;
10   We'll measure them a measure, and be gone.
ROMEO
11   Give me a torch: I am not for this ambling;
12   Being but heavy, I will bear the light.
MERCUTIO
13   Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you dance.
ROMEO
14   Not I, believe me: you have dancing shoes
15   With nimble soles: I have a soul of lead
16   So stakes me to the ground I cannot move.
MERCUTIO
17   You are a lover; borrow Cupid's wings,
18   And soar with them above a common bound.
ROMEO
19   I am too sore enpierced with his shaft
20   To soar with his light feathers, and so bound,
21   I cannot bound a pitch above dull woe:
22   Under love's heavy burden do I sink.
MERCUTIO
23   And, to sink in it, should you burden love;
24   Too great oppression for a tender thing.
ROMEO
25   Is love a tender thing? it is too rough,
26   Too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn.
MERCUTIO
27   If love be rough with you, be rough with love;
28   Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down.
29   Give me a case to put my visage in:
30   A visor for a visor! what care I
31   What curious eye doth quote deformities?
32   Here are the beetle brows shall blush for me.
BENVOLIO
33   Come, knock and enter; and no sooner in,
34   But every man betake him to his legs.
ROMEO
35   A torch for me: let wantons light of heart
36   Tickle the senseless rushes with their heels,
37   For I am proverb'd with a grandsire phrase;
38   I'll be a candle-holder, and look on.
39   The game was ne'er so fair, and I am done.
MERCUTIO
40   Tut, dun's the mouse, the constable's own word:
41   If thou art dun, we'll draw thee from the mire
42   Of this sir-reverence love, wherein thou stick'st
43   Up to the ears. Come, we burn daylight, ho!
ROMEO
44   Nay, that's not so.
MERCUTIO
45   I mean, sir, in delay
46   We waste our lights in vain, like lamps by day.
47   Take our good meaning, for our judgment sits
48   Five times in that ere once in our five wits.
ROMEO
49   And we mean well in going to this mask;
50   But 'tis no wit to go.
MERCUTIO
51   Why, may one ask?
ROMEO
52   I dream'd a dream to-night.
MERCUTIO
53   And so did I.
ROMEO
54   Well, what was yours?
MERCUTIO
55   That dreamers often lie.
ROMEO
56   In bed asleep, while they do dream things true.
MERCUTIO
57   O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
58   She is the fairies' midwife, and she comes
59   In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
60   On the fore-finger of an alderman,
61   Drawn with a team of little atomies
62   Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep;
63   Her wagon-spokes made of long spiders' legs,
64   The cover of the wings of grasshoppers,
65   The traces of the smallest spider's web,
66   The collars of the moonshine's watery beams,
67   Her whip of cricket's bone, the lash of film,
68   Her wagoner a small grey-coated gnat,
69   Not so big as a round little worm
70   Prick'd from the lazy finger of a maid;
71   Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut
72   Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
73   Time out o' mind the fairies' coachmakers.
74   And in this state she gallops night by night
75   Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love;
76   O'er courtiers' knees, that dream on court'sies straight,
77   O'er lawyers' fingers, who straight dream on fees,
78   O'er ladies ' lips, who straight on kisses dream,
79   Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
80   Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are:
81   Sometime she gallops o'er a courtier's nose,
82   And then dreams he of smelling out a suit;
83   And sometime comes she with a tithe-pig's tail
84   Tickling a parson's nose as a' lies asleep,
85   Then dreams, he of another benefice:
86   Sometime she driveth o'er a soldier's neck,
87   And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
88   Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,
89   Of healths five-fathom deep; and then anon
90   Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes,
91   And being thus frighted swears a prayer or two
92   And sleeps again. This is that very Mab
93   That plats the manes of horses in the night,
94   And bakes the elflocks in foul sluttish hairs,
95   Which once untangled, much misfortune bodes:
96   This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,
97   That presses them and learns them first to bear,
98   Making them women of good carriage:
99   This is she--
ROMEO
100  Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace!
101  Thou talk'st of nothing.
MERCUTIO
102  True, I talk of dreams,
103  Which are the children of an idle brain,
104  Begot of nothing but vain fantasy,
105  Which is as thin of substance as the air
106  And more inconstant than the wind, who wooes
107  Even now the frozen bosom of the north,
108  And, being anger'd, puffs away from thence,
109  Turning his face to the dew-dropping south.
BENVOLIO
110  This wind, you talk of, blows us from ourselves;
111  Supper is done, and we shall come too late.
ROMEO
112  I fear, too early: for my mind misgives
113  Some consequence yet hanging in the stars
114  Shall bitterly begin his fearful date
115  With this night's revels and expire the term
116  Of a despised life closed in my breast
117  By some vile forfeit of untimely death.
118  But He, that hath the steerage of my course,
119  Direct my sail! On, lusty gentlemen.
BENVOLIO
120  Strike, drum.
Exeunt

< (Previous) ACT I, SCENE IIIACT I, SCENE V (Next) >
Scene Index
ACT I
  • PROLOGUE
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V


  • ACT II
  • PROLOGUE
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI


  • ACT III
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V


  • ACT IV
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V


  • ACT V
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III

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