A line-by-line translation

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet Translation Act 1, Scene 1

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SAMPSON

Gregory, on my word, we’ll not carry coals.

SAMPSON

Gregory, I swear we won’t put up with their crap.

SAMPSON and GREGORY, servants of the Capulet family, enter carrying swords and small shields.

GREGORY

No, for then we should be colliers.

GREGORY

No, because then we’d be waste removers.

SAMPSON

I mean, an we be in choler, we’ll draw.

SAMPSON

I mean, if they make us angry, we’ll draw our swords.

GREGORY

Ay, while you live, draw your neck out of collar.

GREGORY

Yes, you should spend your life trying to get yourself out of any trouble that might lead to the hangman’s collar.

SAMPSON

I strike quickly, being moved.

SAMPSON

I hit hard, when I’m motivated.

GREGORY

But thou art not quickly moved to strike.

GREGORY

But you avoid getting “motivated,” so you don’t ever have to hit.

SAMPSON

A dog of the house of Montague moves me.

SAMPSON

One of those Montague scoundrels would motivate me.

GREGORY

To move is to stir, and to be valiant is to stand. Therefore if thou art moved thou runn’st away.

GREGORY

To be motivated is to act, while to be valiant is to face a fight. When you’re motivated, you just run away.

SAMPSON

A dog of that house shall move me to stand. I will takethe wall of any man or maid of Montague’s.

SAMPSON

If I saw a Montague rascl, I’d face him. I’d walk on the side of the street closer to the wall, and so force the Montague into the gutter.

GREGORY

That shows thee a weak slave, for the weakest goes to the wall.

GREGORY

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SAMPSON

‘Tis true, and therefore women, being the weaker vessels, are ever thrust to the wall. Therefore I will push Montague’s men from the wall, and thrust his maids to the wall.

SAMPSON

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GREGORY

The quarrel is between our masters and us their men.

GREGORY

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SAMPSON

‘Tis all one. I will show myself a tyrant. When I have fought with the men, I will be civil with the maids. I will cut off their heads.

SAMPSON

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GREGORY

The heads of the maids?

GREGORY

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SAMPSON

Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads.Take it in what sense thou wilt.

SAMPSON

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GREGORY

They must take it in sense that feel it.

GREGORY

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SAMPSON

Me they shall feel while I am able to stand, and’tis known I am a pretty piece of flesh.

SAMPSON

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GREGORY

‘Tis well thou art not fish. If thou hadst, thou hadst been poor-john.Draw thy tool! Here comes of the house of Montagues.

GREGORY

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ABRAHAM and a fellow servant of the Montagues enter.

SAMPSON

My naked weapon is out. Quarrel! I will back thee.

SAMPSON

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GREGORY

How? Turn thy back and run?

GREGORY

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SAMPSON

Fear me not.

SAMPSON

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GREGORY

No, marry. I fear thee.

GREGORY

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SAMPSON

Let us take the law of our sides. Let them begin.

SAMPSON

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GREGORY

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

GREGORY

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SAMPSON

Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them, which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it. [He bites his thumb]

SAMPSON

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ABRAHaM

Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?

ABRAhaM

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SAMPSON

I do bite my thumb, sir.

SAMPSON

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ABRAhaM

Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?

ABRAhaM

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SAMPSON

[Aside to GREGORY] Is the law of our side if I say “ay”?

SAMPSON

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GREGORY

[Aside to SAMPSON] No.

GREGORY

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SAMPSON

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

SAMPSON

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GREGORY

Do you quarrel, sir?

GREGORY

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ABRAhaM

Quarrel, sir? No, sir.

ABRAhaM

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SAMPSON

But if you do, sir, I am for you. I serve as good a manas you.

SAMPSON

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ABRAhaM

No better.

ABRAhaM

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SAMPSON

Well, sir.

SAMPSON

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GREGORY

[Aside to SAMPSON] Say “better.” Here comes one of my master’s kinsmen.

GREGORY

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BENVOLIO enters.

SAMPSON

[To ABRAHAM] Yes, better, sir.

SAMPSON

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ABRAhaM

You lie.

ABRAhaM

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SAMPSON

Draw, if you be men.—Gregory, remember thy washing blow.

SAMPSON

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BENVOLIO

[Draws his sword] Part, fools!Put up your swords. You know not what you do.

BENVOLIO

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They fight.

TYBALT

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

TYBALT

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TYBALT enters.

BENVOLIO

I do but keep the peace. Put up thy sword,Or manage it to part these men with me.

BENVOLIO

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TYBALT

What, drawn, and talk of peace? I hate the word,As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee.Have at thee, coward!

TYBALT

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CITIZENS

Clubs, bills, and partisans! Strike! Beat them down!Down with the Capulets! Down with the Montagues!

CITIZENS

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BENVOLIO and TYBALT fight. Other Montagues and Capulets enter and also start fighting. Veronese CITIZENS enter, carrying clubs.

CAPULET

What noise is this? Give me my long sword, ho!

CAPULET

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CAPULET, in a sleeping gown, enters with LADY CAPULET.

LADY CAPULET

A crutch, a crutch! Why call you for a sword?

LADY CAPULET

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CAPULET

My sword, I say! Old Montague is come,And flourishes his blade in spite of me.

CAPULET

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MONTAGUE enters, sword drawn, with LADY MONTAGUE.

MONTAGUE

Thou villain Capulet! Hold me not. Let me go.

MONTAGUE

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LADY MONTAGUE

Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe.

LADY MONTAGUE

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PRINCE

Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace, Profaners of this neighbor-stainèd 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 mistempered weapons to the ground, And 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 Cast 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. For 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 Free-town, our common judgment-place. Once more, on pain of death, all men depart.

PRINCE

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PRINCE ESCALUS enters with his attendants.

Everyone exits except MONTAGUE, LADY MONTAGUE, and BENVOLIO.

MONTAGUE

Who set this ancient quarrel new abroach? Speak, nephew. Were you by when it began?

MONTAGUE

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BENVOLIO

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 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. 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.

BENVOLIO

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LADY MONTAGUE

Oh, where is Romeo? Saw you him today?Right glad I am he was not at this fray.

LADY MONTAGUE

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BENVOLIO

Madam, an hour before the worshipped sun Peered forth the golden window of the east, A troubled mind drove me to walk abroad, Where, underneath the grove of sycamore That westward rooteth from this city 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, Which then most sought where most might not be found, Being one too many by my weary self, Pursued my humor not pursuing his, And gladly shunned who gladly fled from me.

BENVOLIO

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MONTAGUE

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 farthest 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 humor prove Unless good counsel may the cause remove.

MONTAGUE

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BENVOLIO

My noble uncle, do you know the cause?

BENVOLIO

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MONTAGUE

I neither know it nor can learn of him.

MONTAGUE

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BENVOLIO

Have you importuned him by any means?

BENVOLIO

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MONTAGUE

Both by myself and many other friends. But he, his own affections’ counselor, Is 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, Or dedicate his beauty to the same. Could we but learn from whence his sorrows grow. We would as willingly give cure as know.

MONTAGUE

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BENVOLIO

See, where he comes. So please you, step aside.I’ll know his grievance or be much denied.

BENVOLIO

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ROMEO enters.

MONTAGUE

I would thou wert so happy by thy stayTo hear true shrift.—Come, madam, let’s away.

MONTAGUE

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BENVOLIO

Good morrow, cousin.

BENVOLIO

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MONTAGUE and LADY MONTAGUE exit.

ROMEO

Is the day so young?

ROMEO

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BENVOLIO

But new struck nine.

BENVOLIO

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ROMEO

Ay me! Sad hours seem long.Was that my father that went hence so fast?

ROMEO

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BENVOLIO

It was. What sadness lengthens Romeo’s hours?

BENVOLIO

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ROMEO

Not having that which, having, makes them short.

ROMEO

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BENVOLIO

In love?

BENVOLIO

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ROMEO

Out.

ROMEO

Lore

BENVOLIO

Of love?

BENVOLIO

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ROMEO

Out of her favor, where I am in love.

ROMEO

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BENVOLIO

Alas, that love, so gentle in his view,Should be so tyrannous and rough in proof!

BENVOLIO

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ROMEO

Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still, Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will! Where shall we dine? —O me! What fray was here? Yet tell me not, for I have heard it all. Here’s much to do with hate but more with love. Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate, O anything of nothing first created! O heavy lightness, serious vanity, Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms! Feather 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. Dost thou not laugh?

ROMEO

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BENVOLIO

No, coz, I rather weep.

BENVOLIO

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ROMEO

Good heart, at what?

ROMEO

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BENVOLIO

At thy good heart’s oppression.

BENVOLIO

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ROMEO

Why, such is love’s transgression. Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast, Which thou wilt propagate, to have it pressed With more of thine. This love that thou hast shown Doth add more grief to too much of mine own. Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs; Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers’ eyes; Being vexed, a sea nourished with loving tears. What is it else? A madness most discreet, A choking gall, and a preserving sweet. Farewell, my coz.

ROMEO

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BENVOLIO

Soft! I will go along.And if you leave me so, you do me wrong.

BENVOLIO

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ROMEO

Tut, I have lost myself. I am not here.This is not Romeo. He’s some other where.

ROMEO

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BENVOLIO

Tell me in sadness, who is that you love.

BENVOLIO

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ROMEO

What, shall I groan and tell thee?

ROMEO

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BENVOLIO

Groan! Why, no. But sadly, tell me who.

BENVOLIO

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ROMEO

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.

ROMEO

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BENVOLIO

I aimed so near when I supposed you loved.

BENVOLIO

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ROMEO

A right good markman! And she’s fair I love.

ROMEO

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BENVOLIO

A right fair mark, fair coz, is soonest hit.

BENVOLIO

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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. She 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.

ROMEO

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BENVOLIO

Then she hath sworn that she will still live chaste?

BENVOLIO

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ROMEO

She hath, and in that sparing makes huge waste, For beauty, starved with her severity, Cuts beauty off from all posterity. She is too fair, too wise, wisely too fair, To 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.

ROMEO

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BENVOLIO

Be ruled by me. Forget to think of her.

BENVOLIO

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ROMEO

O, teach me how I should forget to think!

ROMEO

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BENVOLIO

By giving liberty unto thine eyes.Examine other beauties.

BENVOLIO

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ROMEO

‘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. He 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? Farewell. Thou canst not teach me to forget.

ROMEO

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BENVOLIO

I'll pay that doctrine or else die in debt.

BENVOLIO

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They exit.

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Ben florman
About the Translator: Ben Florman

Ben is a co-founder of LitCharts. He holds a BA in English Literature from Harvard University, where as an undergraduate he won the Winthrop Sargent prize for best undergraduate paper on a topic related to Shakespeare.