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Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet Translation Act 1, Scene 2

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CAPULET, PARIS, and a servant, PETER, enter

CAPULET

But Montague is bound as well as I, In penalty alike. And ’tis not hard, I think, For men so old as we to keep the peace.

CAPULET

Montague has sworn the same oath I have, and is bound by the same penalty. I don’t think it should be hard for men as old as us to remain peaceful.

PARIS

Of honorable reckoning are you both. And pity ’tis you lived at odds so long. But now, my lord, what say you to my suit?

PARIS

You both have honorable reputations. It’s a pity you’ve been enemies for so long. But, now, my lord: how do you respond to my request?

CAPULET

But saying o’er what I have said before. 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

By repeating what I’ve said before. My child is still extremely young. She’s not even fourteen years old. Let’s allow two more summers to pass before we consider her ready for marriage.

PARIS

Younger than she are happy mothers made.

PARIS

Girls who are younger than your daughter have become happy mothers.

CAPULET

And too soon marred are those so early made. Earth hath swallowed all my hopes but she. She’s 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 agreed within her scope of choice, Lies my consent and fair according voice. This night I hold an old accustomed 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-appareled April on the heel Of limping winter treads. Even such delight Among fresh fennel buds shall you this night Inherit at my house. Hear all, all see, And like her most whose merit most shall be— Which on more view of many, mine, being one, May stand in number, though in reckoning none, Come, go with me. [To PETER, giving him a paper] Go, sirrah, trudge about Through fair Verona. Find those persons out Whose names are written there, and to them say My house and welcome on their pleasure stay.

CAPULET

Girls who marry that young grow up too quickly. All of my other children are dead and buried in the earth, so all hopes on this earth rest in her. But you may woo her, kind Paris. Win her love. My permission for you to marry her is only part of the bargain; she must also agree to marry you. Then my blessing on the marriage will confirm her choice. This very night I’m throwing a party that I’ve hosted for many years. I’ve invited many guests, many close friends. I’d like to invite you as a most welcome guest. At my humble home tonight, you’ll see see young women like stars that walk the earth and light the sky from below. Like all lusty young men, you’ll be delighted by the young women who are as fresh as spring flowers. Look at them all, and choose whichever woman you like best. Amidst all these girls, you may no longer think that my daughter’s the most beautiful. Come with me. 

[To PETER, handing him a paper] Go, sir, walk all around Verona. Find the people whose names are on this list and tell them they’re invited to my house tonight.

CAPULET and PARIS exit.

PETER

Find them out whose names are written here? It is written, that the shoemaker should meddle with his yard and the tailor with his last, the fisher with his penciland the painter with his nets. But I am sent to find those persons whose names are here writ, and can never find what names the writing person hath here writ. I must to the learned in good time!

PETER

Find the people whose names are on this list? It’s written that shoemakers and tailors should use each others’ tools, and that fisherman should play with paints while painters should play with with fishing nets. But now I’ve been sent to find the people on this list, and I can’t read. I’ll have to ask somebody educated to help me.

BENVOLIO and ROMEO enter

BENVOLIO

Tut man, one fire burns out another’s burning. One pain is lessened by another’s anguish. Turn giddy, and be helped by backward turning. One desperate grief cures with another’s languish. Take thou some new infection to thy eye, And the rank poison of the old will die.

BENVOLIO

Come on, Romeo. Starting a new fire will put out the old one. An old pain is lessened by the arrival of a new one. If you make yourself dizzy, you can cure yourself by spinning in the other direction. A new grief will cure an old one. Stare obsessively at some new girl, and your former lovesickness will disappear.

ROMEO

Your plantain leaf is excellent for that.

ROMEO

The plantain leaf is excellent for that.

BENVOLIO

For what, I pray thee?

BENVOLIO

For what?

ROMEO

For your broken shin.

ROMEO

For treating your injured shin.

BENVOLIO

Why Romeo, art thou mad?

BENVOLIO

Why, Romeo, have you gone crazy?

ROMEO

Not mad, but bound more than a madman is,Shut up in prison, kept without my food,Whipped and tormented and—Good e’en, good fellow.

ROMEO

No, though I’m bound more tightly than any mental patient is. I’m locked in a prison without food. I’m whipped, tortured. 

[To PETER] Good evening, good fellow.

PETER

God ‘i’ good e’en. I pray, sir, can you read?

PETER

A blessed good evening to you. Excuse me, sir, do you know how to read?

ROMEO

Ay, mine own fortune in my misery.

ROMEO

Yes. I can read my fortune in my misery.

PETER

Perhaps you have learned it without book. But I pray, can you read anything you see?

PETER

Perhaps you’ve memorized it. But, I beg your answer, can you read anything you see?

ROMEO

Ay, if I know the letters and the language.

ROMEO

Yes, if I know the letters and the language.

PETER

Ye say honestly. Rest you merry.

PETER

You speak honestly. Have a nice day.

ROMEO

Stay, fellow. I can read. [He reads the letter] “Seigneur Martino and his wife and daughters; County Anselme and his beauteous sisters; The lady widow of Vitruvio; Seigneur Placentio and his lovely nieces; Mercutio and his brother Valentine; Mine uncle Capulet, his wife and daughters; My fair niece Rosaline and Livia; Seigneur Valentio and his cousin Tybalt; Lucio and the lively Helena.” A fair assembly. Whither should they come?

ROMEO

Stay, man. I can read. [He reads the letter] “Signor Martino and his wife and daughters; Count Anselme and his gorgeous sisters; Vitravio’s widow; Signor Placentio and his lovely nieces; Mercutio and his brother Valentine; my uncle Capulet and his wife and daughters; my fair niece Rosaline and Livia; Signor Valentio and his cousin Tybalt; Lucio and the lively Helena.” That’s quite a lovely group of people. Where are they supposed to go?

PETER

Up.

PETER

Up.

ROMEO

Whither?

ROMEO

Where?

PETER

To supper; to our house.

PETER

To supper. To our house.

ROMEO

Whose house?

ROMEO

Whose house?

PETER

My master’s.

PETER

My master’s house.

ROMEO

Indeed, I should have asked thee that before.

ROMEO

Indeed, I should have asked you that earlier.

PETER

Now I’ll tell you without asking. My master is the great rich Capulet, and if you be not of the house of Montagues, I pray come and crush a cup of wine. Rest youmerry!

PETER

I’ll tell you so that you don’t have to ask. My master is the great, rich Capulet. And as long as you are not a Montague, I invite you to come and drink a cup of wine at our house. Have a nice day!

PETER exits.

BENVOLIO

At this same ancient feast of Capulet’s Sups the fair Rosaline whom thou so loves With all the admired beauties of Verona. Go thither, and with unattainted eye Compare her face with some that I shall show, And I will make thee think thy swan a crow.

BENVOLIO

Rosaline whom you love so much is going to attend Capulet's traditional feast, along with all the beautiful woman of Verona. Go there and, without bias, compare her to some of the girls I’ll point out to you. I’ll show you that the woman you think is as beautiful as a swan is in fact as ugly as a crow.

ROMEO

When the devout religion of mine eye Maintains such falsehood, then turn tears to fires, And these, who, often drowned, could never die, Transparent heretics, be burnt for liars! One fairer than my love? The all-seeing sun Ne’er saw her match since first the world begun.

ROMEO

If my eyes ever show me such a lie about the woman they worship, then may my tears turn into flames. That way my eyes, which never drowned in all my tears, may be burned for being such clear liars! A woman more beautiful than my love? The sun has never seen anyone as beautiful since the world began.

BENVOLIO

Tut, you saw her fair, none else being by, Herself poised with herself in either eye. But in that crystal scales let there be weighed Your lady’s love against some other maid That I will show you shining at the feast, And she shall scant show well that now shows best.

BENVOLIO

Oh come on. You decided she was beautiful when no one else was around and there was no one to compare her to except herself. But if instead you compare her to some other beautiful woman who I’ll point out to you at this feast, you’ll see that she’s far from the best.

ROMEO

I'll go along, no such sight to be shown, But to rejoice in splendor of mine own.

ROMEO

I'll go along with you—not to look at other women, but to rejoice in my love's beauty.

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.