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Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet Translation Act 1, Scene 4

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ROMEO, MERCUTIO, and BENVOLIO enter wearing party masks. Five other men wearing party masks and carrying torches enter with them.

ROMEO

What, shall this speech be spoke for our excuse?Or shall we on without apology?

ROMEO

What excuse will we make? Or should we enter without apology?

BENVOLIO

The date is out of such prolixity. We’ll have no Cupid hoodwinked with a scarf, 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. We’ll measure them a measure and be gone.

BENVOLIO

It’s no longer fashionable to talk that much. We’re not going to announce our entrance with some guy blindfolded, dressed up as Cupid, and carrying a toy bow in order to frighten the ladies like some scarecrow. Nor will we introduce ourselves with a memorized speech. They can judge us however they want. We’ll dance for one dance, and then get out of there.

ROMEO

Give me a torch. I am not for this ambling.Being but heavy, I will bear the light.

ROMEO

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MERCUTIO

Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you dance.

MERCUTIO

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ROMEO

Not I, believe me. You have dancing shoes With nimble soles. I have a soul of leadSo stakes me to the ground I cannot move.

ROMEO

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MERCUTIO

You are a lover. Borrow Cupid’s wingsAnd soar with them above a common bound.

MERCUTIO

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ROMEO

I am too sore enpiercèd with his shaft 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.

ROMEO

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MERCUTIO

And to sink in it, should you burthen love—Too great oppression for a tender thing.

MERCUTIO

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ROMEO

Is love a tender thing? It is too rough,Too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn.

ROMEO

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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! A visor for a visor. —What care I What curious eye doth cote deformities? Here are the beetle brows shall blush for me.

MERCUTIO

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BENVOLIO

Come, knock and enter. And no sooner inBut every man betake him to his legs.

BENVOLIO

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ROMEO

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.

ROMEO

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MERCUTIO

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 stick’st Up to the ears. Come, we burn daylight, ho!

MERCUTIO

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ROMEO

Nay, that’s not so.

ROMEO

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MERCUTIO

I mean, sir, in delay. We waste our lights in vain, like lights by day. Take our good meaning, for our judgment sits Five times in that ere once in our five wits.

MERCUTIO

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ROMEO

And we mean well in going to this mask,But ’tis no wit to go.

ROMEO

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MERCUTIO

Why, may one ask?

MERCUTIO

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ROMEO

I dreamt a dream tonight.

ROMEO

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MERCUTIO

And so did I.

MERCUTIO

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ROMEO

Well, what was yours?

ROMEO

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MERCUTIO

That dreamers often lie.

MERCUTIO

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ROMEO

In bed asleep while they do dream things true.

ROMEO

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MERCUTIO

Oh, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.

MERCUTIO

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BENVOLIO

Queen Mab, what’s she

BENVOLIO

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MERCUTIO

She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes 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, The cover of the wings of grasshoppers, Her traces of the smallest spider’s web, Her collars of the moonshine’s watery beams, Her whip of cricket’s bone, the lash of film, Her wagoner a small gray-coated gnat, 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. And in this state she gallops night by night Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love; On courtiers’ knees, that dream on curtsies straight; O’er lawyers’ fingers, who straight dream on fees; O’er ladies’ lips, who straight on kisses dream, 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 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, 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 plaits the manes of horses in the night 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. This is she—

MERCUTIO

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ROMEO

Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace!Thou talk’st of nothing.

ROMEO

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MERCUTIO

True, I talk of dreams, Which are the children of an idle brain, 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, Turning his face to the dew-dropping south.

MERCUTIO

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BENVOLIO

This wind you talk of, blows us from ourselves.Supper is done, and we shall come too late.

BENVOLIO

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ROMEO

I fear too early, for my mind misgives Some consequence yet hanging in the stars 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, Direct my sail. On, lusty gentlemen.

ROMEO

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BENVOLIO

Strike, drum.

BENVOLIO

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March about the stage and 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.