SCENE I. A street.
Enter VALENTINE and MERCUTIO.
Nay, art thou not an addle-minded fool?
Thou talk'st of nothing in your letters but
This single friend, and nothing else beside.
Romeo did that, and then Romeo did this,
And Romeo did some other damnèd thing.
And yet thou askest me now to believe
That he knows not of thy regard for him?
Thou'rt never such an actor.
I doubt not
That he doth know he's dearer far to me
Than any man except yourself. And yet
I swear that never greater fool drew breath
Than he, when anything's to do with love,
And he has never had the first idea
That he's more dear to me than any woman.
You brood upon your step like any man
In love with any woman; and your face,
And this half-jug of wine, or less, suggest
That, though a lover, you are yet unloved.
Which is the truth. No one could look at you
And not know in an instant, ere you spoke,
That here is one whose heart has flown his breast,
And found no place on which it could alight.
Oh, but it has alighted, there's the rub --
It's not like to return, and hence my gloom.
You've made your point in one case, which is that
I'm almost out of wine. I've more inside.
But you mistake my friends' ability
To see what is before their very eyes,
When what is there to see will not be seen.
As love is blind, why should my love not be?
I hide my passion in a cloak of jest,
And sometime scorn, though less at him than at
The women he does fall in love withal,
Not one of whom is worthy, as I think,
Though I admit my judgment not quite fair --
Yet as I say, none knows of this but me,
And you as well, now; keep it to yourself --
But each of whom he loves, with all his heart,
One at a time, until he sees the next.
He'll fall in love as quick as set his eye
Upon a pretty maid, and then despair
If she liketh him not, or notice not
That he swoons after her. And all the while
He tells us of his love, and of his woe --
For Rosaline, just now, since a week past --
But never does he know his ev'ry word
Is like a dagger struck into my heart.
You thrive, then, on the pain, or so it seems,
If still despite this dagger in your heart
You yet consort with Romeo ev'ry day.
Why dost not tell him, or seek diff'rent friends?
I'd tell him, if I thought he'd love me, too,
Or, if he did, then if his fickle heart
Would favor me for longer than a day.
He is not constant with his love, but to
His friends he's loyal as the day is long.
So friend I'll be. It is almost enough.
Enter Capulet's servant.
How now, sirrah? There's none who'll answer thee.
I pray you pardon me, good sir. Is't not Signior Mercutio who lives here?
It is, but none will answer if you knock. What's your business with Signior Mercutio?
Will you see him before tonight?
Marry, will I, if I look in a glass. What message do you bring?
I humbly beg you pardon me. It is an invitation from my master, to his house for supper. Pray you read.
'Signior Martino and his wife and daughters; County Anselme and his beauteous sisters; the lady widow of Vitravio; Signior Placentio and his lovely nieces; Mercutio and his brother Valentine; mine uncle Capulet, his wife and daughters; my fair niece Rosaline; Livia; Signior Valentio and his cousin Tybalt, Lucio and the lively Helena.'
It's two of us you've found, sirrah, for here is Signior Valentine as well. Now if you'll tell us who's your master, we'll bid you tell him we'll see him gladly tonight.
My master is great Capulet, and I will tell him Signiors Mercutio and Valentine will attend. Rest you merry!
The sisters of the County Anselme, fair?
He flatters for what purpose we know not.
Such blatant lies ought not to be allowed.
I nearly choked when you did read it out.
Then likely you missed hearing me go on
To say Signior Placentio, and -- aha,
Thou know'st his nieces will attend on him,
The one of which is Silvia, whom you love.
So go with me tonight, to Capulet's.
I shall, and would have even had you not
Dangled the beauteous Silvia before me.
Did I not also hear --
Enter ROMEO and BENVOLIO.
Benvolio's made me promise to
Disguise me and attend a masquerade
At Capulet's, tonight, where he does swear
He'll show me beauties such that I will think
My Rosaline the plainest maid of all.
What say you?
Why, what should I say to that?
There will be fairer there than Rosaline,
Of that there is no doubt.
But will you come along with us tonight?
And Valentine, well met -- I did not know
That you had come back to Verona. When
Did you return?
The evening before last.
Well met indeed, Signior Benvolio.
We will to this old Capulet affair
As well. My brother and I both will go.
You two shall hide your faces, as you said,
And join our party.
My good friend, much thanks.
We'll meet thee back here to go there tonight.
Good Valentine, I welcome you back home.
Exeunt ROMEO and BENVOLIO.
I know what you will say; I prithee don't.
If he but knew, he might not --
He may not love you, that is so, but he
Might choose his words with more care than he does
So not to cause you grief, if he but knew
That you love him.
I'm glad for what I have,
Which is, though not what I might wish for most,
Far better than the nothing it could be.
Come, let's go in.
SCENE II. In front of Capulet's house.
Enter ROMEO, MERCUTIO, BENVOLIO, and VALENTINE, with five or six Maskers, Torch-bearers, and others.
Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace!
Thou talk'st of nothing.
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 wooes
E'en now the frozen bosom of the north,
And, being anger'd, puffs away from thence,
Turning his face to the dew-dropping south.
This wind you talk of blows us from ourselves;
Supper is done, and we shall come too late.
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.
Exeunt ROMEO and BENVOLIO.
Stay back a moment, brother, and
We can pretend to be engagèd in
Discussion of some import, until you
Wish to go in. I can wait to see her.
There is no need for pretense. You have seen
How I can bear myself so stoic'ly
That even good Benvolio, even he,
Does not suspect there's anything amiss.
Benvolio is an idiot.
But not so blind in matters such as these
As Romeo, who is every bit as blind
And foolish as the bowman who does shoot
So cruel and truly with the arrows that
His mother has prepar'd.
I will not ask
Why you do hold in such esteem a man
Whom you yourself describe as such a fool,
Since well I know that love is not a choice.
Except in love, he is no fool at all;
If ever I say else, remind me that
No green-eyed monster rules me.
That I will.
Shall we go in and join them?
Yes; lead on.
SCENE III. Near a lane by the wall of Capulet's orchard.
Enter BENVOLIO, MERCUTIO, and VALENTINE.
Come, he hath hid himself among these trees,
To be consorted with the humorous night:
Blind is his love and best befits the dark.
If love be blind, love cannot hit the mark.
Now will he sit under a medlar tree,
And wish his mistress were that kind of fruit
As maids call medlars, when they laugh alone.
Romeo, that she were, O, that she were
An open et caetera, thou a poperin pear!
Romeo, good night: I'll to my truckle-bed;
This field-bed is too cold for me to sleep:
Come, shall we go?
Go, then; for 'tis in vain
To seek him here that means not to be found.
In vain indeed! Incredible insight!
I'll tell you both, and you may be amazed
To hear it, but 'tis true: -- What was I saying?
Come on, my brother, let's get you back home.
Then you can tell us your amazing tale,
Whatever it may be, tomorrow, when
You're able to talk sense.
Your brother's wise;
My friend Mercutio, you should be in bed,
And let these visions come to you in dreams.
Speak not to me of dreams, which are begot
Of nothing --
-- But vain fantasy, we know.
Give me your arm.
I've had too much to drink.
That's true. God gi' good den, Benvolio.
And you, and him as well. My friends, good night.
Benvolio! Ah, he's gone. But, Valentine,
You marked how Romeo took no note of me
Nor none of you, nor good Benvolio --
He never sees but one thing at a time,
And woman's what I mean when I say thing.
I did. Indeed, I never doubted you.
Sometimes I wish that we had never met,
I'd never been his friend, nor been so dense
To love him so -- that I had never let
Him rob me of my reason, of my sense.
But every time he gives away his heart
He takes another little piece of mine;
Though his stays whole, yet mine is rent apart;
I suffer slowly, but exceeding fine.
And still, I cannot rid myself of this,
This gaping wound, invisible to view.
I wake some mornings dreaming of his kiss;
If only I believed that dreams come true.
Time heals all hurts -- or so at least I'm told.
May she mend this one well before I'm old.
But I did mask it well, think'st thou not so?
You could mayhap have fallen at his feet
And sworn your love to him in front of all
Verona, and he would have noticed not.
But, yes, your disposition was opaque
And none could have suspected why it was
That you made so efficient a dispatch
Of so much wine, and scowled the evening through.
I'm known for quite a scowler.
Are you, now.
Here, just a few steps more, and you'll be home
And soon asleep, to dream of happier things.
My dreams are often sweet, when dreamed at night;
But sweet turns swiftly sour in morning's light.
SCENE IV. A street.
Enter MERCUTIO and BENVOLIO.
'Lady, lady, lady-o.'
What business had that crone with Romeo, that she should seek him in the square at dinner-time?
She is the nurse to old Capulet's daughter, where we should have supped last night.
His daughter? Surely not, for his is a tree that bears but bitter fruit, uncommon small and scarce ripening before they all shrivel and fall, out of season. Methought that cat's-paw Tybalt was his only heir.
His heir maybe, but though Capulet has put six children in the ground, yet his youngest did not wither on the vine.
And this her nursemaid, who desired Romeo's confidence? Wherefore? And, didst thou mark, he knew her and was not taken in surprise that she should find him here. What means this consort with the house of Capulet?
Peace, I know not.
There's no good can come of this. You are his kinsman; if you knew the woman was a Capulet, or one of Capulet's household, you should not have left him so carelessly.
A nursemaid cannot harm him.
A cat cannot harm a man, neither, until he coddle it so it can reach to scratch out his eyes.
You're out of humour to-day. Has something befallen you that would account for your discrepancy in mood since yesternight? If so, I am all sympathy.
'Tis nothing. My head aches.
Yet in one piece, Signior, and not torn all to bits? I see then that my fear was ill-founded.
What, didst think me in danger?
Benvolio says Mistress Frigate there is the nurse of the daughter of Capulet.
Ay, and what of that?
Hast thou forgot the mortal loathing nursed by your father for hers, and hers for yours? To what purpose do you meet her nurse and talk in secret for so long a time?
You've often said the feud betwixt my house and the house of Capulet is stupid stuff, if I remember true.
And so it is, and were it my house, I'd not sustain it.
Yet you do hate Capulet's kinsman Tybalt almost beyond the telling of it.
Be well assured, my friends, that my patience for Tybalt would be less than nil even were he kinsman to any man other than Capulet -- were he, God forbid, kinsman to yourselves, I'd hate him all the same. That's everything to do with him, and nothing with blood. But this is not the matter: despite I consider the quarrel petty and overlong, yet it persists, for why should your houses mend relations on my account? So there is danger still, I say, for Romeo to converse in full view of whoso cared to pass by, with a woman who maintains such influence in his enemy's house.
Such influence, say you? A nurse?
An her charge is the only child of Capulet's to survive? Yes, such influence, say I, for the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. What answer make you, Romeo?
It is as you have said; our ancient grudge is stubborn foolishness, and so it ought long ago to have been called. Wherefore if my father on behalf of Montague will not make peace with her father on behalf of Capulet, at least may I make peace with Juliet for myself.
You're mad, you know.
Mad, but methodical. With us, the combat ends.
There's no argument 'gainst that.
Aside to Benvolio
But some thing he does keep from us. This is not the whole tale.
The half-hour strikes; dinner calls, almost that I can hear it. Where's Valentine to-day, Mercutio?
Dining with his mother.
He must come to my father's for supper to-night. You'll tell him, if you see him?
Come in to dine.
Scene V. A lane outside Friar Laurence's cell.
Enter MERCUTIO, and FRIAR LAURENCE and ROMEO, apart.
This is the place. Why with such haste did he
Come here from dinner at his father's house?
I never knew him such a man of faith,
To hurry from his friends to meet a priest.
And what, I wonder, has he to confess?
He does like thistledown from one love float
Unto another, borne by nothing more
Than one light breeze; but always he remains
Unlucky, loving only from afar.
There is no sin in that; it is not lust,
But what he thinks is love, and is more like
A new-struck admiration and respect.
If only one of us could tell our sins
Before we died, not both, I would of course
Insist that it be he; yet I am sure
That mine's the soul that bears the greater stain.
Still, this church wall's not sturdier than my love;
If it is sin to love so steadily,
So deeply and so well, why then I had
Far rather be a sinner than a saint.
What's this -- who joins him now? I'll hide me here.
Here comes the lady: O, so light a foot
Will ne'er wear out the everlasting flint:
A lover may bestride the gossamer
That idles in the wanton summer air,
And yet not fall; so light is vanity.
Good even to my ghostly confessor.
Who's this -- it is not Rosaline, that's sure,
For Rosaline is tall, and plain of face.
Ah, Juliet, if the measure of thy joy
Be heap'd like mine and that thy skill be more
To blazon it, then sweeten with thy breath
This neighbour air, and let rich music's tongue
Unfold th'imagined happiness that both
Receive in either by this dear encounter.
What, Juliet? 'Tis the child of Capulet,
Whose nurse he spoke to in the square to-day.
What can it mean -- they meet by stealth, or else
Risk earning each the other's kinsmen's ire;
But wherefore meet at all, I ask myself;
Wherefore enlist a priest to meet them too,
And ev'ry thing I think can be the cause
Does cause me worry. Fie -- I like this not.
Come, come with me, and we will make short work;
For, by your leaves, you shall not stay alone
Till holy church incorp'rate two in one.
Exeunt FRIAR LAURENCE, ROMEO, and JULIET.
It cannot be. It cannot be that they
Have gone to have this grey friar marry them.
This cannot be! And yet, it seems it must,
For what else could he mean, "Till holy church
Incorp'rate two in one" -- that's plain as day.
O, God! I always knew him for a fool,
But never thought him such a fool as this;
It's not been one full day since he saw her,
And just that quick is Rosaline forsworn,
And Juliet loved -- nay, more than that -- adored,
And now the priest doth make him husband to her.
To make some peace, he says, betwixt the house
Of Montague and that of Capulet.
Make peace, forsooth. It's not peace that he looks
To make with her, despite his noble words.
I hope she's as unchangeable as he,
With her affections; mayhap they deserve
Each other. O, I would I loved him not!
Alack the day I ever saw his face;
Alack the day I ever saw him smile,
Or lost my heart, fool organ, like a leg
Caught in a hunter's trap. The time is come
When, if I were a wounded beast, I would
With strength I'd never known that I possess'd
Pull back and tear asunder my own arm,
Lest that the fest'ring wound result in death.
I would that I could rip my love for him
Free from my heart, or else my heart itself
Out from my breast, where it does poison me
At every beat with its infectious rot.
I'd feed it to the dogs! O, if I could --
I am no lass in love who's overcome
With vapors -- do I lack will of my own?
If I cannot instruct myself to cease
My love for Romeo, who is proven here,
Though fair of face and limb, a callous, vain,
Oblivious, idle, quick-distracted fool,
Why then can I not pluck out my whole heart
And lacking it love none? -- I've not the strength.
Wretched Mercutio -- ha, the more fool I!
If ever there was any chance that I
Would heed my brother Valentine's advice,
There is none now.
It's late. Where have you been?
I had some business of my own at home,
And then did search for you some little while.
For me? Thou wouldst have found me well enough
If thou hadst come round here an hour ago.
And if we always knew where we might find
That which we sought, would life then benefit
Or suffer? For is searching not as much
A part of life as finding is, or more?
Since we may search and search, but never find,
Yet never find a thing without a search.
Life! Prithee, do not speak to me of life --
Thou knowest nothing, speakest nonsense, art
No use to me or any other man.
If I can not be rid of thee, at least
Come help me seek my brother.
Where is he?
Would I say "seek", or need help, if I knew?
A jest, a joke, in faith, since we did talk
Just now of searching and of finding things.
A joke, indeed. Were you a fool at court,
You'd make the ladies cry, instead of laugh,
And find your head ere long upon the block.
I pray thee, good Mercutio, let's retire:
The day is hot, the Capulets abroad,
And, if we meet, we shall not scape a brawl;
For now, in these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.