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ROMEO AND JULIET.
The story of Romeo and Juliet is considered to be historically true; the Veronese fix the date of this tragedy as 1303.
"The history of the fair Capulet and her loved Montague," furnished themes for novelists, and had inspired the muse of the Poets, previous to Shakspeare's time: He has availed himself of these labors to construct his exquisite Drama; the inimitable character of Mercutio, however, is an entirely original creation of the Dramatist.
ESCALUS, Prince of Verona.
PARIS, a young nobleman, kinsman to the Prince.
heads of two houses, at variance with each other.
An old man, uncle to Capulet.
ROMEO, son to Montague.
MERCUTIO, kinsman to the Prince, and friend to Romeo.
TYBALT, nephew to Lady Capulet.
Friar LAURENCE, a Franciscan.
Friar JOHN, of the same order.
BALTHAZAR, servant to Romeo.
SAMPSON, GREGORY, servants to Capulet.
ABRAM, servant to Montague.
An Apothecary. Three Musicians.
Chorus. Boy. Page to Paris.
PETER. An Officer.
Lady MONTAGUE, wife to Montague.
Lady CAPULET, wife to Capulet.
JULIET, daughter to Capulet.
Nurse to Juliet.
Citizens of Verona; several Men and Women, relations to both houses; Maskers, Guards, Watchmen, and Attendants.
SCENE, during the greater part of the Play, in VERONA ; once, in the Fifth Act, at MANTUA.
The rival Houses of Capulet and Montague were two of the most distinguished Families in Verona: An "ancient grudge" existed between these Houses, and "civil brawls" were constantly occurring between them, in which the connections and retainers of the opposing heads took part. The Play opens with one of these outbreaks: In the midst of the fray, the Prince of Verona appears, separates the combatants, and declares to Ca pulet and Montague
"If ever you disturb our streets again,
Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace."
Montague and his kinsman Benvolio discourse on the late fray. Romeo joins them.
Enter MONTAGUE, lady MONTAGUE, and BENVOLIO.
Mon. Who set this ancient quarrel now abroach ?—
Ben. Here were the servants of your adversary,
La. Mon. O, where is Romeo!-saw you him to-day?
Right glad I am, he was not at this fray.
Ben. Madam, an hour before the worshipp'd sun
And gladly shunn'd who gladly fled from me.
Mon. Many a morning hath he there been seen,
And makes himself an artificial night :
Ben. My noble uncle, do you know the cause?
Ere he can spread his sweet leaves to the air,
Could we but learn from whence his sorrows grow,
Enter ROMEO, at a distance.
Ben. See, where he comes: So please you, step aside; I'll know his grievance, or be much denied.
Mon. I would, thou wert so happy by thy stay, To hear true shrift.-Come, madam, let's away.
Ben. Good morrow, cousin.
Ben. But new struck nine.
[Exeunt MONTAGUE, and Lady.
Is the day so young?
Ah me! sad hours seem long.
Was that my father that went hence so fast?
Ben. It was:-What sadness lengthens Romeo's hours?
Alas, that love, so gentle in his view,
Should be so tyrannous and rough in proof!
Rom. 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 :-
Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms!
This love feel I, that feel no love in this.
Dost thou not laugh?
No, coz, I rather weep.
Rom. Good heart, at what?
At thy good heart's oppression.
Rom. Why, such is love's transgression.-
Love is a smoke rais'd with the fume of sighs;
Rom. Tut, I have lost myself; I am not here;
Ben. Tell me in sadness, who she is you love.
Rom. A right good marksman !And she's fair I love.
From love's weak childish bow she lives unharm'd.
That when she dies, with beauty dies her store.
She hath forsworn to love; and, in that vow,
Do I live dead, that live to tell it now.
Ben. Be rul'd by me, forget to think of her.
Ben. I'll pay that doctrine, or else die in debt.
The "County Paris" loves the lady Juliet, and receives her father's permission to pre fer his suit.-Capulet gives an entertainment, to which he invites young Paris: At this feast the fair Rosaline is also to be a guest, and Romeo is persuaded by his cousin Benvolio, to attend, that he may
"Compare her face with some that I shall show,
SCENE III.—A Room in Capulet's House.
Enter Lady CAPULET, and Nurse.
La. Cap. Nurse, where's my daughter? call her forth to me.
I bade her come.-What, lamb! what, lady-bird!
Jul. How now, who calls?
What is your will?
Madam, I am here.
La. Cap. This is the matter :-Nurse, give leave awhile, We must talk in secret.-Nurse, come back again;
I have remember'd me, thou shalt hear our counsel.
Thou know'st, my daughter's of a pretty age.
I'll lay fourteen of my teeth,
To Lammas-tide ?
A fortnight, and odd days.
Thou wast the prettiest babe that e'er I nurs❜d.
La. Cap. Marry, that marry is the very theme
Jul. It is an honor that I dream not of. La. Cap. Well, think of marriage now. Thus then, in brief;
The valiant Paris seeks you for his love.
Nurse. A man, young lady! lady, such a man,
As all the world-Why, he's a man of wax.
La. Cap. Verona's summer hath not such a flower.
Jul. I'll look to like, if looking liking move: