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Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life; Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows
Do, with their death, bury their parents' strife. The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage, Which, but their childrens' end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours' traffick of our stage; The which if you with patient ears attend, What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
ESCALUS, Prince of Verona.
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 Ata tendants.
SCENE, during the greater part of the play, in
Verona: once in the fifth Act at Mantua.
Enter SAMPSON and GREGORY, armed with swords
Gre. No, for then we should be colliers.
Gre. Ay, while you live, draw your neck out of the collar.
Sam. I strike quickly, being moved.
Gre. To move, is—to stir; and to be valiant, isto stand to it: therefore, if thou art moved, thou run'st away.
Sam. A dog of that house shall move me to stand : I will take the wall of any man or maid of Montague's.
Gre. That shows thee a weak slave; for the weakest goes to the wall.
Sam. 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.
Gre. The quarrel is between our masters, and us their men.
Sam. 'Tis all one, I will show myself a tyrant: when I have fought with the men, I will be cruel with the maids ; I will cut off their heads.
Gre. The heads of the maids?
Sam. Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads; take it in what sense thou wilt.
Gre. They must take it in sense, that feel it.
Sam. Me they shall feel, while I am able to stand : and, 'tis known, I am a pretty piece of flesh.
Gre. 'Tis well, thou art not fish; if thou hadst, thou hadst been poor John. Draw thy tool; here comes two of the house of the Montagues.
Enter A BRAM and BALTHAZAR.
Sam. My naked weapon is out; quarrel, I will back thee.
Gre. How? turn thy back, and run?
Sam. Let us take the law of our sides; let them begin.
Gre. I will frown, as I pass by; and let them take it as they list.
Sam. Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them; which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it.
thumb at us, sir? Sum. I do bite my thumb, sir.
thumb at us, sir ? Sam. Is the law on our side, if I say-ay? Gre. No.
Sam. No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir;. but I bite my thumb, sir.
Gre. Do you quarrel, sir?
Sam. If you do, sir, I am for you; I serve as good a man as you.
Abr. No better.
Enter Benvolio, at a distance, Gre. Say-better; here comes one of my master's kinsmen.
Sam. Yes, better, sir.
Sam. Draw, if you be men.-Gregory, remember thy swashing blow.
[They fight. Ben. Part, fools; put up your swords; you know not what
[Beats down their swords.
Tyb. What, art thou drawn among these heartless
hinds ? Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon thy death.
Ben, I do but keep the peace; put up thy sword, Or manage it to part these men with me.