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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' strite. The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage, Which, but their children's end, nought could re.
move, Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage; The which if you with patient ears attend, What bere shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
SCENE I.- A public place. Enter Sampson and Gregory, armed with swords and bucklers.
Sampson. GREGORY, o'my word, we'll not carry coals. Gre. No, for then we should be colliers. Sam. I mean, an we be in choler, we'll draw. Gre. Ay, while you live, draw your neck out of the collar.
Sam. I strike quickly, being moved. Gre. But thou art not quickly moved to strike. Sam. A dog of the house of Montague moves me. Gre. To move, is---to stir; and to be valiant, is-to stand to it: therefore, if thou art moved, thou runn'st away.
Sam. A dog of that house shall move me to stand : I will take the wall of any man or maid of
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.
(1) A phrase formerly in use to signify the bear. ing injuries.
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 maid. enheads; 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.1 Draw thy tool; here comes two of the house of the Montagues.2
Enter Abram and Balthazar. Sam. My naked weapon is out; quarrel, I will back thee. Gre. How? turn thy back, and run? Sam. Fear me not. Gre. No, marry: I fear thee!
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.
Abr. Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
Sam. No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you,
Sam. If you do, sir, I am for you; I serve as good a man as you.
(1) Poor John is hake, dried and salted.
Abr. No better.
Enter Benvolio, at a disiance. Gre. Say—better; here comes one of my master's kinsmen.
Sam. Yes, better, sir.
Sam. Draw, if you be men.--Gregory, reinember thy swashing blow.
[They fight. Ben. Part, fools; put up your swords; you know not what you do.
Beats down their swords.
Enter Tybalt. Tyb. What, art thou drawn among these heart
less hinds ? Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon thy death.
Ben. I do but keep the peace; put up thy sivord, Or manage it to part these men with me. Tyb. What, drawn and talk of peace? I hate
the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee: Have at thee, coward.
[They fight. Enter several Partizans of both houses, who join
the fray; then enter Citizens, with clubs. 1 Cit. Clubs, bills, and partizans! strike! beat
them down! Down with the Capulets ! down with the Monta
gues! Enter Capulet, in his gown ; and Lady Capulet. Cap. What noise is this ?-Give me my long
sword, ho! La. Cap. A crutch, a crutch! Why call you for
a sword? Cap. My sword, I say !-Oid Montague is come,
(1) Clubs! was the usual exclamation at an affray in the streets, as we now call Watch!
And Nourishes his blade in spite of me.
Enter Montague and Lady Montague. Mon. Thou villain Capulet,---Hold me not, let
me go. La. Mon. Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek
Enter Prince, with Attendants. Prince. Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace, Profaners of this neighbour-stained steel, Will they not hear?-what ho! you men, you beasts, That quench the fire of your pernicious rage With purple fountains issuing from your veins, On pain of torture, from those bloody hands Throw your mistemper'dl weapons to the ground, And hear the sentence of your moved prince.-Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word, By thee, old Capulet and Montague, Have thrice disturb'd the quiet of our streets; And made Verona's ancient citizens Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments, To wield old partizans, in hands as old, Canker'd with peace, to part your canker'd hate: If ever you disturb our streets again, Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace. For this time, all the rest depart away : You, Capulet, shall go along with me ; And, Montague, come you this afternoon, To know our further pleasure in this case, To old Free-town, our common judgment-place. Once more, on pain of death, all men depart. [Exe. Prince, and Attendants; Capulet, Lady
Capulet, Tybalt, Citizens, and Servants. Mon. V'ho set this ancient quarrel new abroach? Speak, nephew, were you by, when it began?
Ben. Here were the servants of your adversary, And yours, close fighting ere I did approach: