Verona. A street.
(Capulet; County Paris; Second Servingman; Benvolio; Romeo)
The Prince’s kinsman Paris receives Capulet’s permission to woo his daughter Juliet, though Capulet considers her still too young for marriage. He insists that he will not make her marry a man she does not love. He invites Paris to a feast that evening, and sends a servant out with a list of other people to invite. Unfortunately, the servant is illiterate. Coming upon the educated Benvolio and Romeo, he asks them to read the list to him, which they do. They thus learn that not only is Capulet giving a party, but that Romeo’s love Rosaline will be there. Benvolio tells Romeo that seeing her in the company of other ladies will make it clear that she’s nothing special, but Romeo insists that she will outshine them all. (88 lines)
Enter Capulet, County Paris, and Second Servingman, the clown.
But Montague is bound as well as I,
In penalty alike, and ’tis not hard, I think,
For men so old as we to keep the peace.
Of honorable reckoning are you both,
And pity ’tis you liv’d at odds so long.
But now, my lord, what say you to my suit?
But saying o’er what I have said before:
My child is yet a stranger in the world,
She hath not seen the change of fourteen years;
Let two more summers wither in their pride,
Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride.
Younger than she are happy mothers made.
And too soon marr’d are those so early made.
Earth hath swallowed all my hopes but she;
She’s the hopeful lady of my earth.
But woo her, gentle Paris, get her heart,
My will to her consent is but a part;
And she agreed, within her scope of choice
Lies my consent and fair according voice.
This night I hold an old accustom’d feast,
Whereto I have invited many a guest,
Such as I love, and you, among the store
One more, most welcome, makes my number more.
At my poor house look to behold this night
Earth-treading stars that make dark heaven light.
Such comfort as do lusty young men feel
When well-apparell’d April on the heel
Of limping winter treads, even such delight
Among fresh fennel buds shall you this night
Inherit at my house; hear all, all see;
And like her most whose merit most shall be;
Which on more view of many, mine, being one,
May stand in number, though in reck’ning none.
Come go with me.
To Second Servingman.
Go, sirrah, trudge about
Through fair Verona, find those persons out
Whose names are written there, and to them say,
My house and welcome on their pleasure stay.
Exit with Paris.
Find them out whose names are written here! It is written that the shoemaker should meddle with his yard and the tailor with his last, the fisher with his pencil and the painter with his nets; but I am sent to find those persons whose names are here writ, and can never find what names the writing person hath here writ. I must to the learned. In good time!
Enter Benvolio and Romeo.
Tut, man, one fire burns out another’s burning,
One pain is less’ned by another’s anguish;
Turn giddy, and be holp by backward turning;
One desperate grief cures with another’s languish:
Take thou some new infection to thy eye,
And the rank poison of the old will die.
Your plantain leaf is excellent for that.
For what, I pray thee?
For your broken shin.
Why, Romeo, art thou mad?
Not mad, but bound more than a madman is;
Shut up in prison, kept without my food,
Whipt and tormented, and—God-den, good fellow.
God gi’ god-den. I pray, sir, can you read?
Ay, mine own fortune in my misery.
Perhaps you have learn’d it without book.
But I pray, can you read any thing you see?
Ay, if I know the letters and the language.
Ye say honestly, rest you merry!
Stay, fellow, I can read.
He reads the letter.
“Signior Martino and his wife and daughters; County Anselme and his beauteous sisters; the lady widow of Vitruvio; Signior Placentio and his lovely nieces; Mercutio and his brother Valentine; mine uncle Capulet, his wife, and daughters; my fair niece Rosaline, and Livia; Signior Valentio and his cousin Tybalt; Lucio and the lively Helena.”
A fair assembly. Whither should they come?
Whither? To supper?
To our house.
Indeed I should have ask’d thee that before.
Now I’ll tell you without asking. My master is the great rich Capulet, and if you be not of the house of Montagues, I pray come and crush a cup of wine. Rest you merry!
At this same ancient feast of Capulet’s
Sups the fair Rosaline whom thou so loves,
With all the admired beauties of Verona.
Go thither, and with unattainted eye
Compare her face with some that I shall show,
And I will make thee think thy swan a crow.
When the devout religion of mine eye
Maintains such falsehood, then turn tears to fires;
And these, who, often drown’d, could never die,
Transparent heretics, be burnt for liars!
One fairer than my love! The all-seeing sun
Ne’er saw her match since first the world begun.
Tut, you saw her fair, none else being by,
Herself pois’d with herself in either eye;
But in that crystal scales let there be weigh’d
Your lady’s love against some other maid
That I will show you shining at this feast,
And she shall scant show well that now seems best.
I’ll go along no such sight to be shown,
But to rejoice in splendor of mine own.