Romeo and Juliet

tragedy by William Shakespeare

The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (first published 1597) is a play by William Shakespeare concerning the fate of two young star-crossed lovers. Perhaps the most famous of his plays, it is one of his earliest theatrical triumphs and is considered the archetypal love story of the Renaissance.

Romeo and Juliet, painted by Ford Madox Brown

Act I

  • Abraham: Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
    Sampson: I do bite my thumb, sir.
    Abraham: Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
    Sampson (to Gregory): Is the law of our side if I say ay?
    Gregory: No.
    Sampson: No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you sir; but I bite my thumb, sir.
    Gregory: Do you quarrel, sir?
    Abraham: Quarrel, sir? No, sir.
    Sampson: If you do, sir, I am for you: I serve as good a man as you.
    Abraham: No better.
    Sampson: Well, sir.
    Gregory: (to Sampson) Say 'better'; here comes one of my master's kinsmen.
    Sampson: Yes, better, sir.
    Abraham: You lie.
    Sampson: Draw, if you be men! Gregory, remember thy swashing blow.
    (They fight)
    • Scene i

  • Benvolio: Part, fools!
    Put up your swords; you know not what you do.
    (Tybalt enters)
    Tybalt: What, art thou drawn among these hartless hinds?
    Turn thee, Benvolio; look upon thy death.
    Benvolio: I do but keep the peace: put up thy sword,
    Or manage it to part these men with me.
    Tybalt: What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word,
    As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee.
    Have at thee, coward!
    • Scene i

  • 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 distemper 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 disturbed the quiet of our streets,
    And made Verona's ancient citizens
    Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments,
    To wield old partisans, 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 the pain of death, all men depart.
    • Prince, scene i

  • Benvolio: What sadness lengthens Romeo's hours?
    Romeo: Not having that, which, having, makes them short.
    Benvolio: In love?
    Romeo: Out-
    Benvolio: Of love?
    Romeo: Out of her favour, where I am in love.
    • Scene i

  • Why then, O brawling love! O loving hate!
    O anything, of nothing first created;
    O heavy lightness! serious vanity!
    Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms!
    • Romeo, scene i

  • Romeo: Is love a tender thing? it is too rough,
    Too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn.
    Mercutio: If love be rough with you, be rough with love;
    Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down.
    • Scene iv

  • Romeo: I dream'd a dream to-night.
    Mercutio: And so did I.
    Romeo: Well, what was yours?
    Mercutio: That dreamers often lie.
    • Scene iv

  • O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
    She is the fairies midwife, and she comes
    In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
    On the fore-finger of an alderman,
    Drawn with a team of little atomies
    Athwart men’s noses as they lie asleep.
    • Mercutio, scene iv

  • Romeo: Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace!
    Thou talkest of nothing.
    Mercutio: 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
    Even now the frozen bosom of the north,
    And, being angered, puffs away from thence,
    Turning his face to the dew-dropping south.
    Benvolio: This wind you talk of blows us from ourselves;
    Supper is done, and we shall come too late.
    • Scene iv

  • Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!
    For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.
    • Romeo, scene v

  • You kiss by the book.
    • Juliet, scene v

  • My only love sprung from my only hate!
    Too early seen unknown, and known too late!
    • Juliet, scene v

Act II

What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
  • This cannot anger him: 'twould anger him
    To raise a spirit in his mistress' circle
    Of some strange nature, letting it there stand
    Till she had laid it and conjured it down;

    That were some spite: my invocation
    Is fair and honest, and in his mistress' name
    I conjure only to raise up him.
    • Mercutio, scene I

  • But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
    It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!
    • Romeo, scene II

  • O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
    Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
    Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
    And I'll no longer be a Capulet.
    • Juliet, scene ii
  • 'Tis but thy name that is my enemy; —
    Thou art thyself though, not a Montague.
    What's Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,
    Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
    Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
    What's in a name? That which we call a rose,
    By any other name would smell as sweet
    So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
    Retain that dear perfection which he owes
    Without that title: — Romeo, doff thy name;
    And for thy name, which is no part of thee,
    Take all myself.
    • Juliet, scene ii, a variant in many published editions reads: What's in a name? That which we call a rose,
      By any other word would smell as sweet

  • I take thee at thy word:
    Call me but love, and I'll be new baptis'd;
    Henceforth I never will be Romeo.
    • Romeo, scene ii

  • O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,
    That monthly changes in her circled orb,
    Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.
    • Juliet, scene ii

  • Romeo: O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?
    Juliet: What satisfaction canst thou have tonight?
    Romeo: The exchange of thy love's faithful vow for mine.
    Juliet: I gave thee mine before thou didst request it:
    And yet I would it were to give again.
    Romeo: Wouldst thou withdraw it? for what purpose, love?
    Juliet: But to be frank, and give it thee again.
    And yet I wish but for the thing I have;
    My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
    My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
    The more I have, for both are infinite.
    • Scene ii

  • Love goes toward love, as schoolboys from their books,
    But love from love, toward school with heavy looks.
    • Romeo, scene ii

  • Good-night, good-night! Parting is such sweet sorrow
    That I shall say good-night till it be morrow.
    • Juliet, scene ii

  • The earth, that's nature's mother, is her tomb.
    • Friar Laurence, scene iii

  • For naught so vile that on the earth doth live
    But to the earth some special good doth give;
    Nor aught so good but, strain'd from that fair use,
    Revolts from true birth, stumbling on the abuse:
    Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied;
    And vice sometimes by action dignified.
    • Friar Laurence, scene iii

  • Then plainly know my heart's dear love is set
    On the fair daughter of rich Capulet:
    As mine on hers, so hers is set on mine;
    And all combin'd, save what thou must combine
    By holy marriage: when, and where, and how
    We met, we woo'd, and made exchange of vow,
    I'll tell thee as we pass; but this I pray,
    That thou consent to marry us to-day.
    • Romeo to Friar Laurence, scene iii

  • Holy Saint Francis, what a change is here!
    Is Rosaline, whom thou didst love so dear,
    So soon forsaken? Young men's love then lies
    Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.
    • Friar Laurence to Romeo, scene iii

  • Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.
    • Friar Laurence to Romeo, scene iii


  • Benvolio: 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, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.
    Mercutio: Thou art like one of those fellows that when he
    enters the confines of a tavern claps me his sword
    upon the table and says 'God send me no need of
    thee!' and by the operation of the second cup draws
    it on the drawer, when indeed there is no need.
    Benvolio: Am I like such a fellow?
    Mercutio: Come, come, thou art as hot a Jack in thy mood as
    any in Italy, and as soon moved to be moody, and as
    soon moody to be moved.
    • Scene i

  • Romeo, the hate I bear thee can afford
    No better term than this: thou art a villain.
    • Tybalt, scene i

  • Mercutio: O calm, dishonourable, vile submission!
    "Alla stoccata" carries it away. (draws his sword)
    Tybalt, you rat-catcher, will you walk?
    Tybalt: What wouldst thou have with me?
    Mercutio: Good king of cats, nothing but one of your nine
    lives; that I mean to make bold withal, and as you
    shall use me hereafter, drybeat the rest of the
    eight. Will you pluck your sword out of his pitcher
    by the ears? make haste, lest mine be about your
    ears ere it be out.
    • Scene i

  • I am hurt; —
    A plague o' both the houses! — I am sped. —
    Is he gone, and hath nothing?
    • Mercutio, scene i

  • Romeo: Courage, man; the hurt cannot be much.
    Mercutio: No, 'tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a
    church-door; but 'tis enough,'twill serve: ask for
    me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave man.
    am peppered, I warrant, for this world. A plague o'
    both your houses!
    • Scene i

  • Mercutio: Why the devil came you between us? I was hurt under your arm.
    Romeo: I thought all for the best.
    Mercutio: Help me into some house, Benvolio,
    Or I shall faint. — A plague o' both your houses!
    They have made worm's meat of me.
    I have it, and soundly too: — A plague o' both your houses!
    • Scene i

  • Benvolio: Romeo, away, be gone!
    The citizens are up, and Tybalt slain: —
    Stand not amaz'd: — the Prince will doom thee death,
    If thou are taken: — hence! — be gone! — away!
    Romeo: O, I am fortune's fool!
    Benvolio: Why dost thou stay?
    • Scene i

  • Lady Capulet: I beg for justice, which thou, Prince, must give;
    Romeo slew Tybalt, Romeo must not live.
    Prince: Romeo slew him, he slew Mercutio;
    Who now the price of his dear blood doth owe?
    Montague: Not Romeo, Prince, he was Mercutio's friend;
    His fault concludes but what the law should end,
    The life of Tybalt.
    Prince: And for that offence
    Immediately we do exile him hence:
    I have an interest in your hate's proceeding,
    My blood for your rude brawls doth lie a-bleeding;
    But I'll amerce you with so strong a fine
    That you shall all repent the loss of mine:
    I will be deaf to pleading and excuses;
    Nor tears nor prayers shall purchase out abuses:
    Therefore use none: let Romeo hence in haste,
    Else, when he's found, that hour is his last.
    Bear hence this body and attend our will:
    Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill.
    • Scene i

  • Come, gentle night, — come, loving black brow'd night,
    Give me my Romeo; and when he shall die,
    Take him and cut him out in little stars,
    And he will make the face of Heaven so fine
    That all the world will be in love with night,
    And pay no worship to the garish sun.
    • Juliet, scene ii

  • There's no trust,
    No faith, no honesty in men; all are perjur'd
    All foresworn, all naught, all dissemblers.
    • Nurse, scene ii
  • O deadly sin! O rude unthankfulness!
    • Friar Laurence, scene iii, line 24
  • Wilt thou be gone? it is not yet near day.
    It was the nightingale, and not the lark,
    That pierc'd the fearful hollow of thine ear;
    Nightly she sings on yond pomegranate tree.
    Believe me love, it was the nightingale.
    • Juliet, scene v

Act IV

  • Tell me not, friar, that thou hear'st of this,
    Unless thou tell me how I may prevent it:
    If, in thy wisdom, thou canst give no help,
    Do thou but call my resolution wise,
    And with this knife I'll help it presently.
    God join'd my heart and Romeo's, thou our hands;
    And ere this hand, by thee to Romeo seal'd,
    Shall be the label to another deed,
    Or my true heart with treacherous revolt
    Turn to another, this shall slay them both:
    Therefore, out of thy long-experienc'd time,
    Give me some present counsel; or behold,
    'Twixt my extremes and me, this bloody knife
    Shall play the umpire; arbitrating that
    Which the commission of thy years and art
    Could to no issue of true honour bring.
    Be not so long to speak; I long to die,
    If what thou speak'st speak not of remedy.
    • Juliet, scene i

  • Or bid me go into a new-made grave,
    And hide me with a dead man in his shroud —
    Things that, to hear them told, have made me tremble —
    And I will do it without fear or doubt,
    To live an unstain'd wife to my sweet love.
    • Juliet, scene i

  • O woe! O woeful, woeful, woeful day!
    Most lamentable day! Most woeful day
    That ever, ever I did yet behold!
    O day, O day, O day! O hateful day!
    Never was seen so black a day as this.
    O woeful day! O woeful day!
    • Nurse, scene p

Act V

  • A beggerly account of emptie boxes,
    Greene earthen pots, Bladders, and mustie seedes,
    Remnants of packthred, and old cakes of Roses
    Were thinly scattered, to make vp a shew.
  • There is thy gold; worse poison to men's souls,
    Doing more murder in this loathsome world
    Than these poor compounds that thou mayst not sell.
    • Romeo, scene i

  • Shall I believe
    That unsubstantial death is amorous,
    And that the lean abhorred monster keeps
    Thee here in the dark to be his paramour?
    • Romeo, scene iii

  • O true apothecary! Thy drugs are quick. — Thus with a kiss I die.
    • Romeo, scene iii

  • Yea, noise? then I'll be brief.
    O, happy dagger!
    This is thy sheath; there rest, and let me die.
    • Juliet, scene iii

  • Where be these enemies? Capulet! Montague!
    See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate,
    That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love!
    And I, for winking at your discords too,
    Have lost a brace of kinsmen. All are punish'd.
    • Prince, scene iii

  • A glooming peace this morning with it brings;
    The sun for sorrow will not show his head.
    Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things;
    Some shall be pardon'd, and some punished:
    For never was a story of more woe
    Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.
    • Prince, scene iii
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