Enter Chorus.


  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-crossed lovers take their life;
  Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
  Doth with their death bury their parents' strife.
  The fearful passage of their death-marked love
  And the continuance of their parents' rage,
  Which, but their children's end, naught could remove,
  Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
  The which if you with patient ears attend,
  What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.








Verona. A public place.

Enter Sampson and Gregory, with swords and bucklers, of the house of Capulet.


  Sampson: Gregory, on my word, we'll not carry coals.
  Gregory: No. For then we should be colliers.

  Sampson: I mean, an we be in choler, we'll draw.

  Gregory: Ay, while you live, draw your neck out of collar.

  Sampson: I strike quickly, being moved.
  Gregory: But thou art not quickly moved to strike.
  Sampson: A dog of the house of Montague moves me.
  Gregory: To move is to stir, and to be valiant is to stand. Therefore, if thou art moved, thou runnest away.
  Sampson: A dog of that house shall move me to stand. I will take the wall of any man or maid of Montague's.

  Gregory: That shows thee a weak slave. For the weakest goes to the wall.
  Sampson: 'Tis 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.

  Gregory: The quarrel is between our masters, and us their men.
  Sampson: 'Tis all one. I will show myself a tyrant. When I have fought with the men, I will be civil with the maids - I will cut off their heads.

  Gregory: The heads of the maids?

  Sampson: Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads. Take it in what sense thou wilt.

  Gregory: They must take it in sense that feel it.

  Sampson: Me they shall feel while I am able to stand; and 'tis known I am a pretty piece of flesh.

  Gregory: 'Tis well thou art not fish; if thou hadst, thou hadst been poor-John. Draw thy tool. Here comes of the house of Montagues.


Enter Abram and another Servingman.


  Sampson: My naked weapon is out. Quarrel. I will back thee.

  Gregory: How? Turn thy back and run?

  Sampson: Fear me not.

  Gregory: No, marry. I fear thee!

  Sampson: Let us take the law of our sides. Let them begin.

  Gregory: I will frown as I pass by, and let them take it as they list.