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Enter Romeo, Mercurio, Benvolio, with five
or six Maskers, Torch-bearers, and Others. Rom. What, shall this speech be spoke for our
excuse ? Or shall we on without apology?
Ben. The date is out of such prolixity: We'll have no Cupid hood-wink'd with a scarf, Bearing a Tartar's painted bow of lath, Scaring the ladies like a crow-keeper; Nor no without-book prologue, faintly spoke After the prompter, for our entrance: But, let them measure us by what they will, We'll measure them a measure, and be gone. Rom. 15 Give me a torch, I am not for this
ambling; Being but heavy, I will bear the light. Mer. Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you
dance. Rom. Not I, believe me: you have dancing shoes, With nimble soles: I have a soul of lead, So stakes me to the ground, I cannot move.
Mer. You are a lover; borrow Cupid's wings, And soar with them above a common bound.
Rom. I am too sore enpierced with his shaft, To soar with his light feathers; and so bound,
I cannot bound a pitch above dull woe:
Under love's heavy burden do I sink.
Mer. And, to sink in it, should you burden
Too great oppression for a tender thing.
Rom. Is love a tender thing? it is too rough,
Too rude, too boist'rous, and it pricks like thorn,
Mer. If love be rough with you, be rough with
Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down.-
Give me a case to put my visage in:
[Putting on a mask.
A visor for a visor !-what care I,
What curious eye
Here are the beetle-brows, shall blush for me.
Ben. Come, knock, and enter; and no sooner in,
But every man betake him to his legs.
Rom. A torch for me: let wantons, light of heart,
Tickle the senseless rushes with their heels;
For I am proverb'd with a grandsire phrase,
I'll be a candle-holder, and look on,
The game was ne'er so fair, and I am done 16.
Mer. 17Tut! dun's the mouse, the constable's own
If thou art dun, we'll draw thee from the mire
Of this (save reverence) love, wherein thou stick'st
Up to the ears.-Come, we burn day-light, ho.
Rom. Nay, that's not so.
I mean, sir, in delay
We waste our lights in vain, like lamps by day.
Take our good meaning; for our judgement sits
Five times in that, ere once in our five wits.
Rom. And we mean well, in going to this mask;
But 'tis no wit to go.
Why, may one ask?
Rom. I dreamt a dream to-night.
And so did I.
Rom. Well, what was yours?
That dreamers often lie. Rom. In bed, asleep, while they do dream things
true. Mer. O, then, I see, queen Mab hath been with
She is the fairies' midwife 13; 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:
Her waggon-spokes made of long spinners' legs;
The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers ;
The traces, of the smallest spider's web;
The collars, of the moonshine's watry beams : :
Her whip, of cricket's bone; the lash, of film:
Her waggoner, a small grey-coated gnat,
Not half so big as a round little worm
Prick'd from the lazy finger of a maid:
Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut,
Made by the joiner squirrel, or old grub,
Time out of mind the fairies' coach-makers.
And in this state she gallops night by night
Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love:
On courtiers' knees, that dream on court'sies straight:
O'er lawyers' fingers, who straight dream on fees :
O'er ladies' lips, who straight on kisses dream;
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
Because their breaths with sweet-meats tainted are.
Sometimes she gallops o'er a courtier's nose,
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit :
And sometimes comes she with a tithe-pig's tail,
Tickling a parson's nose as 'a lies asleep,
Then dreams he of another benefice:
Sometime she driveth o'er a soldier's neck,
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,
Of healths five fathom deep; and then anon
Drums in his ear; at which he starts, and wakes;
And, being thus frighted, swears a prayer or two,
And sleeps again. This is that very Mab,
That plats the manes of horses in the night;
And bakes the elf-locks in foul sluttish hairs,
Which, once untangled, much misfortune bodes.
This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,
That presses them, and learns them first to bear,
Making them women of good carriage.
This, this is she-
Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace;
Thou talk'st of nothing.
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 anger'd, puffs away from thence,
Turning his face to the dew-dropping south.
Ben. This wind, you talk of, blows us from our-
Supper is done, and we shall come too late.
Rom. I fear, too early: for my mind misgives,
Some consequence, yet hanging in the stars,
Shall bitterly begin his fearful date
With this night's revels; and expire the term
Of a despised life, clos'd in my breast,
By some vile forfeit of untimely death:
But He, that hath the steerage of my course,
Direct my sail !-On, lusty gentlemen.
Ben. Strike, drum.
A Hall in Capulet's House.
Musicians waiting. Enter Servants. 1 Sero. Where's Potpan, that he helps not to take away? he shift a trencher! he scrape a trencher!
2 Sero. When good inanners shall lie all in one or two men's hands, and they unwash'd too, 'tis a foul thing.
i Sero. Away with the joint-stools, remove the court-cupboard, look to the plate:-good thou, save