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The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet

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Act I, Scene 3

A room in Capulet’s house.


[Enter LADY CAPULET and Nurse]

  • Lady Capulet. Nurse, where's my daughter? call her forth to me.
  • Nurse. Now, by my maidenhead, at twelve year old,
    I bade her come. What, lamb! what, ladybird!
    God forbid! Where's this girl? What, Juliet!

[Enter JULIET]

  • Juliet. Madam, I am here.
    What is your will?
  • Lady Capulet. This is the matter:—Nurse, give leave awhile, 390
    We must talk in secret:—nurse, come back again;
    I have remember'd me, thou's hear our counsel.
    Thou know'st my daughter's of a pretty age.
  • Nurse. Faith, I can tell her age unto an hour.
  • Nurse. I'll lay fourteen of my teeth,—
    And yet, to my teeth be it spoken, I have but four—
    She is not fourteen. How long is it now
    To Lammas-tide?
  • Nurse. Even or odd, of all days in the year,
    Come Lammas-eve at night shall she be fourteen.
    Susan and she—God rest all Christian souls!—
    Were of an age: well, Susan is with God;
    She was too good for me: but, as I said, 405
    On Lammas-eve at night shall she be fourteen;
    That shall she, marry; I remember it well.
    'Tis since the earthquake now eleven years;
    And she was wean'd,—I never shall forget it,—
    Of all the days of the year, upon that day: 410
    For I had then laid wormwood to my dug,
    Sitting in the sun under the dove-house wall;
    My lord and you were then at Mantua:—
    Nay, I do bear a brain:—but, as I said,
    When it did taste the wormwood on the nipple 415
    Of my dug and felt it bitter, pretty fool,
    To see it tetchy and fall out with the dug!
    Shake quoth the dove-house: 'twas no need, I trow,
    To bid me trudge:
    And since that time it is eleven years; 420
    For then she could stand alone; nay, by the rood,
    She could have run and waddled all about;
    For even the day before, she broke her brow:
    And then my husband—God be with his soul!
    A' was a merry man—took up the child: 425
    'Yea,' quoth he, 'dost thou fall upon thy face?
    Thou wilt fall backward when thou hast more wit;
    Wilt thou not, Jule?' and, by my holidame,
    The pretty wretch left crying and said 'Ay.'
    To see, now, how a jest shall come about! 430
    I warrant, an I should live a thousand years,
    I never should forget it: 'Wilt thou not, Jule?' quoth he;
    And, pretty fool, it stinted and said 'Ay.'
  • Nurse. Yes, madam: yet I cannot choose but laugh, 435
    To think it should leave crying and say 'Ay.'
    And yet, I warrant, it had upon its brow
    A bump as big as a young cockerel's stone;
    A parlous knock; and it cried bitterly:
    'Yea,' quoth my husband,'fall'st upon thy face? 440
    Thou wilt fall backward when thou comest to age;
    Wilt thou not, Jule?' it stinted and said 'Ay.'
  • Juliet. And stint thou too, I pray thee, nurse, say I.
  • Nurse. Peace, I have done. God mark thee to his grace!
    Thou wast the prettiest babe that e'er I nursed: 445
    An I might live to see thee married once,
    I have my wish.
  • Lady Capulet. Marry, that 'marry' is the very theme
    I came to talk of. Tell me, daughter Juliet,
    How stands your disposition to be married? 450
  • Juliet. It is an honour that I dream not of.
  • Nurse. An honour! were not I thine only nurse,
    I would say thou hadst suck'd wisdom from thy teat.
  • Lady Capulet. Well, think of marriage now; younger than you,
    Here in Verona, ladies of esteem, 455
    Are made already mothers: by my count,
    I was your mother much upon these years
    That you are now a maid. Thus then in brief:
    The valiant Paris seeks you for his love.
  • Nurse. A man, young lady! lady, such a man 460
    As all the world—why, he's a man of wax.
  • Nurse. Nay, he's a flower; in faith, a very flower.
  • Lady Capulet. What say you? can you love the gentleman?
    This night you shall behold him at our feast; 465
    Read o'er the volume of young Paris' face,
    And find delight writ there with beauty's pen;
    Examine every married lineament,
    And see how one another lends content
    And what obscured in this fair volume lies 470
    Find written in the margent of his eyes.
    This precious book of love, this unbound lover,
    To beautify him, only lacks a cover:
    The fish lives in the sea, and 'tis much pride
    For fair without the fair within to hide: 475
    That book in many's eyes doth share the glory,
    That in gold clasps locks in the golden story;
    So shall you share all that he doth possess,
    By having him, making yourself no less.
  • Nurse. No less! nay, bigger; women grow by men. 480
  • Juliet. I'll look to like, if looking liking move:
    But no more deep will I endart mine eye
    Than your consent gives strength to make it fly.

[Enter a Servant]

  • Servant. Madam, the guests are come, supper served up, you
    called, my young lady asked for, the nurse cursed in
    the pantry, and every thing in extremity. I must
    hence to wait; I beseech you, follow straight.
  • Lady Capulet. We follow thee. 490
    [Exit Servant]
    Juliet, the county stays.
  • Nurse. Go, girl, seek happy nights to happy days.