Romeo and Juliet

(Translated into Modern English by Austin Henshaw)

Prologue

Two similar households,

In beautiful Verona where our scene begins,

An outbreak of fighting from an old grudge,

Has caused citizens to have each other's blood on their hands.

From these two enemies,

Two unlucky lovers commit suicide,

Their untimely end overthrows,

With their death their parents' hatred is taken away.

The time of their doomed love,

And the continued hatred between their parents',

Could not be removed except for with the death of their children,

This is what will be on our stage for two hours,

For those of you who are patient,

We will fill you in on more details.

Act I

Scene 1 A public square in Verona

Sampson and Gregory, servants of the Capulets, walk in armed with swords and shields

Sampson

We shall not be insulted Gregory

Gregory

Then we would be coal dealers

Sampson

If we will be angry, we will fight.

Gregory

While you are alive, take your neck out of the hangman's noose.

Sampson

Moved, I strike swiftly.

Gregory

You are not quickly moved to strike

Sampson

A filthy person of the house of Montague moves me.

Gregory

Moving is the same as stirring, and to be brave is to stand. If you are moved, you are running away.

Sampson

I shall walk closer to the wall, to avoid garbage like the Montagues.

Gregory

That means you are weak, only the weakest go to the wall.

Sampson

I will push the men away and overpower the Montague women.

Gregory

The fight is between our bosses and us men.

Sampson

It's all the same. If I fight with the men, I shall cut off the heads of the women.

Gregory

Their heads?

Sampson

Yes, their heads.

Gregory

It makes sense.

Sampson

They shall know of me while I stand;

They know I am handsome.

Gregory

It is good that you are not of a low class. Draw your weapon!

Two servants of the house of Montague are coming this way.

Abram and Balthasar enter

Sampson

My weapon is out. Let's fight them. I have your back.

Gregory

What will you do? Run?

Sampson

Don't fear that.

Gregory

I don't, I fear you.

Sampson

Let us follow the law; they shall begin.

Gregory

I will frown as we walk by, and let them take it as an insult.

Sampson

No. I will bite my thumb at them, which offends them.

Abram

Are you biting your thumb at us?

Sampson

Yes, I bite my thumb.

Abram

Are you biting your thumb at us?

Sampson

Aside to Gregory If I say yes, is the legal?

Gregory

Aside to Sampson No.

Sampson

No, I'm not. I do bite my thumb though.

Gregory

Do you fight?

Abram

Fight? No.

Sampson

If you do, fight me. My master is as good as your master.

Abram

No, better.

Sampson

Well then.

Benvolio, Montague's nephew, and Romeo's first cousin enters.

Gregory

Aside to Sampson Say "better." One of my master's relatives is coming.

Sampson

Better then.

Abram

You are lying.

Sampson

Draw your weapons if you are men. Gregory, use your smashing blows.

Fighting begins.

Benvolio

Stop you idiots! Put your swords away! You don't know what you are doing.

Tybalt, nephew of Lady Capulet, and cousin of Juliet enters.

Tybalt

Why are you associating with these cowardly servants? Turn around Benvolio! Come and meet your death!

Benvolio

I am trying to keep peace. Put your sword away, or use it to separate these men.

Tybalt

You have your sword out but you speak of peace? I hate the word as I hate hell, all Montagues, and you. Defend yourself, coward!

They fight.

Many people from both houses join the fighting, along with citizens and peace officers with clubs.

Officer

Take your clubs and spears out! Beat them down!

Citizens

Take down the Capulets and Montagues!

Capulet and Lady Capulet enter.

Capulet

Why is there so much noise? Give me my long sword, now!

Lady Capulet

You need a crutch instead of a sword. Why do you ask for a sword?

Capulet

Give me my sword! Montague is here, and has his blade out in spite of me.

Montague and Lady Montague enter.

Montague

You are a villain Capulet! Don't hold me back!

Lady Montague

You will not move an inch to meet your enemy.

Prince Escalus enters with his attendants. At first nobody hears him.

Prince

Rebels, disturbers of the peace,

People who profane from our laws…

Do you not hear me? Now, you beasts!

You are feeding the destructive rage!

Throw your weapons to the ground and hear my verdict.

Three fights have started, from simple words,

All because of you Capulet and Montague,

You have disturbed the peace three times.

You have caused the old citizens to wield spears,

As old as themselves.

If you disturb our streets again, you shall be executed.

Capulet, come with me;

Montague, see me this afternoon,

You shall learn more of this case.

Everybody go away, unless you want to die.

Everybody but Montague, Lady Montague, and Benvolio leave

Montague

Who started this old fight? Nephew, were you here when it began?

Benvolio

I was here when the servants of your enemy,

And your servants were close to fighting.

I tried to separate them but Tybalt came;

He defied me and fought me.

While we exchanged blows,

More came and fought on one side, and others to another,

The Prince came and made both sides depart.

Lady Montague

Where is Romeo? Did you see him today? I am glad he wasn't at this fight.

Benvolio

Aunt, an hour before the sun came up

I was implored to walk abroad.

I saw your son walking around early.

I followed him but he hid from me.

I respected his privacy and decided to go away.

Montague

Many mornings he has been seen,

With tears coinciding with the fresh morning dew,

He adds sadness to the clouds with his sighs;

Soon the cheerful sun comes up from the East

My son runs from the light to my house

And hides himself in his private room.

He shuts his windows, keeping the daylight out,

He makes himself as if night.

He is blank and emotionless,

He needs guidance to cure himself of this.

Benvolio

Do you know what is wrong with him?

Montague

I don't know and I can't learn it from him.

Benvolio

Have you demanded him to tell you?

Montague

I have tried and many friends;

Romeo keeps to himself though,

Finding out what he is thinking is nearly impossible.

If we could learn what makes him so sad,

We could possibly give him a cure.

Romeo enters, lost in thought

Benvolio

Look, Romeo is coming. Please go away.

I will find out the cause of his displeasure, or be turned away.

Montague

I would wish to hear his confession. Come honey. Let's go away.

Montague and Lady Montague leave.

Benvolio

Hello friend.

Romeo

Is it early?

Benvolio

It just struck nine recently.

Romeo

The hours have seemed long. Was it my father who went away so hastily?

Benvolio

It was. What is it that makes you so sad?

Romeo

What makes me sad is not having what would make my hours short.

Benvolio

Love?

Romeo

Out of…

Benvolio

Love?

Romeo

Out of her favor of my love.

Benvolio

Yes, Cupid appears to be gentle,

Yet he can be harsh and tough in reality.

Romeo

Yes, Cupid is still blind,

Without his eyes he does not make choices.

Where shall we eat? Oh my! What battle happened here?

Do not tell me, I have heard all of it.

Here there is much to do with hate, but more with love.

The love that I feel, I feel nothing from.

Do you laugh at me?

Benvolio

No, I would rather cry.

Romeo

Why?

Benvolio

It is due to your sadness.

Romeo

There is yet another problem with love,

Now I must carry your sympathy,

As well as my grief.

Goodbye, my friend.

Benvolio

Wait a minute! I will come with you.

If you leave me with only this, you are making a mistake.

Romeo

I am lost; I am not here:

I'm not Romeo, he is somewhere else.

Benvolio

Seriously tell me, who are you in love with?

Romeo

Shall I groan and tell you?

Benvolio

No, tell me in sadness.

Romeo

In seriousness, I love a woman.

Benvolio

I would have hoped so.

Romeo

You hoped correctly. She is beautiful also.

Benvolio

It is good she was hit with Cupid's arrow.

Romeo

Unfortunately the arrow missed her.

She is like Diana, the goddess of chastity.

She will not fall victim to loving words,

She will not pay attention to lusting eyes,

She will not be moved by my wealth.

When she dies, her beauty dies with her.

Benvolio

Then she has sworn to remain a virgin?

Romeo

She has, it is such a waste.

Her beauty is starving from her seriousness,

She will not have children.

She is too beautiful, too smart, too beautiful,

To reach heaven by not allowing me pleasure.

She has sworn not to love,

I am dead inside as I tell you now.

Benvolio

Forget about her.

Romeo

Teach me how I should forget.

Benvolio

You should worship your eyes,

Look at other beautiful women.

Romeo

That would only make me appreciate her beauty more.

Show me a lady who walks by beautifully,

Her beauty shall only remind me of my love.

Goodbye. You can't teach me how to forget.

Benvolio

I'll convince you you're wrong, or die trying.