Act I. Scene
Scene IVThe Same. A Street.
Enter ROMEO, MERCUTIO, BENVOLIO,
with five or six Masquers, Torch-Bearers,
Rom. What! shall this speech be spoke for
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. Give me a torch: I am not for this
Being but heavy, I will bear the light.
Mer. Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you
Rom. Not I, believe me: you have dancing
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
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 boisterous; and it pricks like
Mer. If love be rough with you, be rough with
Prick love for pricking, and you beat love
Give me a case to put my visage in:
[Putting on a masque.
A visor for a visor! what care I,
What curious eye doth quote deformities?
Here are the beetle brows shall blush for me.
Ben. Come, knock and enter; and no sooner
But every man betake him to his legs.
Mon. A torch for me; let wantons, light of
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.
Mer. Tut! dun's the mouse, the constable's
If thou art Dun, we'll draw thee from the mire,
Ofsave your reverencelove, wherein thou
Up to the ears. Come, we burn daylight, ho!
Rom. Nay, that's not so.
Mer. I mean, sir, in delay
We waste our lights in vain, like lamps by day.
Take our good meaning, for our judgment sits
Five times in that ere once in our five wits.
Rom. And we mean well in going to this
But 'tis no wit to go.
Mer. Why, may one ask?
Rom. I dream'd a dream to-night.
Mer. And so did I.
Rom. Well, what-was yours?
Mer. That dreamers often lie.
Rom. In bed asleep, while they do dream
Mer. O! then, I see, Queen Mab hath been
Ben. Queen Mab! What's she?
Mer. 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:
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 watery 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 o' mind the fairies' coach-makers.
And in this state she gallops night by night
Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of
O'er courtiers' knees, that dream on curtsies
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 sweetmeats tainted
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 is she
Rom. Peace, peace! Mercutio, peace!
Thou talk'st of nothing.
Mer. 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 woos
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
Supper is done, and we shall come too late.
Rom. I fear too early; for my mind mis-
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 closed 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. [Exeunt.