Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Romeo and Juliet
William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
Romeo and Juliet
Act I. Scene III.
The Same.  A Room in CAPULET’S House.
Enter LADY CAPULET and Nurse.
  Lady Cap.  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!        5
God forbid! where’s this girl? what, Juliet!
  Jul.  How now! who calls?
  Nurse.  Your mother.
  Jul.        Madam, I am here.        10
What is your will?
  Lady Cap.  This is the matter. Nurse, give leave awhile.
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.        15
  Nurse.  Faith, I can tell her age unto an hour.
  Lady Cap.  She’s not fourteen.
  Nurse.        I’ll lay fourteen of my teeth—
And yet to my teen be it spoken I have but four—
She is not fourteen. How long is it now        20
To Lammas-tide?
  Lady Cap.        A fortnight and odd days.
  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!—        25
Were of an age. Well, Susan is with God;
She was too good for me. But, as I said,
On Lammas-eve at night shall she be fourteen;
That shall she, marry; I remember it well.
’Tis since the earthquake now eleven years;        30
And she was wean’d, I never shall forget it,
Of all the days of the year, upon that day;
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.        35
Nay, I do bear a brain:—but, as I said,
When it did taste the wormwood on the nipple
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,        40
To bid me trudge:
And since that time it is eleven years;
For then she could stand high lone; nay, by the rood,
She could have run and waddled all about;
For even the day before she broke her brow:        45
And then my husband—God be with his soul!
A’ was a merry man—took up the child:
‘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 halidom,        50
The pretty wretch left crying, and said ‘Ay.’
To see now how a jest shall come about!
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.’        55
  Lady Cap.  Enough of this; I pray thee, hold thy peace.
  Nurse.  Yes, madam. Yet I cannot choose but laugh,
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;        60
A parlous knock; and it cried bitterly:
‘Yea,’ quoth my husband, ‘fall’st upon thy face?
Thou wilt fall backward when thou com’st to age;
Wilt thou not, Jule?’ it stinted and said ‘Ay.’
  Jul.  And stint thou too, I pray thee, nurse, say I.        65
  Nurse.  Peace, I have done. God mark thee to his grace!
Thou wast the prettiest babe that o’er I nursed:
An I might live to see thee married once,
I have my wish.
  Lady Cap.  Marry, that ‘marry’ is the very theme        70
I came to talk of. Tell me, daughter Juliet,
How stands your disposition to be married?
  Jul.  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.        75
  Lady Cap.  Well, think of marriage now; younger than you,
Here in Verona, ladies of esteem,
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,        80
The valiant Paris seeks you for his love.
  Nurse.  A man, young lady! lady, such a man
As all the world—why, he’s a man of wax.
  Lady Cap.  Verona’s summer hath not such a flower.
  Nurse.  Nay, he’s a flower; in faith, a very flower.        85
  Lady Cap.  What say you? can you love the gentleman?
This night you shall behold him at our feast;
Read o’er the volume of young Paris’ face
And find delight writ there with beauty’s pen;
Examine every married lineament,        90
And see how one another lends content;
And what obscur’d in this fair volume lies
Find written in the margent of his eyes.
This precious book of love, this unbound lover,
To beautify him, only lacks a cover:        95
The fish lives in the sea, and ’tis much pride
For fair without the fair within to hide:
That book in many eyes doth share the glory,
That in gold clasps locks in the golden story:
So shall you share all that he doth possess,        100
By having him making yourself no less.
  Nurse.  No less! nay, bigger; women grow by men.
  Lady Cap.  Speak briefly, can you like of Paris’ love?
  Jul.  I’ll look to like, if looking liking move;
But no more deep will I endart mine eye        105
Than your consent gives strength to make it fly.
Enter a Servant.
  Serv.  Madam, the guests are come, supper served up, you called, my young lady asked for, the nurse cursed in the pantry, and everything in extremity. I must hence to wait; I beseech you, follow straight.
  Lady Cap.  We follow thee. Juliet, the county stays.
  Nurse.  Go, girl, seek happy nights to happy days.  [Exeunt.        110

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