Here are just some of the quotations from Act I of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ that you should know off-by-heart.
From Scene 1
Tybalt to Benvolio
‘What, drawn, and talk of peace? I hate the word
As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee.
Have at thee, coward.’
Prince to crowd
‘Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word
By thee, old Capulet, and Montague,
Have thrice disturbed the quiet of our streets
And made Verona’s ancient citizens
Cast by their grave-beseeming ornaments
To wield old partisans, in hands as old,
Cankered with peace, to part your cankered hate.
If ever you disturb our streets again,
Your lives shall pay the foreit of the peace.’
Montague to Benvolio
‘Many a morning hath he there been seen
With tears augmenting the fresh morning’s dew,
Adding to clouds more clouds with his deep sighs.’
Romeo to Benvolio
‘Here’s much to do with hate, but more with love.
Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate,
O anything of nothing first create!
O heavy lightness, serious vanity,
Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms,
Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health,
Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!
This love feel I, that feel no love in this.’
From Scene 2
Capulet to Paris
‘My child is yet a stranger in the world;
She hath not seen the change of fourteen years.
Let two more summers wither in their pride
Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride.’
Capulet to Paris
‘But woo her, gentle Paris, het her heart.
My will to her consent is but a part,
And, she agreed, within her scope of choice
Lies my consent and fair according voice.’
Benvolio to Romeo
‘Tut, you saw her fair, none else being by,
Herself poised with herself in either eye.
But in that crystal scales let there be weighed
Your lady’s love against some other maid
That I will show you shining at this feast,
And she shall scant show well that now seems best.’
From Scene 3
Lady Capulet to Juliet
‘Marry, that ‘marry’ is the very theme
I came to talk of. Tell me, daughter Juliet,
How stands your disposition to be married?’
Juliet to Lady Capulet
‘It is an honour that I dream not of.’
Juliet to Lady Capulet
‘I’ll look to like, if looking liking move.
But no more will I endart mine eye
Than your consent gives strenght to make it fly.’
From Scene 4
Romeo to Mercutio
‘You have dancing shoes
With nimble souls. I have a soul of lead
So stakes me to the ground I cannot move.’
Romeo to Benvolio and Mercutio
‘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, closed in my breast,
By some vile forfeit of untimely death.’
From Scene 5
‘O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
As a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear –
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!
So shows a snowy dove trooping with the crows
As yonder lady o’er her fellows shows.
The measure done, I’ll watch her place of stand
And, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand.
Did my heart love til now? Forswear it, sight!
For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.’
‘This, by his voice, should be a Montague.
Fetch me my rapier, boy. What, dares the slave
Come hither, covered with an antic face,
To fleer and scorn at our solemnity?
Now, by the stock and honour of my kin,
To strike him dead I hold it not a sin.’
Capulet to Tybalt
‘And, to say truth, Verona brags of him
To be a virtuous and well-goverened youth.
I would not for the wealth of all the town
Here in my house do him disparagement.’
‘Patience perforce with wilful choler meeting
Makes my flesh tremble in their different greeting.
I will withdraw. But this intrusion shall,
Now seeming sweet, convert to bitterest gall.’
Romeo to Juliet
‘If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this.
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand,
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.’
Juliet to Romeo
‘Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this.
For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands to touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.’
‘Is she a Capulet?
O dear account! My life is my foe’s debt.’
‘My only love sprung from my only hate!
Too early seen unknown, and known too late!
Prodigious birth of love it is to me
That I must love a loathed enemy.’