Romeo and Juliet

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

But by and by comes back to Romeo,
Who had but newly entertained revenge,
And to ’t they go like lightning, for ere I
135Could draw to part them was stout Tybalt slain.
And, as he fell, did Romeo turn and fly.
This is the truth, or let Benvolio die.
But pretty soon he came back to meet Romeo, who was overcome with the desire for revenge. As quick as lightning, they started fighting. Before I could break up the fight, Tybalt was killed. Romeo ran away when Tybalt fell dead. I’m telling you the truth, I swear on my life.
He is a kinsman to the Montague.
Affection makes him false. He speaks not true.
140Some twenty of them fought in this black strife,
And all those twenty could but kill one life.
I beg for justice, which thou, Prince, must give.
Romeo slew Tybalt. Romeo must not live.
Benvolio is part of the Montague family. His loyalties to the Montagues make him tell lies. He’s not telling the truth. There were twenty Montagues fighting in this awful riot, and together those twenty could only kill one man. I demand justice. You, Prince, are the man who can give me justice. Romeo killed Tybalt. Romeo must die.
Romeo slew him; he slew Mercutio.
145Who now the price of his dear blood doth owe?
Romeo killed Tybalt. Tybalt killed Mercutio. Who should now pay the price for Mercutio’s life?
Not Romeo, Prince, he was Mercutio’s friend.
His fault concludes but what the law should end,
The life of Tybalt.
Not Romeo, Prince. He was Mercutio’s friend. His crime did justice’s job by taking Tybalt’s life.
   And for that offence
Immediately we do exile him hence.
150I have an interest in your hearts' proceeding.
My blood for your rude brawls doth lie a-bleeding.
But I’ll amerce you with so strong a fine
That you shall all repent the loss of mine.
I will be deaf to pleading and excuses.
155Nor tears nor prayers shall purchase out abuses,
Therefore use none. Let Romeo hence in haste,
Else, when he’s found, that hour is his last.
Bear hence this body and attend our will.
Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill.
And for that crime, Romeo is hereby exiled from Verona. I’m involved in your rivalry. Mercutio was my relative, and he lies dead because of your bloody feud. I’ll punish you so harshly that you’ll regret causing me this loss. I won’t listen to your pleas or excuses. You can’t get out of trouble by praying or crying, so don’t bother. Tell Romeo to leave the city immediately, or else, if he is found, he will be killed. Take away this body, and do what I say. Showing mercy by pardoning killers only causes more murders.
They exit.