Romeo and Juliet

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 1

page Act 1 Scene 1 Page 11

Original Text

Modern Text

ROMEO

A sick man in sadness makes his will,
A word ill urged to one that is so ill.
195In sadness, cousin, I do love a woman.

ROMEO

You wouldn’t tell a sick man he “seriously” has to make his will—it would just make him worse. Seriously, cousin, I love a woman.

BENVOLIO

I aimed so near when I supposed you loved.

BENVOLIO

I guessed that already when I guessed you were in love.

ROMEO

A right good markman! And she’s fair I love.

ROMEO

Then you were right on target. The woman I love is beautiful.

BENVOLIO

A right fair mark, fair coz, is soonest hit.

BENVOLIO

A beautiful target is the one that gets hit the fastest.

ROMEO

Well, in that hit you miss. She’ll not be hit
200With Cupid’s arrow. She hath Dian’s wit.
And, in strong proof of chastity well armed
From love’s weak childish bow, she lives uncharmed.
She will not stay the siege of loving terms,
Nor bide th' encounter of assailing eyes,
205Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold.
Oh, she is rich in beauty, only poor
That when she dies, with beauty dies her store.

ROMEO

Well, you’re not on target there. She refuses to be hit by

Cupid’s

Cupid, the Roman god of love, shoots arrows at humans that make them fall in love. Diana is the Roman goddess of virginity and hunting.

Cupid’s
arrow. She’s as clever as Diana, and shielded by the armor of chastity. She can’t be touched by the weak and childish arrows of love. She won’t listen to words of love, or let you look at her with loving eyes, or open her lap to receive gifts of gold. She’s rich in beauty, but she’s also poor, because when she dies her beauty will be destroyed with her.

BENVOLIO

Then she hath sworn that she will still live chaste?

BENVOLIO

So she’s made a vow to be a virgin forever?

ROMEO

She hath, and in that sparing makes huge waste,
210For beauty, starved with her severity,
Cuts beauty off from all posterity.
She is too fair, too wise, wisely too fair,
To merit bliss by making me despair.
She hath forsworn to love, and in that vow
215Do I live dead that live to tell it now.

ROMEO

Yes she has, and by keeping celibate, she wastes her beauty. If you starve yourself of sex you can’t ever have children, and so your beauty is lost to future generations. She’s too beautiful and too wise to deserve heaven’s blessing by making me despair. She’s sworn off love, and that promise has left me alive but dead, living only to talk about it now.

BENVOLIO

Be ruled by me. Forget to think of her.

BENVOLIO

Take my advice. Don’t think about her.

ROMEO

O, teach me how I should forget to think!

ROMEO

Teach me to forget to think!