• Enter ROMEO, MERCUTIO, BENVOLIO, with five or six other MASKERS and TORCHBEARERS

    ROMEO

    What, shall this speech be spoke for our excuse?
    Or shall we on without apology?

    BENVOLIO

    The date is out of such prolixity.
    We’ll have no Cupid hoodwinked with a scarf,
    5Bearing a Tartar’s painted bow of lath,
    Scaring the ladies like a crowkeeper,
    Nor no without-book prologue, faintly spoke
    After the prompter for our entrance.
    But let them measure us by what they will.
    10We’ll measure them a measure and be gone.

    ROMEO

    Give me a torch. I am not for this ambling.
    Being but heavy, I will bear the light.

    MERCUTIO

    Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you dance.

    ROMEO

    Not I, believe me. You have dancing shoes
    15With nimble soles. I have a soul of lead
    So stakes me to the ground I cannot move.

    MERCUTIO

    You are a lover. Borrow Cupid’s wings
    And soar with them above a common bound.

    ROMEO

    I am too sore enpiercèd with his shaft
    20To soar with his light feathers, and so bound,
    I cannot bound a pitch above dull woe.
    Under love’s heavy burden do I sink.
  • ROMEO, MERCUTIO, and BENVOLIO enter dressed as maskers, along with five or six other MASKERS , carrying a drum and torches.

    ROMEO

    What will we say is our excuse for being here? Or should we enter without apologizing?

    BENVOLIO

    It’s out of fashion to give lengthy explanations like that. We’re not going to introduce our dance by having someone dress up as Cupid, blindfolded and carrying a toy bow to frighten the ladies like a scarecrow. Nor are we going to recite a memorized speech to introduce ourselves. Let them judge us however they please. We’ll give them a dance and then hit the road.

    ROMEO

    Give me a torch. I don’t want to dance. I feel sad, so let me be the one who carries the light.

    MERCUTIO

    No, noble Romeo, you’ve got to dance.

    ROMEO

    Not me, believe me. You’re wearing dancing shoes with nimble soles. My soul is made out of lead, and it’s so heavy it keeps me stuck on the ground so I can’t move.

    MERCUTIO

    You’re a lover. Take Cupid’s wings and fly higher than the average man.

    ROMEO

    His arrow has pierced me too deeply, so I can’t fly high with his cheerful feathers. Because this wound keeps me down, I can’t leap any higher than my dull sadness. I sink under the heavy weight of love.