whiche oftentymes interchangeably encountred and met together, the burning beames gaue sufficient te|stimonie of loues priuie onsettes. Loue hauing made the heartes breach of those two louers, as they two sought meanes to speake together, Fortune offered them a very and apt occasion. A certaine lorde of that troupe and company tooke Iulietta by the hande to daunce, wherein shée behaued hir selfe so well, and with so excellent grace, as shée wanne that daye the price of honour from all the maidens of Verona.Rho|meo, hauyng foreséene the place wherevnto she min|ded to retire, approched the same, and so discretely v|sed the matter, as he found the meanes at hir returne to sit beside hir. Iulietta when the daunce was finished, returned to the very place where she was set before, and was placed betwene Rhomeo & other Gentle|ma~ called Mercutio, which was a gentlema~, very wel beloued of all men, and by of his ple|sa~t & curteous behauior was in al wel inter|tained. Mercutio yt was of audacitie amo~g maide~s, as a lion is among la~bes, seased inço~tinently vpon ye hande of Iulietta, whose hands wontedly wer so cold bothe in winter & sommer as ye mountain yee, although ye fires heat did warme ye same. Rhomeo which sat vpon ye left side of Iulietta, seing that Mercutio held hir by the right hand, toke hir by the other, that he might not be decei|ued of his purpose, & straining the same a litle, he felt himself so prest with that newe fauor, as he remained mute, not able to answer: But she perceiuing by his change of color, yt the fault proceded of very veheme~t loue, desiring to speake vnto him, turned hir selfe to|wards him, & with voice ioyned with virginal shamfastnesse, intermedled wt a certaine bashfulnesse, sayd to him: Blessid ye hour of your nere aproche: but
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minding to procéede in further talke, loue had so clo|sed vp hir mouth, as she was not able to end hir tale. Wherunto the yong gentleman all rauished with ioy and contentation, sighing, asked hir what was ye cause of that right fortunate blessing. Iulietta somwhat more emboldned with pitiful loke and smiling countenance said vnto him:
Syr, do not maruell if I do blesse your comming hither, bicause sirMercutio a good time with frosty hand hath wholly frosen mine, and you of your curtesie haue warmed the same again. Wherunto im|mediatly Rhomeo replied: Madame if the heaue~s haue bene so fauorable to employ to do you some agrea|ble seruice being repaired by chaunce amongs other Gentlemen, I estéeme the same well bestowed, crauing no greater benefite for satisfaction of all my contentations receiued in this worlde, than to serue, obey and honor you so long as my life doth last, as ex|perience shall yeld more ample proofe when it shall please you to giue further assay. Moreouer, if you haue receiued any heat by touche of my hand, you may be well assured that those flames be dead in respect of the liuely sparks and violent fire which sorteth from your faire eyes, which fire hath so fiercely inflamed all the most sensible parts of my body, as if I be not succored by the fauoure of your diuine graces, I doe attend the time to be consumed to dust.
Scarse had he made an end of those last words, but the daunce of the Torche was at an end. Whereby Iulietta which wholly burnt with loue, straightly clasping hir hand with his, had no leisure to make other answere, but softly thus to say:
My deare friend, I know not what other assured wit|nesse you desire of Loue, but that I let you vnderstand that you be no more your owne, than I am yours, be|ing ready and disposed to obey you so farre as honoure
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shall permit, beséeching you for the present time to content your selfe with this answere, vntill some o|ther season méeter to Communicate more secretely of our affaires.
Rhomeo séeing himself pressed to part with the companie, and for that hée knewe not by what meanes hée might sée hir againe that was his life and death, demaunded of one of his friends what she was, who made answer that she was the daugh|ter of Capellet, the Lord of the house, and maister of that dayes feast (who wroth beyond measure that for|tune had sent him to so daungerous a place, thought it impossible to bring to end his enterprise begon.) Iu|lietta couetous on the other , to know what yong Gentleman hée was which had so courteously inter|taigned hir that night, and of whome she felt the new wounde in hir heart, called an olde Gentlewoman of honor which had nurssed hir and brought hir vp, vnto whome she sayd, leaning vpon hir shoulder:
Mother, what two yong Gentlemen be they which first goe forth with the two torches before them. Unto whome the olde Gentlewoman tolde the name of the houses whereof they came. Then she asked hir againe, what yong Gentleman is that which holdeth the visarde in his hande, with the Damaske cloke about him. It is (quod she) Rhomeo Montesche, the sonne of your Fa|thers capitall enimy and deadly to all your kinne.
But the maiden at the only name of Montesche was altogither amazed, dispairing for euer to attaine to husband hir great affectioned friend Rhomeo,for the auncient hatreds betwene those two families. Ne|uerthelesse she knew so wel to dissemble hir grief and discontented minde, as the olde Gentlewoman perceiued nothing, who then began to persuade hir to retire into hir chamber: whome she obeyed: and being