from Romeo and Juliet: A Verse Translation
For the prologue, Shakespeare employed the sonnet form with an ABAB CDCD EFEF GG rhyming pattern. This translation maintains the sonnet form, rhyming wherever Shakespeare rhymed.
Two households, which in social standing match,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
Their ancient grudge is now a lawless clash,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
Brought from the fatal loins of these two foes
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A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life;
And from their luckless fall compassion flows
To bury with their death their parents’ strife.
Their death-marked love pushed to its fearful end,
And the persistence of their parents’ rage,
Which nothing but their children’s death could mend,
Are now two hours of business on our stage;
And if you lend to us your patient ear,
What is not seen we strive to make appear.