Romeo and Juliet

Original Text: 
Don Marquis, Sonnets to a Red-haired Lady (By a Gentleman with a Blue Beard) and Famous Love Affairs (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Page, 1922): 103-06. PS 3525 A797S66 Robarts Library
2    Through all its convolutions
3With constant thoughts of Homicide
4    And kindred institutions.
5White-haired Giuseppi Capulet,
6    Although he liked his daughter,
7The pert, precocious Juliet,
8    Was fonder still of slaughter.
9Young Romeo was just designed
10    To play Italian opera:
11A looker, with a tenor mind --
13Each cutthroat father kept at hand,
14    In their respective houses,
15A low-browed, cloaked, romantic band
17When ennui made Giuseppi sad
18    He'd go a-Montagueing;
19Pop Montague's perticuler fad
20    Was Capulet-pursuing.
21How could young lovers dodge their doom,
22    With all these complications?
23They gravitated to the tomb
24    To join their near relations.
25Their bloody story I might trace --
26    How loved they but to rue it --
27At length if I but had the face,
28    But Shakespeare beat me to it.
29(They're Shakespeare's corpses -- let him hop
30    About his morgue and sort 'em --
31I'll start where he came to a stop
32    And pull a brief post-mortem.
33Will for the dagger and the kiss,
34    The poison and the quarrels,
35But my preoccupation is,
36    Far more than Will's, with morals.)
37So when the feud had run its course
38    And slain its scores and dozens
39The ancient cutthroats got remorse --
40    And gave it to their cousins.
41Quoth Caputlet: "We're here to-day --
42    But where are we to-morrow?"
43Pop Montague would often say:
44    "I feel a sort of sorrow!"
45Remorse soon heightened to regret;
46    They signed a bond one Monday --
47Old Montague and Capulet --
48    To slay no man on Sunday!
49Their hearts grew softer with the years,.
50    Their mood grew kind and pensive --
51They mused, one morning, bathed in tears,
52    "Some days, crime seems offensive!"
53Salt globules furrowed each lank cheek,
54    They thought of son and daughter,
55And vowed that more than once a week
56    They'd not indulge in slaughter.
57Upon their own reform they'd gloat,
58    In consciousness of virtue,
59And murmur as they cut a throat:
60    "I'm sorry if I hurt you!"
61Thus Montague and Capulet,
62    They took to heart the lesson,
63And so the death of Juliet
64    In some ways proved a blessin'.
65And this reform of which I speak
66    Made them far less rejected --
67They stuck to murder once a week
68    And died loved and respected!


1] wried: contorted. Back to Line
12] Wopera: "wop" (slang word for an Italian) + "opera." Back to Line
16] souses: drunkards. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: