[Before the real action of the play begins, a single actor (referred to as a chorus) comes to the front of the stage to deliver this introductory prologue to the play]
Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes,
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life,
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do, with their death, bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love
And the continuance of their parents' rage —
Which, but their children's end, nought could remove —
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
The which, if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.