Read Shakespeare’s ‘Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds’ soliloquy from Romeo and Juliet below with modern English translation and analysis, plus a video performance.
‘Gallop Apace, You Fiery Footed Steeds’ Spoken by Juliet, Act 3 Scene 2
Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds,
Towards Phoebus’ lodging: such a wagoner
As Phaethon would whip you to the west,
And bring in cloudy night immediately.
Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night,
That runaway’s eyes may wink and Romeo
Leap to these arms, untalk’d of and unseen.
Lovers can see to do their amorous rites
By their own beauties; or, if love be blind,
It best agrees with night. Come, civil night,
Thou sober-suited matron, all in black,
And learn me how to lose a winning match,
Play’d for a pair of stainless maidenhoods:
Hood my unmann’d blood, bating in my cheeks,
With thy black mantle; till strange love, grown bold,
Think true love acted simple modesty.
Come, night; come, Romeo; come, thou day in night;
For thou wilt lie upon the wings of night
Whiter than new snow on a raven’s back.
Come, gentle night, come, loving, black-brow’d night,
Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
O, I have bought the mansion of a love,
But not possess’d it, and, though I am sold,
Not yet enjoy’d: so tedious is this day
As is the night before some festival
To an impatient child that hath new robes
And may not wear them. O, here comes my nurse,
And she brings news; and every tongue that speaks
But Romeo’s name speaks heavenly eloquence.
‘Gallop Apace, You Fiery-Footed Steeds’ Soliloquy Translation
Juliet was impatient for the night to come. It seemed that the day would go on forever. She wished the god of the sun would whip his horses so that they would carry him faster to the distant west and allow night to fall like a thick curtain. Then her husband could come to her in secret.
Who needed daylight? Lovers didn’t: their own beauty was light enough to see by. In any case, if love is blind night is the best time for it.
She sat in her room, marveling at how long a day can be. She thought about what would happen when the night finally fell and Romeo was with her: how she would give herself to him and by so doing, win him forever. The darkness would hide her blushes when they made love.
She went to the window and gazed out over the orchard where Romeo had stood. It was so frustrating: she had bought a house of love but not yet taken possession of it – she was like some brand new item that hadn’t yet been used. Oh, what tedium: she felt like a child on the night before an important day who has all her new clothes lined up but wasn’t allowed to wear them until morning.