[Enter BENVOLIO and MERCUTIO]
- Mercutio. Where the devil should this Romeo be?
Came he not home to-night?
- Benvolio. Not to his father's; I spoke with his man.
- Mercutio. Ah, that same pale hard-hearted wench, that Rosaline.
Torments him so, that he will sure run mad.
- Benvolio. Tybalt, the kinsman of old Capulet,
Hath sent a letter to his father's house.
- Mercutio. A challenge, on my life.
- Benvolio. Romeo will answer it.
- Mercutio. Any man that can write may answer a letter.
- Benvolio. Nay, he will answer the letter's master, how he
dares, being dared.
- Mercutio. Alas poor Romeo! he is already dead; stabbed with a
white wench's black eye; shot through the ear with a
love-song; the very pin of his heart cleft with the
blind bow-boy's butt-shaft: and is he a man to
- Benvolio. Why, what is Tybalt?
- Mercutio. More than prince of cats, I can tell you. O, he is
the courageous captain of compliments. He fights as
you sing prick-song, keeps time, distance, and
proportion; rests me his minim rest, one, two, and
the third in your bosom: the very butcher of a silk
button, a duellist, a duellist; a gentleman of the
very first house, of the first and second cause:
ah, the immortal passado! the punto reverso! the
- Mercutio. The pox of such antic, lisping, affecting
fantasticoes; these new tuners of accents! 'By Jesu,
a very good blade! a very tall man! a very good
whore!' Why, is not this a lamentable thing,
grandsire, that we should be thus afflicted with
these strange flies, these fashion-mongers, these
perdona-mi's, who stand so much on the new form,
that they cannot at ease on the old bench? O, their
bones, their bones!
- Benvolio. Here comes Romeo, here comes Romeo.
- Mercutio. Without his roe, like a dried herring: flesh, flesh,
how art thou fishified! Now is he for the numbers
that Petrarch flowed in: Laura to his lady was but a
kitchen-wench; marry, she had a better love to
be-rhyme her; Dido a dowdy; Cleopatra a gipsy;
Helen and Hero hildings and harlots; Thisbe a grey
eye or so, but not to the purpose. Signior
Romeo, bon jour! there's a French salutation
to your French slop. You gave us the counterfeit
fairly last night.
- Romeo. Good morrow to you both. What counterfeit did I give you?
- Mercutio. The ship, sir, the slip; can you not conceive?
- Romeo. Pardon, good Mercutio, my business was great; and in
such a case as mine a man may strain courtesy.
- Mercutio. That's as much as to say, such a case as yours
constrains a man to bow in the hams.
- Romeo. Meaning, to court'sy.
- Mercutio. Thou hast most kindly hit it.
- Romeo. A most courteous exposition.
- Mercutio. Nay, I am the very pink of courtesy.
- Romeo. Why, then is my pump well flowered.
- Mercutio. Well said: follow me this jest now till thou hast
worn out thy pump, that when the single sole of it
is worn, the jest may remain after the wearing sole singular.
- Romeo. O single-soled jest, solely singular for the
- Mercutio. Come between us, good Benvolio; my wits faint.
- Romeo. Switch and spurs, switch and spurs; or I'll cry a match.
- Mercutio. Nay, if thy wits run the wild-goose chase, I have
done, for thou hast more of the wild-goose in one of
thy wits than, I am sure, I have in my whole five:
was I with you there for the goose?
- Romeo. Thou wast never with me for any thing when thou wast
not there for the goose.
- Mercutio. I will bite thee by the ear for that jest.
- Romeo. Nay, good goose, bite not.
- Mercutio. Thy wit is a very bitter sweeting; it is a most
- Romeo. And is it not well served in to a sweet goose?
- Mercutio. O here's a wit of cheveril, that stretches from an
inch narrow to an ell broad!
- Romeo. I stretch it out for that word 'broad;' which added
to the goose, proves thee far and wide a broad goose.
- Mercutio. Why, is not this better now than groaning for love?
now art thou sociable, now art thou Romeo; now art
thou what thou art, by art as well as by nature:
for this drivelling love is like a great natural,
that runs lolling up and down to hide his bauble in a hole.
- Benvolio. Stop there, stop there.
- Mercutio. Thou desirest me to stop in my tale against the hair.
- Benvolio. Thou wouldst else have made thy tale large.
- Mercutio. O, thou art deceived; I would have made it short:
for I was come to the whole depth of my tale; and
meant, indeed, to occupy the argument no longer.
- Romeo. Here's goodly gear!
[Enter Nurse and PETER]
- Mercutio. A sail, a sail!
- Benvolio. Two, two; a shirt and a smock.
- Nurse. My fan, Peter.
- Mercutio. Good Peter, to hide her face; for her fan's the
- Nurse. God ye good morrow, gentlemen.
- Mercutio. God ye good den, fair gentlewoman.
- Nurse. Is it good den?
- Mercutio. 'Tis no less, I tell you, for the bawdy hand of the
dial is now upon the prick of noon.
- Nurse. Out upon you! what a man are you!
- Romeo. One, gentlewoman, that God hath made for himself to
- Nurse. By my troth, it is well said; 'for himself to mar,'
quoth a'? Gentlemen, can any of you tell me where I
may find the young Romeo?
- Romeo. I can tell you; but young Romeo will be older when
you have found him than he was when you sought him:
I am the youngest of that name, for fault of a worse.
- Mercutio. Yea, is the worst well? very well took, i' faith;
- Nurse. if you be he, sir, I desire some confidence with
- Benvolio. She will indite him to some supper.
- Mercutio. A bawd, a bawd, a bawd! so ho!
- Romeo. What hast thou found?
- Mercutio. No hare, sir; unless a hare, sir, in a lenten pie,
that is something stale and hoar ere it be spent.
An old hare hoar,
And an old hare hoar,
Is very good meat in lent
But a hare that is hoar
Is too much for a score,
When it hoars ere it be spent.
Romeo, will you come to your father's? we'll
to dinner, thither.
- Romeo. I will follow you.
- Mercutio. Farewell, ancient lady; farewell,
'lady, lady, lady.'
[Exeunt MERCUTIO and BENVOLIO]
- Nurse. Marry, farewell! I pray you, sir, what saucy
merchant was this, that was so full of his ropery?
- Romeo. A gentleman, nurse, that loves to hear himself talk,
and will speak more in a minute than he will stand
to in a month.
- Nurse. An a' speak any thing against me, I'll take him
down, an a' were lustier than he is, and twenty such
Jacks; and if I cannot, I'll find those that shall.
Scurvy knave! I am none of his flirt-gills; I am
none of his skains-mates. And thou must stand by
too, and suffer every knave to use me at his pleasure?
- Peter. I saw no man use you a pleasure; if I had, my weapon
should quickly have been out, I warrant you: I dare
draw as soon as another man, if I see occasion in a
good quarrel, and the law on my side.
- Nurse. Now, afore God, I am so vexed, that every part about
me quivers. Scurvy knave! Pray you, sir, a word:
and as I told you, my young lady bade me inquire you
out; what she bade me say, I will keep to myself:
but first let me tell ye, if ye should lead her into
a fool's paradise, as they say, it were a very gross
kind of behavior, as they say: for the gentlewoman
is young; and, therefore, if you should deal double
with her, truly it were an ill thing to be offered
to any gentlewoman, and very weak dealing.
- Romeo. Nurse, commend me to thy lady and mistress. I
protest unto thee—
- Nurse. Good heart, and, i' faith, I will tell her as much:
Lord, Lord, she will be a joyful woman.
- Romeo. What wilt thou tell her, nurse? thou dost not mark me.
- Nurse. I will tell her, sir, that you do protest; which, as
I take it, is a gentlemanlike offer.
- Romeo. Bid her devise
Some means to come to shrift this afternoon;
And there she shall at Friar Laurence' cell
Be shrived and married. Here is for thy pains.
- Nurse. No truly sir; not a penny.
- Romeo. Go to; I say you shall.
- Nurse. This afternoon, sir? well, she shall be there.
- Romeo. And stay, good nurse, behind the abbey wall:
Within this hour my man shall be with thee
And bring thee cords made like a tackled stair;
Which to the high top-gallant of my joy
Must be my convoy in the secret night.
Farewell; be trusty, and I'll quit thy pains:
Farewell; commend me to thy mistress.
- Nurse. Now God in heaven bless thee! Hark you, sir.
- Romeo. What say'st thou, my dear nurse?
- Nurse. Is your man secret? Did you ne'er hear say,
Two may keep counsel, putting one away?
- Romeo. I warrant thee, my man's as true as steel.
- Nurse. Well, sir; my mistress is the sweetest lady—Lord,
Lord! when 'twas a little prating thing:—O, there
is a nobleman in town, one Paris, that would fain
lay knife aboard; but she, good soul, had as lief
see a toad, a very toad, as see him. I anger her
sometimes and tell her that Paris is the properer
man; but, I'll warrant you, when I say so, she looks
as pale as any clout in the versal world. Doth not
rosemary and Romeo begin both with a letter?
- Romeo. Ay, nurse; what of that? both with an R.
- Nurse. Ah. mocker! that's the dog's name; R is for
the—No; I know it begins with some other
letter:—and she hath the prettiest sententious of
it, of you and rosemary, that it would do you good
to hear it.
- Romeo. Commend me to thy lady.
- Nurse. Ay, a thousand times.
- Nurse. Peter, take my fan, and go before and apace.