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The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet

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Act III, Scene 1

A public place.


[Enter MERCUTIO, BENVOLIO, Page, and Servants]

  • Benvolio. I pray thee, good Mercutio, let's retire:
    The day is hot, the Capulets abroad, 1500
    And, if we meet, we shall not scape a brawl;
    For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.
  • Mercutio. Thou art like one of those fellows that when he
    enters the confines of a tavern claps me his sword
    upon the table and says 'God send me no need of 1505
    thee!' and by the operation of the second cup draws
    it on the drawer, when indeed there is no need.
  • Mercutio. Come, come, thou art as hot a Jack in thy mood as
    any in Italy, and as soon moved to be moody, and as 1510
    soon moody to be moved.
  • Mercutio. Nay, an there were two such, we should have none
    shortly, for one would kill the other. Thou! why,
    thou wilt quarrel with a man that hath a hair more, 1515
    or a hair less, in his beard, than thou hast: thou
    wilt quarrel with a man for cracking nuts, having no
    other reason but because thou hast hazel eyes: what
    eye but such an eye would spy out such a quarrel?
    Thy head is as fun of quarrels as an egg is full of 1520
    meat, and yet thy head hath been beaten as addle as
    an egg for quarrelling: thou hast quarrelled with a
    man for coughing in the street, because he hath
    wakened thy dog that hath lain asleep in the sun:
    didst thou not fall out with a tailor for wearing 1525
    his new doublet before Easter? with another, for
    tying his new shoes with old riband? and yet thou
    wilt tutor me from quarrelling!
  • Benvolio. An I were so apt to quarrel as thou art, any man
    should buy the fee-simple of my life for an hour and a quarter. 1530
  • Benvolio. By my head, here come the Capulets.

[Enter TYBALT and others]

  • Tybalt. Follow me close, for I will speak to them. 1535
    Gentlemen, good den: a word with one of you.
  • Mercutio. And but one word with one of us? couple it with
    something; make it a word and a blow.
  • Tybalt. You shall find me apt enough to that, sir, an you
    will give me occasion. 1540
  • Mercutio. Could you not take some occasion without giving?
  • Tybalt. Mercutio, thou consort'st with Romeo,—
  • Mercutio. Consort! what, dost thou make us minstrels? an
    thou make minstrels of us, look to hear nothing but
    discords: here's my fiddlestick; here's that shall 1545
    make you dance. 'Zounds, consort!
  • Benvolio. We talk here in the public haunt of men:
    Either withdraw unto some private place,
    And reason coldly of your grievances,
    Or else depart; here all eyes gaze on us. 1550
  • Mercutio. Men's eyes were made to look, and let them gaze;
    I will not budge for no man's pleasure, I.

[Enter ROMEO]

  • Tybalt. Well, peace be with you, sir: here comes my man.
  • Mercutio. But I'll be hanged, sir, if he wear your livery: 1555
    Marry, go before to field, he'll be your follower;
    Your worship in that sense may call him 'man.'
  • Tybalt. Romeo, the hate I bear thee can afford
    No better term than this,—thou art a villain.
  • Romeo. Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee 1560
    Doth much excuse the appertaining rage
    To such a greeting: villain am I none;
    Therefore farewell; I see thou know'st me not.
  • Tybalt. Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries
    That thou hast done me; therefore turn and draw. 1565
  • Romeo. I do protest, I never injured thee,
    But love thee better than thou canst devise,
    Till thou shalt know the reason of my love:
    And so, good Capulet,—which name I tender
    As dearly as my own,—be satisfied. 1570
  • Mercutio. O calm, dishonourable, vile submission!
    Alla stoccata carries it away.
    Tybalt, you rat-catcher, will you walk?
  • Tybalt. What wouldst thou have with me? 1575
  • Mercutio. Good king of cats, nothing but one of your nine
    lives; that I mean to make bold withal, and as you
    shall use me hereafter, drybeat the rest of the
    eight. Will you pluck your sword out of his pitcher
    by the ears? make haste, lest mine be about your 1580
    ears ere it be out.


  • Romeo. Gentle Mercutio, put thy rapier up.

[They fight]

  • Romeo. Draw, Benvolio; beat down their weapons.
    Gentlemen, for shame, forbear this outrage!
    Tybalt, Mercutio, the prince expressly hath
    Forbidden bandying in Verona streets: 1590
    Hold, Tybalt! good Mercutio!

[TYBALT under ROMEO's arm stabs MERCUTIO, and flies with his followers]

  • Mercutio. I am hurt.
    A plague o' both your houses! I am sped.
    Is he gone, and hath nothing? 1595
  • Mercutio. Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch; marry, 'tis enough.
    Where is my page? Go, villain, fetch a surgeon.

[Exit Page]

  • Romeo. Courage, man; the hurt cannot be much. 1600
  • Mercutio. No, 'tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a
    church-door; but 'tis enough,'twill serve: ask for
    me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave man. I
    am peppered, I warrant, for this world. A plague o'
    both your houses! 'Zounds, a dog, a rat, a mouse, a 1605
    cat, to scratch a man to death! a braggart, a
    rogue, a villain, that fights by the book of
    arithmetic! Why the devil came you between us? I
    was hurt under your arm.
  • Romeo. I thought all for the best. 1610
  • Mercutio. Help me into some house, Benvolio,
    Or I shall faint. A plague o' both your houses!
    They have made worms' meat of me: I have it,
    And soundly too: your houses!


  • Romeo. This gentleman, the prince's near ally,
    My very friend, hath got his mortal hurt
    In my behalf; my reputation stain'd
    With Tybalt's slander,—Tybalt, that an hour
    Hath been my kinsman! O sweet Juliet, 1620
    Thy beauty hath made me effeminate
    And in my temper soften'd valour's steel!

[Re-enter BENVOLIO]

  • Benvolio. O Romeo, Romeo, brave Mercutio's dead!
    That gallant spirit hath aspired the clouds, 1625
    Which too untimely here did scorn the earth.
  • Romeo. This day's black fate on more days doth depend;
    This but begins the woe, others must end.
  • Benvolio. Here comes the furious Tybalt back again.
  • Romeo. Alive, in triumph! and Mercutio slain! 1630
    Away to heaven, respective lenity,
    And fire-eyed fury be my conduct now!
    [Re-enter TYBALT]
    Now, Tybalt, take the villain back again,
    That late thou gavest me; for Mercutio's soul 1635
    Is but a little way above our heads,
    Staying for thine to keep him company:
    Either thou, or I, or both, must go with him.
  • Tybalt. Thou, wretched boy, that didst consort him here,
    Shalt with him hence. 1640
  • Romeo. This shall determine that.

[They fight; TYBALT falls]

  • Benvolio. Romeo, away, be gone!
    The citizens are up, and Tybalt slain.
    Stand not amazed: the prince will doom thee death, 1645
    If thou art taken: hence, be gone, away!
  • Romeo. O, I am fortune's fool!

[Exit ROMEO]

[Enter Citizens, &c]

  • First Citizen. Which way ran he that kill'd Mercutio?
    Tybalt, that murderer, which way ran he?
  • First Citizen. Up, sir, go with me;
    I charge thee in the princes name, obey. 1655
    [Enter Prince, attended; MONTAGUE, CAPULET, their]
    Wives, and others]
  • Benvolio. O noble prince, I can discover all
    The unlucky manage of this fatal brawl: 1660
    There lies the man, slain by young Romeo,
    That slew thy kinsman, brave Mercutio.
  • Lady Capulet. Tybalt, my cousin! O my brother's child!
    O prince! O cousin! husband! O, the blood is spilt
    O my dear kinsman! Prince, as thou art true, 1665
    For blood of ours, shed blood of Montague.
    O cousin, cousin!
  • Benvolio. Tybalt, here slain, whom Romeo's hand did slay;
    Romeo that spoke him fair, bade him bethink 1670
    How nice the quarrel was, and urged withal
    Your high displeasure: all this uttered
    With gentle breath, calm look, knees humbly bow'd,
    Could not take truce with the unruly spleen
    Of Tybalt deaf to peace, but that he tilts 1675
    With piercing steel at bold Mercutio's breast,
    Who all as hot, turns deadly point to point,
    And, with a martial scorn, with one hand beats
    Cold death aside, and with the other sends
    It back to Tybalt, whose dexterity, 1680
    Retorts it: Romeo he cries aloud,
    'Hold, friends! friends, part!' and, swifter than
    his tongue,
    His agile arm beats down their fatal points,
    And 'twixt them rushes; underneath whose arm 1685
    An envious thrust from Tybalt hit the life
    Of stout Mercutio, and then Tybalt fled;
    But by and by comes back to Romeo,
    Who had but newly entertain'd revenge,
    And to 't they go like lightning, for, ere I 1690
    Could draw to part them, was stout Tybalt slain.
    And, as he fell, did Romeo turn and fly.
    This is the truth, or let Benvolio die.
  • Lady Capulet. He is a kinsman to the Montague;
    Affection makes him false; he speaks not true: 1695
    Some twenty of them fought in this black strife,
    And all those twenty could but kill one life.
    I beg for justice, which thou, prince, must give;
    Romeo slew Tybalt, Romeo must not live.
  • Prince Escalus. Romeo slew him, he slew Mercutio; 1700
    Who now the price of his dear blood doth owe?
  • Montague. Not Romeo, prince, he was Mercutio's friend;
    His fault concludes but what the law should end,
    The life of Tybalt.
  • Prince Escalus. And for that offence 1705
    Immediately we do exile him hence:
    I have an interest in your hate's proceeding,
    My blood for your rude brawls doth lie a-bleeding;
    But I'll amerce you with so strong a fine
    That you shall all repent the loss of mine: 1710
    I will be deaf to pleading and excuses;
    Nor tears nor prayers shall purchase out abuses:
    Therefore use none: let Romeo hence in haste,
    Else, when he's found, that hour is his last.
    Bear hence this body and attend our will: 1715
    Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill.