Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Roger Apfelbaum
Not Peer Reviewed

Romeo and Juliet (Modern)


[2.4]
1105
Enter Benvolio and Mercutio.
Mercutio Where the devil should this Romeo be?
Came he not home tonight?
Benvolio Not to his father's; I spoke with his man.
Mercutio Why, that same pale hard-hearted wench, that 1110Rosaline,
Torments him so that he will sure run mad.
Benvolio Tybalt, the kinsman to old Capulet,
Hath sent a letter to his father's house.
Mercutio A challenge, on my life.
Benvolio Romeo will answer it.
1115Mercutio 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, run through the ear with 1120a love-song, the very pin of his heart cleft with the blind bow-boy's butt-shaft; and is he a man to encounter Tybalt?
[Benvolio] Why, what is Tybalt?
Mercutio More than Prince of Cats. Oh, he's the 1125courageous captain of compliments. He fights as you sing prick-song, keeps time, distance and proportion; he rests his minim rests, one two, and the third in your bosom. The very butcher of a silk button, a duelist, a duelist, a gentleman of the very first house of the first and second cause. Ah, the 1130immortal "passado," the "punto reverso," the "hay"!
Benvolio The what?
Mercutio The pox of such antic, lisping, affecting phantasims, these new tuners of accent! "By Jesu a very good blade, a very tall man, a very good whore." Why is not this a 1135lamentable thing, grandsire, that we should be thus afflicted with these strange flies, these fashion-mongers, these "pardon-me"'s, who stand so much on the new form that they cannot sit at ease on the old bench? O their bones, their bones!
1140
Enter Romeo.
Benvolio Here comes Romeo, here comes Romeo.
Mercutio Without his roe, like a dried herring. O flesh, flesh, how art thou fishified! Now is he for the numbers that Petrarch flowed in: Laura to his lady was a kitchen 1145wench -- marry, she had a better love to berhyme her -- Dido a dowdy, Cleopatra a gypsy, Helen and Hero hildings and harlots: Thisbe a gray eye or so, but not to the purpose. Signor Romeo, bonjour: there's a French salutation to your French slop. You gave us the counterfeit fairly last 1150night.
Romeo Good morrow to you both. What counterfeit did I give you?
Mercutio The slip, sir, the slip. Can you not conceive?
Romeo Pardon, good Mercutio, my business was great, and in 1155such 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 curtsy.
Mercutio Thou hast most kindly hit it.
1160Romeo A most courteous exposition.
Mercutio Nay, I am the very pink of courtesy.
Romeo Pink for flower.
Mercutio Right.
Romeo Why then is my pump well flowered.
1165Mercutio Sure wit, 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, solely singular.
Romeo O single-soled jest, 1170solely singular for the singleness!
Mercutio Come between us, good Benvolio. My wits faints.
Romeo Switch and spurs, switch and spurs, or I'll cry a match.
Mercutio Nay, if our wits run the wild-goose chase, I am 1175done, 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 anything when thou wast not there for the goose.
1180Mercutio I will bite thee by the ear for that jest.
Romeo Nay, good goose, bite not.
Mercutio Thy wit is very bitter sweeting; it is a most sharp sauce.
Romeo And is it not then well served into a sweet goose?
1185Mercutio Oh, 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 1190love? Now art thou sociable, now art thou Romeo, now art thou what thou art, by art as well as by nature; for this driveling love is like a great natural that runs lolling up and down to hide his bauble in a hole.
Benvolio Stop there, stop there.
1195Mercutio Thou desirest me to stop in my tale against the hair.
Benvolio Thou wouldst else have made thy tale large.
Mercutio Oh, 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. 1200Enter Nurse and her man [Peter].
A sail, a sail!
Mercutio Two, two, a shirt and a smock.
Nurse Peter.
1205Peter Anon.
Nurse My fan, Peter.
Mercutio Good Peter, to hide her face, for her fan's the fairer face.
Nurse God ye good morrow, gentlemen.
1210Mercutio God ye good e'en, fair gentlewoman.
Nurse Is it good e'en?
Mercutio 'Tis no less, I tell ye, for the bawdy hand of the dial is now upon the prick of noon.
Nurse Out upon you! What a man are you?
1215Romeo One, gentlewoman, that God hath made, himself to mar.
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?
1220Romeo 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.
Nurse You say well.
Mercutio Yea, is the worst well? 1225Very well took, i'faith, wisely, wisely.
Nurse If you be he, sir, I desire some confidence with you.
Benvolio She will indite him to some supper.
Mercutio A bawd, a bawd, a bawd. So ho!
1230Romeo 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. [He sings.]
An old hare hoar
And an old hare hoar,
Is very good meat in lent.
1235But 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.
1240Mercutio Farewell ancient lady, farewell lady, lady, lady.
Exeunt [Mercutio and Benvolio]
Nurse I pray you, sir, what saucy merchant was this that was so full of his ropery?
1245Romeo 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 anything against me, I'll take him down, an a were lustier than he is, and twenty such jacks; 1250and 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. [To Peter] And thou must stand by too and suffer every knave to use me at his pleasure.
Peter I saw no man use you at his pleasure. If I had, my 1255weapon 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! [To Romeo]Pray you, sir, a word. And, as I 1260told you, my young lady bid me enquire you out. What she bid me say, I will keep to myself. But first let me tell ye, if ye should lead her in 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 1265deal 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. 1270Lord, 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.
1275Romeo 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.
1280Nurse 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 topgallant of my joy,
1285Must 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 sayst thou my dear Nurse?
1290Nurse Is your man secret? Did you ne'er here say
"Two may keep counsel, putting one away"?
Romeo 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 -- Oh, there is a 1295nobleman 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. 1300Doth 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 1305would do you good to hear it.
Romeo Commend me to thy lady.
Nurse Ay, a thousand times. -- Peter!
Peter Anon.
Nurse Before and apace.
[They] Exit.