Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Romeo and Juliet (Modern)
  • Editor: Roger Apfelbaum
  • ISBN: 1-55058-299-2

    Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Roger Apfelbaum
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Romeo and Juliet (Modern)

    Enter Mercutio, [his Page,] Benvolio, and men.
    Benvolio I pray thee, good Mercutio, let's retire.
    The day is hot, the Capels are abroad,
    And if we meet we shall not scape a brawl,
    For now, these 1435hot days, is the mad blood stirring.
    Mercutio Thou art like one of these 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 thee" and by the operation of the second cup draws him on the 1440drawer when indeed there is no need.
    Benvolio Am I like such a fellow?
    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 soon moody to be moved.
    1445Benvolio And what to?
    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 or a hair less in his beard then thou hast. Thou wilt quarrel with a 1450man 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 full of quarrels as an egg is full of meat, and yet thy head hath been beaten as addle as an egg for quarreling. Thou hast 1455quarreled 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 his new doublet before Easter? With another for tying his new shoes with old ribbon? And yet thou wilt tutor me from 1460quarrelling?
    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.
    Mercutio The fee simple? O simple!
    Enter Tybalt, Petruchio, and others
    Benvolio By my head, here comes the Capulets.
    Mercutio By my heel I care not.
    Tybalt Follow me close, for I will speak to them. --
    Gentlemen, good e'en. A word with one of you.
    1470Mercutio 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.
    Mercutio Could you not take some occasion without 1475giving?
    Tybalt Mercutio, thou consortest with Romeo.
    Mercutio Consort? What, doest thou make us minstrels? An thou make minstrels of us, look to hear nothing but discords. Here's my fiddlestick; here's that shall make you 1480dance. Zounds, consort!
    Benvolio We talk here in the public haunt of men.
    Either withdraw unto some private place,
    Or reason coldly of your grievances,
    Or else depart. Here all eyes gaze on us.
    1485Mercutio 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.
    1490Marry, go before to field, he'll be your follower.
    Your Worship in that sense may call him "man."
    Tybalt Romeo, the love I bear thee can afford
    No better term than this: thou art a villain.
    Romeo Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee
    1495Doth much excuse the appertaining rage
    To such a greeting. Villain am I none.
    Therefore farewell, I see thou knowest me not.
    Tybalt Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries
    That thou hast done me. Therefore turn and draw.
    1500Romeo I do protest I never injured thee
    But love thee better then thou canst devise
    Till thou shalt know the reason of my love.
    And so, good Capulet, which name I tender
    As dearly as mine own, be satisfied.
    1505Mercutio O calm, dishonorable, vile submission!
    "Alla stoccado" carries it away.
    Tybalt, you ratcatcher, will you walk?
    Tybalt What wouldst thou have with me?
    Mercutio Good King of Cats, nothing but one of your nine 1510lives, that I mean to make bold withal, and as you shall use me hereafter dry beat the rest of the eight. Will you pluck your sword out of his pilcher by the ears? Make haste, lest mine be about your ears ere it be out.
    Tybalt I am for you.
    [They fight]
    1515Romeo Gentle Mercutio, put thy rapier up.
    Mercutio Come, sir, your "passado."
    Romeo Draw, Benvolio, beat down their weapons.
    Gentlemen, for shame forbear this outrage.
    Tybalt, Mercutio, the Prince expressly hath
    1520Forbid this bandying in Verona streets.
    Hold, Tybalt! Good Mercutio!
    [Tybalt stabs Mercutio under Romeo's arm]
    Petruchio Away Tybalt.
    [Exeunt Tybalt and followers]
    Mercutio I am hurt.
    A plague o' both houses! I am sped.
    1525Is he gone and hath nothing?
    What, art thou hurt?
    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.
    1530Mercutio No 'tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door, but 'tis enough, 'twill serve. Ask for me tomorrow, 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 cat, to scratch a man to 1535death! 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.
    Mercutio Help me into some house, Benvolio,
    1540Or I shall faint. A plague o' both your houses!
    They have made worms' meat of me.
    I have it, and soundly, too. Your houses!
    Exit [with Benvolio]
    Romeo This gentleman, the Prince's near ally,
    My very friend, hath got this mortal hurt
    1545In my behalf; my reputation stained
    With Tybalt's slander -- Tybalt, that an hour
    Hath been my cousin! O sweet Juliet,
    Thy beauty hath made me effeminate
    And in my temper softened valor's steel.
    Enter Benvolio
    Benvolio O Romeo, Romeo, brave Mercutio is dead.
    That gallant spirit hath aspired the clouds,
    Which too untimely here did scorn the earth.
    Romeo This day's black fate on more days doth depend;
    1555This but begins the woe others must end.
    [Enter Tybalt]
    Benvolio Here comes the furious Tybalt back again.
    Romeo Alive in triumph, and Mercutio slain!
    Away to heaven, respective lenity,
    1560And fire-eyed fury be my conduct now.
    Now, Tybalt, take the "villain" back again
    That late thou gavest me, for Mercutio's soul
    Is but a little way above our heads,
    Staying for thine to keep him company.
    1565Either thou or I, or both, must go with him.
    Tybalt Thou, wretched boy, that didst consort him here,
    Shalt with him hence.
    This shall determine that.
    They Fight. Tybalt falls.
    1570Benvolio Romeo, away, be gone!
    The citizens are up, and Tybalt slain.
    Stand not amazed. The Prince will doom thee death
    If thou art taken. Hence, be gone, away.
    Oh, I am fortune's fool!
    Why dost thou stay?
    Exit Romeo.
    Enter Citizens.
    Citizen Which way ran he that killed Mercutio?
    Tybalt, that murderer, which way ran he?
    There lies that Tybalt.
    Up sir, go with me.
    I charge thee in the Princes name obey.
    Enter Prince, old Montague, Capulet, their WIVES, and all.
    1585Prince Where are the vile beginners of this fray?
    Benvolio O Noble Prince, I can discover all
    The unlucky manage of this fatal brawl.
    There lies the man, slain by young Romeo,
    That slew thy kinsman, brave Mercutio.
    1590Capulet's Wife Tybalt, my cousin, O my brother's child!
    O Prince, O cousin, husband, Oh, the blood is spilled
    Of my dear kinsman! Prince, as thou art true,
    For blood of ours, shed blood of Montague.
    O cousin, cousin!
    1595Prince Benvolio, who began this bloody fray?
    Benvolio Tybalt, here slain, whom Romeo's hand did slay.
    Romeo, that spoke him fair, bid him bethink
    How nice the quarrel was, and urged withal
    Your high displeasure. All this utterèd
    1600With gentle breath, calm look, knees humbly bowed
    Could not take truce with the unruly spleen
    Of Tybalt deaf to peace, but that he tilts
    With piercing steel at bold Mercutio's breast,
    Who, all as hot, turns deadly point to point
    1605And, with a martial scorn, with one hand beats
    Cold death aside and with the other sends
    It back to Tybalt, whose dexterity
    Retorts it. Romeo he cries aloud,
    "Hold, friends! Friends, part!" and swifter then his tongue,
    1610His agile arm beats down their fatal points,
    And 'twixt them rushes; underneath whose arm
    An envious thrust from Tybalt hit the life
    Of stout Mercutio, and then Tybalt fled;
    But by and by comes back to Romeo,
    1615Who had but newly entertained revenge,
    And to't they go like lightning, for, ere I
    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.
    1620Capulet's Wife He is a kinsman to the Montague;
    Affection makes him false; he speaks not true.
    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:
    1625Romeo slew Tybalt; Romeo must not live.
    Prince Romeo slew him, he slew Mercutio.
    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,
    1630The life of Tybalt.
    And for that offence
    Immediately we do exile him hence.
    I have an interest in your hearts' proceeding;
    My blood for your rude brawls doth lie a-bleeding;
    1635But I'll amerce you with so strong a fine
    That you shall all repent the loss of mine.
    I will be deaf to pleading and excuses.
    Nor tears nor prayers shall purchase out abuses.
    Therefore use none. Let Romeo hence in haste,
    1640Else, when he is found, that hour is his last.
    Bear hence this body and attend our will,
    Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill.