Romeo and Juliet - Act 2, scene 4
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Act 2, scene 4
Mercutio and Benvolio meet the newly enthusiastic Romeo in the street. Romeo defeats Mercutio in a battle of wits. The Nurse finds Romeo, and he gives her a message for Juliet: meet me at Friar Lawrence’s cell this afternoon, and we will there be married.Enter Benvolio and Mercutio.
1130 Where the devil should this Romeo be?
1131 Came he not home tonight?
1132 Not to his father’s. I spoke with his man.
1133 Why, that same pale hard-hearted wench, that
1134 5 Rosaline,
1135 Torments him so that he will sure run mad.
1136 Tybalt, the kinsman to old Capulet,
1137 Hath sent a letter to his father’s house.
MERCUTIO 1138 A challenge, on my life.
BENVOLIO 1139 10Romeo will answer it.
MERCUTIO 1140 Any man that can write may answer a letter.
BENVOLIO 1141 Nay, he will answer the letter’s master, how
1142 he dares, being dared.
MERCUTIO 1143 Alas, poor Romeo, he is already dead,
1144 15 stabbed with a white wench’s black eye, run
1145 through the ear with a love-song, the very pin of his
1146 heart cleft with the blind bow-boy’s butt shaft. And
1147 is he a man to encounter Tybalt?
⌜BENVOLIO⌝ 1148 Why, what is Tybalt?
MERCUTIO 1149 20More than prince of cats. O, he’s the courageous
1150 captain of compliments. He fights as you sing
1151 prick-song, keeps time, distance, and proportion.
1153 your bosom—the very butcher of a silk button, a
1154 25 duelist, a duelist, a gentleman of the very first house
1155 of the first and second cause. Ah, the immortal
1156 passado, the punto reverso, the hay!
BENVOLIO 1157 The what?
MERCUTIO 1158 The pox of such antic, lisping, affecting
1159 30 ⌜phantasimes,⌝ these new tuners of accent: “By
1160 Jesu, a very good blade! A very tall man! A very good
1161 whore!” Why, is not this a lamentable thing, grandsire,
1162 that we should be thus afflicted with these
1163 strange flies, these fashion-mongers, these ⌜“pardon-me” ’s,⌝
1164 35 who stand so much on the new form
1165 that they cannot sit at ease on the old bench? O their
1166 bones, their bones!
BENVOLIO 1167 Here comes Romeo, here comes Romeo.
MERCUTIO 1168 Without his roe, like a dried herring. O
1169 40 flesh, flesh, how art thou fishified! Now is he for the
1170 numbers that Petrarch flowed in. Laura to his lady
1171 was a kitchen wench (marry, she had a better love
1172 to berhyme her), Dido a dowdy, Cleopatra a gypsy,
1173 Helen and Hero hildings and harlots, Thisbe a gray
1174 45 eye or so, but not to the purpose.—Signior Romeo,
1175 bonjour. There’s a French salutation to your French
1176 slop. You gave us the counterfeit fairly last night.
ROMEO 1177 Good morrow to you both. What counterfeit
1178 did I give you?
MERCUTIO 1179 50The slip, sir, the slip. Can you not conceive?
ROMEO 1180 Pardon, good Mercutio, my business was
1181 great, and in such a case as mine a man may strain
MERCUTIO 1183 That’s as much as to say such a case as
1184 55 yours constrains a man to bow in the hams.
ROMEO 1185 Meaning, to curtsy.
ROMEO 1187 A most courteous exposition.
MERCUTIO 1188 Nay, I am the very pink of courtesy.
ROMEO 1189 60“Pink” for flower.
MERCUTIO 1190 Right.
ROMEO 1191 Why, then is my pump well flowered.
MERCUTIO 1192 Sure wit, follow me this jest now till thou
1193 hast worn out thy pump, that when the single sole
1194 65 of it is worn, the jest may remain, after the wearing,
1195 solely singular.
ROMEO 1196 O single-soled jest, solely singular for the
MERCUTIO 1198 Come between us, good Benvolio. My wits
1199 70 faints.
ROMEO 1200 Switch and spurs, switch and spurs, or I’ll cry
1201 a match.
MERCUTIO 1202 Nay, if our wits run the wild-goose chase, I
1203 am done, for thou hast more of the wild goose in
1204 75 one of thy wits than, I am sure, I have in my whole
1205 five. Was I with you there for the goose?
ROMEO 1206 Thou wast never with me for anything when
1207 thou wast not there for the goose.
MERCUTIO 1208 I will bite thee by the ear for that jest.
ROMEO 1209 80Nay, good goose, bite not.
MERCUTIO 1210 Thy wit is a very bitter sweeting; it is a most
1211 sharp sauce.
ROMEO 1212 And is it not, then, well served into a sweet
MERCUTIO 1214 85O, here’s a wit of cheveril that stretches
1215 from an inch narrow to an ell broad.
ROMEO 1216 I stretch it out for that word “broad,” which
1217 added to the goose, proves thee far and wide a
1218 broad goose.
MERCUTIO 1219 90Why, is not this better now than groaning
1220 for love? Now art thou sociable, now art thou
1221 Romeo, now art thou what thou art, by art as well as
1223 natural that runs lolling up and down to hide his
1224 95 bauble in a hole.
BENVOLIO 1225 Stop there, stop there.
MERCUTIO 1226 Thou desirest me to stop in my tale against
1227 the hair.
BENVOLIO 1228 Thou wouldst else have made thy tale large.
MERCUTIO 1229 100O, thou art deceived. I would have made it
1230 short, for I was come to the whole depth of my tale
1231 and meant indeed to occupy the argument no
Enter Nurse and her man ⌜Peter.⌝
ROMEO 1233 Here’s goodly gear. A sail, a sail!
MERCUTIO 1234 105Two, two—a shirt and a smock.
NURSE 1235 Peter.
PETER 1236 Anon.
NURSE 1237 My fan, Peter.
MERCUTIO 1238 Good Peter, to hide her face, for her fan’s
1239 110 the fairer face.
NURSE 1240 God you good morrow, gentlemen.
MERCUTIO 1241 God you good e’en, fair gentlewoman.
NURSE 1242 Is it good e’en?
MERCUTIO 1243 ’Tis no less, I tell you, for the bawdy hand of
1244 115 the dial is now upon the prick of noon.
NURSE 1245 Out upon you! What a man are you?
ROMEO 1246 One, gentlewoman, that God hath made, himself
1247 to mar.
NURSE 1248 By my troth, it is well said: “for himself to
1249 120 mar,” quoth he? Gentlemen, can any of you tell me
1250 where I may find the young Romeo?
ROMEO 1251 I can tell you, but young Romeo will be older
1252 when you have found him than he was when you
1253 sought him. I am the youngest of that name, for
1254 125 fault of a worse.
NURSE 1255 You say well.
1257 faith, wisely, wisely.
NURSE 1258 If you be he, sir, I desire some confidence with
1259 130 you.
BENVOLIO 1260 She will indite him to some supper.
MERCUTIO 1261 A bawd, a bawd, a bawd. So ho!
ROMEO 1262 What hast thou found?
MERCUTIO 1263 No hare, sir, unless a hare, sir, in a Lenten
1264 135 pie that is something stale and hoar ere it be spent.
⌜Singing.⌝ 1265 An old hare hoar,
1266 And an old hare hoar,
1267 Is very good meat in Lent.
1268 But a hare that is hoar
1269 140 Is too much for a score
1270 When it hoars ere it be spent.
1271 Romeo, will you come to your father’s? We’ll to
1272 dinner thither.
ROMEO 1273 I will follow you.
MERCUTIO 1274 145Farewell, ancient lady. Farewell, lady, lady,
1275 lady.⌜Mercutio and Benvolio⌝ exit.
NURSE 1276 I pray you, sir, what saucy merchant was this
1277 that was so full of his ropery?
ROMEO 1278 A gentleman, nurse, that loves to hear himself
1279 150 talk and will speak more in a minute than he will
1280 stand to in a month.
NURSE 1281 An he speak anything against me, I’ll take him
1282 down, an he were lustier than he is, and twenty
1283 such jacks. An if I cannot, I’ll find those that shall.
1284 155 Scurvy knave, I am none of his flirt-gills; I am none
1285 of his skains-mates. ⌜To Peter.⌝ And thou must stand
1286 by too and suffer every knave to use me at his
PETER 1288 I saw no man use you at his pleasure. If I had,
1289 160 my weapon should quickly have been out. I warrant
1290 you, I dare draw as soon as another man, if I
1291 see occasion in a good quarrel, and the law on my
1294 165 about me quivers. Scurvy knave! ⌜To Romeo.⌝ Pray
1295 you, sir, a word. And, as I told you, my young lady
1296 bid me inquire you out. What she bid me say, I will
1297 keep to myself. But first let me tell you, if you
1298 should lead her in a fool’s paradise, as they say, it
1299 170 were a very gross kind of behavior, as they say. For
1300 the gentlewoman is young; and therefore, if you
1301 should deal double with her, truly it were an ill
1302 thing to be offered to any gentlewoman, and very
1303 weak dealing.
ROMEO 1304 175Nurse, commend me to thy lady and mistress.
1305 I protest unto thee—
NURSE 1306 Good heart, and i’ faith I will tell her as much.
1307 Lord, Lord, she will be a joyful woman.
ROMEO 1308 What wilt thou tell her, nurse? Thou dost not
1309 180 mark me.
NURSE 1310 I will tell her, sir, that you do protest, which, as
1311 I take it, is a gentlemanlike offer.
ROMEO 1312 Bid her devise
1313 Some means to come to shrift this afternoon,
1314 185 And there she shall at Friar Lawrence’ cell
1315 Be shrived and married. Here is for thy pains.
⌜Offering her money.⌝
NURSE 1316 No, truly, sir, not a penny.
ROMEO 1317 Go to, I say you shall.
1318 This afternoon, sir? Well, she shall be there.
1319 190 And stay, good nurse, behind the abbey wall.
1320 Within this hour my man shall be with thee
1321 And bring thee cords made like a tackled stair,
1322 Which to the high topgallant of my joy
1323 Must be my convoy in the secret night.
1324 195 Farewell. Be trusty, and I’ll quit thy pains.
1325 Farewell. Commend me to thy mistress.
1326 Now, God in heaven bless thee! Hark you, sir.
ROMEO 1327 What sayst thou, my dear nurse?
1328 Is your man secret? Did you ne’er hear say
1329 200 “Two may keep counsel, putting one away”?
1330 Warrant thee, my man’s as true as steel.
NURSE 1331 Well, sir, my mistress is the sweetest lady. Lord,
1332 Lord, when ’twas a little prating thing—O, there is
1333 a nobleman in town, one Paris, that would fain lay
1334 205 knife aboard, but she, good soul, had as lief see a
1335 toad, a very toad, as see him. I anger her sometimes
1336 and tell her that Paris is the properer man, but I’ll
1337 warrant you, when I say so, she looks as pale as any
1338 clout in the versal world. Doth not rosemary and
1339 210 Romeo begin both with a letter?
ROMEO 1340 Ay, nurse, what of that? Both with an R.
NURSE 1341 Ah, mocker, that’s the ⌜dog’s⌝ name. R is for
1342 the—No, I know it begins with some other letter,
1343 and she hath the prettiest sententious of it, of you
1344 215 and rosemary, that it would do you good to hear it.
ROMEO 1345 Commend me to thy lady.
NURSE 1346 Ay, a thousand times.—Peter.
PETER 1347 Anon.
NURSE 1348 Before and apace.