Enter Benvolio and Mercutio.
Where the devil should this Romeo be?
Came he not home tonight?
Not to his father’s. I spoke with his man.
Why, that same pale hard-hearted wench, that Rosaline,
Torments him so that he will sure run mad.
Tybalt, the kinsman to old Capulet,
Hath sent a letter to his father’s house.
A challenge, on my life.
Romeo will answer it.
Any man that can write may answer a letter.
Nay, he will answer the letter’s master, how
he dares, being dared.
Alas, poor Romeo, he is already dead,
stabbed with a white wench’s black eye, run
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 encounter Tybalt?
Why, what is Tybalt?
More than prince of cats. O, he’s the courageous
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 immortal
passado, the punto reverso, the hay !
The pox of such antic, lisping, affecting
⸢phantasimes,⸣ these new tuners of accent: "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 ⸢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!
Here comes Romeo, here comes Romeo.
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 wench (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.—Signior Romeo,
bonjour. There’s a French salutation to your French
slop. You gave us the counterfeit fairly last night.
Good morrow to you both. What counterfeit
did I give you?
The slip, sir, the slip. Can you not conceive?
Pardon, good Mercutio, my business was
great, and in such a case as mine a man may strain
That’s as much as to say such a case as
yours constrains a man to bow in the hams.
Meaning, to curtsy.
Thou hast most kindly hit it.
A most courteous exposition.
Nay, I am the very pink of courtesy.
Why, then is my pump well flowered.
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,
O single-soled jest, solely singular for the
Come between us, good Benvolio. My wits
Switch and spurs, switch and spurs, or I’ll cry
Nay, if our wits run the wild-goose chase, I
am 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?
Thou wast never with me for anything when
thou wast not there for the goose.
I will bite thee by the ear for that jest.
Nay, good goose, bite not.
Thy wit is a very bitter sweeting; it is a most
And is it not, then, well served into a sweet
O, here’s a wit of cheveril that stretches
from an inch narrow to an ell broad.
I stretch it out for that word "broad," which
added to the goose, proves thee far and wide a
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 driveling love is like a great
natural that runs lolling up and down to hide his
bauble in a hole.
Stop there, stop there.
Thou desirest me to stop in my tale against
Thou wouldst else have made thy tale large.
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
Enter Nurse and her man ⸢Peter.⸣
Here’s goodly gear. A sail, a sail!
Two, two—a shirt and a smock.
Good Peter, to hide her face, for her fan’s
the fairer face.
God you good morrow, gentlemen.
God you good e’en, fair gentlewoman.
’Tis no less, I tell you, for the bawdy hand of
the dial is now upon the prick of noon.
Out upon you! What a man are you?
One, gentlewoman, that God hath made, himself
By my troth, it is well said: "for himself to
mar," quoth he? Gentlemen, can any of you tell me
where I may find the young 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.
Yea, is the worst well? Very well took, i’
faith, wisely, wisely.
If you be he, sir, I desire some confidence with
She will indite him to some supper.
A bawd, a bawd, a bawd. So ho!
What hast thou found?
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
Farewell, ancient lady. Farewell, lady, lady,
⸢Mercutio and Benvolio⸣ exit.
I pray you, sir, what saucy merchant was this
that was so full of his ropery?
A gentleman, nurse, that loves to hear himself
talk and will speak more in a minute than he will
stand to in a month.
An he speak anything against me, I’ll take him
down, an he were lustier than he is, and twenty
such jacks. An 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
I saw no man use you at his 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
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 told you, my young lady
bid me inquire you out. What she bid me say, I will
keep to myself. But first let me tell you, if you
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 deal double with her, truly it were an ill
thing to be offered to any gentlewoman, and very
Nurse, commend me to thy lady and mistress.
I protest unto thee—
Good heart, and i’ faith I will tell her as much.
Lord, Lord, she will be a joyful woman.
What wilt thou tell her, nurse? Thou dost not
I will tell her, sir, that you do protest, which, as
I take it, is a gentlemanlike offer.
Bid her devise
Some means to come to shrift this afternoon,
And there she shall at Friar Lawrence’ cell
Be shrived and married. Here is for thy pains.
⸢Offering her money.⸣
No, truly, sir, not a penny.
Go to, I say you shall.
This afternoon, sir? Well, she shall be there.
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
Must be my convoy in the secret night.
Farewell. Be trusty, and I’ll quit thy pains.
Farewell. Commend me to thy mistress.
Now, God in heaven bless thee! Hark you, sir.
What sayst thou, my dear nurse?
Is your man secret? Did you ne’er hear say
"Two may keep counsel, putting one away"?
Warrant thee, my man’s as true as steel.
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?
Ay, nurse, what of that? Both with an R.
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.
Commend me to thy lady.
Ay, a thousand times.—Peter.