ACT II
Scene 4
 

A street.

Enter Benvolio and Mercutio.

MERCUTIO
Where the devil should this Romeo be?
Came he not home to-night?

BENVOLIO
Not to his father's. I spoke with his man.

MERCUTIO
Why, that same pale hard-hearted wench, that Rosaline,
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.

MERCUTIO
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! stabb'd with a white
wench's black eye;
shot 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?

BENVOLIO
Why, what is Tybalt?

MERCUTIO
More than Prince of Cats, I can tell you. O, he's the
courageous captain of compliments. He fights as you sing
pricksong-keeps time, distance, and proportion;
rests me his
minim rest, one, two, and the third in your bosom! the very
butcher of a silk button, a duellist, a duellist! a gentleman
of the very first house, of the first and second cause. Ah,
the immortal passado! the punto reverse! the hay.

BENVOLIO
The what?

MERCUTIO
The pox of such antic, lisping, affecting fantasticoes-
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, grandsir, that we should be thus afflicted
with these strange flies, these fashion-mongers, these
pardona-mi's, who stand so much on the new form that they
cannot sit at ease on the old bench? O, their bones, their
bones!

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 but a kitchen wench
(marry, she had a better love to berhyme her), Dido a dowdy,
Cleopatra a gypsy, Helen and Hero hildings and harlots, This
be a gray eye or so, but not to the purpose. Signior Romeo,
bon jour! There's a French salutation to your French slop.
You gave us the counterfeit fairly last night.

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 such
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 cursy.

MERCUTIO
Thou hast most kindly hit it.

ROMEO
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-flower'd.

MERCUTIO
Well said! 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-sold jest, solely singular for the singleness!

MERCUTIO
Come between us, good Benvolio! My wits faint.

ROMEO
Swits and spurs, swits and spurs! or I'll cry a match.

MERCUTIO
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?

ROMEO
Thou wast never with me for anything when thou wast not
there for the goose.

MERCUTIO
I will bite thee by the ear for that jest.

ROMEO
Nay, good goose, bite not!

MERCUTIO
Thy wit is a very bitter sweeting;
it is a most sharp
sauce.

ROMEO
And is it not, then, well serv'd in to a sweet goose?

MERCUTIO
O, 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 love? Now
art thou sociable, now art thou Romeo;
now art thou what thou
art, by art as well as by nature. For this drivelling love is
like a great natural that runs lolling up and down to hide
his bauble in a hole.

BENVOLIO
Stop there, stop there!

MERCUTIO
Thou desirest me to stop in my tale against the hair.

BENVOLIO
Thou wouldst else have made thy tale large.

MERCUTIO
O, thou art deceiv'd! 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!

Enter Nurse and her Man [Peter].

MERCUTIO
A sail, a sail!

BENVOLIO
Two, two! a shirt and a smock.

NURSE
Peter!

PETER
Anon.

NURSE
My fan, Peter.

MERCUTIO
Good Peter, to hide her face;
for her fan's the fairer
face of the two.

NURSE
God ye good morrow, gentlemen.

MERCUTIO
God ye good-den, fair gentlewoman.

NURSE
Is it good-den?

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!

ROMEO
One, gentlewoman, that God hath made for 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?

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.

NURSE
You say well.

MERCUTIO
Yea, is the worst well? Very well took, i' faith! wisely,
wisely.

NURSE
If you be he, sir, I desire some confidence with you.

BENVOLIO
She will endite him to some supper.

MERCUTIO
A bawd, a bawd, a bawd! So ho!

ROMEO
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 walks by them and sings.

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 dinner
thither.

ROMEO
I will follow you.

MERCUTIO
Farewell, ancient lady. Farewell,
[sings] lady, lady, lady.

Exeunt Mercutio, Benvolio.

NURSE
Marry, farewell! I Pray you, Sir, what saucy merchant
was this that was so full of his ropery?

ROMEO
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;
and 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. 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
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 side.

NURSE
Now, afore God, I am so vexed that every part about me
quivers. Scurvy knave! Pray you, sir, a word;
and, as I told
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 into a fool's paradise, as they say, it were
a very gross kind of behaviour, 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 off'red 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. Lord,
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.

ROMEO
Bid her devise
Some means to come to shrift this afternoon;

And there she shall at Friar Laurence' cell
Be shriv'd and married. Here is for thy pains.

NURSE
No, truly, sir;
not a penny.

ROMEO
Go to! I say you shall.

NURSE
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
Must 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 say'st thou, my dear nurse?

NURSE
Is your man secret? Did you ne'er hear say,
Two may keep counsel, putting one away?

ROMEO
I 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- O, there is a nobleman in
town, one Paris, that would fain lay knife aboard;
but she,
good soul, had as lieve 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?

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
would do you good to hear it.

ROMEO
Commend me to thy lady.

NURSE
Ay, a thousand times. [Exit Romeo.] Peter!

PETER
Anon.

NURSE
Peter, take my fan, and go before, and apace.

Exeunt.