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Enter ROMEO.

TYB. Well, peace be with you, sir! here comes my man.

MER. But I'll be hanged, sir, if he wear your


Marry, go before to field, he'll be your follower; Your worship, in that sense, may call him-man.

TYB. Romeo, the hate I bear thee,2 can afford No better term than this-Thou art a villain.

ROM. Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee Doth much excuse the appertaining rage To such a greeting:-Villain am I none; Therefore farewell; I see, thou know'st me not. TYB. Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries That thou hast done me; therefore turn, and draw. ROM. I do protest, I never injur'd thee; But love thee better than 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.

MER. O calm, dishonourable, vile submission! A la stoccatas carries it away.

Tybalt, you rat-catcher, will you walk?



TYB. What would'st thou have with me?


the hate I bear thee,] So the quarto 1597. The subsequent ancient copies have the love, &c. MALONE. 3 A la stoccata-] Stoccata is the Italian term for 2. or stab with a rapier. So, in The Devil's Charter, 1607: "He makes a thrust; I with a swift passado "Make quick avoidance, and with this stoccata," &c.



MER. Good king of cats, nothing, but one of your nine lives; 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?5 make haste, lest mine be about your ears ere it be out.

TYB. I am for you.

[Drawing. ROM. Gentle Mercutio, put thy rapier up. MER. Come, sir, your passado. [They fight. ROM. Draw, Benvolio;

Beat down their weapons :-Gentlemen, for shame Forbear this outrage;-Tybalt-Mercutio

The prince expressly hath forbid this bandying In Verona streets:-hold, Tybalt;-good Mercutio. [Exeunt TYBALT and his Partizans.

MER. I am hurt;

A plague o'both the houses!-I am sped

Is he gone, and hath nothing?


What, art thou hurt?

Good king of cats,] Alluding to his name. See p. 104, n. 4.



Will you pluck your sword out of his pilcher by the ears?] We should read pilche, which signifies a cloke or coat of skins, meaning the scabbard. WARBUrton.

The old quarto reads scabbard. Dr. Warburton's explanation is, I believe, just. Nash, in Pierce Pennyless his Supplication, 1595, speaks of a carman in a leather pilche. Again, in Decker's Satiromastix, 1602:

"I'll beat five pounds out of his leather pilch."

Again, "Thou hast forgot how thou ambled'st in a leather pilch, by a play-waggon in the highway, and took'st mad Jeronimo's part, to get service among the mimicks."

It appears from this passage, that Ben Jonson acted the part of Hieronimo in the Spanish tragedy, the speech being addressed to Horace, under which character old Ben is ridiculed.



MER. Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch; marry, 'tis enough.

Where is my page?-go, villain, fetch a surgeon. [Exit Page.


ROM. Courage, man; the hurt cannot be much. MER. No, 'tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door; but 'tis enough, 'twill serve: ask for me to-morrow, 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 death! a braggart, a rogue, a villain, that fights by the book of arithmetick!-Why, the devil, came you between us? I was hurt under your arm.


ROM. I thought all for the best.

a grave man.] After this, the quarto, 1597, continues Mercutio's speech as follows:

"A pox o'both your houses! I shall be fairly mounted upon four men's shoulders for your house of the Montagues and the Capulets and then some peasantly rogue, some sexton, some base slave, shall write my epitaph, that Tybalt came and broke the prince's laws, and Mercutio was slain for the first and second cause. Where's the surgeon?


Boy. He's come, sir.

"Mer. Now he'll keep a mumbling in my guts on the other side. Come, Benvolio, lend me thy hand: A

houses!" STEEVENS.

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o'both pox


"You shall find me a grave man.' This jest was better in old language, than it is at present. Lidgate says, in his elegy upon Chaucer:


My master Chaucer now is grave.”


We meet with the same quibble in The Revenger's Tragedy, 1608, where Vindici dresses up a lady's scull, and observes: she has a somewhat grave look with her.”


Again, in Sir Thomas Overbury's Description of a Sexton, CHARACTERS, 1616: "At every church-style commonly there's an ale-house; where let him bee found never so idle-pated, hee is still a grave drunkard." MALone.

MER. Help me into some house, Benvolio, Or I shall faint.-A plague o'both your houses! They have made worm's meat of me:

I have it, and soundly too:-Your houses!

[Exeunt MERCUTIO and BENVOLIO. ROM. This gentleman, the prince's near ally, My very friend, hath got his mortal hurt In my behalf; my reputation stain'd With Tybalt's slander, Tybalt, that an hour Hath been my kinsman :-O sweet Juliet, Thy beauty hath made me effeminate, And in my temper soften'd valour's steel."

Re-enter BENVOLIO.

BEN. O Romeo, Romeo, brave Mercutio's dead; That gallant spirit hath aspir'd the clouds,3 Which too untimely here did scorn the earth. ROM. This day's black fate on more days doth depend;"

This but begins the woe, others must end.




soften'd valour's steel.] So, in Coriolanus:

When steel grows

"Soft as the parasite's silk-." MALONE.

hath aspir'd the clouds,] So, in Greene's Card of

Fancy, 1608:

"Her haughty mind is too lofty for me to aspire." Again, in Chapman's version of the tenth Iliad:


and presently aspir'd

"The guardless Thracian regiment.

Again, in the ninth Iliad:

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and aspir'd the gods' eternal feats."

We never use this verb at present without some particle, as, to and after. STEEVENS.

So also, Marlowe, in his Tamburlaine, 1590:

"Until our bodies turn to elements,

"And both our souls aspire celestial thrones." MALONE. ? This day's black fate on more days doth depend;] This

Re-enter TYBALT.

BEN. Here comes the furious Tybalt back again. ROM. Alive! in triumph!' and Mercutio slain! Away to heaven, respective lenity,2

And fire-ey'd fury be my conduct now!3-
Now, Tybalt, take the villain back again,
That late thou gav'st me; for Mercutio's soul
Is but a little way above our heads,
Staying for thine to keep him company;
Either thou, or I, or both, must go with him.

TYB. Thou, wretched boy, that didst consort him here,

Shalt with him hence.


This shall determine that.

[They fight; TYBALT falls.

BEN. Romeo, away, be gone!

The citizens are up, and Tybalt slain :

day's unhappy destiny hangs over the days yet to come. There will yet be more mischief. JOHNSON.

1 Alive! in triumph! &c.] Thus the quarto, 1597; for which the quarto, 1599, has

He gan in triumph

This, in the subsequent ancient copies, was made-He gone, &c. MALOne.


- respective lenity,] Cool, considerate gentleness. Respect formerly signified consideration; prudential caution. So, in The Rape of Lucrece:

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Respect and reason well beseem the sage." MALONE. And fire-ey'd fury be conduct now!] Conduct for conductor. So, in a former scene of this play, quarto, 1597: "Which to the high top-gallant of my joy

"Must be my conduct in the secret night."

Thus the first quarto. In that of 1599, end being corruptly printed instead of ey'd, the editor of the folio, according to the usual process of corruption, exhibited the line thus:

And fire and fury be my conduct now.


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