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Ben. Not to his father's; I spoke with his man. Mer. Ah, that same pale hard-hearted wench,
that Rosaline, Torments him so, that he will sure run mad.
Ben. Tybalt, the kinsman of old Capulet,
Mer. A challenge, on my life.
Ben. Nay, he will answer the letter's master, how he dares, being dared.
Mer. Alas, poor Romeo, he is already dead ! stabbed with a white wench's black eye; shot thorough the ear with a love-song; the very pin of his heart cleft with the blind bow-boy's butt-shaft;o And is he a man to encounter Tybalt?
Ben. Why, what is Tybalt?
Mer. More than prince of cats," I can tell you. O, he is the courageous captain of compliments. He fights as you sing prick song, 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:8 Ah, the immortal passado! the punto reverso! the hay!
the very pin of his heart cleft with the blind bow-hoy's butt-shaft;] The allusion is to archery. The clout or white mark at which the arrows are directed, was fastened by a black pin placed in the center of it. To hit this was the highest ambition of every marksman.
; More than prince of cats,] Tybert, the name given to the cat, in the story-book of Reynard the For.
a gentleman of the very first house, -of the first and second cause : ] i. e. a gentleman of the first rank, of the first eminence among these duellists; and one who understands the whole science of quarrelling, and will tell you of the first cause, and the second cause, for which a man is to fight.
the hay!] All the terms of the modern fencing-school
Ben. The what?
Mer. The pox of such antick, lisping, affecting fantasticoes; these new tuners of accents !-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 pardonnez-moy's, who stand so much on the new form, that they cannot sit at ease on the old bench? O, their bons, their bons !
Ben. Here comes Romeo, here comes Romeo.
Mer. Without his roe, like a dried herring:-0 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 be-rhyme her: Dido, a dowdy; Cleopatra, a gipsy; Helen and Hero, hildings and harlots; Thisbé, a grey 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.
Rom. Good morrow to you both. What counterfeit did I give you?
Mer. The slip, sir, the slip;? Can you not conceive?
Rom. Pardon, good Mercutio, my business was
were originally Italian; the rapier, or small thrusting sword, being first used in Italy. The hay is the word hai, you have it, used when a thrust reaches the antagonist, from which our fencers, on the same occasion, without knowing, I suppose, any reason for it,
cry out, ha!
your French slop.] Slops are large loose breeches or trowsers, worn at present only by sailors.
? The slip, sir, the slip;] In our author's time there was a counterfeit piece of money distinguished by the name of a slip.
great; and, in such a case as mine, a man may strain courtesy.
Mer. That's as much as to say—such a case as yours constrains a man to bow in the hams.
Rom. Meaning—to court’sy.
Mer. 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.
Rom. ( single-soled jest,* solely singular for the singleness!
Mer. Come between us, good Benvolio; my wits fail.
Rom. Switch and spurs, switch and spurs; or I'll cry a match.
Mer. Nay, if thy wits run the wild-goose chace," I have 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?
Rom. Thou wast never with me for any thing, when thou wast not there for the
goose. Mer. I will bite thee by the ear for that jest.
then is my pump well flowered.] Is was the custom to wear ribbons in the shoes formed into the shape of roses, or of any other flowers.
• O single-soled jest,] i. e. slight, unsolid, feeble.
s- if thy wits run the wild-goose chacc,] One kind of horserace, which resembled the fight of wild-geese, was formerly known by this name. Two horses were started together; and which ever rider could get the lead, the other was obliged to follow him over whatever ground the foreniost jockey chose to go. That horse which could distance the other, won the race.
Rom. Nay, good goose, bite not.
Mer. Thy wit is a very bitter sweeting;o it is a most sharp sauce.
Rom. And is it not well served in to a sweet goose?
Mer. O, here's a wit of cheverel,” that stretches from an inch narrow to an ell broad!
Rom. I stretch it out for that word-broad : which added to the goose, proves thee far and wide a broad goose.
Mer. 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.
Ben. Stop there, stop there.
tale against the hair.
Ben. Thou would'st else have made thy tale large.
Mer. 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 longer.
Rom. Here's goodly geer!
Enter Nurse and Peter.
Mer. A sail, a sail, a sail !
bitter sweeting ;] Is an apple of that name.
a wit of cheverel,] Cheverel is soft leather for gloves. My fan, Peter.] The business of Peter carrying the Nurse's fan, seems ridiculous according to modern manners; but such was formerly the practice.
Mer. Pr’ythee, do, good Peter, to hide her face; for her fan's the fairer of the two.
Nurse. God ye good morrow, gentlemen.
Mer. 'Tis no less, I tell you; for the bawdy hand of the dial is now upon the prick of noon.
Nurse. Out upon you! what a man are you?
Rom. One, gentlewoman, that God hath made 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? Rom. 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.
Mer. Yea, is the worst well?' very well took, i'faith; wisely, wisely. Nurse. If you be he, sir, I desire some confidence
Ben. She will indite him to some supper.
Mer. 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,
But a hare that is hoar,
Is too much for a score,
God ye good den,] i. e. God give you a good even.