William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet tells the tale of two "star-crossed lovers", divided by family but united by love.
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Romeo and Juliet

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Act II. Scene IV.

Scene IV.—The Same. A Street.


Mer. Where the devil should this Romeo be?
Came he not home to-night?
Ben. Not to his father's; I spoke with his
Mer. Why that same pale hard-hearted wench,
that Rosaline,
Torments him so, that he will sure run mad.
Ben. Tybalt, the kinsman of old Capulet,
Hath sent a letter to has father's house.
Mer. A challenge, on my life.
Ben. Romeo will answer it.
Mer. Any man that can write may answer a
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
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
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. Ah! the immortal passado! the
punto reverse! the hay!
Ben. The what?
Mer. The pox of such antick, lisping, affect-
ing 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-mois, who stand so much on
the new form that they cannot sit at ease on
the old bench? O, their bons, their bons!

Enter ROMEO.
Ben. Here comes Romeo, here comes Romeo.
Mer. 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 bad a better love to be-rime her; Dido a
dowdy; Cleopatra a gipsy; Helen and Hero
hildings and harlots; Thisbe, 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
Rom. Good morrow to you both. What
counterfeit did I give you?
Mer. The slip, sir, the slip; can you not con-
Rom. Pardon, good Mercutio, my business
was 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 curtsy.
Mer. Thou hast most kindly hit it.
Rom. A most courteous exposition,
Mer. Nay, I am the very pink of courtesy.
Rom. Pink for flower.
Mer. Right.
Rom. Why, then, is my pump well flowered.
Mer. Well said; follow me this jest now till
thou hast worn out the pump, that, when the
single sole of it is worn, the jest may remain
after the wearing sole singular.
Rom. O single-soled jest! solely singular for
the singleness.
Mer. Come between us, good Benvolio; my
wit faints.
Rom. Switch and spurs, switch and spurs; or
I'll cry a match.
Mer. Nay, if thy wits run the wild-goose
chase, 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 anything
when thou wast not here for the goose.
Mer. I will bite thee by the ear for that Jest.
Rom. Nay, good goose, bite not.
Mer. Thy wit is a very bitter sweeting; it is
a most sharp sauce.
Rom. And is it not then well served in to a
sweet goose?
Mer. O! here's a wit of cheveril, 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 groan-
ing 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.
Mer. Thou desirest me to stop in my tale
against the hair.
Ben. Thou wouldst else have made thy tale
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 gear!

Enter Nurse and PETER.
Mer. A sail, a sail!
Ben. Two, two; a shirt and a smock.
Nurse. Peter!
Pet. Anon!
Nurse. My fan, Peter.
Mer. Good Peter, to hide her face; for her
fan's the fairer face.
Nurse. God ye good morrow, gentlemen.
Mer. God ye good den, fair gentlewoman
Nurse. Is it good den?
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
for himself to mar.
Nurse. By my troth, it is well said; 'for him-
self to mar,' quotha'?—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 con-
fidence with you.
Ben. She will indite him to some supper.
Mer. A bawd, a bawd, a bawd! So ho!
Rom. What hast thou found?
Mer. No hare, sir; unless a hare, sir, in a
lenten pie, that is something stale and hoar ere
it be spent. [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.
Rom. I will follow you.
Mer. Farewell, ancient lady; farewell,
Lady, lady, lady.
Nurse. Marry, farewell! I pray you, sir,
what saucy merchant was this, that was so full
of his ropery?
Rom. 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
Ms flirt-gills; I am none of his skeins-mates.
[To PETER.] And thou must stand by too, and
suffer every knave to use me at his pleasure!
Pet. 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 bade me inquire 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
offered to any gentlewoman, and very weak deal-
Rom. Nurse, commend me to thy lady and
mistress.. I protest unto thee,—
Nurse. Good heart! and, i' faith, I will ten
her as much. Lord, Lord! she will be a joyful
Rom. What wilt thou tell her, nurse? thou
dost not mark me.
Nurse. I will tell her, sir, that you do pro-
test; which, as I take it, is a gentlemanlike
Rom. 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.
Rom. Go to; I say, you shall.
Nurse. This afternoon, sir? well, she shall be
Rom. 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 top-gallant of my joy 204
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.
Rom. What sayst thou, my dear nurse?
Nurse. Is your man secret? Did you ne'er
hear say,
Two may keep counsel, putting one away?
Rom. I warrant thee my man's as true as
Nurse. Well, sir; my mistress is the sweetest
lady—Lord, Lord!'—when 'twas a little prating
thing,—O! there's 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 rose-
mary and Borneo begin both with a letter?
Rom. 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 had the prettiest senten-
tious of it, of you and rosemary, that it would
do you good to hear it.
Rom. Commend me to thy lady.
Nurse. Ay, a thousand times. [Exit ROMEO.]
Pet. Anon!
Nurse. Before, and apace. [Exeunt.
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