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Enter Auran and Balthasar. (ID) Sam. My naked weapon is out ; quarrel, I will back thee.
GRE. How ? turn thy back, and run ? (ID
Sav. Let us take the law of our sides ; let them begin.
Gre. I will frown, as I pass by; and let them take it as they list.
Sam. Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them ; which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it o.
* Quarto A, I fear them no more than thou ; but draw.
- I will bite my thumb at them ; which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it. So it signifies in Randolph's Muses' Looking-Glass, Act III. Sc. III. p. 45:
Orgylus. To bite his thumb at me.
Dr. Lodge, in a pamphlet called Wits Miserie, &c. 1596, has this passage : “Behold next I see Contempt marching forth, giving me the fico with his thomve in his mouth.” In a translation from Stephens's Apology for Herodotus, in 1607, p. 142, I meet with these words : “ It is said of the Italians, if they once bite their fingers' ends in a threatening manner, God knows, if they set upon their enemie face to face, it is because they cannot assail him behind his backe.” Perhaps Ben Jonson ridicules this scene of Romeo and Juliet, in his New Inn :
“ Huff. How, spill it?
Spill it at me
• Tip. I reck not, but I spill it.” Steevens. This mode of quarrelling appears to have been common in our author's time. “What swearing is there, (says Decker, describing the various groupes that daily frequented the walks of St. Paul's Church,) what shouldering, what justling, what jeering, what byting of thumbs, to beget quarrels?” The Dead Term, 1608. MALONE. These speeches are thus given in quarto A : “ 1. Ile tell thee what lle do; as I go by, Ile bite my thumb,
Abr. Do you bite your thumb at us, sir ?
Sam. No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir; but I bite my thumb, sir.
(ID) GRE. Do you quarrel, sir ? ABR. Quarrel, sir ? no, sir.
Sam. If you do, sir, I am for you; I serve as good a man as you.
ABR. No better.
Enter BENVOL10", at a Distance. GRE. Say—better * ; here comes one of my master's kinsmeno.
(ID Sam. Yes, better, sir . ABR. You lie.
Sam. Draw, if you be men.-Gregory, remember thy swashing * blow'.
* Quarto A, say I.
+ Folio omits sir. | Folio, and quarto A, B, washing. which is disgrace enough if they suffer it. 2. Content; go thou by and bite thy thumb, and Ile come after and frown.” Boswell.
7 Enter Benvolio,] Much of this scene is added since the first edition ; but probably by Shakspeare, since we find it in that of the year 1599. Pope.
8 — here comes one of my MASTER's kinsmen.] Some mistake has happened in this place; Gregory is a servant of the Capulets, and Benvolio was of the Montague faction. FARMER.
Perhaps there is no mistake. Gregory may mean Tybalt, who enters immediately after Benvotio, but on a different part of the stage. The eyes of the servant may be directed the way he sees Tybalt coming, and in the mean time, Benvolio enters on the opposite side. STEEVENS.
9 — thy sWASHING blow.) Ben Jonson uses this expression in his Staple for News: “I do confess a swashing blow." In The Three Ladies of London, 1584, Fraud says :
“ I will flaunt and brave it after the lusty swash.”
Ben. Part, fools; put up your swords; you know not what you do. [Beats down their Swords.
less hinds ?
Ben. I do but keep the peace ; put up thy sword,
[They fight. Enter several Partizans of both Houses, who join
the Fray; then enter Citizens, with Clubs. 1 Cır. Clubs, bills ', and partizans! strike! beat
them down ! Down with the Capulets ! down with the Monta
Enter Capulet, in his Gown ; and Lady CAPULET.
sword', ho !
* Folio, draw. Again, in As You Like It:
“ I'll have a martial and a swashing outside.” To swash seems to have meant to be a bully, to be noisily valiant. So, Green, in his Card of Fancy, 1608 :
in spending and spoiling, in swearing and swashing." Barrett, in his Alvearie, 1580, says, that " to swash is to make a noise with swordes against tergats." STEEVENS.
Clubs, bills, &c.] When an affray arose in the streets, clubs was the usual exclamation. See As You Like It, Act V. Sc. II.
Mabone. 2 Give me my Long SWORD,] The long sword was the sword used in war, which was sometimes wielded with both hands.
JoHNSON, See Merry Wives of Windsor, Act. II. Sc. I. MALONE.
La. Cap. A crutch, a crutch !-Why call you for
a sword ? Cap. My sword, I say !-Old Montague is come, And flourishes his blade in spite of me.
Enter Montague and Lady MontaGUE. Mon. Thou villain Capulet, -Hold me not, let
me go. La. Mon. Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a
Enter Prince, with Attendants. Prin. Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace, Profaners of this neighbour-stained steel,Will they not hear ?—what ho! you men, you
beasts, That quench the fire of your pernicious rage With purple fountains issuing from your veins, On pain of torture, from those bloody hands Throw your mis-temper'd weapons to the ground,
This long sword is mentioned in The Coxcomb, a comedy by Beaumont and Fletcher, where the justice says :
• Take their confessions, and my long sword ;
“ I cannot tell what danger we may meet with.” Chapman, without authority from Homer, has equipped Neptune with this weapon :
King Neptune, with his long sword—” Iliad xv. It appears that it was once the fashion to wear two swords of different sizes at the same time.
So, in Decker's Satiromastix, 1602: “ Peter Salamander, tie up your great and
little sword.” The little sword was the weapon commonly worn, the dress sword. Steevens. The little sword was probably nothing more than a dagger.
Malone. 3 Instead of this scene, in the quarto there is merely the following stage direction : They draw, to them enters Tybalt, they fight, to them the Prince, old Montague and his wife, old Capulet and his wife, and other citizens, and part them.” BOSWELL.
MIS-TEMPER'd weapons -] Are angry weapons. So, in King John:
“ This inundation of mis-temper'd humour," &c. STEEVENS.
And hear the sentence of your moved prince.
[Eveunt Prince, and Attendants ; Capulet,
Lady CAPULET, TYBALT, Citizens, and
Servants. Mon. Whoset this ancient quarrel new abroach?Speak, nephew, were you by, when it began ? Ben. Here were the servants of your adver
sary, And yours, close fighting ere I did approach : I drew to part them; in the instant came The fiery Tybalt, with his sword prepar'd; Which, as he breath'd defiance to my ears, He swung about his head, and cut the winds, Who, nothing hurt withal, hiss'd him in scorn: While we were interchanging thrusts and blows, Came more and more, and fought on part and
part, Till the prince came, who parted either part.
# Folio, broyles. + Quarto A, the reason of your fault.
4 To old FREE-Town, our common judgment-place.] This name the poet found in the Tragicall History of Romeus and Juliet, 1562. It is there said to be the castle of the Capulets.