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I bear no hatred, blessed man; for, lo,
Fri. Be plain, good son, and homely in thy drift; Riddling confession finds but riddling shrift.
Rom. Then plainly know, my heart's dear love is set On the fair daughter of rich Capulet. As mine on hers, so hers is set on mine; And all combined, save what thou must combine By holy marriage. When, and where, and how, We met, we wooed, and made exchange of vow, I'll tell thee as we pass; but this I pray, That thou consent to marry us this day.
Fri. Holy saint Francis! what a change is here!
Rom. Thou chid'st me oft for loving Rosaline.
Not in a grave, To lay one in, another out to have.
Rom. I pray thee, chide not. She, whom I love now,
O, she knew well,
exemplified from Chaucer and others. This idiom was not worn out in Shakspeare's time.
But come, young waverer, come, go with me;
Rom. O, let us hence; I stand on sudden haste.
SCENE IV. A Street.
Enter BENVOLIO and MERCUTIO.
Ben. Not to his father's; I spoke with his man.
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. And is he a man to encounter Tybalt?
Ben. Why, what is Tybalt ?
Mer. More than prince of cats, I can tell you. 0, he is the courageous captain of compliments. He fights as you sing prick-song, keeps time, distance,
1 “It is incumbent upon me, or it is of importance to me, to use extreme haste."
2 The allusion is to archery. The clout, or white mark, at which the arrows were directed, was fastened by a black pin, placed in the centre of it. To hit this, was the highest ambition of every marksman.
3 Tybert, the name given to a cat, in the old story-book of Renard the Fox
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 reverso! the hay!3
Ben. T'he what?
Mer. The pox of such antic, 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, 4 that we should be thus afflicted with these strange flies, these fashion-mongers, these pardonnez-moys, who stand so much on the new form, that they cannot sit at ease on the old bench? 5 O, their bons, their bons !
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 gypsy ; Helen and Hero, hildings and harlots ; Thisbe, a gray eye or so, but not to the purpose.-Seignior Romeo, bon jour ! there's a French salutation to your French slop.? You gave us the counterfeit fairly last night.
i So in the Return from Parnassus :
“ Strikes his poinado at a button's breadth." ? i. e. 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 clown, in As You Like It, talks of the seventh cause, in the same
3 All the terms of the fencing-school were originally Italian; the rapier being first used in Italy. The hay is the word hai, you have it, used when a thrust reaches the antagonist.
4 Apostrophizing his ancestors, whose sober times were unacquainted with the fopperies here complained of.
5 During the ridiculous fashion which prevailed, of great “boulstered breeches,” it is said, that it was necessary to cut away hollow places in the benches of the house of commons, to make room for those monstrous protuberances, without which those who stood on the new form could not sit at ease on the old bench.
6 A gray eye appears to have meant what we now call a blue eye.
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 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 courtesy,
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. O 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 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 any thing, when thou wast not there for the goose.
Mer. I will bite thee by the ear for that jest.
1 Here is a vein of wit too thin to be easily found. The fundamental idea is, that Romeo wore pinked pumps; that is, punched with holes in figures. It was the custom to wear ribands in the shoes, formed in the shape of roses or other flowers.
2 Single-soled means simple, silly. “ He is a good sengyll soule, and can do no harm; est doli nescius non simplex.”—Horman's Vulgaria.
3 One kind of horse-race, which resembled the flight of wild-geese, was formerly known by this name.-Two horses were started together, and whichever rider could get the lead, the other rider was obliged to follow him wherever he chose to go.
Mer. Thy wit is a very bitter sweeting ;) 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 baw ble in a hole.
Ben. Stop there, stop there.
Mer. Thou desirest me to stop in my tale against the hair.3
Ben. Thou wouldst else have made thy tale large.
Mer. 0, 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, a sail !
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.
1 The allusion is to an apple of that name. 2 Soft, stretching leather; kid leather.
3 This phrase, which is of French extraction, à contre poil, occurs again in Troilus and Cressida :-“ Merry against the hair.”
4 The business of Peter carrying the nurse's fan, seems ridiculous to modern manners; but it was formerly the practice.
5 i. e.“ God give you a good even. The first of these contractions is common in our old dramas.