Romeo and Juliet


Text

Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter Benvolio and Mercutio


MERCUTIO

Where the devil should this Romeo be? Came

he not home tonight?
tonight (adv.) last night, this past night


BENVOLIO

Not to his father's. I spoke with his man.


MERCUTIO

Ah, that same pale hard-hearted wench, that Rosaline,
wench (n.) girl, lass See Topics: Frequency count

Torments him so that he will sure run mad.


BENVOLIO

Tybalt, the kinsman to old Capulet,

Hath sent a letter to his father's house.


MERCUTIO

A challenge, on my life.


BENVOLIO

Romeo will answer it.
answer (v.) 5 cope with, face, encounter


MERCUTIO

Any man that can write may answer a letter.


BENVOLIO

Nay, he will answer the letter's master, how he

dares, being dared.
dare (v.) 1 challenge, confront, defy


MERCUTIO

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
pin (n.) 3 [archery] peg in the middle of a target; centre

the blind bow-boy's butt-shaft. And is he a man to
butt-shaft (n.) blunt-headed arrow

encounter Tybalt?


BENVOLIO

Why, what is Tybalt?


MERCUTIO

More than Prince of Cats, I can tell you. O,

he's the courageous captain of compliments. He fights as
captain (n.) commander, chief, leader See Topics: Address forms
compliment, complement (n.) 1 example of good manners, instance of proper behaviour

you sing pricksong: keeps time, distance, and proportion.
distance (n.) 1 [fencing] regulation space to be kept between contestants
pricksong (n.) vocal music written down, printed music
proportion (n.) 10 proper rhythm, correct value [of notes]

He rests his minim rests, 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
house (n.) 4 school of instruction, training school

first and second cause. Ah, the immortal passado! the
cause (n.) 6 [duelling] one of the situations or grounds set out in the code of honour which justifies a duel
passado (n.) forward thrust, lunge

punto reverso! the hay!
hay (n.) 3 [fencing] home thrust, thrust through
punto reverso (n.) [fencing] backhanded thrust


BENVOLIO

The what?


MERCUTIO

The pox of such antic, lisping, affecting
antic, antick(e), antique (adj.) 1 fantastic, bizarre, weird
fantastico (n.) absurdity, person of wild ideas
phantasime (n.) one full of fancies, extravagantly behaved individual
pox (n.) venereal disease; also: plague, or any other disease displaying skin pustules See Topics: Swearing

fantasticoes, these new tuners of accent! ‘ By Jesu, a very
accent (n.) 1 talk, speech, utterance, words

good blade! a very tall man! a very good whore!’ Why, is
tall (adj.) 1 brave, valiant, bold

not this a lamentable thing, grandsire, that we should be
grandsire (n.) 1 grandfather See Topics: Family

thus afflicted with these strange flies, these fashion-mongers,
fly (n.) parasite, flatterer, hanger-on

these ‘ pardon-me's ’, who stand so much on the
stand (v.) 5 make a stand, be resolute [on a point]

new form that they cannot sit at ease on the old bench?
form (n.) 5 way of behaving, behaviour, code of conduct

O, their bones, their bones!

Enter Romeo


BENVOLIO

Here comes Romeo, here comes Romeo!


MERCUTIO

Without his roe, like a dried herring. O flesh,

flesh, how art thou fishified! Now is he for the numbers
number (n.) 2 (plural) metre, versification

that Petrarch flowed in. Laura, to his lady, was a kitchen

wench – marry, she had a better love to berhyme her –
berhyme, be-rime (v.) celebrate in rhyme, put into rhyme

Dido a dowdy, Cleopatra a gypsy, Helen and Hero
dowdy (n.) unattractive woman, shabbily dressed girl

hildings and harlots, Thisbe a grey eye or so, but not to
grey (adj.) 3 [of eyes] grey-blue, blue-tinged
harlot (n.) prostitute, whore
hilding (n.) good-for-nothing, worthless individual

the purpose. Signor Romeo, bon jour. There's a French
purpose (n.) 2 point at issue, matter in hand

salutation to your French slop. You gave us the counterfeit
counterfeit (n.) 1 false imitation, spurious image
slop, slops (n.) large loose breeches, baggy trousers See Topics: Clothing

fairly last night.
fairly (adv.) 5 fully, completely, entirely


ROMEO

Good morrow to you both. What counterfeit did I
morrow (n.) morning See Topics: Frequency count

give you?


MERCUTIO

The slip, sir, the slip. Can you not conceive?
conceive (v.) 1 understand, comprehend, follow
slip (n.) 4 countefeit coin; also: evasion


ROMEO

Pardon, good Mercutio. My business was great,

and in such a case as mine a man may strain courtesy.


MERCUTIO

That's as much as to say, such a case as yours

constrains a man to bow in the hams.
hams (n.) thighs, legs


ROMEO

Meaning, to curtsy.


MERCUTIO

Thou hast most kindly hit it.
kindly (adv.) 4 naturally, spontaneously, convincingly


ROMEO

A most courteous exposition.


MERCUTIO

Nay, I am the very pink of courtesy.


ROMEO

Pink for flower.


MERCUTIO

Right.


ROMEO

Why, then is my pump well-flowered.


MERCUTIO

Sure wit, follow me this jest now till thou hast
wit (n.) 2 mental sharpness, acumen, quickness, ingenuity See Topics: Frequency count

worn out thy pump, that, when the single sole of it

is worn, the jest may remain, after the wearing, solely

singular.


ROMEO

O single-soled jest, solely singular for the
singleness simplicity, shallowness, silliness
single-soled (adj.) thin, poor, worthless
singular (adj.) unmatched, preeminent, outstanding
solely (adv.) 1 wholly, entirely, altogether

singleness!


MERCUTIO

Come between us, good Benvolio! My wits
wits, also five wits faculties of the mind (common wit, imagination, fantasy, estimation, memory) or body (the five senses)

faint.


ROMEO

Swits and spurs, swits and spurs! or I'll cry a
swits and spurs [switches] at full speed, in hot haste

match.
match (n.) 5 victory, success, triumph


MERCUTIO

Nay, if our wits run the wild-goose chase, I

am 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
wits, also five wits faculties of the mind (common wit, imagination, fantasy, estimation, memory) or body (the five senses)

with you there for the goose?
goose (n.) 1 prostitute, whore


ROMEO

Thou wast never with me for anything when

thou wast not there for the goose.


MERCUTIO

I will bite thee by the ear for that jest.


ROMEO

Nay, good goose, bite not.


MERCUTIO

Thy wit is a very bitter sweeting. It is a most
sweeting (n.) 2 sweet-flavoured variety of apple
wit (n.) 2 mental sharpness, acumen, quickness, ingenuity See Topics: Frequency count

sharp sauce.


ROMEO

And is it not, then, well served in to a sweet

goose?


MERCUTIO

O, here's a wit of cheverel, that stretches from
cheverel (n.) kid leather [noted for its pliancy]

an inch narrow to an ell broad!
ell (n.) measure of length [45 inches / c.114 cm in England]


ROMEO

I stretch it out for that word ‘ broad ’, which, added
broad (adj.) 5 plain, evident, obvious

to the goose, proves thee far and wide a broad goose.


MERCUTIO

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
art (n.) 8 rhetorical art, verbal artistry

this drivelling love is like a great natural that runs lolling
natural (n.) congenital idiot, half-wit, fool

up and down to hide his bauble in a hole.
bauble (n.) 3 decorated rod of office, fool's staff


BENVOLIO

Stop there, stop there!


MERCUTIO

Thou desirest me to stop in my tale against
tale (n.) 1 talking, discourse

the hair.
hair, against the against the grain, contrary to inclination


BENVOLIO

Thou wouldst else have made thy tale large.


MERCUTIO

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.
argument (n.) 2 story, subject, plot
occupy (v.) fornicate, have sexual dealings [with]


ROMEO

Here's goodly gear!
gear (n.) 1 business, affair, matter
goodly (adj.) 1 splendid, excellent, fine

Enter Nurse and her man, Peter


MERCUTIO

A sail, a sail!


BENVOLIO

Two, two. A shirt and a smock.
smock (n.) woman's undergarment, shift, slip, chemise


NURSE

Peter!


PETER

Anon.
anon (adv.) 1 soon, shortly, presently See Topics: Frequency count


NURSE

My fan, Peter.


MERCUTIO

Good Peter, to hide her face. For her fan's the

fairer face.


NURSE

God ye good-morrow, gentlemen.
morrow (n.) morning See Topics: Frequency count


MERCUTIO

God ye good-e'en, fair gentlewoman.


NURSE

Is it good-e'en?


MERCUTIO

'Tis no less, I tell ye, for the bawdy hand of

the dial is now upon the prick of noon.
dial (n.) watch, timepiece, pocket sundial


NURSE

Out upon you! What a man are you!


ROMEO

One, gentlewoman, that God hath made for 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
quoth (v.) said See Topics: Frequency count

may find the young Romeo?


ROMEO

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
fault of, for (prep.) in default of, in the absence of

worse.


NURSE

You say well.


MERCUTIO

Yea, is the worst well? Very well took, i'faith,

wisely, wisely!


NURSE

If you be he, sir, I desire some confidence with
confidence (n.) 3 malapropism for ‘conference’

you.


BENVOLIO

She will endite him to some supper.
endite (v.) deliberate malapropism for ‘invite’


MERCUTIO

A bawd, a bawd, a bawd! So ho!
bawd (n.) pimp, procurer, pander, go-between See Topics: Frequency count


ROMEO

What hast thou found?


MERCUTIO

No hare, sir; unless a hare, sir, in a lenten pie,
lenten (adj.) 1 made in Lent [without meat]

that is something stale and hoar ere it be spent.
hoar (adj.) 2 mouldy, musty, rotten
something (adv.) 1 somewhat, rather See Topics: Frequency count
spend (v.) 1 use up, wear out, exhaust, bring to an end
stale (adj.) 4 unfresh, old, deteriorating

He walks by them and 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
score (n.) 2 tavern-bill, alehouse tally

When it hoars ere it be spent.

Romeo, will you come to your father's? We'll to dinner

thither.


ROMEO

I will follow you.


MERCUTIO

Farewell, ancient lady. Farewell. (He sings)

Lady, lady, lady.

Exeunt Mercutio and Benvolio


NURSE

I pray you, sir, what saucy merchant was this that
merchant (n.) 2 fellow, character, lad
saucy (adj.) 1 insolent, impudent, presumptuous, defiant

was so full of his ropery?
ropery (n.) roguery, tricks, rascal ways


ROMEO

A gentleman, Nurse, that loves to hear himself

talk and will speak more in a minute than he will stand
stand to (v.) 1 maintain, uphold, be steadfast in

to in a month.


NURSE

An 'a speak anything against me, I'll take him
take down (v.) 1 humble, lower, cut down to size

down, an 'a were lustier than he is, and twenty such
lusty (adj.) 2 merry, cheerful, lively

Jacks; and if I cannot, I'll find those that shall. Scurvy
Jack (n.) 1 Jack-in-office, ill-mannered fellow, lout, knave
scurvy (adj.) 1 contemptible, despicable, wretched

knave! I am none of his flirt-gills. I am none of his
flirt-gill (n.) fast girl, loose woman
knave (n.) 1 scoundrel, rascal, rogue See Topics: Frequency count

skains-mates. (She turns to Peter her man) And thou

must stand by too, and suffer every knave to use me at
knave (n.) 1 scoundrel, rascal, rogue See Topics: Frequency count
suffer (v.) 1 allow, permit, let

his pleasure!


PETER

I saw no man use you at his pleasure. If I had, my

weapon should quickly have been out. I warrant you,
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm See Topics: Frequency count

I dare draw as soon as another man, if I see occasion in
draw (v.) 10 draw a sword

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 bid 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 in a fool's paradise,

as they say, it were a very gross kind of behaviour,
gross (adj.) 8 vile, abhorrent, wicked

as they say. For the gentlewoman is young; and therefore,
gentlewoman (n.) woman of good breeding, well-born lady See Topics: Address forms

if you should deal double with her, truly it were an
double (adv.) 2 deceptively, deceitfully, in a two-faced way

ill thing to be offered to any gentlewoman, and very

weak dealing.
weak (adj.) 3 contemptible, despicable, dishonourable


ROMEO

Nurse, commend me to thy lady and mistress. I
commend (v.) 1 convey greetings, present kind regards See Topics: Frequency count

protest unto thee –
protest (v.) 2 declare, say, swear


NURSE

Good heart, and i'faith I will tell her as much.

Lord, Lord! She will be a joyful woman.


ROMEO

What wilt thou tell her, Nurse? Thou dost not
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count

mark me.


NURSE

I will tell her, sir, that you do protest, which, as I
protest (v.) 4 declare love

take it, is a gentlemanlike offer.


ROMEO

Bid her devise

Some means to come to shrift this afternoon,
shrift (n.) 1 confession

And there she shall at Friar Laurence' cell
cell (n.) small humble dwelling

Be shrived and married. Here is for thy pains.
shrive (v.) hear confession, grant absolution, forgive


NURSE

No, truly, sir. Not a penny.


ROMEO

Go to! I say you shall.


NURSE

This afternoon, sir? Well, she shall be there.


ROMEO

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,
stair (n.) ladder
tackled (adj.) made of rope

Which to the high topgallant of my joy
topgallant (n.) summit, top platform See Topics: Ships

Must be my convoy in the secret night.
convoy (n.) means of transport, method of conveyance

Farewell. Be trusty, and I'll quit thy pains.
quit (v.) 5 pay back, repay, reward

Farewell. Commend me to thy mistress.


NURSE

Now God in heaven bless thee! Hark you, sir.


ROMEO

What sayest thou, my dear Nurse?


NURSE

Is your man secret? Did you ne'er hear say,

Two may keep counsel, putting one away?


ROMEO

Warrant thee my man's as true as steel.
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm See Topics: Frequency count


NURSE

Well, sir, my mistress is the sweetest lady. Lord,

Lord! when 'twas a little prating thing – O there is a
prating (adj.) prattling, chattering, blathering

nobleman in town, one Paris, that would fain lay knife
fain (adv.) gladly, willingly See Topics: Frequency count
lay knife aboard make a claim, establish a position

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
lief, had as should like just as much See Topics: Frequency count

Paris is the properer man. But I'll warrant you, when I
proper (adj.) 1 good-looking, handsome, comely
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm See Topics: Frequency count

say so, she looks as pale as any clout in the versal world.
clout (n.) 1 piece of cloth, rag; handkerchief
versal (adj.) malapropism for ‘universal’

Doth not rosemary and Romeo begin both with a letter?


ROMEO

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 hath

the prettiest sententious of it, of you and rosemary, that
sententious (adj.) 2 malapropism for ‘sentences’

it would do you good to hear it.


ROMEO

Commend me to thy lady.

Exit Romeo


NURSE

Ay, a thousand times. Peter!


PETER

Anon.


NURSE

Before, and apace.
apace (adv.) quickly, speedily, at a great rate See Topics: Frequency count
before (adv.) 1 ahead, in advance

Exeunt

 
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