Main Text

pg 393 3.1

Enter Benvolio, Mercutio, and Mercutio's page

benvolio I prithee, good Mercutio, let's retire;

2The day is hot, the Capels are abroad.


mercutio Thou art like one of those that, when he comes into the Link 4confines of a tavern, claps me his rapier on the board and says, Link 5'God send me no need of thee'; and, by the operation of the next Link 6cup of wine, he draws it on the drawer, when indeed there is no 7need.


benvolio Am I like such a one?


mercutio Go to, thou art as hot a jack, being moved, and as soon 10moved to be moody, and as soon moody to be moved.


benvolio And what to?


mercutio Nay, an there were two such, we should have none 13shortly. Didst not thou fall out with a man for cracking nuts, Link 14having no other reason but because thou hadst hazel eyes? 15What eye but such an eye would have picked out such a quar- 16rel? With another for coughing, because he waked thy dog that 17lay asleep in the sun? With a tailor for wearing his new doublet 18before Easter, and with another for tying his new shoes with old 19ribbons? And yet thou wilt forbid me of quarrelling!


benvolio By my head, here comes a Capulet.

Enter Tybalt

mercutio By my heel, I care not.


tybalt Gentlemen, a word with one of you.


mercutio But one word with one of us? You had best couple it Link 24with somewhat, and make it a word and a blow.


tybalt I am apt enough to that if I have occasion.


mercutio Could you not take occasion?


tybalt Mercutio, thou consorts with Romeo.


mercutio 'Consort'! Zounds, 'consort'! The slave will make fid- 29dlers of us. If you do, sirrah, look for nothing but discord, for 30here's my fiddlestick.

Enter Romeo
Editor’s Note31

tybalt Well, peace be with you, here comes my man.


mercutio But I'll be hanged if he wear your livery. Marry, go be 33fore into the field, and he may be your follower; so in that sense 34your worship may call him 'man'.

pg 394 35

tybalt Romeo, the hate I bear to thee can afford

36No better words than these: thou art a villain.


romeo Tybalt, the love I bear to thee

Link 38Doth excuse the appertaining rage

39To such a word. Villain am I none.

40Therefore I well perceive thou knowst me not.


tybalt Base boy, this cannot serve thy turn, and therefore draw.

Link 42

romeo I do protest I never injured thee,

Link 43But love thee better than thou canst devise

44Till thou shalt know the reason of my love.

Link 45

mercutio O dishonourable, vile submission!

46Alla stoccado carries it away.

Link 47You rat-catcher, come back, come back.


tybalt What wouldst with me?

Link 49

mercutio Nothing, king of cats, but borrow one of your nine 50lives. Therefore come draw your rapier out of your scabbard, 51lest mine be about your ears ere you be aware.


romeo Stay, Tybalt! Hold, Mercutio! Benvolio, beat down their 53weapons.

Tybalt stabs Mercutio under Romeo's arm and flies

mercutio Is he gone? Hath he nothing? A pox on your houses!


romeo What, art thou hurt, man? The wound is not deep.


mercutio No, not so deep as a well, not so wide as a barn-door, 57but it will serve, I warrant. What meant you to come between 58us? I was hurt under your arm.


romeo I did all for the best.

Editor’s Note Link 60

mercutio A pox of your houses, I am fairly dressed.

61Sirrah, go fetch me a surgeon.


page I go, my lord.


mercutio I am peppered for this world, I am sped i'faith. He hath Link 64made worms' meat of me. An ye ask for me tomorrow, you 65shall find me a grave man. A pox of your houses! I shall be 66fairly mounted upon four men's shoulders—for your house of 67the Montagues and the Capulets—and then some peasantly 68rogue, some sexton, some base slave shall write my epitaph: pg 39569That Tybalt came and broke the Prince's laws, 70And Mercutio was slain for the first and second cause.

71Where's the surgeon?


page (returning) He's come, sir.


mercutio Now he'll keep a-mumbling in my guts—on the other 74side—come, Benvolio, lend me thy hand. A pox of your 75houses! Exit Mercutio with Benvolio

Link 76

romeo This gentleman, the Prince's near ally,

77My very friend, hath ta'en this mortal wound

78In my behalf; my reputation stained

79With Tybalt's slander—Tybalt, that an hour

80Hath been my kinsman. Ah Juliet,

81Thy beauty makes me thus effeminate,

82And in my temper softens valour's steel.

Enter Benvolio

benvolio Ah Romeo, Romeo, brave Mercutio is dead.

Link 84That gallant spirit hath aspired the clouds,

85Which too untimely scorned the lowly earth.


romeo This day's black fate on more days doth depend;

87This but begins what other days must end.

Enter Tybalt

benvolio Here comes the furious Tybalt back again.


romeo Alive in triumph and Mercutio slain?

Link 90Away to heaven, respective lenity,

91And fire-eyed fury be my conduct now.

92Now, Tybalt, take the 'villain' back again

93Which late thou gav'st me; for Mercutio's soul

94Is but a little way above the clouds

95And stays for thine to bear him company.

96Or thou or I, or both, shall follow him.

They fight. Tybalt falls

benvolio Romeo, away! Thou seest that Tybalt's slain.

98The citizens approach—away, be gone!—

99Thou wilt be taken.

romeo Ah, I am fortune's slave. Exit Romeo

Enter Citizens
pg 396 100

watchman Where's he that slew Mercutio, Tybalt, that villain?

Critical Apparatus101

benvolio There is that Tybalt.

⌈watchman⌉ Up, sirrah, go with us.

Enter the Prince and Capulet's Wife
Link 102

prince Where be the vile beginners of this fray?

Link 103

benvolio Ah noble Prince, I can discover all

104The most unlucky manage of this brawl.

105Here lies the man, slain by young Romeo,

106That slew thy kinsman, brave Mercutio.


capulet's wife Tybalt, Tybalt, O my brother's child,

108Unhappy sight! Ah, the blood is spilled

109Of my dear kinsman! Prince, as thou art true,

110For blood of ours shed blood of Montague.


prince Speak, Benvolio, who began this fray?


benvolio Tybalt, here slain, whom Romeo's hand did slay—

113Romeo, who spake him fair, bid him bethink

114How nice the quarrel was.

115But Tybalt, still persisting in his wrong,

116The stout Mercutio drew to calm the storm,

117Which Romeo, seeing, called 'Stay, gentlemen!',

118And on me cried, who drew to part their strife;

Link 119And with his agile arm young Romeo,

120As fast as tongue cried 'Peace!', sought peace to make.

121While they were interchanging thrusts and blows,

122Under young Romeo's labouring arm to part,

123The furious Tybalt cast an envious thrust

124That rid the life of stout Mercutio.

125With that he fled, but presently returned,

126And with his rapier bravèd Romeo,

127That had but newly entertained revenge;

128And ere I could draw forth my rapier

129To part their fury, down did Tybalt fall,

130And this way Romeo fled.


capulet's wife He is a Montague and speaks partial.

pg 397132Some twenty of them fought in this black strife,

133And all those twenty could but kill one life.

134I do entreat, sweet Prince, thou'lt justice give:

135Romeo slew Tybalt; Romeo may not live.


prince And for that offence

Link 137Immediately we do exile him hence.

138I have an interest in your hate's proceeding;

139My blood for your rude brawls doth lie a-bleeding.

140But I'll amerce you with so large a fine,

141That you shall all repent the loss of mine.

Link 142I will be deaf to pleading and excuses;

Editor’s Note143Nor tears nor prayers shall purchase for abuses.

144Pity shall dwell and govern with us still;

145Mercy to all but murd'rers, pardoning none that kill.


Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
3.1.31–75 Wellhouses! Q1 sets this whole passage as prose. This edition relines those speeches which can be scanned as blank verse.
Editor’s Note
60 dressed prepared (for death). This line anticipates Mercutio's next speech, which completes the wordplay and the metaphor: he is like food seasoned (dressed, 'peppered') for cooking.
Critical Apparatus
3.1.101 ⌈watchman⌉ This edition; not in q1
Editor’s Note
143 purchase provide (OED v. 3b)
logo-footer Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.