The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (Dowden)/Act 3/Scene 1

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ACT III


SCENE I.—Verona. A public Place.[C 1]

Enter Mercutio, Benvolio, Page, and Servants.[C 2]

Ben. I pray thee, good Mercutio, let's retire:
The day is hot, the Capulets[C 3] abroad,
[C 4] And, if[E 1] we meet, we shall not scape a brawl;
For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.
Mer. Thou art like one of those[C 5] fellows that when5
he enters the confines of a tavern claps me his
sword[E 2] upon the table and says, "God send me
no need of thee!" and by the operation of the
second cup draws it[C 6][E 3] on the drawer, when in-
deed there is no need.10
Ben. Am I like such a fellow?
Mer. Come, come, thou art as hot a Jack[E 4] in thy
mood as any in Italy, and as soon moved to
be moody, and as soon moody[E 5] to be moved.
Ben. And what to?[C 7][E 6]15
Mer. Nay, an[C 8] there were two such, we should have
none shortly, for one would kill the other.
Thou ! why, thou wilt quarrel with a man that
hath a hair more or a hair less in his beard
than thou hast. Thou wilt quarrel with a man20
for cracking nuts, having no other reason but
because thou hast hazel eyes; what eye, but
such an eye, would spy out such a quarrel?
Thy head is as full of quarrels as an egg is
full of meat, and yet thy head hath been beaten25
as addle as an egg[E 7] for quarrelling. Thou hast
quarrelled with a man for coughing in the
street, because he hath wakened thy dog that
hath lain asleep in the sun. Didst thou not
fall out with a tailor for wearing his new30
doublet before Easter? with another, for
tying his new shoes with old riband? and yet
thou wilt tutor me from quarrelling![E 8]
Ben. An[C 9] I were so apt to quarrel as thou art, any
man should buy the fee-simple of my life for35
an hour and a quarter.
Mer. The fee-simple! O simple!

Enter Tybalt and Others.[C 10][E 9]

Ben. By my head, here come[C 11] the Capulets.
Mer. By my heel, I care not.
Tyb. Follow me close, for I will speak to them.40
Gentlemen, good den;[E 10] a word with one of you.
Mer. And but one word with one of us?[C 12] couple it
with something; make it a word and a blow.
Tyb. You shall find me apt enough to that, sir, an[C 13]
you will give me occasion.45
Mer. Could you not take some occasion without
giving?
Tyb. Mercutio, thou consort'st[E 11] with Romeo,—[C 14]
Mer. Consort! what, dost thou make us minstrels?[E 12]
an thou make minstrels of us, look to hear no-50
thing but discords: here's my fiddlestick; here's
that shall make you dance. 'Zounds,[C 15][C 16] consort!
Ben. We talk here in the public haunt of men:
Either withdraw unto some private place,
Or reason[E 13] coldly of your grievances,55
Or else depart;[E 14] here all eyes gaze on us.
Mer. Men's eyes were made to look, and let them gaze;
I will not budge for no man's pleasure, I.

Enter Romeo.[C 17]

Tyb. Well, peace be with you, sir; here comes my man.
Mer. But I'll be hang'd, sir, if he wear your livery:60
Marry, go before to field, he'll be your follower;
Your worship in that sense may call him "man."
Tyb. Romeo, the love[C 18][E 15] I bear thee can afford
No better term than this, thou art a villain.
Rom. Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee65
Doth much excuse[E 16] the appertaining rage
To such a greeting: villain am I none;[C 19]
Therefore farewell; I see thou know'st me not.
Tyb. Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries
That thou hast done me; therefore turn and draw.
Rom. I do protest I never injured[C 20] thee,70
But love[C 21] thee better than thou canst devise,
Till thou shalt know the reason of my[C 22] love:
And so, good Capulet, which name I tender
As dearly as mine own, be satisfied.75
Mer. O calm, dishonourable, vile submission!
Alla stoccata[C 23][E 17] carries it away.[E 18][Draws.[C 24]
Tybalt, you rat-catcher,[E 19] will you walk?
Tyb. What wouldst thou have with me?
Mer. Good king of cats, nothing but one of your80
nine lives,[E 20] that I mean to make bold withal,
and, as you shall use me hereafter, dry-beat[E 21]
the rest of the eight. Will you pluck your
sword out of his pilcher[E 22] by the ears? make
haste, lest mine be about your ears ere it85
be out.
Tyb. I am for you.[Drawing.[C 25]
Rom. Gentle Mercutio, put thy rapier up.
Mer. Come, sir, your passado.[E 23][They fight.[C 26]
Rom. Draw, Benvolio; beat down their weapons.90
Gentlemen, for shame,[C 27] forbear this outrage!
Tybalt,[E 24] Mercutio, the prince expressly hath
Forbid this[C 28] bandying in Verona streets.
Hold, Tybalt! good Mercutio!
[Exeunt Tybalt and his Partisans.[C 29]
Mer. I am hurt,
A plague o' both your[C 30] houses![E 25] I am sped.95
Is he gone, and hath nothing?
Ben. What, art thou hurt?
Mer. Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch; marry, 'tis enough.
Where is my page? Go, villain, fetch a surgeon.
[Exit Page.[C 31]
Rom. Courage, man ; the hurt cannot be much.
Mer. No, 'tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as100
a church-door;[E 26] but 'tis enough, 'twill serve :
ask for me to-morrow, and you shall find me
a grave man.[E 27] I am peppered, I warrant, for
this world. A plague o'[C 32] both your houses!
'Zounds![C 33] a dog, a rat, a mouse, a cat, to scratch105
a man to death! a braggart, a rogue, a villain,
that fights by the book of arithmetic![E 28] Why
the devil came you between us? I was hurt
under your arm.
Rom. I thought all for the best.110
Mer. Help me into some house, Benvolio,
Or I shall faint. A plague o'[C 34] both your houses!
They have made worms' meat of me: I have it,
And soundly too:[C 35] your houses![C 36]
[Exeunt Mercutio and Benvolio.
Rom. This gentleman, the prince's near ally,115
My very friend, hath got his[C 37] mortal hurt
In my behalf; my reputation[E 29] stain'd
With Tybalt's slander, Tybalt, that an hour
Hath been my cousin.[C 38] O sweet Juliet,
Thy beauty hath made me effeminate,120
And in my temper soften'd valour's steel!

Re-enter Benvolio.

Ben. O Romeo, Romeo, brave Mercutio's[C 39] dead!
That gallant spirit hath aspired[E 30] the clouds,
Which too untimely here did scorn the earth.
Rom. This day's black fate on more[C 40] days doth depend;[E 31]125
This but begins the woe[C 41] others must end.

Re-enter Tybalt.

Ben. Here comes the furious Tybalt back again.
Rom. Alive,[E 32] in triumph![C 42] and Mercutio slain!
Away to heaven, respective[E 33] lenity,
And fire-eyed[C 43] fury be my conduct[E 34] now!130
Now, Tybalt, take the "villain" back again
That late thou gavest me! for Mercutio's soul
Is but a little way above our heads,
Staying for thine to keep him company:
Either[C 44] thou, or I, or both, must go with him.135
Tyb. Thou, wretched boy, that didst consort[E 35] him here,
Shalt with him hence.
Rom. This shall determine that.
[They fight; Tybalt falls.
Ben. Romeo, away! be gone!
The citizens are up, and Tybalt slain:
Stand not amazed:[E 36] the prince will doom thee death140
If thou art taken: hence! be gone! away!
Rom. O, I am fortune's fool![E 37]
Ben. Why dost thou stay?
[Exit Romeo.

Enter Citizens, etc.

First Cit.[C 45] Which way ran he that kill'd Mercutio?
Tybalt, that murderer, which way ran he?
Ben. There lies that Tybalt.
First Cit. Up, sir, go with me;145
I charge thee in the prince's name, obey.

Enter Prince, attended; Montague, Capulet, their Wives, and others.[C 46]

Prince. Where are the vile beginners of this fray?
Ben. O noble prince, I can discover[E 38] all[C 47]
The unlucky manage[E 39] of this fatal brawl:
There lies the man, slain by young Romeo,150
That slew thy kinsman, brave Mercutio.
Lady Cap. Tybalt, my cousin! O my brother's child!
[C 48]O prince! O cousin![E 40] husband! O, the blood is spill'd
Of my dear kinsman! Prince, as thou art true,
For blood of ours, shed blood of Montague.155
O cousin, cousin!
Prince. Benvolio, who began this bloody[C 49] fray?
Ben. Tybalt, here slain, whom Romeo's hand did slay:
Romeo, that spoke him fair, bid[C 50] him bethink
How nice[E 41] the quarrel was, and urged withal160
Your high displeasure : all this uttered
With gentle breath, calm look, knees humbly bow'd,
Could not take truce[E 42] with the unruly spleen
Of Tybalt deaf to peace, but that he tilts
With piercing steel at bold Mercutio's breast;165
Who, all as hot, turns deadly point to point,
And, with a martial scorn, with one hand beats
Cold death aside, and with the other sends
It back to Tybalt, whose dexterity
Retorts it:[E 43] Romeo he cries aloud,170
"Hold, friends! friends, part!" and, swifter than his tongue,
His agile[C 51] arm beats down their fatal points,
And 'twixt them rushes ; underneath whose arm
An envious[E 44] thrust from Tybalt hit the life
Of stout Mercutio, and then Tybalt fled;175
But by and by[E 45] comes back to Romeo,
Who had but newly entertain'd revenge,
And to 't they go like lightning; for, ere I
Could draw to part them, was stout Tybalt slain;
And as he fell, did Romeo turn and fly :180
This is the truth or let Benvolio die.
Lady Cap. He is a kinsman to the Montague,
Affection makes him false, he speaks not true:
Some twenty of them fought in this black strife,
And all those twenty could but kill one life.185
I beg for justice, which thou, prince, must give;
Romeo slew Tybalt, Romeo must not live.
Prince. Romeo slew him, he slew Mercutio;
Who now the price of his dear blood doth owe?[C 52]
Mon.[C 53][E 46] Not Romeo, prince, he was Mercutio's friend;190
His fault concludes but what the law should end,
The life of Tybalt.
Prince. And for that offence
Immediately we do exile him hence:
I have an interest in your hate's[C 54][E 47] proceeding,
My blood[E 48] for your rude brawls doth lie a-bleeding;195
But I'll amerce you with so strong a fine
That you shall all repent the loss of mine:[E 49]
I will[C 55][E 50] be deaf to pleading and excuses;
Nor tears nor prayers shall purchase out[C 56][E 51] abuses;
Therefore use none: let Romeo hence in haste,200
Else, when he's[C 57] found, that hour is his last.
Bear hence this body and attend our will:
Mercy but[C 58] murders, pardoning those that kill.[Exeunt.


Critical notes

  1. A public Place] Capell.
  2. Enter … ] Capell; Enter Mercutio, Benvolio, and men Q, F.
  3. 2. Capulets] F, Capels Q, Capels are Q 1.
  4. 3, 4.] verse Rowe; prose Q, F.
  5. 5. those] Q 1; these Q, F.
  6. 9. it] Q 1; him Q, F.
  7. 15. to] Pope; too Q, F.
  8. 16. an] Pope; and Q, F.
  9. 34. An] Capell; And Q, F.
  10. 37. Enter … ] Hanmer; Enter Tybalt, Petruchio, and others Q, F; transferred by many editors to follow line 38, by others to follow line 39.
  11. 38. come] F 2, Q 5; comes Q, F; comes a Capolet Q 1.
  12. 42. us?] F, us, Q.
  13. 44 and 50. an] Capell; and Q, F.
  14. 48. Romeo,—] Capell; Romeo. Q, F.
  15. 52. 'Zounds] Q, Come F.
  16. 52. 'Zounds] The F come was substituted in accordance with the statute against profanity.
  17. 58. Enter Romeo] after 59 Dyce and others; after 62 Staunton.
  18. 63. love] Q, F; hate Q 1.
  19. 67. villain … none] omitted Ff 2–4.
  20. 71. injured] F, injuried Q.
  21. 72. love] Q 1, Q; lov'd F.
  22. 73. my] F, mine Q.
  23. 77. Alla stoccata] Knight; Alla stucatho Q, F; A la stoccata Capell and others;
  24. Draws] Capell.
  25. 87. Drawing] Rowe.
  26. 89. They fight] Capell.
  27. 91. shame,] Theobald; shame Q, F.
  28. 93. Forbid this] Q, Forbid Qq 3–5, Forbidden F.
  29. 94. Exeunt …] Malone, Away Tybalt Q, Exit Tybalt F, Tibalt vnder Romeos arme thrusts Mercutio, in and flyes Q 1.
  30. 95. o' both your] Dyce, a both Q, a both the F, on your Q 1.
  31. 98. Exit Page] Capell.
  32. 104. o'] Capell; a Q, F.
  33. 105. 'Zounds] Q 5, Sounds Q, What F.
  34. 112. o''] F 4; a Q, F.
  35. 114. soundly too:] Capell; soundly, to Q; soundly to Qq 3–5, F; soundly too F 2; soundly too, Ff 3–4.
  36. 113, 114. I have … houses] Dyce's arrangement; one line Q, F.
  37. 116. got his] Qq 3–5, F; got this Q; tane this Q 1.
  38. 119. cousin] Q, F; kinsman Q 1 and several editors.
  39. 122. Mercutio's] F 2, Mercutio is Q, Mercutio's is F.
  40. 125. more] Q 1, Q 5; mo Q, F.
  41. 126. begins the woe] Q 5; begins, the wo Q, F; begins the woe, F 4.
  42. 128. Alive, in triumph!] Dyce, Alive in triumph Q 1, He gan in triumph Q (gon Qq 4, 5), He gon in triumph, F.
  43. 130. fire-eyed] Q 1, fier end Q, fire and F.
  44. 135. Either] Q, F; Or Q 1.
  45. 143. First Cit.] Malone; Citti Q, F.
  46. 146. Enter … ] Capell substantially; Enter Prince, olde Mountague, Capulet, their wives and all Q, F.
  47. 148. all] Q 1, F; all: Q.
  48. 153. O prince … O] Q, F; Vnhappie sight? Ah Q 1; Unhappy sight! alas Pope, Malone (with ah me, for alas).
  49. 157. bloody] Q, omitted F.
  50. 159. bid] Q, F; bad Q 5.
  51. 172. agile] Q 1, Qq 4, 5; aged Q, F; able Ff 2–4.
  52. 189. owe?] Theobald; owe Q, F.
  53. 190. Mon.] Qq 4, 5; Capu. Q; Cap. Q 3, F.
  54. 194. hate's] Knight; hates Q 1; hearts Q, F.
  55. 198. I will] Q 1, Qq 4, 5, F 2; It will Q, F.
  56. 199. out] Q, our F, for Q 1.
  57. 201. he's] Theobald; he is Q, F.
  58. 203. but] Q, not F.


Explanatory notes

  1. 3. And, if] Walker conjectured and Delius reads An if.
  2. 6, 7. Claps me his sword] A brawler's proceeding; so, describing a swaggerer, How a Man may choose a good Wife from a bad, Hazlitt's Dodsley's Old Plays, ix. p. 36: "He that can clap his sword upon the board, He's a brave man."
  3. 9. it] The him (ethical dative) of Q, F is preferred by many editors.
  4. 12. Jack] See ii. iv. 163.
  5. 14. moody] angry; "in thy mood," in thy ill humour (compare Two Gent. of Verona, IV. i. 51); "moody to be moved" means "angry to be aroused."
  6. 15. What to?] moved to what? Q, F have too, which Staunton retains, explaining what too? as what else? what more?
  7. 24, 25. as an egg …] So Gammer Gurton's Needle: "An egg is not so full of meat as she is full of lies," Hazlitt's Dodsley's Old Plays, iii. p. 240.
  8. 33. from quarrelling] Q 5 has for quarrelling, which some editors follow.
  9. 37. Enter … ] The Petruchio of the stage-direction Q, F is probably the "young Petruchio" named by the Nurse to Juliet, I. v. 134.
  10. 41. good den] See I. ii. 57.
  11. 48. consort'st] "It is probable that the different senses of consort had two or even three different origins … But … the senses appear to have been considered as belonging to one word, and to have mutually influenced each other" (New Eng. Dict.). Thus Mercutio's play on the meanings to keep company and to combine in musical harmony falls in with what had actually happened in the history of the word.
  12. 49. minstrels] The word had associations not always of honour: "If any fencer, bearward, minstrel … tinker, pedlar, … have wandered abroad, he is declared a rogue, vagabond, and sturdy beggar. Lambard's Eirenarcha, ed. 1607, p. 436. In Much Ado, V. i. 129, Claudio plays on drawing (the sword) as we bid the minstrels draw (i.e. the bow).
  13. 55. Or reason] Capell, followed by several editors, reads And reason; but the peace-loving and cool Benvolio proposes three courses of action. Shakespeare uses reason both for debate and speak.
  14. 56. depart] may mean part, separate, as in 3 Henry VI. II. vi. 43, and in the Nut-Brown Maid: "we departe not so sone."
  15. 63. love] Several editors prefer the unironical hate of Q 1, and it is true that Tybalt is not given to irony.
  16. 66. excuse] Perhaps, accept an excuse from, and remit or dispense with the rage I feel, as appertaining to such a greeting. Perhaps, however, the rage is Tybalt's which Romeo's love excuses. Collier (MS.) has exceed.
  17. 77. stoccata] defined by Florio "a thrust, a stoccado, a foyne."
  18. 77. carries it away] carries the day, as in Hamlet, II. ii. 377: "Do the boys carry it away?" Lettsom conjectures "carry it away!" Clarke thinks Alla stoccata is a jocose title for Tybalt.
  19. 78. rat-catcher] because king of cats. See note II. iv. 20.
  20. 81. nine lives] For another Elizabethan reference to a cat's nine lives, see Middleton, Blurt, Master Constable, IV. ii.
  21. 82. dry-beat] A blow that does not draw blood is a dry blow, but often used vaguely for hard. New Eng. Dict. (dry adj. 12) quotes Palsgrave, Lesclarcissement, etc., 1530, "Blo, blewe and grene coloured, as ones bodie is after a dry stroke." So Holland, Plutarch's Morals (1603), 1281: "His body … is drie beaten, brused and broken." See IV. v. 122.
  22. 84. pilcher] no other example known as used here for scabbard; probably the same as pilch, a leather coat or cloak, and hence applied to a scabbard. Steevens quotes examples of "leather pilch" from Nash, Pierce Pennilesse, and Dekker, Satiromastix, Staunton conjectures pilch, sir. Singer (ed. 2) reads pitcher, but without justification. See Gifford's note on pilcher in Jonson, Poetaster, III. i.
  23. 89. passado] See note II. iv. 28.
  24. 92. Tybalt] Tybalt may belong to the preceding line, Gentlemen, as often, being a disyllabic. Capell divides from Draw to Mercutio (in line 94) with the ending words Benvolio shame, Mercutio, bandying, Mercutio, and so many editors.
  25. 95. your houses] Grant White suggests that the houses of F may have originated in yr mistaken for ye. Many editors read the.
  26. 101. church-door] Q 1 has barne door.
  27. 103. grave man] Compare John of Gaunt's play on his name, Richard II. II. i. 82: "Gaunt am I for the grave, gaunt as a grave." For passages found only in Q 1, see p. 184.
  28. 107. arithmetic] fights by the rules of the teachers of fencing; compare II. iv. 24: "one, two, and the third in your bosom." Is it in this sense of studying rule and theory that Iago calls Cassio (who never set a squadron in the field) a "great arithmetician"?
  29. 117. reputation] S. Walker conjectures reputation's.
  30. 123. aspired] soar to, reach. So Marlowe, Tamburlaine: "And both our souls aspire celestial thrones."
  31. 125. depend] hang down, impend; as in Troilus and Cressida, II. iii. 21: "the curse depending [F, dependant] on those that war for a placket."
  32. 128. Alive] Capell reads Again? in triumph?
  33. 129. respective] regardful, considerate, as in Merchant of Venice, V. i. 156.
  34. 130. conduct] conductor, as in V. iii. 116.
  35. 136. consort] accompany, attend, as in Love's Labour's Lost, II. i. 178.
  36. 140. amazed] confounded, stupefied, as often in Shakespeare.
  37. 142. fortune's fool] the sport or mock of fortune; so "fools of nature" in Hamlet, I. iv. 54. Johnson sees a reference to fools of the drama: "I am always running in the way of evil fortune like the Fool in the play." Q 1 has "fortunes slave."
  38. 148. discover] reveal, as in II. ii. 106.
  39. 149. manage] conduct.
  40. 153. cousin] Dyce's suggestion that cousin was here caught from the line above and inserted erroneously by the printer may be right. Several editors omit cousin.
  41. 160. nice] unduly minute, trivial; as in V. ii. 18.
  42. 163. take truce] Capell conjectured make truce; but the words of the text occur in Venus and Adonis, line 82, and King John, III. i. 17.
  43. 170. Retorts it] Collier (MS.) adds the word home.
  44. 174. envious] malicious, as often in Shakespeare.
  45. 176. by and by] immediately, as in II. ii. 151.
  46. 190. Mon.] Rowe here, emending F Cap., assigns the speech to Lady Cap. Theobald assigns it to Lady Mont.
  47. 194. hate's] Hanmer reads heats', Johnson (from Q, F) hearts'.
  48. 195. My blood] because Mercutio was his kinsman.
  49. 197. of mine] perhaps "of my blood"; perhaps only "my loss." Allen conjectures this loss.
  50. 198. I will] Mommsen reads It will with Q, F, it referring to blood.
  51. 199. purchase out] So buy out in Hamlet, III. iii. 60.