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Romeo and Juliet
Act 2, scene 4

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Characters in the Play

Entire Play

The prologue of Romeo and Juliet calls the title characters “star-crossed lovers”—and the stars do seem to conspire against these young lovers….

Prologue

Act 1, scene 1

A street fight breaks out between the Montagues and the Capulets, which is broken up by the ruler of Verona,…

Act 1, scene 2

In conversation with Capulet, Count Paris declares his wish to marry Juliet. Capulet invites him to a party that night….

Act 1, scene 3

Lady Capulet informs Juliet of Paris’s marriage proposal and praises him extravagantly. Juliet says that she has not even dreamed…

Act 1, scene 4

Romeo and Benvolio approach the Capulets’ party with their friend Mercutio and others, wearing the disguises customarily donned by “maskers.”…

Act 1, scene 5

Capulet welcomes the disguised Romeo and his friends. Romeo, watching the dance, is caught by the beauty of Juliet. Overhearing…

Act 2, chorus

Again the Chorus’s speech is in the form of a sonnet.

Act 2, scene 1

Romeo finds himself so in love with Juliet that he cannot leave her. He scales a wall and enters Capulet’s…

Act 2, scene 2

From Capulet’s garden Romeo overhears Juliet express her love for him. When he answers her, they acknowledge their love and…

Act 2, scene 3

Determined to marry Juliet, Romeo hurries to Friar Lawrence. The Friar agrees to marry them, expressing the hope that the…

Act 2, scene 4

Mercutio and Benvolio meet the newly enthusiastic Romeo in the street. Romeo defeats Mercutio in a battle of wits. The…

Act 2, scene 5

Juliet waits impatiently for the Nurse to return. Her impatience grows when the Nurse, having returned, is slow to deliver…

Act 2, scene 6

Juliet meets Romeo at Friar Lawrence’s cell. After expressing their mutual love, they exit with the Friar to be married.

Act 3, scene 1

Mercutio and Benvolio encounter Tybalt on the street. As soon as Romeo arrives, Tybalt tries to provoke him to fight….

Act 3, scene 2

Juliet longs for Romeo to come to her. The Nurse arrives with the news that Romeo has killed Tybalt and…

Act 3, scene 3

Friar Lawrence tells Romeo that his punishment for killing Tybalt is banishment, not death. Romeo responds that death is preferable…

Act 3, scene 4

Paris again approaches Capulet about marrying Juliet. Capulet, saying that Juliet will do as she is told, promises Paris that…

Act 3, scene 5

Romeo and Juliet separate at the first light of day. Almost immediately her mother comes to announce that Juliet must…

Act 4, scene 1

Paris is talking with Friar Lawrence about the coming wedding when Juliet arrives. After Paris leaves, she threatens suicide if…

Act 4, scene 2

Capulet energetically directs preparations for the wedding. When Juliet returns from Friar Lawrence and pretends to have learned obedience, Capulet…

Act 4, scene 3

Juliet sends the Nurse away for the night. After facing her terror at the prospect of awaking in her family’s…

Act 4, scene 4

The Capulets and the Nurse stay up all night to get ready for the wedding. Capulet, hearing Paris approach with…

Act 4, scene 5

The Nurse finds Juliet in the deathlike trance caused by the Friar’s potion and announces Juliet’s death. Juliet’s parents and…

Act 5, scene 1

Romeo’s man, Balthasar, arrives in Mantua with news of Juliet’s death. Romeo sends him to hire horses for their immediate…

Act 5, scene 2

Friar John enters, bringing with him the letter that he was to have delivered to Romeo. He tells why he…

Act 5, scene 3

Paris visits Juliet’s tomb and, when Romeo arrives, challenges him. Romeo and Paris fight and Paris is killed. Romeo, in…

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Scene 4
Enter Benvolio and Mercutio.

MERCUTIO 
 Where the devil should this Romeo be?
 Came he not home tonight?
BENVOLIO 
 Not to his father’s. I spoke with his man.
MERCUTIO 
 Why, that same pale hard-hearted wench, that
5 Rosaline,
 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 10Romeo will answer it.
MERCUTIO Any man that can write may answer a letter.
BENVOLIO Nay, he will answer the letter’s master, how
 he dares, being dared.
MERCUTIO Alas, poor Romeo, he is already dead,
15 stabbed with a white wench’s black eye, run
 through 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?
BENVOLIO Why, what is Tybalt?
MERCUTIO 20More than prince of cats. O, he’s the courageous
 captain of compliments. He fights as you sing
 prick-song, keeps time, distance, and proportion.

93
Romeo and Juliet
ACT 2. SC. 4

 He rests his minim rests, one, two, and the third in
 your bosom—the very butcher of a silk button, a
25 duelist, a duelist, a gentleman of the very first house
 of the first and second cause. Ah, the immortal
 passado, the punto reverso, the hay!
BENVOLIO The what?
MERCUTIO The pox of such antic, lisping, affecting
30 phantasimes, these new tuners of accent: “By
 Jesu, a very good blade! A very tall man! A very good
 whore!” Why, is not this a lamentable thing, grandsire,
 that we should be thus afflicted with these
 strange flies, these fashion-mongers, these “pardon-me” ’s,
35 who stand so much on the new form
 that they cannot sit at ease on the old bench? O their
 bones, their bones!

Enter Romeo.

BENVOLIO Here comes Romeo, here comes Romeo.
MERCUTIO Without his roe, like a dried herring. O
40 flesh, flesh, how art thou fishified! Now is he for the
 numbers that Petrarch flowed in. Laura to his lady
 was a kitchen wench (marry, she had a better love
 to berhyme her), Dido a dowdy, Cleopatra a gypsy,
 Helen and Hero hildings and harlots, Thisbe a gray
45 eye or so, but not to the purpose.—Signior Romeo,
 bonjour. There’s a French salutation to your French
 slop. You gave us the counterfeit fairly last night.
ROMEO Good morrow to you both. What counterfeit
 did I give you?
MERCUTIO 50The slip, sir, the slip. Can you not conceive?
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
55 yours constrains a man to bow in the hams.
ROMEO Meaning, to curtsy.

95
Romeo and Juliet
ACT 2. SC. 4

MERCUTIO Thou hast most kindly hit it.
ROMEO A most courteous exposition.
MERCUTIO Nay, I am the very pink of courtesy.
ROMEO 60“Pink” for flower.
MERCUTIO Right.
ROMEO Why, then is my pump well flowered.
MERCUTIO Sure wit, follow me this jest now till thou
 hast worn out thy pump, that when the single sole
65 of it is worn, the jest may remain, after the wearing,
 solely singular.
ROMEO O single-soled jest, solely singular for the
 singleness.
MERCUTIO Come between us, good Benvolio. My wits
70 faints.
ROMEO Switch and spurs, switch and spurs, or I’ll cry
 a match.
MERCUTIO Nay, if our wits run the wild-goose chase, I
 am done, for thou hast more of the wild goose in
75 one of thy wits than, I am sure, I have in my whole
 five. Was I with you there for the goose?
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 80Nay, good goose, bite not.
MERCUTIO Thy wit is a very bitter sweeting; it is a most
 sharp sauce.
ROMEO And is it not, then, well served into a sweet
 goose?
MERCUTIO 85O, here’s a wit of cheveril that stretches
 from an inch narrow to an ell broad.
ROMEO I stretch it out for that word “broad,” which
 added to the goose, proves thee far and wide a
 broad goose.
MERCUTIO 90Why, 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

97
Romeo and Juliet
ACT 2. SC. 4

 by nature. For this driveling love is like a great
 natural that runs lolling up and down to hide his
95 bauble in a hole.
BENVOLIO Stop there, stop there.
MERCUTIO Thou desirest me to stop in my tale against
 the hair.
BENVOLIO Thou wouldst else have made thy tale large.
MERCUTIO 100O, 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.

Enter Nurse and her man Peter.

ROMEO Here’s goodly gear. A sail, a sail!
MERCUTIO 105Two, two—a shirt and a smock.
NURSE Peter.
PETER Anon.
NURSE My fan, Peter.
MERCUTIO Good Peter, to hide her face, for her fan’s
110 the fairer face.
NURSE God you good morrow, gentlemen.
MERCUTIO God you good e’en, fair gentlewoman.
NURSE Is it good e’en?
MERCUTIO ’Tis no less, I tell you, for the bawdy hand of
115 the dial is now upon the prick of noon.
NURSE Out upon you! What a man are you?
ROMEO One, gentlewoman, that God hath made, himself
 to mar.
NURSE By my troth, it is well said: “for himself to
120 mar,” quoth he? Gentlemen, can any of you tell me
 where I 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
125 fault of a worse.
NURSE You say well.

99
Romeo and Juliet
ACT 2. SC. 4

MERCUTIO Yea, is the worst well? Very well took, i’
 faith, wisely, wisely.
NURSE If you be he, sir, I desire some confidence with
130 you.
BENVOLIO She will indite him to some supper.
MERCUTIO A bawd, a bawd, a bawd. So ho!
ROMEO What hast thou found?
MERCUTIO No hare, sir, unless a hare, sir, in a Lenten
135 pie that is something stale and hoar ere it be spent.
Singing. An old hare hoar,
 And an old hare hoar,
  Is very good meat in Lent.
 But a hare that is hoar
140 Is too much for a score
  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 145Farewell, ancient lady. Farewell, lady, lady,
 lady.Mercutio and Benvolio exit.
NURSE I pray you, sir, what saucy merchant was this
 that was so full of his ropery?
ROMEO A gentleman, nurse, that loves to hear himself
150 talk and will speak more in a minute than he will
 stand to in a month.
NURSE An he speak anything against me, I’ll take him
 down, an he were lustier than he is, and twenty
 such jacks. An if I cannot, I’ll find those that shall.
155 Scurvy knave, I am none of his flirt-gills; I am none
 of his skains-mates. To Peter. And thou must stand
 by too and suffer every knave to use me at his
 pleasure.
PETER I saw no man use you at his pleasure. If I had,
160 my weapon should quickly have been out. I warrant
 you, I dare draw as soon as another man, if I
 see occasion in a good quarrel, and the law on my
 side.

101
Romeo and Juliet
ACT 2. SC. 4

NURSE Now, afore God, I am so vexed that every part
165 about me quivers. Scurvy knave! To Romeo. 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 you, if you
 should lead her in a fool’s paradise, as they say, it
170 were a very gross kind of behavior, as they say. For
 the gentlewoman is young; and therefore, if you
 should deal double with her, truly it were an ill
 thing to be offered to any gentlewoman, and very
 weak dealing.
ROMEO 175Nurse, commend me to thy lady and mistress.
 I protest unto thee—
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
180 mark me.
NURSE I will tell her, sir, that you do protest, which, as
 I take it, is a gentlemanlike offer.
ROMEO Bid her devise
 Some means to come to shrift this afternoon,
185 And there she shall at Friar Lawrence’ cell
 Be shrived and married. Here is for thy pains.
Offering her money.
NURSE No, truly, sir, not a penny.
ROMEO Go to, I say you shall.
NURSE 
 This afternoon, sir? Well, she shall be there.
ROMEO 
190 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,
 Which to the high topgallant of my joy
 Must be my convoy in the secret night.
195 Farewell. Be trusty, and I’ll quit thy pains.
 Farewell. Commend me to thy mistress.

103
Romeo and Juliet
ACT 2. SC. 5

NURSE 
 Now, God in heaven bless thee! Hark you, sir.
ROMEO What sayst thou, my dear nurse?
NURSE 
 Is your man secret? Did you ne’er hear say
200 “Two may keep counsel, putting one away”?
ROMEO 
 Warrant thee, my man’s as true as steel.
NURSE Well, sir, my mistress is the sweetest lady. Lord,
 Lord, when ’twas a little prating thing—O, there is
 a nobleman in town, one Paris, that would fain lay
205 knife 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 Paris is the properer man, but I’ll
 warrant you, when I say so, she looks as pale as any
 clout in the versal world. Doth not rosemary and
210 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
215 and rosemary, that it would do you good to hear it.
ROMEO Commend me to thy lady.
NURSE Ay, a thousand times.—Peter.
PETER Anon.
NURSE Before and apace.
They exit.