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The Wooing of Benvolio: Act IV
MERCUTIO and BENVOLIO on center stage.
MERCUTIO: Where the devil should this Romeo be?
BENVOLIO: (no answer; distracted)
Came he not home tonight?
BENVOLIO: Not to his father’s. I spoke with his man.
MERCUTIO: Why, that same pale hard hearted wench,
Torments him so that he will sure run mad.
BENVOLIO: (no immediate answer)
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.
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,
Stabbed with a white wench’s 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 Tyblat?
BENVOLIO: Why, what is Tybalt?
MERCUTIO: More than of prince of cats. O, he’s the
Courageous captain of compliments. He fights as you
Sing prick song, keeps time, distance, and proportion;
He rests his minimum rests, one, two, ad the third in
Your bosom. The very butcher of a silk button, a
Duelist, a duelist, a gentleman of the first house,
Of the first and second cause. Ah, the immortal
Passado! The punto reverse! The hay!
BERNVOLIO: The what?
MERCUTIO: The pox of such antic, lisping, affecting phan-
tasimes, these new turners of accent! “By Jesu, a very good blade! A very
good blade! A very tall man! A very good wh*re!”
Why, is not this a lamentable thing, grandsire, that we
Should be thus afflicted with these strange flies, these
Fashionmongers, these pardon-me’s, who stand so
Much on the new form that they cannot sit at ease on
the old bench? O, their bones, their bones!
BENVOLIO: Here comes Romeo, here comes Romeo.
MERCUTIO: Without his roe, like a dried herring. O
Flesh, flesh, how art thou fishified! Now he is for the
Numbers that Petrarch flowed in. Laura to his lady
Was but 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 eye or so, but not to the purpose. Signor Romeo,
Bonjour! There’s a French salutation to your French
Slop. You gave us the counterfeit last night.
ROMEO: Good morrow to you both. What counterfeit
Did I give you?
MERCUTIO: The 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 yours
Constrains a man to bow in the hams.
ROMEO: Meaning, to curtsy.
MERCUTIO: Thou has most kindly hit it.
ROMEO: A most courteous exposition.
MERCUTIO: Nay, I am the very pink of courtesy.
ROMEO: Pink for flower.
ROMEO: Why then is my pump wll flowered.
MERCUTIO: Sure wit, 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,
ROMEO: O single-soled jest, solely singular for the
MERCUTIO: Come between us, good Benvolio. My wits
ROMEO: Switch and spurs, switch and spurs! Or I’ll cry
MERCUTIO: Nay, if out 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 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 thee ear for that jest.
ROMEO: Nay, good goose, bite not.
MERCUTIO: Thy wit is a very better sweeting; it is a most
ROMEO: And is it not, then, well served in to a sweet
MERCUTIO: O, here’s a wit of cherevil, 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
MERCUTIO: Why, is it 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 driveling love is like a great natural that runs
Lolling up and down to hide his bauble in a hole.
BENVOLIO: Stop there, stop there.
MERCUTIO: Thou desirest me to stop in my tail against
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.
ROMEO: Here’s goodly gear!
Enter NURSE and PETER
MERCUTIO: Two, two; a shirt and a smock.
NURSE: My fan, Peter.
MERCUTIO: Good Peter, to hide her face, for her fan’s
the fairer face.
NURSE: God gi’ good morrow, gentlemen.
MERCUTIO: God gi’ 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.
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 may find the young Romo?
ROMEO: I can tell you; but young Romeo will be older
When you have found him then he was when you
Sought him. I am the youngest of that name, for fault,
Of a 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
BENVOLIO: She will indite him to some supper.
MERCUTIO: A bawd, a bawd, a bawd! So, ho!
ROMEO: What has thy found?
MERCUTIO: No hare, sir, unless a hare sir, in a Lenten
Pie, that is something stale and hoar ere it be spent.
An old hare hoar,
An old hare hoar,
Is very good meat in Lent.
But a hare that is hoar
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
ROMEO: I will follow you.
MERCUTIO: Farewell, ancient lady. Farewell
(sings) Lady, Lady, Lady.
Exit BENVOLIO and MERCUTIO
Enter BENVOLIO and MERCUTIO and MEN
BENVOLIO: I prey thee, good Mercutio, let’s retire.
The day is hot, the Capels are abroad,
And if we meet we shall not scape a brawl,
For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.
MERCUTIO: Thou art like one of these fellows that when
He enters the confines of a tavern, claps me his sword
Upon the table and says, “God send me no need of
Thee!” and by the operation of the second cup draws
Him on the drawer, when indeed there is no need.
BENVOLIO: Am I like such a fellow?
MERCUTIO: Come, come, thou art as hot a Jack in thy
Mood as any in Italy, and as soon moved 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 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 man 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 beaten as addle as an egg for
Quarreling. Thou hast quarreled with a man for cough-
Ing in the street, because he hath weakened thy dog
That hath lain asleep in the sun. didst thou thou not fall out
With a tailor for wearing his new doublet before East-
Er? With another, for tying his new shoes with old
Ribbon? And yet thou wilt tutor me from quarreling?
BENVOLIO: An I were so apt to quarrel as thou art, any
Man should buy the fee simple of my life for an hour
And a quarter.
MERCUTIO: The fee simple! O simple!
Enter TYBALT, PETRARCH, and MEN
BENVOLIO: By my head, here comes the Capulets!
MERCUTIO: By my heel, I care not!
TYBLAT: (to companions) Follow me close, for I will speak to them-
Gentlemen, good e’en. A word with one of you
MERCUTIO: And but one word with one of us? Couple it
With something; make it a word and a blow.
TYBALT: You shall find me apt enough to that, sir, an
You will give me occasion.
MERCUTIO: Could you not take some occasion without
TYBALT: Mercutio, thou consortest with Romeo.
MERCUTIO: “Consort”? What, dost thou make us min-
Strels? An thou make mistrels of us, look to hear
Nothing but discords. Here’s my fiddlestick; here’s
That shall make you dance. Zounds, “consort”!
BENVOLIO: We talk here in the public haunt of men.
Either withdraw unto some private place,
Or reason coldly of your grievances,
Or else depart; here all eyes gaze on us.
MERCUTIO: Men’s eyes were made to look, and let them gaze.
I will not budge fo no man’s pleasure, I.
TYBALT: Well, peace be with you, sir. Here comes my man.
MERCUTIO: But I’ll be hanged, sir, if he wear your livery.
Marry, go before to field, he’ll be your follower;
Your worship in that sense may call him “man”.
TYBALT: Romeo, the love I bear thee can afford
No better term than this: thou art a villain.
ROMEO: Tybalt, the reasonthat I have to love thee
Doth much excuse the appertaining rage
To such a greeting. Villain am I none.
Therefore, farewell. I see thou knowest me not.
TYBALT: Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries
That thou hast done me. Therefore turn and draw.
ROMEO: I do protest I never injured thee,
But love thee better than thou canst devise
Till thou shalt know the reason of my love.
And so, good Capulet-which name I tender
As dearly as mine own-be satisfied.
MERCUTIO: O calm, dishonorable, vile submission!
Alla sticcado carries it away (draws sword)
Tybalt, you ratcatcher, will you walk?
TYBALT: What wouldst thou have with me?
MERCUTIO: good king of cats, nothing but one of your
Nine lives, that I mean to make bold withal, and, as
You shall use me hereafter, dry-beat the rest of the
Eight. Will you pluck your sword out of his pilcher by
The ears? Make haste, lest mine be about your ears ere
It be out.
TYBALT: I am for you (draws sword)
ROMEO: Gentile Mercutio, put thy rapier up.
MERCUTIO: Come, sir, your passado. (they fight)
ROMEO: Draw, Benvolio, beat down their weapons.
Gentlemen, for shame, forbear this outrage!
Tybalt, Mercutio, the Prince expressly hath
Forbid this bandying in Verona’s streets!
(Jumps between them)
Hold, Tybalt! Good Mercutio!
(Under ROMEO’s arm MERCUTIO is stabbed and falls. Exit Tybalt and MEN,fleeing.)
MERCUTIO: I am hurt!
A plague O’ both your houses! I am sped!
Is he gone, and hath nothing?
BENVOLIO: What, art thou hurt?
MERCUTIO: Ay, ay, a scratch; marry, ‘tis enough.
Where is my page? (enter SERVANT) Go villain, fetch a surgeon! (Exit SERVANT)
ROMEO: Courage, man, the hurt cannot be much.
MERCUTIO: No, ‘tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as
A church door, but ‘tis enough, ‘twill serve. Ask for me
Tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man. I am
Peppered, I warrant, for this world. A plague o’both
Your houses! Zounds, a dog, a rat, a mouse, a cat, to
Scratch a man to death! A braggart, a rogue, a villain,
That fights by the book of arithmetic! Why the devil
Cam you between us? I was hurt under your arm.
ROMEO: I thought all for the best.
MERCUTIO: Help me into some house, Benvolio,
Or I shall faint. A plague o’ both your houses!
They have made worm’s meat of me. I have it,
And soundly too. Your houses!
(Exit, supported by BENVOLIO)
Enter MERCUTIO supported by BENVOLIO.
BENVOLIO sets him down.
BENVOLIO: Mercutio! O, lively Mercutio!
I fear your last breath shall seep from the spring of life in thy chest
For the wound is deep and the blood flows strong.
The end is not far from thou.
MERCUTIO: O kindly Benvolio,
Stop thy mindless squabble.
Death fast approaches
And I say, Let him come!
BENVOLIO: Of all the times I have begged thee to sheath thy sword,
Now draw it and clash, live!
You must live. You must.
MERCUTIO: Each man must fight this battle
You and I,
Montagues and Capulets,
Mine hath merely found me faster.
BENVOLIO: Mercutio, what have you witnessed that has distorted you so?
MERCUTIO: Naught, but the end.
There is no use to fight one who cannot be beat.
BENVOLIO: Why, then, did thou draw ‘gainst Tybalt!
MERCUTIO: What worth hath life if not fully lived?
BENVOLIO: Live you have done.
MERCUTIO: I had many a good year.
Now, ‘tis time to let go.
BENVOLIO: NO! MERCUTIO!
ROMEO and MEN on stage.
ROMEO: This gentleman, the Prince’s near ally,
My very friend, hath got his mortal hurt
In my behalf; my reputation stained
With Tyblat’s slander- Tybalt, that an hour
Hath been my cousin! O sweet Juliet,
Thy beauty hath made be effeminate,
And in my temper softened valor’s steel.
BENVOLIO: O Romeo, Romeo, brave Mercutio is dead!
That gallant spirit hath aspired the clouds,
Which too untimely here did scorn the earth.
ROMEO: This day’s black fate on more days doth depend;
This but begins the woe others must end.
BENVOLIO: Here comes the furious Tybalt back again.
ROMEO: Alive in triumph, And Mercutio slain!
Away to heaven, respective lenity,
And fire-eyed fury be my conduct now!
Now, Tybalt, take the “villain” back again
That late thou gavest me, for Mercutio’s soul
Is but a littlee way above our heads,
Staying for thine to keep him company.
Either thou gavest me, for Mercutio’s soul
Is but a little way above our heads,
Staying for thine to keep him company.
Either thou or I, or both, must go with him.
TYBALT: Thou, wretched boy, that didst consort him here,
Shalt with him hence.
ROMEO: This shall determine that.
(they fight. TYBALT falls)
BENVOLIO: Romeo, away, begone!
The citizens are up, and Tybalt slain.
Stand not amazed. The Prince will doom thee death
If thou art taken. Hence, begone, away!
ROMEO: O, I am fortune’s fool!
BENVOLIO: Why dost thou stay!
(Exit ROMEO, fleeing)
FIRST CITIZEN: Which way ran he that killed Mercutio?
Tybalt, that murderer, which way ran he?
BENVOLIO: there lies that Tybalt.
FIRST CITIZEN: Up, sir, go with me.
I charge thee in the Prince’s name, obey.
Enter PRINCE, LORD AND LADY CAPULET and LORD AND LADY MONTAGUE
PRINCCE: Where are the vile beginners of this fray?
BENVOLIO:O noble Prince, I can discover all
The unlucky manage of this fateful brawl.
There lies the man, slain by young Romeo,
That slew thy kinsman, brave Mercutio.
LADY CAPULET: Tybalt, my cousin! My brother’s child!
O prince! O cousin! Husband! O, the blood is spilled
Of my dear kinsman! Prince, as thou art true,
For blood of ours shed blood of Montague.
O cousin, cousin!
PRINCE: Benvolio, who began this bloody fray?
BENVOLIO: Tybalt, here slain, whom Romeo’s hand did slay.
Romeo, that spoke him fair, bid him bethink
How nice the quarrel was, and urged withal
Your high displeasure. Al this-uttered
With gentle breath, calm look, knees humbly bowed-
Could not take truce with the unruly spleen
Of Tybalt deaf to peace, but that he tilts
With piercing steel at bold mercutio’s breast,
Who, all as hot, turns deadly point to point,
And, with martial scorn, with one hand beats
Cold death aside and with the other sends
It back to Tybalt, whose dexterity
Retorts it. Romeo he cries aloud,
“Hold, friends! Friends, part!” and swifter than his tongue
His agile arm beats down their fatal points,
And twixt them rushes; underneath whose arm
An envious thrust from Tybalt hit the life
Of stout Mercutio, and then Tybalt fled;
But by and by comes back to Romeo,
Who had but newly entertained 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.
This is the truth, or let Benvolio die.
LADY CAPULET: he is a kinsmen 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.
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?
LORD MONTAGUE: Not Romeo, Prince, he was Mercutio’s friend;
His fault concludes but what the law should end,
The life of Tybalt.
PRINCE: And for that offense
Immediately we do exile him hence.
I have an interest in your hate’s preceeding;
My blood for your rude brawls doth lie a-bleeding;
But I’ll amerce you with so strong a fine
That you shall all repent the loss of mine.
I will be deaf to pleading and excuses;
Nor tears nor prayers shall purchase out abuses.
Therefore use none. Let Romeo hence in haste,
Else, when he is found, that hour is his last.
Bear hence this body and attend our will.
Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill.
A hall in Montague’s house.
Enter LADY CARYN, LADY ISABELLA, ROMEO, and BALTHASAR discreetly carrying luggage.
BALTHASAR: Please, much haste, sire!
Should you be caught, the Prince decrees
Thou shalt not live!
ROMEO: Calm, I come.
(to ladies) My ladies, I am sorry for this misfortune bestowed upon you.
CARYN: I just-
Enter BENVOLIO running
BENVOLIO: Romeo! O, Romeo!
Halt! How canst thou make off without a parting word?
Run, flee, yes, but not with such a fracture!
ROMEO: I wished merely to cause thee no trouble.
I have said already spoken with my father.
BENVOLIO: Trouble? Cousin!
My friend, my brother in soul!
Dim-witted were you to nay say a farewell!
BENVOLIO: Caryn, my love, my heart, my very being,
You conspire with this twit!
CARYN: Isabella and I, after recent...events
Feel no longer in place. This wicked predicament
Has worn out our welcome. So, we leave.
Tomorrow, we shall be nestled in the bosom and safety of Mantua.
Romeo has ensured that the holy Friar shall fetch
Upon the resolution of such conflict.
‘Till then, I bid you farewell.
(kisses him lightly)
BENVOLIO: No! The heavenly stars and twisting fates
Have just allowed us to come together,
I have but now found you!
Disappear from me you cannot!
My empty arms grow cold!
My lips, numb!
Will I nay se of you ‘till I am of age old?
Please, I beg thee, do not run from me.
CARYN: (sobbing) Benvolio! (runs to him they kiss)
BENVOLIO: So you shall stay?
CARYN: I dare say nay.
BENVOLIO: What must be done to speed your return?
CARYN: Promise you shall not change.
Promise to keep thy heart cool, and thy wits strong.
See truth in madness and bring peace as you have,
For accursed are all Montagues and Capulets.
Then may I return to you.
BENVOLIO: I swear to the heavenly lord above
I shall do as you wish.
Now, go. Reach Mantua undisturbed.
When thy head finally rests on thy pillow, safe,
Dream of me, do not forget.
CARYN: Nay, never. (kisses him)
Adieu, my gentile Benvolio.
BENVOLIO: Adieu, my love.
Exit CARYN, ISABELLA, ROMEO, and BALTHASAR.
BENVOLIO: Adieu. Godspeed.
BENVOLIO: O the streets lament!
Mine cousin hath been reckless.
Tybalt lies dead at his hand,
And brave Mercutio at Tybalt’s.
What chaos hath captured once fair Verona?
In the earth lies my friend,
Banished is my cousin,
Gone is my heart!
O my heart abhors!
Still and perhaps naught to beat again.
How are feet so sullen still to move?
What have I left? My sword? (draws sword)
Nay! (throws it down)
My wits, not much longer, I feel them fly!
O, stars! Why must you punish those who have no whim?
Now I am filled with woe.
Be there no justice for the just?
Dost fate find all? Aye, ‘tis inescapable.
Tortured have I been by the unfair graces of this cruel world!
Caryn, I vowed a promise which I must keep,
Yet I cannot face the waking hours.
Though, my lady waits.
My friend once lost and found again
Dream of me, my love, and I shall persevere!
(picks up sword and sheaths it)
No longer shall these foolish feuds persist
Not a day shall rise in the east that the Capulets and Montagues
Do bring suffering upon this town and its people.
I fight, for no man, no house, but for peace
So that my love may once again return to me!
Exits with solemn purpose.