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Scene 1

Verona. A street.

(Mercutio; Benvolio; Mercutio’s Page; Men; Tybalt; Petruchio; Romeo; Citizens; Prince Escalus; Montague; Capulet; Lady Capulet; Lady Montague)

Benvolio tries to get Mercutio to go indoors, as the day is very hot and this causes short tempers that might lead to a brawl. Tybalt and his companions appear, searching for Romeo. He speaks insultingly to Mercutio, who replies in kind, and they are on the verge of fighting, with Benvolio urging them to go somewhere private, when Romeo arrives. Tybalt calls Romeo a villain, an unforgivable insult, but Romeo, who is after all now Tybalt’s kinsman though no-one knows it, peacefully refuses to answer back in kind. Disgusted at seeing Romeo be such a wimp, Mercutio takes up the fight instead. Romeo tries to separate the two, referring to the Prince’s decree against fighting, but as he gets between them Tybalt stabs Mercutio under Romeo’s arm. Tybalt flees. Even though mortally wounded, Mercutio still manages to make bad puns about death, before cursing both Capulets and Montagues, laying his death at their doors. Romeo is horrified that his love for Juliet has caused this, and when Benvolio reports that Mercutio is dead, he bursts into a rage, seeing Tybalt return. He throws himself at Tybalt, and after a fight Romeo kills Mercutio’s murderer. Benvolio forces Romeo to flee, as the citizens are roused and the law prescribes death for brawlers. The Prince, the Montagues and the Capulets all arrive. Benvolio explains how things occurred. Lady Capulet demands Romeo’s death, but Montague points out that Tybalt was already doomed to die for killing Mercutio. Bearing that in mind, the Prince exiles Romeo, on pain of death; with Mercutio, his kinsman, dead, the Prince has now been touched directly by the feud, and he swears to levy a massive fine on both families to keep them quiet. (161 lines)

Enter Mercutio, Benvolio, Page, and Men.


I pray 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.


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.


Am I like such a fellow?


Come, come, thou art as hot a Jack in thy mood as any in Italy, and as soon mov’d to be moody, and as soon moody to be mov’d.


And what to?


Nay, and 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 quarrell’d with a man for coughing in the street, because he hath waken’d thy dog that hath lain asleep in the sun. Didst thou not fall out with a tailor for wearing his new doublet before Easter? With another for tying his new shoes with old riband? And yet thou wilt tutor me from quarreling!


And 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.


The fee-simple! O simple!

Enter Tybalt, Petruchio, and others.


By my head, here comes the Capulets.


By my heel, I care not.


Follow me close, for I will speak to them. Gentlemen, good den, a word with one of you.


And but one word with one of us? Couple it with something, make it a word and a blow.


You shall find me apt enough to that, sir, and you will give me occasion.


Could you not take some occasion without giving?


Mercutio, thou consortest with Romeo—


Consort! What, dost thou make us minstrels? And thou make minstrels of us, look to hear nothing but discords. Here’s my fiddlestick, here’s that shall make you dance. ’Zounds, consort!


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.


Men’s eyes were made to look, and let them gaze;

I will not budge for no man’s pleasure, I.

Enter Romeo.


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


But I’ll be hang’d, 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.


Romeo, the love I bear thee can afford

No better term than this: thou art a villain.


Tybalt, the reason that 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.


Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries

That thou hast done me, therefore turn and draw.


I do protest I never injuried 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.


O calm, dishonorable, vile submission!

Alia stoccato carries it away.


Tybalt, you rat-catcher, will you walk?


What wouldst thou have with me?


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.


I am for you.


Gentle Mercutio, put thy rapier up.


Come, sir, your passado.

They fight.


Draw, Benvolio, beat down their weapons.

Gentlemen, for shame, forbear this outrage!

Tybalt, Mercutio, the Prince expressly hath

Forbid this bandying in Verona streets.

Romeo steps between them.

Hold, Tybalt! Good Mercutio!

Tybalt under Romeo’s arm thrusts Mercutio in.

Away Tybalt with his followers.


I am hurt.

A plague a’ both houses! I am sped.

Is he gone and hath nothing?


What, art thou hurt?


Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch, marry, ’tis enough.

Where is my page? Go, villain, fetch a surgeon.

Exit Page.


Courage, man, the hurt cannot be much.


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 pepper’d, I warrant, for this world. A plague a’ 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 dev’l came you between us? I was hurt under your arm.


I thought all for the best.


Help me into some house, Benvolio,

Or I shall faint. A plague a’ both your houses!

They have made worms’ meat of me. I have it,

And soundly too. Your houses!

Exeunt Mercutio and Benvolio.


This gentleman, the Prince’s near ally,

My very friend, hath got this mortal hurt

In my behalf; my reputation stain’d

With Tybalt’s slander—Tybalt, that an hour

Hath been my cousin! O sweet Juliet,

Thy beauty hath made me effeminate,

And in my temper soft’ned valor’s steel!

Enter Benvolio.


O Romeo, Romeo, brave Mercutio is dead!

That gallant spirit hath aspir’d the clouds,

Which too untimely here did scorn the earth.


This day’s black fate on more days doth depend,

This but begins the woe others must end.

Enter Tybalt.


Here comes the furious Tybalt back again.


He gone in triumph, and Mercutio slain!

Away to heaven, respective lenity,

And fire-ey’d fury be my conduct now!

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 thou or I, or both, must go with him.


Thou wretched boy, that didst consort him here,

Shalt with him hence.


This shall determine that.

They fight; Tybalt falls.


Romeo, away, be gone!

The citizens are up, and Tybalt slain.

Stand not amazed, the Prince will doom thee death

If thou art taken. Hence be gone, away!


O, I am fortune’s fool!


Why dost thou stay?

Exit Romeo.

Enter Citizens.

1. CIT.

Which way ran he that kill’d Mercutio?

Tybalt, that murderer, which way ran he?


There lies that Tybalt.

1. CIT.

Up, sir, go with me;

I charge thee in the Prince’s name, obey.

Enter Prince, old Montague, Capulet, their Wives, and all.


Where are the vile beginners of this fray?


O noble Prince, I can discover all

The unlucky manage of this fatal brawl:

There lies the man, slain by young Romeo,

That slew thy kinsman, brave Mercutio.


Tybalt, my cousin! O my brother’s child!

O Prince! O husband! O, the blood is spill’d

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

For blood of ours, shed blood of Montague.

O cousin, cousin!


Benvolio, who began this bloody fray?


Tybalt, here slain, whom Romeo’s hand did slay!

Romeo that spoke him fair, bid him bethink

How nice the quarrel was, and urg’d withal

Your high displeasure; all 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 a 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 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.

This is the truth, or let Benvolio die.


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.

I beg for justice, which thou, Prince, must give:

Romeo slew Tybalt, Romeo must not live.


Romeo slew him, he slew Mercutio;

Who now the price of his dear blood doth owe?


Not Romeo, Prince, he was Mercutio’s friend;

His fault concludes but what the law should end,

The life of Tybalt.


And for that offense

Immediately we do exile him hence.

I have an interest in your hearts’ proceeding;

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.



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