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Mer. Without his roe, like a dried herring. O flesh, flesh, how art thou fishified! Now is he 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 gipsy; Helen and Hero, hildings 1 and harlots; Thisbe, a gray eye or so, but not to the purpose.—Signior Romeo, bon jour ! there's a French salutation to your French slop. You gave us the counterfeit fairly last night.
Ro. Good morrow to you both.—What counterfeit did I give you?
Mer. The slip, sir, the slip : 3 can you not conceive?
Ro. Pardon, good Mercutio; my business was great; and, in such a case as mine, a man may strain courtesy.
Mer. That's as much as to say, such a case as yours constrains a man to bow in the hams.
Ro. Meaning to courtesy.
I Mean women.
Loose trowsers, a French fashion in Shakspeare's time. ; In allusion to a counterfeit piece of money called a slip.
* It was the custom to wear ribands in the shoes, in the shape of roses or other flowers.
Mer. Well said : 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, solely singular.
Ro. O single-soled 1 jest, solely singular for the singleness !
Mer. Come between us, good Benvolio; my wits fail.
Ro. Switch and spurs, switch and spurs; or I'll
cry a match.
Mer. Nay, if thy wits run the wildgoose chase, I have done; for thou hast more of the wildgoose in one of thy wits, than, I am sure, I have in my whole five, Was I with you there for the goose ?
Ro. Thou wast never with me for any thing, when thou wast not there for the goose.
Mer. I will bite thee by the ear for that jest.
Mer. Thy wit is a very bitter sweeting ; ? it is a most sharp sauce.
Ro. And is it not well served in to a sweet goose ?
Mer. O, here's a wit of cheveril,3 that stretches from an inch narrow to an ell broad!
Ro. I stretch it out for that word, broad; which, added to the goose, proves thee far and wide a
· Slight, contemptible. ? An apple of that name. 3 Kid-skin, i. e. soft, stretching.
Mer. Why, 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 by nature: for this drivelling love is like a great natural, that runs lolling up and down to hide his bauble in a hole.
Ben. Stop there, stop there.
Mer. Thou desirest me to stop in my tale against the hair,
Ben. Thou wouldst else have made thy tale large.
Mer. 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.
Ro. Here's goodly geer! 1
Enter NURSE and PETER.
Mer. A sail, a sail, a sail !
Mer. Pr’ythee, do, good Peter, to hide her face ; for her fan 's the fairer of the two.
Nurse. God ye good morrow, gentlemen.
2 Good even.
Mer. Tis no less, I tell you; for the bawdy hand of the dial is now upon the prick of noon.
Nurse. Out upon you! what a man are you !
Ro. One, gentlewoman, that God hath made himself to mar.
Nurse. By my troth, it is well said ;—for himself to mår, quoth 'a ?—Gentlemen, can any of you tell me where I may find the young Romeo ?
Ro. 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 fault of a worse. Nurse. You
well. Mer. Yea, is the worst well ? very well took, i' faith ; wisely, wisely.
Nurse. If you be he, sir, I desire some confidence
Ben. She will indite him to some supper.
Mer. 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,
And an old hare hoar,
But a hare that is hoar,
Is too much for a score,
Romeo, will you come to your father's ? we 'll to dinner thither.
Ro. I will follow you.
lady. [Exeunt Mercutio and Benvolio. Nurse. Marry, farewell !—I pray you, sir, what saucy
merchant 1 was this, that was so full of his
ropery ? 2
Ro. A gentleman, nurse, that loves to hear him. self talk; and will speak more in a minute than he will stand to in a month.
Nurse. An 'a speak any thing against me, I 'll · take him down an 'a were lustier than he is, and twenty such Jacks; and if I cannot, I 'll find those that shall. Scurvy knave! I am none of his flirtgills; I am none of his skains-mates.3— 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, 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
Nurse. Now, afore God, I am so vexed, that every part about me quivers. Scurvy knave! Pray you, sir, a word : and as I told you, my young lady bade me inquire you out: what she bade me say, I will keep to myself; but first let me tell ye, if ye should lead her into a fool's paradise, as they say, it
A term of disrespect, in contradistinction to gentleman. • Roguery. s Cut-throat companions. A skain signifies a sbort sword.