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vessels, are ever thrust to the wall; therefore I will push Montague's men from the wall, and thrust his maids to the wall.
Gre. The quarrel is between our masters, and us their men.
Sam. 'Tis all one, I will show myself a tyrant : when I have fought with the men, I will be cruel with the maids; I will cut off their heads.
Gre. The heads of the maids?
Sam. Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads; take it in what sense thou wilt.
Gre. They must take it in sense, that feel it.
Sam. Me they shall feel, while I am able to stand ; and 'tis known I am a pretty piece of flesh.
Gre. 'Tis well thou art not fish; if thou hadst, thou hadst been poor John. Draw thy tool; here comes two of the house of the Montagues.?
Enter ABRAM and BALTHAZAR. Sam. My naked weapon is out; quarrel, I will back thee.
Gre. How? turn thy back, and run ?
Sam. Let us take the law of our sides; let them begin.
Gre. I will frown, as I pass by; and let them take it as they list. Sam. Nay, as they dare. I will bite
I will bite my thumb 3 at them; which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it.
i Poor John is hake, dried and salted.
2 It should be observed that the partisans of the Montague family wore a token in their hats, in order to distinguish them from their enemies, the Capulets. Hence, throughout this play, they are known at a distance.
3 This mode of insult, in order to begin a quarrel, seems to have been common in Shakspeare's time. It is not unusual with the Italians at the present day. The manner in which this contemptuous action was performed, is thus described by Cotgrave, in a passage which has escaped the industry of all the commentators :Faire la nique : to mocke by nodding or lifting up of the chinne; or more properly, to threaten or defie, by putting the thumbe naile into the mouth, and with a jerke (from the upper teeth) make it to knacke.”
thumb at us, sir ?
Sam. No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir ; but I bite my thumb, sir.
Gre. Do you quarrel, sir?
Sam. If you do, sir, I am for you; I serve as good a man as you. Abr. No better.
. Sam. Well, sir.
Enter BENVOLIO, at a distance. Gre. Say—better; here comes one of my master's kinsmen.
Sam. Yes, better, sir.
Sam. Draw, if you be men.—Gregory, remember thy swashing ? blow.
[They fight. Ben. Part, fools ; put up your swords; you know not what you do.
[Beats down their swords.
Enter TYBALT. Tyb. What, art thou drawn among these heartless
hinds ? Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon thy death.
Ben. I do but keep the peace; put up thy sword, Or manage it to part these men with me. Tyb. What, drawn, and talk of peace ? I hate the
word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee. Have at thee, coward.
i Gregory is a servant of the Capulets; he must therefore mean Tybalt, who enters immediately after Benvolio.
? i. e. swaggering or dashing.
Enter several partisans of both houses, who join the
fray; then enter Citizens, with clubs. 1 Cit. Clubs, bills, and partisans! strike! beat them
down! Down with the Capulets ! down with the Montagues !
Enter Capulet, in his gown; and Lady Capulet. Cap. What noise is this?-Give me my long
sword, ho! La. Cap. A crutch, a crutch!—Why call you for a
sword ? Cap. My sword, I say !—Old Montague is come, And flourishes his blade in spite of me.
Enter MONTAGUE and LADY MONTAGUE. Mon. Thou villain Capulet,-hold me not, let me
go. La. Mon. Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe.
Enter Prince, with Attendants. Prin. Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace, Profaners of this neighbor-stained steel, Will they not hear?-What, ho! you men, you beasts, — That quench the fire of your pernicious rage With purple fountains issuing from your veins, On pain of torture, from those bloody hands Throw your mistempered weapons to the ground, And hear the sentence of your moved prince. Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word, By thee, old Capulet, and Montague, Have thrice disturbed the quiet of our streets, And made Verona's ancient citizens Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments,
1 The long sword was the weapon used in active warfare ; a lighter weapon was worn for ornament.
2 i. e. angry.
To wield old partisans, in hands as old,
[Exeunt Prince, and Attendants; CAPULET,
LA. CAP., Tybalt, Citizens, and Servants. Mon. Who set this ancient quarrel new abroach? Speak, nephew, were you by when it began ?
Ben. Here were the servants of your adversary, And yours, close fighting ere I did approach. I drew to part them; in the instant came The fiery Tybalt, with his sword prepared ; Which, as he breathed defiance to my ears, He swung about his head, and cut the winds, Who, nothing hurt withal, hissed him in scorn. While we were interchanging thrusts and blows, Came more and more, and fought on part and part, Till the prince came, who parted either part.
La. Mon. O, where is Romeo ?—saw you him
Right glad I am he was not at this fray.
Ben. Madam, an hour before the worshipped sun Peered forth the golden window of the east, A troubled mind drave me to walk abroad; Where,-underneath the grove of sycamore, That westward rooteth from the city's side, So early walking did I see your son. Towards himn I made; but he was 'ware of me, And stole into the covert of the wood. I, measuring his affections by my own,That most are busied when they are most alone,
1 The Poet found the name of this place in Brooke's Tragicall History of Romeus and Juliet, 1562. It is there said to be the castle of the Capulets. VOL. VII.
Pursued my humor, not pursuing his,
Mon. Many a morning hath he there been seen,
Ben. My noble uncle, do you know the cause ?
Mon. Both by myself, and many other friends ;
Enter Romeo, at a distance.
Mon. I would thou wert so happy by, thy stay, To hear true shrift.—Come, madam, let's away.
[Exeunt Montague and Lady.
1 The old copy reads:
“ Or dedicate his beauty to the same." The emendation is by Theobald; who states, with plausibility, that sunne might easily be mistaken for same.