Mercutio is a friend of Romeo. He is an outspoken and lively character, who often provides comic relief in the play of Romeo and Juliet. He is also fiercely loyal to his friends, and is willing to fight anyone who insults them.
Mercutio is killed in a duel with Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin. This event in Act III sets off the series of tragic events that leads to the deaths of both Romeo and Juliet.
Mercutio’s Lines in Romeo and Juliet
|#||Act, Scene, Line||Speech text|
|1||I,4,509||Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you dance.|
|2||I,4,513||You are a lover; borrow Cupid’s wings,|
And soar with them above a common bound.
|3||I,4,519||And, to sink in it, should you burden love;|
Too great oppression for a tender thing.
|4||I,4,523||If love be rough with you, be rough with love;|
Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down.
Give me a case to put my visage in:
A visor for a visor! what care I
What curious eye doth quote deformities?
Here are the beetle brows shall blush for me.
|5||I,4,536||Tut, dun’s the mouse, the constable’s own word:|
If thou art dun, we’ll draw thee from the mire
Of this sir-reverence love, wherein thou stick’st
Up to the ears. Come, we burn daylight, ho!
|6||I,4,541||I mean, sir, in delay|
We waste our lights in vain, like lamps by day.
Take our good meaning, for our judgment sits
Five times in that ere once in our five wits.
|7||I,4,547||Why, may one ask?|
|8||I,4,549||And so did I.|
|9||I,4,551||That dreamers often lie.|
|10||I,4,553||O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.|
She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
On the fore-finger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies
Athwart men’s noses as they lie asleep;
Her wagon-spokes made of long spiders’ legs,
The cover of the wings of grasshoppers,
The traces of the smallest spider’s web,
The collars of the moonshine’s watery beams,
Her whip of cricket’s bone, the lash of film,
Her wagoner a small grey-coated gnat,
Not so big as a round little worm
Prick’d from the lazy finger of a maid;
Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut
Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
Time out o’ mind the fairies’ coachmakers.
And in this state she gallops night by night
Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love;
O’er courtiers’ knees, that dream on court’sies straight,
O’er lawyers’ fingers, who straight dream on fees,
O’er ladies ‘ lips, who straight on kisses dream,
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are:
Sometime she gallops o’er a courtier’s nose,
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit;
And sometime comes she with a tithe-pig’s tail
Tickling a parson’s nose as a’ lies asleep,
Then dreams, he of another benefice:
Sometime she driveth o’er a soldier’s neck,
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,
Of healths five-fathom deep; and then anon
Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes,
And being thus frighted swears a prayer or two
And sleeps again. This is that very Mab
That plats the manes of horses in the night,
And bakes the elflocks in foul sluttish hairs,
Which once untangled, much misfortune bodes:
This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,
That presses them and learns them first to bear,
Making them women of good carriage:
This is she—
|11||I,4,598||True, I talk of dreams,|
Which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy,
Which is as thin of substance as the air
And more inconstant than the wind, who wooes
Even now the frozen bosom of the north,
And, being anger’d, puffs away from thence,
Turning his face to the dew-dropping south.
|12||II,1,801||He is wise;|
And, on my lie, hath stol’n him home to bed.
|13||II,1,805||Nay, I’ll conjure too.|
Romeo! humours! madman! passion! lover!
Appear thou in the likeness of a sigh:
Speak but one rhyme, and I am satisfied;
Cry but ‘Ay me!’ pronounce but ‘love’ and ‘dove;’
Speak to my gossip Venus one fair word,
One nick-name for her purblind son and heir,
Young Adam Cupid, he that shot so trim,
When King Cophetua loved the beggar-maid!
He heareth not, he stirreth not, he moveth not;
The ape is dead, and I must conjure him.
I conjure thee by Rosaline’s bright eyes,
By her high forehead and her scarlet lip,
By her fine foot, straight leg and quivering thigh
And the demesnes that there adjacent lie,
That in thy likeness thou appear to us!
|14||II,1,822||This cannot anger him: ‘twould anger him|
To raise a spirit in his mistress’ circle
Of some strange nature, letting it there stand
Till she had laid it and conjured it down;
That were some spite: my invocation
Is fair and honest, and in his mistress’ name
I conjure only but to raise up him.
|15||II,1,832||If love be blind, love cannot hit the mark.|
Now will he sit under a medlar tree,
And wish his mistress were that kind of fruit
As maids call medlars, when they laugh alone.
Romeo, that she were, O, that she were
An open et caetera, thou a poperin pear!
Romeo, good night: I’ll to my truckle-bed;
This field-bed is too cold for me to sleep:
Come, shall we go?
|16||II,4,1159||Where the devil should this Romeo be?|
Came he not home to-night?
|17||II,4,1162||Ah, that same pale hard-hearted wench, that Rosaline.|
Torments him so, that he will sure run mad.
|18||II,4,1166||A challenge, on my life.|
|19||II,4,1168||Any man that can write may answer a letter.|
|20||II,4,1171||Alas poor Romeo! he is already dead; stabbed with a|
white wench’s black eye; shot 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
|21||II,4,1177||More than prince of cats, I can tell you. O, he is|
the courageous captain of compliments. He fights as
you sing prick-song, keeps time, distance, and
proportion; rests me his minim rest, one, two, and
the third in your bosom: the very butcher of a silk
button, a duellist, a duellist; a gentleman of the
very first house, of the first and second cause:
ah, the immortal passado! the punto reverso! the
|22||II,4,1187||The pox of such antic, lisping, affecting|
fantasticoes; these new tuners of accents! ‘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
perdona-mi’s, who stand so much on the new form,
that they cannot at ease on the old bench? O, their
bones, their bones!
|23||II,4,1198||Without his roe, like a dried herring: 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
be-rhyme her; Dido a dowdy; Cleopatra a gipsy;
Helen and Hero hildings and harlots; Thisbe a grey
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.
|24||II,4,1209||The ship, sir, the slip; can you not conceive?|
|25||II,4,1212||That’s as much as to say, such a case as yours|
constrains a man to bow in the hams.
|26||II,4,1215||Thou hast most kindly hit it.|
|27||II,4,1217||Nay, I am the very pink of courtesy.|
|29||II,4,1221||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 sole singular.
|30||II,4,1226||Come between us, good Benvolio; my wits faint.|
|31||II,4,1228||Nay, if thy wits run the wild-goose chase, I have|
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?
|32||II,4,1234||I will bite thee by the ear for that jest.|
|33||II,4,1236||Thy wit is a very bitter sweeting; it is a most|
|34||II,4,1239||O here’s a wit of cheveril, that stretches from an|
inch narrow to an ell broad!
|35||II,4,1243||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.
|36||II,4,1249||Thou desirest me to stop in my tale against the hair.|
|37||II,4,1251||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.
|38||II,4,1256||A sail, a sail!|
|39||II,4,1261||Good Peter, to hide her face; for her fan’s the|
|40||II,4,1264||God ye good den, fair gentlewoman.|
|41||II,4,1266||‘Tis no less, I tell you, for the bawdy hand of the|
dial is now upon the prick of noon.
|42||II,4,1278||Yea, is the worst well? very well took, i’ faith;|
|43||II,4,1283||A bawd, a bawd, a bawd! so ho!|
|44||II,4,1285||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,
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, thither.
|45||II,4,1297||Farewell, ancient lady; farewell,|
‘lady, lady, lady.’
|46||III,1,1503||Thou art like one of those 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
it on the drawer, when indeed there is no need.
|47||III,1,1509||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.
|48||III,1,1513||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 fun of quarrels as an egg is full of
meat, and yet thy head hath been beaten as addle as
an egg for quarrelling: thou hast quarrelled with a
man for coughing in the street, because he hath
wakened 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 quarrelling!
|49||III,1,1531||The fee-simple! O simple!|
|50||III,1,1533||By my heel, I care not.|
|51||III,1,1537||And but one word with one of us? couple it with|
something; make it a word and a blow.
|52||III,1,1541||Could you not take some occasion without giving?|
|53||III,1,1543||Consort! what, dost thou make us minstrels? an|
thou make minstrels of us, look to hear nothing but
discords: here’s my fiddlestick; here’s that shall
make you dance. ‘Zounds, consort!
|54||III,1,1551||Men’s eyes were made to look, and let them gaze;|
I will not budge for no man’s pleasure, I.
|55||III,1,1555||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.’
|56||III,1,1571||O calm, dishonourable, vile submission!|
Alla stoccata carries it away.
Tybalt, you rat-catcher, will you walk?
|57||III,1,1576||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, drybeat the rest of the
eight. Will you pluck your sword out of his pitcher
by the ears? make haste, lest mine be about your
ears ere it be out.
|58||III,1,1585||Come, sir, your passado.|
|59||III,1,1593||I am hurt.|
A plague o’ both your houses! I am sped.
Is he gone, and hath nothing?
|60||III,1,1597||Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch; marry, ’tis enough.|
Where is my page? Go, villain, fetch a surgeon.
|61||III,1,1601||No, ’tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a|
church-door; but ’tis enough,’twill serve: ask for
me to-morrow, 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 came you between us? I
was hurt under your arm.
|62||III,1,1611||Help me into some house, Benvolio,|
Or I shall faint. A plague o’ both your houses!
They have made worms’ meat of me: I have it,
And soundly too: your houses!
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Link will appear as Hanson, Marilee. "Mercutio" https://englishhistory.net/shakespeare/character/mercutio/, February 24, 2022