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Romeo and Juliet

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15
BENVOLIO
The what?
BENVOLIO
He knows what?

MERCUTIO
The pox of such antic, lisping, affecting fantasmines, 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 “pardon me’s,” who stand so much on the new form, that they cannot sit at ease on the old bench? Oh, their bones, their bones!
MERCUTIO
I hate these crazy, affected guys who use foreign phrases and newfangled expressions. I hate their strange manners and their weird accents! I hate it when they say, “By Jesus, this is a very good blade, a very brave man, a very good whore.” Isn’t this a sad thing, my good man? Why should we put up with these foreign buzzards, these fashionmongers, these guys who say “pardon me,” these guys who care so much about manners that they can’t kick back on a bench without whining? “Oh, my aching bones!”
Enter ROMEO
ROMEO enters.

BENVOLIO
Here comes Romeo, here comes Romeo.
BENVOLIO
Here comes Romeo, here comes Romeo!

MERCUTIO
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 gypsy, Helen and Hero hildings and harlots, Thisbe a grey eye or so, but not to the purpose.— Signior Romeo, bonjour! There’s a French salutation to your French slop. You gave us the counterfeit fairly last night.
MERCUTIO
He looks skinny, like a dried herring without its eggs, and he hasn’t got his girl. O flesh, flesh, you’ve turned pale and weak like a fish. Now he’s ready for

Petrarch’s

Mercutio teases Romeo by alluding to the poet Petrarch and six mythical and historical women who inspired love poetry.

Petrarch’s
poetry. Compared to Romeo’s girl, Laura was a kitchen slave. Surely she has a better love to make rhymes for her. Dido was shabbily dressed. Cleopatra was a gypsy girl. Helen and Hero were sluts and harlots. Thisbe might have had a blue eye or two, but that doesn’t matter. Signor Romeo, bonjour. There’s a French greeting that matches your drooping French-style pants. You faked us out pretty good last night.

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