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Enter ABRAM and BALTHASAR.
(I) SAM. My naked weapon is out; quarrel, I will back thee.
GRE. How? turn thy back, and run? ()
SAM. Fear me not.
GRE. No marry: I fear thee *!
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 my thumb at them; which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it o.
* Quarto A, I fear them no more than thou; but draw.
6 I will bite my thumb at them; which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it.] So it signifies in Randolph's Muses' Looking-Glass, Act III. Sc. III. p. 45:
Orgylus. To bite his thumb at me.
Argus. Why should not a man bite his thumb?
"Orgylus. At me? were I scorn'd to see men bite their
Rapiers and daggers," &c. GREY.
Dr. Lodge, in a pamphlet called Wits Miserie, &c. 1596, has this passage: "Behold next I see Contempt marching forth, giving me the fico with his thombe in his mouth." In a translation from Stephens's Apology for Herodotus, in 1607, p. 142, I meet with these words: " It is said of the Italians, if they once bite their fingers' ends in a threatening manner, God knows, if they set upon their enemie face to face, it is because they cannot assail him behind his backe." Perhaps Ben Jonson ridicules this scene of Romeo and Juliet, in his New Inn:
Huff. How, spill it?
Spill it at me?
Tip. I reck not, but I spill it." STEEVENS.
This mode of quarrelling appears to have been common in our author's time. "What swearing is there, (says Decker, describing the various groupes that daily frequented the walks of St. Paul's Church,) what shouldering, what justling, what jeering, what byting of thumbs, to beget quarrels!" The Dead Term,
These speeches are thus given in quarto A:
"1. lle tell thee what Ile do; as I go by, Ile bite my thumb,
ABR. DO you bite your thumb at us, sir?
ABR. Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
SAM. No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir; but I bite my thumb, sir.
(1) GRE. Do you quarrel, sir? ABR. Quarrel, sir? no, sir.
SAM. If you do, sir, I am for you; I serve as good a man as you. ABR. No better.
SAM. Well, sir. (I)
Enter BENVOLIO", at a Distance.
GRE. Say-better*; here comes one of my master's kinsmen
(SAM. Yes, better, sir.
ABR. You lie.
SAM. Draw, if you be men.—Gregory, remember thy swashing blow". [They fight.
* Quarto A, say I.
Folio, and quarto A, B, washing.
+Folio omits sir.
which is disgrace enough if they suffer it. 2. Content; go thou by and bite thy thumb, and Ile come after and frown." BOSWELL. 7 Enter Benvolio,] Much of this scene is added since the first edition; but probably by Shakspeare, since we find it in that of the year 1599. POPE.
- here comes one of my MASTER's kinsmen.] Some mistake has happened in this place; Gregory is a servant of the Capulets, and Benvolio was of the Montague faction. Farmer.
Perhaps there is no mistake. Gregory may mean Tybalt, who cnters immediately after Benvolio, but on a different part of the stage. The eyes of the servant may be directed the way he sees Tybalt coming, and in the mean time, Benvolio enters on the opposite side. STEEVENS.
9thy SWASHING blow.] Ben Jonson uses this expression in his Staple for News: "I do confess a swashing blow." In The Three Ladies of London, 1584, Fraud says:
“I will flaunt and brave it after the lusty swash."
BEN. Part, fools; put up your swords; you know not what you do. [Beats down their Swords.
TYB. What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds?
Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon thy death.
TYB. What, drawn *, and talk of peace? I hate
As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee:
Enter several Partizans of both Houses, who join the Fray; then enter Citizens, with Clubs.
1 CIT. Clubs, bills', and partizans! strike! beat them down!
Down with the Capulets! down with the Montagues!
Enter CAPULET, in his Gown; and Lady CAPULlet. CAP. What noise is this?-Give me my long sword, ho!
* Folio, draw.
Again, in As You Like It:
“I'll have a martial and a swashing outside." To swash seems to have meant to be a bully, to be noisily valiant. So, Green, in his Card of Fancy, 1608: "-in spending and spoiling, in swearing and swashing." Barrett, in his Alvearie, 1580, says, that "to swash is to make a noise with swordes against tergats." STEEvens.
I CLUBS, bills, &c.] When an affray arose in the streets, clubs was the usual exclamation. See As You Like It, Act V. Sc. II.
2 Give me my LONG SWORD,] The long sword was the sword used in war, which was sometimes wielded with both hands.
See Merry Wives of Windsor, Act. II. Sc. I. MALONE.
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 3. (II)
Enter Prince, with Attendants.
PRIN. Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace,
That quench the fire of your pernicious rage
This long sword is mentioned in The Coxcomb, a comedy by Beaumont and Fletcher, where the justice says:
"Take their confessions, and my long sword; "I cannot tell what danger we may meet with." Chapman, without authority from Homer, has equipped Neptune with this weapon:
King Neptune, with his long sword-." Iliad xv. It appears that it was once the fashion to wear two swords of different sizes at the same time.
So, in Decker's Satiromastix, 1602: "Peter Salamander, tie up your great and your little sword."
The little sword was the weapon comin
The little sword was probably nothing more than a dagger.
3 Instead of this scene, in the quarto there is merely the following stage direction: They draw, to them enters Tybalt, they fight, to them the Prince, old Montague and his wife, old Capulet and his wife, and other citizens, and part them." BOSWELL. MIS-TEMPER'D Weapons-] Are angry weapons. So, in King John:
"This inundation of mis-temper'd humour," &c. STEEVENS.
And hear the sentence of your moved prince.-
MON.Who set this ancient quarrel new abroach?
And yours, close fighting ere I did approach:
Till the prince came, who parted either part.
* Folio, broyles.
+ Quarto A, the reason of your fault.
4 To old FREE-TOWN, our common judgment-place.] This name the poet found in the Tragicall History of Romeus and Juliet, 1562. It is there said to be the castle of the Capulets.