English translation requested: Romeo and Juliet

Some stuff from Act II, Scene IV (I believe):

Basically, Romeo and his peeps are trading some wisecracks, and have some fun at the nurse’s expense when they see her looking for Romeo. I’m not sure what some of this dialog means though. I’ve listed the parts that I have not clue what it’s about. (And just in case you’re wondering, no, it’s not homework.):
Nurse: God ye good morrow, gentlemen. [Good morning, guys]

MERCUTIO: God ye good den, fair gentlewoman. [Good evening, lady]

Nurse: Is it good den? [Huh? "Good evening?”

MERCUTIO: 'Tis no less, I tell you, for the bawdy hand of the dial is now upon the prick of noon.
???I understand the reference, but not how it ties into conversation

Nurse: Out upon you! what a man are you! [What a jerk!]

ROMEO: One, gentlewoman, that God hath made for himself to mar.
** ???I don’t get it**

Nurse:By my troth, it is well said; ‘for himself to mar,’ quoth a’
???Don’t get this, either, other that she seems to be agreeing with Romeo
Gentlemen, can any of you tell me where Imay find the young Romeo? [Where’s this ‘Romeo’ cat I keep hearing about?]

ROMEO: 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.[Well, my name is ‘Romeo’]???"for fault of a worse

Nurse: You say well.

MERCUTIO: Yea, is the worst well? very well took, i’ faith; wisely, wisely.
???I guess that it’s a pun on the previous “worse” and “well,” but I’m not sure what he’s saying

Nurse: If you be he, sir, I desire some confidence withyou. [An unintentional malaprop in saying, “We need to chit-chat.”]

BENVOLIO: She will indite him to some supper. [Deliberate malaprop making fun of the nurse, I suppose]

MERCUTIO: A bawd, a bawd, a bawd! so ho! [Another poke at the nurse, calling her a “ho,” many years before Snoop Dogg, but does this just come out of nowhere?]

ROMEO: What hast thou found?

???Romeo and the nurse have been talking, and now he wants to know what Mercutio has found? Is there any indication Mercutio has been looking for something?

MERCUTIO: No hare, sir; unless a hare, sir, in a lenten pie, that is something stale and hoar ere it be spent. [I’m guessing it’s a pun on hoar[old]/whore[/sut], taking another potshot at the nurse, but I have no idea about the “hare” and “lenten pie”.]

An old hare hoar,
And an old hare hoar,
Is very good meat in lent ** [I think this is more of the pun, but other]**
But a hare that is hoar ** [than the hoar/whore pun, I don’t get it]**
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.
[We’ll catch up with you at your dad’s.]

ROMEO: I will follow you.

MERCUTIO: Farewell, ancient lady; farewell,

That is, the clock hand is just at twelve so it’s not morning anymore.

With reference to these notes:

I.e., the guy’s a screwup, a loser, a flawed product. “God done made you good but you ruined it.”

“In default of”, more or less; that is, for lack of any worse name, I’m Romeo. And the kid is a bit touchy about the patronizing reference to “young” Romeo, apparently.

Mercutio zings the Nurse for impolitely (unintentionally) agreeing with Romeo’s claim that his name is the worst.

“So ho” was a hunting cry, called out when the game was “found”, i.e., sighted or scented. You weren’t supposed to eat meat at all in Lent, so I guess even old stale game would be a treat then.

Game shouldn’t be charged for (“scored”) if it’s so old that it gets moldy (“hoars”) before it’s eaten up.

It’s mostly just bawdy wordplay.

“Good den” (good afternoon), followed by “is it good den” could also be using the word den as a vaginal reference.

Then we get on to some wanking jokes (hands on pricks, marring himself in the sense of “self-abuse”).

Next we move on to Romeo saying that he’s the “young” Romeo, lacking anyone “worst” (younger in the sense that the oldest is the greatest).

Confidence isn’t a malapropism - it’s just a word for private discussion, but will also stretch to “intercourse” in both modern senses of the term.

More sex references and then Mercutio sings a quick little ditty about how old hare is a good meat in Lent (when you’re supposed to be giving up anything better), again implying that Romeo’s potential rogering of an old nurse isn’t bad if he can’t get anyone better.

Does that work for you?

Mercutio is interesting. I’ve seen two different (video) productions that took alternating takes on his Queen Mab speech, one where he was being a jolly jokester througout (and kind of annoying) and another where he starts out joking but seems to carry it too far and ends up ranting madly to the sky, in increasing hysterics, until Romeo tackles him and tells him to cool it.

Yes! I’m familiar with that word, and it’s definition, and I agree that it makes sense just as it’s written.

However. . . I recall a note in one of my English books that indicated that it might have been a malaprop, and that the intended word would have been “conference.” This would seem to be supported because Benvolio’s subsequent comment “indite him to a supper” would seem to really be “invite.”

And yeah, I pretty much knew that the extended conversation was a lot of bawdy wordplay at the nurse’s expense, but just didn’t get some of it. So, thanks.

Also, Franco Zefferelli (sp?) did a great job with the nurse and the “sail” mostif in the 1969 movie.

Moving from GQ to Cafe Society.

General Questions Moderator

:smack: motif
And “image” would probably have been a better word, anyway.

Yeah it is, in this case.

This site might help you: No Fear Shakespeare.

Side by side original text and modern English equivalent.