Wit in Romeo and Juliet
July 9, 2009 8:50 PM   Subscribe

Romeo & Juliet: I seem to remember a portion in the play where someone exhorts "wit" to help them out, or says they're running out of wit—but I can never find it when look through the stuff. Is it just a false memory, or maybe something mentioned very much in passing?

I searched through the text again and maybe Romeo saying, "But 'tis no wit to go" is supposed to have a double meaning (we shouldn't go to the event, I have no wit remaining?)

Mercutio saying, "Come between us, good Benvolio; my wits faint": this just seems very straightforward; I'm looking for an exhortation, or a request of sorts ("help me out, Wit!")
posted by Non Prosequitur to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Are you sure it's from Romeo and Juliet? There's a bit in Twelfth Night that sounds a little bit like what you are asking about, Feste's line "Wit, an't be thy will, put me into good fooling!"
posted by phoenixy at 9:01 PM on July 9, 2009

Response by poster: Sure; let me know if it (or something similar) is in another work. I just have the vaguest memory of the thing.
posted by Non Prosequitur at 9:03 PM on July 9, 2009

Best answer: Thou hast it right enow, Non Pro.... R & J, Act 1, Scene 4, lines 541-552

Mercutio. 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.

Romeo. And we mean well in going to this mask;
But 'tis no wit to go.

Mercutio. Why, may one ask?

Romeo. I dream'd a dream to-night.

Mercutio. And so did I.

Romeo. Well, what was yours?

Mercutio. That dreamers often lie.

Romeo. In bed asleep, while they do dream things true.

I used a Shakespeare concordance.
posted by angiep at 9:10 PM on July 9, 2009

Best answer: I'm pretty sure phoenixy has it and the Twelfth Night quote is the one you're thinking of. It's in Act One Scene 4.

Love's Labours Lost has "My father's wit and my mother's tongue, assist me!" but Twelfth Night seems more likely.
posted by the latin mouse at 1:08 AM on July 10, 2009

Best answer: "Come between us, good Benvolio! My wits faint."

Mercutio, Act II, scene iv.
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:46 AM on July 10, 2009

Best answer: This is a job for... the Shakespeare Concordance!

I did a "stemmed" search for "wit" and got 13 results, the closest to your request seems to be the second-to-last, when second musician in act IV scene 5 says, "Pray you, put up your dagger, and put out your wit."
posted by amtho at 5:44 AM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There's a whole exchange between Rosalind & Orlando about wit in As You Like It, just as an FYI.
posted by witchstone at 9:46 AM on July 10, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks folks. The concordance is great, I think the part about Mercutio's wits fainting is what I was thinking about!! I just didn't read ahead where they keep jesting and Mercutio says,

"thou hast more of the wild-goose in one of
thy wits than, I am sure, I have in my whole five."

And they keep going on about it.
posted by Non Prosequitur at 12:33 PM on July 10, 2009

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