March 6

“If love be rough with you, be rough with love.”

Tonight, you should read Act I, scene iv: the Montague boys are out on the town about to go crash Capulet’s party.

After you read the whole scene, carefully paraphrase lines 16-28 here.    A paraphrase is a translation into your own words of the poem or speech.   A paraphrase is NOT a summary.  You should think of it as a word for word translation.  That said, you may use some of the same words, just so long as it would be completely clear to a person reading your translation today.  I know that paraphrasing is hard, and I know the temptation will be to find one online.  Please avoid this temptation!   Do your own best with the information you get on the verso.  Remember, the idea is to learn from the experience, not necessarily to get it perfectly right the first time.

After you write the paraphrase, write a response.  Mercutio here is giving Romeo advice about his love life.  What is the gist of this advice?  How is it similar to or different from Benvolio’s advice to Romeo?  What does this advice tell us about Mercutio?

As always, please check your writing for spelling, punctuation, and grammar.  Please also respond to at least one other comment in this thread.

R&J blog #6

Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.

Posted March 6, 2019 by equinson in category Romeo and Juliet

27 thoughts on ““If love be rough with you, be rough with love.”

  1. Laila

    In lines 16-28 of Act I scene iv, we see Romeo complaining about love to Mercutio. In line 16 Romeo basically says that being in love has taken a toll on him and dragged him down. Mercutio responds by telling Romeo to “borrow Cupids wings”, basically saying that Romeo shouldn’t be dragged down by love, he should feel free and soar. Romeo keeps claiming that the burden is too heavy for him to soar with. Mercutio finally tells Romeo that this is “Too great oppression for a tender thing.” Meaning that love is too beautiful of a thing to have a burden on.
    Basically during these lines, Mercutio’s advice is to not let love drag you down. This is ironic because as we all know, the main reason of Romeo’s death is love so, his advice clearly didn’t work well. In a way, this is somewhat similar to Benvolio’s advice to Romeo. When Romeo first tells Benvolio that he is in love, Romeo seems sad because the woman he loves won’t fall in love. Benvolio assures Romeo that there are plenty of other beautiful women that can make him happy, as where Mercutio says that Romeo shouldn’t let love drag him down. This is probably foreshadowing Romeo falling in love with Juliet, when he will be loved back and happy. This scene showed us what type of character Mercutio will be for Romeo. He is someone who will always be there for Romeo and wants the best for him.

  2. johnh1

    Romeo says he has a sad soul. Mercutio tells him about how he take control of his life and try to live happily. There is contrast between Romeo and Mercutio. Romeo is very solemn about love and his life. He often whines about his issues and worries. Mercutio, however, even though he changes how he acts, he always seems more spontaneous and has a better outlook on life and love. He acts more like love is something he can control and deal with while Romeo talks about how he can’t help but be in love with this woman. Mercutio has a very different outlook than Romeo and I think will be like a voice telling him another idea.

  3. Emma Garbowitz

    Lines 16-28 paraphrase-
    So, I feel heavy and cannot move
    You are a lover, so fall in love with someone else
    Find someone more compatable to be with
    I am so love sick from with Cupid’s arrow
    To soar with Cupid feathers but he can’t because he’s so lovesick
    I am depressed forever
    Depressed by his love sickness that’s holding him back
    He’s sinking more and more into his lovesickness
    There shouldn’t be too much distress over something as tender as love
    Is love really a good thing? It’s too rough
    Too rude, too daunty, and hurts like a thorn
    If love is rough to you, be rough back to it
    Hurt love for loving you and beat love down

    Mercutio gives advice to Romeo about his love life during this scene. I think he was basically trying to tell Romeo that love can be a difficult thing to deal with but that should stop you from doing anything you want to do. Also he is saying that if love makes you feel terrible and awful, make love feel the same way back. Love shouldn’t control your whole life and how you should act. Benvolio also gave Romeo some love advice too. Benvolio told Romeo that he should get over Rosaline. Benvolio was saying that he should find someone better than her and more specifically someone who is not a capulet. Similarly, Mercutio tells Romeo he should be with someone of the same family or someone he isn’t at least more comparable with. The text states “ And soar with them above a common bound.” This shows Mercutio thinks he should be with someone with something in common. However, although this part of their love advice was similar there are many differences between the advice as well. I think that Benvolio gave Romeo this advice because he didn’t think that Romeo should be with a Capulet considering both families hate each other. On the contrary I think that Mercutio knows that love can be a cruel thing but you have to get past the pain to live a great life. You can’t always be worried about the person you love and be depressed about it everyday. Therefore, both Mercutio and Benvolio gave Romeo similar and different love advice at the same time.

    1. trinityt

      Interesting, both Benvolio and Mercutio gave Romeo advice on the same topic, love. Yet, they have different ways of doing it. Benvolio told Romeo to find another girl to take interest in, someone who’s not a Capulet because he wants to keep peace between both families, while Mercutio told Romeo to keep striving for love, but don’t let love take control of his entire life. However, they both want Romeo to cheer up and be happy.

  4. Kate

    You are a lover. You can soar with love beyond regular people do.
    Love pierced me too deep, I can’t soar with feathers
    The wound keeps me from soaring
    You sink love with you and it’s not right
    Is love really tender?
    It hurts like a prick of a thorn
    If love is rough with you be rough with love
    you’ll defeat love if you’re rough.

    Mercutio’s advice is very different from Benevolio. Benevolio advises Romeo to find more girls to love, particularly not from the Capulet’s. Mercutio’s advice is to keep fighting for love. Even if you don’t get love the first time, keep trying. Also, Mercutio tells him not to let love control his emotions; for example you can’t let love make you depressed, you have to beat love by achieving it. Instead of giving up, Romeo should keep trying to achieve love with Rosaline. This advice shows how Mercutio knows a lot about love. Also it shows that he isn’t on either side- Capulet or Montague. Mercutio wouldn’t have told Romeo to keep trying with Rosaline if he hated the Capulet’s like every other Montague. Maybe Mercutio will try and keep peace like Benevolio if he’s not on either side.

    1. Mikayla Friedman

      I like your analysis, and although I took a different approach on Mercutio’s advice (it could be totally wrong), I really like your interpretation: keep trying to find love.

  5. Myles Ng

    You are a lover. Love someone else.
    Love someone who is compatible with you.
    I am sick of being struck by Cupid’s arrow.
    To fly with Cupid’s wings and be limited.
    I cannot be freed from this sadness.
    Under the burden of this love I sink.
    And to sink into this love will sadden you more.
    Too great of sadness this will bring for you.
    Is love a nice thing? No, it is rough,
    Too rude, to loud, and it pricks like a thorn.
    If love is rough, be rough back.
    Prick love when it pricks you, and you will beat your sadness.

    Mercutio is telling Romeo advice on his love life. He is currently love stricken and believes love has forsaken him and he has fallen into a deep sadness. He tells him find someone else to love. Romeo says he doesn’t want to have his heart broken again. Because of this sadness Romeo does not wish to seek love else where. Mercutio basically wraps the conversation up by saying if love hurts you, hurt it back.

  6. maxwellw

    You are a lover. Let your love fly high
    Fly beyond common men
    Cupids arrow pierces me too deeply
    To fly with his feathers
    I can not relieve my sadness
    My love weighs me down
    To sink hurts your love
    That is too much turmoil for such a tender thing
    Is love really tender? It is too rough
    too rude and too boisterous
    If love has you down beat your love down
    When loves pricks you prick back and you’ll beat it
    Give me a reason to put my mask on. Why should I care
    if people see my flaws

    In this scene, Mercutio is telling Romeo how to deal with his unrequited love. He explains to Romeo that one must beat down love to finally win it over and that you must be rough back when love gets you down. He also says to remove any worry he has that people should care about his flaws, and he shouldn’t collapse under love’s stress.

    1. josepha4

      Mercurtio’s advice seems to seem better for Romeo and foreshadows his future behavior of not giving up on Juliet.

  7. jane

    I am so in love that I am stuck
    You can love, so find love
    And look for inordinate people
    I’m too in love to try and find someone else
    I’m too sad for something even this easy
    I won’t be able to find anyone unordinary
    Being in love is hard and sad
    Don’t be so sad while you’re in love
    It’s too sad for a good thing
    Love is too sad to be good
    To mean and painful
    If love is challenging, face the challenge
    Let the bad stuff brush off of your shoulders

    Mercy tip is telling Romeo not to feel too bad about being in love. He acknowledges that it is challenging, and painful, and sad. But he encourages Romeo to face the difficult path. He tells Romeo to instead of sulking in his misfortune to go out and explore and try to deal with being in love. He’s saying that Romeo should try to deal with being in love by finding someone who can love him too. He’s advisong Romeo to stay positive and embrace the situation. This shows the Mercutio is ambitious and a determined character. He is trying to encourage Romeo to get out of his slump.

  8. trinityt

    Lines 16-28 paraphrase:
    I feel heavy and cannot move.
    You’re a lover. So you should love someone else
    Love someone else and move on.
    I have been strongly pierced by Cupid’s arrow
    To soar with Cupid’s light feathers, but I can’t
    I cannot escape my sadness.
    I am depressed under love’s heavy burden.
    You are burdening love if you sink into it-
    That is too much weight on a tender thing such as love.
    Is love really a tender thing? It’s too rough,
    Too rude, too unruly, and it hurts like when a thorn pricks you.
    If love is rough with you, be rough back to love.
    Prick love back for pricking you, and you’ll beat love down.

    In this scene, Mercutio is giving advice to Romeo regarding his love life that he is currently struggling with. Mercutio is explaining to Romeo that love is a good and tender thing, and it requires effort, but you shouldn’t let love take control of your emotions. You should beat love in order to achieve it. Mercutio’s advice is different from Benvolio’s advice because Benvolio told Romeo to move on from Rosaline and takes interest in other women. Mercutio told Romeo to keep fighting for love, and not let it bring him down. This tells us that Mercutio knows a lot about love and supports his friend. Both Benvolio and Mercutio wants to cheer up Romeo and want him to be happy.

  9. josepha4

    Paraphrase 16-28

    Romeo: I’m stuck and held in place by loves grasp
    Mercrutio: Go and love another woman
    Romeo: I can’t I am so in love I can’t forget and escape my sadness
    Mercrutio: To be hurt by love ruins love itself it’s so precious
    Romeo: Is it precious, it seems to cause chronic pain
    Mercrutio: If love beats you down rise above your sadness and brush off the pain.

    When Romeo revealed his feelings of love to Benvolio, he advised Romeo to forget his feelings of his unattainable love and to go look for lots more girls. However, Mercrutio had different advice. He told Romeo to get over his sadness and not give up on his love. If he feels depressed he shouldn’t let that get in the way of his emotion and keep fighting for what he loves.

  10. Mikayla Friedman

    My heavy soul prevents me from moving.
    You are a lover of others, so go find someone else to love
    And fly with them above what is seen as the normal limit.
    I have been hurt too deeply by Cupid’s arrow,
    So I cannot fly with anybody or love anybody.
    I am sinking under the heavy weight of love.
    If you sink, you will transfer your heavy weight onto love itself-
    And that pressure is too great for a delicate thing like love
    But is love truly tender? It is rough, rude, rambunctious, and if it pricks you it will hurt.
    If love hurts you, you should hurt love.
    You prick love because it has pricked you, and you stomp on love to the floor.

    In these lines Mercutio is giving Romeo love advice. He is saying that since love has gotten you down, you should get love down. Do onto love as love has done onto you. Mercutio is telling Romeo to exchange a punch for a punch, and to not let love get away with all of the troubles it has caused Romeo. Mercutio must be talking figuratively, and I understand what he is saying, but I do not understand how he intends for Romeo to beat love up. Does he want Romeo to give up on love and never love again? I’m not sure what Mercutio is actually telling Romeo to do, not what he is figuratively telling Romeo to do. This advice is different than the advice that Benvolio gives Romeo because Benvolio tells Romeo to stop loving Rosaline and find another girl, one he can have. What I am trying to say is that Benvolio is telling Romeo to move on, while Mercutio is telling Romeo to retaliate and knock love to the ground.

  11. Madi R.


    I am so in love, it has made me unable to move on.
    All you do is love. Try again
    And do it without a boundary.
    I am too sad this love has left a mark on me
    I can never be happy again, and I am so deep in this love
    I cannot find another because of this sadness.
    I am sinking under the hardships of love.
    And to sink in it you are giving love hardships
    Love is to tender to give it hardships
    Is love really that delicate? It is too rough,
    Too rude, too disorderly, and it hurts.
    If love is rough to you, you should be rough with love.
    Hurt love for hurting you, and beat love down.

    In this scene, Mercutio is advising Romeo to find someone to love him as much as he loves them. This is similar to Benvolio’s advice becouse Benvolio encourages him to go to the party to look for other women. This advice tells us that Mercutio is a good friend to Romeo and understands him. Mercutio has a different personality than Romeo and gives him a different opinion. Mercutio is very encouraging to Romeo and wants to help him get him out of his sorrows.

  12. caseyz

    My heavy soul makes it hard to move
    You can love another person
    Fall in love with someone
    I was stabbed by Cupid’s arrow and it is painful
    It hurts too much to move
    I can’t fall in love with anyone
    Love is too sad and much too hard
    Don’t fall in love
    It will hurt you too deeply
    Is love supposed to be pleasant? It’s quite awful
    Love is far too cruel and painful
    Ignore the pain of love, push through it
    Fall in love with someone anyway

    Mercutio is trying to explain to Romeo that love is difficult and will hurt, but that doesn’t mean that he should give up on it. He wants Romeo to fight through the pain and fall in love, because it will all be worth it in the end.

  13. Hannah M.


    Romeo:My love doesn’t allow me to move, I am stuck

    Mercutio:Leave your love for you have too much passion for this girl

    Romeo:Is love gentle? it is not for it is rough and hurtful and its heartaching

    Mercutio: Fight the pain of love and get through it and defeat love before it defeats you.

    In line 16-28 the conversing between Romeo and Mercutio is about love. They talk about how hard love is and how it locks them down so they cannot get out of their mind and that leads to them being hurt amd depressed. zMercutio tells romeo to fight the pain of love and deal with it because he thinks finding love will be a good thing for Romeo.

  14. Hannah M.

    This got cut off for some reason but it is put between the first two lines:

    Mercutio: look for more lovers for you are one to love and be loved.

    Romeo: I cannot for I have been stabbed by cupids arrow causing me to fall deep in love

  15. Sunna

    My heavy soul won’t let me move
    You are a lover, find someone else to love
    And fly with them away
    I have been hurt too much by Cupid’s arrow
    To soar so easily and fast
    I cannot let go of my love
    Under love’s heavy weight I sink
    And, if you sink, it will be too heavy
    Too much sadness for a delicate thing
    Is love a delicate thing? It is too rough
    Too rude, too noisy, and it hurts sharply
    If love is rough with you, be rough with love
    Prick love back for pricking you, and you will defeat love for good

    In this scene, Romeo is complaining about love being cruel. Mercutio is telling Romeo that if love is cruel, be cruel to love. He is saying not to let love defeat you, and to control it.

  16. stephaniec

    I can barely move.
    You are a lover. You call the shots for once
    And go and find yourself someone new.
    Cupid’s arrow put a scar on me, and is preventing me from moving on
    So I can not move on
    I am too sad to continue.
    Love is too big a burden.
    Don’t fall in love
    Love is too hard, but shouldn’t it be easy?
    Love is gruesome, painful, and disappointing.
    Fight back against loves hardships.
    And you will find love.

    In this scene, Mercutio is attempting to fill Romeo up with confidence. He is telling Romeo to push through all the problems that come with love, because once you do, it will all be worth it. However, Benvolio advised Romeo to move on and find someone new to love. Even so, they both want the best for Romeo.

  17. Maddie

    Lines 16-28 paraphrase:
    I’m stuck and I can’t move.
    You are a lover. Search for other girls with Cupids help.
    I have been hurt by love. I cannot rise above the pain that love has caused me.
    You are the one hurting love. It is tender.
    Is love tender? It is rude, hurtful, and dangerous.
    If love hurts you, than you should hurt love.

    In this section, Mercutio is giving love advice to Romeo. Romeo does not think he will be able to find another girl to love, but Mercutio tells him to take Cupid’s wings and soar. Romeo and Mercutio have different positions on love. Romeo describes love as rude, rough, and hurtful, while Mercutio describes love as tender. The advice that Mercutio gives is that Romeo should be hurtful to love if love hurts him. I am not sure how Romeo would specifically be rough with love, but he could try not to fall in love so that he would not feel any more pain.

  18. Sophie

    I feel trapped within myself.
    You have a big heart, find somebody to love!
    Find the perfect person, and have the best future together!
    But I feel so love deprived.
    Yet too weak to flawlessly carry a relationship.
    I feel so sad,
    And unable to carry the responsibilities of love.
    You’re thinking too far into this.
    Especially for something as tender as love.
    But is love truly tender? It seems so rough to me.
    Too complicated and too hurtful.
    But if love is tough on you, fight back!
    Persevere, and you will find happiness.

    Within lines 16 to 28 during scene iv, Mercutio gives Romeo advice about love. Mercutio’s advice is very positive and uplifting, because he can see that Romeo is feeling down on himself. He tells Romeo that love doesn’t have to be a terrible thing. If you know who you are and know what you want, love can benefit your life in so many ways! This advice tells us a lot about Mercutio’s personality. During class, we discussed how the further meaning of his name can mean “up and down”. If “up” stands for his happy/positive/uplifting side, than it definitely showed in this scene. It also shows that Mercutio really cares about Romeo, and maybe he will be important to Romeo’s love life in the future. This is only the beginning of Romeo’s love life!

  19. Zoe

    No, I shall not dance, but you will for you can, but I will not move my feet and begin to dance. But you can dance because you are in love and you’ll do what many cannot for many others are not in love.
    The arrow Cupid shot has gone in too deep, I cannot move. His soft wings could not lift me from the ground.
    Love is a fragile and wonderful thing. To sink will make love ruined.
    Is it really so fragile? Love has made me suffer like a thorn drawing blood.
    If love is rough with you, be rough back and you beat down love instead of letting love beat you up.

    Mercutio and Benvolio both gave Romeo valuable advice towards his love life, however, they were very different. benvolio, when speaking to Romeo earlier, had encouraged Romeo to come to the party not because he would see his love and win her over, but because he could see his love and compare her to other beauties and realize she wasn’t worth it. Mercutio, on the other hand, encouraged Romeo to play rough with love and that he should not give up on her. Both characters offer Romeo a path to choose and continue in the next scene. I believe this will be Romeo’s big decision in scene 5.

  20. angelicac1

    So holds me to the ground, making me unable to move.
    You’re in love. Use your love to go beyond common limits.
    But love has hurt and pained me and I can no longer go beyond limits with my love for it is holding me down, weighing mostly on my spirits.
    Love is not as sorrowful as you are making it seem, too heavy for such a delicate thing.
    Is love really all that delicate? It seems so cruel. It is too coarse, too wild, and it hurts you in the end.
    If love is rough with you, you need to stand your ground and be rough with your love. You will only defeat the hurt in love if you hurt love back.

    When Romeo receives advice from Mercutio and Benvolio, they both present him with good points. Mercutio states that love may throw obstacles at you, but the benefits of love will always make a person content. Benvolio stated that there is much more to life than the benefits that love may give. Mercutio is basically pushing Romeo to keep looking for the right person that he loves and it’s worth it if he fights for them because he’ll only receive happiness in the end. On the other hand, Benvolio is pushing Romeo to open his eyes and realize the happiness that he can achieve outside a life of love.

  21. Brishti

    My feelings make me depressed so I cannot dance.
    You’re someone who can love. So find someone else to love.
    I am too lovesick to find new love. I cannot move on, because love has made me too depressed.
    Love is not as bad as you make it out to be. Love is too delecate to have so much weight.
    Love is not delicate, it is harmful, and it hurts more than it helps.
    If you cannot find love so easily, then don’t stop searching for the right one until you find her.

    In this scene Mercutio is giving Romeo advice on how to cope with his feelings of unrequited love. Both Benvolio and Mercutio give Romeo similar advice – Benvolio tells Romeo to move on and find more love and Mercutio tells Romeo to not let love take control of his emotions, and instead to “be rough to love”. It differs because Mercutio tells Romeo to not let it get to him by never giving up until he finds the perfect one (what he means by being “rough to love”). This advice shows us Mercutio’s personality. Unlike Benvolio, who plays the peacekeeper/ “good guy”, Mercutio is more of a fighter with resistence. Instead of playing good, he wants to play rough. This could have bad consequences later on in the play.

  22. Hannah Pitkofsky

    You are searching for love
    Get some help from Cupid above
    And search beyond the common folk
    Love is not a burden, for it is a tender thing
    If your love is hard for you, be hard back

    Lines 16-28 of Act I, scene iv, Mercutio gives Romeo advice about love. Romeo is complaining that he can’t find love and Mercutio tells Romeo that he is someone waiting for love and that he should go out and find someone who he wishes to find. This advice is different than Benvolio’s because Mercutio is being more descriptive and telling Romeo to go out and find the girl beyond the common people, while Benvolio tells Romeo to search elsewhere for his love. This advice shows us that Mercutio is more of a romantic and that his advice might be what leads Romeo to Juliet.

  23. Emily

    You are a romantic, use cupids wings and fly.
    I can’t jump, under love I sink.
    You are making love into a burden, it is actually not at all.
    Is it really? It is too rough and it stings.
    If love is hard, be hard with it

    In these lines Romeo is being told by Mercutio how great love is. Romeo is always saying negative things, and now he is saying bad things about love. Mercatio, however, is telling him that although love is difficult sometimes, it is not worth giving up on. He is asking Romeo to take love and “fly”. Overall, that he should believe in love and never to give up on it.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *