But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou, her maid, art far more fair than she.
Be not her maid since she is envious.
Her vestal livery is but sick and green,
And none but fools do wear it. Cast it off!
It is my lady. Oh, it is my love.
Oh, that she knew she were!
She speaks, yet she says nothing. What of that?
Her eye discourses. I will answer it.—
I am too bold. ‘Tis not to me she speaks.
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars
As daylight doth a lamp. Her eye in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See how she leans her cheek upon her hand.
Oh, that I were a glove upon that hand
That I might touch that cheek!
Wait! What light is that in the window over there? It
is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Rise beautiful sun and kill the jealous
moon, which is already sick and pale with grief because Juliet, her maid, is
more beautiful than she. Don’t be her maid, since she’s jealous. The moon’s
virginity makes her look sick and green, and only fools hold on to their
virginity. Throw it off. It is my lady. Oh, it is my love. Oh, I wish she
knew I loved her. She’s talking, but isn’t saying anything. Why is that? Her
eyes are speaking. I’ll respond—no, I am too bold. It’s not to me she speaks.
Two of the most beautiful stars in the sky had to go off on some business,
and begged her eyes to twinkle in their place until they return. If her eyes
were in the sky and the stars were in her head the brightness of her cheeks
would overwhelm the stars just as daylight outshines a lamp. And her eyes in
the night sky would shine so brightly that birds would start singing,
thinking it was day. Look how she leans her cheek against her hand. I wish I
was a glove on that hand so I could touch that cheek.
* * * * * *
ROMEO (aside) She speaks.
O, speak again, bright angel! For thou art
As glorious to this night, being o’er my head,
As is a wingèd messenger of heaven
Unto the white, upturnèd, wondering eyes
Of mortals that fall back to gaze on him
When he bestrides the lazy-puffing clouds
And sails upon the bosom of the air.
ROMEO (to himself) She speaks.
Speak again, bright angel. For tonight you are as glorious as an angel,
shining above my head like a winged messenger from heaven who makes mortals
fall onto their backs to gaze up in awe as the angel strides across the
clouds and sails through the air.
* * *
O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name.
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.
Oh, Romeo, Romeo, why must you be Romeo? Deny your
father and give up your name. Or, if you won’t change your name, just swear
your love to me and I’ll give up being a Capulet.
ROMEO (aside) Shall I hear more, or shall
I speak at this?
ROMEO (to himself) Should I listen
longer, or respond now to these words?
* * *
40 * * * *
‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy.
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet.
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name, which is no part of thee
Take all myself.
Only your name is my enemy. You’d be yourself even if
you ceased to be a Montague. What’s a Montague, after all? It’s not a hand,
foot, arm, face, or any other body part. Oh, change your name! What’s the
significance of a name? The thing we call a rose would smell as sweet even if
we called it by some other name. So even if Romeo had some other name, he
would still be perfect. Romeo, take off your name—which really has no
connection to who you are—and take all of me instead.
I take thee at thy word.
Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized.
Henceforth I never will be Romeo.
ROMEO (Out loud) I take you at your
word. If you call me your love, I’ll take a new name. From now on I’ll never
again be Romeo.
What man art thou that, thus bescreened in night,
So stumblest on my counsel?
Who are you, hiding in the darkness and eavesdropping
on my private thoughts?
* * *
By a name
I know not how to tell thee who I am.
My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself
Because it is an enemy to thee.
Had I it written, I would tear the word.
I don’t know how to tell you who I am by using a name.
I hate my name, dear saint, because it is your enemy. If I had it written
down, I would tear up the word.
* * *
My ears have not yet drunk a hundred words
Of that tongue’s uttering, yet I know the sound.
Art thou not Romeo, and a Montague?
I’ve not yet even heard you say a hundred words, yet I
recognize the sound of your voice. Aren’t you Romeo, the Montague?
Neither, fair maid, if either thee dislike.
I’ll be neither of those things, my love, if you
* * * *
How camest thou hither, tell me, and wherefore?
The orchard walls are high and hard to climb,
And the place death, considering who thou art,
If any of my kinsmen find thee here.
How and why did you come here? The orchard walls are
high and difficult to climb. And it will mean your death, because of who you
are, if any of my family find you here.
With love’s light wings did I o’erperch these walls,
For stony limits cannot hold love out,
And what love can do, that dares love attempt.
Therefore thy kinsmen are no stop to me.
I flew over these walls on the wings of love. No stone
wall can keep love out. Whatever a man in love can do, love will make him
attempt to do it. Therefore your relatives can’t stop me.
If they do see thee they will murder thee.
If they see you they’ll murder you.
Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye
Than twenty of their swords. Look thou but sweet,
And I am proof against their enmity.
I am more concerned about the look in your eye than I
would be with twenty of your relatives with swords. If you just look at me
with love, their hatred would not be able to touch me.
I would not for the world they saw thee here.
I’d give the world to make sure they do not see you
I have night’s cloak to hide me from their eyes,
And but thou love me, let them find me here.
My life were better ended by their hate
Than death proroguèd, wanting of thy love.
The darkness of night will hide me from their eyes. And
if you don’t love me, then let them find me. I’d rather they killed me in
hatred than experience the prolonged death of life without your love.
By whose direction found’st thou out this place?
Who told you how to find my my bedroom?
By love, that first did prompt me to inquire.
He lent me counsel and I lent him eyes.
I am no pilot. Yet, wert thou as far
As that vast shore washed with the farthest sea,
I would adventure for such merchandise.
Love, which spurred me to come and find you. Love
advised me, while I lent love my eyes. I’m no a sailor. Still, even if you
were on the shore across the farthest sea, I would set out to find you.
Thou know’st the mask of night is on my face,
Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek
For that which thou hast heard me speak tonight.
Fain would I dwell on form. Fain, fain deny
What I have spoke. But farewell compliment!
Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say “ay,”
And I will take thy word. Yet if thou swear’st
Thou mayst prove false. At lovers’ perjuries,
They say, Jove laughs. O gentle Romeo,
If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully.
Or if thou think’st I am too quickly won,
I’ll frown and be perverse and say thee nay,
So thou wilt woo. But else, not for the world.
In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond,
And therefore thou mayst think my ‘havior light.
But trust me, gentleman, I’ll prove more true
Than those that have more coying to be strange.
I should have been more strange, I must confess,
But that thou overheard’st, ere I was ‘ware,
My true love’s passion. Therefore pardon me,
And not impute this yielding to light love,
Which the dark night hath so discovered.
The darkness of night masks my face, or else you’d see
me blushing about the things you heard me say tonight. I would gladly stick
to the proper manners of courtship and deny everything I said. But, instead:
goodbye good manners! Do you love me? I know you will answer “yes,” and I
will trust you. But your swears may turn out to be false. They say that Zeus
laughs when lovers lie. Oh noble Romeo, if you really love me, say it in
truth. Or if you think I’m letting myself be won too easily, then I’ll frown
and act superior and unapproachable so that you’ll woo me. But if that’s not
necessary, then I would never act that way. In truth, beautiful Montague, I
like you too much, which might make it seem as if I am overly silly and
flirtatious. But trust me, gentleman, I’ll prove to be more faithful than
girls who act coy and standoffish. I probably should
have acted more standoffish, I confess, but you overheard me talking about my
passion for you before I knew you were there. So please forgive me, and don’t
condemn me for so quickly falling in love when it was only revealed to you
because the dark night let you discover it.
Lady, by yonder blessèd moon I vow,
That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops—
Lady, I swear by the sacred moon, which outlines in
silver the tops of these fruit trees—
O, swear not by the moon, th’ inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circle orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.
Please don’t swear by the moon, the unreliable moon,
which changes its position in the sky each month. I do not want your love to
end up being similarly variable.
What shall I swear by?
What should I swear by?
* * * *
Do not swear at all.
Or, if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,
Which is the god of my idolatry,
And I’ll believe thee.
Don’t swear at all. Or, if you must swear, swear by
your magnificent self, which is the god I worship like an idol, and I’ll
If my heart’s dear love—
If my heart’s dear love—
* * * * *
Well, do not swear. Although I joy in thee,
I have no joy of this contract tonight.
It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden,
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say “It lightens.” Sweet, good night.
This bud of love, by summer’s ripening breath,
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.
Good night, good night! As sweet repose and rest
Come to thy heart as that within my breast.
Well, don’t swear. Although you bring me joy, I can’t
take joy in this exchange of promises tonight. It’s too wild, thoughtless,
sudden. It’s too much like lightning, which disappears before you can even
say, “it’s lightning.” My love, good night. Our love, which now is like a
flower bud, may blossom in the summer air into a beautiful flower by the next
time we meet. Good night! I hope you fell in your heart the same sweet calm
and rest that I feel in mine.
O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?
Are you going to leave me so unsatisfied?
What satisfaction canst thou have tonight?
What satisfaction could you have tonight?
Th’ exchange of thy love’s faithful vow for mine.
If we exchanged vows of love.
I gave thee mine before thou didst request it,
And yet I would it were to give again.
I pledged my love before you even requested it. But now
I wish I could take that promise back to give again.
Wouldst thou withdraw it? For what purpose, love?
You’d take back your vow? Why, my love?
* * * * *
But to be frank, and give it thee again.
And yet I wish but for the thing I have.
My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep. The more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.
In order to generously give it to you again. But I’m
wishing for something I have already. My generosity to you is as endless as
the sea, my love as deep as the sea. The more love I give you, the more I
have. Both are infinite.
NURSE calls from within
The NURSE calls from offstage.
I hear some noise within. Dear love, adieu.—
Anon, good Nurse!—Sweet Montague, be true.
Stay but a little. I will come again.
I hear a noise from inside. Dear love, goodbye—Just a
second, Nurse!—Sweet Montague, be true. Stay for a moment. I’ll come right
O blessèd, blessèd night! I am afeard,
Being in night, all this is but a dream,
Too flattering sweet to be substantial.
Oh, blessed, blessed night! Because it’s night, I’m
scared that all this is a dream. It is too wonderful to be real.
Enter JULIET, above
JULIET enters on her balcony.
* * * *
Three words, dear Romeo, and good night indeed.
If that thy bent of love be honorable,
Thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow
By one that I’ll procure to come to thee
Where and what time thou wilt perform the rite,
And all my fortunes at thy foot I’ll lay
And follow thee my lord throughout the world.
Three words, dear Romeo, and then good night. If your
love is honorable and you want to marry me, send me word tomorrow. I’ll find
a messenger who will come to you, and you can tell that messenger when and
where we will be married. All my fortunes I’ll lay at your feet and follow
you, my lord, all over the world.
NURSE (from within) Madam!
NURSE (offstage) Madam!
I come, anon.—But if thou mean’st not well,
I do beseech thee—
I’ll be right there! (to
ROMEO) But if your intentions are not honorable, I
NURSE (from within) Madam!
NURSE (offstage) Madam!
* * *
By and by, I come.—
To cease thy strife and leave me to my grief.
Tomorrow will I send.
In a second, I’m coming!— (to
ROMEO) to give up your efforts to win me and leave
me to grieve. I’ll send the messenger tomorrow.
So thrive my soul—
My soul depends on it—
A thousand times good night!
A thousand times good night.
Exit JULIET, above
* * *
A thousand times the worse to want thy light.
Love goes toward love as schoolboys from their books,
But love from love, toward school with heavy looks.
It is a thousand times worse to leave you. A lover goes
toward his beloved as joyfully as a schoolboy leaving his books. But when a
lover leaves his beloved, he is as unhappy as a schoolboy on his way to
Moves to exit. Reenter JULIET, above
ROMEO starts to leave. JULIET returns, on her
* * * * *
Hist! Romeo, hist!—Oh, for a falconer’s voice,
To lure this tassel-gentle back again!
Bondage is hoarse, and may not speak aloud,
Else would I tear the cave where Echo lies,
And make her airy tongue more hoarse than mine,
With repetition of “My Romeo!”
Psst! Romeo! Psst! Oh, I wish I could cry out like a
falconer, so I could call my little falcon to return to me. Stuck as I am in
my family’s house, I have to be quiet. Otherwise I would tear open the cave
where Echo sleeps and make her call out my love’s name until her voice grew
more hoarse than mine by repeating, “My Romeo!”
It is my soul that calls upon my name.
How silver-sweet sound lovers’ tongues by night,
Like softest music to attending ears!
It is my soul that calls out my name. Lovers voices at
night sound silver-sweet, the most lovely music to lovers’ ears.
My little hawk?
What o’clock tomorrow
Shall I send to thee?
At what time tomorrow should I send the messenger to
By the hour of nine.
I will not fail. ‘Tis twenty year till then.
I have forgot why I did call thee back.
I won’t fail. It will feel like twenty years til then.
I’ve forgotten why I called you back.
Let me stand here till thou remember it.
I’ll stand here until you remember.
I shall forget, to have thee still stand there,
Remembering how I love thy company.
I’ll forget it, so you’ll have to stand there forever,
because of how much I love your company.
And I’ll still stay, to have thee still forget,
Forgetting any other home but this.
And I’ll remain here, even if you keep forgetting. I’ll
forget that I have any other home but here.
‘Tis almost morning. I would have thee gone.
And yet no further than a wanton’s bird,
That lets it hop a little from his hand
Like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves,
And with a silken thread plucks it back again,
So loving-jealous of his liberty.
It’s almost morning. I want to force you to go. Yet I
would not let you move any further than a spoiled child would let his pet
bird go. The child so loves the bird that he will not let the bird hop any
more than a small distance from his hand before pulling it back by a silk
I would I were thy bird.
I wish I was your bird.
Sweet, so would I.
Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.
Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.
My sweet, so do I. But I would pet you so much it would
kill you. Good night. Good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow that I will
say good night until it becomes tomorrow.
Exit JULIET, above
Sleep dwell upon thine eyes, peace in thy breast.
Would I were sleep and peace, so sweet to rest.
Hence will I to my ghostly friar’s close cell,
His help to crave and my dear hap to tell.
Sleep well and peacefully. I wish that I were sleep and
peace, so I could sleep with you. From here I’ll go see my priest, to tell
him of my luck and ask for his help.