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Act 2, Scene 3


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Original Play
 
Modern Translation
 

 

Enter FRIAR LAWRENCE, with a basket
 
FRIAR LAWRENCE enters by himself, carrying a basket.
 

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FRIAR LAWRENCE
The gray-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,
Checkering the eastern clouds with streaks of light,
And fleckled darkness like a drunkard reels
From forth day’s path and Titan’s fiery wheels.
Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye,
The day to cheer and night’s dank dew to dry,
I must upfill this osier cage of ours
With baleful weeds and precious-juicèd flowers.
The earth, that’s natu re’s mother, is her tomb.
What is her burying, grave that is her womb.
And from her womb children of divers kind
We sucking on her natural bosom find,
Many for many virtues excellent,
None but for some and yet all different.
Oh, mickle is the powerful grace that lies
In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities.
For naught so vile that on the earth doth live
But to the earth some special good doth give.
Nor aught so good but, strained from that fair use
Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse.
Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied,
And vice sometime by action dignified.

FRIAR LAWRENCE
The morning smiles as it replaces frowning night and streaks light across the clouds in the east. Darkness staggers like a drunkard from the sun’s path. Now, before the sun rises, bringing on the day and drying the dew, I must fill my basket with poisonous weeds and the precious nectar of flowers. The Earth is both nature’s mother and its tomb. Plants arise from the Earth as from a womb, and when they die are buried in the Earth. Many different plants and animals come from the Earth’s womb. All of these children find nourishment from the Earth, and all have some special, unique virtue. There is a power that resides in herbs, plants, and stones. For there’s nothing on Earth that’s so evil that it does not also provide the earth with some kind of good. Nor is there anything so good that it can’t be turned bad if it’s abused and used incorrectly. Virtue, when misused, turns to vice, while vice can sometimes become virtue through proper action.

 

Enter ROMEO
 
ROMEO enters.
 

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Within the infant rind of this small flower
Poison hath residence and medicine power.
For this, being smelt, with that part cheers each part;
Being tasted, stays all senses with the heart.
Two such opposèd kings encamp them still,
In man as well as herbs—grace and rude will.And where the worser is predominant,
Full soon the canker death eats up that plant.

Within the small rind of this little flower there is both poison and medicine. If you smell it, you feel good. If you taste it, it stops your heart. Two opposing elements, good and evil, reside in both men and herbs.In the cases where evil predominates, death like a cancer will soon kill the plant or body.

 

ROMEO
Good morrow, Father.

ROMEO
Good morning, father.

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FRIAR LAWRENCE
      Benedicite.
What early tongue so sweet saluteth me?
Young son, it argues a distempered head
So soon to bid good morrow to thy bed.
Care keeps his watch in every old man’s eye,
And where care lodges, sleep will never lie.
But where unbruisèd youth with unstuffed brain
Doth couch his limbs, there golden sleep doth reign.
Therefore thy earliness doth me assure
Thou art uproused by some distemperature.
Or if not so, then here I hit it right:
Our Romeo hath not been in bed tonight.

FRIAR LAWRENCE
God bless you. Whose voice greets me so sweetly this early in the morning? My son, jumping so quickly out of bed this early indicates some trouble in your thoughts. All old men have concerns, and these worries never let them sleep. Young men, though, should be carefree and without worry, and their sleep should be restful and long. Therefore, the fact that you’re awake so early makes it clear that some anxiety has you in its grip. Or, if that’s not true, then I’d guess that you actually never went to sleep at all tonight.

 

ROMEO
That last is true. The sweeter rest was mine.

ROMEO
That last is right. The rest I had was sweeter than sleep.

 

FRIAR LAWRENCE
God pardon sin! Wast thou with Rosaline?

FRIAR LAWRENCE
God forgive all sin!—Did you sleep with Rosaline?

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ROMEO
With Rosaline, my ghostly Father? No.
I have forgot that name and that name’s woe.

ROMEO
With Rosaline, holy father? No, I have forgotten her and the sadness she gave me.

 

FRIAR LAWRENCE
That’s my good son. But where hast thou been, then?

FRIAR LAWRENCE
That’s good, my son. But where were you, then?

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ROMEO
I’ll tell thee ere thou ask it me again.
I have been feasting with mine enemy,
Where on a sudden one hath wounded me,
That’s by me wounded. Both our remedies
Within thy help and holy physic lies.
I bear no hatred, blessèd man, for, lo,
My intercession likewise steads my foe.

ROMEO
I’ll tell you before you ask me again. I’ve been at a party with my enemy, where suddenly someone wounded me and was in turn wounded by me. But both of us can be cured by your holy power. I hold no hatred, blessed father, because my request will also help my enemy.

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FRIAR LAWRENCE
Be plain, good son, and homely in thy drift.
Riddling confession finds but riddling shrift.

FRIAR LAWRENCE
Speak plainly, my son. Be clear. A confusing confession will result only in confused absolution.

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ROMEO
Then plainly know my heart’s dear love is set
On the fair daughter of rich Capulet.
As mine on hers, so hers is set on mine,
And all combined, save what thou must combine
By holy marriage. When and where and how
We met, we wooed and made exchange of vow,
I’ll tell thee as we pass, but this I pray:
That thou consent to marry us today.

ROMEO
Here it is set plain: I love the beautiful daughter of rich Capulet. I love her, and she loves me. We’re bound together, and need only for you to combine us completely by marrying us. In good time I’ll tell you about when and where and how we met, how we wooed each other and vowed our love. But  now I pray that you will agree to marry us today.

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FRIAR LAWRENCE
Holy Saint Francis, what a change is here!
Is Rosaline, whom thou didst love so dear,
So soon forsaken? Young men’s love then lies
Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.
Jesu Maria, what a deal of brine
Hath washed thy sallow cheeks for Rosaline!
How much salt water thrown away in waste
To season love that of it doth not taste!
The sun not yet thy sighs from heaven clears,
Thy old groans ring yet in my ancient ears.
Lo, here upon thy cheek the stain doth sit
Of an old tear that is not washed off yet.
If e’er thou wast thyself and these woes thine,
Thou and these woes were all for Rosaline.
And art thou changed? Pronounce this sentence then:
Women may fall when there’s no strength in men.

FRIAR LAWRENCE
Holy Saint Francis, what an incredible change! Have you so quickly abandoned Rosaline, whom you loved so much? If so, then young men love not with their hearts but with their eyes. Jesus and Mary, you cried so many tears for Rosaline! So many salty tear-drops wasted seasoning a love you never even tasted! The sun has not yet burned away the fog from all your sighs. My old ears are still ringing from your groans. And look, here on your cheek there’s a stain from an old tear that has not yet been washed off. If you were ever yourself and this sorrow yours, you and your sorrow were all for Rosaline. And are you now changed? Then say the following: women will never be faithful when men are so unreliable.

 

ROMEO
Thou chid’st me oft for loving Rosaline.

ROMEO
You often scolded me for loving Rosaline.

 

FRIAR LAWRENCE
For doting, not for loving, pupil mine.

FRIAR LAWRENCE
I scolded you for obsessing, not for loving, my student.

 

ROMEO
And badest me bury love.

ROMEO
And urged me to bury my love.

FRIAR LAWRENCE
               Not in a grave,
To lay one in, another out to have.

FRIAR LAWRENCE
But not to bury it in a grave in order to start a new love.

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ROMEO
I pray thee, chide not. Her I love now
Doth grace for grace and love for love allow.
The other did not so.

ROMEO
I beg you, don’t scold me. The one I love now returns my love. The other did not.

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FRIAR LAWRENCE
      Oh, she knew well
Thy love did read by rote, that could not spell.
But come, young waverer, come, go with me,
In one respect I’ll thy assistant be,
For this alliance may so happy prove
To turn your households’ rancor to pure love.

FRIAR LAWRENCE
Oh, Rosaline knew that you were play-acting at love but did actually understand what love means. But come with me, my young unreliable friend. I’ll help you, because it’s possible that this marriage may transform your two families’ hatred into pure love.

 

ROMEO
Oh, let us hence. I stand on sudden haste.

ROMEO
Let’s go, then! Let’s do this quickly.

 

FRIAR LAWRENCE
Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast.

FRIAR LAWRENCE
Wisely and slowly is best. Those who go too quickly always stumble.

 

Exeunt
 
They exit.
 

 

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