Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

Romeo and Juliet: Act 2, Scene 2

          [ROMEO comes out of hiding.]

1. He jests at scars that never felt a wound: Romeo says Mercutio can jest about love because he's never been in love.
  1   He jests at scars that never felt a wound.

           [JULIET appears above at a window.]

  2   But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
  3   It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
  4   Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
  5   Who is already sick and pale with grief,
6. her maid: i.e., devotee of Diana, goddess of the moon, and patroness of virgins.
8. Her vestal livery is but sick and green: Her chaste uniform is green, like the "green-sickness," an anemia that was supposed to occur in unmarried girls, because they were not fruitful.
  6   That thou, her maid, art far more fair than she.
  7   Be not her maid, since she is envious;
  8   Her vestal livery is but sick and green
  9   And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
 10   It is my lady, O, it is my love!
 11   O, that she knew she were!
 12   She speaks yet she says nothing; what of that?
 13   Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
 14   I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks.
 15   Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
 16   Having some business, do entreat her eyes
17. spheres: heavenly positions. According to the astronomy of Shakespeare's time, the stars were fixed in concentric transparent spheres that revolved around the earth.
 17   To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
 18   What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
 19   The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
 20   As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
21. stream: shine.
 21   Would through the airy region stream so bright
 22   That birds would sing and think it were not night.
 23   See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
 24   O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
 25   That I might touch that cheek!

 25                                                 Ay me!

 25                                                             She speaks!
 26   O, speak again, bright angel! for thou art
27-28. As glorious ... As is a winged messenger of heaven: i.e., as bright as an angel.
29. white-upturned: turned upward so that the whites are visible below the irises.
 27   As glorious to this night, being o'er my head
 28   As is a winged messenger of heaven
 29   Unto the white-upturned wondering eyes
 30   Of mortals that fall back to gaze on him
 31   When he bestrides the lazy puffing clouds
 32   And sails upon the bosom of the air.

33. wherefore art thou Romeo?: why are you [named] Romeo [Montague]?
 33   O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
 34   Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
 35   Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
 36   And I'll no longer be a Capulet.

      ROMEO [Aside.]
 37   Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?

 38   'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
39. Thou art thyself, though not a Montague: you are yourself, no matter if you are a Montague.
 39   Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
 40   What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
 41   Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
 42   Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
 43   What's in a name? That which we call a rose
 44   By any other name would smell as sweet;
 45   So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
46. owes: owns.
47. doff: shed.
 46   Retain that dear perfection which he owes
 47   Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
 48   And for that name which is no part of thee
 49   Take all myself.

 49                             I take thee at thy word.
 50   Call me but love, and I'll be new baptized;
 51   Henceforth I never will be Romeo.

52. bescreen'd: hidden, as behind a screen.
53. my counsel: my conversation with myself.
 52   What man art thou that thus bescreen'd in night
 53   So stumblest on my counsel?

 53                                                By a name
 54   I know not how to tell thee who I am:
 55   My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself,
 56   Because it is an enemy to thee;
 57   Had I it written, I would tear the word.

 58   My ears have not yet drunk a hundred words
 59   Of that tongue's utterance, yet I know the sound:
 60   Art thou not Romeo and a Montague?

61. if either thee dislike: if either ["Romeo" or "Montague"] displeases you.
 61   Neither, fair saint, if either thee dislike.

 62   How camest thou hither, tell me, and wherefore?
 63   The orchard walls are high and hard to climb,
 64   And the place death, considering who thou art,
 65   If any of my kinsmen find thee here.

66. o'er-perch: fly over.
 66   With love's light wings did I o'er-perch these walls;
 67   For stony limits cannot hold love out,
 68   And what love can do, that dares love attempt;
 69   Therefore thy kinsmen are no stop to me.

 70   If they do see thee, they will murder thee.

71-72. there  . . .  swords!: In the love poetry of Shakespeare's time, it was often said that a disdainful look from the beloved lady could kill the man who loved her.
73. proof against: invulnerable to.
 71   Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye
 72   Than twenty of their swords! Look thou but sweet,
 73   And I am proof against their enmity.

 74   I would not for the world they saw thee here.

 75   I have night's cloak to hide me from their sight;
 76   And but thou love me, let them find me here:
 77   My life were better ended by their hate,
78. death prorogued, wanting of thy love: death drawn out, because of lack of love from you.
 78   Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love.

 79   By whose direction found'st thou out this place?

 80   By love, who first did prompt me to inquire;
81. He lent me counsel and I lent him eyes: he [love] gave me inspiration and I gave him [love] sight.
 81   He lent me counsel and I lent him eyes.
 82   I am no pilot; yet, wert thou as far
 83   As that vast shore wash'd with the farthest sea,
84. I would adventure for such merchandise: I would take every chance for such a precious prize.
 84   I would adventure for such merchandise.

 85   Thou know'st the mask of night is on my face,
 86   Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek
 87   For that which thou hast heard me speak tonight.
88. Fain: gladly.  dwell on form: stay within the limits of the formalities [of courtship]. 89. compliment: convention—the expected exchange of compliments.
 88   Fain would I dwell on form, fain, fain deny
 89   What I have spoke, but farewell compliment!
 90   Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say "Ay,"
91. if thou swear'st: if you swear [that you love me].
92. Thou mayst prove false: you may prove to be untrue [to your vow of love].  92-93. at lovers' perjuries . . . Jove laughs: they say Jove laughs at lovers' lies.
 91   And I will take thy word; yet if thou swear'st,
 92   Thou mayst prove false; at lovers' perjuries
 93   They say, Jove laughs. O gentle Romeo,
 94   If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully;
 95   Or if thou think'st I am too quickly won,
 96   I'll frown and be perverse, and say thee nay,
97. So thou wilt woo: i.e., so you will woo me.
98. fond: foolish, innocent, impulsive.
99. light: wanton, flirtatious.
 97   So thou wilt woo; but else, not for the world.
 98   In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond,
 99   And therefore thou mayst think my behavior light,
100   But trust me, gentleman, I'll prove more true
101. those that have more coying to be strange: those who have more skill at coquetry playact standoffishness to seem more desirable. 102. should have: would have. 103. ere I was ware: before I was aware [of your presence].
101   Than those that have more coying to be strange.
102   I should have been more strange, I must confess,
103   But that thou overheard'st, ere I was ware,
104   My true love's passion; therefore pardon me,
105   And not impute this yielding to light love,
106. discovered: uncovered, revealed.
106   Which the dark night hath so discovered.

107   Lady, by yonder blessed moon I swear
108   That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops—

109   O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,
110. changes in her circled orb: i.e., changes her course. According to the astronomy of Shakespeare's time, each heavenly body was fixed in a sphere ("circled orb"), which revolved around the earth, and those spheres were supposed to be perfect, but the sphere of the moon appeared to be highly erratic.
110   That monthly changes in her circled orb,
111   Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.

112   What shall I swear by?

112                                      Do not swear at all;
113   Or, if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,
114   Which is the god of my idolatry,
115   And I'll believe thee.

115                                     If my heart's dear love—

116   Well, do not swear. Although I joy in thee,
117. contract: exchange of vows.
118. unadvised: ill-considered.
117   I have no joy of this contract tonight:
118   It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden;
119   Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
120   Ere one can say "It lightens." Sweet, good night!
121   This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath,
122   May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.
123   Good night, good night! as sweet repose and rest
124   Come to thy heart as that within my breast!

125   O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?

126   What satisfaction canst thou have tonight?

127   The exchange of thy love's faithful vow for mine.

128   I gave thee mine before thou didst request it:
129   And yet I would it were to give again.

130   Wouldst thou withdraw it? for what purpose, love?

131. frank: generous.
131   But to be frank, and give it thee again.
132   And yet I wish but for the thing I have.
133. bounty: generosity, capacity to give [love].
133   My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
134   My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
135   The more I have, for both are infinite.

           [Nurse calls within.]

136   I hear some noise within; dear love, adieu!
137. Anon: at once.
137   Anon, good nurse! Sweet Montague, be true.
138   Stay but a little, I will come again.

           [Exit, above.]

139   O blessed, blessed night! I am afeard.
140   Being in night, all this is but a dream,
141. substantial: real.
141   Too flattering-sweet to be substantial.

           [Re-enter JULIET, above.]

142   Three words, dear Romeo, and good night indeed.
143. bent: intention, purpose.
143   If that thy bent of love be honourable,
144   Thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow,
145   By one that I'll procure to come to thee,
146   Where and what time thou wilt perform the rite;
147. all my fortunes: everything I am and will become. Juliet is not talking about money. 148. follow thee my lord: follow you as my honored husband.
147   And all my fortunes at thy foot I'll lay
148   And follow thee my lord throughout the world.

      Nurse [Within.]
149   Madam!

150. anon: right away.
150   I come, anon.—But if thou mean'st not well,
151   I do beseech thee—

      Nurse [Within]
151                               Madam!

151. By and by: immediately.
152. strife: striving, endeavor [to woo me]. my grief: my grief [at losing your true love].
151                                               By and by, I come:—
152   To cease thy strife, and leave me to my grief:
153   Tomorrow will I send.

153                                      So thrive my soul—

154   A thousand times good night!

           [Exit, above.]

155   A thousand times the worse, to want thy light.
156   Love goes toward love, as schoolboys from their books,
157   But love from love, toward school with heavy looks.

           Enter JULIET, again [above].

158. Hist: Juliet is trying to get Romeo's attention with a hissed falconer's cry. 159. tassel-gentle: male falcon.
160. Bondage is hoarse:
Echo161-162. Else  . . .   mine: Or else I would tear open Echo 's cave, and make her voice fill the air with a sound hoarser than mine.
158   Hist! Romeo, hist! O, for a falconer's voice,
159   To lure this tassel-gentle back again!
160   Bondage is hoarse, and may not speak aloud;
161   Else would I tear the cave where Echo lies,
162   And make her airy tongue more hoarse than mine,
163   With repetition of my Romeo's name. Romeo!

164   It is my soul that calls upon my name:
165   How silver-sweet sound lovers' tongues by night,
166. attending: listening.
166   Like softest music to attending ears!

167   Romeo!

167. niesse: fledgling hawk.
167                   My niesse?

167                                       At what o'clock tomorrow
168   Shall I send to thee?

168                                    At the hour of nine.

169   I will not fail: 'tis twenty years till then.
170   I have forgot why I did call thee back.

171   Let me stand here till thou remember it.

172. to: in order to. still: always.
172   I shall forget, to have thee still stand there,
173   Remembering how I love thy company.

174   And I'll still stay, to have thee still forget,
175   Forgetting any other home but this.

176   'Tis almost morning; I would have thee gone:
177. wanton's: spoiled child's.
177   And yet no further than a wanton's bird;
178   Who lets it hop a little from her hand,
179. gyves: fetters.
179   Like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves,
180   And with a silk thread plucks it back again,
181. his: its.
181   So loving-jealous of his liberty.

182   I would I were thy bird.

182                                              Sweet, so would I:
183   Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.
184   Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow,
185   That I shall say good night till it be morrow.

           [Exit above.]

186   Sleep dwell upon thine eyes, peace in thy breast!
187   Would I were sleep and peace, so sweet to rest!
188. ghostly sire: spiritual father, confessor. close: narrow.
189. dear hap: good fortune.
188   Hence will I to my ghostly sire's close cell,
189   His help to crave, and my dear hap to tell.