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The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet

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Act II, Scene 3

Friar Laurence’s cell.


[Enter FRIAR LAURENCE, with a basket]

  • Friar Laurence. The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,
    Chequering the eastern clouds with streaks of light, 1060
    And flecked 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 up-fill this osier cage of ours 1065
    With baleful weeds and precious-juiced flowers.
    The earth that's nature'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, 1070
    Many for many virtues excellent,
    None but for some and yet all different.
    O, mickle is the powerful grace that lies
    In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities:
    For nought so vile that on the earth doth live 1075
    But to the earth some special good doth give,
    Nor aught so good but strain'd from that fair use
    Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse:
    Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied;
    And vice sometimes by action dignified. 1080
    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, slays all senses with the heart.
    Two such opposed kings encamp them still 1085
    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.

[Enter ROMEO]

  • Romeo. Good morrow, father. 1090
  • Friar Laurence. Benedicite!
    What early tongue so sweet saluteth me?
    Young son, it argues a distemper'd head
    So soon to bid good morrow to thy bed:
    Care keeps his watch in every old man's eye, 1095
    And where care lodges, sleep will never lie;
    But where unbruised youth with unstuff'd brain
    Doth couch his limbs, there golden sleep doth reign:
    Therefore thy earliness doth me assure
    Thou art up-roused by some distemperature; 1100
    Or if not so, then here I hit it right,
    Our Romeo hath not been in bed to-night.
  • Romeo. That last is true; the sweeter rest was mine.
  • Romeo. With Rosaline, my ghostly father? no; 1105
    I have forgot that name, and that name's woe.
  • 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, 1110
    That's by me wounded: both our remedies
    Within thy help and holy physic lies:
    I bear no hatred, blessed man, for, lo,
    My intercession likewise steads my foe.
  • Friar Laurence. Be plain, good son, and homely in thy drift; 1115
    Riddling confession finds but riddling shrift.
  • 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 1120
    By holy marriage: when and where and how
    We met, we woo'd and made exchange of vow,
    I'll tell thee as we pass; but this I pray,
    That thou consent to marry us to-day.
  • Friar Laurence. Holy Saint Francis, what a change is here! 1125
    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 wash'd thy sallow cheeks for Rosaline! 1130
    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 1135
    Of an old tear that is not wash'd 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. 1140
  • Romeo. Thou chid'st me oft for loving Rosaline.
  • Romeo. And bad'st me bury love.
  • Friar Laurence. Not in a grave,
    To lay one in, another out to have. 1145
  • Romeo. I pray thee, chide not; she whom I love now
    Doth grace for grace and love for love allow;
    The other did not so.
  • Friar Laurence. O, she knew well
    Thy love did read by rote and could not spell. 1150
    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' rancour to pure love.
  • Romeo. O, let us hence; I stand on sudden haste. 1155