Home > 1. Famous Poems, B. The Living Artifact > Romeo & Juliet, Act II, Scene II

Romeo & Juliet, Act II, Scene II

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, RT thinks it might be time to turn the blog towards matters of the heart. And what could be more appropriate than the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, surely the most passionate exchange of lovers’ vows ever penned in English. Perhaps what makes this scene so heartbreaking is its freshness and innocence–two qualities not always appreciated in contemporary romance. Enjoy!!

The Same. CAPULET’S Orchard.

 

  

Enter ROMEO.

 

  Rom.  He jests at scars, that never felt a wound.  [JULIET appears above at a window.

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?

   4

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:

                                           8

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; O! it is my love:

  12

O! 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:

  16

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?

  20

The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars

As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven

Would through the airy region stream so bright

That birds would sing and think it were not night.

  24

See! how she leans her cheek upon her hand:

O! that I were a glove upon that hand,

That I might touch that cheek.

 

  Jul.        Ay me!

  28

  Rom.        She speaks:

O! speak again, bright angel; for thou art

As glorious to this night, being o’er my head,

As is a winged messenger of heaven

  32

Unto the white-upturned wond’ring eyes

Of mortals, that fall back to gaze on him

When he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds,

And sails upon the bosom of the air.

  36

  Jul.  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.

  40

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

 

  Jul.  ’Tis but thy name that is my enemy;

Thou art thyself though, not a Montague.

What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,

  44

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 name would smell as sweet;

  48

So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,

Retain that dear perfection which he owes

Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name;

And for that name, which is no part of thee,

  52

Take all myself.

Painting: The Balcony Scene; F.B. Dickersee, 1884; WikiCmns; Public Domain.

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  1. August 9, 2014 at 1:13 pm

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