Friar Lawrence’s cell.
(Friar Lawrence; Romeo)
Friar Laurence picks herbs, commenting on their similarities with humans as he does so. Romeo arrives, and Laurence quickly works out that for him to be up so early, he must simply not have gone to bed. Romeo admits it, and Laurence fears that he spent the night with Rosaline, at which point Romeo is forced to admit he’d completely forgotten about her. The young man explains his love for Juliet and asks for Laurence’s help in marrying her; the friar upbraids him for his inconstancy and the shallowness of his doting on Rosaline, but agrees to help him in this instance in the hope of ending the enmity between the two houses. (97 lines)
Enter Friar Lawrence alone, with a basket.
The grey-ey’d morn smiles on the frowning night,
Check’ring 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 up-fill this osier cage of ours
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:
Many for many virtues excellent,
None but for some, and yet all different.
O, mickle is the powerful grace that lies
In plants, herbs, stones, and their true qualities;
For nought so vile that on the earth doth live
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 sometime by action dignified.
Within the infant rind of this weak 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 opposed 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.
Good morrow, father.
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 unbruised youth with unstuff’d brain
Doth couch his limbs, there golden sleep doth reign.
Therefore thy earliness doth me assure
Thou art up-rous’d with some distemp’rature;
Or if not so, then here I hit it right—
Our Romeo hath not been in bed tonight.
That last is true—the sweeter rest was mine.
God pardon sin! Wast thou with Rosaline?
With Rosaline? My ghostly father, no;
I have forgot that name, and that name’s woe.
That’s my good son, but where hast thou been then?
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, blessed man, for lo
My intercession likewise steads my foe.
Be plain, good son, and homely in thy drift,
Riddling confession finds but riddling shrift.
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 combin’d, save what thou must combine
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 today.
Holy Saint Francis, what a change is here!
Is Rosaline, that 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!
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 yet ringing in mine ancient ears;
Lo here upon thy cheek the stain doth sit
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 chang’d? Pronounce this sentence then:
Women may fall, when there’s no strength in men.
Thou chidst me oft for loving Rosaline.
For doting, not for loving, pupil mine.
And badst me bury love.
Not in a grave,
To lay one in, another out to have.
I pray thee chide me not. Her I love now
Doth grace for grace and love for love allow;
The other did not so.
O, 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.
O, let us hence, I stand on sudden haste.
Wisely and slow, they stumble that run fast.