Act II - Scene II

Capulet's orchard.

Enter Romeo.

He jests at scars that never felt a wound.

Enter Juliet above at a window.

But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
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(5)
That thou her maid art far more fair than she.
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!(10)
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.
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,(15)
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?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven(20)
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!(25)
Ay me!
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(30)
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.
O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?(35)
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.


Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?
'Tis but thy name that is my enemy.(40)
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
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(45)
By any other name would smell as sweet.
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,(50)
Take all myself.
I take thee at thy word.
Call me but love, and I'll be new baptiz'd;
Henceforth I never will be Romeo.
What man art thou that, thus bescreen'd in night,(55)
So stumblest on my counsel?
By a name
I know not how to tell thee who I am.
My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself,
Because it is an enemy to thee.(60)
Had I it written, I would tear the word.
My ears have yet not drunk a hundred words
Of that tongue's utterance, yet I know the sound.
Art thou not Romeo, and a Montague?
Neither, fair maid, if either thee dislike.(65)
How cam'st thou hither, tell me, and wherefore?
The orchard walls are high and hard to climb,
And the place death, considering who thou art,
If any of my kinsmen find thee here.
With love's light wings did I o'erperch these walls;(70)
For stony limits cannot hold love out,
And what love can do, that dares love attempt.
Therefore thy kinsmen are no stop to me.
If they do see thee, they will murder thee.
Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye(75)
Than twenty of their swords! Look thou but sweet,
And I am proof against their enmity.
I would not for the world they saw thee here.
I have night's cloak to hide me from their eyes;
And but thou love me, let them find me here.(80)
My life were better ended by their hate
Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love.
By whose direction found'st thou out this place?
By love, that first did prompt me to inquire.
He lent me counsel, and I lent him eyes.(85)
I am no pilot; yet, wert thou as far
As that vast shore wash'd with the farthest sea,
I would adventure for such merchandise.
Thou knowest the mask of night is on my face;
Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek(90)
For that which thou hast heard me speak to-night.
Fain would I dwell on form, fain, fain deny
What I have spoke; but farewell complement!
Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say ‘Ay’;
And I will take thy word. Yet, if thou swear'st,(95)
Thou mayst prove false. At lovers’ perjuries,
They say Jove laughs. O gentle Romeo,
If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully.
Or if thou thinkest I am too quickly won,
I'll frown, and be perverse, and say thee nay,(100)
So thou wilt woo; but else, not for the world.
In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond,
And therefore thou mayst think my haviour light;
But trust me, gentleman, I'll prove more true
Than those that have more cunning to be strange.(105)
I should have been more strange, I must confess,
But that thou overheard'st, ere I was ware,
My true love's passion. Therefore pardon me,
And not impute this yielding to light love,
Which the dark night hath so discovered.(110)
Lady, by yonder blessed moon I swear,
That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops—
O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circled orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.(115)
What shall I swear by?
Do not swear at all;
Or if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,
Which is the god of my idolatry,
And I'll believe thee.(120)
If my heart's dear love—
Well, do not swear. Although I joy in thee,
I have no joy of this contract to-night.
It is too rash, too unadvis'd, too sudden;
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be(125)
Ere one can say ‘It lightens.’ Sweet, good night!
This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath,
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.
Good night, good night! As sweet repose and rest
Come to thy heart as that within my breast!(130)
O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?
What satisfaction canst thou have to-night?
Th’ exchange of thy love's faithful vow for mine.
I gave thee mine before thou didst request it;
And yet I would it were to give again.(135)
Would'st thou withdraw it? For what purpose, love?
But to be frank, and give it thee again.
And yet I wish but for the thing I have.
My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,(140)
The more I have, for both are infinite.
I hear some noise within. Dear love, adieu!

Nurse calls within.

Anon, good nurse! Sweet Montague, be true.
Stay but a little, I will come again.


O blessed, blessed night! I am afeard,(145)
Being in night, all this is but a dream,
Too flattering-sweet to be substantial.

Enter Juliet above.

Three words, dear Romeo, and good night indeed.
If that thy bent of love be honourable,
Thy purpose marriage, send me word to-morrow,(150)
By one that I'll procure to come to thee,
Where and what time thou wilt perform the rite;
And all my fortunes at thy foot I'll lay
And follow thee my lord throughout the world.


I come, anon.—But if thou meanest not well,
I do beseech thee—


By-and-by, I come.—
To cease thy suit and leave me to my grief.(160)
To-morrow will I send.
So thrive my soul—
A thousand times good night!


A thousand times the worse, to want thy light!
Love goes toward love as schoolboys from their books;(165)
But love from love, towards school with heavy looks.

Enter Juliet again, above.

Hist! Romeo, hist! O for a falconer's voice
To lure this tassel-gentle back again!
Bondage is hoarse and may not speak aloud;
Else would I tear the cave where Echo lies,(170)
And make her airy tongue more hoarse than mine
With repetition of my Romeo's name.
It is my soul that calls upon my name.
How silver-sweet sound lovers’ tongues by night,(175)
Like softest music to attending ears!
My dear?
What o'clock to-morrow
Shall I send to thee?(180)
By the hour of nine.
I will not fail. 'Tis twenty years till then.
I have forgot why I did call thee back.
Let me stand here till thou remember it.
I shall forget, to have thee still stand there,(185)
Remembering how I love thy company.
And I'll still stay, to have thee still forget,
Forgetting any other home but this.
'Tis almost morning. I would have thee gone—
And yet no farther than a wanton’s bird,(190)
That lets it hop a little from her hand,
Like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves,
And with a silk thread plucks it back again,
So loving-jealous of his liberty.
I would I were thy bird.(195)
Sweet, so would I.
Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.
Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.


Sleep dwell upon thine eyes, peace in thy breast!(200)
Would I were sleep and peace, so sweet to rest!
Hence will I to my ghostly father's cell,
His help to crave and my dear hap to tell.



  1. There is a comedic element to this line because Juliet's "thousand times goodnight" is not actually good night, she will return to the stage to make sure that Romeo will meet her in the morning. For all of her stoic instruction and rational contemplation of the meaning of names, her inability to say good night once demonstrates Juliet's simultaneous excitement about her love and worry that her love is not genuine. This first farewell has become one of the most famous lines of this play.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  2. "Sweet sorrow" is an oxymoron that encompasses Romeo and Juliet's relationship which is composed of ecstatic love and complicated sorrow over their family's rivalry. This line may also underscore the relationship the audience has to this play. It is at once one of the greatest examples of pure, young love, but also one of the best known tragedies in the Western canon. It is both a sweet tale of love and a bleak tale of loss and sorrow. Juliet characterizes the bitter sweet nature of her tragic love in one of the most iconic lines in this play.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  3. Notice that birds are a motif throughout this play. They often highlight the themes of light and dark, day and night, or beauty and love. Birds symbolize modesty, fidelity, and innocence. However, they are also fragile, vulnerable, and delicate. Birds appear throughout the story to underscore the beauty and fragility of Romeo and Juliet's love, and to mark the transition from a space in which love keeps them safe to a space in which the real world intrudes on that space. In this way, birds are both a symbol of their perfect love and an omen of their coming deaths.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  4. "Wanton" in this context means a spoiled child. Here, Juliet constructs an image of a spoiled child playing with a pet bird. The bird can fly but it cannot get far because it is connected to the child's hand by gyves, or shackles. Juliet compares herself to the spoiled child and Romeo to the shackled bird.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  5. Echo is a mythological character who fell in love with Narcissus, a beautiful man who was capable of loving only himself. Once rejected by her love, Echo pined after Narcissus in a cave until there was nothing left of her but her voice. Juliet alludes to Echo in order to emphasize her dedication to calling for Romeo; she would make both herself and Echo hoarse with his name.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  6. Here Juliet references her "bondage," or servitude, to her family in order to lament her inability to loudly call out to Romeo. Because she is "imprisoned" by her family, she cannot openly express her love or call to her lover, and must instead talk to him in hoarse whispers.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  7. Juliet compares Romeo to a "tassel-gentle" a falcon or goshawk generally given to princes because they were easy to tame. Juliet wants Romeo to come to her as if he were a well trained hawk. Notice that this metaphor implicitly makes Juliet Romeo's master.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  8. Throughout this scene, Juliet cuts off Romeo's romantic poetry impulses. When she leaves the stage, we finally hear a full metaphor in which Romeo compares love's desire for love to a boy's desire to avoid his school books. This is an odd, if not poorly crafted, metaphor that demonstrates Romeo's sudden inability to create romance poetry. This could suggest that Juliet has succeeded in educating her lover, and Romeo's love is now grounded in reality instead of part of a poetic discourse about love.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  9. In this context, "bent" means inclination or desire. Marriage and courtship were much different in Shakespeare's time. Generally, relations of any kind outside of marriage, including kissing, vowing love, or being alone together, were seen as dishonorable. Marriages were arranged by parents and courtships were supervised by a servant such as a nurse or a family member. Because Romeo and Juliet's families would never consent to this marriage, they must police their desire without the help of social conventions. This rapid engagement and marriage could be seen as more evidence of the backwards world created by their parent's feud.

    Thus, Romeo and Juliet must make all of the arrangements for their marriage and police their own honor.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  10. Night in Shakespeare's plays, such as Hamlet and Macbeth, often symbolizes evil, the uncanny, or danger. However, in Romeo and Juliet the night is "blessed" and the lovers are protected by the "cloak of night." Night becomes a place of safety within this play because the feud between the two families exists in the day-lit streets. The positive depiction of the night shows us how backwards and dangerous these character's reality is.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  11. Notice that Juliet speaks separately to both her Nurse and Romeo in this line. Since there were few stage directions in Shakespeare's plays, actors would have to interpret lines such as this to show different addresses with body language, volume, and tone. Notice throughout the rest of Juliet's part in this scene how she transitions between these two registers.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  12. By "unsatisfied" Romeo could mean either the satisfaction of Juliet's vow or sexual satisfaction. While scholars have successfully read both interpretations into the line, what is most important to recognize in this exchange is that Juliet checks Romeo's haste. She forces him to wait until they can be married the following day until any satisfaction can occur. This is another instance in which Juliet teaches Romeo how to love and moves his poetic love into real love.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  13. While Romeo has the impulse to use romantic poetic tropes, such as professing one's love using the cosmos, Juliet forces him to ground his love in something more concrete and realistic. In this way Juliet is able to refashion Romeo's love at first sight romantic discourse into a love that is more real.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  14. Jove is another name for Jupiter, the king of the Roman Gods fashioned after the Greek god Zeus. This line is an allusion to the then common saying from Ovid's Ars Amatoria, “Jupiter from on high smiles at the perjuries of lovers."

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  15. Women "painting" their faces with makeup was a problematic issue in Shakespeare's time. Makeup was generally associated with prostitution or wantonness. Here, Juliet offers a different type of painting of her cheeks. Rather than using makeup, her innocence causes her cheeks to be painted with blush. In using this metaphor Juliet is seen as the epitome of innocence and purity.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  16. While Romeo says this statement to be flattering, and probably slightly teasing, notice that his metaphor makes Juliet's love a commodity.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  17. This means to fly over. It connotes overcoming a great obstacle. The heaviness of "overperched" is juxtaposed with the lightness of "love's wings" to suggest that love makes even the most daunting of obstacles easy to overcome. Romeo answers Juliet's fears by implicitly asserting that love can overcome all odds.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  18. "Counsel" in this context means one's private thoughts. This question affirms that Juliet did not know that Romeo was listening to her.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  19. Here Romeo refers to Baptism, the Christian tradition which symbolizes rebirth of a new more holy self. Notice that Juliet's love, not faith in God, is what would grant Romeo his new self.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  20. Ironically in this line and the ones that follow, Juliet claims that names are superficial and unimportant in order to emphasize that Romeo can shed his name. The fixation on Romeo's name coupled with this dismissal of a name's importance demonstrates Juliet's conflict: while the name is unimportant to Juliet, it is everything to the society in which she lives.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  21. In this catalogue of Romeo's body parts, Juliet performs a type of reverse-blazon. Remember that the blazon is a poetic trope in which the poet fragments his love object into her body parts in order to praise each one individually. Juliet uses the blazon here to focus on the parts of Romeo that she loves while rejecting the part of Romeo that she hates, his name and connection to the Montagues.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  22. "Wherefore" means why, as in Why are you Romeo? Notice that Juliet asks Romeo to forsake his name but only states his first name, not the title, Montague, that is so problematic. This is an example of apostrophe, a type of dramatic speech in which a character speaks to an inanimate object or person who is absent. Juliet does not know that Romeo can hear her.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  23. By this Romeo means that he believes Juliet is calling to him with her eyes. He quickly realizes that this is not true and that he is being too bold in believing she knows he is there or wants him. Notice that Romeo applies the same hyperbolic attraction and assumed rejection to Juliet that he felt when he was in love with Rosaline.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  24. A "vestal livery" is the outfit worn by virgins who serve Diana. The "sick and green" to which Romeo refers is the green sickness, or virgin sickness. It was believed in Shakespeare's time that a girl going through puberty suffered from anemia and could only be cured of this disease if they were relieved of their virginity. Here Romeo chastises Diana's virgin outfit and thus makes an argument against Juliet's virginity.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  25. In Greek mythology, Diana was the goddess of the moon. Here Romeo tells Juliet to be not her Diana's maid, since Juliet is more beautiful than Diana and the goddess will be envious.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  26. Romeo stands below Juliet's window and notices a light go on inside. He reacts by constructing an extended metaphor that compares Juliet to the sun. In the original copy of this play there is no stage direction that marks when Juliet enters the stage. So it is unclear whether or not Shakespeare originally intended Romeo to respond to her presence or the light in the room.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  27. This "he" refers to Mercutio and his jests from the previous scene. In this way Romeo links Scene II to Scene I and shows us that this break between scenes is more of a thematic break than a break between places or plot points. The action is continuous.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  28. A play on words.  She is still her father's "propery" (horse) and as such, she must be quiet (hoarse = whisper). 

    — Jamie Wheeler