Act II - Scene III

Friar Laurence's cell.

Enter Friar Laurence alone, with a basket.

The grey-ey'd morn smiles on the frowning night,
Check'ring the Eastern clouds with streaks of light;
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(5)
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;(10)
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(15)
In plants, herbs, stones, and their true qualities;
For naught 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.(20)
Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied,
And vice sometime's by action dignified.
Within the infant rind of this small flower
Poison hath residence, and medicine power;
For this, being smelt, with that part cheers each part;(25)
Being tasted, slays 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.(30)

Enter Romeo.

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.(35)
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(40)
Thou art uprous'd with some distemp'rature;
Or if not so, then here I hit it right—
Our Romeo hath not been in bed to-night.
That last is true—the sweeter rest was mine.
God pardon sin! Wast thou with Rosaline?(45)
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,(50)
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.(55)
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,(60)
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 to-day.(65)
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(70)
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 ring yet in mine ancient ears.(75)
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:(80)
Women may fall when there's no strength in men.
Thou chid'st me oft for loving Rosaline.
For doting, not for loving, pupil mine.
And bad'st me bury love.
Not in a grave(85)
To lay one in, another out to have.
I pray thee chide not. She whom I love now
Doth grace for grace and love for love allow.
The other did not so.
O, she knew well(90)
Thy love did read by rote, and 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’ rancour to pure love.(95)
O, let us hence! I stand on sudden haste.
Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast.



  1. Notice that the Friar consents to marrying the young couple because he believes that it will solve the hatred between their two families, not because he thinks Romeo's love is pure.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  2. The Friar plainly presents the same problem that Juliet seems to recognize in Romeo's love: it is a doting affection situated in metaphors and the pose of love rather than actual love. It is now up to the audience to determine whether or not Juliet successfully refashioned Romeo's love in the previous scene.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  3. Here, the Friar calls attention to the seeming fickleness of Romeo's love. Since at the beginning of the story he was lamenting his undying passion for Rosaline, his new found love for Juliet should be slightly problematic to the audience. Just as the Prologue repeatedly asks the audience to pay attention, the Friar's reaction pantomimes what the audience should have noticed.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  4. A "shrift" is the penance that a priest offer to someone after they confess. Notice that the Friar believes Romeo has come to confess, implying that his actions during the previous night were sinful.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  5. "Mickle" means large in bulk or size. The Friar is introduced to the audience as someone who knows a lot about herbs and plants. He goes on to talk about both curing and poisonous plants. In this way, the Friar's speech underscores the theme of good and bad, love and violence mixing, and inadvertently foreshadows the tragic end of the play.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  6. My plea aids my enemy, Juliet, who is a Capuet, as well as myself. 

    — Jamie Wheeler