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Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet Translation Act 2, Prologue

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The CHORUS enters.

CHORUS

Now old desire doth in his deathbed lie, And young affection gapes to be his heir. That fair for which love groaned for and would die, With tender Juliet matched, is now not fair. Now Romeo is beloved and loves again, Alike bewitchèd by the charm of looks; But to his foe supposed he must complain, And she steal love's sweet bait from fearful hooks. Being held a foe, he may not have access To breathe such vows as lovers use to swear, And she as much in love, her means much less To meet her new belovèd anywhere. But passion lends them power, time means, to meet, Temp'ring extremities with extreme sweet.


CHORUS

Now Romeo's old desire for Rosaline lies in its deathbed, and a new love is ready to be its heir. Romeo used to groan and swear he would die for Rosaline's love, but now he finds Rosaline's beauty nothing in comparison to tender Juliet's. Now someone loves Romeo and Romeo loves someone, and they are both charmed by each other's looks. But Romeo must declare his love to someone who is supposed to be his enemy, and Juliet is love-struck, adoring someone she is supposed to fear. Because he is considered an enemy, Romeo is not allowed to see Juliet, and make the sorts of oaths that lovers usually swear to each other. And Juliet—just as much in love with Romeo as he is with her—she has even fewer means of meeting her beloved Romeo. But passion gives them the power, and time gives them the opportunity, to meet each other, tempering their extreme adversity with extreme sweetness.

The CHORUS exits.

Romeo and juliet
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Ben florman
About the Translator: Ben Florman

Ben is a co-founder of LitCharts. He holds a BA in English Literature from Harvard University, where as an undergraduate he won the Winthrop Sargent prize for best undergraduate paper on a topic related to Shakespeare.