A line-by-line translation

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet Translation Act 2, Scene 2

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ROMEO returns.

ROMEO

He jests at scars that never felt a wound. 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, 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. Oh, it is my love. Oh, 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, 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 eye in heaven 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. Oh, that I were a glove upon that hand That I might touch that cheek!

ROMEO

He jokes about scars from wounds he’s never felt.
But wait! What light is that in the window over there? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Rise, beautiful sun, and kill the jealous moon, which is already sick and pale with grief because Juliet, her maid, is more beautiful than she is. Don’t be her maid, since she’s jealous. The moon’s virginity makes her look sick and green, and only fools hold on to their virginity. Throw it off. It is my lady. Oh, it is my love. Oh, I wish she knew I loved her. She’s talking, but isn’t saying anything. Why is that? Her eyes are speaking. I’ll respond—no, I am too bold. It’s not to me she speaks. Two of the most beautiful stars in the sky had to go off on some business, and begged her eyes to twinkle in their place until they return. If her eyes were in the sky and the stars were in her head the brightness of her cheeks would overwhelm the stars, just as daylight outshines a lamp. And her eyes in the night sky would shine so brightly that birds would start singing, thinking it was day. Look how she leans her cheek against her hand. I wish I were a glove on that hand, so I could touch her cheek.

JULIET enters on the balcony.

JULIET

Ay me!

JULIET

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ROMEO

[Aside] She speaks. O, speak again, bright angel! For thou art As glorious to this night, being o’er my head, As is a wingèd messenger of heaven Unto the white, upturnèd, wondering eyes Of mortals that fall back to gaze on him When he bestrides the lazy-puffing clouds And sails upon the bosom of the air.

ROMEO

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JULIET

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.

JULIET

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ROMEO

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

ROMEO

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JULIET

‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy. 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 By any other word would smell as sweet. So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called, Retain that dear perfection which he owes Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name, And for that name, which is no part of thee Take all myself.

JULIET

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ROMEO

I take thee at thy word. Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized.Henceforth I never will be Romeo.

ROMEO

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JULIET

What man art thou that, thus bescreened in night,So stumblest on my counsel?

JULIET

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ROMEO

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. Had I it written, I would tear the word.

ROMEO

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JULIET

My ears have not yet drunk a hundred wordsOf that tongue’s uttering, yet I know the sound. Art thou not Romeo, and a Montague?

JULIET

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ROMEO

Neither, fair maid, if either thee dislike.

ROMEO

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JULIET

How camest 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.

JULIET

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ROMEO

With love’s light wings did I o’erperch these walls, For stony limits cannot hold love out, And what love can do, that dares love attempt. Therefore thy kinsmen are no stop to me.

ROMEO

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JULIET

If they do see thee they will murder thee.

JULIET

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ROMEO

Alack, there lies more peril in thine eyeThan twenty of their swords. Look thou but sweet,And I am proof against their enmity.

ROMEO

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JULIET

I would not for the world they saw thee here.

JULIET

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ROMEO

I have night’s cloak to hide me from their eyes, And but thou love me, let them find me here. My life were better ended by their hate Than death proroguèd, wanting of thy love.

ROMEO

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JULIET

By whose direction found’st thou out this place?

JULIET

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ROMEO

By love, that first did prompt me to inquire. He lent me counsel and I lent him eyes. I am no pilot. Yet, wert thou as far As that vast shore washed with the farthest sea, I would adventure for such merchandise.

ROMEO

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JULIET

Thou know’st the mask of night is on my face, Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek For that which thou hast heard me speak tonight. Fain would I dwell on form. Fain, fain deny What I have spoke. But farewell compliment! Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say “ay,” And I will take thy word. Yet if thou swear’st Thou mayst prove false. At lovers’ perjuries, They say, Jove laughs. O gentle Romeo, If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully. Or if thou think’st I am too quickly won, I’ll frown and be perverse and say thee nay, So thou wilt woo. But else, not for the world. In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond, And therefore thou mayst think my ‘havior light. But trust me, gentleman, I’ll prove more true Than those that have more coying to be strange. 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.

JULIET

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ROMEO

Lady, by yonder blessèd moon I vow,That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops—

ROMEO

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JULIET

O, swear not by the moon, th’ inconstant moon, That monthly changes in her circle orb,Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.

JULIET

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ROMEO

What shall I swear by?

ROMEO

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JULIET

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.

JULIET

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ROMEO

If my heart’s dear love—

ROMEO

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JULIET

Well, do not swear. Although I joy in thee, I have no joy of this contract tonight. It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden, Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be 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.

JULIET

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ROMEO

O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?

ROMEO

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JULIET

What satisfaction canst thou have tonight?

JULIET

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ROMEO

Th’ exchange of thy love’s faithful vow for mine.

ROMEO

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JULIET

I gave thee mine before thou didst request it,And yet I would it were to give again.

JULIET

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ROMEO

Wouldst thou withdraw it? For what purpose, love?

ROMEO

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JULIET

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, The more I have, for both are infinite.

JULIET

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The NURSE calls from offstage.

I hear some noise within. Dear love, adieu.—Anon, good Nurse!—Sweet Montague, be true.Stay but a little. I will come again.

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JULIET exits.

ROMEO

O blessèd, blessèd night! I am afeard, Being in night, all this is but a dream,Too flattering sweet to be substantial.

ROMEO

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JULIET enters.

JULIET

Three words, dear Romeo, and good night indeed. If that thy bent of love be honorable, Thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow 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.

JULIET

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NURSE

[From within] Madam!

NURSE

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JULIET

I come, anon.—But if thou mean’st not well,I do beseech thee—

JULIET

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NURSE

[From within] Madam!

NURSE

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JULIET

By and by, I come.—To cease thy strife and leave me to my grief. Tomorrow will I send.

JULIET

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ROMEO

So thrive my soul—

ROMEO

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JULIET

A thousand times good night!

JULIET

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ROMEO

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

ROMEO

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JULIET exits.

ROMEO starts to leave. JULIET returns, on her balcony.

JULIET

Hist! Romeo, hist!—Oh, 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, And make her airy tongue more hoarse than mine, With repetition of “My Romeo!”

JULIET

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ROMEO

It is my soul that calls upon my name. How silver-sweet sound lovers’ tongues by night, Like softest music to attending ears!

ROMEO

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JULIET

Romeo!

JULIET

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ROMEO

My nyas?

ROMEO

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JULIET

What o’clock tomorrowShall I send to thee?

JULIET

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ROMEO

By the hour of nine.

ROMEO

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JULIET

I will not fail. ‘Tis twenty year till then.I have forgot why I did call thee back.

JULIET

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ROMEO

Let me stand here till thou remember it.

ROMEO

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JULIET

I shall forget, to have thee still stand there,Remembering how I love thy company.

JULIET

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ROMEO

And I’ll still stay, to have thee still forget,Forgetting any other home but this.

ROMEO

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JULIET

‘Tis almost morning. I would have thee gone. And yet no further than a wanton’s bird, That lets it hop a little from his hand Like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves, And with a silken thread plucks it back again, So loving-jealous of his liberty.

JULIET

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ROMEO

I would I were thy bird.

ROMEO

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JULIET

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.

JULIET

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ROMEO

Sleep dwell upon thine eyes, peace in thy breast.

ROMEO

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Juliet exits.

Would I were sleep and peace, so sweet to rest, Hence will I to my ghostly sire's close cell,His help to crave, and my deap hap to tell.

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ROMEO exits.

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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.