Romeo and Juliet: Act 2, Scene 3

           Enter FRIAR LAURENCE, with a basket.

  1   The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,
  2   Chequering the eastern clouds with streaks of light,
3. fleckled: dappled.
4. From forth: out of the way of. Titan's fiery wheels: the sungod's chariot wheels.
  3   And fleckled darkness like a drunkard reels
  4   From forth day's path and Titan's fiery wheels.
  5   Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye,
  6   The day to cheer and night's dank dew to dry,
7. osier cage: willow basket.
  7   I must up-fill this osier cage of ours
  8   With baleful weeds and precious-juiced flowers.
  9   The earth that's nature's mother is her tomb;
 10   What is her burying grave that is her womb,
 11   And from her womb children of divers kind
 12   We sucking on her natural bosom find:
13. virtues: properties, powers.
14. None  . . .  different: none but have some (virtues, beneficial properties). 15. mickle: great. grace: healing power.
16. true: inherent.
 13   Many for many virtues excellent,
 14   None but for some and yet all different.
 15   O, mickle is the powerful grace that lies
 16   In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities:
 17   For nought so vile that on the earth doth live
 18   But to the earth some special good doth give,
19-20. Nor  . . .  abuse: nor anything so good but, wrenched away from that beneficial use, reverses its innate goodness, falling into abusive uses.  21. turns: turns into.
22. And vice  . . .  dignified: and vice is sometimes, by the use to which it is put, given the dignity of virtue. 23. infant rind: new skin.
 19   Nor aught so good but, strain'd from that fair use,
 20   Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse.
 21   Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied;
 22   And vice sometimes by action dignified.
 23   Within the infant rind of this weak flower
 24   Poison hath residence and medicine power:
25. that part: i.e., the odor. each part: i.e., of the human body. 26. stays all senses with the heart: stops all the senses and the heart; i.e., induces a mortal coma.
 25   For this, being smelt, with that part cheers each part;
 26   Being tasted, stays all senses with the heart.
 27   Two such opposed kings encamp them still
 28   In man as well as herbs, grace and rude will;
 29   And where the worser is predominant,
30. canker: cankerworm.

 30   Full soon the canker death eats up that plant.

           Enter ROMEO.

 31   Good morrow, father.

31. Benedicite: bless you.
 31                                              Benedicite!
 32   What early tongue so sweet saluteth me?
33. distemper'd: disordered, disturbed.
 33   Young son, it argues a distemper'd head
 34   So soon to bid good morrow to thy bed.
 35   Care keeps his watch in every old man's eye,
 36   And where care lodges, sleep will never lie;
37. unbruised: not bruised [by life]. unstuff'd: unburdened, carefree.

Friar Laurence as drawn by Sir John Gilbert
 37   But where unbruised youth with unstuff'd brain
 38   Doth couch his limbs, there golden sleep doth reign.
 39   Therefore thy earliness doth me assure
 40   Thou art up-roused by some distemperature;
 41   Or if not so, then here I hit it right,
 42   Our Romeo hath not been in bed tonight.

 43   That last is true; the sweeter rest was mine.

 44   God pardon sin! wast thou with Rosaline?

 45   With Rosaline, my ghostly father? no;
 46   I have forgot that name, and that name's woe.

 47   That's my good son: but where hast thou been, then?

 48   I'll tell thee, ere thou ask it me again.
 49   I have been feasting with mine enemy,
50. wounded me: i.e., struck me with the dart of love.
 50   Where on a sudden one hath wounded me,
 51   That's by me wounded; both our remedies
52. physic: power to heal. Romeo means that Friar Laurence can heal his love-wounds, and Juliet's, too, by marrying them, but he's being too witty to be clear. 54. intercession: petition [to you for help]. steads: helps. my foe: i.e., Juliet, who is Romeo's "foe" because his love for her is practically killing him.
 52   Within thy help and holy physic lies.
 53   I bear no hatred, blessed man, for, lo,
 54   My intercession likewise steads my foe.


55. homely in thy drift: simple in expressing your meaning.
56. shrift: absolution.
 55   Be plain, good son, and homely in thy drift;
 56   Riddling confession finds but riddling shrift.

 57   Then plainly know my heart's dear love is set
 58   On the fair daughter of rich Capulet:
 59   As mine on hers, so hers is set on mine;
60. And all combined: i.e., Juliet and I are fully committed to each other. save: except for.
 60   And all combined, save what thou must combine
 61   By holy marriage. When and where and how
 62   We met, we woo'd and made exchange of vow,
63. pass: walk along.
 63   I'll tell thee as we pass; but this I pray,
 64   That thou consent to marry us today.

65. Saint Francis: St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the first order of Friars, the Franciscans.
 65   Holy Saint Francis, what a change is here!
 66   Is Rosaline, whom thou didst love so dear,
 67   So soon forsaken? Young men's love then lies
 68   Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.
69. Jesu Maria: An expression of disbelief, comparable to the current (C.E. 2015) "Jesus H. Christ!"  deal of brine: i.e., great quantity of tears.
 69   Jesu Maria, what a deal of brine
 70   Hath wash'd thy sallow cheeks for Rosaline!
 71   How much salt water thrown away in waste,
72. To season ... taste: i.e., To spice a love that your love (Rosaline) never cared to taste.  73. The sun not yet thy sighs from heaven clears: Friar Laurence is speaking of Romeo's sighs for Rosaline as mists which the sun has not yet burned away.
 72   To season love, that of it doth not taste!
 73   The sun not yet thy sighs from heaven clears,
 74   Thy old groans ring yet in my ancient ears;
 75   Lo, here upon thy cheek the stain doth sit
 76   Of an old tear that is not wash'd off yet:
 77   If e'er thou wast thyself and these woes thine,
 78   Thou and these woes were all for Rosaline:
79. sentence: moral saying.
 79   And art thou changed? Pronounce this sentence then,
 80   Women may fall, when there's no strength in men.

 81   Thou chid'st me oft for loving Rosaline.

 82   For doting, not for loving, pupil mine.

 83   And bad'st me bury love.

 83                                        Not in a grave,
 84   To lay one in, another out to have.

 85   I pray thee, chide not. Her I love now
86. grace: favor.
 86   Doth grace for grace and love for love allow;
 87   The other did not so.

 87                                  O, she knew well
88. Thy  . . .  spell: your [supposed] love only pretended to read, by a rote repetition of what it had heard, but it could not truly spell out [the words of love]. In other words, when Romeo thought he was in love with Rosaline, he was only spouting clichés. 90. In one respect: for one good reason. 91. happy: fortunate. 92. To: as to.
 88   Thy love did read by rote and could not spell.
 89   But come, young waverer, come, go with me,
 90   In one respect I'll thy assistant be;
 91   For this alliance may so happy prove,
 92   To turn your households' rancour to pure love.

93. stand on: (1) insist on; (2) am in great need of.
 93   O, let us hence; I stand on sudden haste.

 94   Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.