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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 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

and say


So then 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.
I should have been more strange, 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. In all this, amidst all the flutterings of maiden delicacy and feminine apprehensiveness, how charmingly do we read the boundless confidence in her lover's truth and sympathy which already fills her bosom. In this fulness of trust it is, that we find her checking his every protestation at its very first syllable :

Rom. Lady, by yonder blessed moon I swear,
That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops,

Jul. Oh, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circled orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable !

Rom. 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 !


heart's dear loveJul. Well, do not swear, &c. The gush of new-sprung happiness which has come upon her so suddenly and so deliciously, from this full assurance of Romeo's requital of her love, and this frank outpouring of their mutual passion, seems, at the first moment, to the inexperienced heart of Juliet, such all-sufficient bliss, that it spontaneously pauses to

take breath, as it were, in the midst of its tremulous
transport :-

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
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 !
But how brief a pause, and how few more tones from
the beloved voice, we see, suffice to teach her that, in
a nature like hers, after each momentary ebb, she will
find each succeeding wave in the rising tide of passion
to swell more full and resistless than the former :-

Rom. Oh, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied ?
Jul. What satisfaction canst thou have to-night?
Rom. The exchange of thy love's faithful vow for mine.

Jul. I gave thee mine before thou didst request it-
And yet I would it were to give again!
Rom. Wouldst thou withdraw it ?—for what purpose,

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

Rom. O blessed, blessed night! I am afeard,
Being in night, all this is but a dream,

Too flattering-sweet to be substantial !
When Juliet re-appears, her first words tell us how far
the flow of her feelings has advanced beyond the point
at which she could say, “ I have no joy of this contract
to-night." - This bud of love,” to use her own ex-
pression, so far from waiting for “summer's ripening
breath,” to “prove a beauteous flower,” expands at
once by its internal energy:

Three words, dear Romeo, and good night indeed.--
If that thy bent of love be honourable,

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Thy purpose marriage, send me word to-morrow,
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 feet I'll lay,
And follow thee my lord throughout the world!

Nurse (within). Madam-
Jul. I come anon.

-But if thou mean'st not well,
I do beseech thee,

Nurse (within). Madam

By and by, I come.--
To cease thy suit, and leave me to my grief.-
To-morrow will I send.

So thrive my soul,
Jul. A thousand times good night!

Rom. A thousand times the worse, to want thy light.
Love goes toward love, as school-boys from their books;

But love from love, toward school with heavy looks ! This last reflection of Romeo's we find illustrated by Juliet's returning once more to the balcony, and by the following piece of dialogue, so exquisitely expressing the impossibility to part, after such a meetingthe pang of separation, the more bitter for the sweetness of their converse :


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's name!

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

Jul. Romeo!

My sweet!

At what o'clock to-morrow
Shall I send to thee?

At the hour of nine.
Jul. I will not fail—'tis twenty years till then !-
I have forgot why I did call thee back.

Rom. Let me stand here, till thou remember it.

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

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

Jul. 'Tis almost morning-I would have thee gone-
And yet no farther than a wanton's bird,

Who 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!

Rom. I would I were thy bird !

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 !

Rom. Sleep dwell upon thine eyes, peace in thy breast !-
Would I were sleep and peace, so sweet to rest !

At the risk even of wearisome repetition, we can liken the dramatic melody of this passage to nothing but the "sweetest, saddest strain” warbled by the bird of spring-time evening amid its balmiest air. How deliciously, again, does it express that perfect unison of soul—in sentiment-in idea-in language-in everything—which the poet has so peculiarly preserved between this pair, in each successive phasis of their feelings. For, the hearts of these lovers do not rush together with the impetuosity of the torrent, as supposed by those who regard this drama as a painting of peculiarly Italian passion: they glide into one, quickly indeed, but gently, as the softest and pearliest of kindred dewdrops trembling together in the morn

ing's ray.


THEIR betrothment is now completed, under circumstances which invite them to celebrate their marriage with all secresy, but with the least possible delay. It is not only that the ardour of their mutual passion, the absolute devotion of each to the other, leaves them little room for any other consideration; but under the peculiar relation of inveterate hostility which subsists


between their respective families, the very delay which, under ordinary circumstances, might serve to obviate the most serious obstacles to the undisturbed happiness of such a union, by the obtaining of parental sanction, would here, in all probability, but give occasion for opposing to it an eternal bar. Romeo, therefore, instinctively proceeds at once from his interview with Juliet, to seek the aid of his confessor in this matter:

Hence will I to my ghostly father's cell,

His help to crave, and my dear hap to tell.

The immediate introduction of Friar Laurence, talking like one to whom Love has ever been an utter stranger, forms a fine relief to the exquisite passionateness of the preceding scene, and to the eagerness with which Romeo comes to solicit his present assistance. How innocent the kind-hearted ecclesiastic is of all amatory experience, is evident from the impossibility which Romeo finds of making him understand the essential difference between his late passion for Rosaline and his present devotion to Juliet. To the simple apprehension of the worthy friar, all love is alike, and all love is vanity. That which the very course of this drama shews to be the most serious thing in life, is, to his ascetic view, the emptiest :A lover


bestride the gossomers That idle in the wanton summer air,

And yet not fall—so light is vanity!
No matter that Romeo tells him-

She whom I love now,
Doth grace for grace, and love for love allow;

The other did not so.
Still he rejoins-

Oh, she knew well, Thy love did read by rote, and could not spell. He can discover nothing in Romeo's change of mistresses but the mere fickleness of youthBut come, young waverer,


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