The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (Dowden)/Act 2/Scene 6

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SCENE VI.—The Same. Friar Laurence's cell.[C 1]

Enter Friar Laurence and Romeo.[E 1]

Fri. So smile the heavens upon this holy act,
That after-hours[C 2] with sorrow chide us not!
Rom. Amen, amen! but come what sorrow can,
It cannot countervail the exchange of joy
That one short minute gives me in her sight.5
Do thou but close our hands with holy words,
Then love-devouring death do what he dare,
It is enough I[C 3] may but call her mine.
Fri. These violent[E 2] delights have violent ends,
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,10
Which as they kiss consume: the sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his[E 3] own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds[E 4] the appetite:
Therefore love moderately; long love doth so;
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.15

Enter Juliet.

Here comes the lady: O, so light[E 5] a foot
Will ne'er wear out the everlasting flint.
A lover may bestride the gossamer[C 4][E 6]
That idles in the wanton summer air,
And yet not fall; so light is vanity.20

Jul. Good even to my ghostly confessor.[E 7]
Fri. Romeo shall thank thee, daughter, for us both.
Jul. As much to him, else is[C 5] his thanks too much.
Rom.[C 6] Ah, Juliet, if the measure of thy joy
Be heap'd like mine, and that thy skill be more25
To blazon it, then sweeten with thy breath
This neighbour air, and let rich music's[C 7] tongue
Unfold the imagined happiness that both
Receive in either by this dear encounter.
Jul. Conceit,[E 8] more rich in matter than in words,30
Brags of his substance, not of ornament:
They are but beggars that can count their worth;[E 9]
But my true love is grown to such[C 8] excess
I cannot sum up sum of half my wealth.[C 9][E 10]
Fri. Come, come with me, and we will make short work;35
For, by your leaves, you shall not stay alone
Till holy church incorporate two in one.[Exeunt.


Critical notes

  1. Friar Laurence's cell] Capell.
  2. 2. after-hours] hyphen Pope.
  3. 8. enough I] Q, inough. I F.
  4. 18, 19. gossamer … idles] F 4; gossamours, … ydeles Q, F.
  5. 23. is Q, in F.
  6. 24. Rom.] Q, Fri. F.
  7. 27. music's] F, musicke Q.
  8. 33. such] Q, such such F.
  9. 34. sum up sum of half my Q; summe up some of halfe my Qq 4, 5, F.


Explanatory notes

  1. Enter … ] For the corresponding scene in Q 1, see p. 183.
  2. 9. These violent …] Malone compares Lucrece, line 894: "Thy violent vanities can never last"; Rolfe adds Hamlet, II. i. 102, 103.
  3. 12. his] its.
  4. 13. confounds] destroys, ruins; the most frequent meaning of confound with Shakespeare.
  5. 16. so light … The corresponding lines in Q 1 are:
    "So light of foote nere hurts the troden flower:
    Of love and joy, see see the soveraigne power."

    Critics have preferred this earlier reading, not considering the dramatic propriety of the later text. The moralising Friar thinks of the hardness and sharpness of the path of life.

  6. 18. gossamer] floating thread or threads of spider's silk (goose-summer, possibly from its downy appearance; but see New Eng. Dict. for objections). Malone and others read "gossamers That idle."
  7. 21. confessor] accented as here (on con) by Shakespeare; the variation of accent in Henry VIII. has been taken as one of the indications of double authorship. In Q I Juliet's first word is Romeo. He responds:
    "My Iuliet welcome. As doo waking eyes
    (Cloasd in Nights mysts) attend the frolicke Day,
    So Romeo hath expected Iuliet,
    And thou art come.
    Jul. I am (if I be Day)
    Come to my Sunne: shine foorth, and make me faire."
  8. 30. Conceit … ] Such imagination as is more rich, etc. For conceit compare IV. iii. 37.
  9. 32. worth] wealth, as in Twelfth Night, III. iii. 17. For the idea compare Ant. and Cleop. I. i. 15: "There's beggary in the love that can be reckon'd."
  10. 34. sum … wealth] No emendation is required; Capell's has, however, found favour with editors—"sum up half my sum of wealth."