Gary Taylor, John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan (eds), The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition

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Sc. 92.2

Editor’s NoteEnter Friar Laurence alone with a basket
Editor’s Note1

friar laurence The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,

Editor’s Note2Chequ'ring the eastern clouds with streaks of light,

Editor’s Note3And fleckled darkness like a drunkard reels

Editor’s Note4From forth day's path and Titan's fiery wheels.

5Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye

6The day to cheer and night's dank dew to dry,

Editor’s Note7I must up-fill this osier cage of ours

8With baleful weeds and precious-juicèd flowers.

Editor’s Note9The earth, that's nature's mother, is her tomb.

10What is her burying grave, that is her womb,

Editor’s Note11And from her womb children of divers kind

12We sucking on her natural bosom find,

Editor’s Note13Many for many virtues excellent,

Editor’s Note14None but for some, and yet all different.

Editor’s Note15O mickle is the powerful grace that lies

16In plants, herbs, stones, and their true qualities;

Editor’s Note Link 17For naught so vile that on the earth doth live

18But to the earth some special good doth give;

Editor’s Note19Nor aught so good but, strained from that fair use,

Editor’s Note20Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse.

21Virtue itself turns vice being misapplied,

22And vice sometime's by action dignified.

Editor’s NoteEnter Romeo

23Within the infant rind of this weak flower

Editor’s Note24Poison hath residence, and medicine power;

pg 1028Editor’s Note25For this, being smelt, with that part cheers each part;

Editor’s Note26Being tasted, stays all senses with the heart.

Editor’s Note27Two such opposèd kings encamp them still

Editor’s Note28In man as well as herbs—grace and rude will;

29And where the worser is predominant,

Editor’s Note30Full soon the canker death eats up that plant.

Editor’s Note31

romeo Good morrow, father.

friar laurence Benedicite.

32What early tongue so sweet saluteth me?

Editor’s Note33Young son, it argues a distempered head

34So soon to bid good morrow to thy bed.

35Care keeps his watch in every old man's eye,

36And where care lodges, sleep will never lie,

37But where unbruisèd youth with unstuffed brain

38Doth couch his limbs, there golden sleep doth reign.

39Therefore thy earliness doth me assure

40Thou art uproused with some distemp'rature;

41Or if not so, then here I hit it right:

42Our Romeo hath not been in bed tonight.


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


friar laurence God pardon sin! Wast thou with Rosaline?


romeo With Rosaline, my ghostly father? No,

46I have forgot that name and that name's woe.


friar laurence That's my good son. But where hast thou been then?


romeo I'll tell thee ere thou ask it me again:

49I have been feasting with mine enemy,

50Where on a sudden one hath wounded me

Link 51That's by me wounded. Both our remedies

Editor’s Note52Within thy help and holy physic lies.

53I bear no hatred, blessèd man, for lo,

Editor’s Note54My intercession likewise steads my foe.


friar laurence Be plain, good son, and homely in thy drift;

Editor’s Note56Riddling confession finds but riddling shrift.


romeo Then plainly know my heart's dear love is set

58On the fair daughter of rich Capulet.

59As mine on hers, so hers is set on mine,

60And all combined, save what thou must combine

61By holy marriage. When and where and how

62We met, we wooed, and made exchange of vow

63I'll tell thee as we pass; but this I pray,

64That thou consent to marry us today.

Editor’s Note65

friar laurence Holy Saint Francis, what a change is here!

66Is Rosaline, that thou didst love so dear,

67So soon forsaken? Young men's love then lies

pg 102968Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.

69Jesu Maria, what a deal of brine

70Hath washed thy sallow cheeks for Rosaline!

71How much salt water thrown away in waste,

Editor’s Note72To season love, that of it doth not taste!

Editor’s Note73The sun not yet thy sighs from heaven clears;

74Thy old groans yet ring in mine ancient ears.

75Lo, here upon thy cheek the stain doth sit

76Of an old tear that is not washed off yet.

77If ere thou wast thyself, and these woes thine,

78Thou and these woes were all for Rosaline.

Editor’s Note79And art thou changed? Pronounce this sentence then:

Editor’s Note80Women may fall when there's no strength in men.


romeo Thou chidd'st me oft for loving Rosaline.


friar laurence For doting, not for loving, pupil mine.


romeo And bad'st me bury love.

friar laurence Not in a grave

84To lay one in, another out to have.


romeo I pray thee chide me not. Her I love now

Link 86Doth grace for grace, and love for love allow;

87The other did not so.

friar laurence O, she knew well

Editor’s Note88Thy love did read by rote, that could not spell.

89But come, young waverer, come, go with me,

90In one respect I'll thy assistant be;

91For this alliance may so happy prove

92To turn your household's rancour to pure love.

Editor’s Note93

romeo O, let us hence! I stand on sudden haste.


friar laurence Wisely and slow, they stumble that run fast.


Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
9.0 As he enters, Friar Laurence may examine the herbs and flowers while describing them. In many productions he is costumed as a monk or priest; he has been portrayed as a dour patrician, as spry and streetwise cleric, and as tough and straightforward.
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9.1 grey pale blue
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9.2 Chequ'ring diversifying with a different colour
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9.3 fleckled dappled
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9.4 Titan (classical sun-god, more usually known as Helios, who travels through the sky in his chariot)
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9.7 ours (i.e. the fraternity of friars)
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9.9 The … tomb (proverbial)
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9.11 children (i.e. plants)
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9.11 divers several varied
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9.13 virtues healthful properties
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9.14 but for some i.e. that is not excellent for some property
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9.15 mickle great
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9.15 powerful grace i.e. power to heal (as derived from God)
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9.17–18 naught … give (probably proverbial, and reflecting a widespread scholastic view of creation)
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9.19 strained constrained
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9.20 stumbling on abuse if it happens to be misused
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9.22.1 Enter Romeo Some productions have Romeo enter after the Friar's speech, but entering here allows him to overhear the description of the 'weak flower'.
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9.24 power has power
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9.25 that part that set
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9.26 stays arrests
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9.27 them still themselves always
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9.28 rude rough, unrestrained
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9.28 will wilfulness (also 'lust')
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9.30 canker destructive worm, caterpillar (also 'cancer', as affects man)
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9.31 Benedicite may God bless you (ecclesiastical Latin; pronounced as five syllables; rhymes with me)
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9.33 argues proves
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9.33 distempered disturbed (by imbalance in the bodily humours)
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9.52 physic cure
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9.54 steads benefits
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9.56 shrift absolution
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9.65 Saint Francis (Laurence is evidently a Franciscan)
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9.72 season preserve by salting; flavour
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9.73 thy sighs (seen as mists)
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9.79 sentence moral saying
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9.80 may might well
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9.80 when seeing as
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9.88 read by rote recite words learnt by repetition
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9.93 stand insist
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