Thursday, April 23, 2009

Shakespeare Day (II)

I previously blogged about my favorite Shakespeare memory of April 23rd and about Romeo & Juliet.

So, today, I was browing through my Shakespeare app on my iPhone and decided to read "Romeo & Juliet" (It was a long meeting, I figured I'd have time).

Act II, Capulet's Orchard

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, O, it is my love!
O, 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 eyes 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!
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!

The last line highlighted is one that I came across in Bartlett's Book of Quotations when I was in high school. It seemed so majestic and pure. I suppose at that age when all I could hope for was to secure a glance from a boy, it was thrilling. The proximity of a the glove on the hand that rests upon the cheek is enough.

The first highlighted phrase is something I noticed today and it grabbed me. Here we go again with Shakespeare. How often do we hear this verse, yet it creates a pause because there's something different.

To carry the moon image further, there's another reference to it.

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

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

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.

To tie the references together, if Juliet is the Sun, then Romeo is Apollo.

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