From Romeo and Juliet. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan.
1. So smile the heavens, may the heavens so smile! may
Providence so approve of this marriage that, etc.
4, 5. It cannot ... sight, it cannot outweigh the joy that the
sight of her for one short minute gives me, even though I have
to endure the bitterest sorrow the next minute; the exchange of
joy does not mean the exchange from some past sorrow, but the
enjoyment of happiness in the present, which may have to be exchanged for sorrow hereafter.
6. close, unite.
7. dare, subjunctive, may dare.
8. It is enough ... mine, it is enough for me to have once called
her mine. Cp. Dryden, transl. of Horace, Odes, i. 29, "Not
Heaven itself upon the past has power. But what has been, has
been, and I have had my hour."
9. These violent ... ends. Walker points out that violent is used
in the first instance as a trisyllable and in the second as a
10. And in ... die, and perish when at their summit of enjoyment. Malone compares Lucr. 894, "Thy violent vanities can
11. kiss, meet, as though they were friends.
12. Is loathsome ... deliciousness, cloys the taste from the very
fact of being so luscious.
13. confounds, renders it incapable of proper appreciation.
14. long love, enduring, lasting, love.
15. Too swift ... slow. Another version of the proverb "The
more haste, the less speed."
16. 7. so light ... flint. The corresponding line in the first quarto
is "So light a foot ne'er hurts the trodden flower," of which, as
Grant White remarks, the words in the text do not seem an improvement; everlasting, of course not in its strict sense.
18. gossamer, "fine spider-threads seen in fine weather. ... Of
disputed origin: but M. E. gossomer is literally goose-summer,
and the provincial E. (Craven) name for gossamer is summer-goose ... The word is probably nothing but a corruption of 'goose-
summer' or 'summer-goose,' from the downy appearance" of the
film"... (Skeat, Ety. Dict.).
20. vanity, the unsubstantial delight felt by lovers.
22. shall thank you, shall requite you for your kind salutation;
I will leave Romeo to acknowledge your greeting.
23. As much ... much, 'nay,' says Juliet, 'I must greet him as
well as you, for if, without my doing so, he gives thanks for both
of you, his thanks will be more than I desire.'
24. measure, apparently used in a double sense, (1) great quantity, (2) the vessel containing the quantity.
25. Be heap'd, be filled to the brim; cp. Luke, vi. 38, "Give,
and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and
shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your
26. To blazon it, to depict it in worthy colours; to blazon is
"to pourtray armorial bearings ... — F. blazon, 'a coat of arms;
in the 11th century a buckler, a shield ; then a shield with a coat of arms of a knight painted on it; lastly, towards the
15th century, the coats of arms themselves'; Brachet" ... (Skeat, Ety. Dict.).
27. neighbour, neighbouring; cp. R. II. i. 1. 119, "Such neighbour nearness to our sacred blood": rich music's tongue,
identifying Juliet's voice with music.
28. the imagined happiness, the happiness wrapped up in the
29. in either, each in the other.
30. Conceit, conception; literally that which is conceived;
used in Shakespeare for idea, fanciful thought, mental faculty, etc.
31. Brags ... ornament, is proud of the reality and does not
care to set forth its possession by mere ornament, does not value
any such display as you would have me make in words.
32. They are but ... worth. Cp. M. A. ii. 1. 318, "I were but
little happy, if I could say how much"; A. C. i. 1. 15, "There's
beggary in the love that can be reckoned."
34. I cannot ... wealth. The reading in the text, that of the
second and third quartos, seems intelligible enough, and means
'I cannot sum up the total of half my wealth'; but Capell altered
it to "I cannot sum up half my sum of wealth," which most
modern editors follow.
35. make short work, finish the business off quickly.
37. incorporate two in one. Cp. Matthew, xix. 5, "For this
cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to
his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh."
How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan, 1916. Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/romeo_2_6.html >.