Romeo and Juliet
Act 2, Prologue
The CHORUS enters.
Now old desire doth in his deathbed lie,
And young affection gapes to be his heir.
That fair for which love groaned for and would die
With tender Juliet matched, is now not fair.
Now Romeo is beloved and loves again,
Alike bewitchèd by the charm of looks,
But to his foe supposed he must complain,
And she steal love’s sweet bait from fearful hooks.
Being held a foe, he may not have access
To breathe such vows as lovers use to swear.
And she as much in love, her means much less
To meet her new beloved anywhere.
But passion lends them power, time means, to meet,
Tempering extremities with extreme sweet.
Now Romeo’s old feelings of desire are dying, and a new desire is eager to take their place. Romeo groaned for the beautiful Rosaline and said he would die for her, but compared with tender Juliet, Rosaline doesn’t seem beautiful now. Now someone loves Romeo, and he’s in love again—both of them falling for each others' good looks. But he has to make his speeches of love to a woman who’s supposed to be his enemy. And she’s been hooked by someone she should fear. Because he’s an enemy, Romeo has no chance to see Juliet and say the things a lover normally says. And Juliet’s just as much in love as he, but she has even less opportunity to meet her lover. But love gives them power, and time gives them the chance to meet, sweetening the extreme danger with intense pleasure.
The CHORUS exits.