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Romeo and Juliet Transience Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the 2008 Norton edition of the play.

Quote #7

Here comes the lady. O, so light a foot
Will ne'er wear out the everlasting flint.
A lover may bestride the gossamers
That idles in the wanton summer air,
And yet not fall, so light is vanity. (2.6.16-20)

When Juliet rushes into Friar Laurence's cell to marry Romeo, the Friar makes a big deal about the fragility and fleetingness of worldly pleasure (a young lover's "vanity"). But (of course) there's another meaning: Stephen Greenblatt tells us that, when Friar Laurence says Juliet's "light" foot won't "wear out the everlasting flint," he means that she will never "endure or subdue the hard road of life" (source).

Quote #8

What's here? A cup, closed in my true love's hand?
Poison, I see, hath been his timeless end.—
O churl, drunk all, and left no friendly drop
To help me after! I will kiss thy lips.
Haply some poison yet doth hang on them,
To make die with a restorative. (5.3.166-171)

Juliet thinks suicide will let her be with Romeo forever, which… well, whether or not this is true depends on how you feel about the afterlife.

Quote #9

Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day.
It was the nightingale, and not the lark,
That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear.
Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate tree.
Believe me, love, it was the nightingale.

Juliet denies the passing of time (made evident by the sunrise and the sound of the morning birds twittering) because she knows that the passing of time means that Romeo's going to have to jet. Brain Snack: this kind of poem is called an "aubade," or "morning song."

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