Romeo and Juliet
How we cite our quotes:
LORD CAPULET Welcome, gentlemen! I have seen the day
That I have worn a visor and could tell
A whispering tale in a fair lady's ear,
Such as would please: 'tis gone, 'tis gone, 'tis gone
Lord Capulet's musings about the good ol' days reminds us that youth and love are fleeting. This occurs just before Romeo and Juliet's first meeting, where they fall head over heels in love (at first sight). It seems like Lord Capulet's reminiscence is Shakespeare's way of preparing us for the short-lived (no pun intended) romance between Romeo and Juliet.
Nay, sit, nay, sit, good cousin Capulet;
For you and I are past our dancing days:
How long is't now since last yourself and I
Were in a mask?
By'r lady, thirty years.
What, man! 'tis not so much, 'tis not so much
Here's a good look into the future: Romeo and Juliet might be in l-o-v-e now, but how would they feel after a decade and a couple of kids? Probably not spouting so much love poetry.
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.
Juliet's right—much better to swear by the stars, which at least are constant. (If equally cliché.)