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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 #1

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
(1.5.25-28)

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.

Quote #2

CAPULET
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?

CAPULET'S COUSIN
By 'r lady, thirty years.

CAPULET
What, man, 'tis not so much, 'tis not so much.
(1.5.35-40)

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.

Quote #3

ROMEO
Lady, by yonder blessèd moon I vow
That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops—
JULIET
O, swear not by the moon, th' inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circled orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.
(2.2.112-116)

Juliet's right—much better to swear by the stars, which at least are constant. (If equally cliché.)

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