Did my heart love till now?

SCENE V of the 1st Act in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” :

Romeo (after first seeing Juliet):
O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear;
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!
So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows,
As yonder lady o’er her fellows shows.
The measure done, I’ll watch her place of stand,
And, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand.
Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!
For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.

Romeo (to Juliet, after touching her):
If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.

Juliet:
Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.

Romeo:
Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?

Juliet:
Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.

Romeo:
O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;
They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.

Juliet:
Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake.

Romeo (kissing her):
Then move not, while my prayer’s effect I take.
Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged.

Juliet:
Then have my lips the sin that they have took.

Romeo (moving to kiss her again):
Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged!
Give me my sin again.

Juliet:
You kiss by the book.

—————————————————–

I find it amazing how this delicate scene remains relevant and touching after more than 400 years.

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