Romeo and Juliet (excerpts): The earth that’s Nature’s mother is her tomb

Romeo and Juliet (excerpts): The earth that’s Nature’s mother is her tomb

Original Text

Mr William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies (London: Printed by Isaac Jaggard and Ed. Blount, 1623), sig. ee6v-ffr (p. 676-677) / STC (2nd ed.) 22273

2What is her burying grave, that is her womb;
4We sucking on her natural bosom find:
6None but for some, and yet all different.
8In plants, herbs, stones, and their true qualities,
10But to the earth some special good doth give.
12Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse.
13Virtue itself turns vice being misapplied,
14And vice sometimes by action’s dignified.
16Poison hath residence, and medicine power;
18Being tasted, slays all senses with the heart.
19Two such opposed kings encamp them still,
21And where the worser is predominant,


1] In Act two, Friar Lawrence considers the dual quality of all natural things, including human beings. Back to Line
3] divers: various, differing Back to Line
5] virtues: distinct powers or properties Back to Line
7] mickle: in great abundance / grace: beneficial capacity Back to Line
9] naught: nothing is Back to Line
11] aught: is anything Back to Line
15] rind: outer layer Back to Line
17] that part: i.e. the flower’s fragrance / each part: i.e. of the person smelling it Back to Line
20] rude will: inclination toward brutality Back to Line
22] canker: destructive insect larva (“canker-worm”) Back to Line
RPO poem Editors
Christopher Matusiak
RPO Edition