While I was watching a story on TV the other day one character made a reference to a piece of literature and spoke out loud to a woman “change your name” and something else dealing with “a rose”. I liked the character in the story and wanted to learn what he meant with that message. He left the scene by saying “read something for God´s sake!”.
I was eager to find out so I googled “rose and change name” on my netbook. It came out immediately the classic Shakespeare. The verse belonged to one of my favourite dramas. Guess which!
I have copied and jotted down the scene from “Romeo and Juliet” here:
William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.
Romeo and Juliet Act II. Scene II.
The Same. CAPULET’S Orchard.
Rom. He jests at scars, that never felt a wound. [JULIET appears above at a window.
But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun! 5
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
Be not her maid, since she is envious;
Her vestal livery is but sick and green, 10
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
It is my lady; O! it is my love:
O! that she knew she were.
She speaks, yet she says nothing: what of that?
Her eye discourses; I will answer it. 15
I am too bold, ’tis not to me she speaks:
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if her eyes were there, they in her head? 20
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See! how she leans her cheek upon her hand: 25
O! that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek.
Jul. Ay me!
Rom. She speaks:
O! speak again, bright angel; for thou art 30
As glorious to this night, being o’er my head,
As is a winged messenger of heaven
Unto the white-upturned wond’ring eyes
Of mortals, that fall back to gaze on him
When he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds, 35
And sails upon the bosom of the air.
Jul. O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father, and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet. 40
Rom. [Aside.] Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?
Jul. ’Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself though, not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part 45
Belonging to a man. O! be some other name:
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes 50
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name;
And for that name, which is no part of thee,
Take all myself.
Then I told my Juliet I loved literature more than anything