Standing still (2.2.167-175)

JULIET                        Romeo!

ROMEO                       My nïesse?

JULIET                                                            What a’clock tomorrow

                        Shall I send to thee?

ROMEO                                               By the hour of nine.

JULIET                        I will not fail, ’tis twenty year till then.

                        I have forgot why I did call thee back.

ROMEO           Let me stand here till thou remember it.

JULIET                        I shall forget, to have thee still stand there,

                        Rememb’ring how I love thy company.

ROMEO           And I’ll still stay, to have thee still forget,

                        Forgetting any other home than this. (2.2.167-175)

Nïesse. It’s another bird, a baby hawk (fluffy! soft!) – Romeo has been listening to every word, and this picks up both tassel-gentle and falconer. Which is the falconer and which the hawk? There’s reciprocity here, not just in the role-reversal but in the symbiosis between falconer and hawk (yes, the hawk is tamed, broken, but the two can still act as one, share a common purpose). I like the idea that the audience’s – or reader’s, or editor’s – satisfaction in working out the reference here overlaps with the character’s, in Romeo finding the perfect epithet to respond to Juliet’s calling him a tassel-gentle. (He still doesn’t call her by name, though.) Juliet is being practical again: what time? but she also picks up on what Romeo has just said, about the subjective nature of time for lovers (it will seem like years, rather than hours, until she can get word to him). Then there’s a shift from practical Juliet to dreamy Juliet, and a lightening of mood; the audience can smile indulgently at the two of them, so besotted and up well past their bedtime, that they’re just going to goggle at each other for a bit. The patterns are lovely: forgot/ remember/ forget/ rememb’ring/ forget, with a little quibble on still– continue to, remain motionless. Home is important; if this, being with Juliet, is now Romeo’s home then he has indeed denied his father and refused his name.

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