Lady Montague, concerned that Romeo might have been part of the “fray” between the Montagues and Capulets, asks Benvolio if he has seen him. Benvolio reports that when he saw him out walking early in the morning, Romeo ducked into the woods. Montague adds that Romeo has been going for a lot of pre-dawn walks with “tears streaming” and heaving "deep sighs"; after sunrise, he comes home and shuts himself in his room. His father worries that this might be a “black and portentous . . . humour.” Neither he nor Benvolio knows the reason, nor do any of Romeo’s friends his father has asked about it. Romeo is “so secret and so close,” like a worm inside a flower bud. He wishes that he knew “whence his sorrows grow” so he could help his son cure them.
Romeo then enters and his parents leave so Benvolio can try to find out what ails him. Admitting that love is causing his sadness, Romeo tells his friend that he is “out of her favour.” He disclaims fervently, noting many paradoxes such as “bright smoke, cold fire, sick health” to describe how upside-down things seem. Benvolio follows his lead; when his friend asks if he is laughing at him, he says he is weeping for him. Romeo continues in this vein, not telling Benvolio the fair young lady’s name, only that he is dead because she refuses his advances.
She hath forsworn to love, and in that vow
Do I live dead that live to tell it now.