My Only Love Sprung From My Only Hate
What do the lines, "My only love sprung from my only hate!... that I must love a loathed" mean?
To translate this quote into Modern English, Juliet is saying, "My only love springs from my only hate! I saw him too early when I didn't know him, and now I realize who he is too late! This is a horrible beginning to love that I must love a hated enemy," as taken from the Romeo and Juliet Parallel Text, Second Edition from Perfection Learning.
Juliet is saying that she has never loved before, so Romeo is her only love, and the only hate she has ever known has been the hate towards the Montagues that she has been raised by her family to feel which is the family Romeo comes from. She saw Romeo before she identified him with the hated family and fell in love with him before she knew to stop herself. Juliet feels that it is awful that the first love she has ever felt ends up for a member of the rival family, the Montagues.
"My only love sprung from my only hate! Too early seen unknown, & known too late! Prodigious birth of love it is to me, that I must love a loathed."
Juliet says this when she finds out who Romeo is. She's expressing a bunch of information and emotion all at once here—she's fallen in love with Romeo, but she's upset that he is a Montague. She saw him first (too early) and fell for him before she found out who he was (a Montague). Love now seems very strange to her, that she can love someone she's supposed to hate.
Juliet says this in act I scene 5 (it is always helpful to give the act and scene number wen asking a question like this) She has just found out that the man she has fallen in love with (romeo) is an enemy of her family. She is cursing the fact that her first love (the birth of her love) is with a sworn enemy.
In modern terms, it means:
"My first love, come from my only hate,
I did not know when I saw him, and, now I do know, it is too late!
An odd love it is for me,
That I should love a much-hated enemy."
Juliet speaks in despair as she discovers that her one precious love is also her only hate. She loves Romeo: but has been taught to hate the Montagues.
Love and hate are not that different in some ways: that is why, perhaps, in the Greek myths, the Greek Love Godess (Aphrodite) fell in love with the War God Ares.
Love and hate are always linked.