What is the meaning of the following quote from Romeo and Juliet?: "My only love sprung from my only hate! Too early seen unknown, and known too late!"

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Juliet speaks these lines in act 1, scene 5 a short time after meeting Romeo for the first time, holding hands with him, kissing him, and falling absolutely in love with him at first sight. It's only after Romeo has left the Capulet's masked ball that Juliet thinks to find out who he is.

Tybalt had only to hear Romeo's voice to know who he was, even though Romeo was wearing a mask; but, as unlikely as it might seem since Romeo and Juliet have lived in Verona their entire lives, Juliet has never seen, spoken with, or even heard of Romeo before she met him at the Capulet's party that evening. Apparently, Juliet doesn't get out of the Capulet house very much, or speak with anyone who comes to the house, or speak to anybody who does get out of the house, except for the Nurse.

To be fair to Juliet, Romeo didn't ask Juliet's name, either. (In fact, Romeo is never told her name, but somehow he knows her name two scenes later in the "balcony scene.")

It seems odd, though, that at a party at the Capulet home, which is full of Capulets and their friends, Romeo is surprised to find out that the girl he was kissing is a Capulet, or at the very least someone associated with the Capulet family.

ROMEO: Is she a Capulet?
O dear account! my life is my foe's debt (1.5.125–126).

Nevertheless, at the time Romeo and Juliet meet, Juliet has no idea who he is, and in all that hand-holding and kissing they didn't even exchange first names, so she asks her Nurse who he is.

NURSE: I know not.

JULIET: Go ask his name.—If he be married,
My grave is like to be my wedding bed (1.5.142–144).

Without leaving Juliet's side, or hesitating for even a New York minute, the Nurse has a ready answer.

NURSE: His name is Romeo, and a Montague,
The only son of your great enemy (1.5.145–146).

"Go ask his name" would seem to be an implied stage direction (as many of Shakespeare's stage directions are), but even if the Nurse is very quick about it, who would she ask? Tybalt knows who he is, but Lord Capulet already kicked Tybalt out of the party for threatening to disrupt the festivities by brawling with Romeo. Lord Capulet knows who Romeo is, too, but he's already gone off to bed. Romeo, Benvolio and all of the other "maskers" have left the building, leaving only Juliet and the Nurse. It's unlikely, too, that anyone associated with the Montagues would endanger themselves or Romeo by telling anyone associated with the Capulet household who he is.

In any event, Juliet learns that her newfound love's name is Romeo, and that he's a member of a family who are sworn enemies of the Capulets.

JULIET: My only love sprung from my only hate! (1.5.147)

Juliet is clearly distressed to learn that the love of her life - quite possibly the only love of her life so far - is a member of the hated Montague family, with whom the Capulets have been feuding since time immemorial, probably for a reason that no one can even remember.

JULIET: Too early seen unknown, and known too late! (1.5.148)

As other Educators have noted, Juliet is lamenting the fact that she didn't know who Romeo was, or to which family he belonged, before she met him and fell in love with him.

It might not have made any difference even if she had known—it certainly made no difference to Romeo that Juliet is a Capulet, given his boldness in invading the Capulet's orchard to get a look at her, and maybe do some more hand-holding and kissing—but Juliet doesn't seem to be quite as impulsive as Romeo is (except for falling in love with him at first sight, of course), and she might have been more circumspect about meeting with him, or avoided meeting with him at all.

In which case, Shakespeare's play would likely have been titled Romeo and Rosaline.

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Shortly after falling for Romeo at her father's ball, Juliet asks the Nurse to identify Romeo as he is leaving and discovers that he is a hated Montague. Juliet responds by saying,

My only love sprung from my only hate! Too early seen unknown, and known too late! (1.5.138–139)

Juliet is essentially saying that the only person she loves is a member of the Montague family, which happens to be her sworn enemy. In the second line, Juliet continues to lament that she was introduced to Romeo before she discovered that he was a Montague. Juliet believes that if she had known Romeo was a Montague in the first place, she would have been more discerning about her affection for him and reserved about her feelings. However, Juliet has already fallen for Romeo and must devise a plan to be with him. Juliet proceeds to ask the Nurse for help, and Romeo seeks Friar Lawrence's assistance in marrying Juliet.

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The line "My only love sprung from my only hate" refers to two things. First, Romeo has made such an impression on Juliet that she believes he is now her only love. Essentially, Romeo dwarfs her other potential loves, so much so that he is seen as the only love worth acknowledging in Juliet's mind. Second, "my only hate" refers to the fact that Romeo is a Montague, who are sworn enemies of the Capulets (Juliet's family). From her childhood days, Juliet has been taught to hate only one enemy: the Montagues.

Now we move on to the second line: "Too early seen unknown, and known too late!" In this line, Juliet laments that she didn't know Romeo's identity when she met him earlier. If she had known, she may have had reservations about accepting a dance invitation from him. Juliet also frets that she is apprised of Romeo's Montague roots only after they part ways ("known too late"). By then, she has fallen in love with him, and it is too late to stem the tide of her feelings for Romeo.

Juliet also laments that Love isn't playing fair: she meets the man of her dreams, only to find out that he is the son of her father's sworn enemy.

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This quote is found in act 1, scene 5, during the party scene after Romeo and Juliet have met, kissed, and fallen in love at first sight. Juliet does not know who Romeo is (in particular, she does not know that he is a Montague), so she asks the Nurse to ask Romeo his name. When the Nurse returns, she informs Juliet that he is a Montague. Juliet's family, the Capulets, have been feuding bitterly with the Montagues for decades. Juliet speaks the lines, "My only love sprung from my only hate! Too early to see unknown, and known too late!" as an aside, so the Nurse is unable to hear her. She speaks these words to herself because she is upset about the fact that she is in love with the son of her family's greatest enemy. She is also regretful that she saw Romeo and fell in love with him before knowing his name and who he is.

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