Parting is such sweet sorrow
'Tis almost morning, I would have thee gone—
And yet no farther than a wan-ton's bird,
That lets it hop a little from his hand,
Like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves,
And with a silken thread plucks it back again,
So loving-jealous of his liberty.
I would I were thy bird.
Sweet, so would I,
Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.
Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow. [Exit
Depending on how gripping you find the first balcony scene in
Romeo and Juliet, Juliet's parting may or may not be "such sweet
sorrow." In any case, her phrase is an oxymoron, combining
contradictory ideas of pleasure and pain. Parting is sorrowful
because Juliet would prefer, like a mischievous youth ("wan-ton"),
to snare her lover in twisted "gyves" (chains or fetters). Parting
is pleasurable, presumably, because doing anything with Romeo is
pleasurable. Note the latent sadomasochism of this exchange, and
the almost wistful prophecy that Romeo will be killed with too much
Juliet's "Good night, good night!" is, incidentally, the
thou-sand-and-first and thousand-and-second times she bids Romeo
goodnight [see A THOUSAND TIMES GOOD NIGHT].