If I profane with my unworthiest hand

Romeo
If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrineMetaphor, the gentle sinOxymoron is this,
My lips, two blushing pilgrimsMetaphor, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.
Juliet
Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this:
For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kissAntanaclesis or Paronomasia.
Romeo
Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?
Juliet
Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in pray’r.
Romeo
O then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do,
They pray—grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.
Juliet
Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake.
Romeo
Then move not while my prayer’s effect I take.
(Kisses her)
Thus from my lips, by thine, my sin is purg’d.
Juliet
Then have my lips the sin that they have took.
Romeo
Sin from my lips? O trespass sweetly urg’d!

Source:
Act 1
Scene 5
Line 104

Spoken by:
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Source Type:
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Themes:
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Figures of Speech:
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Notes
Read NoteSonnets in Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare, who had begun writing his sonnets sometime in the 1590’s, decided that the form would be useful in Romeo and Juliet.

Read NoteVideo: Whiting & Hussey as Romeo & Juliet

Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey in Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet, 1968

Read NoteCaves, Temples & Palaces

Juliet’s biting reference to Romeo as “a gorgeous palace,” when she hears that Romeo has killed her cousin, contrasts with Romeo’s earlier reference to Juliet as “this holy shrine.” Both metaphors are echoed about fifteen years later near the end of Shakespeare’s career when Miranda in The Tempest speaks of Ferdinand in a similar figure of speech.