Quote in Context
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief
That thou her maid art far more fair than she.
Be not her maid, since she is envious;
Her vestal livery is but sick and green,
And none but fools do wear it.
Romeo and Juliet (2.2), Romeo
In this passage Romeo uses an intricate conceit to express a simple desire: to take Juliet's virginity. Romeo begins by saying that the envious moon, i.e., Diana, goddess of the moon and patron of virgins, is jealous of her servant's (Juliet's) radiance. He then begs Juliet to be Diana’s maid no longer; for the virginal uniform (vestal livery) she wears as a follower of Diana is sickly green in color, and not to remove it (i.e., to remain a virgin) would be foolish. Note how similar this passage is to Orlando's in As You Like It (2.3.4). Read on...