Teenage pregnancies are in the news. Now there’s a villa in Verona that is believed to be the home of the historical Juliet. To one side of the building is, as you might have guessed, a balcony beneath which tourists fancy Romeo Montague waited, borne over the walls by “love’s light wings”. In reality the balcony was built long after the historical Juliet could have lived. And we know nothing of Romeo. No matter. It is Shakespeare’s scenes we are in love with.
Or rather it is the memory of our own young love which we love; in my case largely comic in character. I singed the eyebrows of a lady once, while gallantly trying to light her cigarette. On another occasion I baked a cake from ingredients I had only slightly examined and learned to my cost that cornstarch does not produce the same result as flour. Still it was earnest. If only we were old enough, then they might leave us both alone. The video link from 1971 is slightly less literary than the 16th century text. But the emotions have changed surprisingly little.
Lady, by yonder blessed moon I vow,
That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops–
O, swear not by the moon, th’ inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circle orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.
What shall I swear by?
Do not swear at all;
Or if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,
Which is the god of my idolatry,
And I’ll believe thee.