Blog Home

But Soft, What light. . .

I have two quotations on the reverse of my business cards. Some people have asked me about one of them.

The mystery quote is:
But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?

The line is from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (Act 2, scene 2, 2–6) and the full quote is:

But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
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.

When I included the line, I was not thinking of the play. I was thinking of that moment when analyzing a problem, just before a solution comes into plain sight. It is the brief period just before the final aha moment. It is the moment when you realize that all of that work, all of that analysis, all of that thinking might just reveal an insight, a solution, or (heaven forefend) and actionable item.

It also turns out that I may have misquoted, or at least mispunctuated, the line. Some versions show it as:
But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?

Comments are closed.