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Souter and Juliet (in Weare, N.H.)

SOUTER: (night, at his desk, reading): ``But, soft, what light through yonder window breaks? No, 'tis a gentle stone tossed to rouse me. (goes to window) Who takes me from my books and papers? Who stands there in the white light of night?'' Juliet: (standing in the moonlight) ``Why fore art thou reading alone, dear Souter, you a stringy Republican and I a blithe Democrat. Yet for all the politics of me and thee, and against all bookish reason, how can'st thou leave me to go to D.C. for fame and law when I could sit upon thy knee, or we coulds't whistle head to head at this night's cheesy moon? What of love and marriage? What of engagement and long-range planning?''

Souter: (leaning out the window) ``Juliet? Is that you or some lousy reporter? Hush, fair maid. Where are thy shoes and socks? And, incidentally, where are thy ears? Can'st thou not recall all my prior restraints? I tell thy ears again - law first, love second; yeah, perhaps even fourth or fifth if the New Hampshire night is long and decisions pending, or a good book casts a spell until the sight of dawn. Remember Rowe v. Wade? Or Brown v. Board of Education? Or Don Quixote? Or Natty Bumpo? Or Captain Ahab? All are there to be engaged.''

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Juliet: ``Engaged? Look up, dear Souter, at the old, white planet above thy window; a kissing moon hanging by a lover's string, to be pulled like sweet taffy between girl and boy, man and woman, frog and frogette. And you would read a book? What book is this that reads as love tickles the heart? Read my red lips. Plant here a kiss or three. ''

Souter: (with compassion) ``A pack of blessings thou art, dear Juliet. From here thy lips are gray, but nonetheless lips I'll grant. As for taffy, I've pulled some now and then, but not recently. But law first, love second, or even fourth or fifth. Yet, let us be friends as books are noble friends. Cans't we not sit and read to each other in silence?''

Juliet: ``Thy Republican head has been hit.''

Souter: ``Juliet, between us there are sweet letters that could be written, the boat of ideas to be rowed together, each with a smooth bipartisan oar.''

Juliet: ``May the window collapse upon thy bookish thumbs. Thou dost not love me, or love, but books and papers stick to thee like moist ham or gruel one day old. A library is silent. Love is loud. If law be first and love second, then a lawyer has spoken where a nimble, noisy lover should be. I say, love first, law second because love should guide the hand of law.''

Souter: ``I hear no harm in this, dear Juliet, except harm to justice, which is the point of law and not of love. If justice serves to keep the peace, then love can flourish like Democrats in the Senate. Law first, love second.''

Juliet: ``And what falls to third?''

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Souter: (pausing) ``... insurance.''

Juliet: ``I would have guessed muffins.''

Souter: ``Judge not lest ye be judged.''

Juliet: (sighing) ``The moon 'tis lost on the likes of you. Conservative is as conservative was. Alas, I must return to my moony walking.''

Souter: ``If this be logic, we are trading decisions, or just being human in different ways. Moon or not, I must return to my books.''

Juliet: (waving) ``Farewell, Souter. There's only one kind of courting for you.''

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