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Printed for J. Johnson, R. Baldwin, H. L. Gardner, W. J. and J. Richardson,
* ROMEO AND JULIET.] The story on which this play is founded, is related as a true one in Girolamo de la Corte's Hiftory of Verona. It was originally published by an anonymous Italian novelift in 1549 at Venice; and again in 1553, at the fame place. The first edition of Bandello's work appeared a year later than the last of these already mentioned. Pierre Boifteau copied it with alterations and additions. Belleforest adopted it in the first volume of his collection 1596: but very probably fome edition of it yet more ancient had found its way abroad; as, in this improved state, it was tranflated into English, by Arthur Brooke, and published in an octavo volume, 1562, but without a name. On this occafion it appears in the form of a poem entitled, The tragicall Hiftorie of Romeus and Juliet: It was republished in 1587, under the fame title: "Contayning in it a rare Example of true Conftancie: with the fubtill Counfels and Practifes of an old Fryer, and their Event. Imprinted by R. Robinfon." Among the entries on the Books of the Stationer's Company, I find Feb. 18, 1582: "M. Tottel] Romeo and Juletta. Again, Aug. 5, 1596: "Edward White] a new ballad of Romeo and Juliett." The fame ftory is found in The Palace of Pleafure: however, Shakspeare was not entirely indebted to Painter's epitome; but rather to the poem already mentioned. Stanyhurst, the tranflator of Virgil in 1582, enumerates Julietta among his heroines, in a piece which he calls an Epitaph, or Commune Defunctorum: and it appears (as Dr. Farmer has obferved,) from a paffage in Ames's Typographical Antiquities, that the story had likewife been tranflated by another hand. Captain Breval in his Travels tells us, that he saw at Verona the tomb of these unhappy lovers. STEEVENS.
This ftory was well known to the English poets before the time of Shakspeare. In an old collection of poems, called A gorgeous Gallery of gallant Inventions, 1578, I find it mentioned:
"Sir Romeus' annoy but trifle seems to mine."
And again, Romeus and Juliet are celebrated in " A poor Knight his Palace of private Pleasure, 1579." FARMER.
The first of the foregoing notes was prefixed to two of our former editions; but as the following may be in some respects more correct, it would be unjustly withheld from the publick.This is not the first time we have profited by the accuracy of Mr. Malone. STEEVENS.
The original relater of the story on which this play is formed, was Luigi da Porto, a gentleman of Vicenza, who died in 1529. His novel did not appear till fome years after his death; being firft printed at Venice in 1535, under the title of La Giulietta. A fecond edition was published in 1539; and it was again re
printed at the fame place in 1553, (without the author's name,) with the following title: Hiftoria nuovamente ritrovata di due nobili Amanti, con la loro pietofa morte; intervenuta gia nella citta di Verona, nell tempo del Signor Bartolomeo della Scala. Nuovamente ftampata. Of the author fome account may be found prefixed to the poem of Romeus and Juliet.
In 1554 Bandello published, at Lucca, a novel on the fame fubject; [Tom. II. Nov. ix.] and fhortly afterwards Boisteau exhibited one in French, founded on the Italian narratives, but varying from them in many particulars. From Boifteau's novel the fame ftory was, in 1562, formed into an English poem, with confiderable alterations and large additions, by Mr. Arthur Brooke. This piece, which, the reader may find at the end of the prefent play, was printed by Richard Tottel with the following title, written probably, according to the fashion of that time, by the bookfeller: The Tragicall Hyftory of Romeus and Juliet, containing a rare Example of true Conftancie: with the fubtill Counfels, and Practices of an old Fryer, and their ill event. It was again published by the fame bookfeller in 1582. Painter in the fecond volume of his Palace of Pleafure, 1567, published a prose translation from the French of Boifteau, which he entitled Rhomeo and Julietta. Shakspeare had probably read Painter's novel, having taken one circumstance from it or fome other profe tranflation of Boifteau; but his play was undoubtedly formed on the poem of Arthur Brooke. This is proved decifively by the following circumftances. 1. In the poem the prince of Verona is called Escalus; fo alfo in the play.-In Painter's tranflation from Boifteau he is named Signor Efcala; and fometimes Lord Bartholomew of Efcala. 2. In Painter's novel the family of Romeo are called the Montefches; in the poem and in the play, the Montagues. 3. The meffenger employed by friar Lawrence to carry a letter to Romeo to inform him when Juliet would awake from her trance, is in Painter's tranflation called Anfelme: in the poem, and in the play, friar John is employed in this business. 4. The circumftance of Capulet's writing down the names of the guests whom he invites to fupper, is found in the poem and in the play, but is not mentioned by Painter, nor is it found in the original Italian novel. 5. The refidence of the Capulets, in the original, and in Painter, is called Villa Franca ; in the poem and in the play Freetown. 6. Several paffages of Romeo and Juliet appear to have been formed on hints furnished by the poem, of which no traces are found either in Painter's novel, or in Boifteau, or the original; and several expreffions are borrowed from thence, which will be found in their proper places.