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TWO houfholds, both alike in dignity,

In fair Verona, where we lay our fcene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-croft lovers take their life;
Whofe mifadventur'd piteous overthrows

Do, with their death, bury their parents' ftrife.
The fearful paffage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their childrens' end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours' traffick of our flage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here fhall mifs, our toil fall frive to mend.

* This prologue, after the firft copy was published in 1597, received feveral alterations, both in refpect of correctness and verfification. In the folio it is omitted.- The play was originally performed by the Right Honourable the Lord of Hunfion bis fervants. In the first of K. James I. was made an act of parliament for fome restraint or limitation of noblemen in the protection of players, or of players under their fanction. STEVENS.

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Perfons Represented,

ESCALUS, Prince of Verona.
Paris, Kinfman to the Prince.

Montague, Heads of two Houfes, at variance with


each other.

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Lady Montague, Wife to Montague.
Lady Capulet, Wife to Capulet.

Juliet, Daughter to Capulet, in love with Romeo,
Nurfe to Juliet,

CHORUS,- Page, Boy to Paris, an officer, an

Citizens of Verona, feveral Men and Women, relations to both Houfes; Mafkers, Guards, Watch and other Attendants.

The SCENE, in the beginning of the fifth act, is in Mantua; during all the rest of the play, at Verona.



Enter Sampson, and Gregory, two fervants of Capulet.

Sam. Gregory, o'my word, we'll not carry
Greg. No, for then we fhould be colliers.



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. Belleforeft adopted it in the firft volume of his collection 1596; but very probably fome edition of it yet more ancient


2 we'll not carry coals.] Dr. Warburton very justly observes, that this was a phrafe formerly in ufe to fignify the bearing injuries; but, as he has given no inftances in fupport of his declaration, I thought it neceffary to fubjoin the following:

Nath, in his Have with you to Saffron Walden, 1595, fays : "We will bear no coles, I warrant you." So, Skelton:


-You, I fay, Julian,

"Wyll you beare no coles ?"

So, in Marfton's Antonio and Mellida, 2nd part, 1602: "He has had wrong, and if I were he, I would bear no coles." So, in Law Tricks, or, Who would harie thought it? a comedy, by John Day, 1608: "I'll carry coals and you will, no horns." Again, in May-Day, a comedy by Chapman, 1610: "You muft fwear by no man's beard but your own, for that may breed a quarrel: above all things, you must carry no coals." And again, in the fame play: Now my ancient being a man of an un-coal-carrying fpirit, &c." Again, in B. Jonfon's

B 3


Sam. I mean, an we be in choler, we'll draw.
Greg. Ay, while you live, draw your neck out of

the collar.


had found its way abroad ; as, in this improved flate, it was tranflated into English, 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 republifhed 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. Robinson." Among the entries on the Books of the Stationers' Company, I find Feb. 18, 1582. M. Tottel] Romeo and Juletta." Again Aug. 5, 15965: "Edward White] a new ballad of Romeo and Juliett." The fame story is found in The Palace of Pleasure: 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 faw at Verona the tomb of these unhappy lovers. STEEVENS.

Breval fays in his Travels, that, on a strict en quiry into the hiftories of Verona, he found that Shakspeare had varied very little from the truth, either in the names, characters, or other circumstances of his play.

I be

Every Man out of his Humour : "Here comes one that will carry coals; ergo, will hold my dog." And, laftly in the poet's own Hen. V: "At Calais they ftole a firefhovel; I knew by that piece of fervice the men would carry coals." Again, in the Malcontent, 1604,

"Great flaves fear better than love, born naturally for a coal-baket." STEEVENS.

carry coals,]

This phrafe continued to be in ufe down to the middle of the Jaf century. In a little fatirical piece of Sir John Birkenhead, intitled, Two centuries [of Books] of St. Paul's Churchyard, &c." published after the death of K. Cha. I. No 22. page 50, is inferted "Fire, Fire! a fmall manual, dedicated to Sir Arthur Hafclridge; in which it is plainly proved by a whole chauldron of fcripture, that John Lilburn will not carry coals. By Dr. Gouge. PERCY.

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