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WO boufholds, both alike in dignity,


In fair Verona, (where we lay our Scene)
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 mif-adventur'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 stage:
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here fhall mifs, our toil fhall ftrive to mend *.

This prologue after the firft copy was published in 1597, received feveral alterations, both in refpect of correctness and verfification. The play was firft performed by the Right Honourable the Lord of Hunfdon his fervants. STEEVENS.

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Perfons Represented.

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

Montague,Heads of two Houfes, at variance with
Capulet, each other.

Romeo, Son to Montague.

Mercutio, } Friends of Romeo.


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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 Apothecary.

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.



REGORY, on my word, 2 we'll not carry coals.
Greg. No, for then we shall be colliers.

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


The ftory on which this play is founded, is faid to have been a true one. It was originally published by an anonymous Italian novellift 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 laft 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 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. The laft-mentioned of thefe pieces our author has fo minutely followed, that he has occafionally borrowed even fentiments and expreflions. The fame ftory is found in The Palace of Pleasure: but Shakespeare does not seem to have been at all indebted to fuch a faint idea of it as is conveyed by Painter's Epitome. Stanyhurst, the tranflator of Virgil in 1582, enumerates Julietta among his heroines, in a piece which he calls an Epitaph, or Commune Defunétorum. And it appears (as Mr. Farmer has obferved) from a paffage in Ames's Typographical Antiquities, that the ftory had likewife been tranflated by another hand. STEEVENS." we'll not carry coals.] Dr. Warburton very juftly obferves, that this was a phrafe formerly in ufe to fignify the tearing injuries;

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Sam. I ftrike quickly, being mov'd.

Greg. But thou art not quickly mov'd to strike. Sam. A dog of the Houfe of Montague moves me. Greg. To move, is to ftir; and to be valiant, is to ftand to it: therefore, if thou art mov'd, thou runn'ft away;

Sam. A dog of that Houfe fhall move me to ftand: I will take the wall of any man or maid of Montague's.

Greg. That fhews thee a weak flave; for the weakest goes to the wall.

Sam. True, and therefore women, being the weaker veffels, are ever thruft to the wall:-therefore I will pufh Montague's men from the wall, and thruft his maids to the wall.

Greg. The quarrel is between our masters, and us their men.

Sem. 'Tis all one, I will fhew myself a tyrant: when I have fought with the men, I will be 3 cruel with the maids; I will cut off their heads.

but as he has given no inftances in fupport of his declaration, I thought it neceffary to fubjoin the following:

Nah, 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 leare no coles ?"


So in Marston's Antonio and Mellida, 2nd part, 1602, "has had wrong, and if I were he, I would bear no coles." So, in Law Tricks, or, Who would have thought it? a comedy, by John Day, 1608, “I'll carry coals an you will, no horns." Again, in May-Dey, a comedy by Chapman, 1610, " You

muit 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 spirit, &c." Again, in B. Jonfon's Every Man out of his Humour, "Here comes one that will 66 carry coals; ergo, will hold my dog." And lastly, in the poet's own Hen. V. At Calais they stole a firefhovel; I knew by "that piece of fervice the men would carry coals." STEEVENS.

3 cruel with the maids.] The first folio reads .civil with the maids. JOHNSON.-So does the 4to, 1609. STEVENS.


Greg. The heads of the maids?

Sam. Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads; take it in what sense thou wilt.

Greg. They must take it in sense, that feel it.

Sam. Me they fhall feel, while I am able to ftand: and, 'tis known, I am a pretty piece of flefh.

Greg. 'Tis well thou art not fish; if thou hadft, thou hadft been Poor John. Draw thy tool; here comes of the House of the Montagues.

Enter Abram and Balthafar.

Sam. My naked weapon is out: quarrel, I will back thee.

Greg. How? turn thy back and run?

Sam. Fear me not.

Greg. No, marry: I fear thee!

Sam. Let us take the law of our fides; let them begin.

Greg. I will frown, as I pass by; and let them take it as they lift.

Sam. Nay, as they dare. 4 I will bite my tnumb at them; which is a difgrace to them, if they bear it.

4 I will bite my thumb at them; which is a difgrace to them, if they bear it.] So it fignifies in Randolph's Mufes LookingGlofs, act 3, fc. 3, P. 45.

Orgylus. "To bite his thumb at me.


Argus. Why fhould not a man bite his thumb?
Orgylus. "At me? were I fcorn'd, to fee men bite

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their thumbs;

Rapiers and daggers, &c." Dr. GRAY. Dr. Lodge, in a pamphlet called Wits Miferie, &c. 1596, has this paffage. "Behold next I fee Contempt marching forth, "giving mee the fico with his thombe in his mouth." In a tranflation from Stephens's Apology for Herodotus, in 1607, page 142, I meet with thefe words: It is faid of the Italians, "if they once bite their finger's ends in a threatning manner, "God knows, if they fet upon their enemies face to face, it is "because they cannot affail them behind their backs." Perhaps Jonfon ridicules this paffage in R. and I. in his New Inn: "Huff. How Spill it?

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Spill it at me?

"Tip. I reck not, but I pill it." STEEVENS.

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