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ACT I. SCENE I.
A publick Place, Enter SAMPSON and Gregory, armed with swords and
bucklers. Sam. Gregory, o' my word, we'll not carry coals", Gre. No, for then we thould be colliers.
Sam. 2 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 some years after his death; being first printed ac Venice in 1535, under the title of La Giulietta. A second edition was published in 1539: and it was again reprinted at the same place in 1553, (without the authour's name,) with the following title : Historia nuovamente ritrovata di due notili Amanti, con la loro pierosa morte; intervenuta gia nella citta di Verona, nell tempo del Signor Bartolomeo dalla Scala. Nuovamente fiampala. Of the authour home account may be found prefixed to the poem of Romeus and Juliet, in Vol. X.
In 1554 Bandello published, at Lucca, a novel on the same subject; [Tom. II. Nov. ix.] and shortly afterwards Boisteau exhibited one in French, founded on the Italian narratives, but varying from them in many particulars. From Boifteau's novel the same story was, in 1562, formed into an English poem, with considerable alterations and large additions, by Mr. Arthur Brooke. This piece, which the reader may find in the tenth volume, was printed by Richard Tottel with the fol. lowing title, written probably, according to the fashion of that time, by the bookseller: The tragicail Hyfory of Romeus and Juliet, containing a rare example of true constancie; wirb obe subtill counsels, and practices of an old Frger, and their ill event, It was again published by the same bookseller in 1582. Painter in the second volume of bis Palace of Pleasure, 1567, published a prose translation from the French of Bois. teau, which he entitled Rbomeo and Julietta. Shakspeare had probably read Painter's novel, having taken one circumstance from it or some other prose translation of Boilteau; but his play was undoubtedly formed on the poem of Arthur Brooke. This is proved decisively by the following circumstances. 1. In the poem the prince of Verona is called Elcalis ; so also in the play.-In Painter's translation from Boisteau he is named Signor Escala, and sometimes Lord Bartholomew of Escala. 2. In Painter's novel the family of Romeo are called the Montesches; in the poem and in the play, the Montagues. 3. The messenger employed by friar Lawrence to carry a letter to Romeo to inform him when Juliet would awake from her trance, is in Painter's translation called Anfelme : in the poem, and in the play,
Sam. I mean, an we be in choler, we'll draw.
Gre. Ay, while you live, draw your neck out of the collar.
Sam. friar Jobn is employed in this business. 4. The circumstance of Capua let's writing down the names of the guests whom he invites to supper, is found in the paem and in the play, but is not mentioned by Painter, nor is it found in the original Italian novel. 5. The residence of the Capulets, in the original, and in Painter, is called Villa France; in the poem and in the play Freetown. 6. Several pallages of Romeo and Juliet appear to have been formed on hints furnithed by the poem, of which no traces are found either in Painter's novel, or in Boisteau, or the original; ard several expressions are borrowed from thence, which will be found in their proper places.
As what has been now fiated has been controverted, (for what may not be controverted?) I should enier more largely into the subject, but that the various paflages of the poem which I have quoted in the following notes, furnith such a decisive proof of the play's having been constructed upon it, as not to leave, in my apprehenfion, a shadow of doubt upon the subject. The question is not, whether Shakípeare had read other novels, or other poetical pieces, founded on this story, but whether the poem written by Arthur Brooke was the basis on which his play was built.
With respect to the name of Romer, this also Shakspeare might bave found in the poem; tor in one place that name is given to him : or he might have had it from Painter's novel, from which or from tome other prose tranllation of the same story he has, as I have already faid, taken one circumstance not mentioned in the poem.
1570 was entered on the Stationer's books by Henry Bynneman, The pitifull History of ij loving lialians, which I luspect was a profe narrative of the itory on which our authour's play is constructed.
Brevall lays in his travels, that on a strict inquiry into the hisories of Verona, he found that Shakspeare had varied very little from the truth, either in the names, characters, or other circumstances of his play.
“ The story on which this play is founded,” says Mr. Steevens, “ is related as a true one in Girolama de la Corte's H fury of Verora. Among the entries on the books of the Stationers' Company, I find,' (adds the fame gent'eman,) • M. Tortell, Feb. 18, 1582: Romeo and 7 berta' Ayain, Aug. 5, 1596: • Edward White, A new ballad of Remeo and Juliett.' Starshurit, the transator of Virgil in 1982, enumerates Julietta among his heroines, in a piece which he calls an epitaph or Commune defunciorum; and it appears, as Dr. Farmer bas obferved from a patlage in Ames's typographical antiquities, that the ftory had likewise been translated by another hand. Captain Breval in his travels tells us that he saw at Vienna the tomb of these unhappy lovers.” This is only an extract from Mr. Steevens's note. MALONE.
This story was well known :o the English poets before the time of Shakipeare. In an old collection of poems, called A gorgeous gellery of gallant Inventions, 1578, I find it mentioned :
Sam. I strike quickly, being moved.
Gre. To move, is to itir; and to be valiant, is-to stand to it: therefore, if thou art moved, thou run'it away.
Sam. A dog of that house Mall move me to stand: I will take the wall of any man or maid of Montague's.
Gre. That shews thee a weak slave ; for the weakest goes to the wall.
Sam. True; and therefore women, being the weaker vessels, are ever thrust to the wall:- therefore I will push Montague's men from the wall, and thruit his maids to the wall.
Gre. The quarrel is between our masters, and us their
« Sir Romeus' aonoy but trifle seems to mine." And again, Romeus and Juliet are celebrated in “ A poor Knight bis Palace of private Pleasure, 1579." FARMER.
3 we'll not carry coals.] Dr. Warburton very justly observes, that this was a phrase" formerly in use to signify tbe bearing irjuries ; but, as he has given no instances in support of his declaration, I thought it neceffary to fubjoin the following:
Nah, in his Have with you 10 Saffron Walden, 1995, says: “We will bear no coals, I warrant you.” So, in Martton's Antonio and Mela lida, 2 nd part, 1602 : “ He has had wrong, and if I were he, I would bear no coles." Again, in B. Jonson's Every Man out of bis Humour :
Here comes one that will carry coals; ergo will hold my dog." And, lastly, in the Poet's own Henry V : “ At Calais they stole a fireshovel; I knew by that piece of service the men would carry cools." STEEV.
The phrase should seem to mean originally, We'll not submit to ser. vile offices; and thence secondarily, we'll not endure injuries. It has been fuggested, that it may mean, “ we'll not bear resentment burning like a cool of fire in our bojoms, without breaking out into fome outrage;" with allusion to the proverbial sentence, that smothered anger is a coal of fire in the bofom : But the word carry seems adverse to such an interpretation. MALONE.
This phrase continued to be in use down to the middle of the last century. Ja a little satirical piece of Sir John Birkenhead, intitled, “ Two centuries (of Books] of St. Paul's Church-yard, &c.” published after the death of King Charles I. N° 22, page 50, is inserted “ Fire, Fire! a small manual, dedicated to Sir Arthur Haselridge ; in which it is plainly proved by a whole chauldron of scripture, that fobn Lil. burn will not carry svals. By Dr. Gouge.” Percy.
Sam. 'Tis all one, I will shew myself a tyrant: when I have fought with the men, I will be cruel with the maids 4 ; I will cut off their heads.
Gre. The heads of the maids?
Sam. Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads; take it in what sense thou wilt.
Gre. They must take it in sense, that feel it.
Sam. Me they shall feel, while I am able to stand : and, 'tis known, I am a pretty piece of fesh.
Gre. 'Tis well, thou art not fish; if thou hadít, thou hadft been Poor John*. Draw thy tool ; here comes two of the house of the Montagues'
Enter ABRAM, and BALTHASAR. Sam. My naked weapon is out; quarrel, I will back thee.
Gre. How? turn thy back, and run?
-cruel wirb ebe maids;] The first folio reads-civil with the maids. JOHNS
So does the quarto 1599; but the word is written ciuil. It was manifestly an error of the press. The first copy furnishes no help, the passage there standing thus : “lle play the tyrant; lle first begin with the maids, and off with their heads :" but the true reading is found in the undated quarto. MALONE.
. - Poor Jokno] is hake, dried, and salted. MALONE.
s berecomes two of the boufe of Ibe Montagues.] The word omvo, which was inadvertently omitted by the compohtor in the quarto 1599, and of course in the subsequent impresions, I have restored from the first quarto of 1597, from which, in almost every page, former editors have drawn many valuable cmendations in this play. The disregard of concord is in character.
It should be observed, that the partizans of the Montague family wore a token in their hats, in order to distinguish them from their enemies, the Capulets. Hence throughout this play, they are known at a distance. This circumstance is mentioned by Gascoigne, in a Devise of a Masque, written for the right honourable vilcount Mountacute, 1975:
“ And for a further proofe, he shewed in hys hat
Sam. Let us take the law of our fides ; let them begin.
Gre. I will frown, as I pass by; and let them take it as they lift.
Sam. Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them; which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it
Abr. Do you bite your thumb at us, fir?'
Sam. No, fir, I do not bite my thumb at you, fir; but I bite my thumb, sir.
Gre. Do you quarrel, fir ?
Sam. If you do, fir, I am for you ; I serve as good a man as you.
Abr. No better.
Enter Benvol107, at a distance. Gre. Say-better; here comes one of my master's kinsmen
Sam. o I will bite my thumb at them; wbicb is a disgrace to them, if ibey bear it.] This mode of quarreling appears to have been common in our authour's time. “ What swearing is there, (says Decker, describing the various groupes that daily frequented the walks of St. Paul's Church,) what thouldering, what juftling, what jeering, what byling of thumbs, to beger quarrels !" THE DEAD TERM, 1608. MALONE,
Dr. Lodge, in a pamphlet called Wits Miserie, &c. 1596, has this paffage. “ Behold next I fee contempt marching forth, giving mee the fico witb bis rbombe in bis moutb." In a translation from Ste. phens's Apology for Herodotus, in 1607, page 142, “ I meet with these words: “ If once they (the Italians,] bite ibeir fingers' ends in ibreatning manner, God knows, if they set upon their ene. mie face to face, it is because they cannot aflail him behind his backe." Perhaps Ben Jonfun ridicules this scene of Romeo and Juliet, in his New Inn:
“ Huff How, Spill it?
“ Spill it at me?
“ Tip. I reck not, but I spill it." STEEVENS. 7 Enter Benvolio.] Much of this fcene is added since the first edition; but probably by Shakspeare, fince we find it in that of the year -bere comes one of my master's kinsmen.] Some mistake has hap.