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As what has been now stated has been controverted, (for what may not be controverted?) I fhould enter more largely into the fubject, but that the various paffages of the poem which I have quoted in the following notes, furnish such a decifive proof of the play's having been conftructed upon it, as not to leave, in my apprehenfion, a fhadow of doubt upon the fubject. The queftion is not, whether Shakspeare had read other novels, or other poetical pieces, founded on this ftory, but whether the poem written by Arthur Brooke was the basis on which this play was built.
With respect to the name of Romeo, this alfo Shakspeare might have found in the poem; for in one place that name is given to him: or he might have had it from Painter's novel, from which or from fome other profe translation of the same story he has, as I have already said, taken one circumstance not mentioned in the poem. În 1570 was entered on the Stationers' books by Henry Bynneman, The Pitifull Hyftory of ij lovyng Italians, which I fufpect was a profe narrative of the story on which our author's play is conftructed.
Breval fays in his travels, that on a strict inquiry 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. MALONE.
It is plain, from more than one circumftance, that Shakspeare had read this novel, both in its profaick and metrical form. He might likewise have met with other poetical pieces on the fame fubject. We are not yet at the end of our discoveries relative to the originals of our author's dramatick pieces. Steevens.
Two households, both alike in dignity,
A pair of ftar-crofs'd lovers take their life;
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 children's end, nought could re
Is now the two hours' traffick of our ftage; The which if you with patient ears attend, What here shall 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. In the folio it is omitted. The play was originally performed by the Right Hon. the Lord of Hunfdon his fervants.
In the firft of King James I. was made an act of parliament for some restraint or limitation of noblemen in the protection of players, or of players under their fanction. STEEVENS.
Under the word PROLOGUE, in the copy of 1599, is printed Chorus, which I fuppofe meant only that the prologue was to be spoken by the fame person who perfonated the chorus at the end of the firft A&.
The original prologue, in the quarto of 1597, ftands thus: "Two household frends, alike in dignitie,
"In faire Verona, where we lay our scene,
"From civil broyles broke into enmitie,
"Whofe civill warre makes civill handes uncleane, "From forth the fatall loynes of thefe two foes "A paire of ftarre-croft lovers tooke their life; "Whofe mifadventures, piteous overthrowes, "(Through the continuing of their fathers' ftrife, "And death-markt paffage of their parents' rage,) "Is now the two howres traffique of our ftage. "The which if you with patient eares attend, "What here we want, wee'll ftudie to amend." MALONE.
Efcalus, Prince of Verona.
Paris, a young Nobleman, Kinfman to the Prince, Montague, Heads of two Houses, at Variance with Capulet,
An old Man, Uncle to Capulet.
Romeo, Son to Montague.
Mercutio, Kinfman to the Prince, and Friend to Romeo.
Benvolio, Nephew to Montague, and Friend to
Tybalt, Nephew to Lady Capulet.
Sampfon, } Servants to Capulet.
Abram, Servant to Montague.
Chorus. Boy; Page to Paris; Peter; an Officer,
Lady Montague, Wife to Montague.
Lady Capulet, Wife to Capulet.
Juliet, Daughter to Capulet.
Nurse to Juliet.
Citizens of Verona; feveral Men and Women, Relations to both Houfes; Mafkers, Guards, Watchmen, and Attendants.
SCENE during the greater Part of the Play, in Verona once in the fifth Act, at Mantua.
ROMEO AND JULIET.
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.2 GRE. No, for then we fhould be colliers.
?we'll not carry coals.] Dr. Warburton yery justly obferves, 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, So, Skelton:
You, I fay, Julian,
Wyll you beare no coles ?"
Again, Nath, in his Have with you to Saffron Walden, 1595, fays: "We will bear no coles, I warrant you."
Again, in Marston's Antonio and Mellida, 2nd part, 1602: "He has had wrong, and if I were he, I would bear no coles." Again, 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-Day, a comedy, by Chapman, 1610: "You must 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 Ben Jonson's 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 King Henry V: "At Calais they stole a fireshovel; I knew by that piece of service the mep would carry coals." Again, in The Malcontent, 1604: "Great flaves fear better than love, born naturally for a coal-basket." STEEVENS.
SAM. I mean, an we be in choler, we'll draw.
GRE. Ay, while you live, draw your neck out of the collar.
SAM. I ftrike quickly, being moved.
GRE. But thou art not quickly moved to strike. SAM. A dog of the house of Montague moves me. GRE. To move, is—to stir; and to be valiant, is
This phrase continued to be in use down to the middle of the laft 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 King Charles I. No. 22, p. 50, is inferted, Fire, fire! a small manual, dedicated to Sir Arthur Hafelridge; in which it is plainly proved by a whole chauldron of fcripture, that John Lillburn will not carry coals." By Dr. Gouge. PERCY.
Notwithstanding this accumulation of paffages in which the phrase itself occurs, the original of it is ftill left unexplored: "If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink for thou fhalt heap coals of fire upon his head," &c. Proverbs xxv. 22;—or as cited in the Epiftle to the Romans, xx. 20. HENLEY.
The English verfion of the Bible (exclufive of its nobler use) has proved of infinite fervice to literary antiquaries; but on the prefent occafion, I fear, it will do us little good. Collier was a very ancient term of abuse. "Hang him, foul Collier!" fays Sir Toby Belch, fpeaking of the Devil, in the fourth Act of Twelfth-Night. Any perfon, therefore, who would bear to be called a collier, was faid to carry coals.
It afterwards became defcriptive of any one who would endure a gibe or flout. So, in Churchyard's Farewell to the World, 1598:
"He made him laugh, that lookt as he would fweare; "He carried coales, that could abide no geft."
The phrafe fhould feem to mean originally, We'll not fubmit to fervile offices; and thence fecondarily, we'll not endure injuries. It has been fuggested, that it may mean, "we'll not bear refentment burning like a coal of fire in our booms, without breaking out into fome outrage ;" with allufion to the proverbial fentence, that fmothered anger is a coal of fire in the bofom : But the word carry feems adverfe to such an interpretation.