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Two households, 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 thefe two foes

A pair of ftar-crofs'd 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 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 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 correctnefs 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 first of King 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. 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&t.

The original prologue, in the quarto of 1597, ftands thus : "Two household frends, alike in dignitie,

"In faire Verona, where we lay our fcene,

"From civil broyles broke into enmitie,

"Whofe civill warre makes civill handes uncleane. From forth the fatall loynes of these two foes "A paire of starre-croft lovers tooke their life; "Whose misadventures, 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 stage. "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 Houfes, at Variance with
} each other.

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.
Friar Lawrence, a Francifcan.
Friar John, of the fame Order.
Balthafar, Servant to Romeo.

Sampfon,} Servants to Capulet.

Abram, Servant to Montague.
An Apothecary.

Three Muficians.

Chorus. Boy; Page to Paris; Peter; an Officer.

Lady Montague, Wife to Montague.

Lady Capulet, Wife to Capulet.

Juliet, Daughter to Capulet.

Nurfe to Juliet.

Citizens of Verona; feveral Men and Women, Relations to both Houses; Mafkers, Guards, Watchmen, and Attendants.

SCENE during the greater Part of the Play, in Verona once in the fifth Act, at Mantua.



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.

2-we'll not carry coals.] Dr. Warburton very juftly 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, Nafh, in his Have with you to Saffron Walden, 1595, fays: "We will bear no coles, I warrant you."

Again, in Marfton'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 swear 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 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 firefhovel; I knew by that piece of service the men 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 ftir; 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. N°. 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.

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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 A&t 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 sweare; "He carried coales, that could abide no geft."


The phrase should seem to mean originally, We'll not submit to fervile offices; and thence fecondarily, we'll not endure injuries. It has been fuggefted, 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 bosom : But the word carry feems adverfe to fuch an interpretation.


to ftand to it: therefore, if thou art moved, thou run'ft away.

SAM. A dog of that house shall move me to ftand: I will take the wall of any man or maid of Montague's.

GRE. That fhows thee a weak flave; for the weakeft goes to the wall.

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

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

SAM. 'Tis all one, I will fhow myself a tyrant : when I have fought with the men, I will be cruel with the maids; 3 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 fenfe, that feel it. SAM. Me they fhall feel, while I am able to ftand: and, 'tis known, I am a pretty piece of flesh.

GRE. "Tis well, thou art not fish; if thou hadft, thou hadst been Poor John.4 Draw thy tool; here comes two of the house of the Montagues.5

3 cruel with the maids ;] The first folio reads-civil with the maids. JOHNSON.

So does the quarto 1599; but the word is written ciuill. It was manifeftly an error of the prefs. The firft copy furnishes no help, the paffage there ftanding thus: "Ile play the tyrant; Ile first begin with the maids, and off with their heads:" but the true reading is found in the undated quarto. MALONE.



poor John.] is hake, dried, and falted. MALONE. 5- here comes two of the house of the Montagues.] The

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