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[Written in ink:]
British Museum Library,
From the Author.
Dec. 1880.

One of Twenty Copies only.

J.O. H-P

Romeo and Juliet

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Shakespeare's Tragedy





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      IT may be just worth notice that, in some copies of Romeo and Juliet of 1609, in sheet L. 4,—"This is thy sheath," &c., the h in this has dropped out and the type is disarranged.
      Bandello's novel of Romeo and Juliet was translated into Spanish, and published at Salamanca in 1589, in a collection of his novels, where it is entitled,—"Historia de dos enamorados, que el uno se matò con veneno, y el otro murio de pesar de ver muerto al otro." In Novelas Morales, 8vo. Madrid, 1620, is a Spanish prose rifacimento of Bandello's story under the title of Aurelio y Alexandra. The popularity of the novels of Bandello in the time of Shakespeare is thus alluded to in Lodge's Wits Miserie, 1596, p. 47,—"at tales he hath no equall, for Bandello is more perfit with him then his paternoster." The story of Romeo and Juliet is also found in the Treasurie of Auncient and Moderne Times, fol. 1619.
      The story of Romeo and Juliet is thus nar- / p.6 / rated in A Collection of Divers and Remarkable Stories Tragical and Comical, an unpublished manuscript of the seventeenth century,—"In Verona, a famous City of Italy, lived a young Gentlewoman named Julietta, of the Noble House of the Montacutes. Her father being not willing that she should marry, when the aptness of her years made tender of itselfe for the disposal of her in that way; she, therefore, in her fairest flower, espous'd herself secretly, and unknown to her parents to a gallant Gentleman call'd Romeo of the family of the Capelets, who were and long time had bin mortal enemies to the Montacutes. But this unhappy marriage was, in conclusion, the lamentable and tragical death of both the lovers in this manner. It happen'd on a day that a Gentleman, uncle of Julietta, meeting Romeo by chance in the street, drew upon him and made at him, and it was his hap, in defence of himself, to kill the said uncle, whereupon he was forct to fly and to absent himself from Verona. Now there was a certaine Franciscan Frier who was privy to the private amours of these lovers, and a man expert in the misteries of Love, who, in the infancy and whole progress of their affection, and espousal, / p.7 / had great compassion and reall sentiments of the torments they reciprocally endur'd. To this honest minded friar the most woful Gentlewoman went to make her moan under the colour of going to confession, how irksome and dolorous the absence of her best esteemed friend was unto her. The frier then advis'd her to take a stupefactive potion when she went to bed, which would cause her to sleep for above thirty hours, so that she should be verily suppos'd to be dead. This counsel of the frier Julietta boldly adventur'd on, and, taking the potion, it wrought so effectually, that her Parents, imagining her to be dead indeed, caused her to be buried in a Vault belonging to the family of the Montacutes, her ancient Predecessors; from thence the fryer purpos'd to fetch her at a certain houre in the night and to conduct her himself (in the habit of a Novice) to banish'd Romeo, who lived in the Land of another Jurisdiction not far from Verona. All this was possible, and easy to be perform'd, for it was the common custom in Veron not to bury the deceased bodies of the Nobility in Graves in the earth, but in arched Vaults. While these things were framing according to the honest complotment of the / p.8 / frier for the poor lovers behoofe, it fortuned that a trusty Servant belonging to Romeo came to Verona at that instant that Julietta's supposed dead corps was laid in the vault, with letters from his Master to her, which the servant having seen, he return'd forthwith to him, and reported the certainty of Julietta's death, as that himself was present at her interring. Romeo, confounded with grief and over-ruling passions at this news, found the means (in a disguise) to enter into the City of Verona before the shutting up of the Gates. In the dead time of the night he was conducted to the Church in which was the vault wherein his deerest was laid by his trusty servant with a Torch in his hand, by whose help he got the door of the Church open, and also forc'd an entrance into the vault where Julietta lay. Having then the Torch in his own hand, and commanding the absence of his Servant, he entred into the Vault, and after infinite kisses bestow'd by him on Julietta, whom he conceited was really dead, he drank a deadly poison which he brought with him, which immediately siezing on his vital spirits, operated so effectiually and fatally, that he fell down dead by Julietta's side, and there slept / p.9 / for ever. Julietta, after the potion had wrought its full power, awoke and by the light of the burning Torch perceiving her deer Romeo to be lying by her side quite dead; she, enrag'd with grief, started up, and snatching a dagger that hung at his girdle, she presently sent it on a fatal errant to her heart, and so died. The honest ffryer came, and (as he thought) at such a convenient houre as Julietta should awake out of her artificial sleep, that truly represented the Image of Death; but when he beheld that tragical and woful sight, let his sorrow be express'd by such as have judgment and elocution to do it; On the Morrow after, the death of the two Lovers was discover'd, and all matters related amply by ffrier Lawrence, for so was the Franciscan call'd. All which tragical and mournful disaster happen'd because Julietta's Father would not suffer her to marry when both her yeers and reason requir'd."
      There is a very fine perfect copy of the 1599 edition of Romeo and Juliet in the library of the University of Edinburgh. It is preserved in the collection formed by Drummond, who had written the name Wil. Sha. immediately after the word Iuliet on the title-page.

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      There is a copy of the title-page of Romeus and Juliet, 1587, in the Bagford Collection, MS. Harl. 5919. Mr. Hazlitt's copy of the page is correct with the very trifling exception that in the original, at least in this copy, there is a comma after the name Robinson. In January, 1584, Tottel gave a copy of the poem for "the reliefe of the poore" of the Stationers' Company, so that the copyright must at that time have been in his hands, not in those of Robinson.
      In A Devise of a Maske for the right honorable Viscount Mountacute in Gascoigne's Posies, 1575, the Montagues and Capulets are introduced, with torchbearers. "The actor had a token in his cap like to the Mountacutes of Italy," marginal note in Gascoigne's Works.
     One Prujean, a Cambridge student, in a work published in 1644, gives two metrical epistles in imitation of Ovid, one from Juliet to Romeo, and the other from Romeo to Juliet. They are really not worth a quotation, although termed "sweet poetrie" in some verses prefixed to Strong's Joanereidos, 1645.
     As to mere names, Romeo, &c. Florio has, "Romeo, a roamer, a wandrer, a palmer," Worlde of Wordes, 1598. "Romeo, un her- / p.11 / mite," Dittionario Italiana e Francese, 8vo. Geneva, 1649. "Hughe Jaxon,—lycenced unto him the renowmed historie of Cleomenes and Juliet," Stat. Reg., 1577. Mercutio is the name of a page in the Second Part of the Famous Historie of the Seven Champions of Christendome, 1608, and of a poet in the Noble Stranger, 1640; and there is a story respecting a Romeo in Reynolds Revenge against Murther, p. 251.
      Romeo and Juliet is mentioned in a list of "some of the most ancient plays that were played at Blackfriers," a manuscript written in 1660.
      A dilapidated stone coffin, the supposititious tomb of Juliet, removed many years ago from the vaults of Fermo Maggiore, is still exhibited at Verona. There is a very curious notice of this relic in Breval's Remarks on Several Parts of Europe, fol. 1726, vol. ii. p. 103, and, as it has not been quoted, I believe, in any Shakespearean work, it is here given at length,—"As I was surveying the Churches, and other religious Places about Verona, my Guide (or as the Italians call him my Cicerone) made me take notice of an old Building which had been formerly a Nunnery, but was converted into an House for Orphans, p.12 / about an hundred Years since. The Substance of what I could gather from the long Story he told me concerning it, was this; that at the time when that Alteration was making, in the pulling down of a Wall, the Workmen happen'd to break down an old Tomb, in which there were found two Coffins, which, by the Inscription yet legible upon the Stone, appear'd to contain the Bodies of a young Couple that had come by their Death in a very Tragical manner about three Centuries before. The Gentleman it seems was the most accomplish'd Cavalier in all respects; as on the other Hand, the Lady was the most celebrated of her Sex, both for Virtue and Beauty, in Verona; but as their Marriage was kept private upon account of an inveterate Enmity between their Houses, which were the Noblest, as well as the most Powerful in that great City; a Kinsman of the Bride's attack'd the Bridegroom one Day in the open Street, Sword in Hand, and had the Misfortune to be left Dead by him upon the Spot. This immediately alarm'd all the Ladies Friends and Relations, they pursu'd the unhappy Offender, who had withdrawn himself from Justice into a neighbouring State, for the Laws against Duels were exceedingly severe, with all p.13 / the Warmth and Rigour imaginable; insomuch that they obtain'd of the Podesta, a Sentence of perpetual Banishment against him, under pain of losing his Head, if he ever appear'd more within the Walls of Verona. The Separation, that was the unavoidable consequence of this sad Accident, was a Thunderclap to each of our young lovers; and the Lady (whose Marriage as I have said before was a Secret) being persecuted by her Parents, who had then a mind to bestow her upon a very rich Nobleman that was desperately in Love with her, found no other Way to extricate her self out of this Difficulty, but by taking a Dose of Poyson, which put an end to her Life, and she was bury'd privately, according to the Custom of those Times, in a great stone Chest, which lay close to the Wall of that Monastery, so that the Body might become at with ease. A few days after this had been done, her Husband (whom these dismal Tydings had reach'd in his Banishment) posted away to Verona in disguise, came to the Sepulcher by Night, broke off the Lid, and the next Morning was found Dead, run through with his own Ponyard, close by his beloved Wife, and with his Arms embracing her Corps. We may easily suppose how great a p.14 / Noise this Tragedy made not only in Verona, but all throughout Italy; and the Lady's Parents were so touch'd with Remorse and Compassion upon it, that they ordered both the Bodies to be deposited in one Tomb, where the Workmen having discover'd them, as I have said, three hundred Years after, all the City flock'd to see what was left of two such extraordinary persons: Since which time, what became either of the stone Chest, or the Ashes that were in it, is what I never could learn. This Account, that I had from my Cicerone, immediately call'd to my mind the celebrated Story of Romeo and Juliet, which is the Subject of one of the finest Pieces of Shakespear, but unhappily travesty'd since by Mr. Otway; who, tho' an excellent Poet in his Way, would not have presum'd to make his Caius Marius out of Romeo and Juliet, had he known any thing of History, or consider'd how inconsistent it was (to pass by other Absurdities) to make the Romans bury their Bodies in the latter end of the Consular times, when every School-boy knows, that 'twas the Custom to burn them first, and then bury their Ashes. Shakespear had laid the Scene where it ought to be at Verona, (tho' Mr. Otway injuidiciously remov'd it to Rome) p.15 / and (as I have found since upon a strict search into the Histories of this City) he has vary'd very little either in his Names, Characters, or other Circumstances from Truth and matter of Fact. He observed this Rule indeed in most of his Tragedies, which are so much the more moving, as they are not only grounded upon Nature and History, but likewise as he keeps closer to both than any dramatick Writer we ever had besides himself. I make no doubt but Mr. Pope, who is obliging the World with a new Edition of that incomparable Author, will do him Justice in this, as in every other particular."
      The following early notices of the story of Romeo and Juliet do not appear to have been hitherto quoted. "Let me not therefore be fed with a vayne hope; if yea raignes, say yea, if no, nay, yet such a weake nay, as thereon I may buylde such a stedfast fundation of perfite requitaunce, as not Eolus with al his windes may shake the toppe, much lesse move the fundation thereof; whiche graunted, perswade thyselfe to finde me as tried in truth as Romeus & Juliet, & as stedfast in faith as Pesistratus to Catanea," Grange's Golden Aphroditis, 1577. "Romeus & Juliet, Arnalt & Amicla, & divers p.16 / others at the point to possesse their loves were dispossest of their lives, but yet unstained with dishonesty," Whetstone's Heptameron, 1582. "As trusty Thisbe did goare her gorgeous body with the same sworde wherewith princely Pyramus had prickt himselfe to the hart; so true-harted Julietta did die upon the corps of her dearest Romeo," Meres' Pallidis Tamia, 1598. There is a fragment of a very early English translation of the novel of Masuccio in MS. Bibl. Reg. 18 A. 62, but it does not include the story of Romeo & Juliet. "L'Infelice Amore di due fedelissimi amanti Giulia e Romeo, scritto in ottava rima da Clitia nobile Veronese ad Ardeo suo," 8vo. 1553. The third story in "Histoires Tragiques extraictes des oeuvres Italiennes de Bandel, et mises en nostre langue François, par Pierre Boiaistuau," 8vo. Paris, 1561, is that of Romeo and Juliet, entitled, "Histoire troisiesme de deux amans, dont l'un mourut de venin, l'autre de tristesse."
      The incident of the meeting at the masque is one found in several old romances. One instance may be specially noticed because it is followed by a story of the lover scaling a wall, "so high that it well-nigh raught to the yron p.17 / frame of her bay-window," to obtain an interview with his mistress. See it in the Spanish romance of Gerardo the Unfortunate Spaniard, translated by Leonard Digges, 4to, 1622.
      It is always pleasing to hear of any indication that Shakespeare had been a reader of Chaucer. My late dear old friend, Mr. Robert Bell, considered the lines in the Assembly of Foules commencing,—"The wearie hunter sleeping in his bedde"—to be the prototype of Mercutio's description of Queen Mab and her inspirations.
      "Were thy story of so much direfull woe,—As that of Juliet & Hieronymo," verses prefixed to Ferrand's Erotomania, 1640. "They had no sooner finished their ditty, but behold Madam Gylo, apparelled in a loose vestment, her hair bound up in a carnation cawl which excellently became her, appeared, like another Juliet ready to receive her beloved Romeo, on the battlements," Don Zara del Fogo, a Mock-Romance, 1656.
      "Romeo and Julieta, tragedie," occurs in the list of books read by Drummond of Hawthornden in the year 1606. MS. in the Library of the Society of Antiquaries at Edinburgh. It appears from a list made by him in 1611 that p.18 / his copy of the play had cost him the sum of fourpence.
      My late friend, Mr. George Daniel, had a copy of the 1599 edition of Romeo and Juliet in which were some old manuscript notes. The four lines commencing, "The grey-ey'd morn smiles," are marked for omission. After the words, "his last farewell," act iii, sc. 2, there is written, Finis Act 3, and at the commencement of the next scene, Musick, Act 4. At the end of act v, sc. 2, after the words, "a dead man's tomb," we have, Finis Act 4, and Act 5 at the commencement of the next scene. The direction "Enter Capulet and his wife," in act v, sc. 3, is marked for omission. "Love is a witty thing and can . . . . , a thousand tricks to blind a thousand eyes," MS. on the margin of a page in the second act. At the end of the third scene of the first act is, Finis Act. Musicke. In the fifth scene of the first act, just before the entrance of the Chorus, is, play musicke; and, at the end of the second scene of the second act is, Finis Act 2. Musick. In the line "My lips two blushing pylgrims did ready stand," the word did is marked for omission. This volume was formerly in the Steevens and Roxburghe collections.

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      There is a world I should like to restore from ed. 1597, and would submit that future editors should read,—"To season love, that of love doth not taste." Romeo seasons the dish and then leaves it untouched. The construction is not more obscure than that of numerous other passages of the same writer.


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