Page images
[blocks in formation]

HGravelot in Vol: 8.P: 3.

GVanderGucht Scul




A 2



WO households, both alike in dignity, (1)
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 ftar-croft lovers take their life;
Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows

Do, with their death, bury their parents' ftrife.


(1) Two bouseholds, &c.] The fable of this play is built on a real tragedy, that happen'd about the beginning of the 14th century. The ftory, with all its circumftances, is given us by Randello, in one of his novels; as alfo by Girolame de Corte, in his hiftory of Verona. The young lover, as this hiftorian tells us, was call'd Romeo Monteebi; and the lady, Julietta Capello. Captain Breval in his travels tells us, that when he was at Verona, he was fhewn an old building, (converted into an houfe for orphans) in which the tomb of thefe unhappy lovers had formerly been broken up; and that he was inform'd by his guide in all the particulars of their ftory: which put him in mind of our Author's play on the fubject. The captain has clos'd his accoun: of this affair with a reproof to our excellent OTWAY, for having turn'd this flory to that of Caius Marius; confidering (fays he)" how inconfiftent it was (to pass by other abfur

dities) to make the Romans bury their bodies in the latter end of "the confular times, when every fchool-boy knows, that it was the "cuftom to burn them firft, and then bury their afhes."-1 cannot help obferving in respect to Otway's memory, that both interrirg and burning were at one and the fame time ufed by the Romans. For inftance, Marius was buried; and Sylla, his enemy, was by his own exprefs orders burnt; the firft of the Cornelian far ily, that had been fo difpos'd of. Pliny gives us the reafon for fuch his orders: Idq; voluiffe, veritum talionem, eruto Caii Marii cadavere. (Nat. Hift. 1. vii. cap. 55.) He fear'd reprisals upon his own body, his foldiers having dug up and committed indignities on the body of Marius, To

« PreviousContinue »