« PreviousContinue »
O 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.
A pair of starcroft lovers take their life;
The (1) Two bousebolds, &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 circumstances, is given us by Bandello, in one of his novels; as also by Girolame de Corte, in his history of Verona. The young lover, as this historian tells us, was callid Romeo Monreabi; and the lady, Julietta Capello. Captain Breved in his travels tells us, that when he was at Verona, he was shewn an old building, (converted into an house 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 story: which put him in mind of our Author's play on the subject. The captain has clos'd his accoun: of this affair with a reproof to our excellent OTWAY, for having turn'd this fory to that of Caius Marius; conlidering (says he) "how ifconfiftent it was (to pass by other absur. si dities) to make the Romans bury their bodies in the latter end of “ the consular times, when every school. hoy knows, that it was the or cu nom to burn them first, and then bury their ashes.". not help observing in respect to Otway's memory, that both interrirge and burning were at one and the same time used by the Romans. For instance, Marius was buried ; and Sylla, his enemy, was by his own express orders burnt; the first of the Cornelian fa'r ily, that had been so dispos’d of. Pliny gives us the reason for such his orders: Idq; voluisje, veritum talionem, eruto Caii Marii cadavere. (Nat. Hitti 1. vii. cap. 55.) He fear'd reprisáls upon his own body, his soldiers having dug up and committed indignities on the body of Marius, To