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ROMEO AND JULIET' was first printed in the Byron as appropriate to the legend—to that year 1597. The second edition was printed simple tale of fierce hatreds and fatal loves in 1599. The title of that edition declares which tradition has still preserved, amongst it to be “Newly corrected, augmented, and those who may never have read Luigi da amended." There can be no doubt whatever Porto or Bandello, the Italian romancers that the corrections, augmentations, and who give the tale, and who, perhaps, never emendations were those of the author. We heard the name of Shakspere. To the know of nothing in literary history more legend only is the blighted place appropriate. curious or more instructive than the example For who that has ever been thoroughly of minute attention, as well as consummate imbued with the story of Juliet, as told by skill, exhibited by Shakspere in correcting, Shakspere,—who that has heard his “gloriaugmenting, and amending the first copy ous song of praise on that inexpressible feelof this play.
ing which ennobles the soul and gives to it “Of the truth of Juliet's story, they (the its highest sublimity, and which elevates Veronese) seem tenacious to a degree, insist- even the senses themselves into soul,"? — ing on the fact-giving a date (1303), and who that, in our great poet's matchless delineshowing a tomb. It is a plain, open, and ation of Juliet's love, has perceived “whatpartly decayed sarcophagus, with withered ever is most intoxicating in the odour of a leaves in it, in a wild and desolate conventual southern spring, languishing in the song of garden, once a cemetery, now ruined to the the nightingale, or voluptuous on the first very graves. The situation struck me as opening of the rose,” b—who, indeed, that very appropriate to the legend, being blighted i looks upon the tomb of the Juliet of Shakas their love." Byron thus described the spere, can see only a shapeless ruin amidst tomb of Juliet to his friend Moore, as he wildness and desolation ? saw it at the close of autumn, when
- A grave ? O, no, a lantern, withered leaves had dropped into the decayed For here lies Juliet, and her beauty makes sarcophagus, and the vines that are trailed
This vault a feasting presence full of light." above it had been stripped of their fruit.
In Romeo and Juliet' the principle of His letter to Moore, in which this passage limiting the pathetic according to the degree occurs, is dated the 7th November. But in which it is calculated to produce emotions this wild and desolate garden only struck • A. W. Schlegel's 'Lectures.' Ibid.
of pleasure, is interwoven with the whole structure and conduct of the play. The tragical part of the story, from the first scene to the last, is held in subjection to the beautiful. It is not only that the beautiful comes to the relief of the tragic, as in 'Lear' and 'Othello,' but here the tragic is only a mode of exhibiting the beautiful under its most striking aspects. Shakspere never intended that the story of Romeo and Juliet' should lacerate the heart. When Mrs. Inchbald, therefore, said, in her preface to the acted play, "Romeo and Juliet' is called a pathetic tragedy, but it is not so in reality -it charms the understanding and delights the imagination, without melting, though it touches, the heart," she paid the highest compliment to Shakspere's skill as an artist, for he had thoroughly worked out his own idea.
Coleridge has described the homogeneousness-the totality of interest-which is the great characteristic of this play, by one of those beautiful analogies which could only proceed from the pen of a true poet :
"Whence arises the harmony that strikes us in the wildest natural landscapes,-in the relative shapes of rocks, the harmony of colours in the heaths, ferns, and lichens, the leaves of the beech and the oak, the stems and rich brown branches of the birch and other mountain trees, varying from verging autumn to returning spring,-compared with the visual effect from the greater number of artificial plantations?-From this, that the natural landscape is effected, as it were, by a single energy modified ab intra in each component part. And, as this is the particular excellence of the Shaksperian drama generally, so is it especially characteristic of the 'Romeo and Juliet.''
Schlegel carried out the proofs of this assertion in an Essay on 'Romeo and Juliet'; in which, to use his own words, he "went through the whole of the scenes in their order, and demonstrated the inward necessity 'Literary Remains,' vol. ii. b. Charakteristiken und Kritiken.'
of each with reference to the whole; showed why such a particular circle of characters and relations was placed around the two lovers; explained the signification of the mirth here and there scattered; and justified the use of the occasional heightening given to the poetical colours."a Schlegel wisely did this to exhibit what is more remarkable in Shakspere than in any other poet, "the thorough formation of a work, even in its minutest part, according to a leading ideathe dominion of the animating spirit over all the means of execution." The general criticism of Schlegel upon 'Romeo and Juliet' is based upon a perfect comprehension of this great principle upon which Shakspere worked. The following is the close of a celebrated passage upon 'Romeo and Juliet,' which has often been quoted;-but it is altogether so true and so beautiful, that we cannot resist the pleasure of circulating it still more widely:
"Whatever is most intoxicating in the odour of a southern spring, languishing in the song of the nightingale, or voluptuous on the first opening of the rose, is breathed into this poem. But, even more rapidly than the earliest blossoms of youth and beauty decay, it hurries on from the first timidlybold declaration of love and modest return, to the most unlimited passion, to an irrevocable union; then, amidst alternating storms of rapture and despair, to the death of the two lovers, who still appear enviable as their love survives them, and as by their death they have obtained a triumph over every separating power. The sweetest and the bitterest, love and hatred, festivity and dark forebodings, tender embraces and sepulchres, the fulness of life and self-annihilation, are all here brought close to each other; and all these contrasts are so blended in the harmonious and wonderful work into a unity of impression, that the echo which the whole leaves behind in the mind resembles a single but endless sigh."
ESCALUS, Prince of Verona.
Appears, Act I. sc. 1. Act III. sc. 1. Act V. sc. 3.
PARIS, a young nobleman, kinsman to the Prince.
Appears, Act I. sc. 2. Act III. sc. 4. Act IV. sc. 1; sc. 5. Act V. sc. 3.
MONTAGUE, head of a house, at variance with the house of Capulet.
Appears, Act III. sc. 1. Act V. sc. 3.
CAPULET, head of a house, at variance with the house of Montague.
Appeurs, Act I. sc. 1; sc. 2; sc. 5. Act III. sc. 1; sc. 4; sc. 5.
An old Man, uncle to Capulet.
ROMEO, son to Montague.
Appears, Act I. sc. 1; sc. 2; sc. 4; sc. 5.
MERCUTIO, kinsman to the Prince and friend to Romeo.
Appears, Act I. sc. 4. Act II. sc. 1; sc. 4. Act III. sc. 1. BENVOLIO, nephew to Montague, and friend to Romeo.
Appears, Act I. sc. 1; sc. 2; sc. 4; sc. 5.
Act II. sc. 1; sc. 4. Act III. sc. 1.
TYBALT, nephew to Lady Capulet.
BALTHASAR, servant to Romeo.
SCENE, DURING THE GREATER part of the PLAY, IN VERONA; ONCE (IN THE FIFTH
ACT) AT MANTUA.
Two households, both alike in dignity,
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
Do, with their death, bury their parents' strife.
SAMPSON, servant to Capulet.
Appears, Act I. sc. 1.
Appears, Act I,
Appears, Act III. sc. 1.
Page to Paris.
Appears, Act II. sc. 4; sc. 5. Act IV. sc. 5.
Appears, Act III. sc. 1.
JULIET, daughter to Capulet.
Appears, Act I. sc. 3; sc. 5.
Act II. sc. 2; sc. 4; sc. 5.
Citizens of Verona; several Men and Women, relations to both houses; Maskers, Guards, Watchmen, and Attendants.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children's end, nought
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage; The which if you with patient ears attend, What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
Enter SAMPSON and GREGORY, armed with swords and bucklers.
SAM. Gregory, o' my word, we 'll not carry coals1.
GRE. No, for then we should be colliers.
SAM. I mean, if we be in choler, we 'll draw.
GRE. Ay, while you live, draw your neck out of the collar.
SAM. I strike 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 to standa; therefore, if thou art moved, thou runn'st away.
SAM. A dog of that house shall move me to stand: I will take the wall of any
man or maid of Montague's.
GRE. That shows thee a weak slave; for the weakest goes to the wall.
The first quarto of 1597, which we mark as (4), "Stand to it."