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Romeus and Juliet

Arthur Brooke

Available as PDF, epub, and Kindle ebook.

Tags: Drama

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Considered to be William Shakespeare's chief source for his tragedy Romeo and Juliet; The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet by English poet Arthur Brooke, was published in 1562. Brooke is reported to have translated it from an Italian novella by Matteo Bandello. The play of Romeo and Juliet is of 4 days where as the one by Arthur Brooke takes place over many months, meaning that Shakespeare’s version is more intense than Arthur Brooke’s. The poem's ending also differs significantly from Shakespeare's play.

This book has 78 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1562. This edition, edited by J. J. Munro, 1908.

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Excerpt from 'Romeus and Juliet'

There is beyond the Alps, a town of ancient fame,
Whose bright renown yet shineth clear: Verona men it name;
Built in a happy time, built on a fertile soil
Maintained by the heavenly fates, and by the townish toil
The fruitful hills above, the pleasant vales below,
The silver stream with channel deep, that thro' the town doth flow,
The store of springs that serve for use, and eke for ease,
And other more commodities, which profit may and please,--
Eke many certain signs of things betid of old,

To fill the hungry eyes of those that curiously behold,
Do make this town to be preferred above the rest
Of Lombard towns, or at the least, compared with the best.
In which while Escalus as prince alone did reign,
To reach reward unto the good, to pay the lewd with pain,
Alas, I rue to think, an heavy hap befell:
Which Boccace scant, not my rude tongue, were able forth to tell.
Within my trembling hand, my pen doth shake for fear,
And, on my cold amazéd head, upright doth stand my hair.
But sith she doth command, whose hest I must obey,

In mourning verse, a woeful chance to tell I will assay.
Help, learnéd Pallas, help, ye Muses with your art,
Help, all ye damnéd fiends to tell of joys returned to smart.
Help eke, ye sisters three, my skilless pen t'indite:
For you it caused which I, alas, unable am to write.

There were two ancient stocks, which Fortune high did place
Above the rest, indued with wealth, and nobler of their race,
Loved of the common sort, loved of the prince alike,
And like unhappy were they both, when Fortune list to strike;
Whose praise, with equal blast, Fame in her trumpet blew;

The one was clepéd Capulet, and th'other Montague.
A wonted use it is, that men of likely sort,
(I wot not by what fury forced) envy each other's port.
So these, whose egall state bred envy pale of hue,
And then, of grudging envy's root, black hate and rancour grew
As, of a little spark, oft riseth mighty fire,
So of a kindled spark of grudge, in flames flash out their ire:
And then their deadly food, first hatched of trifling strife,
Did bathe in blood of smarting wounds; it reavéd breath and life,
No legend lie I tell, scarce yet their eyes be dry,

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