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wo households, both alike in dignity, (i)
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 far-croft lovers take their life;
Whofe mif-adventur'd piteous overthrows

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


(1) Two boufebolds, &c.] The fable of this play is built on a real tragedy, that happen'd about the beginning of the 14th century. The story, with all its circumftances, is given us by Bandello, in one of his novels; as alfo by Girolame da Corte in his hiftory of Verona. The young lover, as this hiftorian tells us,' was call'd Romeo Montecrbi; 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 ftery: which put him in mind of our Author's play on the fubject. The captain has clos'd his account of this affair with a reproof to our excellent OTWAY, for having turn'd this story to that of Caius Marius; confidering, (fays he) "how inconfiftent it was (to pafs by other abfur"dities) to make the Romans bury their bodies in the latter end of the confular times, when every school-boy knows, that it was the custom to burn them firft, and then bury their afhes."I cannot help obferving in refpect to Otway's memory, that both interring and burring were at one and the fame time ufed by the Romans. Fer inftance, Marius was buried; and Sylla, his enemy, was by his own exprefs orders burnt; the first of the Cornelian family, 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


The fearful paffage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which but their children's end nought could remove,
Is now the two hours traffick of our stage:

The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here fhall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.

this fear of his, Cicero has likewife alluded in his fecond book De Legibus. I had almoft forgot to obferve, that Pliny exprefly fays, burning of dead bodies was not an old institution among the Romans ; but their dead were interr'd.Ipfum cremare apud Romanos nom fuit veteris inftituti: terrâ condebantur.

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