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Two houfholds, both alike in dignity,
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 star-croft lovers take their life; Whole misadventur'd piteous overthrows
Do, with their death, bury their parents' ftrife. 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 shall mifs, our toil fhall ftrive to mend1.
This prologue, after the first copy was published in 1597, received feveral alterations, both in refpect of correctnefs and verfification, In the folio it is omitted. The play was originally performed by the Right Honourable the Lord of Hunfdon bis fervants.
In the first of K. James I. was made an act of parliament for fome reftraint or limitation of noblemen in the protection of players, or of players under their fanction. STEEVENS.
Under the word PROLOGUE, in the copy of 1599 is printed Chorus, which I fuppofe meant only that the prologue was to be spoken by the fame perfon who perfonated the chorus at the end of the first act. The original prologue, in the quarto of 1597, stands thus: Two household frends, alike in dignitie,
In faire Verona, where we lay our scene,
Whofe civill warre makes civill hands uncleane,
A paire of ftarre-croft lovers tooke their life;
(Through the continuing of their fathers' ftrife,
Is now the two howres traffique of our stage,
What here we want, wee'll ftudie to amend, MALONE.
Efcalus, Prince of Verona.
Paris, a young nobleman, kinsman to the Prince.
An old Man, uncle to Capulet.
Romeo, fon to Montague.
Mercutio, kinfman to the Prince, and friend to Romeo.
Samplon, fervants to Capulet.
Abram, fervant to Montague.
Chorus. Boy; Page to Paris; Peter; an Officer.
Lady Montague, Wife to Montague.
Lady Capulet, Wife to Capulet.
Citizens of Verona; feveral Men and Women, relations to both boufes; Makers, Guards, Citizens, Watchmen, and Attendants.
SCENE during the greater part of the play, in Verona: once in the fifth Act at Mantua.