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Romeo and Juliet (Fiction eBook) By William Shakespeare

SHAKESPEARE'S

TRAGEDY OF

Romeo and Juliet

EDITED, WITH NOTES

BY

WILLIAM J. ROLFE, Litt.D.


FORMERLY HEAD MASTER OF THE HIGH SCHOOL CAMBRIDGE, MASS.

ILLUSTRATED

NEW YORK ⁂ CINCINNATI ⁂ CHICAGO
AMERICAN BOOK COMPANY


Copyright, 1879 and 1898, by
HARPER & BROTHERS.

Copyright, 1904 and 1907, by WILLIAM J. ROLFE.


ROMEO AND JULIET.

W.P. 8

[Pg 5]


PREFACE
This edition of Romeo and Juliet, first published in 1879, is now thoroughly revised on the same general plan as its predecessors in the new series.

While I have omitted most of the notes on textual variations, I have retained a sufficient number to illustrate the curious and significant differences between the first and second quartos. Among the many new notes are some calling attention to portions of the early draft of the play—some of them very bad—which Shakespeare left unchanged when he revised it.

The references to Dowden in the notes are to his recent and valuable edition of the play, which I did not see until this of mine was on the point of going to the printer. The quotation on page 288 of the Appendix is from his Shakspere: His Mind and Art, which, by the way, was reprinted in this country at my suggestion.


CONTENTS

 
PAGE
Introduction to Romeo and Juliet
9
The History of the Play
9
The Sources of the Plot
14
General Comments on the Play
17
Romeo and Juliet
27
Act I
29
Act II
58
Act III
85
Act IV
118
Act V
136
Notes
157
Appendix
 
Concerning Arthur Brooke
275
Comments on Some of the Characters
278
The Time-Analysis of the Play
290
List of Characters in the Play
291
Index of Words and Phrases Explained
293






Funeral of Juliet

[Pg 9]

Verona

INTRODUCTION TO ROMEO AND JULIET
The History of the Play
The earliest edition of Romeo and Juliet, so far as we know, was a quarto printed in 1597, the title-page of which asserts that "it hath been often (with great applause) plaid publiquely." A second quarto appeared in 1599, declared to be "newly corrected, augmented, and amended."

Two other quartos appeared before the folio of 1623, one in 1609 and the other undated; and it is doubtful which was the earlier. The undated quarto is the first that bears the name of the author ("Written by W.[Pg 10] Shake-speare"), but this does not occur in some copies of the edition. A fifth quarto was published in 1637.

The first quarto is much shorter than the second, the former having only 2232 lines, including the prologue, while the latter has 3007 lines (Daniel). Some editors believe that the first quarto gives the author's first draft of the play, and the second the form it took after he had revised and enlarged it; but the majority of the best critics agree substantially in the opinion that the first quarto was a pirated edition, and represents in an abbreviated and imperfect form the play subsequently printed in full in the second. The former was "made up partly from copies of portions of the original play, partly from recollection and from notes taken during the performance;" the latter was from an authentic copy, and a careful comparison of the text with the earlier one shows that in the meantime the play "underwent revision, received some slight augmentation, and in some few places must have been entirely rewritten." A marked instance of this rewriting—the only one of considerable length—is in ii. 6. 6-37, where the first quarto reads thus (spelling and pointing being modernized):—

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