CAP'ULETS and MON'TAGUES. The Eng lish forms of the names of the Cappelletti and Monteeehi, two noble families of Verona, chiefly memorable from their connection with the legend on which Shakespeare founded Romeo and Juliet.
They are mentioned by Dante (Purgatorio, 06) in connection with Albert of Hapsburg, King of the Romans, who was murdered in 1308. This event has supplied the Veronese with a date for their legend. Implicitly believing the story, they point out the house of Juliet's par ents and her tomb. The legend is undoubtedly Eastern in origin, havtng analogues in the stories of Pyramus and Thistle, Hero and Leander, and Ahrocomas and Anthia (as related in the Ephrsiara of Xenophon of Ephesus. a writer of the Second Century .a.n.). The incident of the sleeping potion was, moreover, quite common in late t reek romance. So far as is known, the essen tials of the story readied Italy late in the Fif teenth Century. appearing in a short novel by Massu•cio of Salerno, first published in 1476. We come more closely to the outline of Shake spectre's play in the novel La Gillifrita, by Luigi da Porto, printed in 1535, after the death of the author. He states, in au epistle prefixed to the work, that the story was told him "by one Pere grine, a man fifty years of age, much experienced in the art of war, a pleasant companion, and, like almost all the Veronese, a great talker." Da Porto, then, was the first to claim that the story was based on fact. This was a common make-believe of the Sixteenth Century story-tell ers. In 1554 Bandello published in his collection of tales another Italian version of the legend. It was entitled The Unfortunate Death of Two Unhappy Lorers—One by Poison and the 00ter of Grief. Both writers fix the date of the event by sayitig it took place when Bartolomeo della Scala ruled Verona (1301-04). A French ver
sion of the tale was published by Pierre Borsteau iri his Histoires tragiques (1559). It was translated into English in 15G7, and published in Painter's. Palace of Pleasure. Five years before. Arthur Brooke published an English poem on the saute subject, entitled The Tragical History of _Battens and Juliet, written first in Italian by Bandell, and note in English. Shakespeare seems to have founded his tragedy on Brooke's poem, with some use of Painter's version. Yet there is some evidence that the story had been drama tized before the appearance of Shakespeare's play. In that ease, Shakespeare probably made use of his predecessor. It was Brooke who first called the Alonteeehi •Montagues.' and the l'rinee of Verona `Esealus.' instead of Scala. Wright and Cary, in translating Dante, have followed the example of Shakespeare. and rendered the Ital ian names of the Dirin• Con/media into the fa miliar "('apnlets and 1)Iontagues," of Romeo and Juliet. historical date of the tragedy has not, however, been adopted by modern stage managers, who very properly bring down the action from the beginning to the close of the Fourteenth Century, when commervial opulence and the revival of arts and letters supply ac cessories more in keeping with the drama than the ruder age to which history must assign the `civil broils; and the fall of the Capulets and the :\ hmtagues. Consult: Daniel. "Originals and Analogues of Romeo and Juliet." in Near Shake speare Society Publications (London. 1875) or the Variorum edition of Romeo and Juliet, by 11. iI. Furness (Philadelphia, 1871).