Two households, 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-crossed lovers take their life,
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife.
The fearful passage of their death-marked love
And the continuance of their parents’ rage,
Which, but their children’s end, naught could remove,
Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage—
The which, if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
In lovely Verona, Italy, where the play is set, an age-old
feud between two noble families of equal stature breaks out once more into
violence, causing citizens to stain their hands with the blood of other
citizens. Two ill-fated children of these families fall in love. Thwarted by
an unfortunate series of events, the lovers commit suicide. Their terrible
deaths end the feud between the families. For the next two hours on this
stage, you will see the story of the lovers’ doomed romance, as well as their
parents’ feud, which nothing but their childrens’ death could end. If you
listen patiently to our performance, the details left out in this prologue
will be shown onstage.