Page:Romeo and Juliet (The Illustrated Shakespeare, 1847).djvu/8

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INTRODUCTORY REMARKS.


late years vindicated Shakespeare's judgement in following Brooke's narration of the Italian story, and pronounced that this softening the catastrophe is, in relation to the dramatic form of the story, the deliberate choice of exquisite taste and true feeling. After such a chain of events of deep and exciting interest, where wild hope and rapturous joy alternate with desperate grief, further prolongation of mental agony, (and that mixed with bodily suffering,) must cease to be pathetic, for it becomes merely painful. The simpler termination which the Poet deliberately preferred, leaves the youthful lovers to sink into death with calm resolution. They repose together in their antique tomb as placid as the lovely children on Chantrey's exquisite monument; the fiercer passions are hushed in their presence; old enmities die away, and a quiet solemn melancholy is spread over the scene as the day breaks slowly in gloom and sorrow over a mourning city.


(Costume of a young Venetian Nobleman, from Vecellio.)