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BROKE, or Brooke, ARTHUR (d. 1563), English author, wrote the first English version of the story of Romeo and Juliet. The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Julieit (1562) is a rhymed account of the story, taken, not directly from Bandello's collection of novels (1554), but from the French translation (Histoires tragiques) of Pierre Boaistuau or Boisteau, surnamed Launay, and François de Belleforest. Broke adds some detail to the story as told by Boisteau. As the poem contains many scenes which are not known to exist elsewhere, but which were adopted by Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet, there is no reasonable doubt that it may be regarded as the main source of the play. Broke perished by shipwreck in 1563, on his way from Newhaven to join the English troops fighting on the Huguenot side in France.

The genesis of the Juliet story, and a close comparison of Shakespeare's play with Broke's version, are to be found in a reprint of the poem and of William Paynter's prose translation from the Palace of Pleasure, edited by Mr P. A. Daniel for the New Shakespere Society (1875).

Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage. Sections in Greek will yield a transliteration when the pointer is moved over them, and words using diacritic characters in the Latin Extended Additional block, which may not display in some fonts or browsers, will display an unaccented version.

Links to other EB articles: Links to articles residing in other EB volumes will be made available when the respective volumes are introduced online.
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