The New Student's Reference Work/Romeo and Juliet
Ro′meo and Ju′liet, a drama by William Shakespeare, written sometime between 1591 and 1596, first published in 1597. The legend upon which it is founded first appeared in Naples in 1476. It appeared in English in 1562 in The Tragicall Historye of Romeo and Juliet by Arthur Brooke, which furnished the main foundation for this drama. The legend has often been chosen for operatic purposes. The best opera based upon it is that by Gounod, which first appeared in 1867.
See the full text of The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.