On this day in 1563 – Arthur Brooke died

Arthur Brooke, the English poet died on 19th March 1563. Very little is known about Arthur Brooke’s life.

Brookes wrote the English poem ‘The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet’ the poem in which William Shakespeare used as his inspiration for Romeo and Juliet. Brooke’s version was taken from the French translation of a story that was included in Matteo Bandello’s ‘Novelle’. Brooke made many changes to the story; the role of the nurse was developed further and the final scene was significantly altered. Most importantly Brooke introduced the idea that fortune was the force that controlled the lives of Romeo and Juliet. As Shakespeare used these changes in his version we can see that Brooke’s poem was his inspiration and not the original text.

Brooke’s died on 19th March 1563 in a shipwreck whilst aboard the Queen’s ship, Greyhound. The vessels destination was set for Le Havre in order to help the Protestant cause in France.


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