When Billy Shakes was writing The tale of the Star crossed lovers in 1596 he was not working from an original idea, he almost never was. He was really more of a cover artist, like Joe Cocker or George Thorogood. He was working from previous tellings by Arthur Brooke and William Painter, both of which were adaptations of Italian works by Matteo Bandello and the first written telling by Luigi de Porto ( I think that may mean Luigi the fat). Fat Luigi was writing from a known tale told around the Italian countryside for a century or so. The real Romeo (Montoccio) and Juliet (Cappeletto) were wed on March 11, 1302, seven hundred fourteen years ago today.
Through so many retellings Bill could hardly be accused of writing about two actual Italian brats. Will had another Romeo in mind. Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, was a good patron to Billy. This fair youth had already had two previous plays dedicated to him, and a fair number of sonnets. Henry was a descendant of House Montagu