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early productions:" this is plausible, but we ima Muche ndoe about Nothinge, and the other The Secgine, from their general dissimilarity to the style
ond Parte of the History of King Henry the iiiith,
with the Humors of Sir John Fallstaff: wrytten by of our great dramatist, that these “long hobbling
Mr. Shakespeare." verses" formed a portion of the old court-drama, of which Shakespeare made as much use as answered There is another memorandum in the same regishis purpose: they are quite in the style of plays an- ter, bearing date on the “ 4th August," without the terior to the time of Shakespeare, and it is easy to year, which runs in these terms: As you like yt, distinguish such portions of the comedy as he must a book. Henry the fift, a book. Every man in his have written.
humor, a book. The Comedie of Much Adoe about The earliest notice we have of "The Comedy of Nothinge, a book." Opposite the titles of these Errors," is by Meres, in his Palladis Tamia, 1598, plays ore added the words, "to be staied." This where he gives it to Shakespeare under the name last entry, there is little doubt, belongs to the year of " Errors." How much before that time it had 1600, for such is the date immediately preceding it. been written and produced on the stage, we can The object of the “ stay" was probably to prevent only speculate. From an allusion to the civil war the publication of “Henry V.," "Every Man in his in France (in Act iii., sc. 2), which continued from Humor," and “Much Ado about Nothing," by any 1589 to 1593, it has been conjectured that the play other booksellers than Wise and Aspley. had its origin either during or shortly after this The 4to. of “Much Ado about Nothing," which period.
came out in 1600, (and we know of no other imWe are now certain that “The Comedy of Errors" pression in that form) is a well-printed work for the was represented at Whitehall on the 28th December, time, and the type is unusually good. It contains 1604. `In the account of the Master of the Revels no hint from which we can at all distinctly infer the of the expenses of his department, from the end of date of its composition, but Malone supposed that Oetober, 1604, to Shrove Tuesday, 1605, preserved it was written early in the year in which it came in the Audit Office, we read the subsequent entry: from the press. Considering, however, that the
“By his Matis Plaiers. On Inosents Night, the comedy would have to be got up, acted, and become plaie of Errors," the name of Shaxberd, or Shake popular, before it was publislied, or entered for pubspeare, being inserted in the margin as "the Poet lication, the time of its composition by Shakespeare which mayd the Plaie." "The Comedy of Errors" may reasonably be carried back as far as the antumn was, therefore, contrary to the opinion of Malone, of 1599. That it was popular, we can hardly doubt; not only revived, but represented at court very soon and the extracts from the Stationers' Registers seem aster James I. came to the crown.
to show that apprehensions were felt, lest rival bookIn Coleridge's “Literary Remains," we find sellers should procure it to be printed. “The Comedy of Errors" twice mentioned in It is not included by Meres in the list he furnishes much the same terms. "Shakespeare," he ob- in his Palladis Tamia, 1598; and "England's Parserves, " has in this piece presented us with a nassus," 1600, contains no quotation from it. If legitimate farco, in exactest consonance with the any conclusion could be drawn from this fact, it philosophical principles and character of farce, as might be, that it was written subsequent to the distinguished from comedy and entertainments. A appearance of one work, and prior to the publicaproper farce is mainly distinguished from comedy tion of the other. Respecting an early performance by the license allowed, and even required, in the of it at Court, Steevens supplies us with the subsefable, in order to produce strange and laughable quent information : “Much Ado about Nothing' situations. The story need not be probable; it is (as I understand from one of Mr. Vertue's MSS.) enough that it is possible. A comedy would scarce- formerly passed under the title of Benedick and ly allow even the two Antipholuses; because, al- Beutrix. Heminge, the player, received on the though there have been instances of almost undis. 20th May, 1613, the sum of £40, and £20 more as tinguishable likeness in two persons, yet these are his Majesty's gratuity, for exhibiting six plays at mere individual accidents, casus ludentis nature, Hampton Court, among which was this comedy." and the verum will not excuse the inverisimile. The change of title, if, indeed, it were made, could But farce dares add the two Dromios, and is justi- only have been temporary fied in so doing by the laws of its end and constitu The serious portion of the plot of “Much Ado tion."
about Nothing," which relates to Hero, Claudio, and " John the Bastard," is extremely similar to the story of Ariodante and Geneura, in Ariosto's
“Orlando Furioso," B. v. It was separately versi. MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.
fied in English by Peter Beverley, in imitation of
Arthur Brooke's “Romeus and Juliet," 1562, and ("Much ndoe about nothing: As it hath been sundrie times of Bernard Garter's “ Two English Lovers," 1563 ; publikely acted by the right honourable, the Lord Cham. and it was printed by Thomas East, without date, berlaine his seruants. Written by William Shakesprare. two or three years after those poems had oppeared. -London Printed by V. S. fur Andrew Wise, and William Aspley. 1600.” 4to. 36 leaves.
Sir John Harington's translation of the whole It is also printed in the division of "Comedies" in the folio "Orlando Furioso" was originally published in 1591,
1623, where it occupies twenty-one pages, viz., from p. but there is no special indication in “Much Ado 101. to p. 121, inclusivo. It was reprinted in the other about Nothing" that Shakespeare availed himself folios.)
of it. Spenser's version of the same incidents, for We have no information respecting “Much Ado they are evidently borrowed from Ariosto, in B. IÍ. about Nothing" anterior to the appearance of the c. 4, of his “ Faerie Queene," was printed in 1590; 4to. edition in 1600, excepting that it was entered but Shakespeare is not to be traced to this source. for publication on the books of the Stationers' Com- Shakespeare's plot may, therefore, have had an entirepany, on the 23 August in that year, in the follow-ly different origin, possibly some translation, not now ing 'manner :
extant, of Bandello's twenty-second novel, in vol. i. * 23 Aug. 1600.
of the Lucca edition, 4to. 1554, which is entitled, * And, Wise Wm. Aspley) Two books, the one called “Como il 8. Timbreo di Cardona, essendo col Re
Piero d'Aragona in Messina, s'innamora di Fenicia | Christmas." “ The last Christmas" probably meant Lionata ; e i varii fortunevoli accidenti, che avven- Christmas, 1598; for the year at this period did not nero prima che per moglie la prendesse.” It is end until 25th March. It seems likely that the rendered the more likely that Shakespeare employed comedy had been written six or even eight years a lost version of this novel by the circumstance, that before, that it was revived in 1598, with certain in Italian the incident in which she, who may be corrections and augmentations for performance becalled the false Hero is concerned, is conducted fore the Queen; and this circumstance may have led much in the same way as in Shakespeare. More to its publication immediately afterwards. over, Bandello lays his scene in Messina ; the father “Love Labor Lost" is mentioned by Meres in of the lady is named Lionati; and Don Pedro, or 1598, and in the same year came out a poem by Piero, of Arragon, is the friend of the lover who is R[obert] T[ofte) entitled " Alba," in the commenceduped by his rival.
ment of one of the stanzas of which this comedy is Nobody has observed upon the important fact, in introduced by name ;connection with “Much Ado about Nothing," that a "Love's Labor Lost I once did see, a play “History of Arodante and Geneuora" was played Ycleped so." before Queen Elizabeth, by " Mulcaster's children," in 1582-3. How far Shakespeare might be indebted This does not read as if the writer intended 10 say to this production we cannot at all determine ; but that he had seen it recently. it is certain that the serious incidents he employed the folio of 1623, was reprinted from the 4to of
It is capable of proof that the play, as it stands in in his comedy had at an early date formed the sub- 1598, as it adopts various errors of the press, which ject of a dramatic representation.
could not have found their way into the folio, had it been taken from a distinct manuscript. There are, however, variations, which might show that the
player-editors of the folio resorted occasionally to LOVE'S LABOR'S LOST.
some authority besides the 4to.
There is no entry of “Love's Labor's Lost" at (“A pleasant Conceited Comedie called, Loues labors lost. Stationers' Hall, until 22d January 1606-7, when it
As it was presented before her Highness this last Christ was transferred by Burby (the publisher of it in mas. Newly corrected and augmented by Shakespere. 1598) to Ling, who perhap contemplated a new Imprinted at London by W. W. for Cuthbert Burby. edition. Its next appearance was in the folio, 1623 ;
1598." 4to, 38 leaves. In the folio, 1623, "Love's Labour's Lost” occupies 23 pages, but another 4to, of no authority, was published in
in the division of "Comedies," viz., from p. 122 to g. 144. 1631, the year before the date of the second folio. inclusive. It was reprinted in 1631, 4to, by W. S., for John Smethwicke;" and the title-page states that it was published "as it was acted by his Majesties Seruants at the Blacke-Friers and the Globe." It is merely a copy from the folio, 1623, with the addition of some errors of the press.)
MIDSUMMER-NIGHT'S DREAM. There is a general concurrence of opinion that (“A Midsommer nights dreame. As it hath beene sundry "Love's Labor's Lost” was one of Shakespeare's times publickely acted, by the Right honorable, the Lord earliest productions for the stage. In his course of
Chamberlaine his seruants. Written by William Shake Lectures delivered in 1818, Coleridge was so con
speare. Imprinted at London, for Thomas Fisher, and
are to be soulde at his shoppe, at the Sigue of the White vinced upon this point, that he said, " the internal Hart, in Fleetestreete, 1600." 32 leaves. evidence was indisputable;" and in his “Literary "A Midsommer night's dreame. As it hath beene sundry Remains," II. 102, we find him using these expres
times publikely acted, by the Right honourable, the Lord
Chamberlaine his seruants. Written by William Shake. sions:-"The characters in this play are either im speare. Printed by James Roberts, 1600." 32 leaves. personated out of Shakespeare's own multiformity, In the folio, 1623, it occupies 18 pages, viz., from p. 145 to by imaginative self-position, or out of such as a
162 inclusive, in the division of Comedies." It is of
course, like the other plays, inserted in the later folios.) country town and a school-boy's observation might supply." The only objection to this theory is, that
This drama, which on the title-pages of the earat the time "Love's Labor's Lost" was composed, liest impressions is not called comedy, history, nor the author seems to have been acquainted in some tragedy, but which is included by the player-editors degree with the nature of the Italian comic per- of the first folio among the “comedies" of Shakeformances; but this acquaintance he might have speare, was twice printed in 1600, " for Thomas acquired comparatively early in life. Steevens, after Fisher" and " by James Roberts." Fisher was a stating that he had not been able to discover any bookseller, and employed some unnamed printer; novel from which this comedy had been derived, but Roberts was a printer as well as a bookseller. adds that “the story bas most of the features of an The only entry of it at Stationers' Hall is to Fisher, ancient romance;" but it is not at all impossible and it iuns as follows :that Shakespeare found some corresponding incidents in an Italian play. However, after a long
"8 Oct. 1600. Tho. Fysher) A booke called a Mydsomer
nights Dreame." search, I have not met with any such production. The question whether Shakespeare visited Italy, and
There is no memorandum regarding the impresat what period of his life, cannot properly be consid- sion by Roberts, which perhaps was unauthorized, ered here; but it is a very important point in relation although Heminge and Condell followed his text both to his biography and works.
when they included "Midsummer-Night's Dream" in It is vain to attempt to fix with any degree of pre- the folio of 1623. In some instances the folio adopts cision the date when “Love's Labor's Lost" came the evident misprints of Roberts, while such imfrom the author's pen. It was first printed, as far as provements as it makes are not obtained from Fishwe now know, in 1598, 4to, and then it professed er's more accurate copy. The chief difference beon the title-page to have been "newly corrected tween the two quartos and the folio is, that in the and augmented :" we are likewise there told that it latter the Acts, but not the Scenes, are distinguished. was presented before Queen Elizabeth "this last We know from the Palladis Tamia of Meres, that
“Midsummer Night's Dream" was in existence at " Ptolome:" of the former Gosson states, that it least two years before it came from the press. It " represented the greedinesse of worldly chusers, seems highly probable that it was not written before and bloody minds of usurers." The terms, “worldly the autumn of 1594, and if the speech of Titania in chusers," "may certainly have reference to the choice A. ii. sc. 1, were intended to describe the real state of the caskets; and the conduct of Shylock may of the kingdom, from the extraordinary wetness of very well be intended by the words, “ bloody minds the season—which in some points tallies with the of usurers." description of the state of the weather and the con Both the story of the bond and that of the caskets dition of the country in 1594, as given in Forman's are found separately in the Latin Gesta Romanorum, Diary and Stowe's Chronicle for that year,—we may with considerable variations. The Pecorone of Ser infer that the drama came from the pen of Shake- Giovanni Fiorentino-first printed in Italy in 1554speare at the close of 1594, or in the beginning of also contains a novel very similar to that of " The 1595.
Merchant of Venice," with respect to the bond, the “ The Knight's Tale" of Chaucer, and the same disguise and agency of Portia, and the gift of the poet's “ Tysbe of Babylone,” together with Arthur ring. In Boccaccio's Decameron a choice of casGolding's translation of the story of Pyramus and kets is introduced, but it does not in other respects Thisbe from Ovid, are the only sources yet pointed resemble the choice as we find it in Shakespeare ; out of the plots introduced and employed by Shake while the latter, even to the inscriptions, is extremely speare. Oberon, Titania, and Robin Good-fellow, or like the history in the Gesla Romanorum. Puck, are mentioned, as belonging to the fairy “ Henslowe's Diary," under date of 25th August, mythology, by many authors of the time. The 1594,
contains an entry relating to the performance Percy Society not long since 'reprinted a tract of " The Venetian Comedy," which Malone con called “Robin Good-fellow, his Mad Pranks and jectured might mean “ The Merchant of Venice;" Merry Jests," from an edition in 1628; but there and it is a circumstance not to be passed over, that is litile doubt that it orginally came out at least forty in 1594 the company of actors to which Shakespeare years earlier: together with a ballad inserted in the was attached was playing at the theatre in NewingIntroduction to that reprint, it shows how Shake-ton Butts, in conjunction, as far as we can now learn, speare availed himself of existing popular super- with the company of which Henslowe was chief stitions.
manager. There is every reason to believe that “Midsum Meres has "The Merchant of Venice" in his list, mer-Night's Dream” was popular: in 1622, the year which was published in 1598, and we have no means before it was reprinted in the first folio, it is thus of knowing how long prior to that date it was writmentioned by Taylor, the water-poet, in his "Sir ten. If it were “ The Venetian Comedy" of HensGregory Nonsense:"-"I say, as it is applausfully lowe, it was in a course of performance in August, written, and commended 10 posterity, in the Mid-1594. The earliest entry regarding “The Merchant summer-Night's Dream."
of Venice" in the Stationers' Register is curious,
chaunt of Venyce, or otherwise called the Jewe of
Venyse. Provided that yt bee not prynted by the said THE MERCHANT OF VENICE. James Robertes, or anye other whatsoever, without
lycence first had from the right honorable the Lord [" The excellent History of the Merchant of Venice. With Chamberlen."
the extreme cruelty of Shylocke the lew towards the saide Merchant, in cutting a inst pound of his flesh. And
Shakespeare was one of the players of the Lord the obtaining of Portia, by the choyse of three caskets. Chamberlain, and the object seems to have been to Written by W. Shakespcare. Printed by J. Roberts, 1600.” | prevent the publication of the play without the con4to, 40 leaves. "The most excellent Historie of the Merchant of Venice,
sent of the company, to be signified through the With the extreame crueltie of Shylocke the lewe towards nobleman under whose patronage they acted. This the sayd Merchant, in cutting a iu-t pound of his flesh: and caution was given two years before“ The Merchant the obtaining of Portia by the choyse of three chests. As of Venice” actually came from the press: we find it his Seruants. Written by William Shakespearo. At Lon published in 1600, both by J. Roberts and by Thomas don, Printed by 1. R., for Thomas Heyes, and are to be Heyes, in favor of the last of whom we meet with sold in Paules Church-yard, at the signe of the Greene another entry in the Stationers' books, without any
Dragon, 1600." 4to, 38 leaves.
proviso, dated, pages, viz, from p. 163 to p. 184, inclusive, in the division * 28 Oct., 1600, Tho. Haies.) The booke of the Merchant of Comedies." "Besides its appearance in the later folios, of Venyce." the Merchant of Venice was republished in 4to, in 1637 and 1652.)
By this time the “licence" of the Lord Chamber
lain for printing the play had probably been obtained. The two plots of “The Merchant of Venice" are "I. R.," the printer of the edition of Heyes, was, found as distinct novels in various ancient foreign most likely, J. Roberts; but it is entirely a distinct authorities, but no English original of either of them, impression to that which appeared in the same year of the age of Shakespeare, has been discovered with the name of Roberts. The edition of Roberts Whether the separate incidents, relating to the is, on the whole, to be preferred to that of Heyes; bond and to the caskets, were ever combined in but the editors of the folio of 1623 indisputably the same novel, at all as Shakespeare combined employed that of Heyes, adopting various misprints, them in his drama, cannot of course be determined. but inserting also several improvements of the text. Steevens asserts broadly, that "a play comprehend- The similarity between the name of Salanio, Salarino, ing the distinct plots of Shakespeare's Merchant of and Salerio, in the Dramatis Persona, has led to Venice had been exhibited long before he com some confusion of the speakers in all the copies, menced a writer;" and the evidence he adduces quarto and folio, which it has not always been found is a passage from Gosson's “School of Abuse," easy to set right. 1579, where he especially praises two plays "showne "The Merchant of Venice" was performed before at the Bull," one called " The Jew," and the other James I., on Shrove-Sunday, and again on Shrove
Tuesday, 1605: hence we have a right to infer that to the imagination. Thus in "As You Like Il' he It gave great satisfaction at court. The fact is thus describes an oak of many centuries growth in a sinrecorded in the original account of expenses, made gle line :out by the Master of the Revels, and still preserved Under an oak whose antique root peeps out.' in the Audit Office: “By His Matis Plaiers. On Shrovsunday a play of the description, and worked it out with all the pettiness
Other and inferior writers would have dwelt on this “By his Matis Players. On Shrovtusday a play cauled and impertinence of detail. In Shakespeare the
the Martchant of Venis againe, commanded by the 'antique root' furnishes the whole picture."
Adam Spencer is a character in “The Coke's The name of Shaxberd, for Shakespeare, as "the Tale of Gamelyn," and in Lodge's “ Rosalynde :" poet which made the play," is added in the margin and a great additional interest attaches to it, beopposite both these entries.
cause it is supposed, with some appearance of truth, that the part was originally sustained by Shakespeare himself. We have this statement on the authority of Oldys's MSS.: he is said to bave derived it, inter
mediately of course, from Gilbert Shakespeare, who AS YOU LIKE IT.
survived the Restoration, and who had a faint rec(" As You Like It" wns first printed in the folio of 1623, one of his own comedies, wherein, being to person,
ollection of having seen his brother William "in p. 207 inclusive, in the division of Comedies." It pre ate a decrepit old man, he wore a long beard, and served its place in the three subsequent impressions of appeared so weak and drooping, and unable to walk, that volume in 1632, 1664, and 1685.1"
that he was forced to be supported and carried by “As You Like It” is not only founded upon, but another person to a table, at which he was seated in some points very closely copied from, a novel by among some company, who were eating, and one Thomas Lodge, under the title of “Rosalynder of them sung a song.". This description very exEuphues Golden Legacie," which was originally actly tallies with “ As You Like It," A. ii., sc. 7. printed in 4to, 1590, a second time in 1592, and a
Shakespeare found no prototypes in Lodge, nor third edition came out in 1598. This third edition in any other work yet discovered, for the
characters perhaps appeared early in 1598; and we are dis- of Jaques, Touchstone, and Audrey. On the adposed to think, that the re-publication of so popular mirable manner in which he has made them part of a work directed Shakespeare's attention to it. If the staple of his story, and on the importance of 80, “As You Like It" may have been written in the these additions, it is needless to enlarge. summer of 1598, and first acted in the winter of the same, or in the spring of the following year.
The only entry in the registers of the Stationers' Company relating to “ As You Like It," is confirma
TAMING OF THE SHREW. tory of this supposition. It has been already referred to in the “Introduction” to “Much Ado ("The Taming of the Shrew” was first printed in the folio about Nothing."
of 1633, where it occupies twenty-two pages, viz., from p. It is not to be forgotten, in deciding upon the 208 to p. 229, inclusive, in the division of * Comedies." probable date of “As You Like It," that Meres
It was reprinted in the three later folios.] makes no mention of it in his Palladis Tamia, SHAKESPEARE was indebted for nearly the whole. 1598; and as it was entered at Stationers' Hall on plot of his " Taming of the Shrew" to an older play, the 4th August (1600], we may conclude that it was published in 1594, under the title of “The Taming written and acted in that interval.
of a Shrew." The mere circumstance of the adopThere is no doubt that Lodge, when composing tion of the title, substituting only the definite for the his “ Rosalynde : Euphues. Golden Legacie," had indefinite article, proves that he had not the slighteither “ The Coke's Tale of Gamelyn' strongly in est intention of concealing his obligation. his recollection, or a manuscript of it actually before A copy of the "Taming of a Shrew," published him. It was not printed until more than a century as early as 1594, and once in the possession of Pope, afterwards. According to Farmer, Shakespeare is now in the collection of the Duke of Devonshire : looked no farther than Lodge's novel, which he fol- the exact title of it is as follows:lowed in " As You Like It" quite as closely as he "A Plensant Conceited Historie, called The taming of a did Greene's " Pandosto" in the “Winter's Tale.” Shrew. As it was sundry times acted by the Right honor. There are one or two coincidences of expression be able the Enrle of Pembrook his serunnts. Printed at Lontween “ As You Like It" and " The Coke's Tale of don by Peter Short and are to be sold by Cutbert Burbie, Gamelyn," but not perhaps more than might be ac
at his shop at the Royall Exchange. 1594" 4to. cidental, and the opinion of Farmer appears to be There are three entries in the Registers of the sufficiently borne out.
Stationers' Company relating to “The Taming of a In his Lectures in 1818, Coleridge eloquently and Shrew," but not one referring to Shakespeare's justly praised the sastoral beauty and simplicity of “ Taming of the Shrew," which was probably never "As You Like It;" but he did not attempt to com- printed until it was inserted in the folio of 1623. pare it with Lodge's “Rosalynde," where the de On the question, when it was originally composed, scriptions of persons and of scenery are compara- opinions, including my own, have varied consideratively forced and artificial: "Shakespeare," said bly; but I now think we can arrive at a tolerably eatColeridge, “never gives a description of rustic isfactory decision, Malone first believed that " The scenery merely for its own sake, or to show how | Taming of the Shrow” was written in 1606, and well he can paint natural objects: he is never ledi- subsequently gave 1596 as its probable date. It ous or elaborate, but while he now and then displays appears to me, that nobody has sufficiently attended marvellous accuracy and minuteness of knowledge, to the apparently unimportant fact that in “Hambe usually only touches upon the larger features let" Shakespeare mistakenly introduces the name and broader characteristics, leaving the fillings up of Baptista as that of a woman, while in “The
Taming of the Shrew" Baptista is the father of Well" contains indications of the workings of ShakeKatharine and Bianca. Had he been aware when speare's mind, and specimens of his composition at he wrote “Hamlet" that Baptista was the name of two separate dates of his career. a man, he would hardly have used it for that of a It has been a point recently controverted, whether woman: but before he produced “The Taming of the “ Love Labours Won" of Meres were the same the Shrew" he had detected his own error. The piece as “ All's Well that Ends Well." My notion great probability is, that "Hamlet" was written at is (and the speculation deserves no stronger term) the earliest in 1601, and “The Taming of the that "All's Well that Ends Well" was in the first Shrew" perhaps came from the pen of its author instance, and prior to 1598, called "Love's Labor's not very long afterwards.
Won," and that it had a clear reference to “Love's The silence of Meres in 1598 regarding any such Labor's Lost," of which it might be considered the play by Shakespeare is also important: had it then counterpart. It was then, perhaps, laid by for some been written, he could scarcely have failed to men years, and revived by its author, with alterations and tion it; so that we have strong negative evidence additions, about 1605 or 1606, when the new title of its non-existence before the appearance of Palla- of "All's Well that, Ends Well" was given to it. dis Tamia.
Possibly Shakespeare altered its name, in order to As it is evident that Shakespeare made great use give an appearance of greater novelty to the repreof the old comedy, both in his Induction and in the sentation on its revival. This surmise, if well foundbody of his play, it is not necessary to inquire par-ed, would account for the difference in the titles, as ticularly to what originals the writer of "The we find them in Meres and in the folio of 1623. Taming of a Shrew" resorted. As regards the Without here entering into the question, whether Induction, Douce was of opinion that the story of Shakespeare understood Italian, of which, we think, “The Sleeper Awakened," in the " Arabian Nights' little doubt can be entertained, we need not suppose Entertainments," was the source of the many imi- that he went to Boccaccio's Decameron for the story tations which have, from time to time, been referred of " All's Well that Ends Well," because he found
it already translated to his hands, in "The Palace The Suppositi of Ariosto, freely translated by of Pleasure," by William Painter, of which the first Gascoyne, (before 1566, when it was acted at volume was published in 1566, and the second in Grey's Inn) under the title of the "The Supposes," 1567. The version by Painter may be read in seems to have afforded Shakespeare part of his "Shakespeare's Library;" and hence it will applot: it relates to the manner in which Lucentio pear, that the poet was only indebted to Boccaccio and Tranio pass off the Pedant as Vincentio, which for the mere outline of his plot, as regards Helena, is not found in the old "Taming of a Shrew." Oth- Bertram, the Widow, and Diana. All that belongs er slight links of connexion between "The Taming to the characters of the Countess, the Clown, and of the Shrew" and " The Supposes" have also been Parolles, and the comic business in which the last is noted. How little Shakespeare's "Taming of the engaged, were, as far as we now know, the invenShrew" was known in the beginning of the eigh- tion of Shakespeare. Shakespeare much degrades teenth century, may be judged from the fact, that the character of Bertram, towards the end of the “The Tatler," No. 231, contains the story of it, drama, by the duplicity, and even falsehood, he makes told as of a gentleman's family then residing in him display : Coleridge was offended by the fact, Lincolnshire.
that in A. iii., sc. 5, Helena, " Shakespeare's loveliest character," speaks that which is untrue under the appearance of necessity; but Bertram is convict
ed by the King of telling a deliberate untruth, and ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL. of persisting in it, in the
face of the whole court of
France. In Boccaccio the winding up of the story [" All's Well that Ends Well" was first printed in the folio
occurs at Rousillon, as in Shakespeare, but the King of 1623, and occupies twenty-five pages, viz., from p. 230 is no party to the scene. The substitution of Helena to p. 254, inclusive, in the division of "Comedies." It for Diana (as in “Measure for Measure" we had that fills the same space and place in the three later folios.]
of Mariana for Isabella) was a common incident in The most interesting question in connexion with Italian novels. “ All's Well that Ends Well" is, whether it was originally called "Love's Labor's Won ?" If it were, we may be sure that it was written before 1598; because in that year, and under the title of “Love Labours Wonne," it is included by Francis
TWELFTH-NIGHT: OR, WHAT Meres in the list of Shakespeare's plays introduced
YOU WILL. into his Palladis Tamia. It was the opinion of Coleridge, that “ All's Well ("Twelfe Night, or what you Wil," was first printed in the
of 1623, where it occupies twenty one pages; viz., that Ends Well," as it has come down to us, was from
P. 255 to p. 275, inclusive, in the division of "Come written at two different, and rather distant periods
p. 276 having been left blank, and unpaged. It apof the poet's life. He pointed out very clearly two
pears in the same forın in the three later folios.) distinct styles, not only of thought, but of expres We have no record of the performance of sion; and Professor Tieck, at a later date, adopted "Twelfth-Night" at court, nor is there any menand enforced the same belief. So far we are dis- tion of it in the books at Stationers' Hall until No. posed to agree with Tieck; but when he adds, that vember 8, 1623, when it was registered by Blount some passages which it is difficult to understand and Jaggard, as about to be included in the first and explain, are relics of the first draught of the folio of “Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, play, we do not concur, because they are chiefly to Histories, and Tragedies." It appeared originally be discovered in that portion of the drama which in that volume, under the double title, “ Twelfthaffords evidence of riper thought. There can be Night, or What You Will," with the Acts and little doubt, however, that Coleridge and Tieck are Scenes duly noted. right in their conclusion, that "All's Well that Ends We cannot determine with precision when it was