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page; where what is put out of the text, how minute and infignificant foever, is always to be met with; what alter'd, as confiantly fet down, and in the proper words of that edition upon which the alteration is form'd: and, even in authoriz'd readings, whoever is defirous of knowing further, what edition is follow'd preferably to the others, may be gratify'd too in that, by confulting the Various Readings; which are now finish'd; and will be publish'd, together with the Notes, in fome other volumes, with all the speed that is convenient.


All's well that ends well.

The fable of this play is taken from a novel, of which Boccace is the original author; in whose Decameron it may be feen at p. 97.b of the Giunti edition, reprinted at London. But it is more than probable, that Shakspeare read it in a book, call'd The Palace of Pleafure: which is a collection of novels tranflated from other authors, made by one William Painter, and by him first publish'd in the years 1565 and 67, in two tomes, quarto; the novel now spoken of, is the thirty-eighth of tome the first. This novel is a meagre tranflation, not (perhaps)

Lear, p. 53, afford inftances of the laft; as may be seen by looking into any modern edition, where all thofe paffages ftand nearly as in the old ones.

[All these references are to Mr. Capell's own edition of our author.]

immediately from Boccace, but from a French tranflator of him: as the original is in every body's hands, it may there be feen-that nothing is taken from it by Shakspeare, but fome leading incidents of the ferious part of his play.

Antony and Cleopatra.

This play, together with Coriolanus, Julius Cæfar, and fome part of Timon of Athens, are form'd upon Plutarch's Lives, in the articles-Coriolanus, Brutus, Julius Cæfar, and Antony of which lives there is a French tranflation, of great fame, made by Amiot, Bishop of Auxerre and great almoner of France; which, fome few years after it's firft appearance, was put into an English drefs by our countryman Sir Thomas North, and publish'd in the year 1579, in folio. As the language of this tranflation is pretty good, for the time; and the fentiments, which are Plutarch's, breathe the genuine spirit of the several historical perfonages; Shakspeare has, with much judgment, introduc'd no fmall number of speeches into these plays, in the very words of that tranflator, turning them into verfe: which he has fo well wrought up, and incorporated with his plays, that, what he has introduc'd, cannot be difcover'd by any reader, 'till it is pointed out for him.

As you like it.

A novel, or (rather) paftoral romance, intitl'd— Euphues's Golden Legacy, written in a very fantaftical ftyle by Dr. Thomas Lodge, and by him first publish'd in the year 1590, in quarto, is the foun

dation of As you like it: befides the fable, which is pretty exactly follow'd, the outlines of certain princial characters may be obferv'd in the novel: and fome expreffions of the novelift (few, indeed, and of no great moment,) feem to have taken poffeffion of Shakspeare's memory, and from thence crept into his play.

Comedy of Errors.

Of this play, the Menæchmi of Plautus is most certainly the original: yet the poet went not to the Latin for it; but took up with an English Menæchmi, put out by one W. W. in 1595, quarto. This tranflation,-in which the writer profeffes to have us'd fome liberties, which he has diftinguifh'd by a particular mark,-is in profe, and a very good one for the time: it furnish'd Shakspeare with nothing but his principal incident; as you may in part see by the tranflator's argument, which is in verfe, and runs thus:

"Two twinborne sonnes, a Sicill marchant had,
"Menechmus one, and Soficles the other;
"The firft his father loft a little lad,

"The grandfire namde the latter like his brother :
"This (growne a man) long travell tooke to feeke,
"His brother, and to Epidamnum came,
"Where th' other dwelt inricht, and him fo like,
"That citizens there take him for the fame;
"Father, wife, neighbours, each mistaking either,
"Much pleasant error, ere they meete togither."

It is probable, that the laft of these verses suggested the title of Shakspeare's play.


Boccace's ftory of Bernardo da Ambrogivolo, (Day 2, Nov. 9,) is generally fuppos'd to have furnith'd Shakspeare with the fable of Cymbeline: but the embracers of this opinion feem not to have been aware, that many of that author's novels (tranflated, or imitated,) are to be found in English books, prior to, or contemporary with, Shakspeare and of this novel in particular, there is an imitation extant in a story-book of that time, intitl'd-Weftward for Smelts: it is the fecond tale in the book the scene, and the actors of it are different from Boccace, as Shakspeare's are from both; but the main of the story is the fame in all. We may venture to pronounce it a book of those times, and that early enough to have been us'd by Shakspeare, as I am perfuaded it was; though the copy that I have of it, is no older than 1620; it is a quarto pamphlet of only five fheets and a half, printed in a black letter: fome reafons for my opinion are given in another place; (v. Winter's Tale) though perhaps they are not neceffary, as it may one day better be made appear a true one, by the difcovery of fome more ancient edition.


About the middle of the fixteenth century, Francis de Belleforeft, a French gentleman, entertain'd his countrymen with a collection of novels, which he intitles-Hiftoires Tragiques; they are in part originals, part tranflations, and chiefly from Bandello: he began to publifh them in the year

1564; and continu'd his publication fucceffively in feveral tomes, how many I know not; the dedication to his fifth tome is dated fix years after. In that tome, the troifieme Hiftoire has this title; "Avec quelle rufe Amleth, qui depuis fut roy de Dannemarch, vengea la mort de fon pere Horvuendille, occis par Fengon fon frere, & autre occurrence de fon hiftoire." Painter, who has been mention'd before, compil'd his Palace of Pleafure almoft entirely from Belleforeft, taking here and there a novel as pleas'd him, but he did not tranflate the whole other novels, it is probable, were tranflated by different people, and publifh'd fingly; this, at leaft, that we are speaking of, was fo, and is intitl'd-The Hiftorie of Hamblet; it is in quarto, and black letter: there can be no doubt made, by perfons who are acquainted with these things, that the tranflation is not much younger than the French original; though the only edition of it, that is yet come to my knowledge, is no earlier than 1608: that Shakspeare took his play from it, there can likewife be very little doubt.

1 Henry IV.

In the eleven plays that follow,-Macbeth, King John, Richard II. Henry IV. two parts, Henry V. Henry VI. three parts, Richard III. and Henry VIII. -the hiftorians of that time, Hall, Holinfhed, Stow, and others, (and, in particular, Holinfhed,) are pretty closely follow'd; and that not only for their matter, but even fometimes in their expreffions the harangue of the Archbishop of Canterbury in Henry V. that of Queen Catharine in Henry VIII. at her trial, and the king's reply to it, are taken from those chroniclers, and put into

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