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The story of All's Well that ends Well, or, as I suppose it to have been sometimes called, Love's Labour Wonne, is originally indeed the property of Boccace, but it came immediately to Shakspeare from Painter's Giletra of Narbon, in the Firft Vol. of the Palace of Pleasure, 4to. 1566, p. 88.
FARNER. Shakspeare is indebted to the novel only for a few leading circumItances in the graver parts of the piece. The comic bufinefs appears to be entirely of his own formation. STLEVENS.
This comedy, I imagine, was written in 1598. See An Attempe eo ascertain obe Order of Sbakspeare's Plays, Vol. I. MALONE.
PERSONS REPRESENTÈD. ?
King of France.
Servants to the Countess of Rousillon.
} Neighbours and friends to the widow.
Lords, attending on the King; Oficers, Soldiers, &c. French
SCENE, partly in France, and partly in Tuscany.
% The persons were first enumerated by Mr. Rowe, 3 Lafu,? We should read Lofeu STEEVENS
4 Priles ] suppose we should write this namem-Paroles, i. e. a crea. ture made up of empty words. STEEVENS.
s Vistin'e only enters once, ard then she neither speaks, nor is spoken to. This name appears to be borrowed from an old metrical history, en. titled Didaco and Violenta, 1576. STEEVENS,
A Room in the Countess's Palace,
Enter BERTRAM, the Countess of Rousillon, HELENA, and
LAFEU, in mourning. Count. In delivering my son from me, I bury a second husband.
Ber. And I, in going, madam, weep o'er my father's death anew ; but I must attend his majesty's command, to whom I am now in ward,+ evermore in subjection.
Laf. You shall find of the king a husband, madam ;-you, fir, a father : He that so generally is at all times good, muit of necessity hold his virtue to you ; whose worthiness would ftir it up where it wanted, rather than lack it where there is such abundance.
Count. What hope is there of his majesty's amendment? Laf. He hath abandon'd his physicians, madam ; under whose practices he hath perfecuted time with hope ; and finds no other advantage in the process, but only the losing of hope by time.
2 Under his particular care, as my guardian, sill I come to age. It is now almost forgotten in England, that the heirs of great fortunes were the King's wards. Whether the same practice prevailed in France, it is of no great use to enquire, for Shakspeare gives to all nations the manner of England. JOHNSON
Howell's fifteenth letter acquaints us that the province of Normandy was subject to wardships, and no other part of France befides; but the fupposition of the contrary furnished Shakspeare with a reason why the King compelled Roufillun to marry Helen. TOLLET.
The prerogative of a wardship is a branch of the feud il law, and may as well be supposed to be incorporated with the constitution of France, as it was with that of England, till the reign of Charles II. 3
SIR T. HAN KIX E
Count. This young gentlewoman had a father, (0, that had! how fad a passage 'tis !3) whose skill was almost as great as his honefty; had it stretch'd so far, would have made nature immortal, and death should have play for lack of work. 'Would, for the king's fake, he were living! I think, it would be the death of the king's disease.
Laf. How call'd you the man you speak of, madam ?
Count. He was famous, fir, in his profession, and it was his great right to be so: Gerard de Narbon.
Laf. He was excellent, indeed, madam ; the king very lately spoke of him, admiringly, and mourningly: he was fkilful enough to have liv'd still, if knowledge could be sec up against mortality.
Ber. What is it, my good lord, the king languishes of ?
Laf. I would it were not notorious.-Was this gentlewoman the daughter of Gerard de Narbon ?
Count. His fole child, my lord; and bequeathed to my overlooking. I have those hopes of her good, that her education promises : her difpofitions fhe inherits, which make fair gifts fairer; for where an unclean mind carries virtuous qualities, there commendations go with pity, they are vir
tues 3 Imitated from the Heautontimorumenos of Terence, (then tranfated,) where Menedemus says:
Filium unicum adolefcentulum
babui, Chreme, 16 Nunc babeam necne incertum eft." BLACKSTONL. Palage is any thing that pales. So we now say, a palage of an autbor, and we said about a century ago, the passages of a reign. When the counters mentions Helena's lofs of a father, the recollects her own loss of a husband, and stops to observe how heavily that word bad passes through her mind.
JOHNSON, 4 By virtuous qualities are meant qualities of good breeding and erudi. tion; in the fame sense that the Italians say, qualità virtuofa ; and not moral ones. On this account it is, she says, that, in an ill mind, these virtuous qualities are virtues and traitors too : i. e. the advantages of education enable an ill mind to go further in wickedness than it could have done without them. WARBURTON.
Virtue, and virtuous, as I am told, ftill keep this signification in the north, and mean ingenuity and ingenious. STEEVENS.