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ON THE Fable AND Composition of
As You Like It was certainly borrowed, if we believe Dr. Gray, and Mr. Upton, from the Coke's Tale of Gamelyn ; which by the way was not printed 'till a century afterward: when in truth the old bard, who was no hunter of MSS. contented himself solely with Lodge's Rosalynd, or, Euphues' Golden Legacye. 4to. 1590.
FARMER. Shakspere has followed Lodge's novel more exactly than is his general custom when he is indebted to such worthless ori. ginals; and has sketched some of his principal characters, and borrowed a few expressions from it. His imitations, &c. however, are in general too insignificant to merit transcription.
It should be observed that the characters of Jaques, the Clown, and Audrey, are entirely of the poet's own formation.
Although I have never met with any edition of this comedy before the year 1623, it is evident, that such a publication was at least designed. At the beginning of the second volume of the entries at Stationers' Hall, are placed two leaves of irregular prohibitions, notes, &c. Among these are the following:
to be staied." “ Comedy of Much Adı, a book. The dates scattered over these pages are from 1596 to 1615.
STEEVENS. Of this play the fable is wild and pleasing. I know not how the ladies will approve the facility with which both Rosalind
and Celia give away their hearts. To Celia much may be forgiven for the heroism of her friendship. The character of Jaques is natural and well preserved. The comick dialogue is very sprightly, with less mixture of low buffoonery than in some other plays; and the graver part is elegant and harmonious. By hastening to the end of his work, Shakspere suppressed the dialogue between the usurper and the hermit, and lost an opportunity of exhibiting a moral lesson in which he might have found matter worthy of his highest powers. JOHNSON.
MEN. Duke. FREDERICK, Brother to the Duke, and Usurper. AMIENS, Lords attending upon the Duke in his Banisha JAQUES, S ment. LE BEAU, a Courtier attending upon Frederick. OLIVER, eldest Son to Sir Rowland de Boys. JA QUES, ORLANDO, 3 ADAM, an old Servant of Sir Rowland de Boys. TOUCHSTONE, a Clown. CORIN,
Sylvius, } Shepherds.
WILLIAM, in Love with Audrey.
other Attendants. The Scene lies, first, near Oliver's House; and, afterwards,
partly in the Duke's court; and partly in the forest of Arden.
Orlando. As I remember, Adam, it was upon this fashion bequeathed me: By.will, but a poor thousand crowns; and, as thou say'st, charged my brother, on his blessing, to breed me well: and there begins my sadness. My brother Jaques he keeps at school, and report speaks goldenly of his profit: for my part, he keeps me rustically at home, or, to speak more properly, stays me here at home, unkept; For call you that keeping for a gentleman of my birth, that differs not from the stalling of an ox? His horses are bred better; for, besides that they are fair with their feeding, they are taught their manage, and to that end riders dearly hired: but I, his brother, gain B
nothing under him but growth ; for the which his animals on his dunghills are as much bound to him as 1. Besides this nothing that he so plentifully gives me, the something that nature gave me, his countenance scems to take from me: he lets me feed with his hinds, bars me the place of a brother, and as much as in him lies, mines my gentility with my education. This is it, Adam, that grieves me; and the spirit of my father, which I think is within me, begins to mutiny against this servitude : I will no fonger endure it, though yet I know no wise remedy how to avoid it.
Adam. Yonder comes my master, your
brother. Orla. Go apart, Adam, and thou shalt hear how he will shake me up.
31 Oli. Now, sir ! what make you here?
Orla. Nothing : I am not taught to make any thing.
Oli. What mar you then, sir ?
Orla. Marry, sir, I am helping you to mar that which God made, a poor unworthy brother of yours, with idleness.
Oli. Marry, sir, be better employ'd, and be nought a while.
Orla. Shall I keep your hogs, and eat husks with them? What prodigal portiori have I spent, that I should come to such penury? Oli. Know you where you are, sir?
Orla. O, sir, very well : here in your orchard.
Orla. Ay, better than he, I am before, knows me. I know you are my eldest brother; and, in the gentle condition of blood, you should so know me : The courtesy of nations allows you my better, in that you are the first-born ; but the same tradition takes not away my blood, were there twenty brothers betwixt AUS: I have as much of my father in me, as you, albeit, I confess your coming before me is nearer to his reverence,
52 Oli. What, boy! Oxla. Come, come, elder brother; you are top
young in this.
Oli. Wilt thou lay hands on me, villain ?
Orla. I am no villain.: I am the youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys; he was my father; and he is thrice, a villain, that says, such a father begot villains: Wert thou not my brother, I would not take this ,hand from thy throat, 'till this other had pulled out thy tongue for saying so; thou hast rail'd on thyself.
Adam. Sweet masters, be patient; for your father's remembrance, be at accord.
64 Oli. Let me go,
say. Orla. I will not; 'till I please : you shall hear me. My father charg'd you in his will to give me good education :
: you have train'd me up like a peasant, obscuring and hiding from me all gentleman-like qualities : the spirit of my father grows strong in me, and I will no longer endure it: therefore al