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has been lay'd before the reader; upon whom it rests to judge finally of its goodness, as well as how it is executed: but as several matters have interven'd that may have driven it from his memory; and we are desirous above all things to leave a strong impression upon him of one merit which it may certainly pretend to, that is --it's fidelity; we shall take leave to remind him, at parting, that Throughout all this work, what is added without the authority of some ancient edition, is printed in a black letter: what alter'd, and what thrown out, constantly taken notice of; fome few times in a note, where the matter was long, or of a complex nature; · but, more generally at the bottom of the page; where what is put out of the text, how minute and insignificant soever, is always to be met with; what alter'd, as constantly set down, and in the proper words of that edition upon which the alteration is form'd: and, even in authoriz'd readings, whoever is desirous of knowing further, what edition is follow'd preferably to the others, may

be gratify'd too in that, by consulting the Various

· The particulars that could not well be pointed out below, according to the general method, or otherwise than by a note, are of three forts - omissions, any thing large; tranfpofitions ; and fuch differences of punctuation as produce great changes in the sense of a passage: instances of the first occur in Love's Labour's Lost, p. 54, and in Troilus and Grejida, p. 109 and 117; of the second, in The Comedy of Errors, p. 62, and in Richard 111. p. 92, and 102 ; and The Tempeft, p. 69, and King Lear, p. 53, afford instances of the last; as may be feen by looking into any modern edition, where all those passages stand nearly as in the old ones.

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

Readings; which are now finish'd; and will be publish'd, together with the Notes, in some other volumes, with all the speed that is convenient,

ORIGIN OF SHAKSPEARE'S FABLES,

All's well that end's well.

The fable of this play is taken from a novel, of which Boccace is the original author; in whose Decameron it may be seen at p. 97.5 of the Giunti edition, reprinted at London. Bụt it is more than probable, that Shakspeare read it in a book, callid The Palace of Pleasure: which is a collection of novels translated 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 translation, not (perhaps) immediately from Boccace, but from a French translator of him: as the original is in every body's hands, it may there be seen -- that nothing is taken from it by Shakspeare, but some leading incidents of the ferious part of his play

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Antony and Cleopatra, This play, together with Coriolanus, Julius Cæfar, and some part of Timon of Athens, are form'd upon Plutarch's Lives in the articles - Coriolanus, Brutus, Julius Cæsar, and Antony: of which lives there is a French translation, of great fame, made by Amiot,

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bishop of Auxerre and great almoner of France; which some few years after it's first appearance, was put into an English dress by our countryman Sir Thomas North, and publish'd in the year 1579, in folio. As the language of this translation is pretty good, for the time, and the sentiments, which are Plutarch's, breathe the genuine fpirit of the several historical pertonages; Shakspeare has, with much judgment, introduc'd no small number of speeches into these plays, in the very words of that translator, turning them into verse: which he has so well wrought up, and incorporated with his plays, that, what he has introduc'd, calinot be discover'd by any reader, 'till it is pointed out for him.

As you like it.

A novel, or (rather) paftoral romance, intitldEuphues' golden Legacy, written in a very fantastical style by Dr. Thomas Lodge, and by him first publish'd in the year 1590, in quarto, is the foundation of As you like it: besides the fable, which is pretty exactly follow'd, the outlines of certain principal characters may be observ'd in the novel: and some expressions of the novelist (few, indeed, and of no great moment,) seem to have taken possession of Shakspeare's memory, and from thence crept into his play

Comedy of Errors. Of this play, the Menachmi of Plautus is most certainly the original: yet the poet went not to the Latin for it; but took up with an English

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Menæchmi, put out by one W. W. in 1595, quarto, This translation in which the writer professes to have us'd some liberties, which lie has distinguish'd by a particular mark, ---is in prose, 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 translator's argument, which is in verse, and runs thus:

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Two twinborne fonpes, a Sicill marchant had,
“ Menechmus one, and Soficles the other;
" The first his father loft.a litle lad,
" The grandfire namde the latter like his brother:
" This (growne a man) long travell took to seeke,
" His brother, and to Epidamnum came,

Where th' other dwelt inricht, and him so like,
“ That citizens there take him for the same,

Father, wife, neighbours, each mistaking either, “ Much pleasant error, cre they meet togither.”

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

Cymbeline. Boccace's story of Bernabo da Ambrogivolo (Day 2, Nov. 9,). is generally suppos'd to have furnish'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 (translated or imitated,) are to be found in English books, prior to,

or contemporary with, Shakfpeare: and of this novel in particular, there is an imitation extant in a story-book of that time, intitl'd-Westward for Smelts : it is the second 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 same in all. We may venture to pronounce it a book of those times, and that early enoụgh to have been us'd by Shakspeare, as I am persuaded it was; though the copy that I have of it, is no older than 1620; it is a quarto pamphlet of only five sheets and a half, printed in black letter: some reasons for my opinion are given in another place; (v. Winter's Tale) though perhaps they are not necessary, as it may one day be better made appear a true one, by the discovery of some more ancient edition.

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Hamlet.

About the middle of the fixteenth century, Francis de Belleforest, a French gentleman, entertain'd his countrymen with a collection of novels, which he intitles - Histoires Tragiques; they are in part originals, part translations, and chiefly from Bandello: he began to publish them in the year 1564; and continu'd his publication successively in feveral tomes; how many I know not; the dedication to his fifth tome is dated six years after. In that tome, the troisieme Histoire has this title; -« Avec quelle rufe Amleth, qui depuis fut roy de Dannenarch, vengea la mort de son pere Horvuendille, vecis par Fengon fon frere, & autre occurrence de son Histoire." Painter, who has been mention'd befure compil'd his Palace of Pleasure almost entirely froin Belleforeft, taking here and there a novel as pleas'd him, but he did not translate the whole: other novels, it is probable, were translated by different people, and publish'd fagly; this, at

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