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WINTER's Tale.]—This play, throughout, is written in the very spirit of its author. And in telling this homely and simple, though agreeable, country tale,
Our sweetest Shakespeare, fancy's child,
Warbles his native wood-notes wild.
This was necessary to observe, in mere justice to the play; as the meanness of the fable, and the extravagant conduct of it, had misled some of great name into a wrong judgement of its merit; which, as far as it regards sentiment and character, is scarce inferior to any in the whole collection.
At Stationers' Hall, May 22, 1594, Edward White entered A booke entitled A Wynter Nyght's Pastime."
The story of this play is taken from The Pleasant Hisof Dorastus and Fawnia, written by Robert Greene.
In this novel, the King of Sicilia, whom Shakespeare
Leontes, is called
Mopsa. The parts of Antigonus, Paulina, and Autolycus, are of the poet's own invention; but many circumstances of the novel are omitted in the play.
STEEVENS. Dr. Warburton, by “some of great name," means Dryden and Pope. See the Essay at the end of the Second Part of The Conquest of Granada : Witness the lameness of their plots ; [the plots of Shakespeare and Fletcher;] many of which, especially those which they wrote first, (for even that age refined itself in some measure,) were made up of some ridiculous incoherent story, which in one play many times took up the business of an age. I suppose I need not