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* MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. ] The Rory is taken from Ariosto, Orl. Fur. B. V. Pope.
It is true, as Mr. Pope has observed, that somewhat refembling the story of this play' is to be found in the fifth book of the Orlando Furioso. In Spenser's Faery Queen, B. II. c. iv. as remote an original may be traced. A novel, however, of Bellefoi eft, copied from another of Bandello, seems to have furnished Shakspeare with his fable, as it approaches nearer in all its particulars to the play before us, than any other performance known to be extant. I have seen so many versions from this once popular colle&ion, that I entertain no doubt but that a great majority of the tales it comprehends, have made their appearance in an English dress. Of that particular story which I have just mentioned. viz. the 18th history in the third volume, no translation has hitherto been met with. This play was entered at Stationers' Hall, Aug. 23, 1600.
STEEVENS. Ariosto is continually quoted for the fable of Much ado about Nothing; but I suspeå yur poet to have been satisfied with the Geneura of Turberville. " The tale (says Harington) is a pretic comical matter, and hath bin written in English verse lome few ycars past, learnedly and with good grace, by M. George Turbervil." Ariosto, fol. 1591, p. 39. FARMER. I suppose this com
omedy to have been written in 1600, in which year it was printed. See An A Hempt to ascertain the Order of Shakspeare's Plays, Vol. Il. MALONE,
Don Pedro, Prince of Arragon.
by Don Pedro.
followers of Don John.
two foolish officers.
Hero, daughter to Leonato.
gentlewomen attending on Hero.