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Of these events at full: Let us go in;
Gra. Let it be so; The first intergatory,
Nerissa shall be sworn on, is, Whether till the next night she had rather stay; Or go to bed now, being two hours to-day : But were the day come, I should wish it dark, That I were couching with the doctor's clerk. Well, while I live, I'll fear no other thing So sore, as keeping safe Nerissa's ring. [Exeunt.
• Of The MERCHANT OF VENICE the style is even and easy, with few peculiarities of diction, or anomalies of construction. The comic part raises laughter, and the serious fixes expectation. The probability of either one or the other story cannot be maintained. The union of two actions in one event is in this drama eminently happy. Dryden was much pleased with his own address in connecting the two plots of his Spanish Friar, which yet, I believe, the critic will find excelled by this play.—Johnson.
AS YOU LIKE I'T.
Though this exquisite comedy appears to have been first published in the player's edition of our author's works in 1623, it must have been written before the year 1600; as at the beginning of the second volume of the entries at Stationers' Hall, two leaves of irregular prohibitions, notes, &c. are placed, in which As you like it is mentioned. An entry of the 4th of August, 1600, contains a caveat relative to three of our author's plays, the present comedy, Henry the Fifth, and Much ado about Nothing.–With respect to the other two plays, the caveat was soon taken off, and they were both published within the month. As you like it may have been printed at the same time, but no copy of such an edition has been discovered.
The plot of the play was taken from Lodge's Rosalynd, or Euphue's Golden Legacye, 4to. 1590. And Shakspeare has followed the novel more exactly than is his general custom when he is indebted to such worthless originals. He 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.
} lords attending on the duke in his banishment.
Duke, living in exile.
sons of Sir Rowland de Bois.
servants to Oliver.
ROSALIND, daughter to the banished duke.
The Scene lies, first, near OLIVER's House; afterwards, partly in the Usurper's Court and partly in the Forest of Arden.
a The list of the persons being omitted in the old editions, was added by Mr. Rowe.--JOHNSON.
AS YOU LIKE IT.
Scene I.-An Orchard, near Oliver's House.
Enter ORLANDO and ADAM.
Orl. 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 :a 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 nothing under him but growth; for the which his animals on his dunghills are as much bound to him as I. Besides this nothing that he so plentifully gives me, the something that nature gave me, his countenance seems 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 longer endure it, though yet I know no wise remedy how to avoid it.
charged my brother, on his blessing, to breed me well :] Much obscurity is imagined to exist in this passage.--"But,” says Johnson, what is there difficult? The nominative my father is certainly left out, but so left out that the auditor inserts it in spite of himself.”