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and his Culex. Noble and great authors demand all our veneration: where their wills can be dif cover'd, they ought facredly to be comply'd with ; and that editor ill difcharges his duty, who prefumes to load them with things they have renounc'd: it happens but too often, that we have other ways to fhew our regard to them; their own great want of care in their copies, and the ftill greater want of it that is commonly in their impreffions, will find fufficient exercife for any one's friendship, who may wish to fee their works fet forth in that perfection which was intended by the author. And this friendship we have endeavour'd to fhew to Shakspeare in the prefent edition: the plan of it has been lay'd before the reader; upon whom it refts to judge finally of its goodness, as well as how it is executed: but as feveral matters have interven'd that may have driven it from his memory; and we are defirous above all things to leave a ftrong impreffion upon him of one merit which it may certainly pretend to, that is-it's fidelity; we fhall take leave to remind him, at parting, that— Throughout all this work, what is added without the authority of fome ancient edition, is printed in a black letter what alter'd, and what thrown out, conftantly 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

4 The particulars that could not well be pointed out below, according to the general method, or otherwife than by a note, are of three forts;-omiffions, any thing large; transpositions; and fuch differences of punctuation as produce great changes in the fenfe of a paffage: inftances of the firft occur in Love's Labour's Loft; p. 54, and in Troilus and Crefida, p. 109 and 117; of the fecond, in The Comedy of Errors, p. 62, and in Richhard III. p. 92, and 102; and The Tempest, p. 69, and King

page; where what is put out of the text, how minute and infignificant foever, is always to be met with; what alter'd, as conftantly fet down, and in the proper words of that edition upon which the alteration is form'd: and, even in authoriz'd readings, whoever is defirous of knowing further, what edition is follow'd preferably to the others, may be gratify'd too in that, by confulting the Various Readings; which are now finish'd; and will be publifh'd, together with the Notes, in fome other volumes, with all the speed that is convenient.

ORIGIN OF SHAKSPEARE'S FABLES.

All's well that ends well.

The fable of this play is taken from a novel, of which Boccace is the original author; in whose Decameron it may be feen at p. 97. of the Giunti edition, reprinted at London. But it is more than probable, that Shakspeare read it in a book, call'd The Palace of Pleafure: which is a collection of novels tranflated 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 tranflation, not (perhaps)

Lear, p. 53, afford instances of the laft; as may be seen by looking into any modern edition, where all thofe paffages ftand nearly as in the old ones.

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

immediately from Boccace, but from a French tranflator of him: as the original is in every body's hands, it may there be feen-that nothing is taken from it by Shakspeare, but fome leading incidents of the ferious part of his play.

Antony and Cleopatra.

This play, together with Coriolanus, Julius Cæfar, and fome part of Timon of Athens, are form'd upon Plutarch's Lives, in the articles-Coriolanus, Brutus, Julius Cæfar, and Antony: of which lives there is a French tranflation, of great fame, made by Amiot, Bishop of Auxerre and great almoner of France; which, fome few years after it's firft appearance, was put into an English dress by our countryman Sir Thomas North, and publifh'd in the year 1579, in folio. As the language of this tranflation is pretty good, for the time; and the fentiments, which are Plutarch's, breathe the genuine spirit of the several hiftorical perfonages; Shakspeare has, with much judgment, introduc'd no fmall number of fpeeches into these plays, in the very words of that tranflator, turning them into verfe: which he has fo well wrought up, and incorporated with his plays, that, what he has introduc'd, cannot be discover'd by any reader, 'till it is pointed out for him.

As you like it.

A novel, or (rather) paftoral romance, intitl'dEuphues's Golden Legacy, written in a very fantaftical style by Dr. Thomas Lodge, and by him first publifh'd in the year 1590, in quarto, is the foun

dation of As you like it: befides the fable, which is pretty exactly follow'd, the outlines of certain principal characters may be obferv'd in the novel : and fome expreffions of the novelift (few, indeed, and of no great moment,) feem to have taken poffeffion of Shakspeare's memory, and from thence crept into his play.

Comedy of Errors.

Of this play, the Menæchmi of Plautus is most certainly the original: yet the poet went not to the Latin for it; but took up with an English Menæchmi, put out by one W. W. in 1595, quarto. This tranflation,-in which the writer profeffes to have us'd fome liberties, which he has diftinguish'd by a particular mark,—is in profe, and a very good one for the time: it furnish'd Shakspeare with nothing but his principal incident; as you may in part fee by the tranflator's argument, which is in verfe, and runs thus:

"Two twinborne fonnes, a Sicill marchant had,
"Menechmus one, and Soficles the other;
"The firft his father loft a little lad,

"The grandfire namde the latter like his brother:
"This (growne a man) long travell tooke to feeke,
"His brother, and to Epidamnum came,
"Where th' other dwelt inricht, and him fo like,
"That citizens there take him for the fame;

Father, wife, neighbours, each mistaking either, "Much pleasant error, ere they meete togither."

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

Cymbeline.

Boccace's ftory of Bernardo da Ambrogivolo, (Day 2, Nov. 9,) is generally fuppos'd to have furnifh'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 (tranflated, or imitated,) are to be found in English books, prior to, or contemporary with, Shakspeare 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 fecond 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 fame in all. We may venture to pronounce it a book of those times, and that early enough to have been us'd by Shakspeare, as I am perfuaded it was; though the copy that I have of it, is no older than 1620; it is a quarto pamphlet of only five fheets and a half, printed in a black letter: fome reafons for my opinion are given in another place; (v. Winter's Tale) though perhaps they are not neceffary, as it may one day better be made appear a true one, by the discovery of fome more ancient edition.

Hamlet.

About the middle of the fixteenth century, Francis de Belleforeft, a French gentleman, entertain'd his countrymen with a collection of novels, which he intitles-Hiftoires Tragiques; they are in part originals, part tranflations, and chiefly from Bandello: he began to publish them in the

year

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