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attacked for some deviations from him in the conduct of it: when probably all he knew of the matter was from madam Isabella in the Heptameron of Whetstone. Ariosto is continually quoted for the fable of Much ado about nothing ; but I suspect our poet to have been fatisfied with the Geneura of Turberville. As you like it was certainly borrowed, if we believe Dr. Grey, and Mr. Upton, from the Coke's Tale of Gamelyn; which by the way was not printed till a century afterward: when in truth the old bard, who was no hunter of MSS. contented himself folely with Lodge's Rosalynd, or Euphues' Golden Legacye, quarto, 1590. The story of All's well that ends well, or, as I suppose it to have been sometimes called, Love's Labour Wonne, is originally indeed the property of Boccace,' but it came
* Lond. 4to. 1582. She reports in the fourth dayes exercise, the rare Historie of Promos and Cassandra. A marginal note informs us, that Whetstone was the author of the Commedie on that subject; which likewise might have fallen into the hands of Shakspeare.
S" The tale is a pretie comical matter, and hath bin written in English verse some few years past, learnedly and with good grace, by M. George Turberuil. Harrington's Ariosto, fol. 1591. p. 39.
6 See Meres's Wits Treasure, 1598. p. 282.
? Our ancient poets are under greater obligations to Boccace, than is generally imagined. Who would fufpea, that Chaucer hath borrowed from an Italian the facetious tale of the Miller of Trumpington?
Mr. Dryden observes on the epick performance, Palamon and Arcite, a poem little inferior in his opinion to the Iliad or the Æneid, that the name of its author is wholly lost, and Chaucer is now become the original. But he is mistaken: this too was the work of Boccace, and printed at Ferrara in folio, con il commento di Andrea Bali, 1475. I have seen a
immediately to Shakspeare from Painter's Giletta of Narbon. Mr. Langbaine could not conceive , whence the story of Pericles could be taken , meeting in history with any such Prince of Tyre;" yet his legend may be found at large in old Gower, under the name of Appolynus.'
Pericles is one of the plays omitted in the latter editions, as well as the early folios, and not improperly; though it was published many years before the death of Shakspeare, with his name in the title-page. Aulus Gellius informs us, that some plays are ascribed absolutely to Plautus, which he only re-touched and polished; and this is undoubtedly the case with our author likewise. The revival of this performance, which Ben Jonson calls stale and mouldy , was probably his earliest attempt in the drama. I know, that another of these discarded pieces, The Yorkshire Iragedy, hath been frequently called so; but most certainly it was not written by our poet at all: nor indeed was it printed in his life-time. The fact on which it is built, was perpetrated no sooner than 1604;o much too late for
copy of it, and a translation into modern Greek, in the noble library of the very learned and communicative Dr. Askew.
It is likewise to be met with in old French, under the title of La Théséide de Jean Boccace, contenant les belles & chastes amours de deux jeunes Chevaliers Thébains Arcile & Palemon.
8 In the first Vol. of the Palace of Pleasure, 4to. 1566.
9 Confefio Amantis, printed by T. Berthelet, fol. 1532. p. 175, &c.
? " William Caluerley, of Caluerley in Yorkshire, Esquire, murdered two of his owne chilaren in his owne house, then stabde his wife into the body with full intent to haue killed her, and then instantlie with like fury went from his house,
so mean a performance from the hand of Shak. speare.
Sometimes a very little matter detects a forgery. You may remember a play called The Double Falshood, which Mr. Theobald was desirous of palming upon the world for a pofthumous one of Shakspeare: and I see it is classed as such in the last edition of the Bodleian catalogue. Mr. Pope himself, after all the strictures of Scriblerus, in a letter to Aaron Hill, supposes it of that age; but a mistaken accent determines it to have been written since the middle of the last century:
This late example
66 From each good aspeet takes away my trust." And in another place,
66 You have an aspect, fir, of wondrous wisdom.”
The word aspect, you perceive, is here accented on the firs syllable, which, I am confident, in any sense of it, was never the case in the time of Shakspeare; though it may sometimes appear to be so, when we do not observe a preceding elision.
to haue flaine his yongest childe at nurse, but was preuented. Hee was prest to death in Yorke. the 5 of August, 1604. Edm. Howes' Continuation of John Stowe's Summarie, 8vo. 1607, p. 574. The story appeared before in a 4to. pamphlet, 1605. It is omitted in the folio chronicle, 1631. 3 These, however, he assures Mr. Hill,
property of Dr. Arbuthnot.
4 Thus a line in Hamlet's defcription of the Player, should be printed as in the old folios:
66 Tears in his eyes, distraction in's afpéét.' agreeably to the accent in a hundred other places.
Some of the professed imitators of our old poets have not attended to this and many other minulia : I could point out to you several performances in the respective styles of Chaucer, Spenser, and Shakspeare, which the imitated bard could not possibly have either read or construed. This yery
accent háth troubled the annotators on Milton. Dr. Bentley observes it to be “a tone different from the present use." Mr. Manwaring, in his Treatise of Harmony and Numbers , very folemnly informs us, that “this verse is defective both in accent and quantity, B. III. v. 266:
• His words here 'ended, but his meek afpéet
• Silent yet fpake. Here (says he) a syllable is acuted and long, whereas it should be short and graved!”
And a ftill more extraordinary gentleman, one Green, who published a specimen of a new version of the Paradife Loft, into BLANK verse, “by which that amazing work is brought somewhat nearer the summit of perfection,“ begins with correcting a blunder in the fourth book,. v. 540:
The setting fun
- Leveli'd his evening rays. Not so in the new verfion:
6. Meanwhile the setting fun descending flow
" Level'd with áfpe&t right his ev'ning rays. Enough of such commentators. -The celebrated Dr. Dee had a spirit, who would sometimes condescend to correct him, when peccant in quantity:
and it had been kind of him to have a little affifted the wights abovementioned.-Milton affected the antique ; but it may seem more extraordinary, that the old accent should be adopted in Hudibras.
After all, The Double Falfhood is superior to Theobald. One passage, and one only in the whole play, he pretended to have written :
Strike up, my masters; 6. But touch the strings with a religious softness : 66 Teach found to languish through the night's dull ear, « Till melancholy start from her lazy couch, 66 And carelessness grow convert to attention.”
These lines were particularly admired; and his vanity could not resist the opportunity of claiming them: but his claim had been more easily allowed to any other part of the performance.
To whom then shall we ascribe it?-Somebody hath told us, who should seem to be a noftrummonger by his argtiment, that, let accents be how they will, it is called an original play of William Shakspeare in the King's Patent prefixed to Mr. Theobald's edition, 1728, and consequently there could be no fraud in the matter. Whilft, on the contrary, the Irish laureat, Mr. Victor, remarks, (and were it true, it would be certainly decisive) that the plot is borrowed from a novel of Cervantes, not published till the year after Shakspeare's death. But unluckily the fame novel appears in a part of Don Quixote, which was printed in Spanish, 1605, and in English by Shelton, 1612.—The fame reasoning however, which exculpated our author from The Yorkshire Tragedy, may be applied on the prefent occasion.