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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 solely with Lodge's Rosalynd, or Euphues' Golden Legacye, 4to. 1590.
Shakespeare has followed Lodge's novel more exactly than is his general custom when he is indebted to such worthless originals; and bas sketched some of his principal characters, and borrowed a few expressions from it. His imitations, &c. however, are in general too insignificant to merit transcrip. tion.
It should be observed, that the characters of Jaques, the Clown, and Audrey, are entirely of the poet's own formation.
Although I have never met with any edition of this comedy before the year 1623, it is evident, that such a publi. cation was at least designed. At the beginning of the second volume of the entries at Stationers' Hall, are placed two leaves of irregular prohibitions, notes, &c. Among these are the following:
to be staid." The Comedy of Much Ado, a book. The dates scattered over these plays are from 1596 to 1615.
STEEVENS. This comedy, I believe, was written in 1600. See An Attempt to ascertain the Order of Shakespeare's Plays, Vol. II.
Duke, living in exile.
servants to Oliver.
WILLIAM, a country fellow, in love with Audrey.
and other Attendants.
The SCENE lies, first, near Oliver's house; after
wards, partly in the Usurper's court, and partly in the forest of Arden.