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AS YOU LIKE I T.

This charming dramatic pastoral was first printed, it is believed, in the folio, 1623. Stationers' Registers, however, is an entry, conjectured, with good reason, to belong to the year 1600, which may induce a different conclusion. It runs thus :

4 Augusti. “As you like yt, a book. Henry the fift, a book. Every Man in his humor, a book. The Commedie of

Much Adoo about Nothinge, a book. To be staied.” The object of the “stay,” as Mr. Collier supposes, was no doubt to prevent the publication of these plays by any other booksellers than Wise and Apsley; and as the three other “ books” were issued by them in a quarto form, probabilities are in favour of the fourth having been so published also. At all events, there are sufficient grounds for hope that a quarto edition may some day come to light. “As You Like It” is founded on Lodge's novel, entitled “ Rosalynde, Euphues Golden Legacy,” &c., 1590; which in turn was derived from the “ Coke's Tale of Gamelyn," attributed to Chaucer, and sometimes printed in his works, though now very generally believed to be the work of another and much inferior hand. The quotation, in Act. III. Sc. 5, from Marlowe's poem of “Hero and Leander,”_

Who ever lov'd, that lov'd not at first sight ?”— which appeared in 1598; the circumstance of its not being included in the list by Meres; and the memorandum above mentioned in the Stationers' Registers, have led Malone and others, we think rightly, to assign the composition of “As You Like It” to the year 1599.

In connexion with this comedy there is a tradition too pleasing to be forgotten. It is related, on the authority of the poet's brother Gilbert, who survived till after the Restoration of Charles II, that Shakespeare himself personated the faithful old Adam on the Stage. « One of Shakespeare's younger brothers,” Oldys relates, “who lived to a good old age, even some years, as I compute, after the restoration of King Charles II, would in his younger days come to London to visit his brother Will, as he called him, and be a spectator of him as an actor in some of his own plays. This custom, as his brother's fame enlarged, and his dramatick entertainments grew the greatest support of our principal, if not of all our theatres, he continued, it seems, so long after his brother's death as even to the latter end of his own life. The curiosity at this time

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of the most noted actors to learn something from him of his brother, &c. they justly held him in the highest veneration. And it may be well believed, as there was besides a kinsman and descendant of the family, who was then a celebrated actor among them, this opportunity made them greedily inquisitive into every little circumstance, more especially in his dramatick character, which his brother could relate of him. But he, it seems, was so stricken in years, and possibly his memory so weakened with infirmities, which might make him the easier pass for a man of weak intellects, that he could give them but little light into their enquiries; and all that could be recollected from him of his brother Will in that station was the faint, general, and almost lost ideas he had of having once seen him “act a part in one of his own comedies, wherein, being to personate a decrepit old man, he wore a long beard, and appeared so weak and drooping, and unable to walk, that he was forced to be supported and carried by another person to a table, at which he was seated among some company, who were eating, and one of them sung a song.'

This description accords in all essential particulars with the introduction of Adam to the banished duke and his followers, at their sylvan banquet, in Act II. Sc. 7.

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SCENE,-First, (and in Act II. Sc. 3,) near OLIVER: House ; intermediately and afterwards, partly in

the usurper's Court, and partly in the Forest of Arden.

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Enter ORLANDO and ADAM.

manage, and to that end riders dearly hired: but

I, his brother, gain nothing under him but growth; ORL. As I remember, Adam, it was upon this for the which his animals on his dunghills are as fashion,—bequeathed" me by will, but poor a thou- much bound to him as I. Besides this nothing sand crowns, and, as thou sayest, charged my that he so plentifully gives me, the something that brother, on his blessing, to breed me

well : and there nature gave me, his countenance seems to take begins my sadness. My brother Jaques he keeps from me: he lets me feed with his hinds, bars me at school, and report speaks goldenly of his profit: the place of a brother, and, as much as in him lies, for my part, he keeps me rustically at home, or, to mines my gentility with my education. This is it, speak more properly, stays me here at home unkept. Adam, that grieves me ; and the spirit of my For call you that keeping, for a gentleman of my father, which I think is within me, begins to birth, that differs not from the stalling of an ox ? mutiny against this servitude: I will no longer His horses are bred better : for, besides that they endure it, though yet I know no wise remedy how are fair with their feeding, they are taught their to avoid it.

a Bequeathed me-] Some of the modern editions read," he bequeathed me:" and it is not improbable that the pronoun was omitted by the carelessness of the transcriber or compositor.

b But poor a thousand crowns,-) So the folio, 1623, but most editors have adopted the reading of the folio, 1632 : -"a poor thousand crowns;" and those who adhere to the original have failed to produce a single instance of similar phraseology to support them. This is the more strange, since the idiom was at least as old as the time of Chaucer, and by no means uncommon :

"And so I followed, till it me brought

To right a pleasaunt herber."

CHAUCER: Flower and Leaf, 1. 49. "At Leycester came to the Kynge ryght a fayre felawship of folks, to the nombar of three thousand men.”-Arrival of Edward IV. p. 8.

“ The Kynge * travaylynge all his people, whereof were moo than three thousand foteman, that Fryday, which was right-an-hot day, thirty myle and more."-Ibid. p. 27.

c His countenance seems to take from me:) The commentators appear to have misunderstood this expression. It does not here import aspect, carriage, and the like, but entertainment. See note (6), p. 255, Vol. 1.

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