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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. FARMER.
Shakspeare has followed Lodge's novel more exactly than is his general custom when he is indebted to such worthless originals; and 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.
Although I have never met with any edition of this comedy before the year 1623, it is evident, that such a publication 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:
"As you like it, a book.
"The Comedy of Much Ado, a book.
The dates scattered over these plays are from 1596 to 1615.
This comedy, I believe, was written in 1600. See An Attempt to ascertain the Order of Shakspeare's Plays, Vol. II.
Duke, living in Exile.
Frederick, Brother to the Duke, and Usurper of his Dominions.
Lords attending upon the Duke in his
Le Beau, a Courtier attending upon Frederick.
William, a Country Fellow, in love with Audrey.
Rosalind, Daughter to the banished Duke.
Celia, Daughter to Frederick.
Phebe, a Shepherdess.
Audrey, a Country Wench.
Lords belonging to the two Dukes; Pages, Foresters, and other Attendants.
The SCENE lies, first, near Oliver's House; afterwards, partly in the Usurper's Court, and partly in the Forest of Arden.
The list of the persons being omitted in the old editions, was added by Mr. Rowe. JOHNSON.