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Por. I had it of him. Pardon me, Bassanio, For by this ring the doctor lay with me.
Ner. And pardon me, my gentle Gratiano; For that same scrubbed boy, the doctor's clerk, In lieu of this, last night did lie with me.
Gra. Why, this is like the mending of highways In summer, where the ways are fair enough; What! are we cuckolds, ere we have deserved it ?
Por. Speak not so grossly.—You are all amazed.
I am dumb.
cuckold ? Ner. Ay; but the clerk that never means to do it; Unless he live until he be a man.
Bass. Sweet doctor, you shall be my bedfellow; When I am absent, then lie with my wife.
Ant. Sweet lady, you have given me life, and living For here I read for certain, that my ships Are safely come to road. Por.
How now, Lorenzo ?
Ner. Ay, and I'll give them him without a fee.-
Lor. Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way
Por. It is almost morning,
Gra. Let it be so. The first inter’gatory
Of the Merchant of Venice the style is even and easy, with few pe
culiarities of diction, or anomalies of construction.
The comic part
raises laughter, and the serious fixes expectation. The probability of
either one or the other story cannot be maintained. The union of two
actions in one event is in this drama eminently happy. Dryden was much
pleased with his own address in connecting the two plots of his Span
ish Friar, which yet, I believe, the critic will find excelled by this play.
AS YOU LIKE IT.
DR. GREY and Mr. Upton asserted that this play was certainly borrowed from the Coke's Tale of Gamelyn, printed in Urry's Chaucer; but it is hardly likely that Shakspeare saw that in manuscript, and there is a more obvious source from whence he derived his plot, viz. the pastoral romance of “ Rosalynde, or Euphues' Golden Legacy,” by Thomas Lodge, first printed in 1590. From this he has sketched his principal characters, and constructed his plot; but those admirable beings, the melancholy Jaques, the witty Touchstone, and his Audrey, are of the poet's own creation. Lodge's novel is one of those tiresome (I had almost said unnatural) pastoral romances, of which the Euphues of Lyly and the Arcadia of Sidney were also popular examples. It has, however, the redeeming merit of some very beautiful verses interspersed; * and the circumstance of its hav
* The following beautiful stanzas are part of what is called “Rosalynd's Madrigal," and are not unworthy of a place even in a page devoted to Shakspeare :
Love in my bosom like a bee
Doth suck his sweet:
Now with his feet.
Ah, wanton, will ye?
With pretty flight,
The livelong night.
Whist, wanton, still ye?
ing led to the formation of this exquisite pastoral drama, is enough to make us withhold our assent to Steevens's splenetic censure of it as 65 worthless."
66 Touched by the magic wand of the enchanter, the dull and endless prosing of the novelist is transformed into an interesting and lively drama; the forest of Arden converted into a real Arcadia of the golden age. The highly-sketched figures pass along in the most diversified succession: we see always the shady dark-green landscape in the back ground, and breathe, in imagination, the fresh air of the forest. The hours are here measured by no clocks, no regulated recurrence of duty or toil; they flow on unnumbered in voluntary occupation or fanciful idleness. One throws
himself down under the shade of melancholy boughs,' and indulges in
reflection on the changes of fortune, the falsehood of the world, and the
self-created torments of social life: others make the woods resound with
social and festive songs, to the accompaniment of their horns. Selfishness, envy, and ambition, have been left in the city behind them: of all the human passions, love alone has found an entrance into this sylvan scene, where it dictates the same language to the simple shepherd, and the chivalrous youth who hangs his love ditty to a tree." *
“ And this their life, exempt from public haunts,
How exquisitely is the character of Rosalind conceived! what liveliness and sportive gayety, combined with the most natural and affectionate tenderness! the reader is as much in love with her as Orlando, and wonders not at Phebe's sudden passion for her when disguised as Ganymede; or
Celia's constant friendship. Touchstone is, indeed, a “rare fellow; he
uses his folly as a stalking-horse, and under the presentation of that, he shoots his wit:" his courtship of Audrey, his lecture to Corin, his defence of cuckolds, and his burlesque upon the “duello” of the age, are all most “ exquisite fooling.” It has been remarked, that there are few of Shak