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THE PLOT, THE FABLE, AND CONSTRUCTION
AS YOU LIKE IT.
If we may believe Dr. Gray and Mr. Upton, says Dr. Farmer, this play of As You Like It was certainly borrowed 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 Rosalind, or Euphues' Golden Legacye, 4to, 1590.
Mr. Steevens very justly remarks, that Shakspeare has here followed the fable 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 too insignificant to merit transcription.
Of this play, says Johnson, the fable is wild and pleasing. I know not how the ladies will approve the facility with which both Rosalind and Celia give away their hearts. To Celia much may be forgiven for the
heroism of her friendship. The character of Jaques is natural and well preserved. The comic dialogue is very sprightly, with less mixture of low buffoonery than in some other plays; and the graver part is elegant and harmonious. By hastening to the end of his work, Shakspeare suppressed the dialogue between the usurper and the hermit, and lost an opportunity of exhibiting a moral lesson in which he might have found matter worthy of his highest powers.
Duke, living in erile.
Servants to Oliver.
ROSALIND, daughter to the banished Duke.
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,