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The plan adopted in this edition differs slightly from that followed in Julius Cæsar in this same series, Number 67. In both cases White's text and apparatus have been used, and such additions as have been made are indicated by being enclosed in brackets [ ]. But to avoid encumbering the pages with annotations, and also to give a little freer play to the student, the notes on the page have been confined for the most part to brief explanations of obscure words or phrases, and a group
suggestions and fuller illustrations of the drama has been furnished at the end of the number. These Suggestions for Special Study are designed for use not so much when one first becomes acquainted with the play : in that period one's pleasure ought to be not too much diverted from the direct object : they may serve to quicken one's interest in penetrating further and further the depths of the goodly forest of Arden. In gathering these “suggestions” the editor must acknowledge the indebtedness which every student feels toward Dr. Horace Howard Furness, the scholarly and humorous sifter of Shakespearian comment.
The story and the substance of this most delightful of comedies (for The Merchant of Venice treads somewhat closely upon the heels of tragedy, and A Midsummer-Night's Dream is rather a fantasy piece than a comedy) Shakespeare took from a tale called Rosalind, written by Thomas Lodge, and published A. D. 1590. The comedy is, in fact, a mere dramatization of the tale,
an adaptation it would now be called, - the personages, the incidents, most of the names, and even some of the language being found in Lodge's novel. The chief difference between the two more remarkable, even, than that one is a tale and the other a drama — is that the ambitious tale is one of the dullest and dreariest of all the obscure literary performances that have come down to us from past ages, and the comedy, written as journey-work by a playwright to please a miscellaneous audience, is the one bright, immortal woodland poem of the world.
As You Like It was first printed in the folio of 1623; but the London Stationer's Register shows that it was about to be published in 1600. Not being mentioned by Meres in Palladis Tamia, it was therefore written between 1597 or 1598 and 1600 ; that is, about 1598 or 1599; the few months earlier or later that would carry it into the one year or the other being of little importance. The text of the folio is remarkably free from corruption.
The period of the action is quite indefinable. The scene seems French ; and in Lodge's novel the father of Rosader (the Orlando of the comedy) is Sir John of Bordeaux. But, notwithstanding this, and although there was an Ardennes in France and an Arden in England, the Forest of Arden is neither in France nor in England, but wherever the reader may like to fancy it ; and the story is one of any time between the days of Pharamond and Henri Quatre. This comedy is remarkable for the purely Shakespearian character of its thought and language from be. ginning to end.
But there are a few unimportant passages which show traces of another hand ; notably the part of Hymen, and his song in the fifth act. [In Lodge's preface to his tale, he says : “ If you like it, so ; and yet I will be yours in duty if you be mine in favour." Rosalind, in the Epilogue to the play, hints at the phrase in her challenge.]
, } shepherds.
DUKE, living in banishment.
SIR OLIVER MARTEXT, a vicar. FREDERICK, his brother, and usurper of CORIN,
his dominions. AMIENS, lords attending on the ban- WILLIAM, a country fellow, in love with JAQUES, 1 } ished duke.
ROSALIND, daughter o the banished OLIVER,
sons of Sir Rowland de
Celia, daughter to Frederick.
PHEBE, a shepherdess.
AUDREY, a country wench.
Lords, pages, and attendants, etc.
AS YOU LIKE IT.
SCENE I. Orchard of OLIVER's house.
Enter ORLANDO and ADAM. Orl. As I remember, Adam, it was upon this fashion ; — bequeathed me by will but poor a thousand crowns, and, as thou say'st, charg'd my brother, on his blessing, to breed me well : and there begins my sadness. My brother Jaques he keeps at school, and report speaks goldenly of his profit: for my part, he keeps me rustically at home, or, to speak more properly, stays me here at home unkept: for call you that keeping for a gentleman of my birth, that differs not from the stalling of an ox? His horses are bred better; for, besides that they are fair with their feeding, they are taught their manage, and to that end riders dearly bir'd: but I, his brother, gain nothing under him but growth; for the which his animals on his dunghills are as much bound to him as I. Besides this nothing that he so plentifully gives me, the some2. poor a thousand
=a poor thousand : a position of the adjective and the article hardly yet obsolete.
4. (breed. For Orlando's own explanation of this term see his words to Oliver, lines 55, 56, below.]
12. manage=training. [A lost word in English usage, as a noun.]