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story, foreseeing that the play, if published, would ultimately supersede his novel, or Shakespeare may have been unwilling to let the world know how exactly he had copied its incidents and characters. All, it is true, but the mere outline and a few expressions, are Shakespeare's own. He had added Jaques, Touchstone, and Audrey, and, like Lodge, had gone to The Coke's Tale, yet the fable being the same as Lodge's, the heroine Rosalind, the scene the forest of Arden, the adventures of the banished brother and usurping king, and the pastoral and love scenes the same as in the novel, the resemblance might have seemed to warrant a charge of plagiarism. It is scarcely necessary to add, however, that what in Lodge are mere faint sketches, appear in Shakespeare as finished pictures, instinct with life and beauty. None of his other plays is more redolent of the trųe spirit of poetry, and of that love of nature essential to the poetic character. The latter is not manifested in the description of scenery for its own sake, or to shew how well he could paint natural objects. He is never tedious or elaborate, but while he now and then displays marvellous accuracy and minuteness of knowledge, he usually only touches upon the larger features and broader characteristics, leaving the filling up to the imagination. Thus, in As You Like It, he describes an oak of many centuries growth in a single line:

“ Under an oak whose antique root peeps out.” Other and inferior writers would have dwelt on this description, and worked it out with all the pettiness and impertinence of detail. In Shakespeare the antique root furnishes the whole picture.' * In the fourth act we have a somewhat more copious description of an old oak, but in this also the vigorous condensation and graphic boldness of the poet are no less conspicuous. The passage is suggested by Lodge: 'Saladin,' says the novelist,

weary with wandering up and down, and hungry with long fasting, finding a little cave by the side of a thicket, eating such fruit as the forest did afford, and contenting himself with such

* Coleridge: Notes of Lectures in 1818, taken by Mr Collier.

drink as nature had provided and thirst made delicate, after his repast fell into a dead sleep. Shakespeare dashes off the scene in a few masterly touches :

‘Under an old oak whose boughs were moss'd with age,
And high top bald with dry antiquity,
A wretched ragged man, o'ergrown with hair,

Lay sleeping on his back.'
Along with the exquisite appreciation of woodland scenery

and natural beauty in As You Like It, with glimpses of the old Robin Hood life, when men 'fleeted the time carelessly as they did in the golden world, we have the meditative and reflective spirit displayed in the delineation of Jaques and the Duke, and the philosophy of human life unfolded in action as well as in speeches replete with practical wisdom and sagacity. It would be superfluous to point to the forest scenes, in which this philosophy is seen blended with sportive satire and description, and in which the versification is melody itself. Rosalind and Orlando have both their prototypes in Lodge, but the former is destitute of the airy grace and arch raillery which distinguish the heroine of the play. The creation of Shakespeare is indeed one of his most felicitous female portraitures. The character of Adam, the faithful aged retainer, is found both in The Coke's Tale of Gamelyn and in Lodge's novel. Additional interest attaches to it in the drama, as Mr Collier remarks, because it is supposed that the part was originally sustained on the stage by Shakespeare himself. There are two traditions on this point. Oldys had heard that one of Shakespeare's brothers, who lived to a great age, recollected seeing his brother Will personating a decrepit old man; he wore a long beard, and appeared so weak that he was forced to be supported and carried to a table, at which he was seated among some company who were eating. Capell gives the story as of an old man related to Shakespeare, who being asked by some of his neighbours, what he remembered about him, answered that he saw him once brought on the stage upon another man's. back, which answer was applied by the hearers to his having seen him perform in this scene (As You Like It, Act ii. sc. 7) the part of


Adam. These are indistinct and doubtful reminiscences. One brother of the poet (Gilbert) was living at Stratford in 1609, but the probability is that he predeceased his illustrious relative, as he is not mentioned in his will. Chettle, the contemporary of Shakespeare, and one well fitted to judge, states that the dramatist was excellent in the quality he professed'—that is, excellent as an actor, and in As You Like It we should have expected to find him personating Jaques or the Duke. The character of Adam, however, is drawn with great care and tenderness, and it could scarce fail to be a favourite with the author as well as with his audience.

Of this play 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 this work, Shakespeare 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.'--JOHNSON.

“The sweet and sportive temper of Shakespeare, though it never deserted him, gave way to advancing years, and to the mastering force of serious thought. What he read we know but very imperfectly ; yet in the last years of the century, when five-andthirty summers had ripened his genius, it seems that he must have transfused much of the wisdom of past ages into his own all-combining mind. In several of the historical plays, in the Merchant of Venice, and especially in As You Like It, the philosophic eye, turned inward on the mysteries of human nature, is more and more characteristic ; and we might apply to the last comedy the bold figure that Coleridge has less appropriately employed as to the early poems, that “the creative power and the intellectual energy wrestle as in a war-embrace.” In no other play, at least, do we find the bright imagination and fascinating grace of Shakespeare's youth so mingled with the thoughtfulness of his maturer age. This play is referred with reasonable probability to the year 1600. Few comedies of Shakespeare are more generally pleasing, and its manifold improbabilities do not much affect us in perusal. The brave injured Orlando, the sprightly but modest Rosalind, the faithful Adam, the reflecting Jaques, the serene and magnanimous Duke, interest us by turns, though the play is not so well managed as to condense our sympathy, and direct it to the conclusion.'-HALLAM.

“Throughout the whole picture it seems to be the poet's design to shew that to call forth the poetry which has its indwelling in nature and the human mind, nothing is wanted but to throw off all artificial constraint, and restore both to mind and nature their original liberty. In the very progress of the piece, the dreamy carelessness of such an existence is sensibly expressed : it is even alluded to by Shakespeare in the title. Whoever affects to be displeased, if in this romantic forest the ceremonial of dramatic art is not duly observed, ought in justice to be delivered over to . the wise fool, to be led gently out of it to some prosaical region. -SCHLEGEL.


Duke, living in banishment.
FREDERICK, brother to the duke, and usurper of his

AMIENS, | lords attending upon the duke in his banish-
JAQUES, I ment.
LE BEAU, a courtier attending upon Frederick.
CHARLES, wrestler to Frederick.
JAQUES, sons of Sir Roland de Bois.

servants to Oliver.
TOUCHSTONE, a clown.

WILLIAM, a country fellow, in love with Audrey.
A person representing Hymen.



ROSALIND, daug ter 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.



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