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* Two GENTLEMEN OF VERONA. ] Some of the incidents in this play may be supposed to have been taken from the Arcadia, Book I. chap. 6, where Pyrocles consents to hear the Helots. (Tlie Arcadia was entered on the books of the Stationers' Company, Aug. 23d, 1588.) The love-adventure of Julia resembles that of Viola in Twelfth Night, and is indeed common to many of the ancient novels. STEEVENS,
Mrs. Lenox observes, and I think not improbably, that the story of Proteus and Julia might be taken from a fimilar one in the Diana of George of Montemayor.- -- This pastoral romance," says she, was translated from the Spanish in Shakspeare's time.” I have seen no earlier translation than that of Bartholomew Yong, who dates his dedication in November 1598; aud Meres, in his Wit's Treasury, printed the fame year, expressly mentions the Two Gentlemen of Verona. Indeed Montemayor was tranfiated two or three years before, by one Thomas Wilson; but this work, I am persuaded, was never published entirela; perhaps some parts of it were, or the tale might have been translated by others. However, Mr. Steevens says, very truly, that this kind of love-adventure is frequent in the old novelists. FARMER.
There is no earlier translation of the Diana entered on the books of the Stationers' Company, than that of B. Younge, Sept. 1598. Many translations, however, after they were licensed, were capriciously fupprefied, Among others, in the Decameron of Mr. John Boccace, Florentine," was recalled by my lord of Canterbury's commands." STEEVENS.
It is observable (I know not for what cause,) that the style of this comedy is less figurative, and more natural and unaffected, than the greater part of this author's, though supposed to be one of the first he wrote.
POPE. It may very well be doubted whether Shakspeare had any other hand in this play than the enlivening it with some speeches and lines thrown in here and there, which are easily distinguished, as being of a different stamp from the rest. HANMER.
To this observation of Mr. Pope, which is very just, Mr. Theo. bald has added, that this is one of Shakspeare's worl plays, and is lefs corrupted than any other. Mr. Upton peremptorily determines, that if any proof can be drawn from manner and Jlyle, this play must be sent, packing, and feck for its parent elsewhere. How otherwise, says he, do painters dijtinguish copies from originals? and have not authors their peculiar jlyle and manner, from which a true critic can form as unerring judgement as a painter ? I am afraid this illustration of a critic's science will not prove what is deGred. A painter knows a copy from an original by rules somewhat resembling those by which critics koow a translation, which if it be literal, and literal
it must be to resemble the copy of a pidure, will be easily distinguished. Copies are known from originals, even when the painter copies his own pidure; so, if an author should literally translate his work, he would lose the manner of an original.
Mr. Upton confounds the copy of a pi&ure with the imitation of a painter's manner. Copies are easily known ; but good imitations are not dete&ed with equal certainty, and are, by the best judges, often mistaken. Nor is it true that the writer has always peculiasities equally distinguishable with those of the painter. The peculiar manner of each arises from the desire, natural to every performer, of facilitating his subsequent work by recurrence to his former ideas; this recurrence produces that repetition which is called habit. The painter, whose work is partly intelle&ual and partly manual, has habits of the mind, the eye, and the hand; the writer has only habits of the mind. Yet, some painters have differed as much from themselves as from any other; and I have been told, that there is little resemblance between the first works of Raphael and the last. The same variation may be expected in writers; and if it be true, as it seem's, that thcy are less fubje& to habit, the difference between their works may be yet greater.
But by the internal marks of a composition we may discover the author with probability, though seldom with certainty. When I read this play, I cannat but think that I find, both in the serious and ludicrous scenes, the language and sentiments of Shakspeare. It is not indeed one of his most powerful effusions; it has neither many diversities of chara&er, nor striking delineations of life; but it abounds in 7 vecí beyond most of his plays, and few have more lines or passages, which, fingly considered, are eminently beautiful. I am yet inclined to believe that it was not very successful, and suspeď that it has escaped corruption, only because, being seldom played, it was less exposed to the hazards of tranfcription. JOHNSO
This Comedy, I believe was written 1595. See An Aitemj to ascertain the order of Shakspeare's Piazsa Vol, I. MALONE.
Duke of Milan, futher to Silvia.
} Gentlemen of Verona,
Julia, a lady of Verona beloved by Proteus,
Servants, musicians, SCENE, sometimes in Verona; sometimes in Milan;
and on the frontiers of Mantua.
Proteus,] The old copy has--Protheus ; but this is merely the antiquated mode of spelling Proteus. Shakspeare's chara&er was so called, from his dilpolition to change. STEEVENS.
3 Panthino,] In the enumeration of characters in the old copy, this attendant on Antonio is called Panthion, but in the play, always Panthino, STEEVENS.
V E R O N A.
E Ο Ν
ACT 1. SCENE I,
An open place in Verona.
Enter VALENTINE and PROTEUS.
Val. Cease to persuade, my loving Proteus; Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits :* Wer't not, affection chains thy tender days To the sweet glances of thy honour'd love, I rather would entreat thy company, To see the wonders of the world abroad, Than, living dully sluggardiz'd at home, Wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness.” But, since thou lov'st, love still, and thrive therein, Even as I would, when I to love begin.
Pro. Wilt thou be gone? Sweet Valentine, adieu! Think on thy Proteus, when thou, haply, seest Some rare note-worthy object in thy travel:
2 Hame-keeping youth have ever homely wits :) Milton has the same play on words, in his Masque at Ludlow Cafile :
" It is for homely features to keep home,
They had their names' thence,” STEEVENS,
- Shapeless idleness.] The expression is fine, as implying that idleness prevents the giving any form or chara&er to the mana