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OBSERVATIONS

ON

THE FABLE AND COMPOSITION

OF

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.

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POPE.

THE story is taken from Ariosto, Orl. Fur. B. V.

It is true, as Mr. Pope has observed, that the story of this play is partly to be found in the fifth book of the Orlando Furioso. In Spenser's Faery Queen, B. II. c. iv. another resemblance may be traced. A novel, of Belleforest, copied from another of Bandello, seems to have supplied Shakspeare with his fable, as it approaches nearer in most of its particulars to the play before us, than any other performance now extant. I have seen so many versions from this popular collection, that I entertain no doubt but that a great majority of the tales have already made their appearance in an English dress. Of that particular story just mentioned, viz. the 18th history in the third volume, no translation has been met

with.

Much Ado about Nothing was entered at Stationers' Hall, Aug.

STEEVENS.

23, 1600,

Ariosto is continually quoted for the fable of Much ado about Nothing; but I suspect our poet to have been satisfied with the Geneura of Turberville. "The tale (says Harington) is a pretie comical matter, and hath bin written in English verse some few years past, learnedly and with good grace, by M. George Turbervil." Ariosto, fol. 1591, p. 39.

FARMER.

VOL. II.

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ii

I suppose this comedy to have been written in 1600, in which year it was printed.-See An Attempt to ascertain the Order of Shakspeare's Plays, vol. ix. MALONE.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.

ACT I

SCENE I.

BEFORE LEONATO'S HOUSE.

Enter Leonato, Hero, Beatrice, and Others, with a Messenger.

Leon. I learn in this letter, that Don Pedro of Arragon comes this night to Messina.

Mess. He is very near by this; he was not three leagues off when I left him.

Leon. How many gentlemen have you lost in this

action?

Mess. But few of any sort, and none of name. Leon. A victory is twice itself, when the atchiever brings home full numbers. I find here, that Don Pedro hath bestowed much honour on a young. rentine, called Claudio.

Flo

Mess. Much deserved on his part, and equally remember'd by Don Pedro. He hath borne himself beyond the promise of his age; doing, in the figure of a lamb, the feats of a lion: he hath, indeed, better better'd expectation, than you must expect of me to tell you how.

Leon. He hath an uncle here in Messina will be very much glad of it.

B

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