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Printed for, and under the Direction of,
M DCC LXXXVIII.
WHAT YOU WIL L.
Printed Complete from the TEXT of
And revised from the last Editions.
When Learning's triumph o'er her barb'rous foes
DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON.
Printed for, and under the direction of
ON THE Fable AND Composition of TWELFTH-NIGHT:
WHAT YOU WIL L.
THERE is great reason to believe, that the serious part of this comedy is founded on some old translation of the seventh history in the fourth volume of Belleforest's Histoires Tragiques. It appears from the books of the Stationers-Company, July 15, 1596, that there was a version of "Epitomes des cent Histoires Tragiques, partie extraictes des actes des Romains, et autres, &c." Belleforest took the story, as usual, from Bandello. The comic scenes appear to have been entirely the production of Shakspere. August 6, 1607, a comedy called What you Will (which is the second title of this play), was entered at Stationers-Hall by Tho. Thorpe. I believe, however, it was Marston's play with that name. Ben Jonson, who takes every opportunity to find fault with Shakspere, seems to ridicule the conduct of Twelfth-Night in his Every Man out of his Humor, at the end of act III. sc. vi. where he makes Mitis say, "That the argument of his comedy might have been of some other nature, as of a duke to be in love with a countess, and that countess to be in love with the duke's son, and the son in love with the lady's waiting-maid: some such cross wooing, with a clown to their serving man, better than be thus near and familiarly allied to the time." STEEVENS, Aij