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p. 111. "The King's a beggar " : —The rhythm and the style of this epilogue afford some ground for doubt that it was written by Shakespeare.
"All is well ended if this suit be won, That you express content," is not in the manner of Shakespeare, but rather in that of the author of the Epilogue to the Tempest. See Note on that Epilogue, and on the speech of Time, as Chorus, The Winter's Tale, Act IY.
Twelfth Night occupies twenty-one pages in the folio of 1623; viz., from p. 255 to p. 275, inclusive, in the division of Comedies. It is there divided into Acts and Scenes, but has no list of Dramatis Personse.
TWELFTH NIGHT; OR, WHAT YOU WILL.
ASOLDIER of fortune, named Barnaby Rich, published in 1581 a collection of tales,* from one of which there can be little doubt that Shakespeare received the first suggestion of the plot of this play. The tale is the second in the collection, and is entitled Of Apollonius and Silla. The argument is in these words: "Apolonius Duke, havyng spent a yeres service in the warres against the Turke, returning homward with his companie by sea, was driven by force of weather to the He of Cypres, where he was well received by Pontus, governour of the same ile, with whom Silla, daughter to Pontus, fell so straungely in love, that after Apolonius was departed to Constantinople, Silla, with one man, followed, and commyng to Constantinople, she served Apolonius in the habite of a manne, and after many prety accidents falling out, she was knowne to Apolonius, who, in requitall of her love, maried her." This argument omits some very important persons and incidents of the story ; — a noble widow, Julina, with whom Apollonius falls in love, and who herself loves Silla, who is made by her master his messenger to her rival; also a twin brother of Silla, Silvio, who supplies his sister's place in the affections of Julina, and with whom it is both logical and charitable to suppose the noble widow really fell in love; his masculine nature being represented, for the nonce, by its disguised feminine counterpart. But still the likeness
* "Riche his Farewell to Militarie profession: conteining yery pleasaunt discourses fit for a peaceable tyme. Gathered together for the onely delight of the courteous Gentlewomen bothe of Englande and Irelande, For whose onely pleasure thei were collected together, And unto whom thei are directed and dedicated by Barnebe Riche, Gentleman. Imprinted at London by Robart Wailey. 1581." Republished by the Shakespeare Society.
between Shakespeare's play and Rich's story is of the most rudimentary character, and exists in an equal degree between the play and other antecedent narratives and dramas.
Rich himself was indebted for his tale either to the Italian of Bandello, or the French version of Bandello's novel published in the collection of Belieforest at Paris in 1572; Bandello's collection, of which this story is the thirty-sixth of the Second Part, having been published at Lucca in 1554. The rudiments of Bandello's story, however, may be found in one of the novels of his contemporary, Cinthio; * and two Italian plays of the same period, GV Inganni and GV Ingannati, the first of which was acted in 1547, are mainly built upon the same incidents. From whom the Italian novelists and dramatists received the story, we do not know; it probably has an actual occurrence for its germ. The versions of Bandello, Cinthio, the Italian dramatists, and Rich differ from each other, as Shakespeare's differs from each and all of them. The story of a woman serving her lover in the disguise of a page, and pleading his cause with her rival, who falls in love with her, seems to have been considered common property by the novelists and playwrights of the sixteenth century; and Shakespeare cannot be said to have dramatized in Twelfth. Night any particular version of it. The same remark is true of the complication produced by twins, which first appeared in the Mcenechmi. It is needless to say that the poetry of this play and its characterization are entirely Shakespeare's, even as to those scenes and personages the germs of which existed before he wrote; but it should be particularly remarked that the whole comic plot and personality, and the interweaving, or rather interfusion, of these with the serious story, so that they form one homogeneous structure, are also entirely his. Curio, Sir Andrew Ague-cheek, Sir Toby Belch, Maria, and Malvolio, have no prototypes in play or story. Such being the relations of Twelfth Night to precedent works, the comparison of it with any other, for the purpose of pointing out likeness and unlikeness, would be quite superfluous. But one passage in Rich's version furnishes evidence that, although Shakespeare was, without a doubt, quite able to read the Italian or the French versions, he had read Apollonius and Silla before he wrote this comedy. It is that which relates that the servants of Apollonius and of Julina, "debatyng betweene them
* See Dunlop's History of Fiction, Vol. II. p. 464. Ed. 1816.