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I have receiv'd much honour by your presence,
 Though it is very difficult to decide whether short pieces be genuine or spurious, yet I cannot restrain myself from expressing my suspicia that neither the prologue nor epilogue to this play is the work of Shakspeare; non vultus, non color. It appears to me very lik ly that they were supplied by the friendship or officiousness of Jonson, whose inanner they will be found exactly to resemble. There is yet another supposition possible : the proJogue and epilogue may have been written after Sbakspeare's departure from the stage, upon some accidental revival of the play, and thert will then be reason for imagining that the writer, whoever he was, intended no great kindness to him, this play being recommended by a subtle and covert censure of his other works. There is, in Shakspeare, so much of fool and fight ;
“In a long motley coat, guarded with yellow,” appears so often in his drama, that I think it not very likely that he would have animadverted so severely on himself. All this, however, must be received as very dubious, since we know not the exact date of this or the other *plays, and cannot tell how our author might have changed his practice or opinions. JOHNS.
(5] The historical dramas are now concluded, of which the two parts of Henry IV. and Henry V. are among the happiest of our author's composi. tions; and King John, Richard the Third, and Henry VIII deservedly srand in the second class. Those whose curiosity would refer the historical scenes to their original, may consult Holinshed, and sometimes Hall: from Holin. shed Shakspeare has often inserted whole speeches, with no more alteration than was necessary to the numbers of his verse. To transcribe them into the margin was unnecessary, because the original is easily examined, and they are seldom less perspicuous in the poet than in the historian. To play histories, or to exhibit a succession of events by action and dialogue, was a common entertainment among our rude ancestors upon griat festiviries. The parish clerks once performed at Clerkenwel a play which lasted three days, containing The History of the World. JOHNS.
THE tragedy of Coriolanus is one of the most amusing of our author's performances. The old man's merriment in Menenius ; the lofty lady's dignity in Volumnia ; the bridal modesty in Virgilia ; the patrician and military haughtiness in Coriolanus ; the plebeian malignity and tribunitian insolence in Brutus and Sicinius, make a very pleasing and interesting variety; and the various revolutions of the hero's fortune fill the mind with anxious curiosity. There is, perhaps, too much bustle in the first act, and too little in the last. JOHNSON
The whole history is exactly followed, and many of the prin. cipal speeches exactly copied from the life of Coriolanus in Plutarch. Pope.
Of this play, there is no edition before that of the players, in folio, in 1623. JOHNSON.
This play I conjecture to have been written in the year 1609. It comprehends a period of about four years, commencing with the secession to the Mons Sacer in the year of Rome 262, and ending with the death of Coriolanus, A.U.C. 266. MALONE.
Caius MARCIUS CORIOLANUS, a noble Roman.
Corus LuARTIUS, } generals against the Volscians.
}tribunes of the people.
VOLUMNIA, mother to Coriolanus.
Roman and Volscian Senators, Patricians, Ædiles,
Lictors, Soldiers, Citizens, Messengers, Servants to
SCENE, partly in Rome ; and partly in the Territo
ries of the Volscians and Anțiates.