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SOME of the incidents in this play may be supposed to have been taken from The Arcadia, book 1. chap. 6, where Pyrocles consents to head the Helots. The love-adventure of Julia resembles that of Viola, in Twelfth Night, and is indeed common to many of the ancient novels.
STFEVENS. It is observable (I know not for what cause) that the style of this comedy is less figurative, and more natural and unafiected, than the greater part of this author's, though supposed to be one of the first he wrote.
Pore. In this play there is a strange mixture of knowledge and ignorance, of care and negligence. The versification is often excellent, the allusions are learned and just ; but the author conveys his heroes by sea from one inland town to another in the same country; he places the emperor at Milan, and sends his young men to attend him, but never mentions him more ; he makes Proteus, after an interview with Silvia, say he has only seen her picture ; and, if we may credit the old copies, he has, by mistaking places, left his scenery inextricable. The reason of all this confusion seems to be, that he took his story from a novel, which he sometimes followed, and sometimes forsook, sometimes remembered, and sometimes forgot.
That this play is rightly attributed to Shakspeare, I have little doubt. If it be taken from him, to whom shall it be given ? This question may be asked of all the disputed plays, except Titus Andronicus ; and it will be found more credible, that Shakspeare might sometimes sink below his highest flights, than that any other should rise up to his lowest. JOHNSON
Johnson's general remarks on this play are just, except that part in which he arraigns the conduct of the poet, for making Proteus say, that he had only seen the picture of Silvia, when it appears that he had had a personal interview with her. This, however, is not a blunder of Shakspeare's, but a mistake of Johnson's, who considers the passage alluded to in a more lite. ral sense than the author intended it. Sir Proteus, it is true, had seen Silvia for a few moments; but though he could form from thence some idea of her person, he was stillunacquainted with her temper, manners, and the qualities of her mind. He therefore considers himself as having seen her picture only.-The thought is just, and elegantly expressed.—So, in The Scornful Lady, the elder Loveless says to her :
« I was mad once when I loved pictures ;
DUKE OF MILAN, father to Silvia.
Proteus. SILVIA, the Duke's daughter, beloved by Valentine. LUCETTA, waiting-woman to Julia.
SCENE, sometimes in Verona ; sometimes in Milan ;
and on the frontiers of Mantua.
* The old copy has-Protheus ; but this is merely the antiquated mode of spelling Proteus. Shakspeare's character was so called, from his disposition to change.
SCENE I.- An open Place in Verona.
ENTINE and PROTEUS.
EASE to persuade, my loving Proteus ;
Pro. Wilt thou be gone ? Sweet Valentine, adieu !
my success. Pro. Upon some book I love, I'll pray for thee.
Val. That's on some shallow story of deep love, How young Leander cross'd the Hellespont.
Pro. That's a deep story of a deeper love, For he was more than over shoes in love.
Val. 'Tis true ; for you are over boots in love ; And yet you never swom the Hellespont.
Pro. Over the boots ? nay, give me not the boots. 1
 The boot was an instrument of torture used only in Scotland. Bishop Barnet in The History of his own Times, mentions one Maccael, a preacher, who, being suspected of treasonable practices, underwent the punishment so late as 1666 : 'i -He was put to the torture, which, in Scotland, they call
Val. No, I'll not, for it boots thee not.
Val. To be
Pro. So, by your circumstance, you call me fool.
Val. Love is your master, for he masters you :
Pro. Yet writers say, As in the sweetest bud
Val. And writers say, As the most forward bud
Pro. And thither will I bring thee, Valentine.
Val. Sweet Proteus, no ; now let us take our leave.
Pro. All happiness bechance to thee in Milan !
[Exit. Pro. He after honour hunts, I after love : He leaves his friends, to dignify them more ; I leave myself, my friends, and all for love. the hoots; for they put a pair of iron boots close on the leg, and drive wedges between these and the leg. The common torture was only to drive these in the calf of the leg; but I have been told they were sometimes driven upon the shin bone." REED.
Thou, Julia, thou hast metamorphos'd me ;
Speed. Twenty to one then, he is shipp'd already ; And I have play'd the sheep, in losing him.
Pro. Indeed a sheep doth very often stray, An if the shepherd be a while away.
Speed. You conclude that my master is a shepherd then, and I a sheep?
Pro. I do.
Speed. Why then my horns are his horns, whether I wake or sleep.
Pro. A silly answer, and fitting well a sheep.
Speed. The shepherd seeks the sheep, and not the sheep the shepherd; but I seek my master, and my master seeks not me : therefore, I am no sheep.
Pro. The sheep for fodder follows the shepherd, the shepherd for food follows not the sheep; thou for wages followest thy master, thy master for wages follows not thee : therefore, thou art a sheep.
Speed. Such another proof will make me cry baa. Pro. But dost thou hear? gav`st thou my letter to Julia?
Speed. Ay, sir : I, a lost mutton, gave your letter to her, a lac'd mutton ; and she, a lac'd mutton, 2 gave me, a lost mutton, nothing for my labour.
'Pro. Here's too small a.pasture for such a store of muttons.
[!] This whole scene, like many others in these plays (some of which, I believe, were written by Shakspeare, and others interpolated by the players) is composed of the lowest and most trifling conceits, to be accounted for only from the gross taste of the age he lived in; Populo ut placerent. I wish I had authority to leave them out ; but I have done all I could, set a mark of rep. robation upon them throughout this edition. POPE.
That this, like many other scenes, is mean and yulgar, will be universally allowed ; but that it was interpolated by the players seems advanced with. out any proof, only to give a greater licence to criticism. JOHNSON.
 A laced mutton was in our author's time so established a term for a courtezan, that a street in Clerkenwell, which was much frequented by women of the town, was then called Mutton-lane. MALONE.
15 VOL. 1.