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Por. Then, you shall be his surety. Give him this,
And bid him keep it better than the other.

Ant. Here, lord Bassanio; swear to keep this ring.
Bass. By heaven! it is the same I gave the doctor.

Por. I had it of him : pardon me, Bassanio,
For by this ring the doctor lay with me.

Ner. And pardon me, my gentle Gratiano,
For that same scrubbed boy, the doctor's clerk,
In lieu of this last night did lie with me.

Gra. Why, this is like the mending of highways
In summer, when the ways are fair enough'
What! are we cuckolds, ere we have deserv'd it ?

Por. Speak not so grossly.—You are all amazed :
Here is a letter, read it at your leisure;
It comes from Padua, from Bellario:
There you shall find, that Portia was the doctor;
Nerissa there, her clerk. Lorenzo, here,
Shall witness I set forth as soon as you,
And even but now return'd: I have not yet
Enter'd my house.—Antonio, you are welcome;
And I have better news in store for you,
Than you expect: unseal this letter soon;
There you shall find, three of your argosies
Are richly come to harbour suddenly.
You shall not know by what strange accident
I chanced on this letter.

I am dumb.
Bass. Were you the doctor, and I knew you not ?
Gra. Were you the clerk, that is to make me cuckold ?

Ner. Ay; but the clerk that never means to do it,
Unless he live until he be a man.

Bass. Sweet doctor, you shall be my bedfellow :
When I am absent, then, lie with my wife.

Ant. Sweet lady, you have given me life, and living,
For here I read for certain that my ships
Are safely come to road.

How now, Lorenzo ?
My clerk hath some good comforts, too, for you.

Ner. Ay, and I'll give them him without a fee. — There do I give to you and Jessica,

• In summer, when the ways are fair enough.] So the corr. fo. 1632: the old copies and all modern editions (excepting that of Mr. Singer, who adopts the emen. dation without acknowledgment) misprint " when ” where.

From the rich Jew, a special deed of gift,
After his death, of all he dies possess’d of.

Lor. Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way
Of starved people.

It is almost morning,
And yet, I am sure, you are not satisfied
Of these events at full. Let us go in;
And charge us there upon inter'gatories,
And we will answer all things faithfully.

Gra. Let it be so: the first inter’gatory,
That my Nerissa shall be sworn on, is,
Whether till the next night she had rather stay,
Or go to bed now, being two hours to day?
But were the day come, I should wish it dark,
Till I were couching with the doctor's clerk'.
Well, while I live, I'll fear no other thing
So sore, as keeping safe Nerissa's ring.


1 Till I were couching with the doctor's clerk.) So the 4to. by Heyes, and the folio. Roberts's 4to. has, That I were couching with the clerk.” Some modern editors, who, perhaps, have not themselves examined the old copies, but have taken, and mistaken, the statements of others as to their contents, assert that Roberts's 4to. has Till and Heyes's 4to. That. This is the reverse of the fact.


“ As You Like It ” was first printed in the folio of 1623, where it occupies twenty-three pages, viz. from p. 185 to p. 207 in. clusive, in the division of “ Comedies.” It preserved its place in the three subsequent impressions of that volume in 1632, 1661, and 1685.


“ As You LIKE IT" is not only founded upon, but in some points very closely copied from, a novel by Thomas Lodge, under the title of“ Rosalynde : Euphues Golden Legacie,” which was originally printed in 4to, 1590, a second time in 1592, and a third time in 1598. We have no intelligence of any re-impression of it between 1592 and 1598. This third edition perhaps appeared early in 1598; and we are disposed to think, that the re-publication of so popular a work directed Shakespeare's attention to it. If so, “ As You Like It" may have been written in the summer of 1598, and first acted in the winter of the same, or in the spring of the following year'.

The only entry in the registers of the Stationers' Company relating to “As You Like It," is confirmatory of this supposition. It has been already referred to in the “ Introduction ” to “ Much Ado about Nothing” (p. 3); and it will be well to insert it here, precisely in the same nianner in which it stands in the original record :

“4 August. “As you like yt, a book. Henry the ffift, a book. Every man

in his humor, a book. The Commedie of Much adoo about

nothinge, a book.” Opposite this memorandum are added the words “To be staied.” It will be remarked, that there is an important deficiency in the entry, as regards the purpose to which we wish to apply it:—the date of the year is not given; but Malone conjectured, and in that conjecture we have expressed concurrence, that the clerk who wrote the titles of the four plays, with the date of “4 August," did not think it necessary there to repeat the year 1600, as it was found in the memorandum immediately preceding that we have above quoted. Shakespeare's “ Henry the Fifth,” and “Much Ado about Nothing,” were both printed in 1600, and Ben Jonson's “ Every Man in his Humour” in the year following; though Gifford, in his edition of that poet's works (vol. i. p. 2), by a strange error, states, that the first impression was in 1603. The “stay,” as regards “ Henry the Fifth,” “Every Man in his Humour," and

1 If we suppose that the third edition of Lodge's “Rosalynde" was occasioned by the popularity of Shakespeare's comedy, founded upon one of the earlier impressions in 1590 or 1592, it would show that if “ As You Like It” were acted in 1598, it might have been written in 1597, or earlier.

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