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INTRODUCTORY REMARKS.

• THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA' was first | Spanish was pretty widely diffused in Engprinted in the folio collection of Shakspere's | land in Shakspere's youth; and we must not plays, edited by John Heminge and Henry too readily fall in with the notion that such Condell, and published in 1623, seven years a book could not be accessible to him withafter his death. The text is singularly cor out a translation. rect. There are not more than half a dozen Pope calls the style of 'The Two Gentlepassages of any real importance upon which men of Verona' “simple and unaffected." a doubt can be entertained, if printed ac It was opposed to Shakspere's later style, cording to the original. It is, in all proba which is teeming with allusion upon allubility, a play written very early in Shak. sion. With the exception of the few obsospere's life.

lete words, and the unfamiliar application of The scene of this play is, in the first act, words still in use, this comedy has a very at Verona, and afterwards chiefly at Milan. modern air. The thoughts are natural and The action is not founded upon any histori obvious, the images familiar and general. cal event. The one historical fact men. The most celebrated passages have a chationed in this play is that of the emperor racter of grace rather than of beauty; the holding his court at Milan, which was under elegance of a youthful poet aiming to be the government of a duke, who was a vassal correcte Johnson considered this comedy to of the empire. Assuming that this fact be wanting in “diversity of character.” The prescribes a limit to the period of the ac. action, it must be observed, is mainly sustion, we must necessarily place that period tained by Proteus and Valentine, and by at least half a century before the date of the Julia and Silvia ; and the conduct of the composition of this drama.

plot is relieved by the familiar scenes in The incident of Julia following her lover which Speed and Launce appear. The other in the disguise of a page, and her subsequent actors are very subordinate, and we scarcely knowledge of his faithlessness, is common demand any great diversity of character enough in the old Italian and Spanish no. amongst them; but it appears to us, with vels. In the “Diana' of Montemayor, a regard to Proteus and Valentine, Julia and Spanish romance, which was translated in Silvia, Speed and Launce, that the charac1598, we find this resemblance to some ters are exhibited, as it were, in pairs, upon scenes of the 'Two Gentlemen of Verona.' a principle of very defined though delicate Indeed, in some turns of expression the contrast. dialogue is similar. "The knowledge of

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SCENE-IN VERONA, IN MILAN, AND ON THE FRONTIERS OF MANTUA.

In the original edition of 1623 the Persons Represented are thus described :

DUKE, father to Silvia.

VALENTINE, 1 the two Gentlemen.

PROTEUS,
ANTONIO, father to Proteus.
TAURIO, a foolish rival to Valentine.
EGLAMOUR, agent for Silvia in her escape.
SPEED, a clownish servant to Valentine.

LAUNCE, the like to Proteus.
PANTHINO, servant to Antonio.
Host, where Julia lodges.
OUTLAWS, with Valentine.
Julia, beloved of Proteus.
Silvia, beloved of Valentine.
LUCETTA, waiting-woman to Julia.

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VAL. Cease to persuade, my loving Proteus a;

Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits;
Wer 't not affection chains thy tender days
To the sweet glances of thy honour'd love,
I rather would entreat thy company,
To see the wonders of the world abroad,
Than, living dully sluggardiz'd at home,
Wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness.
But, since thou lov'st, love still, and thrive therein,

Even as I would, when I to love begin.
PRO. Wilt thou be gone? Sweet Valentine, adieu ! .

Think on thy Proteus, when thou, haply, seest
Some rare note-worthy object in thy travel :
Wish me partaker in thy happiness,..
When thou dost meet good hap: and in thy danger,
If ever danger do environ thee,
Commend thy grievance to my holy prayers,
For I will be thy beadsman, Valentine?.

"In the original this proper name is invariably spelt Protheus.

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