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Twelfth-NIGHT : or, what you will.] There is great reason to believe, that the serious part of this Comedy is founded on some old translation of the seventh history in the 4th vol. of Belleforest's Histoires Tragiques. Belleforest took the story as usual, from Bandello. The comic scenes appear to have been entirely the production of Shakespeare. It is not impossible, however, that the circumstances of the Duke sending his Page to plead his cause with the Lady, and of the Lady's falling in love with the Page, &c. might be borrowed from the Fifth Eglog of Barnaby Googe, published with his other original Poems in 1563. STEEVENs.
This play is in the graver part elegant and easy, and in some of the lighter scenes exquisitely humorous. Aguecheek is drawn with great propriety, but his character is, in a great measure, that of natural fatuity, and is therefore not the proper prey of a satirist. The soliloquy of Malvolio is truly comic; he is betrayed to ridicule merely by his pride. The marriage of Olivia, and the succeeding perplexity, though well enough contrived to divert on the stage, wants credibility, and fails to produce the proper instruction required in the drama, as it exhibits no just picture of life. - JoHNSON.
The first edition of this play is in the folio of 1623.
Orsino, duke of Illyria.
: gentlemen, attending on the duke.
; servants to Olivia.
OliviA, a rich countess.
Lords, Priests, Sailors, Qjicers, Musicians, and other .Attendants.
SCENE–a City, in Illyria; and the Sea-coast near it.