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Taming of the Shrew, 1607, nor the old play of King John, in two Parts, to have been the work of Shakspeare? He generally followed every novel or history from whence he took his plots, as closely as he could; and is so often indebted to these originals for his very thoughts and expressions, that we may fairly pronounce him not to have been above borrowing, to spare himself the labour of invention. It is therefore probable, that both these plays, (like that of King Henry V in which Oldcastle is introduced,) were the unsuccessful performances of contemporary players. Shakspeare saw they were meanly written, and yet that their plans were such as would furnish incidents for a better dramatist. He therefore might lazily adopt the order of their scenes, sti'l writing the dialogue anew, and inserting little more from either piece, than a few lines which he might think worth preserving, or was too much in haste to alter It is no uncommon thing in the literary world, to see the track of others followed by those who would never have given themselves the trouble to mark out one of their own.





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