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* All's Well THAT ENDS Well.] The story of All's Well that ends Well, or, as I suppose it to have been sometimes called, Love's Labour Wonne, is originally indeed the property of Boccace, but it came immediately to Shakspeare from Painter's Giletta of Narbon, in the First Vol. of the Palace of Pleasure, 4to. 1566, p. 88. FARMER.
Shakspeare is indebted to the novel only for a few leading circumstances in the graver parts of the piece. The comic business appears to be entirely of his own formation. SteeveNS.
This comedy, I imagine, was written in 1598. See An Attempt to ascertain the Order of Shakspeare's Plays, Vol. I. MALONE.
King of France.
in the Florentine war.
Countess of Rousillon, mother to Bertram.
a." } Neighbours and friends to the widow.
Lords, attending on the King; Officers, Soldiers, &c.
French and Florentine.
SCENE, partly in France, and partly in Tuscany.
· The persons were first enumerated by Mr. Rowe. 3 Lafeu,] We should read — Lefeu. Steevens.
4 Parolles,] I suppose we should write this name Paroles, i.e. a creature made up of empty words. Steevens.
s Violenta only enters once, and then she neither speaks, nor is spoken to. This name appears to be borrowed from an old metrical history, entitled Didaco and Violenta, 1576. Steevens,
ENDS WEL L.
ACT I. SCENE I. Rousillon. A Room in the Countess's Palace. Enter Bertram, the Countess of Rousillon, Helena,
and LaFEU, in mourning,
Count. In delivering my son from me, I bury a second husband.
Ber. And I, in going, madam, weep o’er my father's death anew: but I must attend his majesty's command, to whom I am now in ward, evermore in subjection.
2 — in ward,] Under his particular care, as my guardian, till I come to age. It is now almost forgotten in England, that the heirs of great fortunes were the King's wards. Whether the fame practice prevailed in France, it is of no great use to enquire, for Shakspeare gives to all nations the manners of England,
JOHNSON. Howell's fifteenth letter acquaints us that the province of Normandy was subject to wardships, and no other part of France befides; but the supposition of the contrary furnished Shakspeare with a reason why the King compelled Rousillon to marry Helen.
LAF. You shall find of the king a husband, ma. dam ;--you, sir, a father: He that so generally is at all times good, must of necessity hold his virtue to you; whose worthiness would stir it up where it wanted, rather than lack it where there is such abundance. - Count. What hope is there of his majesty's amendment ?
LAF. He hath abandon'd his physicians, madam; under whose practices he hath persecuted time with hope; and finds no other advantage in the process, but only the losing of hope by time.
Count. This young gentlewoman had a father, (O, that bad! how sad a passage 'tis !3) whose skill
The prerogative of a wardship is a branch of the feudal law, and may as well be supposed to be incorporated with the constitution of France, as it was with that of England, till the reign of Charles II. Sir J. HAWKINS. 3 0 , that had ! how fad a passage 'tis !] Imitated from the Heautontimorumenos of Terence, then translated,) where Mene. demus says:
• Filium unicum adolescentulum
" habui, Chreme,
« Shee, while she was, (that was a woeful word to faine,
“ For beauties praise and pleasaunce had no peere." Again, in Wily Beguild, 1606:
" She is not mine, I have no daughter now;
MALONE. Pasage is any thing that passes. So we now fay, a passage of an author, and we said about a century ago, the pasages of a reign. When the countess mentions Helena's loss of a father, the recollects her own loss of a husband, and stops to observe how heavily that word had passes through her mind. Johnson.
Thus Shakspeare himself. See The Comedy of Errors, A& III. fc. i :
“ Now in the stirring passage of the day.”