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“ O Chiron, tell me, first, art thou indeede the man
thou can.” &c. &c.
“ Pericles ftands in rancke amongst the rest." Again, ibidem :
“ Pericles was a famous man of warre." Such therefore was the poetical pronunciation of this proper name, in the age of Shakspeare. The address of Persius to a youthful orator - Magni pupille Pericli, is familiar to the ear of every classical reader.
By some of the observations scattered over the following pages, it will be proved that the illegitimate Pericles occasionally adopts not merely the ideas of Sir Philip's heroes, but their very words and phraseology. All circumstances therefore considered, it is not improbable that our author designed his chief character to be called Pyrocles, not Pericles, * however ignorance or accident might have thuffled the latter (a name of almost fimilar sound) into the place of the former. The true name, when once corrupted or changed in the theatre, was effe&ually withheld from the publick; and every commentator on this play agrees in a belief that it must have been printed by means of a copy Deucalion off” from the manuscript which had received Shakspeare's revisal and improvement. STEVENS.
“ far as
* Such a theatrical mistake will not appear improbable to the reader who recollects that in the fourth scene of the first Act of The Third Part of King Henry VI. instead of “ tigers of Hircania,”—the players have given us"tigers of Arcadia.” Inftead of “ an Até," in King John,_ an ače.' Instead of “ Panthino,” in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, — Panthion.” Inftead of “ Polydore," in Cymbeline,~" Paladour" was continued through all the tditions till that of 2773.
Antiochus, King of Antioch.
Helicanus, } two Lords of Tyre.
Fishermen, and Messengers, &c.
Pentapolis.] This is an imaginary city, and its name might have been borrowed from some romance. We meet indeed in history with Pentapolitana regio, a country in Africa, consisting of five cities; and from thence perhaps some novellift furnished the founding title of Pentapolis, which occurs likewise in the 37th chapter of Kyng Appolyn of Tyre, 1510, as well as in Gower, the Gesta Romanorum, and Twine's translation from it.
It should not, however, be concealed, that Pentapolis is also found in an ancient map of the world, Ms. in the Cotton Library, British Museum, Tiberius, B. V.
That the reader may know through how many regions the scene of this drama is difperfed, it is necessary to observe that Antioch was the metropolis of Syria ; Tyre, a city of Phænicia in Afia; Tarsus, the metropolis of Cilicia, a country of Asia Minor; Mitylene, the capital of Lesbos, an island in the Ægean Sea; and Ephesus, the capital of Ionia, a country of the Lefler Asia. STEEVENS.
PRINCE OF TYRE.
Before the Palace of Antioch.
To sing a song of old was sung,
of old was fung.) I do not know that old is by any author used adverbially. We might read :
To fing a song of old was sung,i. e. that of old &c.
But the poet is so licentious in the language which he has at: tributed to Gower in this piece, that I have not ventured to make any change. MALONE.
I have adopted Mr. Malone's emendation, which was evidently wanted. STEEVENS.
Gower is come;] The defect of metre (sung and come being no rhymes) points out, in my opinion, that we should read :
From ashes ancient Gower's sprung; alluding to the restoration of the Phenix. STEEVENS. * It hath been sung at festivals,
On ember-eves, and holy-ales ;] i. e, says Dr. Farmer, by
And lords and ladies of their lives
whom this emendation was made, church-ales. The old copy has-holy days. Gower's speeches were certainly intended to rhyme throughout. Malone.
of their lives -] The old copies read in their lives. The emendation was suggested by Dr. Farmer. MALONE. 6 'Purpose to make men glorious ; &c.] Old copy :
The purchase is to make men glorious; &c. STEVENS. There is an irregularity of metre in this couplet. The same variation is observable in Macbeth :
“ I am for the air ; this night I'll spend
Upon a dismal and a fatal end." The old copies read-The purchase &c. Mr. Steevens suggested this emendation. MALONE.
Being now convinced that all the irregular lines detected in The Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth, and Pericles, have been prolonged by interpolations which afford no additional beauties, I am become more confident in my attempt to mend the passage before us. Throughout this play it should seem to be a very frequent practice of the reciter, or transcriber, to supply words which, for some foolish reason or other, were supposed to be wanting. Unskilled in the language of poetry, and more especially in that which was clouded by an affectation of antiquity, thefé ignorant people regarded many contractions and ellipses, as indications of somewhat accidentally omitted; and while they folerted only monofyllables or unimportant words in imaginary vacancies, they conceived themselves to be doing little mischief. Liberties of this kind must have been taken with the piece under confideration. The meafure of it is too regular and harmonious in many places, for us to think it was utterly neglected in the reft. As this play will never be received as the entire compofition of Shakspeare, and as violent disorders require medicines of proportionable violence, I have been by no means férupulous in striving to reduce the metre to that exactness which I suppose it originally to bave poffeffed. Of the fame license I should not have availed myself, had I been employed on any of the undisputed dramas of our author. Those experiments which we are forbidden to perform on living subjects, may properly be attenipted on dead ones, among which our Pericles may be recke
born in these latter times,
oned ; being dead, in its present form to all purpofes of the stage, and of no very promifing life in the closet.
The purpose is to make men glorious,
Et bonum quo antiquius eo melius.] The original saying is Bonum quo communius, eo melius.
As I suppose these lines, with their context, to have originally stood as follows, I have so given them :
And lords and ladies, of their lives
Et quo antiquius, eo melius. This innovation may seem to introduce obfcurity; but in huddling words on each other, without their necessary articles and prepositions, the chief ikill of our present imitator of antiquated rhyme appears to have confifted. Again, old copy :
“ This Antioch then, Antiochus the great
“ Built up; this city, for his chiefest feat." I suppose the original lines were these, and as such have printed them :
“ This city then, Antioch the great
“ Built up for his chiefeft seat.' Another redundant line offers itself in the same chorus:
“ Bad child, worse father! to entice his own-" which I also give as I conceive it to have originally stood, thus :
- Bad father! to entice his own." The words omitted are of little consequence, and the artificial comparison between the guilt of the parent and the child, has no resemblance to the simplicity of Gower's narratives. The lady's frailty is sufficiently stigmatized in the ensuing lines. See my further sentiments concerning the irregularities of Shakspeare's metre, in a note on The Tempest, Vol. IV. p. 72, 11.2; and again in Vol. X. 193, n. 1. Steevens.
- for his chiefeft seat ;] So, in Twine's translation :