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BAWD. Who should deny it? Come young one, I like the manner of your garments well.

BOULT. Ay, by my faith, they shall not be changed yet.

BAWD. Boult, spend thou that in the town: report what a sojourner we have; you'll lose nothing by custom. When nature framed this piece, she meant thee a good turn; therefore say what a paragon she is, and thou hast the harvest out of thine own report.*

BOULT. I warrant you, mistress, thunder shall not so awake the beds of eels,5 as my giving out her beauty stir up the lewdly-inclined. I'll bring home some to-night.

BAWD. Come your ways; follow me.

MAR. If fires be hot, knives sharp, or waters deep, Untied I still my virgin knot will keep.7 Diana, aid my purpose!

When nature framed this piece, she meant thee a good turn ;] A similar sentiment occurs in King Lear:

"That eyeless head of thine was first fram'd flesh,
"To raise my fortunes." STEEVens.

and thou hast the harvest out of thine own report.] So, in Much Ado about Nothing:


"Frame the season for your own harvest." STEEVENS. thunder shall not so awake the beds of eels,] Thunder is not supposed to have an effect on fish in general, but on eels only, which are roused by it from the mud, and are therefore more easily taken. So, in Marston's Satires:

"They are nought but eeles, that never will appeare,
"Till that tempestuous winds, or thunder, teare
"Their slimy beds." L. II. Sat. vii. v. 204.


If fires be hot, knives sharp, or waters deep,] So, in Antony and Cleopatra:

BAWD. What have we to do with Diana? Pray will you go with us?




Tharsus. A Room in Cleon's House:


DION. Why, are you foolish? Can it be undone?s CLE. O Dionyza, such a piece of slaughter The sun and moon ne'er look'd upon !


I think

You'll turn a child again.

CLE. Were I chief lord of all the spacious world, I'd give it to undo the deed. O lady,

"if knife, drugs, serpents, have

Edge, sting, or operation, I am safe." STEEVENS.

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If there be cords, or knives,

7 Untied I still my virgin knot will keep.] We have the same classical allusion in The Tempest:

"If thou dost break her virgin-knot," &c. MALONe.

Can it be undone?] Thus, Lady Macbeth:

what's done, is done." STEEvens.

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to undo the deed.] So, in Macbeth:

"Wake Duncan with this knocking:-Ay, would thou could'st!"

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In Pericles, as in Macbeth, the wife is more criminal than the husband, whose repentance follows immediately on the murder.

Thus also, in Twine's translation: "But Strangulio himself consented not to this treason, but so soon as he heard of the foul mischaunce, being as it were all amort, and amazed with heaviness &c. and therewithal he looked towardes his wife, saying, Thou wicked woman" &c. STEEVENS.

Much less in blood than virtue, yet a princess
To equal any single crown o'the earth,
I'the justice of compare! O villain Leonine,
Whom thou hast poison'd too!

If thou hadst drunk to him, it had been a kindness
Becoming well thy feat: what canst thou say,
When noble Pericles shall demand his child?2

Nurses are not the

DION. That she is dead.

To foster it, nor ever to preserve.3


If thou hadst drunk to him, it had been a kindness

Becoming well thy feat:] Old copy-face: which, if this reading be genuine, must mean-hadst thou poisoned thyself by pledging him, it would have been an action well becoming thee. For the sake of a more obvious meaning, however, I read, with Mr. M. Mason, feat instead of face. STEEVENS.

Feat, i. e. of a piece with the rest of thy exploit. So, in The Two Noble Kinsmen, Palamon says:

"Cozener Arcite, give me language such

"As thou hast shewed me feat." M. MASON.

So, in Holinshed, p. 756: "—aiders and partakers of his feat and enterprize." STEEVENS.


·what canst thou say,

When noble Pericles shall demand his child?] So, in the ancient romance already quoted: "-tell me now what rekenynge we shall gyve hym of his doughter," &c.

Again, in Twine's translation: "Thou reportedst that Prince Appollonius was dead; and loe now where he is come to require his daughter. What shall we now doe or say to him?"


So also, in the Gesta Romanorum: "Quem [Apollonium] cum vidisset Strangulio, perrexit rabido cursu, dixitque uxori suæ Dyonisidi-Dixisti Apollonium naufragum esse mortuum. Ecce, venit ad repetendam filiam. Ecce, quid dicturi sumus pro filiâ?" MALONE.

Nurses are not the fates,

To foster it, nor ever to preserve.] So King John, on receiving the account of Arthur's death:



She died by night; I'll say so. Who can cross it?"
Unless you play the impious innocent,"
And for an honest attribute, cry out,
She died by foul play.


O, go to. Well, well, Of all the faults beneath the heavens, the gods Do like this worst.

DION. Be one of those, that think The petty wrens of Tharsus will fly hence,"


"We cannot hold mortality's strong hand :—
Why do you bend such solemn brows on me?
"Think you I bear the shears of destiny?
"Have I commandment on the pulse of life?"


She died by night;] Old copy-at night. I suppose Dionyza means to say that she died by night; was found dead in the morning. The words are from Gower:

"She saith, that Thaisa sodeynly

"By night is dead."

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Who can cross it?] So, in Macbeth:
Will it not be receiv'd,

I'll say so. "Macb. "When we have mark'd with blood those sleepy two "Of his own chamber, and us'd their very daggers, "That they have done't?

"Lady M. Who dares receive it other,

"As we shall make our grief and clamour roar
"Upon his death?" MALONE.

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* Unless you play the impious innocent,] The folios and the modern editions have omitted the word impious, which is necessary to the metre, and is found in the first quarto.-She calls him, an impious simpleton, because such a discovery would touch the life of one of his own family, his wife.

An innocent was formerly a common appellation for an idiot. See Mr. Whalley's note in Vol. VIII. p. 357, n. 6. MALONE.

Notwithstanding Malone's ingenious explanation, I should wish to read-the pious innocent, instead of impious.

Thus the

The petty wrens of Tharsus will fly hence,] quarto, 1609; that of 1619 reads-pretty. STEEVENS.

And open this to Pericles. I do shame
To think of what a noble strain you are,
And of how cow'd a spirit."

CLE. To such proceeding Who ever but his approbation added, Though not his pre-consent," he did not flow From honourable courses.

I do shame

To think of what a noble strain you are,

And of how cow'd a spirit.] Old copy-coward. I read (for the sake of metre)-of how cow'd a spirit. So, in Macbeth: "For it hath cow'd my better part of man."


Lady Macbeth urges the same argument to persuade her husband to commit the murder of Duncan, that Dionyza here uses to induce Cleon to conceal that of Marina:


art thou afraid

"To be the same in thine own act and valour,
“As thou art in desire? Would'st thou have that
"Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life,
"And live a coward in thine own esteem?
"Letting I dare not wait upon I would,
"Like the poor cat i'the adage?"
Again, after the murder, she exclaims:

"My hands are of your colour, but I shame
"To wear a heart so white." MALONE.

9 Though not his pre-consent,] The first quarto reads-prince consent. The second quarto, which has been followed by the modern editions, has-whole consent. In the second edition, the editor or printer seems to have corrected what was apparently erroneous in the first, by substituting something that would afford sense, without paying any regard to the corrupted reading, which often leads to the discovery of the true. For the emendation inserted in the text the reader is indebted to Mr. Steevens. A passage in King John bears no very distant resemblance to the present:


If thou didst but consent

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"To this most cruel act, do but despair,

"And, if thou want'st a cord, the smallest thread.
"That ever spider twisted from her womb
"Will serve to strangle thee." MALONE.

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