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room for a more favorite name; yet, however conciliating the name of Pyrocles might have been, that of Pericles could challenge no advantage with regard to general predilection. All circumstances therefore considered, it is not improbable that Shakspeare designed his chief character to be called Pyrocles, not Pericles, however ignorance or accident might have shumed the latter (a name of almost similar sound) into the place of the former. This conjecture will amount almost to certainty, if we diligently compare Pericles with the Pyrocles of the Arcadia ; the same romantic, versatile, and sensitive disposition is ascribed to both characters, and several of the incidents pertaining to the latter are found mingled with the adventures of the former personage ; while throughout the play, the obligations of its Author to various other parts of the romance may be frequently and distinctly traced, not only in the assumption of an image or a sentiment, but in the adoption of the very words of his once popular predecessor, proving incontestibly the Poet's familiarity with and study of the Arcadia to have been very considerable.
“ However wild and extravagant the fable of Pericles may appear, if we consider its numerous choruses, its pageantry, and dumb shows, its continual succession of incidents, and the great length of time which they occupy, yet it is, we may venture to assert, the most spirited and pleasing specimen of the nature and fabric of our earliest romantic drama which we possess, and the most valuable, as it is the only one with which Shakspcare has favored us. We should therefore welcome this play as an admirable example of the neglected favorites of our ancestors, with something of the same feeling that is experienced in the reception of an old and valued friend of our fathers or grandfathers. Nay, we should like it the better for its gothic appendages of pageants and choruses, to explain the intricacies of the fable; and we can see no objection to the dramatic representation even of a series of ages in a single night, that does not apply to every description of poem, which leads, in perusal, from the fireside, at which we are sitting, to a succession of remote periods and distant countries. In these matters, Faith is all powerful; and without her influence, the most chastely cold and critically correct of dramas is precisely as unreal as the Midsummer Night's Dream, or the Winter's Tale.
“ A still more powerful attraction in Pericles is, that the interest accumulates as the story proceeds ; for, though many of the characters in the earlier part of the drama, such as Antiochus and his Daughter, Simonides and Thaisa, Cleon and Dionyza, disappear and drop into oblivion, their places are supplied by more pleasing and efficient agents, who are not less fugacious, but better calculated for theatric effect. The inequalities of this production are, indeed, considerable, and only to be accounted for, with probability, on the supposition that Shakspeare either accepted a coadjutor, or improved on the rough sketch of a previous writer. The former, for many reasons, seems entitled to a preference, and will explain why, in compliment to his dramatic friend, he has suffered a few passages, and one entire scene, of a character totally dissimilar to his own style and mode of composition, to stand uncorrected; for who does not perceive, that of the closing scene of the second act, not a sentence or a word escaped from the pen of Shakspeare ?
“No play, in fact, more openly discloses the hand of Shakspeare than Pericles, and fortunately his share in its composition appears to have been very considerable; he may be distinctly, though not frequently, traced in the first and second acts ; after which, feeling the incompetency of his fellow-laborer, he seems to have assumed almost the entire management of the remainder, nearly the whole of the third, fourth, and fifth acts
bearing indisputable testimony to the genius and execution of the great master.
“ The most corrupt of Shakspeare's other dramas, compared with Pericles, is purity itself. The metre is seldom attended to; verse is frequently printed as prose, and the grossest errors abound in every page. I mention these circumstances only as an apology to the reader for having taken somewhat more license with this drama than would have been justifiable if the old copies had been less disfigured by the negligence and ignorance of the printer or transcriber.”—Malone.
Shakspeare and his Times, by Dr. Drake, vol. ii. p. 262 and seq.
ANTIOCHUS, King of Antioch.
two Lords of Tyre.
The Daughter of Antiochus.
Lords, Ladies, Knights, Gentlemen, Sailors, Pirates,
Fishermen, and Messengers, foc.
SCENE, dispersedly in various Countries.t
* We meet with Pentapolitana regio, a country in Africa, consisting of fire cities. Pentapolis occurs in the thirty-seventh chapter of King Appolyn of Tyre, 1510; in Gower; the Gesta Romanorum ; and Twine's translation from it. Its site is marked in an ancient map of the world, MS. in the Cotton Library, Brit. Mus. Tiberius, b. v. In the original Latin romance of Apollonius Tyrius, it is most accurately called Pentapolis Cyrenorum, and was, as both Strabo and Ptolemy inform us, a district of Cyrenaica in Africa, comprising five cities, of which Cyrene was one.
7 That the reader may know through how many regions the scene of this drama is dispersed, it is necessary to observe that Antioch was the metropolis of Syria; Tyre, a city of Phænicia, in Asia; Tharsus, 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 lonia, a country of the Lesser Asia.
PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE.
Enter Gower. Before the Palace of Antioch.
this city for his chiefest seat;
1 Chorus, in the character of Gower, an ancient English poet, who has related the story of this play in his Confessio Amantis.
2 i. e. that of old.
3 That is, says Dr. Farmer, by whom this emendation was made, churchales. The old copy has “holy days."
4 “ The purchase” is the reading of the old copy, which Steevens changed to purpose. The word purchase was anciently used to signify gain, profit ; any good or advantage obtained.
This king unto him took a pheere,
SCENE I. Antioch.
Antioch. A Room in the Palace.
Enter AntiochUS, PERICLES, and Attendants. Ant. Young prince of Tyre, you have at large re
ceived The danger of the task
1 Wife; the word signifies a mate or companion.
5 “To keep her still to himself, and to deter others from demanding her in marriage.”
6 Gower must be supposed to point to the scene of the palace gate at Antioch, on which the heads of those unfortunate wights were fixed.
7 Which (the judgment of your eye) best can justify, i. e. prove its resemblance to the ordinary course of nature.
8 By prince, throughout this play, we are to understand prince regnant.