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Antiochus, king of Antioch.
Pericles, prince of Tyre.
two lords of Tyre.
Simonides, king of Pentapolis.
Cleon, governor of Tharfus,
Lyfimachus, governor of Mitylene.
Thaliard, a lord of Antioch.
Philemon, fervant to Cerimon.
Leonine, fervant to Dionyza. Marshall.
The daughter of Antiochus. Dionyza, wife to Cleon.
Marina, daughter to Pericles and Thaifa.
Lords, Ladies, Knights, Gentlemen, Sailors, Pirates,
SCENE, difperfedly in various countries.
Pentapolis. This is an imaginary city, and its name might have been borrowed from fome romance. We meet indeed in hif tory with Pentapolitano regio, a country in Africa, confifting of five cities and from thence perhaps fome novelift furnished the founding title of Pentapolis, which occurs likewife in the 37th chapter of Kyng Appolyn of Tyre, 1510, as well as in Gower, the Gefta Romanoum, and Twine's tranflation from it.
It should not, however, be concealed, that Pentapolis is alfo found in an ancient map of the world, MS. in the Cotton Library, British Mufeum, Tiberius, B. V.
That the reader may know through how many regions the scene of this drama is difperfed, it is neceffary to obferve that Antioch was the metropolis of Syria; Tyre, a city of Phoenicia in Afia; Tarfus, the metropolis of Cilicia. a country of Alia Minor; Mitylene, the capital of Lefbos, an ifland in the Egean Sea; and Ephefus, the capital of Ionia, a country of the Leffer Afia.
STEEVENS, "PENTAPOLIN of the naked arm" is the hero of a romance alluded to by Cervantes. See Skelton's Don Quixote, Vol. I. p. 144, 4to. 1612. MALONE.
To fing a fong of old was fung,*
To glad your ear, and pleafe your eyes.
On ember-eves, and holy-ales;3
And lords and ladies of their lives 4
Have read it for restoratives:
of old was fung,] I do not know that old is by any
author ufed adverbially. We might read:
To fing a fong of old was fung,
i. e. that of old &c.
But the poet is fo licentious in the language which he has attributed to Gower in this piece, that I have not ventured to make any change. MALONI.
I have adopted Mr. Malone's emendation, which was evidently wanted. STEEVENS.
3 It hath been fung at feftivals,
On ember-eves, and holy-ales; ] i. e. fays Dr. Farmer, by whom this emendation was made, church-ales. The old copy has holy days. Gower's fpeeches were certainly intitled to rhyme throughout. MALONE,
of their lives} The old copies read-in their lives, The emendation was fuggefted by Dr. Farmer. MALONE.
'Purpofe to make men glorious;*
Purpose to make men glorious; &c.] Old copy
The purchase is to make men glorious; &c. STEEVENS,
There is an irregularity of metre in this couplet. The fame variation is obfervable in Macbeth:
"I am for the air; this night I'll spend
"Upon a difmal and a fatal end."
The old copies read -The purchafe &c. Mr. Steevens fuggefted
this emendation. MALONE.
Being now convinced that all the irregular lines detected in The Midfummer 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 amend the paffage before 115. Throughout this play it fhould feem to be a very frequent pradice of the reciter, or tranfcriber, to fupply words which, for fome foolish reafon or other, were fuppofed to be wanting. Unfkill'd in the language of poetry, and more especially in that which was clouded by an affe&ation of antiquity, thefe ignorant people regarded many contra&ions and ellipfes, as indications of fomewhat accidentally omitted; and while they inferted only monofyllables or unimportant words in imaginary vacancies, they conceived themfelves to be doing little mifchief. Liberties of this kind muft have been taken with the piece under confideration. The measure of it is too regular aud harmonious in many places, for us to think it was utterly negle&ed in the reft. As this play will never be received as the entire compofition of Shakspeare, and as violent diforders require medicines of proportionable violence, I have been by no means fcrupulous in friving to reduce the metre to that exactnefs which I fuppofe it originally to have poffeffed. Of the fame licenfe I fhould not have availed myfelf ad I been employed on any of the undifputed dramas of our author. Thofe experiments which we are forbidden to perform ou living fubjects, may properly be attempted on dead ones, among which our Pericles may be reckoned; being dead, in its prefent form to all purposes of the flage, and of no very promifing life in the clofet. The purpose is to make men glorious,
Et bonum quo antiquius eo melius. 1 As I fuppofe these lings with their context, to have originally stood as follows, I have fe given them:
And lords and ladies, of their lives
If you, born in thefe latter times,
When wit's more ripe, accept my rhymes,
(1 tell you what mine authors fay: ")
This innovation may feem to introduce obfcurity; but in huddling words on each other, without their neceffary articles and prepofitions, the chief skill of our present imitator of antiquated rhyme appears to have confifted.
Again, old copy:
This Antioch then, Antiochus the great
I fuppofe the original lines were thefe, and as fuch have printed them:
"This city then, Antioch the great
Built up for his chiefeft feat."
Another redundant line offers itfelf in the fame chorus:
"Bad child, worfe father! to entice his own—
which I also give as I conceive it to have originally ftood, thus:
The words omitted are of little confequence, and the artificial com parison between the guilt of the parent and the child, has no refemblance to the fimplicity of Gower's narratives. The lady's frailty is fufficiently ftigmatized in the enfuing lines. See my further fentiments concerning the irregularities of Shakspeare's metre, in a note on The Tempest, Vol. IV. p. 68, n. 6; and again in Vol. XI. P. 173, n. 7. STEEVENS.
6 — for his chiefest seat; ] So, in Twine's Translation – -"The moft famous and mighty King Antiochus, which builded the. goodlie citie of Antiochia in Syria, and called it after his owne name, as the chiefeft feat of all his dominions. STEEVENS.
7 (I tell you what mine authors fay :)] This is added in imitation of Gower's manner, aud that of Chaucer, Lydgate, &c. who often thus refer to the original of their tales.-Thefe choruses resemble Sower in few other particulars. STEEVENS.
This king unto him took a pheere,?
So buxom, blithe, and full of face,
In marriage-pleasures play-fellow :
unto him took a pheere,] This word, which is frequently ufed by our old poets, fignifies a mate or companion. The old copies have-peer. For the emendation I am answerable. Throughout this piece, the poet, though he has not clofely copied the language of Gower's poem, has endeavoured to give his fpeeches fomewhat of an antique air. MALONE.
See Vol. XIX. p. 324, n. 6. STEEVENS.
full of face,
i. e. completely, exuberantly beautiful. full fortune, in Othello, means a complete, a large one. See alfo Vol. XVI. p. 373, n. 7.
9 By cuftom, what they ligibly -But custom &c. account no fin.] John, waft for wafted:
did begin,] All the copies read, unintel
"Than now the English bottoms have waft o'er."
Again, in Gascoigne's Complaint of Philomene, 1575:
"His lewdnefs was acquit.'
The old copies read-account'd.
For the corredion I am an
thither frame, ] i. c. fhape or direct their course thither.
(To keep her fill, and men in awe,)] The meaning, I think,