« AnteriorContinua »
If you, born in these latter times,
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
This innovation may seem to introduce obscurity; but in huddling words on each other, without their necessary articles and prepositions, the chief skill of our present imitator of antiquated rhyme appears to have consisted.
Again, old copy:
"This Antioch then, Antiochus the great
"Built up; this city, for his chiefest seat."
I suppose the original lines were these, and as such have printed them:
"This city then, Antioch the great
"Built up for his chiefest seat."
Another redundant line offers itself in the same chorus:
"Bad child, worse father! to entice his own—.”
which I alsó 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. 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. xv. p. 84, n.9; and again in vol. xi. p. 182, n. 1. STEEVENS.
See them opposed in the Essay on Shakspeare's Versification, vol. ii. BosWELL.
7 for his CHIEFEST SEAT;] So, in Twine's translation :"The most famous and mighty King Antiochus, which builded the goodlie city of Antiochia in Syria, and called it after his owne name, as the chiefest seat of all his dominions." STEEVENS.
The fairest in all Syria;
(I tell you what mine authors say ":)
Bad child, worse father! to entice his own
8 (I tell you what mine authors say :)] This is added in imitation of Gower's manner, and that of Chaucer, Lydgate, &c. who often thus refer to the original of these tales.-These choruses resemble Gower in few other particulars. STEEVENS.
9 — unto him took a PHEERE,] This word, which is frequently used by our old poets, signifies a mate or companion. The old copies have peer. For the emendation I am answerable. Throughout this piece, the poet, though he has not closely copied the language of Gower's poem, has endeavoured to give his speeches somewhat of an antique air. MALONE.
I-FULL of face,] i. e. completely, exuberantly beautiful. A full fortune, in Othello, means a complete, a large one.
2 BY custom, what they did begin,] All the copies read, unintelligibly-But custom, &c. MALONE.
ACCOUNT no sin.] Account for accounted. So, in King John, waft for wafted:
"Than now the English bottoms have waft o'er."
Again, in Gascoigne's Complaint of Philomene, 1575: "And by the lawde of his pretence
"His lewdness was acquit."
The old copies read account'd. For the correction I am answerable. MALONE.
4 — thither FRAME,] i. e. shape or direct their course thither.
To seek her as a bed-fellow,
In marriage pleasures play-fellow :
(To keep her still, and men in awe,)] The meaning, I think, is not to keep her and men in awe,' but to keep her still to himself, and to deter others from demanding her in marriage.' MALONE.
Mr. Malone has properly interpreted this passage. So, in Twine's translation: ". which false resemblance of hateful marriage, to the intent that he might alwaies enjoy, he invented, &c. to drive away all suitors that should resort unto her, by propounding," &c. STEevens.
6 -many A wight-]
The quarto 1609 reads-many of wight. Corrected in the folio. MALONE.
Perhaps the correction is erroneous, and we should read, nearer to the traces of the old copy
"So for her many of might did die—.”
i. e. many men of might. Thus, afterwards :
"Yon sometime famous princes," &c.
The w in the quarto 1609, might be only an m reversed.
7 As yon grim looks do testify.] Gower must be supposed here to point to the heads of those unfortunate wights, which, he tells us, in his poem, were fixed on the gate of the palace at Antioch :
"The fader, whan he understood
"That thei his doughter thus besought,
"He shulde in certeyn lese his hede:
And thus there were many dede,
What now ensues, to the judgment of your
I give, my cause who best can justify".
Antioch. A Room in the Palace.
Enter ANTIOCHUS, PERICLES, and Attendants. ANT. Young prince of Tyre', you have at large receiv'd
"Her heades stonding on the gate;
"For lack of answere in this wise
"The remenant, that wexen wyse,
"As yon grim looks do testify." This is an indication to me of the use of scenery in our ancient theatres. I suppose the audience were here entertained with a view of a kind of Temple Bar at Antioch. STEEVENS.
8 What Now ensues.] The folio-What ensues. The original copy has-What now ensues. MALONE.
my cause who best can justify.] i. e. which (the judgment of your eye) best can justify, i. e. prove its resemblance to the ordinary course of nature. So, afterwards:
"When thou shalt kneel, and justify in knowledge-.”
But as no other of the four next chorusses concludes with a heroick couplet, unless through interpolation, I suspect that the two lines before us originally stood thus:
"What now ensues,
I give to the judgment of your eye,
My cause who best can justify."
In another of Gower's monologues there is an avowed hemis
"And yet he rides it out. Now please you wit
"The epitaph is for Marina writ
By wicked Dionyza."
See Act IV. Sc. IV. STEEVENS.
1 Young PRINCE of Tyre,] It does not appear in the present drama, that the father of Pericles is living. By prince, therefore, throughout this play, we are to understand prince regnant. See
The danger of the task you undertake.
ANT. Bring in our daughter, clothed like a bride 2, For the embracements even of Jove himself; At whose conception, (till Lucina reign'd,) Nature this dowry gave, to glad her presence 3,
Act II. Sc. IV. and in the epitaph Act III. Sc. III.
In Twine's translation he is repeatedly called "Prince of Tyrus." STEEVENS.
2 Bring in our daughter, clothed like a bride,] All the copies read :
"Musick, bring in our daughter, clothed like a bride—." The metre proves decisively that the word musick was a marginal direction, inserted in the text by the mistake of the transcriber or printer. MALONE.
The very frequent occurrence of Alexandrines in our author's plays, and those of his contemporaries, makes me doubt if the metre proves any thing decisively. It does not seem probable, that the musick would commence at the close of Pericles's speech, without an order from the king. BosWELL.
3 For the embracements even of Jove himself;
At whose CONCEPTION, (TILL Lucina reign'd,)
Nature this dowry gave, to glad HER presence, &c.] It appears to me, that by her conception, Shakspeare means her birth; and that till is here used in the sense of while. So, in The Scornful Lady, Loveless says to Morecraft:
Will you persevere ?"
To which he replies:
"Till I have a penny."
That is, whilst I have one.
And on the other hand, while sometimes signifies till; as in Wit at Several Weapons, Pompey says:
"I'll lie under the bed while midnight," &c.
And in Massinger's Old Law, Simonides says to Cleanthes :
"I'll trust you while your father's dead;"
Meaning, until he be dead; the words being used indiscriminately for each other in the old dramatick writers: and it is to be VOL. XXI.