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Grant White substantially agrees, remarks: “The greater part of Pericles is undoubtedly by some very inferior dramatist : but here and there, more particularly towards the close, the hand of Shakespeare is plainly seen, and the scenes and shorter passages in which we trace him manifestly belong to his latest style of composition. Whether it had ever been acted before it received those vivifying touches from our poet, we cannot determine-perhaps it was the Pericles in which Alleyn wore the 'spangled hoes' mentioned in an inventory of his theatrical apparel (vide Collier's Memoirs of Alleyn, p. 21): we at least may be sure that it was originally composed at a period long antecedent to its appearance at the Globe Theatre in 1607 or 1608; and we may conjecture that Shakespeare bestowed on it certain additions and improvements for the benefit of that theatre.”
In the Jahrbuch der Deutschen Shakespeare-Gesellschaft, 1868, pp. 175-204, Delius examines the whole question with his usual admirable thoroughness. His general conclusion is that Wilkins was the original author of Pericles, and he thinks it probable that when Shakespeare took the play in hand it had already been acted in another shape. Outlining the plot of Wilkins's one extant play, The Miseries of Enforced Marriage, he finds a striking similarity to the earlier Acts of Pericles in point of language, metre and structure. Particularly he notices a predilection for weaving rhymed lines and blank verse together, and quotes a number of passages from those Acts in support of his view. In illustration of similarity of incident and language he compares Pericles, II. v. 87-92, and The Miseries, etc., v. s.f.:
Sim. What! are you both pleas'd ?
Yes, if you love me, sir.
And then with what haste you can, get you to bed.
Scarborow. And are all pleas'd ?
I am new wed, so ends old marriage woe;
Even the prose, he thinks, betrays a family likeness, e.g. in Thaliard's speech, 1. iii., and the dialogue of the fishermen, II. i. He further notices the clumsy antitheses and metaphors, the phrases of empty bombast, that are common to both plays. In his analysis of the title-page of Pericles he dwells at considerable length on questions which have already been discussed, and in that of the Acts taken separately notices many points of minor importance.
In corroboration of Delius's theory, Mr. R. Boyle1 cites various parallels from The Miseries, etc. ; from The Travels of the Three English Brothers, by Day, Wilkins, and Rowley; and from Day's Law Tricks, in which Wilkins probably had a hand. I extract the more important of these.
1« On Wilkins's share in the play called Shakespeare's Pericles” (A paper read at the 76th Meeting of the New Shakespeare Society, 10th February, 1882).
(a) Pericles, I. Gower, 15, 16:
I life would wish, and that I might
Waste it for you like taper-light. The Travels, etc., sc. 2 :
Our lives are lighted tapers that must out. (6) Pericles, I. i. 64, 65
I am no viper, yet I feed
The Miseries, etc., p. 522, Hazlitt's Dodsley :-
Than greedy vipers that devour their mother,
They eat on her but to preserve themselves.
The husband viper-like to prey on them
That love him, and have cherished him. (c) Pericles, II. i. 28-46:Third Fisherman. Master, I marvel how the fishes live in the sea. First Fisherman. Why, as men do a-land; the great ones eat up the little ones.
I can compare our rich misers to nothing so fitly as to a whale; a'plays and tumbles, driving the poor fry before
a him, and at last devours them all at a mouthful. Such whales have I heard on o' the land, who never leave gaping till they've swallowed the whole parish, church, steeple, bells,
and all. Pericles (Aside.] A pretty moral. Third Fisherman. But, master, if I had been the sexton, I would have
been that day in the belfry. Second Fisherman. Why, man? Third Fisherman. Because he should have swallowed me too; and
when I had been in his belly, I would have kept such a jangling of the bells, that he should never have left till he cast bells, steeple, church, and parish, up again.
Law Tricks, i. 2, p. 25, Bullen's Reprint :
long travel, faith tell me, how do you feel yourself since you
came ashore ? Emilia. Feel myself? Why, with my hands : 1 What idle question 's
that! Joculo. Then, pray, be you better occupied in your answer. But,
madam, do you remember what a multitude of fishes we saw at sea ? And I do wonder how they can all live by one
another. Emilia. Why, fool, as men do on the land; the great ones eat up the
little ones. And i. 2, p. 26:Emilia. Are you a lawyer ? Julio. Faith, madam, he has sat on the skirts of law any time this
thirty years. Adam. Then he should be a good trencherman by his profession. Lurdo. Your reason, Adam ? Adam. I knew one of that faculty in one term eat up a whole town,
church, steeple, and all. Julio. I wonder the bells rang not all in his belly. Adam. No, sir, he sold them to buy his wife a taffety gown and
himself a velvet jacket.3
Also The Miseries, etc., p. 539:
O the most wretched season of this time!
* This pitiful joke occurs also in The Miseries, etc., Act iv.
It is perhaps worth while to notice that this extract is not conclusive against the author of Pericles, 11. i. as being the borrower. Law Tricks was published in 1608, the same year in which Pericles was entered by Blount in the Stationers' Register; and as the latter play had been “divers and sundry times" acted before the first Quarto was issued, it may be that Day" conveyed" the joke. Moreover, while it comes naturally in a dialogue between fishermen, it appears rather to have been lugged in by the ears in Law Tricks.
El cito chapeau's
hond te mis' in his trans of the
Wiador C 1:
(d) Pericles, II. i. 62-64:
A man whom both the waters and the wind,
For them to play upon.
I think that the seas
Hurl'd us now up, then down.
" argues, would never have chosen a story of incest which has no tragic horror in it; still less would he have grafted on to it a filthy episode devoid of all humour. His share in the play is the Marina portion, which "gives a perfect artistic and organic whole". This, however, as insufficient for dramatic purposes, was put into other hands for completion; the result being the present composite work. In confirmation of his theory, Fleay points to the absence of Pericles from the Folio of 1623; to the publication of the first Quarto by booksellers who dealt mainly in surreptitious editions; the wretched condition of the text, indicating Shakespeare's utter neglect of the play; the omission of the names of Boult, Bawd, and Pander from the list of actors (i.e. dramatis personæ) in the first Quarto;2 the facts that the Gower parts in Acts IV. and v. are in lines of five measures instead of four as in the earlier Acts; the superiority, so
* This tripartite division was first made by Sidney Walker, who suggested Dekker as the third hand.
2 As no such list is given in any of the Quartos, this argument falls to the ground.