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PRINCE OF TYRE,
TRAG E DY.
WILLIAM SHAKS PEARE.
FROM THE TEXT, OR
Mr. STEEVENS's' LAST EDITION.
Drnamented with plates.
Printed by T. Bensley, Bolt Court, Fleet Street,
PUBLISHED BY E. HARDING, NO. 98, PALL-MALL;
AND VERNOR AND HOOD, POULTRY.
THE story on which this play is formed, is of great antiquity. It is
found in a book, once very popular, entitled. Gesta Romanorum, which is supposed by Mr. Tyrwhitt, the learned editor of The Canterbury Tales of Chaucer, 1775, to have been written five hundred years ago. The earliest impression of that work (which I have seen) was printed in 1488; * in that edition the history of Appolonius King of Tyre makes the 153d chapter. It is likewise related by Gower in his Confeffio Amantis, lib. viii. p. 175—185, edit. 1954. The Rev. Dr. Farmer has in his possession a fragment of a MS. poem on the same subject, which appears, from the hand-writing and the metre, to be more ancient than Gower. There is also an ancienyt romance on this subject, calied Kyng Appolyni of Tigre, trahslated from the French by Robert Copland, and printed By Wynkỳn de Worde in 1510. in 1576 William Howe had a licence for pfiting' “ Tlte most excellent, pleasant, and variable Historie of the françe. Adventures of Prince Appolonius, Lucine his wyfé, and Tharía his daughter.". The author of Pericles having introduced Gower in his picce, ie is ereasonable to fuppose that he chiefly followed the work of that uger: It is observable, that the hero of this tale is, in Gower's poem, as in the present play, called prince of Tyre; in the Gesta Romanorum, and Copland's prose romance, he is entitled king. Most of the incidents of the play are found in the Conf. Amant, and a few of Gower's expressions are occasionally borrowed. However, I think it is not unlikely, that there may have been (though I have not met with it) an early prosc translation of this popular story, from the Geft. Roman, in which the name of Appolónius was changed to Pericles; to which, likewise, the author of this drama may have been indebted. In 1607 was published at London, by Valentine Sims, “ The patterne of painful adventures, containing the most excellent, pleasant, and variable historie of the strange accidents that befell unto Prince Appolonius, the lady Lucina his wife, and Tharsia his daughter, wherein the uncertaintie of this world and the fickle State of man's life are lively described. Translated into English by T. Twine, Gent.” I have never seen the book, but it was without doubt a republication of that publithed by W. Howe in 1576.
Pericles was entered on the Stationers' books, May 2, 1608, by Edward Blount, one of the printers of the first folio edition of Shuk
* Tlere are several editi»ns of the Gesta Romanorum before 1488. Douce. A 2
speare's plays; but it did not appear in print till the following year, and then it was published not by Blount, but by Henry Goffon ; who had probably anticipated the other, by getting a hafty transcript from a playhouse copy. There is, I believe, no play of our author's, perhaps I might say, in the English language, so incorrect as this. The most corrupt of Shakspeare's other dramas, compared with Pericles, is purity itself. The metre is ícldom attended to ; verse is frequently printed as prose, and the grofseft erfors abound in almost every page. I mention these circunstances, uniy as an apology to the reader for having taken fomewhat more licence with this drama than would have been juttifiable, if the copies of it now extant had been less dishgured by the negligence and ignorance of the printer or transcriber. The numerous corruptions that are found in the original edition in 1609, which have been carefully prescrved and augmented in all the subsequent impressions, probably arole from its having been frequently exhibited on the flage. In The four quarto editions it is called the much admired play of PERICLES PRINCE OF TYRE; and it is nientioned by many ancient writers as a very popular performance ; particularly, by the author of a metrical pamphlet, entitled Pyplico:or Run Replcap: am:which the following lines are found
“ Aniazd 1 dood, to sçe a crowd
bi Came to fee Shore os Perice.!'.: In a former edition of this play I said, on the authority of another perfon, that this pamphlet had appeared in 1596; but I have since met with tie piece itself, and find that Pymlico, &c. was published in 1609. It might, however, have been a republication.
The prologue to an old comedy called The Hog has lost his Pearl, 3614, likewise exhibits a proof of this play's uncommon success. The poet speaking of his picce, says:
if it prove so happy as to please, “ We'll say 'tis fortunate, like Pericles.” By fortunate, I understand highly successful. The writer can hardly be supposed to have meant that Pericles was popular rather from accident ihan merit; for that would have been but a poor eulogy on his own performance.
An obscurc poet, however, in 1652, insinuates that this drama was ill received, or at least that it added nothing to the reputation of its author :
" But Shakfpeare, the plebeian driller, was
Verses by V. Tatham, prefixed to Richard Brome's
Jovial Crew, or the Merry Beggars, 4to. 1652. 9