« PreviousContinue »
Through whom the gods have shown their power;
I will, my
From first to last resolve
lord. Beseech you, first go with me to my house, Where shall be shown you all was found with her; How she came placed here within the temple; No needful thing omitted. Per.
Pure Diana! I bless thee for thy vision, and will offer My night oblations to thee. Thaisa, This prince, the fair-betrothed' of your daughter, Shall inarry her at Pentapolis. And now, This ornament that makes me look so dismal, Will I, my lov'd Marina, clip to form; And what this fourteen years no razor touch'd, To grace thy marriage-day, I'll beautify.
Thai. Lord Ceriinon hath letters of good credit,
the fair-betrothed.] i. e. fairly contracted, honourably affianced.
Of Pericles, to rage the city turn;
; That him and his they in his palace burn. The gods for murder seemed so content To punish them; although not done, but meant. So on your patience evermore attending, New joy wait on you! Here our play has ending:
In Antioch,] i. e. Antiochus. 2 To a former edition of this play were subjoined two Dissertations; one written by Mr. Steevens, the other by me. In the latter I urged such arguments as then appeared to me to have weight, to prove that it was the entire work of Shakspeare, and one of his earliest compositions. Mr. Steevens on the other hand maintained, that it was originally the production of some elder playwright, and afterwards improved by our poet, whose hand was acknowledged to be visible in many scenes throughout the play. On a review of the various arguments which each of us produced in favour of his own hypothesis, I am now convinced that the theory of Mr. Steevens was right, and have no difficulty in acknowledging my own to be erroneous.
This play was entered on the Stationers' books, together with Antony and Cleopatru, in the year 1608, by Edward Blount, a bookseller of eminence, and one of the publishers of the first folio
PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE.
edition of Shakspeare's works. It was printed with his name in the title-page, in his life-time; but this circumstance proves nothing; because by the knavery of booksellers other pieces were also ascribed to him in his life-time, of which he indubitably wrote not a line. Nor is it necessary to urge in support of its genuineness, that at a subsequent period it was ascribed to him by several dramatick writers. I wish not to rely on any circumstance of that kind; because in all questions of this nature, internal evidence is the best that can be produced, and to every person intimately acquainted with our poet's writings, must in the present case be decisive. The congenial sentiments, the numerous expressions bearing a striking similitude to passages in his undisputed plays, some of the incidents, the situation of many of the persons, and in various places the colour of the style, all these combine to set the seal of Shakspeare on the play before us, and furnish us with internal and irresistible proofs, that a considerable portion of this piece, as it now appears, was written by him. The greater part of the last three Acts may, I think, on this ground be safely ascribed to him ; and his hand may be traced occasionally in the other two divisions.
To alter, new-model, and improve the unsuccessful dramas of preceding writers, was, I believe, much more common in the time of Shakspeare than is generally supposed. This piece having been thus new-modelled by our poet, and enriched with many happy strokes from his pen, is unquestionably entitled to that place among his works which it has now obtained. MALONE.