Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

ter year it was entered on the Stationers' Register by Edward Blount, though it was not published, that we know of, until 1609, and then by Henry Gosson. On the title page of the edition of this date it is called "The late and much admired play ;" and on that of a book published in the previous year it has the same distinction.

This book is "The Painfull Aduentures of Pericles Prince of Tyre. Being the true History of the Play of Pericles as it was lately presented by the worthy and ancient Poet Iohn Gower." London, 1608. It was written by George Wilkins, who wrote The Miseries of Enforced Marriage, a play entered on the Stationers' Register, and published in 1607. Attention was first directed to this singular production by Mr. Collier, I believe; and it has been republished with a learned introduction by Professor Tycho Mommsen, from a perfect copy discovered in the public library of Zurich. From the language of the title page of this book, the fact that the Argument is followed by a list of "the names of the personages," which conforms, with a single trifling omission, to the Dramatis Personse of the play, and the striking conformity of the language of the two productions in certain passages, it has not unreasonably been conjectured that Wilkins made up his story in part from notes taken at the performance of Pericles. But although he may have done so, it seems quite improbable that with Twine's version of the old romance and Gower's poem both within his reach, he should have been at the trouble to take down the play in short hand. But if there were an earlier play which had been printed, or the manuscript of wThich was accessible, and which Shakespeare had enriched, revived, and brought into new favor, it would have been a very natural course for him to avail himself of that old play as well as of Gower's poem and Twine's translation, the title of wdiich, it will be seen, he preserves. This, rather than the former, I am inclined to think, was the mode in which Wilkins prepared his pamphlet, the appearance of which, however, in 1608, with the reference to the late play upon its title page, is confirmatory of the other evidence that the Pericles of the following pages was a new and favorite play in that year.

The text of Pericles has not reached us in any authentic form. It exists in six quarto editions, 1609, 1611, 1619, 1630, 1635, and 1639; and it was printed in the third folio, 1664, w^here, however, it was given only as it was found in one of the qtiarto copies. Of these copies it appears to be difficult to decide which is most corrupt; but the best critics and most careful collaters seem to be agreed that it is not the earliest. All, however, are so much corrupted as to be in need of emendation in almost every other line, and all have suffered mutilation. The text of no other of these plays has come down to us in such a dilapidated condition. In fact, restoration short of rewriting is hopeless in various passages, and has of necessity to be abandoned. Such being the condition of a play which has less intrinsic merit and interest than any other in this collection, the editor has thought it needless to record all the multitude of its various readings, which, in fact, are not readings, but mere accidental collocations of words or letters. Slight errors, also, such as 'that' for 'hath/ superfluous or deficient final s's, and manifestly redundant or lacking prepositions, pronouns, articles, and the like, have not even been noticed. Indeed, no variation of text which does not materially affect the sense of a passage is brought to the reader's attention, while reasonably probable emendations have been accepted from all quarters.*

As to the period of action and the costume of this play, they are quite indeterminable, and doubtless in the author's minds were quite indeterminate.

* For the collations in this play, the editor is indebted to Malone and to the Rev. Alexander Dyce.

DRAMATIS PERSONS.

Antiochus, King of Antioch.
Pericles, Prince of Tyre.
Helicanus, ) T , _

Escakm, \ two Lords of Tyre.

Simonides, King of Pentapolis.
Cleon, Governor of Tharsus.
Lysimachus, Governor of Mitylene.
Cerimon, a Lord of Ephesus.
Thaliard, a Lord of Antioch.
Philemon, Servant to Cerimon.
Leonine, Servant to Dionyza.
Marshal.
A Pander.
Botjlt, his Servant.

The Daughter of Antiochus.
Dionyza, Wife to Cleon.
Thaisa, Daughter to Simonides.
Marina, Daughter to Pericles and Thaisa.
Lychorida, Nurse to Marina.
A Bawd, Wife to the Pander.

Lords, Ladies, Knights, Gentlemen, Sailors, Pirates, Fishermen and Messengers, &c.

Diana.

Gower, as Presenter.

SCENE: dispersedly in various Countries.

(308^1

PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE.

ACT I.

Before the Palace of Antioch.
Enter Gowek.

Gower.

TO sing a song that old was sung.
From ashes ancient Gower is come;
Assuming man's infirmities,
To glad your ear, and please your eyes.
It hath been sung at festivals,
On ember-eves and holy-ales,
And lords and ladies in their lives
Have read it for restoratives:
The purchase is to make men glorious;
Et honum quo antiquius, eo melius.
If you, born in these latter times,
When wit's more ripe, accept my rhymes,
And that to hear an old man sing
May to your wishes pleasure bring,
I life would wish, and that I might
Waste it for you, like taper-light. —
This Antioch, then, Antiochus the great
Built up this city for his chiefest seat,

(309)

The fairest in all Syria;

I tell you what my authors say:

This king unto him took a fere,

Who died and left a female heir,

So buxom, blithe, and full of face,

As Heaven had lent her all his grace;

With whom the father liking took,

And her to incest did provoke.

Bad child, worse father, to entice his own

To evil should be done by none!

By custom what they did begin

Was with long use account no sin.

The beauty of this sinful dame

Made many princes thither frame,

To seek her as a bed-fellow,

In marriage pleasures play-fellow:

Which to prevent he made a law,

To keep her still and men in awe,

That whoso ask'd her for his wife,

His riddle told not, lost his life:

So, for her many a wight did die,

As yon grim looks do testify.

What now ensues, to the judgment of your eye

I give, my cause who best can justify. [Exit.

Scene I.
Antioch. A Room in the Palace.

Enter Antiochus, Pericles, and Attendants.

Antiochus. Young Prince of Tyre, you have at large receiv'd The danger of the task you undertake.

Pericles. I have, Antiochus, and with a soul

« AnteriorContinuar »