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our author, we must likewise exclude Troilus and Cresfida from the lift of his performances : for it is certain, this was likewise omitted by the editors of the first folio, nor did they see their error till the whole work and even the table of contents was printed; as appears from its not being paged, or enumerated in that table with his other plays. I do not, however, suppose that the editors, Heminge and Condell, did not know who was the writer of Troilus and Crifida, but that the piece, though printed some years before, for a time escaped their memory. The same may be said of Pericles, Why this also was not recovered, as well as the other, we can now only conjecture. Perhaps they thought their volume had already swelled to a sufficient size, and they did not choose to run the risk of retarding the sale of it by encreasing its bulk and price; perhaps they did not recollect The Prince of Tyre till their book had been issued out; or perhaps they considered it more for their friend's credit to omit this juvenile performance. Ben Jonson, when he collected his pieces into a volume, in the year 1616, in like manner omitted a comedy called The Case is Altered, which had been printed with his name some years before, and appears to have been one of his earliest productions; having been exhibited before the year 1599
After all, perhaps, the internal eviderce which this drama it. self affords of the hand of Shakspeare is of more weight than any
other argument that can be adduced. If we are to form our judgement by those unerring criterions which have been established by the learned author of The Discourse on Poetical Imitation, the question will be quickly decided; for who can point out two writers, that without any communication or knowledge of each other ever produced so many passages, coinciding both in sentiment and expression, as are found in this piece and the undisputed plays of Shakspeare? * Should it be said, that he did not scruple to borrow both fables and sentiments from other writers, and that therefore this circumstance will not prove this tragedy to be his, it may be answered, that had Pericles been an anonymous production, this coincidence might not perhaps ascertain Shakspeare's title to the play; and he might with sufficient probability be fup, posed to have only borrowed from another; but when, in addition to all the circumstances already stated, we recollect the constant tradition that has accompanied 'this piece, and that it was printed with his name, in his life-time, as acted at his own theatre, the
“ Considering the vast variety of words which any language, and efpecially the more copious ones furnish, and the infinite possible combinations of them into all the forms of phraseology, it would be very strange, if two persons should hit on the same identical terms, and much more, should they agree in the same precise arrangement of them in whole sentences.” Discourse on Pactical Imitation. Hurd's Horace, Vol. III. p. 109, edit. 1766.
parallel passages which are so abundantly scattered throughout every part of Pericles and his undisputed performances, afford no fight proof, that in the several instances enumerated in the course of the preceding observations, he borrowed, as was his frequent practice, from himself; and that this contested play was his own compofition.
The testimony of Dryden to this point does not appear to me so inconsiderable as it has been represented. If he had only meant to say, that Pericles was produced before Othello, the second line of the couplet which has been already quoted, would have fuffi. ciently expressed his meaning; nor, in order to convey this idea was it necessary to call the former the firft dramatick performance of Shakspeare'; a particular which he lived near enough the time to have learned from stage-tradition, or the more certain information of his friend Sir William D'Avenant.* If he had only taken the folio edition of our author's works for his guide, without any other authority, he would have named The Tempest as his earliest production; because it happens to stand first in the volume. But however this may be, and whether, when Dryden entitled Pericles our author's first compofition, he meant to be understood literally or not, let it be remembered, that he calls it his Pericles; that he speaks of it as the legitimate, not the spurious or adopted, offspring of our poet's muse; as the fole, not the partial, property of Shakspeare.
I am yet therefore unconvinced, that this drama was not written by our author. The wildness and irregularity of the fable, the artless conduct of the piece, and the inequalities of the poetry, may, I think, be all accounted for, by fuppofing it either his first or one of his earliest essays in dramatick composition. MALONE.
* Sir William D'Avenant produced his first play at the theatre in Blackfryars, in 1629, when he was twenty-four years old, at which time his pation for apple-hunting, we may presume, had sublided, and given way to more manly pursuits. That a young poet thus early acquainted with the stage, who appears to have had a great veneration for our author, who was poslefied of the only original picture of Shakspeare ever painted, who carefully preserved a letter written to him by King James, who himself altered four of his plays and inCroduced them in a new form on the stage, should have been altogether incurious about the early history and juvenile productions of the great luminary of the dramatick world, (then only thirteen years dead) who happened also to be his god-father, and was by many reputed his father, is not very credible. That he should have never made an enquiry concerning a play, printed with Shakspeare's name, and which appears to have been a popular piece at the very time when D'Avenant produced his first dramatick eflay, (a third edition of Pericles having been printed in 1630) is equally improbable. And it is still more incredible, that our author's friend, old Mr. Heminge, who was alive in 1629, and principal proprietor and manager of the Globe and Blackfryar's play houses, Thould not have been able to give him any information concerning a play, which had been produced at the former theatre, probably while it was under his direction, and had been acted by his company with great applause for more than thirty years.
On looking into Rofcius Anglicanus, better known by the name of Downes the Prompter's Book, originally printed in 1708, and lately republished by the ingenious Mr. Waldron of Drury-lane Theatre, I was not a little surprized to find, that Pericles, Prince of Tyre was one of the characters in which the famous Betterton had been most applauded. Could the copy from which this play was acted by him and his affociates, be recovered, it would prove a fingular curiosity; at least, to those who have since been drudging through every scene of the original quarto, 1609, in the hope of restoring it to such a degree of sense and measure as might give it currency with the reader. As for the present editor, he expects to be
“ Stopp'd in phials, and transfix'd with pins," on account of the readiness with which he has obeyed the second clause of the Ovidian precept,
“ Cuncta prius tentanda ; fed immedicabile vulnus
« Enfe recidendum." When it is proved, however, that a gentle process might have been employed with equal success, let the actual cautery be rejected, or applied to the remarks of him who has so freely used it.
THE END OF THE THIRTEENTH VOLUME.