« AnteriorContinuar »
The gates shut on me, and turned weeping out,
Æmil. Come, come, thou reverend man of Rome,
emperor ! 1 i. e. we, the poor remainder, &c. will cast us down.
Lucius, fc. descend.
[To an Attendant.
gracious governor ! Luc. Thanks, gentle Romans. May I govern so, To heal Rome's harms, and wipe away her woe! But, gentle people, give me aim awhile,For nature puts me to a heavy task ;Stand all aloof,—but, uncle, draw you near, To shed obsequious tears upon this trunk.O, take this warm kiss on thy pale, cold lips,
[Kisses Titus. These sorrowful drops upon thy blood-stained face, The last true duties of thy noble son!
Mar. Tear for tear, and loving kiss for kiss,
Luc. Come hither, boy; come, come, and learn of us
Boy. O grandsire, grandsire ! even with all my heart Would I were dead, so you did live again! O Lord, I cannot speak to him for weeping; My tears will choke me if I ope my mouth.
Enter Attendants, with AARON. 1 Rom. You sad Andronici, have done with woes; Give sentence on this execrable wretch, That hath been breeder of these dire events.
Luc. Set him breast-deep in earth, and famish him; There let him stand, and rave and cry for food. If any one relieves or pities him, For the offence he dies. This is our doom : Some stay, to see him fastened in the earth.
Aar. O, why should wrath be mute, and fury dumb? I am no baby, I, that, with base prayers, I should repent the evils I have done; Ten thousand, worse than ever yet I did, Would I perform if I might have my will ; If one good deed in all my life I did, I do repent it from my very soul.
Luc. Some loving friends convey the emperor hence, And give him burial in his father's grave. My father, and Lavinia, shall forthwith Be closed in our household's monument. As for that heinous tiger, Tamora, No funeral rite, nor man in mournful weeds, No mournful bell shall ring her burial ; But throw her forth to beasts and birds of prey. Her life was beast-like, and devoid of pity ; And, being so, shall have like want of pity. See justice done to Aaron, that damned Moor, By whom our heavy haps had their beginning; Then, afterwards, to order well the state, That like events may ne'er it ruinate. [Exeunt.
All the editors and critics agree in supposing this play spurious. I see no reason for differing from them; for the color of the style is wholly different from that of the other plays, and there is an attempt at regular versification, and artificial closes, not always inelegant, yet seldom pleasing. The barbarity of the spectacles, and the general massacre which are here exhibited, can scarcely be conceived tolerable to any audience; yet we are told by Jonson that they were not only borne, but praised. That Shakspeare wrote any part, though Theobald declares it incontestable, I see no reason for believing.
PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE.
MR. DOUCE observes that “ the very great popularity of this play in former times may be supposed to have originated from the interest which the story must have excited. To trace the fable beyond the period in which the favorite romance of Apollonius Tyrius was composed, would be a vain attempt: that was the probable original ; but of its author nothing decisive has been discovered. Some have maintained that it was originally written in Greek, and translated into Latin by a Christian about the time of the decline of the Roman empire; others have given it to Symposius, a writer whom they place in the eighth century, because the riddles which occur in the story are to be found in a work entitled Symposii Ænigmata. It occurs in that storehouse of popular fiction, the Gesta Romanorum, and its antiquity is sufficiently evinced by the existence of an Anglo-Saxon version, mentioned in Wanley's list, and now in Bene't College, Cambridge. One Constantine is said to have translated it into modern Greek verse, about the year 1500, (this is probably the MS. mentioned by Dufresne in the index of authors appended to his Greek Glossary,) and afterwards printed at Venice in 1563. It had been printed in Latin prose, at Augsburg, in 1471, which is probably as early as the first dateless impression of the Gesta Romanorum.*
A very curious fragment of an old metrical romance on the subject, was in the collection of the late Dr. Farmer, and is now in my possession. This we have the authority of Mr. Tyrwhitt for placing at an earlier period than the time of Gower. The fragment consists of two leaves of parchment, which had been converted into the cover of a book, for which purpose its edges were cut off, some words entirely lost, and the whole has suffered so much by time as to be scarcely legible. Yet I have considered it so curious a relic of our early poetry and language, that I have bestowed some pains in deciphering what remains, and have given a specimen or two in the notes toward the close of the play. I will here exhibit a further portion, comprising the name of the writer, who appears to have been Thomas Vicary, of Winborn Minster, in Dorsetshire. The portion I have given will continue the story of Apollonius (the Pericles of the play)
Wit hys wyf in gret solas
* "Towards the latter end of the twelfth century, Godfrey of Viterbo, in his Pantheon, or Universal Chronicle, inserted this romance as part of the history of the third Antiochus, about two hundred years before Christ. It begins thus (MS. Reg. 14. c. xi.] ;
Filia Seleuci stat clara decore
Res habet effectum, pressa puella dolet.
And had twey sones by iunge age
the kyndom of Antioche
at byddynge of hys wyf,
best sone of that empire
that he louede dure,
hys soule to God al myght
me on alle lyues space
to the makers stat
have ytake hys bedys on hond
-y thoughte you have wryte
Amen pf Charite.
Explicit APPOLONI Tyrus Rex nobilis & vituosus, &c. This story is also related by Gower, in his Confessio Amantis, lib. vii. p. 175—185, edit. 1554. Most of the incidents of the play are found in his