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Be it our wives, our children, or ourselves,
I believe the old reading is the true one. “Ingratitude in thought" is 'mental ingratitude. The governor imprecates vengeance on himself and his people, should any of them harbour even an ungrateful thought in their bosoms respecting Pericles.
STEEVENS. No amendment is wanting ; the meaning is this :-"May these persons be cursed who shall pay you with unthankfulness, even in thought, though they should be our dearest friends, or even ourselves.” M. MASON.
A better prince, and benign lord,
Prove awful, &c.] i. e. you have seen a better prince, &c. prove awful, &c. The verb in the first line is carried on to the third. Old copy :
“ That will prove awful both in deed and word." I have omitted the two first words, as the sense proceeds without them, and they render the metre irregular. STEEVENS.
3 I'll show you those, &c.] I will now exhibit to you persons,
The good in conversation
who, after suffering small and temporary evils, will at length be blessed with happiness.--I suspect our author had here in view the title of the chapter in Gesta Romanorum, in which the story of Apollonius is told; though I will not say in what language he read it. It is this : “ De tribulatione temporali quæ in gaudium sempiternum postremo commutabitur." Malone.
4 The good in conVERSATION-] Conversation is conduct, behaviour. So, in the Second Epistle of St. Peter, iii. 11:"— to be in all holy conversation and godliness." STEEVENS. s The good in conversation
(To whom I give my benizon,)
Is still at Tharsus, where -] This passage is confusedly expressed. Gower means to say—The good prince (on whom I bestow my best wishes) is still engaged at Tharsus, where every man,” &c. Steevens.
6 Thinks all is writ he spoken can :] Pays as much respect to whatever Pericles says, as if it were holy writ. “ As true as the gospel,” is still common language. MALONE.
Writ may certainly mean scripture; the holy writings, by way of eminence, being so denominated. We might, however, readwit, i. e. wisdom. So, Gower, in this story of Prince Appolyn: Though that thou be of littel witte."
STEEVENS. 7 Gild his statue to make it glorious :] This circumstance, as well as the foregoing, is found in the Confessio Amantis :
Appolinus, whan that he herde
and toke of hem right nought.
Of hym, and in a common place
But tidings to the contrary
Enter at one door PERICLES, talking with CLEON;
all the Train with them. Enter at another door, a Gentleman, with a letter to PERICLES; PeRICLES shows the Letter to Cleon; then gives the Messenger a reward, and knights him. Exeunt PERICLES, Cleon, &c. severally.
Gow. Good Helicane hath staid at home,
Might every maner man beholde,
“ Thus hath he nought his yefte spilte.”
“ Build his statue to make it glorious.” Read-gild. So, in Gower:
“ It was of laton over-gylte.” Again, in Kyng Appolyn of Thyre, 1510:
in remembraunce they made an ymage or statue of clene gold," &c.
STEEVENS. Mr. Steevens reads :
“Gild his statue glorious.” Boswell. 8 - forth, &c.] Old copy-for though he strive - I re forth; i. e. thoroughly, from beginning to end. So, in Measure for Measure:
“ Do with your injuries as seems you best.” Steevens. 9 Good Helicane hath staid at home, And, to fulfil his prince' desire, Sends WORD of all that haps in Tyre:] The old copy
reads : “ Good Helicane that staid at home,
“ Sav'd one of all,” &c. The emendation was suggested by Mr. Steevens. MALONE.
How Thaliard came full bent with sin,
Ne aught escapen but himself"; The old copy seems to me to be clearer—“Good Helicane, &c. sends word of all.” The lines between the first and sixth I read in a parenthesis. Boswell. * And HID INTENT, to murder him ;] The first quarto reads :
“ And hid in T'ent to murder him." This is only mentioned to show how inaccurately this play was originally printed, and to justify the liberty that has been taken in correcting the preceding passage. The reading of the text is that of the quarto 1619. MALONE.
“ How Thaliard came full bent with sin,
“ And hid intent to murder him." Sin and him cannot be received as rhymes. Perhaps the author wrote,
full bent with scheme, “ And hid intent," &c. The old reading, in the second line, is certainly the true one. Hid intent is concealed design, such as was that of Thaliard.
STEEVENS. 2 - Was not best -] The construction is, And that for him to make his rest longer in Tharsus, was not best; i. e. his best
MALONE. 3 He knowing so,] i. e. says Mr. Steevens, by whom this emendation was made," he being thus informed.” The old copy has—“He doing so.” MALONE. 4 — that the SHIP
Should house him safe, is wreck'd and split;] Ship and split are such defective rhymes, that I suppose our author wrote fleet. Pericles, in the storm, lost his feet as well as the vessel in which he was himself embarked. STEEVENS.
5 Ne aught escapen but himself;] [Old copy-escapen'd-] It should be printed either escapen or escaped.
Till fortune, tired with doing bad,
Pentapolis. An open Place by the Sea Side.
Enter PERICLES, wet. Per. Yet cease your ire, ye angry stars of
heaven! Wind, rain, and thunder, remember, earthly man Is but a substance that must yield to you; And I, as fits my nature, do obey you; Alas, the sea hath cast me on the rocks, Wash'd me from shore to shore, and left me breath® Nothing to think on, but ensuing death :
Our ancestors had a plural number in their tenses which is now lost out of the language; e. g. in the present tense, escape
- to give him glad :) Dr. Percy asks if we should not read—to make him glad. Perhaps we should : but the language of our fictitious Gower, like that of our Pseudo-Rowley, is so often irreconcileable to the practice of any age, that criticism on such bungling imitations is almost thrown away. Steevens. 7 - what shall be next, Pardon old Gower; this long's the text.) The meaning of
be—“Excuse old Gower from telling you what follows. The very text to it has proved of too considerable length already."
STEEVENS. and left me breath Nothing to think on, &c.] The quarto 1609, reads-and left my
breath. I read-and left me breath, that is, left me life, only to aggravate my misfortunes, by enabling me to think on the death that awaits me. MALONE,