Page images
PDF
EPUB

His douhter, wich was faire and gode,
And att the borde by fore hym stode,
As it was thilke tyme usage,
He bade to go on his message,
And fonde for to make him gladde.
And she dede as her fader bade,
And goth to hym the softe pas,
And axeth whence and what he was."

And certes if I of hym faile,
I wote riht welle, with outen faile,
Ye shull for me be douhterles.
This lettir came, and ther was prees
To fore the kyng, there as he stode ;
And whan that he it understode,
He yaff hem answere by and by :
Bot that was do so pry vely,
That noon of othir counceile wiste.

() SCENE V.-Exeunt.] In the Confessio Amantis, as in the play, the princess reveals her love for the knight of Tyre in a letter to her father :

“So write I to yowe, fader, thus :

But if y have Appolinus,
of alle this worlde what so bytide,
I wolle noon othir man abide:

And whan that he to chambre is come,
He hath in to his conceile no me
This man of Tyr, and let hym se
This lettir, and alle the pryrete
The wiche his douhter to hym sente."

ACT III.

(1) SCENE I.

Now the good gods

Throw their best eyes upon it!] It may be interesting to compare this scene with the one Wilkins worked up from it and the parallel description in the old novel :-“With which stirre (good Lady) her eies and eares, having not till then bin acquainted, she is strucke into such a hasty fright, that welladay she falles in travell, is delivered of a daughter, and in this childe-birth dies, while her princely husband being above the hatches, is one while praying to heaven for her safe deliverance, an other while suffering for the somw wherwith he knew his Quéene was imburthened, he chid the contrary storme (as if it had been sensible of hearing) to be so unmanerly, in this unfitting season, and when so good a Quéene was in labor, to keep such a blustering : thus while the good Prince remayned reprooving the one, and pittying the other, up comes Lycorida the Nurse, sent along by good Symonides with his daughter, and into his armes delivers his Sea-borne Babe, which he taking to kisse, and pittying it with these words : Poore inch of Nature (quoth he) thou arte as rudely welcome to the worlde, as ever Princesse Babe was, and hast as chiding a nativitie, as fire, ayre, earth, and water can affoord thre, when, as if he had forgot himselfe, he abruptly breaks out: but say Licorida, how doth my Quéene ? O sir (quoth she) she hath now passed all daungers, and hath giuen uppe her griefes by ending her life. At which wordes, no tongue is able to expresse the tide of sorrowe that overbounded Pericles, first looking on his Babe, and then crying out for the mother, pittying the one that had lost her bringer ere shée had scarce saluted the worlde, lamenting for himselfe that had beene bereft of so inestimable a lewell by the losse of his wife, in which sorrowe as he would haue proceeded, uppe came the Maister to him, who for that the storme continued still in his tempestuous height, brake off his sorrowe with these sillables. Sir, the necessitie of the time affoordes no delay, and we must intreate you to be contented, to have the dead body of your Quéene throwne over-boorde. How varlet ! quoth Pericles, interrupting him, wouldest thou have me cast that body into the sea for buriall, who being in misery received me into favour? We must intreate you to temperance sir (quoth the Maister) as you respect your owne safety, or the prosperitie of that prety Babe in your armes. At the naming of which word* Babe, Pericles, looking mournfully upon it, shooke his heade, and wept. But the Maister going on, tolde him, that by long experience they had tried, that a shippe may not abide to carry a

dead carcasse, nor would the lingering tempest cease while the dead body remayned with them. But the Prince, seeking againe to perswade them, tolde them, that it was but the fondnes of their superstition to thinke so. Call it by what you shal please sir (quoth the Maister) but we that by long practise have tried the proofe of it, if not with your graunt, then without your consent (for your owne safety, which wée with all duety tender) must so dispose of it. So calling for his servants about him, he willed one of them, to bring him a chest, which he foorthwith caused to be well bitumed and well leaded for her coffin, then taking up the body of his (even in death) faire Thaysa, he arrayed her in princely apparrell, placing a Crowne of golde uppon her head, with his owne hands, (not without store of funerall teares) he layed her in that Toombe, then placed hée also store of golde at her head, and great treasure of silver at her féete, and having written this Letter, which he layd upon her breast, with fresh water flowing in his eyes, as loath to leave her sight, he nayled up the Chest, the Tenor of which writing was in forme as followeth :

If ere it hap this Chest be driven
On any shoare, or coast or haven,
I Pericles the Prince of Tyre,
(That loosing her, lost all desire,)
Intreat you give her burying,
Since she was daughter to a king :
This golde I giue you as a fee,
The Gods requite your charitie."

(2) SCENE II.-And Æsculapius guide us.] Compare this incident with its prototype in Gower :

" Riht as the corps was throwe on londe,
There came walkying upponn the stronde,
A worthy clerk, a surgyen,
And eke a grete phisicien,
of all that londe the wisest oon,
Wich hiht maister Cerymon :
There were of his disciples somme,
This maister to the cofre is come,
And peyseth ther was sommewhat inne,
And bade hem bere it to his inne,
And goth hymself forth with alle,
All that shall falle, falle shalle.
Thei comen home, and tarye nouht:
This cofre in to chambre brouht,
Wich that thei fynde faste stoke,
Bot thei with crafte it have unloke,
Thei loken inne, where as thei founde
A body ded, wich was i wounde
In cloth of golde, as Iseide er:
The tresour eke they founden ther

Where is my lorde? What worlde is this? As she that wote nouht how it is."

Forth with the letter, wich thei rede,
And tho thei token bettir hede.
Unsowed was the body sone :
As he that knewe what was to done,
This noble clerke, with alle haste
Be ganne the veynes for to taste,
And seih hire age was of youthe:
Thei leide hire on a couche softe,
And with a shete warmed ofte
Here colde breste be ganne to hete
Here herte also to flakke and bete.
This maister hath here every joynt
With certeyn oyle and bawme enoynt,
And put a liquour in here mouthe,
Wich is to fewe clerkes couthe,
So that she covereth att the laste.
And fyrst hir yhen uppe she caste,
And whan she more of strenih cauht,
Here armes both forth she strauht,
Helde up here honde, and petously
Sbe spake, and de, A! where am I?

(3) SCENE III.—Come, my lord.] So in Gower :

My frende Strangulio,
Lo thus, and thus it is by falle:
And thou thi self arte oon of alle,
Forth with thy wiff, that I most triste:
For thi if it yow both liste,
Niy douhter Thayse, by youre leve,
I thenke shalle with yow bileve
As for a tyme ; and thus I pray
That she be kepte by alle weye:
And whan she hath of age more,
That she be sette to bokes lore.
And this avowe to God I make
That I shal never for hire sake
My berde for no lyk yng shave,
Tille it befalle that I have,
In covenable tyme of age.
By sette hire unto mariage."

ACT IV.

innocent bloud! And with that hee went into the grave, and drue his dagger, and made him readie for the deede. Tharsia was nowe come from schoole, and made haste unto the grave with a flagon of wine, as shee was wont to doe, and entred within the vault. Then the villaine rushed violently upon her, and caught her by the haire of the head, and threw her to the ground. And while he was now readie to stab her with the dagger, poore silly, Tharsia, all amazed, casting up her eies upon him, knew the villaine, and, holding up her handes, said thus unto him: 0, Theophilus ! against whom have I so greevously offended, that I must die therefore? The villaine answered, Thou hast not offended, but thy father hath, which left thee behind him in Stranguilios house, with so great a treasure in money and princely ornaments. 0, said the mayden, would to God he had not done so ! but I pray thee, Theophilus, since there is no hope for me to escape with life, give mee licence to say my praiers before I die. give thee licence, saide the villaine; and I take God to record that I am con. strained to murther thee against my will.

“ As fortune, or rather the providence of God served, while Tharsia was devoutly making her praiers, certaine pyrats which were come aland, and stood under the side of an hill watching for some prey, beholding an armed man offering violence unto a mayden, cried unto him, and said," &c. &c.

(2) SCENE VI.-I hear say you are of honourable parts, and are the governor of this place.) Speaking of the novel by Wilkins, Mr. Collier remarks,—“It is my firm conviction that it supplies many passages, written by Shakespeare and recited by the performers, which were garbled, mangled, or omitted in the printed play of “ Pericles,' as it has come down to us in the quartos of 1609, 1619, and 1630, and in the folios of 1664 and 1685."

The corresponding speech of Marina at this point, as given by Wilkins, is certainly confirmatory of Mr. Collier's opinion, for it exhibits a terseness of expression and a vigour of thought, which are quite Shakespearian :-“If as you say (my Lorde) you are the Governour, let not your authoritie, which should teach you to rule others, be the meanes to make you mis-governe your selfe : If the eminence of your place came unto you by discent, and the royalty of your blood, let not your life proove your birth a bastard : If it were throwne upon you by opinion, make good, that opinion was the cause to make you great. What reason is there in your Iustice, who hath power over all, to undoe any? If you take from mee mine honour, you are like him, that makes a gappe into forbidden ground, after whome too many enter, and you are guiltie of all their evilles : my life is yet unspotted, my chastitie unstained in thought. Then if your violence deface this building, the workemanship of heaven, made up for good, and not to be the exercise of sinnes intemperaunce, you do kill your owne honour, abuse your owne justice, and impoverish me."

(1) SCENE I.

Whom they have rurish'd must by me be slain.] In the present scene the author appears to have followed Twine, rather than Gower, as the latter makes no mention of Marina's affectionate visits to her nurse's tomb. The name of Dionyza's confederate is, however, borrowed from Gower; Leonine, in the Confessio Amantis, being the name of the brothel-keeper at Mitylene :-

“When Dionisiades heard Tharsia commended, and her owno daughter Philomacia so dispraised, shee returned home wonderfull wroth, and, withdrawing herselfe into a solitary place, began thus secretly to discourse of the matter :- It is now fourteen yeares since Apollonius, this foolish girles father, departed from hence, and he never sendeth letters for her, nor any remembrance unto her, whereby I conjecture that he is dead. Ligozides, her nurce, is departed, and there is no bodie now of whom I should stand in feare, and therefore I will now slay her, and dresse up mine owne daughter in her apparell and jewels. When shee had thus resolved her selfe uppon this wicked purpose, in the meane while there came home one of their countrey villaines, called Theophilus, whom shee called, and said thus unto him :— Theophilus, my trustie friend, if ever thou looke for libertie, or that I shoulde doe thee pleasure, doe so much for me as to slay Tharsia. Then said Theophilus : Alas ! mistresse, wherein hath that innocent maiden offended, that she should be slaine ? Dionisiades answered, Shee innocent! nay she is a wicked wretch, and therefore, thou shalt not denie to fulfill my request, but doe as I commaund thee, or els I sweare by God thou shalt dearely

But how shall I best doe it, mistres? said the villaine. She aunswered: Shee hath a custome, as soon as shee returneth home from schoole, not to eate meat before that she have gone into her nurces sepulchre, where I would have thee stand readie, with a dagger drawn in thine hand; and when she is come in, gripe her by the haire of the head, and so slay her: then take her bodie, and cast it into the sea, and when thou hast so done, I will make thee free, and besides reward theo liberally.

“ Then tooke the villaine a dagger, and girded himselfe therewith, and with an heavy heart and weeping eies went forth towards the grave, saying within himselfe : Alas, poore wretch that I am! alas, poore Theophilus, that canst not deserve thy libertie but by shedding of

repent it.

(3) SCENE VI.But amongst honest women.] From the

ACT V.

(1) SCENE I.-Marina sings.] The song sung by Marina was very probably that given by Twine (an exact translation of the Latin original), and printed in Wilkins' novel, where it is introduced thus ;—“Which when Marina heard, shee went boldely downe into the cabine to him, and with a milde voyce saluted him, saying ; God save you sir, and be of good comfort, for an innocent Virgin, whose life hath bin distressed by shipwrack, and her chastity by dishonesty, and hath yet bin preserved from both, thus curteously saluteth thee : but perceiving him to yeeld her no answer, she began to record in verses, and therewithall to sing so sweetly, that Pericles, notwithstanding his great sorrow, woondered at her, at last, taking up another instrument unto his eares she preferred this :

" Amongst the har!ots foule I walke,

But harlot none am I;
The Rose amongst the Thornes doth grow,
And is not hurt thereby.
The Thiefe that stole me sure I thinke,
Is slaine before this time,
A Bawde me bought, yet am I not
Defilde by fleshly crime;
Nothing were pleasanter to me,
Then parents mine to know.
I am the issue of a King,
My blood from Kings dooth flow:
In time the heavens may mend my state
And send a better day,
For sorrow addes unto our griefes,
But helps not any way:
Shew gladnesse in your countenaunce,
Cast up your cheererull eies,
That God remaines, that once of nought
Created Earth and Skies."

words, honest vomen, which occur in the Confessio Amantis, it is evident the author here had Gower before him :

If so be, that thi maister wolde

That I his golde encrece sholde,
It may nott falle by this weye ;
But soffre me to go my weye
Oute of this hous, where I am inne,
And I shall make hym for to wynne
In somme place elles of the towne,
Be so it be of religioun
Where that honest women dwelle."

course evermore towarde Tharsus, by which Apollonius purposed to passe unto his owne countrie Tyrus. And when they had sailed one whole day, and night was come, that Apollonius laide him downe to rest, there appeared an angell in his sleepe, commaunding him to leave his course toward Tharsus, and to saile unto Ephesus, and to go into the temple of Diana, accompanied with his sonno in lawe and his daughter, and there with a loude voyce to declare all his adventures, whatsoever had befallen him from his youth unto that present day.'

(4) SCENE III.-Sir, lead's the way.) The leading incident in this scene, which so strikingly resembles the much grander one of the same nature in “The Winter's Tale,” is related by the old poet with a simplicity and pathos which are irresistible :--

“ With worthi knyhtes environed,

The kynge hym self hath abandoned
In to the temple in good entente,
The dore is uppe, and in he wente,
Where as with gret devocioun
Of holy contemplacioun
With inne his berte he made his shriste,
And aftir that a rich yefte
He offreth with grete reverence;
And there in open audience
Of hem that stoden alle aboute
He tolde hem, and declareth owte
His happe, suche as hym is by falle:
Ther was no thyng forgete of alle.
His wiff, as it was goddes grace,
Wich was professed in the place,
As she that was abbesse there,
Unto his tale hath leide hir ere.
She knew the voys, and the visage :
For pure joye, as inne a rage,
She strauhi unto hym alle att ones,
And felle a swone upponn the stones
Wherof the temple flore was paved.
She was anon with water laved,
Til she came to here selfe ayeyn,
And thanne she began to seyn:
A bleased be the hihe soonde,
That I may se myn husbonde,
Wich whilom he and I were oone.
The kynge with that knewe here anoon,
And tooke her in his arme, and kyste,
And alle the towne the soone it wiste.
Tho was there joye many folde,
For every man this tale hath tolde
As for myracle, and weren glade."

(2) SCENE I.Thou art my child.] So Gower :

" And he tho toke here in his arme;

Bot such a joye as he tho made
Was never seen ; thus be thei glade
That sorry hadden be to forn.
Fro this day forth fortune hath sworne
To sett hym upwarde on the whiel :
So goth the worlde, now wo, now weel."

(3) Scene I. -Diana disappears.] The vision is related as follows in Twine's translation:- All things being in a readinesse, he tooke shipping with his sonne in lawe and his daughter and weyghed anchor, and committed the sailes unto the winde, and went their way, directing their

CRITICAL OPINIONS ON PERICLES.

“PERICLES is generally reckoned to be in part, and only in part, the work of Shakespeare. From the poverty and bad management of the fable, the want of any effective or distinguishable character, for Marina is no more than the common form of female virtue, such as all the dramatists of that age could draw, and a general feebleness of the tragedy as a whole, I should not believe the structure to have been Shakespeare's. But many passages are far more in his manner than in that of any contemporary writer with whom I am acquainted; and the extrinsic testimony, though not conclusive, being of some value, I should not dissent from the judgment of Steevens and Malone, that it was, in no inconsiderable degree, repaired and improved by his touch. Drake has placed it under the year 1590, as the earliest of Shakespeare's plays, for no better reason, apparently, than that he thought it inferior to all the rest. But if, as most will agree, it were not quite his own, this reason will have less weight; and the language seems to me rather that of his second or third manner than of his first. Pericles is not known to have existed before 1609.”—HALLAM.

“This piece was acknowledged by Dryden to be a work, but a youthful work of Shakespeare's. It is most undoubtedly his, and it has been admitted into several late editions of his works. The supposed imperfections originate in the circumstance, that Shakespeare here handled a childish and extravagant romance of the old poet Gower, and was unwilling to drag the subject out of its proper sphere. Hence he even introduces Gower himself, and makes him deliver a prologue in his own antiquated language and versification. This power of assuming so foreign a manner is at least no proof of helplessness.” -SCHLEGEL.

[graphic][subsumed][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »