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by S. Sheppard, 4to. 1646, dedicated to Philip Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, and containing in the ninth stanza of the sixth Sestiad a positive assertion of Shakspeare's property in this drama:-
• See him whose tragič scenes Euripides
Witness the Prince of Tyre nis Pericles.' This high eulogium on Pericles received a direct contradiction very shortly afterwards from the pen of an obscure poet named Tatham, who bears, however, an equally strong testimony as to Shakepeare's being the author of the piece, which he thus presumes to censure :
But Shakespeare, the plebeian driller, was
Founder'd in his Pericles, and must not pass.' From these testimonies in 1646 and 1652, full and unqualified, and made at no distant period from the death of the bard to whom they relate, we have to add the still more forcible and striking declaration of Dryden, who tells us in 1677, and in words as strong and decisive as he could select, that
Shakspeare's own muse his Pericles first bore.' • The only drawback on this accumulation of external evidence is the omission of Pericles in the first edition of our author's works : a negative fact which can have little weight, when we recollect that both the memory and judgment of Heminge and Condell, the poet's editors, were so defective, that they had forgotten Troilus and Cressida, until the entire folio, and the table of contents, had been printed, and admitted Titus Andronicus and the Historical Play of King Henry the Sixth, probably for no other reasons than that the former had been, from its unmerited popularity, brought forward by Shakspeare on' his own theatre, though there is sufficient internal evidence to prove, without the addition of a single line ; and because the latter, with a similar predilection of the lower orders in its favour, had obtained a similar, though not a more laboured attention from our poet, and was therefore deemed by his editors, though very unuecessarily, a requisite introduction to the two plays on the reign of that monarch, which Shakspeare had really new-modelled.'
It cannot consequently be surprising, as they had forgotten Troilus and Cressida until the folio had been printed, they should have forgotten Pericles until the same folio bad been in circulation, an
when it was too late to correct the omission; an error which the second folio has, without doubt or examination, blindly copied.'
• If the external evidence in support of Shakspeare being the author of the greater part of this play be striking, the internal must be pronounced still more so, and, indeed, absolutely decisive of the question ; for, whether we consider the style and phraseology, or the imagery, sentiment, and humour, the approximation to our author's uncontested dramas appears so close, frequent, and peculiar, as to stamp irresistible conviction on the mind.
• The result has accordingly been such as might have been predicted, under the assumption of the play being genuine ; for the inore it has been examined the more clearly has Shakspeare's large property in it been established. It is curious, indeed,' to note the increased tone of confidence which each successive commentator has a881111 ed, in proportion as he has weighed the testimony arising froin the piece itself. Rowe, in his first edition, says, “ it is owned that some part of Pericles certainly was written by him, particularly the last act:" Dr. Farmer observes that the hand of Shakspeare may be seen in the latter part of the play; Dr. Percy remarks tbat“ more of the phraseology used in the genuine dramas of Sbakspeare prevails in Pericles than in any of the other six doubted plays." Steevens says
“) admit without reserve that Shakspeare
whose hopeful colours Advance a half fac'd sun, striving to shine,' is visible in many scenes throughout the play ;-the purpurei panni are Shakspeare's, and the rest the production of some inglorious and forgotten play-wright; --adding, in a subsequent paragraph, that Pericles is valuable, " as the engravings of Mark Antonio are valuable not only on account of their beauty, but because they are supposed to have been executed under the eye of Raffaelle;" Malone gives it as bis corrected opinion, that "the congenial sentiments, the numerous expressions bearing a striking similitude to passages in Shakspeare's undisputed plays, some of the incidents, ihe situation of many of the persons, and in various places the colour of the style, all these combine to set his seal on the play before us. and furnish us with internal and irresistible proofs, that a considerable portion of this piece, as it now appears, was written by him." On this ground he ihinks the greater part of the three last acts may be safely ascribed to him; and that his hand may be traced occasionally in the other two. " Many will be of opinion ( says Mr. Douce) that it contains more that Shakspeare mighi have written than either Love's Labour's Lost, or All's Well that Ends Well."
• For satisfactory proof that the style, phraseology, and imagery of the greater part of this play are truly Sbakspearian, the reader has only to attend to the numerous coincidences which, in these respects, occur between Pericles and the poet's subsequent productions ; similitudes 80 striking, as to leave no doubt that they originated from one and the same source.
• If we attend, however, a little further to the dramatic construction of Pericles, to its humour, sentiment, and character, not only shall we find additional evidence in favour of its being, in a great degree, the product of our author, but fresh cause, it is expected, for awarding it a higher estimation than it has hitherto obtained:
Dr. Drake enters much more at large into the argument for establishing this as a juvevile effort of our great poet, and for placing the date of its composition in the year 1590, but we must content ourselves with referring the reader to his work for these particulars. He continues :
Steevens thinks that this play was originally named Pyroclés, after the hero of Sidney's Arcadia, the character, as he justly observes, not bearing the smallest affinity to that of the Athenian statesman. " It is remarkable,” says he,“ that many of our ancient writers were ambitious to exhibit Sidney's worthies on the stage, and when his subordinate heroes were advanced to such honour, how happened it that Pyrocles, their leader, should be overlooked ? Musidorus (his companion), Argalus and Parthenia, Phalantus and Eudora, Andromana, &c. furnished titles for different tragedics ; and perhaps Pyrocles, in the present inslance, was defrauded of a like distinction. The names invented or employed by Sidney had once such popularity that they were sometimes borrowed by poets. who did not profess to follow the direct current of his fables, or attend to the strict preservation of bis characters. I must add, that the Appolyn of the Story-book and Gower could only bave been rejected to make room for a more favourite name; yet however conciliating the name of Pyrocles might have been, that of Pericles could challenge no advantage with regard to general predilection. All circumstances therefore considered, it is not improbable that Shakspeare designed his chief character to be called Pyrocles, not Pericles, however ignorance or accident might have shuffled the
latter (a name of almost similar sound) into the place of the former." 6. This conjecture will amount almost to certainty if we diligently compare Pericles with the Pyrocles of the Arcadia ; the same romantic, versatile, and sensitive disposition is ascribed to both characters, and several of the incidents pertaining to the latter are found mingled with the adventures of the former per80nage, while, throughout the play, the obligations of its author to various other parts of the romance may be frequently and distinctly traced, not only in the assumption of an image or a sentiment, but in the adoption of the very words of his once popular predecessor, proving incontestably the poet's familiarity with and study of the Arcadia to have been very considerable.
• However wild and extravagant the fable of Pericles may appear, if we consider its numerous choruses, its pageantry, and dumb shows, its continual succession of incidents, and the great length of time which they occupy, yet it is, we may venture to assert, the most spirited and pleasing specimen of the nature and fabric of our earliest romantic drama which we possess, and the most valuable, as it is the only one with which Shakspeare has favoured us. We should therefore welcome this play as an adniirable example of "the neglected favourites of our ancestors, with something of the same feeling that is experienced in the reception of an old and valued friend of our fathers or grandfathers. Nay, we should like it the better for its gothic appendages of pageants and choruses, to explain the intricacies of the fable; and
see no objection to the dramatic representation even of a series of ages in a single night, that does not apply to every description of poem, which leads in perusal from the fireside at which we are sitting, to a succession of remote periods and distant countries. In these matters faith is allpowerful ; and without her influence, the most chastely cold and critically correct of dramas is precisely as unreal as the Midsummer Night's Dream, or the Winter's Tale."
• A still more powerful attraction in Pericles is that the interest accumulates as the story proceeds ; for, though many of the characters in the earlier part of the drama, such as Antiochus and his Daughter, Simonides and Thaisa, Cleon and Dionyza disappear and drop into oblivion, their places are supplied by more pleasing and efficient agents, who are not less fugacious, but better calculated for theatric effect. The inequalities of this production are, indeed, considerable, and only to be accounted for, with probability, on the supposition that Shakspeare either accepted a coadjutor, or inproved on the rough sketch of a previous writer, the former, for many reasons, secms entitled to a preference, and will explain why, in compliment to his dramatic friend, he has suffered a few passages, and one entire scene, of a character totally dissimilar to his own style and mode of composition, to stand uneorrected ; for who does not perceive that of the closing scene of the second act not a sentence or a word escaped from the pen of Shakspeare.
“No play, in fact, more openly discloses the hand of Shakspeare than Pericles, and fortunately his share in its composition appears to have been very considerable ; he may be distinctly, though not frequently, traced in the first and second acts ; after which, feeling the incompetency of his fellow-labourer, he seems to have assumed almost the entire management of the remainder, nearly the whole of the third, fourth, and fifth acts bearing indisputable testimony to the genius and execution of the great master.'*)
*) Shakspeare and his Times, by Dr. Drake, vol. ij. p. 262
• The most corrupt of Shakspeare's other dramas, compared with Pericles, is purity itself. The metre is seldom attended to; verse is frequently printed as proge,
gro88est errors abound in every page. I mention these circumstances only as an apology to the reader for having taken somewhat more licence with this drama than would have been justifiable if the old copies had been less disfigured by the negligence and ignorance of the printer or transcriber. - MALONE,
ANTIOCHUS, King of Antioch.
two Lords of Tyre.
The Daughter of Antiochus. Dionyza, Wife to Cleon.
Lords, Ladies, Knights, Gentlemen, Sailors, Pirates
Fishermen, and Messengers, &c.
*). We meet with Pentapolitana regio, a country in Africa, con- • sisting of five cities. Pentapolis occurs in the thirty-seventh chapter of King Appolyn of Tyre, i510; in Gower; the Gesta Romanorum; and Twine's translation from it. Its site is marked in an ancient map of the world, MS. in the Cotton Library, Brit. Mus. Tiberius, b. v. In the original Latin romance of Apollonius Tyrius it is most accurately called Pentapolis Cyrenorum, and was,
as both Strabo and Ptolemy inforın us, a district of Cyrenaica in Africa, comprising five cities, of which Cyrene was one.
**) That the reader may know through how many regions the scene of this drama is dispersed, it is necessary to observe that Antioch was the metropolis of Syria; Tyre a city of Phænicia in Asia ; Tharsus, the metropolis of Cilicia, a country of Asia Minor ; Mitylene, the capital of Lesbos, an island in the Ægean sea ; and Ephesus, the capital of lonia, a country of the Lesser Asia.