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It is remarkable, that many of our ancient writers were ambitious to exhibit Sidney's worthies on the stage ; and when his subordinate agents were advanced to such honour, how happened it that Pyrocles, their leader, should be overlooked ? Mufidorus, (his companion,) A:galus and Parthenia, Phalantus and Eudora, Andromana, &c. furnished titles for different tragedies; and perhaps Pyrocles, in the present initance, was defrauded of a like distinction. The names invented or employ. ed by Sidney, had once such popularity, that they were sometimes borrowed by poets who did not profels to follow the direct current of his fables, or aitend to the Itrict preservation of his characters. Nay, so high was the credit of this romance, that many a fashionable word and glowing phrase selected from it, was applied, like a Promethean torch, to contemporary sonnets, and gave a transient life even to those dwarfish and enervate bantlings of the reluctant Muse.
I must add, that the Appolyn of the Story-book and Gower, could have been rejected only to make room for a more favourite name; yet, however conciliating the name of Pyrocles might bave been, that of Pericles could challenge no advantage with regard to general predilection.
I am aware, that a conclusive argument cannot be drawn from the false quantity in the second fyllable of Pericles; and yet if the Athenian was in our author's mind, he might have been taught by repeated translations from fragments of satiric poets in Sir Thomas North's Nutarch, to call his hero Pericles; as for instance, in the following couplet :
« O Chiron, tell me, first, art thou indeede the man
can.” &c. &c. Such therefore was the pronunciation of this proper name, in the age . of Shakspeare. The address of Persius to a youthful orator - Magni pupille Perīcli, is familiar to the ear of every classical reader.
All circumstances therefore considered, it is not improbable that our author designed his chief character to be called Pyrocles, not Pericles, * however ignorance or accident might have thuffled the latter (a name of almost similar found) into the place of the former. The true name, when once corrupted or changed in the theatre, was effcctually withheld from the publick; and every commentator on this play agrecs in a belief that it must have been printed by means of a copy “ far as Deucalion off” from the manuscript which had received Shakspeare's revisal and improvement. STEEVENS.
* Such a theatrical mistake will not appear improbable to the reader who re. collects that in the fourth scene of the first act of the Third Part of King Henry FI, instead of " tigers of Hircania,”-the players have given 'us' tigers of Arcadia.” Instead of "an Ate,'' in King John," an ace.” Instead of " Pan. thino,” in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, -" Panthion.” Instead of “ Polydore,” in Cymbeline,-mo" Paladowo" was continued through all the editions till that of 1773.
ANTIOC HVS, king of Antioch.
two lords of Tyre.
The daughter of Antiochus.
Lords, Ladies, Knights, Gentlemen, Sailors, Firates, Fijbernien,
and Messengers, &c.
SCENE, dispersedly in various countries.
P E R ICL E S.
Before the Palace of Antioch.
From afhes ancient Gower is come ;
for his chiefest feat; The fairest in all Syria ; (I tell you what mine authors say :) This king unto him took a pheere, Who died and left a female heir,
So buxom, blithe, and full of face,
Antioch. A Room in the Palace.
Enter ANTIOCHUS, PERICLES, and Attendants.
Ant. Young prince of Tyre, you have at large receiv'd The danger of the talk you undertake.
Per. I have, Antiochus, and with a soul Embolden'd with the glory of her praise, Think death no hazard, in this enterprize. [Mufick.
Ant. Bring in our daughter, clothed like a bride, For the embracements even of Jove himself;
At whose conception, (till Lucina reign'd)
Enter the daughter of Antiochus.
Ant. Prince Pericles,-
Ant. Before thee stands this fair Hesperides,