Page images

having been thus new-modelled by our poet, and enriched with many happy strokes from his pen, is unquestionably entitled to that place among his works which it has now obtained.


[ocr errors]

ANTIOCHUS, king of Antioch.
PERICLES, prince of Tyre.
HELICANES, } two lords of Tyre.

SIMONIDES, king of Pentapolis."
CLEON, governor of Tharsus.
LYSIMACHUS, governor of Mitylente.
CERIMON, a lord of Ephesus,
THALIARD, a lord of Antioch.
PHILEMON, servant to Cerimon.
LEONINE, servant to Dionyza. Marshall.
A Pandar, and his Wife.
BOULT, their servant.
GOWER, as Chorus.

The Daughter of Antiochus.
DIONYZA, wife to Cleon.
THAISA, daughter to Simonides.
MARINA, daughter to Pericles and Thaisa,
LYCHORIDA, nurse to Marina.

Lords, Ladies, Knights, Gentlemen, Sailors, Pirates,

Fishermen, and Messengers, &c.

SCENE, dispersedly in various countries.

Çi] This is an imaginary city, and içs name might have been borrowed from some romance. STEEVENS.



Enter GOWER. Before the Palace of Antiach.

To sing a song of old was sung,'
From ashes ancient Gower is come ;
Assuming man's infirmities,
To glad your ear, and please your eyes.
It hath been sung at festivals,
On ember-eves, and holy ales ; 2
And lords and ladies of their lives
Have read it for restoratives :
'Purpose to make men glorious ;
Et quo antiquius,eo melius.
If you, born in these latter times,
When wit's more ripe, accept my rhymes,
And that to hear an old man sing,
May to your wishes pleasure bring,
I life would wish, and that I might
Waste it for you, like taper-light.-
This city then, Antioch the great


for his chiefest seat ; The fairest in all Syria ; (I tell you what mine authors say :) This king upto bim took a pheere, 3 Who died and left a female heir,

[1] I do not know that old is by any author used adverbially. We might read:

To sing a song of old was sung, i. e. that of old &c.

But the poet is so licentious in the language which he has attributed to Gower in this piece, that I have not ventured to make any change.

MALONE. [2] i.e. says Dr. Farmer, by whom this emendation was made, churchales. MALONE.

(3] This word, which is frequently used by our oid poets, signifies a mate or companion. The old copies

have-peer. MALONE,

So buxom, blithe, and full of face, 4
As heaven had lent her all his grace ;
With whom the father liking took,
And her to incest did provoke :
Bad father! to entice his own
To evil, should be done by none.
By custom, what they did begin,
Was, with long use, account no sir.
The beauty of this sinful dame
Made many princes thither frame,
To seek her as a bed-fellow,
In marriage-pleasures play-fellow :
Which to prevent, he made a law,
(To keep her still, and men in awe,)
That whoso ask'd her for his wife,
His riddle told not, lost his life :
So for her many a wight did die,

As yon grim looks do testify.5
What now ensues, to the judgment of your eye
I give, my cause who best can justify.



Antioch. A Room in the Palace. Enter ANTIOCHUS, PERI

CLES, and Attendants. Ant. Young prince of Tyre, you have at large receiv'd The danger of the task 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. [Music.

Ant. Bring in our daughter, clothed like a bride,
For the embracements even of Jove himself ;
At whose conception, (till Lucina reign'd,)
Nature this dowry gave, to glad her presence,
The senate-house of planets all did sit,
To knit in her their best perfections.

[4] Completely, exuberantly beautiful. A full fortune, in Othello, means a complete, a large one. MALONE.

(5) Gower must be supposed here to point to the heads of those unfortunate wights, which were bred on the gate of the palace at Antioch.


Enter the Daughter of ANTIOCHUS.
Per. See, where she comes, apparell'd like the spring,
Graces her subjects, and her thoughts the king
Of every virtue gives renown to men !6
Her face, the book of praises, where is read
Nothing but curious pleasures, as from thence
Sorrow were ever ras'd, and testy wrath
Could never be her mild companion.7
Ye gods that made me man, and sway in love,
That have inflam'd desire in my breast,
To taste the fruit of yon celestial tree,
Or die in the adventure, be my helps,
As I am son and servant to your will,
To compass such a boundless happiness !

Ant. Prince Pericles,-
Per. That would be son to great Antiochus.

Ant. Before thee stands this fair Hesperides,
With golden fruit, but dangerous to be touch'd ;
For death-like dragons here affright thee hard :
Her face, like heaven, enticeth thee to view
A countless glory, which desert must gain :
And which, without desert, because thine eye
Presumes to reach, all thy whole heap must die. S
Yon sometime famous princes, like thyself,
Drawn by report, advent'rous by desire,
Tell thee with speechless tongues, and semblance pale,
That, without covering, save yon field of stars,
They here stand martyrs, slain in Cupid's wars ;
And with dead cheeks advise thee to desist,
For going on death's net, whom none resist.

Per. Antiochus, I thank thee, who hath taught
My frail mortality to know itself,
And by those fearful objects to prepare

[6] She comes (says Pericles) adorned with all the colours of the spring ; the Graces are proud to enroll themselves among her subjects'; and the king, (i. e. the chief) of every virtue that ennobles humanity, impregnates her mind :

Graces her subjects, in her thonghts the king

Of every virtue, &c. In short she has no superior in beauty, yet still she is herself under the do. minion of virtue. STEEVENS.

[7] This is a bold expression :testy wrath could not well be a mila companion to any one ; but her mild companion, Shakspeare means the companion of her mildness. M. MASON.

18) Thy whole heap, thy body, must suffer for the offence of a part, thine eye. The word bulk like heap in the present passage, was used for body by Shakspeare and his contemporaries. MALONE.


« PreviousContinue »