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an accomplished knight of romance, disguised under the name of a statesman,
« Whose resistless eloquence
“ Shook th' arsenal, and fulmin'd over Greece." As to Sidney's Pyrocles, -T'ros, Tyriusve,
“ The world was all before him, where to choose
“ His place of rest.” but Pericles was tied down to Athens, and could not be removed to a throne in Phænicia. No poetick licence will permit a unique, classical, and conspicuous name to be thus unwarrantably transferred. A Prince of Madagascar must not be called Æneas, nor a Duke of Florence Mithridates; for such peculiar appellations would useasonably remind us of their great original possessors. The playwright who indulges himself in these wanton and injudicious vagaries, will always counteract his own purpose. Thus, as often as the appropriated name of Pericles occurs, it serves but to oppose our author's gross departure from established manners and historick truth; for laborious fiction could not designedly produce two personages more opposite than the settled demagogue of Athens, and the vagabond Prince of Tyre.
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 iç that Pyrocles, their leader, should be overlooked ? Musidorus, (his conpanion,) Argalus and Parthenia, Phalantus and Eudora, Andromana, &c. furnished titles for different tragedies ; and perhaps Pyrocles, in the present instance, 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 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 have 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 syllable 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 Plutarch, to call bis hero Perīcles; as for instance, in the following couplet:
“ O Chiron, tell me, first, art thou indeede the man
can,” &c. &c.
“ Pericles stands in rancke amongst the rest." Again, ibidem :
• Perīcles was a famous man of warre." Such therefore was the poetical 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 erery classical reader.
By some of the observations scattered over the following pages, it will be proved that the illegitimate Pericles occasionally adopts not inerely the ideas of Sir Philip's heroes, but their very words and phraseology. 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 shuffled the latter (a name of almost similar sound) into the place of the former. The true name, when once corrupted or changed in the theatre, was effectually withheld from the publick; and every commentator on this play agrees 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.
Antiochus, King of Antioch.
Lords, Ladies, Knight, Gentlemen, Sailors, Pirates,
Fishermen, and Messengers, &c.
SCENE, dispersedly in various Countries.
i Pentapolis.] This is an imaginary city, and its name might have been borrowed from some romance. We meet indeed in history with Pentapolitana regio, a country in Africa, consisting of five cities; and from thence perhaps some novellist furnished the sounding title of Pentapolis, which occurs likewise in the 37th chapter of Kyng Appolyn of Tyre, 1510, as well as in Gower, the Gesta Romanorum, and Twine's translation from it.
It should not, however, be concealed, that Pentapolis is also found in an ancient map of the world, MS. in the Cotton Library, British Museum, Tiberius, B. V.
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 ; Tarsus, 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 Ionia, a country of the Lesser Asia. STEEVENS.
PRINCE OF TYRE.
Before the Palace of Antioch.
To sing a song of old was sung,
you, born in these latter times,
you, like taper-light.
* It hath been sung at festivals,
On ember-eves, and holy-ales;] i. e. says Dr. Farmer, churchales. VOL. VIII.
This city then, Antioch the great
unto him took a pheere,] This word, which is frequently used by our old poets, signifies a mate or co
companion. full of face,] i. e. completely, exuberantly beautiful. account no sin.] Account for accounted.
thither frame,] i. e. shape or direct their course thither. 7 As yon grim looks do testify.) Gower must be supposed here to point to the heads of those unfortunate wights, which, he tells us, in his poem, were fixed on the gate of the palace at Antioch.