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he had only taken the folio edition of our author's works for his guide, without any other authority, he would have named The Tempest as his earliest production; because it happens to stand first in the volume. But however this may be, and whether, when Dryden entitled Pericles our author's first composition, he meant to be understood literally or not, let it be remembered, that he calls it his PERICLES; and he speaks of it as the legitimate, not the spurious or adopted, offspring of our poet's muse; as the sole, not the partial, property of Shakspeare.
I am yet, therefore, unconvinced, that this drama was not written by our author. The wildness and irregularity of the fable, the artless conduct of the piece, and the inequalities of the poetry, may, I think, be all accounted for, by supposing it either his first or one of his earliest essays in dramatick composition. MALONE.
On looking into Roscius Anglicanus, better known by the name of Downes the Prompter's Book, originally printed in 1708, and lately republished by the ingenious Mr. Waldron of Drury Lane Theatre, I was not a little surprized to find, that Pericles, Prince of Tyre, was one of the characters in which the famous Betterton had been most applauded.-Could the copy from which this play was acted by him and his associates, be recovered, it would prove a singular curiosity; at least, to those who have since been drudging through every scene of the original quarto, 1609, in the hope of restoring it to such a degree of sense and measure as might give it currency with the reader.
As for the present editor, he expects to be
"Stopp'd in phials, and transfix'd with pins,"
on account of the readiness with which he has obeyed the second clause of the Ovidian precept:
"Cuncta prius tentanda; sed immedicabile vulnus
a letter written to him by King James, who himself altered four of his plays and introduced them in a new form on the stage, should have been altogether incurious about the early history and juvenile productions of the great luminary of the dramatick world, (then only thirteen years dead) who happened also to be his god-father, and was by many reputed his father, is not very credible. That he should have never made an enquiry concerning a play, printed with Shakspeare's name, and which appears to have been a popular piece at the very time when D'Avenant produced his first dramatick essay, (a third edition of Pericles having been printed in 1630) is equally improbable. And it is still more incredible that our author's friend, old Mr. Heminge, who was alive in 1629, and principal proprietor and manager of the Globe and Blackfryars play houses, should not have been able to give him any information concerning a play, which had been produced at the former theatre, probably while it was under his direction, and had been acted by his company with great applause for more than thirty years.
When it is proved, however, that a gentle process might have been employed with equal success, let the actual cautery be rejected, or applied to the remarks of him who has so freely used it. STEEVENS,
THE PRESENT EDITION.
Vol. IV. p. 71. TEMPEST. this lord
hath here almost persuaded (For he's a spirit of persuasion only,) The king, his son's alive;] This is from the Bible, 1 Kings, ch. xxii. ver. 21. "And there came forth a spirit and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him.”
214. Two GENTLEMEN of Verona.
-like a wood woman;] A wood woman is a mad woman, and is so called at this day in Scotland.
Vol. V. p. 7. MERRY WIVES Of Windsor.
Sir Hugh Evans.] In 1564 was published a translation of Horace by Lewes Evans, schole-master; from which it is very probable Shakspeare took the name of his Welch schoolHARRIS.
p. 282. TWELFth Night.
She took the ring of me; I'll none of it.] This line should be pointed thus,
She took the ring of me? I'll none of it.
This punctuation renders the passage intelligible, and will save all the observations made upon it.
Vol. V. p. 361. TWELFTH NIGHT.
If all the devils in hell be drawn in little, and Legion himself possessed him, yet I'll speak to him.] The Demoniack mentioned in St. Mark's Gospel, ch. v. ver. 9. on being asked his name, answers, “My name is Legion." HARRIS.
Vol. VII. p. 53. LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST.
—with your hat penthouse-like, o'er the shop of your eyes; with your arms crossed on your thin belly-doublet, like a rabbit on a spit;] In the frontispiece to Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, is the figure of a man exactly corresponding with this description. HARRIS.
Vol. XI. p. 222. KING HENRY IV. P. I.
swift Severn's flood;
Who then, affrighted with their bloody looks,
Ran fearfully among the trembling reeds,]
So, in the 114th Psalm, ver. 3. "The sea saw it, and fled; Jordan was driven back." HARRIS.
Vol. XII. p. 398. KING HENRY V. at such and such a sconce.]
To Mr. Steevens's note
may be added, that there is at Oxford (near the remains of Oseney Abbey) a small meadow called the Sconce, which was part of the fortifications during the siege in the civil war.
Vol. XIV. p. 33. KING HENRY VI. P. III.
Rut. I never did thee harm; Why wilt thou slay me? Cliff. Thy father hath. Rut. But 'twas ere I was born.] This is the Wolf and the Lamb, in Phædrus's first fable. HARRIS. IBID. p. 180.
For Warwick was a bug, that fear'd us all.] So, in Coverdale's translation of the Bible, 91st Psalm, ver. 5. "Thou shalt not be afraid of any bugs by night." See also Vol. XVIII. p. 347. HARRIS.
Vol. XVII. p. 53. ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA.
Think on me,
That am with Phoebus' amorous pinches black,] So, in Solomon's Song, ch. i. ver. 6. "Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me."
p. 496. KING LEAR.
Bind fast his corky arms.] Corky is deceitful. HARRIS.
Vol. XVIII. p. 491. CYMBELINE.
Andirons, -] Mr. Steevens has rightly explained the ornaments of the Andirons: Mr. Whalley, not knowing that dogs and andirons are different names for the same thing, has run into a mistake. HARRIS.
Vol. XIX. p. 290. OTHEllo.
Let housewives make a skillet of my helm.] i. e. a skillet of my helmet. A skillet is a small kettle with three legs, for the purpose of using on wood fires made on hearths. HARRIS. IBID. P. 502.
She was false as water.] So, in the Book of Genesis, ch. xlix. ver. 4. "Unstable as water." HARRIS.