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Whom you yourselves shall set out for reproof
Fall and no more and, to atone your fears
Sold. My noble general, Timon is dead;
Interprets for my poor ignorance.
Alcih. [Reads the epitaph] 'Here lies a wretched corse, of wretched soul bereft : Seek not my name: a plague consume you wicked caitiffs left!
Here lie I, Timon; who, alive, all living men did hate :
Pass by and curse thy fill, but pass and stay not here thy gait.'
These well express in thee thy latter spirits: Though thou abhorr'dst in us our human griefs,
Scorn'dst our brain's flow and those our droplets which
From niggard nature fall, yet rich conceit Taught thee to make vast Neptune weep for
PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE.
(WRITTEN ABOUT 1608.)
Shakespeare's portion of this play has something of the slightness of a preliminary sketch. The first two Acts are evidently by another writer than Shakespeare, and probably the scenes in Act IV. (Sc. II., V., and VI.), so revolting to our moral sense, are also to be assigned away from him. What remains (Acts III., IV., V., omitting the scenes just mentioned) is the pure and charming romance of Marina, the sea-born child of Pericles, her loss, and the recovery of both child and mother by the afflicted Prince. Whether Shakespeare worked upon the foundation of an earlier play, or whether the non-Shakespearean parts of Pericles were additions made to what he had written, cannot be determined with certainty. 1. is supposed by some critics that three hands can be distinguished: that of a general reviser wh wrote the first two acts and Gower's choruses-possibly the dramatist, George Wilkins; that of a second writer who contributed the offensive scenes of Act IV.; and thirdly the hand of Shakespeare. Pericles was entered in the Stationers' register in 1608 by the book-seller Blount, and was published with a very ill arranged text the next year (1609) by another book-seller who had, it is believed, surreptitiously obtained his copy. It was not included among the plays given in the first or second folíos, but appeared, with six added plays, in the third folio (1663). The story upon which Pericles was founded is that given in Lawrence Twine's Patterne of Painfull Adventures (1607), itself a reprint of an early printed version from the French; given also in Gower's Confessio Amantis, and originally written about the fifth or sixth century of our era, in Greek. Both Twine and Gower appear to have been made use of by the writers of Pericles, and the debt to Gower is acknowledged by his introduction as the "presenter" of the play. The drama as a whole is singularly undramatic. It entirely lacks unity of action, and the prominent figures of the opening scenes quickly drop out of the play. Most of the story is briefly told in rhymed verse by the presenter, Gower, or is set forth in dumb show. But Shakespeare's portion is one and indivisible. It opens on ship board with a tempest, and in Shakespeare's later play of storm and wreck he has not attempted to rival the earlier treatment of the subject. "No poetry of shipwreck and the sea,' a living poet writes, "has ever equalled the great scene of Pericles; no such note of music was ever struck out of the clash and contention of tempestuous elements." Cerimon, who is master of the secrets of nature, and who is liberal in his "learned charity," is like a first study of Prospero. In the fifth act Marina, so named from her birth at sea, has grown to the age of fourteen years, and is, as it were, a sister of Miranda and Perdita (note in each case the significant name). She, like Perdita, is a child lost by her parents, and, like Perdita, we see her flower-like with her flowers-only these flowers of Marina are not for a merrymaking, but a grave. The melancholy of Pericles is a clear-obscure of sadness, not a gloom of cloudy remorse like that of Leontes. His meeting with his lost Marina is like an anticipation of the scene in which Cymbeline recovers his sons and daughter; but the scene in Pericles is filled with a rarer, keener passion of joy.
The Daughter of Antiochus.
MARINA, daughter to Pericles and Thaisa.
Lords, Knights, Gentlemen, Sailors, Pirates,
GOWER, as Chorus.
SCENE: Dispersedly in various countries
Before the palace of Antioch,
To sing a song that old was sung,
To glad your ear, and please your eyes.
It hath been sung at festivals,
On ember-eves and holy-ales;
And lords and ladies in their lives
Have read it for restoratives:
The purchase is to make men glorious;
When wit's more ripe, accept my rhymes.
I tell you what mine authors say:
As heaven had lent her all his grace
Bad child; worse father! to entice his own
I give, my cause who best can justify.
[Exit. SCENE I. Antioch. A room in the palace. Enter ANTIOCHUS, PRINCE PERICLES, and followers.
Ant. Young prince of Tyre, you have at large received
The danger of the task you undertake.
Per. I have, Antiochus, and, with a soul
For the embracements even of Jove himself;
Per. Like a bold champion, I assume the lists,
Nor ask advice of any other thought
He reads the riddle.
I am no viper, yet I feed
On mother's flesh which did me breed. I sought a husband, in which labor I found that kindness in a father: He's father, son, and husband mild; I mother, wife, and yet his child. How they may be, and yet in two, As you will live, resolve it you. Sharp physic is the last: but, O you powers That give heaven countless eyes to view men's
Why cloud they not their sights perpetually, If this be true, which makes me pale to read it ?
Fair glass of light, I loved you, and could still,
[Takes hold of the hand of the Princess. Were not this glorious casket stored with ill: But I must tell you, now my thoughts revolt; For he's no man on whom perfections wait 79 That, knowing sin within, will touch the gate. You are a fair viol, and your sense the strings; Who, finger'd to make man his lawful music, Would draw heaven down, and all the gods, to hearken:
But being play'd upon before your time,
Ant. Prince Pericles, touch not, upon thy life,
For that's an article within our law, As dangerous as the rest. Your time's expired :
Either expound now, or receive your sentence.
Per. Great king,
Few love to hear the sins they love to act; "Twould braid yourself too near for me to tell it.
Who has a book of all that monarchs do, He's more secure to keep it shut than shown: For vice repeated is like the wandering wind, Blows dust in others' eyes, to spread itself; And yet the end of all is bought thus dear, The breath is gone, and the sore eyes see clear: To stop the air would hurt them. The blind mole casts 100 Copp'd hills towards heaven, to tell the earth is throng'd
By man's oppression; and the poor worm doth die for't.
Kings are earth's gods; in vice their law's their will;
And if Jove stray, who dares say Jove doth ill?
It is enough you know; and it is fit,
What being more known grows worse, to
All love the womb that their first being bred, Then give my tongue like leave to love my head.
Though by the tenor of our strict edict,
When what is done is like an hypocrite,
On sweetest flowers, yet they poison breed.
One sin, I know, another doth provoke;
By flight I'll shun the danger which I fear.
SCENE II. Tyre. A room in the palace.
Per. [To Lords without] Let none disturb us. Why should this change of thoughts,
The sad companion, dull-eyed melancholy,
Here pleasures court mine eyes, and mine eyes shun them,
And danger, which I fear'd, is at Antioch,
Grows elder now and cares it be not done.
Which fence the roots they grow by and defend them,
30 Makes both my body pine and soul to languish, And punish that before that he would punish. Enter HELICANUS, with other Lords.
First Lord. Joy and all comfort in your sacred breast!
Sec. Lord. And keep your mind, till you return to us,
Peaceful and comfortable!
Hel. Peace, peace, and give experience tongue.
They do abuse the king that flatter him:
Whereas reproof, obedient and in order,
Rise, prithee, rise. Sit down thou art no flatterer : thank thee for it; and heaven forbid That kings should let their ears hear their faults hid!
Fit counsellor and servant for a prince,
What wouldst thou have me do ?
Hel. To bear with patience Such griefs as you yourself do lay upon yourself.
Per. Thou speak'st like a physician, Helicanus,
That minister'st a potion unto me
That thou wouldst tremble to receive thyself. Attend me, then I went to Antioch, 70 Where as thou know'st, against the face of
I sought the purchase of a glorious beauty,