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31 Bring down the devil; &c.] It appears, from these words, that the audience were entertained with part of the apparatus of an execution, and that Aaron was mounted on a ladder, as ready to be turned off.
32 So thou destroy Rapine and Murder there.] I do not know of any instance that can be brought to prove
rape and rapine were ever used as synonimous terms. The word rapine has always been employed for a less fatal kind of plunder, and means the violent act of deprivation of any good, the honour here alluded to being always excepted. STEEVBNS.
Our old poet, Gower, uses ravine in the same sense as Shakspeare here employs rapine.
“ For if thou be of such covine,
De Confessione Amantis, Book V. of the paste a coffin-] The raised crust, or walls, which contains the meat of, what is termed, a standing pie, is, in the culinary art, a coffin.
34 - break the parle;] That is, begin the parley. We yet say, he breaks his mind. JOHNSON.
There are several productions of considerable antiquity from which the writer of this play might have borrowed his fable. One of them is to be found in an old popular book with the title of Gesta Romanorum, and which is said to have been written five hundred years ago. Mr. Malone speaks of the edition printed in 1488 when he gives the history of Apollonius King of Tyre as the contents of its 153d chapter: but Douce and others have seen several editions of an earlier date. Gower's Confessio Amantis, however, was unquestionably the basis of Pericles, else why did its author introduce that poet as the chorus? Dr. Farmer had a manuscript poem in his possession on this subject, supposed by him, from its measure
and the antique fashion of the hand writing, to be a prior production to Gower's: besides which there are also various other romances that might be produced from both French and English collections. But this, in my opinion, proves nothing more than that the story was, in those dark ages, a popular one, and leaves the author of the play before us, whoever he was, indebted principally to the Confessio Amantis. That Pericles was not originally written by Shakspeare, is, I believe, at present, a pretty general sentiment. Mr. Malone formerly entertained a contrary opinion, but he retracted it with a candour that reflects great honour on him. Steevens printed it with the plays of our bard, that judgment might not appear to be passed upon it, before it had been purged from its errors, and admitted to a fair trial. The editor admits it here for the like candid reason, at the same time avowing that although there are many parts of it which seem to indicate the hand of Shakspeare, yet he does not think it sufficiently the production of his masterly pen to give it a legitimate title to a place among his dramas.
The History of Apollonius King of Tyre was supposed by Mark Welser, when he printed it in 1595, to have been translated from the Greek a thousand years before. [Fabr. Bib. Gr. v. p. 821.] It certainly bears strong marks of a Greek original, though it is not (that I know) now extant in that language. The rythmical poem, under the same title, in modern Greek, was re-translated (if I may so speak) from the