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* PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE. ) The Hory on which this play is formed, is of great antiquity. li is found in a book, once very popular, entitled Geltu Romanorum, which is supposed by Mr. Tyrwbitt, the learned editor of The Canterbury Tales of Chaucer, 1775, to bave been written five hundred years ago. The earliest impreffion of that work ( which I have seen) was piinted in 1488 ;* in that edition the biltory of Appolonius King of Tyre makes the 153d chapter.
It is likewise related by Gower in his Confeffio Amaniis, lib. viii. p. 175—185, edit, 1554. The Rev. Dr. Farmer has in his possession a fragment of a MS. poem on the same subject, which appears, from the hand-writing and the metre, to be more ancient than Gower. The reader will find an extract from it at the end of the play. There is also an ancient romance on this subjed, called Kung Appolyn of Thyre, translated from the French by Robert Copland, and printed by Wyukyn de Worde in 1510. IA 1576 William Howe had a licence for printing “ The most excellent, pleajant, and variable Historie of the Arange Adventures of Prince Apa polonius, Lucioe his uyfe, and Thaila his daughter. 1 bę author of Pericles having introduced Gower in bis piece, it is reasonable to suppose that be chiefly followed the work of that poct. It is observable, that the hero of this tale is, jo Gower's poem, as in the present play, called prince of Tyre; in the Gefta Romanorum, aod Copla d's prose romance, he is entitled king. Most of the incidents of the play are found in the Conf. Amant, and a few of Gower's expressions are occasionally borrowed. However, I think it is not unlikely, that there may bave been (though I have not met with it) an early prose translation of this popular story, from the Geft. Roman. in which the name of Appolonius was changed to Pericles: to which, likewise, the autbor of this drama may have been indebted. In 1607 was published at London, by Valeo tine Sins, “The patterne of painful adventures, containiog the most excellent, pleasant, and variable hiftorie of the strange accidents that befell unto Prince Appolonius, the lady Lucina his wife, and Tharfia bis daughter, wherein the uncertaintie of this world and the fickle fate of man's life are lively described. Translated into English by T. Twide, Gent." I bave never seen the book, but it was without doubt a re-publication of that published by W. Howe in 1576.
Pericles was entered on the Stationers' books, May 2, 1608, by Edward Blount, one of the printers of the first folio edition of Shakspeare's plays; but it did not appear in print till the following year, and then it was published not by Blount, but by Henry Goffon; who had probably anticipated the other, by getting a bafty transcript from a playhouse copy. There is, I believe, no
* There are several editions of the Gesta Romanorum before 1488.
play of our author's, perbaps I might say, in the English lan. guage, so incorre& as this. The moft corrupt of Shakspeare's other dramas, compared with Pericles, is purity itself. The metre is seldom attended to; verse is frequently printed as profe, and the grosfett errors abound in almost every page. I mention these circumstances, only as ao apology to the reader for having taken somewhat more licence with his drama than would bave been juftifiable, if the copics of it now extaot had been less disfigured by the ocgligence and ignorance of the printer or transcriber. The aumerous corruptions that are found in the original edition in 1609, which have been carefully preserved and augmented in all the subsequeat impresions, probably arose from its having beca frequently cxbibited on the stage. In the four quarto editions it is called the much admired play of PERICLES PRINCE OF TYRE; and ië is mentioned by many ancient writers as a very popular performance; parti. cularly, by the author of a metrical pamphlet, entitled Pymlico or Run Redcap, in which the following lines are found :
" Amaz'd I ftood, to see a crowd
" Came to see Shore or Pericles." la a former edition of this play I said, on the authority of ano. iber person, that this pampblet had appeared in 1596 ; but I have fipec met with the piece itself, and find that Bymlico, &c. was publidhed in 1609. It might, however, have been a republication.
The prologue to an old comedy called The hog has lof his Pearl, 1614, likewise exhibits a proof of this play's uncommon success. The poet (peakiog of his piece, says:
if it prove so happy as to please, " We'll say 'tis fortunate, like Pericles. By fortunate, I underftaod highly successful. The writer can bardly be supposed to bave meant that Pericles was popular rather from accident than merit ; for that would have ben but a poor culogy on his own performance.
An obscure poet, however, in 1652, insinuates that this drama was ill received, or at leaft that it added nothing to the reputation of its author:
" But Shakespeare, the plebeiao driller, was
Verses by J. Tatham, prefixed to Richard Brome's
Jovial Crew, or the Merry Beggars, 410. 1652. The passages above quoted Thew that little creait is to be given to the affertion contained in these lines; yet they furnish us with an additional proof that Pericles at no very diftant period aftes
Shakspeare's death, was considered as unqucfionably his perform.
la The Times displayed in Six Sifiads, 4to. 1646, dedicated by S. Shephard to Pbilip Earl of Pembroke, p. 22, Seftiad VI. stanza %. the author thus speaks of our poet and the piece before us :
" See him, whose tragick Scenes Euripides
os Did underfland the depth of poesic." For the diviGon' of this piece into scenes I am responsible, ibera being none found in the old copies. See the notes at the end of the play. Malone,
The History of Apollonius King of Tyro was supposed by Mark Welser, when be printed it 1595, to have beco traolated from tbc Greek a thousaod years It certainly bears frong marks of a Greck original, though it is noi (that I know ) now extapi in tbat lavguage. The rythmical poem, under the same title, in modern Greek, was re-traollated (if I may so speak) from the Latin απο Λατινικης εις Ρωμαϊκην gaworav. Du Fresne, ladex Author. ad Gloff. Græc. When Welfer printed it, be probably did not know that it had been published already (perhaps more than once) among the Gefta Romanorum. In an edition, which I bave,, prioted at Rouen in 1521, it makes the 154th chapter. Towards the latter end of the XIIth century, Godfrog. of Viterbo, in bis Pantheon or Universal Cbronicle, inserted tbis romauce as part of the hiftory of the third Antiochus, about 200 years before Christ. It begins thus (Ms. Reg. 14. C. xi. 162
• Filia Seleuci regis Atat clara decore,
" Res babet effe&um, prefla puella dolet. The reft is in the same wctre, with ouc pootameter only to two hexameters.
Gower, by his owo acknowledgemeot, took his fory from the Pantheon; as the author ( whoever he was) of Pericles, Prince of Tyri, profefles to have followed Gower. TYRWHITT.
Tbere are three French travllations of this ftory, viz. 6 La Cbronique d'Appollin, Roy de Thyr;" 4to. Geneva, bl. 1. no date ; and · Plaisante & agréable Histoire d'Appolovius Prioce de Thyr en Affrique, & Roi d'Antioche; traduit par Gilles Corozat," 8vo. Paris, 1530 ; - and (in the leveutb volume of the Histoires Iragiques &c. 12mo. 1604, par François Belle.foreft, kr. ) " Acci. ecus diuers aducnus à Appollovie Roy dos Tyricas: fes malheurs
fur mer, fes pertes de femmc & fille, & la fin liçurcuse de tous coremble."
In the introduđion to this last novel, the translator says – « Ayant en main une histoire litée du Grec, & icelle ancienne, comme aufli je l'ay recuellie d'un vieux livie écrit à la main " &c.
But the present story, as it appears in Belle-forelt's collc&ion, (Vol. VII. p. 113, do seg. ) has yet a further claim to our notice, as it had the honour (p. 148.9) of furniihing Dryden with the outline of bis Alexander's Feaft. Langbaine, &c. have accused this great poct of adopting circumstances from the Histoires Tragiques, among other French novels; a charge, however, that demands neither proof nor apology.
The popularity of this tale of Apollonius, may be inferred from the very numerous MSS. iv which it appears.
Both editions of Twine's translation are now before me. Thomas Twine was the continuator of Phaer's Virgil, which was left im. perfed in the year 1558.
In Twine's book our hero is repeatedly called, • Prince of Tyrus." It is fingular enough that this fable should have been republished in 1607, the play entered on the books of the Stationers' Company in 1608, and printed in 1609.
I mult ftill add a few words concerning the piece in question.
Numerous are our unavoidable auuotations on it. Yet it has been so inveterately corrupted by transcription, interpolation, &c. that were it published, like the other dramas of Shakipeare, with scrupulous warniug of every litile change which necessity compels au editor to make in it, his comment would more than treble the quantity of his author's text. If therefore the filent insertion or transposition of a few harmless syllables which do not affe& the value of one sentiment throughout the whole, can obviale those defeds in conftrudion and harmony wbich have hitherto molested the reader, why should not his progress be facilitated by such means, rather than by a wearisome appeal to remarks that difturb attention, and contribute to diminish wbatever interest might otherwise have been awakened by the scenes before him? If any of the trivial fupplements, &c. introduced by the present editor are found to be peedless or improper, let him be freely censured by his successors, on the score of rashness or want of judgement. Let tbe Nimrods of ifs and ands pursue him ; let the champions of nonsense that bears the stamp of antiquity, couch their rufty lances at the defperate innovator. To the severeft bazard, on this account, he would more cheerfully expose himself, than leave it to be observed that he had printed many passages in Pericles without an effort to exhibit them (as they must have originally appeared) with some obvious Meaning, and a tolerable flow of verfification. The pebble which aspires to rank with diamonds, should at leaft have a decent polish beftowed on it. Perhaps the piece here exhibited has merit insufficient