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Tell us, what Sinon hath bewitch'd our ears,
Luc. Then, noble auditory, be it known to you,
But, soft; methinks, I do digress too much,
[Pointing to the Child in the arms of an Attendant.
P and basely cozen'd—) i. e. And he basely cozened.-Malone.
The villain is alive in Titus' house,
Æmil. Come, come, thou reverend man of Rome,
Lucius, &c. descend.
[To an Attendant. And hither hale that misbelieving Moor,
To be adjudg'd some direful slaughtering death, * As punishment for his most wicked life. Rom. [Several speak.] Lucius, all hail; Rome's gracious
[Kisses Titus. These sorrowful drops upon thy blood-stain'd face, The last true duties of thy noble son!
Mar. Tear for tear, and loving kiss for kiss,
Thy brother Marcus tenders on thy lips :
Luc. Come hither, boy; come, come, and learn of us
Boy. O grandsire, grandsire! even with all my heart Would I were dead, so you did live again!
O lord, I cannot speak to him for weeping;
Enter Attendants, with AARON.
Luc. Set him breast-deep in earth, and famish him;
Aar. O, why should wrath be mute, and fury dumb ? I am no baby, I, that, with base prayers, I should repent the evils I have done; Ten thousand, worse than ever yet I did, Would I perform, if I might have my will ; If one good deed in all my life I did, I do repent it from my very soul.
Luc. Some loving friends convey the emperor hence,
- to see him fasten'd in the earth.] That justice and cookery may go hand in hand to the conclusion of this play, in Ravenscroft's alteration of it, Aaron is at once racked and roasted on the stage.-STEEVENS.
And give him burial in his father's grave:
All the editors and criticks agree with Mr. Theobald in supposing this play spurious. I see no reason for differing from them; for the colour of the style is wholly different from that of the other plays, and there is an attempt at regular versification, and artificial closes, not always inelegant, yet seldom pleasing. The barbarity of the spectacles, and the general massacre, which are here exhibited, can scarcely be conceived tolerable to any audience; set we are told by Jonson, that they were not only borne but praised. That Shakspeare wrote any part, though Theobald declares it incontestible, I see no reason for believing.
The testimony by which it is ascribed to Shakspeare, is by no means equal to the argument against its authenticity, arising from the total difference of conduct, language, and sentiments, by which it stands apart from all the rest. Meres had probably no other evidence than that of a title-page,a which, though in our time it be sufficient, was then of no great authority; for all the plays which were rejected by the first collectors of Shakspeare's works, and admitted in later editions, and again rejected by the critical editors, had Shakspearo's name on the title, as we must suppose, by the fraudulence of the printers, who, while there were yet no gazettes, nor advertisements, nor any means of circulating literary intelligence, could usurp at pleasure any celebrated name. Nor had Shakspeare any interest in detecting the imposture, as none of his fame or profit was produced by tho press.-Johnson.
a The name of the author was not mentioned in the title-page of any of the three quarto editions of this play; and Meres most probably bad other evidence, for he appears to have been personally acquainted with Shakspeare; and speaks in commendation of his sonnets, at a time when he could only have seen them in the MS.
PRINCE OF TYRE.
This play was entered at Stationers' Hall, May 2, 1608, by Edward Blount, one of the printers of the first folio edition of Shakspeare's works; but it did not appear in print till the following year, and then it was published not by Blount but by Henry Gosson, who had probably anticipated the other, by getting a hasty transcript from a play-house copy. There is no play of the author's, perhaps not in the English language, of which the text is as corrupted as that of this tragedy. The most corrupt of Shakspeare's other dramas is purity itself compared with Pericles.
The story on which this play is formed, is of great antiquity. It is found in a book, once very popular, entitled Gesta Romanorum, which is supposed by Mr. Tyrwhitt, the learned editor of The Canterbury Tales of Chaucer, 1775, to have been written five hundred years ago. The earliest impression of that work (which I have seen) was printed in 1488; in that edition the history of Appolonius King of Tyre makes the 153d chapter. It is likewise related by Gower in his Confessio Amantis, 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. There is also an ancient Romance on this subject, called Kyng Appolyn of Thyre, translated from the French by Robert Copland, and printed by Wynk yn de Worde in 1510. In 1576 William Howe had a licence for printing The most excellent, pleasant, and variable Historie of the strange Adventures of Prince Appolonius, Lucine his wyfe, and Tharsa his daughter. The author of Pericles baving introduced Gower in his piece, it is reasonable enough to suppose that he chiefly followed the work of that poet. It is observable, that the hero of this tale is, in Gower's poem, as in the present play, called Prince of Tyre; in the Gesta Romanorum, and Copland'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 have been (though I have not met with it) an early prose translation of this popular story from the Gest. Roman. in which the name of Appolonius was changed to Pericles; to wbich, likewise, the author of this drama may have been indebted. In 1607 was published at London, by Valentine Sims, “ The patterne of painful adventures, containing the most excellent, pleasant, and variable Historie of the strange Accidents that befell unto Prince Appolonius, the lady Lucina his wife, and Tharsia his daughter, wherein the uncertaintie of this world and the fickle state of man's life are lively described. Translated into English by T. Twine, Gent.” I have never seen the book, but it was without doubt a re-publication of that published by W. Howe in 1577. This play seems to have been particularly successful. In the four quarto editions it is called, the “much admired" play of Pericles, prince of Tyre, and is mentioned by many ancient writers as a popular performance. -MALONE.
Rowe, in his first edition of Shakspeare, says, “ It is owned that some part of Pericles certainly was written by him, particularly the last act. Farmer thinks the hand of Shakspeare may be sometimes seen in the latter part of the play, but there only."