William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare's history of Pericles, prince of Tyre online

. (page 1 of 13)
Online LibraryWilliam ShakespeareShakespeare's history of Pericles, prince of Tyre → online text (page 1 of 13)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Books are
of 11 a. m. ai

The Libra
4 p. m.

be hours

Glass %rdO

Rnnk fits!


rorized to

o file with

inie of the

; of works

1. The emp]
borrow books i

2. Before be
the Librarian i,
or of the Burea

3. No book
borrower shall

4. Of works a . w

of two or more volumes two may be taken.

5. The period of a loan of books is for two weeks, and borrowers are strictly
prohibited from lending books thus drawn to other persons, whether of the
Department or not.

6. Borrowers wishing to retain books for a longer period than two weeks,
may at the close of the second week renew the loan for an additional two

7. The loan of a book will be renewed but once.

8. Books classed as " "Works of Reference, " or marked in the Catalogue
with an asterisk (*), cannot be taken from the Library.

9. When a book has been injured while in the possession of a borrower, it
must be replaced by a perfect copy.

10. Application for and retain of books must be made in person, except in
cases of sickness or absence from the city.

11. Books returned will not be reissued until they have been examined and
replaced upon the shelves.

12. "When a book has been retained by a 1 lorrower beyond two weeks without
renewal, its price will be certified to the Disbursing Officer of the Department.
and deducted from the salary of the person withholding it.

13. Writing on the leaves or covers of books, and the folding or turning down
of their leaves are strictly prohibited; violation of this rule will debax employes
from further privileges of the Library.

14. In selecting books from the shelves care must be used in handling them,
replacing those not drawn on the shelves from which they were taken; the
number of the shelf may be ascertained from the label above.

15. Employes, on quitting the service of the Department, must return all
books in their possession belonging to the Library. Final payment of their
salaries will be withheld by the Disbursing Officer until he is satisfied that all
books charged against them at the Library have been returned.

16. For infringements of any of the above rules the Librarian is authorized
to suspend or refuse the issue of books to the culpable persons.

By order of the Secretary :


Chief Clerk.
(13599— 10 M.j





Edited, with Notes,







71? 2* "*3 °



Edited by WM.


Illustrated. i6mo, Cloth, 56 cents per

volume ; Paper, 40 cents per


Shakespeare's Works.

The Merchant of Venice.

The Taming of the Shrew.


All ^s Well that Ends Well.

Julius Caesar.


A Midsummer-Night's Dream.

The Comedy of Errors.




Antony and Cleopatra.

Much Ado about Nothing.

Measure for Measure.

Romeo and Juliet.

Merry Wives of Windsor.

As You Like It.

Love's Labour 's Lost.

The Tempest.

Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Twelfth Night.

Timon of Athens.

The Winter's Tale.

Troilus and Cressida.

King John.

Henry VI. Part I.

Richard II.

Henry VI. Part II.

Henry IV. Part I.

Henry VI. Part III.

Henry IV. Part II.

Pericles, Prince of Tyre.

Henry V.

The Two Noble Kinsmen.

Richard III.

Venus and Adonis, Lucrece,


Henry VIII.


King Lear.

Titus Andronicus.

Goldsmith's 5

select Poems.

Gray's Sel

ect Poems.

Published by HARPER &


JI^P^ Any of the above works will be se

ut by mail, postage prepaid, to

any part

of the United States,

07i receipt of the price.

« c

Copyright, 1883, Dv Harper & Brothers.



It was at first my intention to print in this edition only Shakespeare's
part of Pericles ; but, on second thought, I concluded to give the other
portions in smaller type, as in Timon of Athens. The wretched brothel
scenes in act iv. have been freely abridged, not because I suppose that
the play will be read in schools, but because the scenes are not worth
printing at all, except for the critical student, who of course has other
and " unexpurgated " editions. My aim was to pick out from the nasti-
ness no more than might serve to show the plan of the scenes and their
relation to the rest of the play.

The illustrations are mostly from Knight's " Pictorial Shakspere."



Introduction to Pericles, Prince of Tyre 9

I. The History of the Play 9

II. The Sources of the Plot. . . -. n

III. Critical Comments on the Play 12


Act 1 41

" n 55

' III 71

« IV .' 83

" V 97

Notes 113







% l: i I''





Pericles, Prince of Tyre, was first published in quarto in
1609, with the following title-page (as given in the Cam-
bridge edition):

the late, | And much admired Play, | Called | Pericles,
Prince | of Tyre. | With the true Relation of the whole His-
toric, I aduentures, and fortunes of the said Prince : | As
also, I The no lesse strange, and worthy accidents, | in the
Birth and Life, of his Daughter J MARIANA. | As it hath
been diuers and sundry times acted by | his Maiesties Ser-
uants, at the Globe on | the Banck-side. | By William Shake-
speare. I Imprinted at London for Henry Gosson, and are |


to be sold at the signe of the Sunne in | Pater-noster row,
&c. | 1609.

Another edition, with the same title-page, was issued in
the same year. It has generally been supposed that there
was but one edition, and that the discrepancies between the
copies were due to printers' corrections made while the sheets
were passing through the press ; but the Cambridge editors
are satisfied from a careful examination of the different cop-
ies that there were really two distinct editions, and that it is
possible to determine which was the earlier. #

A third quarto edition (of which there is a unique copy in
the British Museum) appeared in 161 1. The title-page is
the same as that of the quartos of 1609, except for one or
two slight variations in spelling and the imprint, which reads,
"Printed at London by S. S. | 1611." It is apparently
printed from a copy of the 2d quarto.

A fourth quarto bears the imprint, " Printed for T. P.
1619." The "signatures" of this edition are a continuation
of those of The Whole Contention between the two Famous
Houses, Lancaster and Yorke, printed without date but for
the same publisher, Thomas Pavier (see our ed. of 2 Henry
VI., p. 10), showing that the two plays originally formed
parts of the same volume.

A fifth quarto was brought out in 1630, some copies of
which have the imprint: "London, j Printed by /. N. for
R. B. and are to be sould | at his shop in Cheapside, at
the signe of the | Bible. 1630."; while others have simply
"LONDON, I Printed by J. N. for R. B. 1630." In all
other respects the latter are identical with the former.

A sixth quarto (printed from the fourth) has the imprint,
" Printed at London by Thomas Cotes, 1635."

* Copies of the 1st edition, according to the Cambridge editors, are
found in the Bodleian Library, in the Capell Collection, and in the Brit-
ish Museum ; of the 2d edition, in the Duke of Devonshire's library, in
the British Museum, and in the Public Library at Hamburg.


Pericles was not included in either the ist or the 2d folio,
but was reprinted, with several plays wrongly attributed to
Shakespeare, in the 3d folio (1664), and in the 4th (1685).
The folio text is taken from that of the 6th quarto.

Rowe included Pericles in both his editions (1709 and
17 14), but it was rejected by Pope and subsequent editors
down to the time of Malone, who put it in his Supplement
to Steevens's edition of 1778, and in his edition of 1790.
Steevens followed his example in 1793, and has been fol-
lowed by all the recent editors with the exception of Keight-

It is now, however, generally agreed by the critics that
the first two acts of the play, together with the brothel scenes
in the fourth act, were written by some other author than
Shakespeare. "What remains 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 " (Dowden). Whether the poet enlarged and recon-
structed an earlier play, or some other writer or writers filled
out an unfinished work of his, we cannot positively decide,
but the latter seems by far the more reasonable hypothesis.
This view has been ably set forth by Fleay in a paper the
greater part of which is reprinted below.

The date of the play in its present form is probably about

1607. It was first printed, as we have seen, in 1609, but it
was entered on the Stationers' Registers on the 20th of May,

1608. If, as Fleay tells us {Introd. to Shakes. Study, p. 28),
the second scene of the third act is "palpably imitated in
The Puritan (iv. 3)," which was acted in 1606, the date of
Pericles cannot be later than that year.


The story upon which the play is founded is given in Lau-

* For a fuller account of modern critical opinion concerning the play,
see the extract from Verplanck below.


rence Twine's Patte7-ne of Painefull Aduenters y first published
in 1576, and in the tale of Appolinus the Prince of Tyr, which
forms a part of Gower's Confessio Amantis. Twine's novel
is said to have been merely a reprint of the English transla-
tion (printed in 1510) of the French version of the story by
Robert Copland. It was taken originally from the Gesta
Pomanorum, but the narrative there was only one of three
Latin versions, all of which appear to have been based on a
Greek tale of the fifth or sixth century of the Christian era.
Gower acknowledges his indebtedness to

" a cronique in daies gone,
The wich is cleped Panteon ;"

that is, the Latin Pantheon of Godfrey of Viterbo, who wrote
in the latter half of the 12th century.

In 1608 George Wilkins published a novel which was
avowedly based on the acted play. The title-page was as
follows :

The J Painfull Aduentures | of Pericles Prince of | Tyre. |
Being | The true History of the Play of Pericles > as it was |
lately presented by the worthy and an- | cient Poet John
Gower. | At London | Printed by T. P. for Nat : Butter, |

We may fairly infer from the language of this title-page
that the play was then a comparatively new one, and that
the date given above (1607, or possibly 1606) cannot be far

[From Verplanck's "Shakespeare"*]
The literary history of this play, and of the varying critical
opinions respecting it, is curious. Pericles was a very pop-
ular play during the whole of Shakespeare's dramatic career;
it was often acted at the " Globe," by the company in which

* The Illustrated Shakespeare, edited by G. C. Verplanck (New York,
1847), vol. iii. p. 5 of Pericles.


he had an interest, where (from the frequency of contempo-
rary allusions to it) it seems to have been what is now called
a stock play. Two successive editions of it, in the small
quarto pamphlet form, then in use for such publications, were
published during his life, and two or more within a few years
after his death (1619 and 1630), all bearing his name as the
author. It was, however, not contained in the first folio col-
lection of his dramatic works, in 1623. It was afterwards
inserted in the collection known as the " third folio," in 1664.
During the whole of that century, there appears abundant
contemporary evidence that Pericles was indeed, as its title-
pages assert it to have been, a "much-admired play." Ben
Jonson growled at it as " a mouldy tale," made up of " scraps
out of every dish." But this was when, prematurely old,
poor, and mortified at public injustice, he poured forth his
"just indignation at the vulgar censure of his play, by mali-
cious spectators f. and in doing so he bears strong testimony
that the public judgment as to Pericles was the reverse of his
own — that it " kept up the play-club," and was the favourite
dramatic repast to the exclusion of his own "well-ordered
banquet," in what he denounced as "a loathsome age," when

"sweepings do as well
As the best-ordered meal ;
For who the relish of such guests would fit,
Needs set them but the alms-basket of wit."

(Ben Jonson's Ode to Himself—" Come,
leave the loathed stage," etc.)

Ben's frank and friendly admonitor, the moralist Owen Felt-
ham, replies by reminding him that there were scenes and
jokes in his own unfortunate play (the New Inn), that

"throw a stain
Through all the unlikely plot, and do displease
As deep as Pericles ;"

thus giving an additional testimony that the faults of Pericles
did not escape the critical eye, while they pleased the many.
Thus it kept possession of the stage to the days of Addison,


when Pericles was one of the favourite parts of Betterton.
Dryden, who lived near enough the author's time to have
learned the stage tradition from contemporaries, while he
evidently perceived the imperfections of this piece, never
doubted its authenticity, and accounted for its inferiority to
the greater tragedies, by considering them the consequences
of the author's youthful inexperience:

" Shakespeare's own muse his Peric/es first bore ;
The Prince of Tyre was older than the Moor :
'T is miracle to see a first good play;
All hawthorns do not bloom on Christmas day."

(Prologue to Davenant's Circe, 1675.)

This was in 1675, anc * tne reputation of Pericles, and its un-
questioned filiation as by Shakespeare, remained undisturbed
until Rowe's edition, in 1709. Rowe had, upon some theory
of his own, adopted the wild idea that Shakespeare, by the
pure force of genius, attained at once to his highest excel-
lence, without passing through the ordinary apprenticeship
even of self-formed authors, in acquiring the command of
words, style, versification, and invention, as well as taste,
skill, and judgment, by persevering trial and experience.
He thought, on the contrary, that " perhaps we are not to
look for his beginnings, like those of other authors, among
their least perfect writings: art had so little and nature so
large a share in what he did, that, for aught I know, the
performances of his youth, as they were the most vigorous,
and had the most fire and strength of imagination in them,
were the best." In consonance with this notice, he seems
to have rejected the traditional opinion that Pericles was " a
performance of the poet's youth," and instead of it makes
the assertion that " it is owned that some part of Pericles was
written by him, particularly the last scene;" thus intimating
that the rest was from an inferior hand. He accordingly
omitted the play in his editions, in which he was followed
by the next succeeding editors. Pope's edition was the next



in order, and the poet-critic, in his preface, made "no doubt
that these wretched plays ; Pericles ; Locrine, Sir John Oldcas-
tle, etc., etc., cannot be admitted as his." On the authority
of these two poets, and especially of Pope, whom his admir-
ing friend and successor in the editorial chair, Warburton,
praised for his skill in selecting Shakespeare's genuine pas-
sages arid works from the spurious ones, Pericles was sum-
marily ejected from all the succeeding editions, those of
Warburton, Theobald, Hanmer, and Johnson, as well as the
common popular editions, without comment; so that, during
the greater part of the last century, it was entirely unknown
to the ordinary admirers of Shakespeare. Even Theobald,
the bitter enemy and often the sagacious corrector of Pope,
did not venture to dissent from the general decision, though
he perceived and acknowledged in the play the traces of the
master's hand. During this period, Pe?'icles was noticed by
critics and writers upon the English drama, only as a play
once erroneously attributed to Shakespeare, and was as little
known among literary men as any of the plays of the second-
ary dramatists of the same age, who have since been made
familiar, at least by name and in quotation, by the brilliant
comments of Lamb and Hazlitt, and the large use made of
them by the commentators.

Towards the end of the century, Pericles appeared in the
editions of Malone, and in those of Johnson and Steevens,
after the associations of these two critics. This was mainly
in consequence of the opinion maintained by Malone, who
had the courage to assert and support by argument, that
"Pericles was the entire work of Shakespeare, and one of
his earliest compositions." Steevens, on the other hand,
resolutely maintained :

" The drama before us contains no discrimination of man-
ners (except in the comic dialogues), very few traces of orig-
inal thought, and is evidently destitute of that intelligence
and useful knowledge that pervade even the meanest of


Shakespeare's undisputed performances. To speak more
plainly, it is neither enriched by the gems that sparkle
through the rubbish of Love's Labour 's Lost, nor the good
sense which so often fertilizes the barren fable of the Two
Gentlemen of Verona. Pericles, in short, is little more than a
string of adventures so numerous, so inartificially crowded
together, and so far removed from probability, that, in my
private judgment, I must acquit even the irregular and law-
less Shakespeare of having constructed the fabric of the
drama, though he has certainly bestowed some decoration
on its parts. Yet even this decoration, like embroidery on
a blanket, only serves by contrast to expose the meanness
of the original materials. That the plays of Shakespeare
have their inequalities likewise, is sufficiently understood;
but they are still the inequalities of Shakespeare. He may
occasionally be absurd, but is seldom foolish; he may be
censured, but can rarely be despised.

" I do not recollect a single plot of Shakespeare's forma-
tion (or even adoption from preceding plays or novels), in
which the majority of the characters are not so well con-
nected, and so necessary in respect of each other, that
they proceed in combination to the end of the story; unless
the story (as in the cases of Antigonus and Mercutio) re-
quires the interposition of death. In Pericles this continu-
ity is wanting:

'disjectas moles, avulsaque saxis
Saxa vides ;"

and even with the aid of Gower the scenes are rather loosely
tacked together than closely interwoven. We see no more
of Antiochus after his first appearance. His anonymous
daughter utters but one unintelligible couplet, and then van-
ishes. Simonides likewise is lost as soon as the marriage
of Thaisa is over; and the punishment of Cleon and his
wife, which poetic justice demanded, makes no part of the
action, but is related in a kind of epilogue by Gower. This



is at least a practice which in no instance has received the
sanction of Shakespeare. From such deficiency of mutual
interest and liaison among the personages of the drama, I
am further strengthened in my belief that our great poet had
no share in constructing it. Dr. Johnson long ago observed
that his real power is not seen in the splendour of particular
passages, but in the progress of his fable, and the tenour of
his dialogue; and when it becomes necessary for me to quote
a decision founded on comprehensive views, I can appeal to
none in which I should more implicitly confide. Gower re-
lates the story of Pericles in a manner not quite so desultory;
and yet such a tale as that of Prince Appolyn, in its most
perfect state, would hardly have attracted the notice of any
playwright, except one who was quite a novice in the rules
of his art."

In this view Malone finally acquiesced, in substance,
though, with great truth and good taste, still insisting that
"the wildness and irregularity of the fable, the artless con-
duct of the piece, and the inequalities of the poetry, may
be all accounted for, by supposing it either his first or one
of his earliest essays in dramatic composition."

Steevens's decision long remained unquestioned, both as
to the point of Shakespeare's share of authorship, and the
poetic merits of the drama itself; and it has recently received
more authority for having been substantially reaffirmed by
Mr. Hallam: "From the poverty and bad management of
the fable, the want of effective and distinguishable charac-
ter, and the general feebleness of the tragedy as a whole,
I should not believe the structure to have been Shake-
speare's. But (he adds) many passages are far more in his
manner than in that of any contemporary writer with whom
I am acquainted, and the extrinsic testimony, though not
conclusive, being of some value, I should not dissent from
the judgment of Steevens and Malone, that it was in 'no in-
considerable degree repaired and improved by his hand ' "



( Literature of Europe ). He elsewhere insists that " the
play is full of evident marks of an inferior hand." Other
modern critics, of nearly as high name, have gone still fur-
ther in censure: W. Gifford, for example, rejects and brands
the play as " the worthless Pericles.' 1 ' 1

This sweeping, unqualified censure was amusingly coun-
terbalanced by as unqualified an expression of admiration,
by William Godwin — a writer whose political ethics and met-
aphysics, full of the boldest opinions, expressed in the most
startling and paradoxical form, had prepared the public to
expect similar extravagances on all other subjects, and had
thus taken away much of the weight of his literary judg-
ments. Yet these judgments are in fact entitled to all the
weight due to a writer of genius, — manifesting on all such
subjects an extensive acquaintance with English literature
in its whole range, guided by a pure taste, and a quick and
deep sensibility to every form of beauty. In his Life of
Chaucer, incidentally speaking of Pericles, he designates it as
" a beautiful drama, which in sweetness of manner, deli-
cacy of description, truth of feeling, and natural ease of lan-
guage, would do honour to the greatest author that ever
existed." Since that period, many others have been more
disposed to dwell upon the beauties of Pericles — the exist-
ence of which few now deny — than upon its many defects,
to which none but a blind idolater of the great bard can
close his eyes. Accordingly its merits have been vindicated
by the modern continental critics, and by several of the later
English ones: as by Franz Horn, Ulrici, Knight, Dr. Drake,
and especially by Mr. Procter (Barry Cornwall), in a long
and admirable note, in his memoir of Ben Jonson, prefixed
to Moxon's edition of Jonson's works (1838). Barry Corn-
wall roundly charges the preceding critics (from Pope to
Gifford) with having condemned Pericles unread; while he
proves that "the merit and style of the work sufficiently de-
note the author" — that author of whom he eloquently says,


that he " was and is, beyond all competition, the greatest
poet that the world has ever seen. He is the greatest in
general power, and greatest in style, which is symbol or evi-
dence of power. For the motion of verse corresponds with
the power of the poet; as the swell and tumult of the sea
answer to the winds that call them up. From Lear down to
Pericles, there ought to be no mistake between Shakespeare
and any other writer."

The "glorious uncertainty of the law" has been exem-
plified and commemorated, in a large and closely printed
volume, containing nothing but the mere titles of legal de-
cisions, once acknowledged as law, and since reversed or
contradicted, as " cases overruled, doubted, or denied." The
decisions of the critical tribunals would furnish materials for
a much larger work; and Shakespearian criticism, by itself,
would supply an ample record of varying or overruled judg-
ments. Those on the subject of Pericles alone would consti-
tute a large title in the collection.

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Online LibraryWilliam ShakespeareShakespeare's history of Pericles, prince of Tyre → online text (page 1 of 13)