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dramatists of his day, and it is not impossible that such was the case as regards “ Pericles."
The circumstance that it was a joint production, may partly account for the non-appearance of “Pericles” in the folio of 1623. Ben Jonson, when printing the volume of his Works, in 1616, excluded, for this reason, “ The Case is Altered,” and “ Eastward Ho!” in the composition of which he had been engaged with others; and when the player-editors of the folio of 1623 were collecting their materials, they perhaps omitted “ Pericles,” because some living author might have an interest in it. Of course we only advance this point as a mere speculation; and the fact that the publishers of the folio of 1623 could not purchase the right of the bookseller, who had then the property in “ Pericles,” may have been the real cause of its non-insertion.
The Registers of the Stationers' Company show that on the 20th May, 1608, Edward Blount (one of the proprietors of the folio of 1623) entered “ The booke of Pericles, Prynce of Tyre,” with one of the undoubted works of Shakespeare, “ Antony and Cleopatra." Nevertheless, “ Pericles” was not published by Blount, but by Gosson in the following year; and we may infer, either that Blount sold his interest to Gosson, or that Gosson anticipated Blount in procuring a manuscript of the play. Gosson may have subsequently parted with “ Pericles" to Thomas Pavier, and hence the re-impression by the latter in 1619.
Having thus spoken of the internal evidence of authorship, and of the possible reason why “Pericles " was not included in the folio of 1623, we will now advert briefly to the external evidence, that it was the work of our great dramatist. In the first place it was printed in 1609, with his names at full length’, and rendered unusually obvious, on the title-page. The answer, of course, may be that this was a fraud, and that it had been previously committed in the cases of the first part of “Sir John Oldcastle,” 1600, and of “The Yorkshire Tragedy,” 1608. It is undoubtedly true, that Shakespeare's name is upon those title-pages; but we know, with regard to “Sir John Oldcastle,” that the original title-page, stating it to have been “ Written by William Shakespeare,” was cancelled, no doubt at the instance of the author to whom it was falsely imputed; and as to “ The Yorkshire Tragedy,” many persons have entertained the belief, in which we join, that Shake
? It seems that “ Pericles” was reprinted under the same circumstances in 1611. I have never been able to meet with a copy of this edition, and doubted its existence, until Mr. Halliwell pointed it out to me, in a sale catalogue in 1804: it purported to have been “printed for S. S.” The copy in question has recently been recovered, and this fact would show, that Shakespeare did not then contradict the reiterated assertion, that he was the author of the play.
speare had a share in its composition. We are not to forget that, in the year preceding, Nathaniel Butter had made very prominent use of Shakespeare's name, for the sale of three impressions of “King Lear;” and that in the very year when “Pericles” came out, Thomas Thorpe had printed a collection of scattered poems, recommending them to notice in very large capitals, by stating emphatically that they were “Shakespeare's Sonnets."
Confirmatory of what precedes, it may be mentioned, that previously to the insertion of “Pericles " in the folio of 1664, it had been imputed to Shakespeare by Ş. Shepherd, in his “ Times displayed in Six Sestiads,” 16 16; and in lines by J. Tatham, prefixed to R. Brome's “Jovial Crew," 1652. Dryden gave it to Shakespeare in 1675, in the Prologue to Charles Davenant's “ Circe." Thus, as far as stage tradition is of value, it is uniformly in favour of our position; and it is moreover to be observed that, until comparatively modern times, it has never been contradicted.
The incidents of “Pericles” are found in Lawrence Twine's translation from the Gesta Romanorum, first published in 1576, under the title of “The Patterne of Painfull Adventures,” in which the three chief characters are not named as in Shakespeare, but are called Apollonius, Lucina, and Tharsia". This novel was several times reprinted, and an edition of it came out in 1607, which perhaps was the year in which “ Pericles”
was first represented “at the Globe on the Bank-side," as is stated on the titlepage of the earliest edition in 1609. The drama seems to have been extremely popular, but the usual difficulty being experienced by booksellers in obtaining a copy of it, Nathaniel Butter probably employed some person to attend the performance at the theatre, and with the aid of notes there taken, and of Twine's version of the story, (which, as we remarked, had just before been reprinted) to compose a novel out of the incidents of the play under the following title : “ The Painfull Adventures of Pericles Prince of Tyre. Being the true History of the Play of Pericles, as it was lately presented by the worthy and ancient Poet Iohn Gower. At London. Printed by T. P. for Nat. Butter. 1608.” It has also a wood-cut of Gower, no doubt, in the costume he wore during the performance at the Globe.
3 The novel is contained in a work called “Shakespeare's Library," as well as Gower's poetical version of the same incidents, extracted from his Confessio Amantis : hence the propriety of making Gower the speaker of the various interlocutions in “ Pericles.” The origin of the story, as we find it in the Gesta Romanorum, is a matter of dispute : Belleforest asserts that the version in his Histoires Tragiques was from a manuscript tiré du Grec. Not long since, Mr. Thorpe printed an Anglo-Saxon narrative of the same incidents; and it is stated to exist in Latin MSS. of as early a date as the tenth century." Shakespeare's Library," Part v. p. 2.
This publication is valuable, not merely because it is the only known specimen of the kind of that date in our language, but because, though in prose, (with the exception of a song) it gives some of the speeches more at length, than in the play as it has come down to us, and explains several obscure and disputed passages. For this latter purpose it will be seen that we have availed ourselves of it in our notes; but it will not be out of place here to speak of the strong presumptive evidence it affords, that the drama has not reached us by any means in the shape in which it was originally represented. The subsequent speech is given, in the novel of 1608, as that of Marina, when she is visited in the brothel by Lysimachus, the governor of Mitylene, whom, by her virtue, beauty, and eloquence, she diverts from the purpose for which he
“ If as you say, my lord, you are the governor, let not your authority, which should teach you to rule others, be the means to make you misgovern yourself. If the eminence of your place came unto you by descent, and the royalty of your blood, let not your life prove your birth bastard : if it were thrown upon you by opinion, make good that opinion was the cause to make you great. What reason is there in your justice, who hath power over all, to undo any? If you take from me mine honour, you are like him that makes a gap into forbidden ground, after whom many enter, and you are guilty of all their evils. My life is yet unspotted, my chastity unstained in thought : then, if your violence deface this building, the workmanship of heaven, made up for good, and not to be the exercise of sin's intemperance, you do kill your own honour, abuse your own justice, and impoverish
Of this speech in the printed play we only meet with the following emphatic germ :
“ If you were born to honour, show it now:
If put upon you, make the judgment good,
That thought you worthy of it.”—(A. iv. sc. 6.) It will not be required of us to argue, that the powerful address, copied from the novel founded upon “Pericles," could hardly be the mere enlargement of a person, who had taken notes at the theatre, who from the very difficulty of the operation, and from the haste with which he must afterwards have compounded the history, would be much more likely to abridge than to expand. In some parts of the novel it is evident that the prose, there used, was made up from the blank-verse composition of the drama, as acted at the Globe. In the latter we meet with no passage similar to what succeeds, but still the ease with which it
be verted into blank-verse renders it almost certain that it was so originally. Pericles tells Simonides, in the novel, that
“ His blood was yet untainted, but with the heat got by the wrong the king bad offered him, and that he boldly durst and did defy himself, his subjects, and the proudest danger that either tyranny or treason could inflict upon him."
To leave out only two or three expletives renders the sentence perfect dramatic blank-verse :
“ His blood was yet untainted, but with heat
Got by the wrong the king had offer'd him;
Many other passages to the same end might be produced from the novel of which there is no trace in the play. We shall not, however, dwell farther upon the point, than to mention a peculiarly Shakesperian expression, which occurs in the novel, and is omitted in the drama. Lychorida, during a storm at sea, brings the newborn infant to Pericles, who in Act iii. sc. 1 says to it,
" thou'rt the rudeliest welcome to this world
In the novel founded upon the play the same speech is thus given, and we have printed in italic type the expression, which, we think, must have come from the pen of Shakespeare :
“ Poor inch of nature ! (quoth he) thou art as rudely welcome to the world, as ever princess' babe and ha as chiding a nativity as fire, air, earth and water can afford thee."
The existence of such a singular production was not known to any of the commentators; but several copies of it have been
preserved: one of them (but incomplete, inasmuch as it wants the dedication) was sold with the library of the late Mr. Heber; and another has recently been discovered in a public depository in Switzerland, and has been carefully reprinted in Germany under the editorial care of Professor Mommsen, Principal of the College at Oldenburg. This exemplar is the more valuable, because it estalishes, by means of the dedication, there found, that the novel was the composition of George Wilkins, regarding whom we shall say more presently. We have not been content with the German reprint of “The Painfull Adventures of Pericles Prince of Tyre"," but we have had a photograph made of the dedication (not contained in any known English copy), which necessarily represents
• Nevertheless, it has been made with the most patient and praiseworthy accuracy, even to the observance of misprints, which, however, cannot mislead the reader, since they are carefully noted at the end. The Preface, written in English by Professor Mommsen, is a pattern of its kind, both for that species of learning for which German scholars are distinguished, and for perspicuity, for which they are not always so remarkable.
the original with the utmost exactness, and from which the following is taken :
“To the Right Worshipfull and most woorthy Gentleman, Maister Henry Fermor, one of his Maiesties Iustices of Peace for the Countie of Middlesex, health and eternall happinesse.
“ Right woorthy Sir, Opinion that in these daies wil make wise men fooles, and the most fooles (with a little helpe of their owne arrogancie) seeme wise, hath made me euer feare to throw my selfe vpon the racke of Censure, the which euerie man in this latter Age doth, who is so ouer hardie to put his witte in print. I see, Sir, that a good coate with rich trappings gets a gay Asse entraunce in at a great Gate (and within a may stalke freely) when a ragged philosopher, with more witte, shall be shutte foorth of doores: nothwithstanding this, I know, Sir, that Vertue wants no bases to vpholde her, but her owne kinne. In which certaine assuraunce, and knowing that your woorthie Selfe are of that neere alliaunce to the noble house of Goodnesse, that you growe out of one stalke. A poore infant of my braine comes naked vnto you, without other clothing than my loue, and craues your hospitalitie. If you take this to refuge, her father dooth promise that with more labored houres he can enheighten your Name and Memorie, and therein shall appeere he will not die ingratefull. Yet thus much bee dares say, in the behalfe of this, somewhat it containeth that may inuite the choicest eie to reade, nothing heere is sure may breede displeasure to anies. So leauing your spare houres to the recreation thereof, and my boldnesse now submitting it selfe to your censure, not willing to make a great waje to a little house, I rest
“ Most desirous to be held all yours,
“GEORGE WILKINS." We should have had no difficulty in assigning the above, and the narrative by which it is followed, to George Wilkins, the author of “ The Miseries of enforced Marriage" (a popular drama, which was printed and reprinted in 1607, 1611, 1629, and 1637, and is inserted in every impression of Dodsley's Old Plays), but for one important circumstance, which has only recently come to our knowledge', viz. that George Wilkins, “the poet," was buried at St. Leonard's, Shoreditch (in which parish two theatres of old were situated), on the 19th August, 1603: the entry in the Registers is in these terms :“1603.-George Wilkins, the Poet, was buried the same
day, 19 August. Halliwell Street.” Halliwell Street means Holywell Street, not far from Shoreditch Church, and it seems very likely, though no information of the kind is contained in the entry, that the plague, then violently raging in London, was the cause of the death of Wilkins. We cannot reconcile the apparent discordance, unless by supposing that there were two persons, writers, and perbaps poets,
5 Probably he was omitted, accidentally, before “is sure:" the passage ought to read thus :—"nothing heere, he is sure, may breede," &c. Above, there ought only to be a comma after “growe out of one stalke.”
6 Of course, since the publication in Oldenburg of the reprint of “The Painful Adventures of Pericles," to which the editor of the present work contributed what Professor Mommsen is pleased to dignify by the title of “ an Introduction."