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The fairest in all Syria
(I tell you what mine authors fay:8)
"The most famous and mighty King Antiochus, which builded the goodlie city of Antiochia in Syria, and called it after his owne name, as the chiefeft feat of all his dominions."
8 (I tell you what mine authors fay :)] This is added in imitation of Gower's manner, and that of Chaucer, Lydgate, &c. who often thus refer to the original of their tales.-Thefe chorufes refemble Gower in few other particulars. STEEVENS.
9 unto him took a pheere,] This word, which is frequently used by our old poets, fignifies a mate or companion. The old copies have-peer. For the emendation I am answerable. Throughout this piece, the poet, though he has not closely copied the language of Gower's poem, has endeavoured to give his fpeeches fomewhat of an antique air. MALONE.
See Vol. XXI. p. 86, n. 1. STEEVENS.
1-full of face,] i. e. completely, exuberantly beautiful. A full fortune, in Othello, means a complete, a large one. alfo Vol. XV. p. 397, n. 1. MALONE.
2 By cuftom, what they did begin,] All the copies read, unintelligibly,-But cuftom &c. MALONE.
3 account no fin.] Account for accounted. So, in King John, waft for wafted:
"Than now the English bottoms have waft o'er." STEEVENS.
Again, in Gascoigne's Complaint of Philomene, 1575: "And by the lawde of his pretence
"His lewdness was acquit."
The old copies read account'd. For the correction I am anfwerable.
The beauty of this finful dame
In marriage-pleasures play-fellow:
thither frame,] i. e. fhape or direct their courfe thither.
(To keep her ftill, and men in awe,)] The meaning, I think, is not to keep her and men in awe, but to keep her still to himfelf, and to deter others from demanding her in marriage.. MALONE.
Mr. Malone has properly interpreted this paffage. So, in Twine's translation : -which falfe refemblance of hateful marriage, to the intent that he might alwaies enjoy, he invented &c. to drive away all fuitors that should refort unto her, by propounding" &c. See alfo p. 176, n.8. STEEVENS.
many a wight-] The quarto, 1609, reads-many of wight. Corrected in the folio. MALONE.
Perhaps the correction is erroneous, and we should read, nearer to the traces of the old copy,
So for her many of might did die,
i. e, many men of might. Thus, afterwards:
"Yon fometime famous princes," &c.
The w in the quarto 1609, might be only an m reversed.
7 As yon grim looks do teftify.] Gower must be supposed here to point to the heads of thofe unfortunate wights, which, he tells us, in his poem, were fixed on the gate of the palace at Antioch :
"The fader, whan he understood
"That thei his doughter thus befought,
What now enfues, to the judgment of your
I give, my cause who beft can justify.9 [Exit.
"But if he couth his question
"Of certeyn thinges that befell,
"Efchewden to make affaie." MALONE.
As yon grim looks do teftify.] This is an indication to me of the use of scenery in our ancient theatres. I fuppofe the audience were here entertained with a view of a kind of Temple Bar at Antioch. STEEVENS.
• What now enjues,] The folio-What enfues. The original copy has-What now enfues. MALONE.
my caufe who beft can juftify.] i. e. which (the judgment of your eye) beft can justify, i. e. prove its refemblance to the ordinary courfe of nature. So, afterwards :
"When thou fhalt kneel, and justify in knowledge,-." But as no other of the four next chorufes concludes with a heroick couplet, unless through interpolation, I fufpect that the two lines before us originally ftood thus:
"What now enfues,
"I give to the judgment of your eye,
My cause who beft can juftify."
In another of Gower's monologues there is an avowed hemistich : "And yet he rides it out. Now please you
"The epitaph is for Marina writ
See A& IV. fc. iv. STEEVENS.
Antioch. A Room in the Palace.
Enter ANTIOCHUS, PERICLES, and Attendants.
ANT. Young prince of Tyre,' you have at large receiv'd
The danger of the task you undertake.
PER. I have, Antiochus, and with a foul Embolden'd with the glory of her praise, Think death no hazard, in this enterprize.
ANT. Bring in our daughter, clothed like a bride,2 For the embracements even of Jove himfelf; At whofe conception, (till Lucina reign'd,)
1 Young prince of Tyre,] It does not appear in the present drama, that the father of Pericles is living. By prince, therefore, throughout this play, we are to understand prince regnant. See Act II. fc. iv. and the epitaph in Act III. fc. iii. In the Gefta Romanorum, Apollonius is king of Tyre; and Appolyn, in Copland's tranflation from the French, has the fame title. Our author, in calling Pericles a prince feems to have followed Gower. MALONE.
In Twine's tranflation he is repeatedly called "Prince of Tyrus." STEEVENS.
Bring in our daughter, clothed like a bride,] All the copies read:
Mufick, bring in our daughter, clothed like a bride-. The metre proves decifively that the word mufick was a marginal direction, inferted in the text by the mistake of the tranfcriber or printer. MALONE.
Nature this dowry gave, to glad her presence,3
3 For the embracements even of Jove himself;
At whofe conception, (till Lucina reign'd,)
Nature this dowry gave, to glad her prefence, &c.] It appears to me, that by her conception, Shakspeare means her birth; and that till is here used in the sense of while. So, in The Scornful Lady, Lovelefs fays to Morecraft:
"Will you persevere ?"
To which he replies:
"Till I have a penny."
That is, whilst I have one.
And on the other hand, while fometimes fignifies till; as in Wit at feveral Weapons, Pompey fays:
"I'll lie under the bed while midnight," &c.
And in Maffinger's Old Law, Simonides fays to Cleanthes : "I'll truft you while your father's dead;"
Meaning, until he be dead; the words being ufed indiscriminately for each other in the old dramatick writers and it is to be obferved that they are both expreffed in Latin by the same word, donec.
The meaning of the paffage, according to my apprehenfion, is this:" At whose birth, during the time of her mother's labour, over which Lucina was fuppofed to prefide, the planets all fat in council in order to endow her with the rareft perfections." And this agrees with the principles of judicial aftrology, a folly prevalent in Shakspeare's time; according to which the beauty, the difpofition, as well as the fortune of all human beings was supposed to depend upon the aspect of the stars at the time they were born, not at the time in which they were conceived.
Perhaps the error lies in the word conception, and instead of it we ought to read conceffion. The meaning will then be obvious, and especially if we adopt Mr. M. Mafon's sense of the prepofition till. Bring in (lays Antiochus) my daughter habited like a bride for Jove himself, at whofe conceffion (i. e. by whofe grant or leave,) nature beftowed this dowry upon her While the was ftruggling into the world, the planets held a confultation how they should unite in her the utmost perfection their blended influence could beflow."-It fhould be observed, that the prepofition at fometimes fignifies in confequence of. Thus, in The Comedy of Errors:
"Whom I made lord of me, and all I had,