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BAWD. What have we to do with Diana? Pray you, will you go with us?
Tharfus. A Room in Cleon's Houfe.
Enter CLEON and DIONYZA.
DION. Why, are you foolish? Can it be undone?" CLE. O Dionyza, fuch a piece of flaughter The fun and moon ne'er look'd upon !
You'll turn a child again.
CLE. Were I chief lord of all, the spacious world, I'd give it to undo the deed. O lady,
"if knife, drugs, ferpents, have
"Edge, fting, or operation, I am fafe." STEEVENS, Again, more appofitely, in Othello:
If there be cords, or knives,
"Poison, or fire, or fuffocating fireams,
"I'll not endure it."
? Untied I ftill my virgin knot will keep.] We have the famé claffical allufion in The Tempest:
"If thou doft break her virgin-knot," &c. MALONE.
Can it be undone ?] Thus, Lady Macbeth :
what's done, is done." STEEVENS.
to undo the deed.] So, in Macbeth:
"Wake Duncan with this knocking :-Ay, would thou could'ft!"
In Pericles, as in Macbeth, the wife is more criminal than the hufband, whofe repentance follows immediately on the murder.
Thus alfo, in Twine's tranflation: "But Strangulio himself confented not to this treason, but fo foon as he heard of the foul mifchaunce, being as it were all amort, and amazed with heavinefs &c.—and therewithal he looked towardes his wife, faying, Thou wicked woman" &c. STEEVENS.
Much lefs in blood than virtue, yet a princefs
If thou hadft drunk to him, it had been a kindness Becoming well thy feat: what canft thou say, When noble Pericles fhall demand his child?2 DION. That he is dead. Nurfes are not the fates,
To fofter it, nor ever to preferve.3
If thou hadst drunk to him, it had been a kindness
Becoming well thy feat :] Old copy-face: which, if this reading be genuine, muft mean-hadft thou poisoned thyself by pledging him, it would have been an action well becoming thee. For the fake of a more obvious meaning, however, I read, with Mr. M. Mafon, feat inftead of face. STEEVENS.
Feat, t. e. of a piece with the rest of thy exploit. So, in The Two Noble Kinfmen, Palamon says:
"Cozener Arcite, give me language fuch
"As thou haft fhewed me feat." M. MASON.
So, in Holinfhed, p. 756: "-aiders and partakers of his feat and enterprize." STEEVENS.
what canft thou fay,
When noble Pericles fhall demand his child?] So, in the ancient romance already quoted: "tell me now what rekenynge we shall gyve hym of his doughter," &c.
Again, in Twine's tranflation: Thou reportedft that Prince Appollonius was dead; and loe now where he is come to require his daughter. What shall we now doe or fay to him?”
So alfo, in the Gefta Romanorum : "Quem [Apollonium] cum vidiffet Strangulio, perrexit rabido curfu, dixitque uxori fuæ Dyonifidi-Dixifti Apollonium naufragum effe mortuum, Ecce, venit ad repetendam filiam. Ecce, quid dicturi fumus pro filiâ?" MALONE.
Nurfes are not the fates,
To fofter it, nor ever to preserve.] So King John, on receiving the account of Arthur's death:
She died by night ;4 I'll fay fo. Who can cross it ?5 Unless you play the impious innocent,"
And for an honeft attribute, cry out,
She died by foul play.
O, go to. Well, well,
Of all the faults beneath the heavens, the gods
Be one of those, that think The petty wrens of Tharfus will fly hence,7
"We cannot hold mortality's ftrong hand :-
4 She died by night;] Old copy-at night. I fuppofe Dionyza means to fay that fhe died by night; was found dead in the morning. The words are from Gower :
She faith, that Thaifa fodeynly
By night is dead." STEEVENS.
Ill fay fo. Who can crofs it?] So, in Macbeth: "Macb. Will it not be receiv'd,
"When we have mark'd with blood those fleepy two "Of his own chamber, and us'd their very daggers, "That they have done't?
Lady M. Who dares receive it other,
"As we fhall make our grief and clamour roar
Upon his death?" MALONE.
Unless you play the impious innocent,] The folios and the modern editions have omitted the word impious, which is neceffary to the metre, and is found in the first quarto.-She calls him, an impious fimpleton, becaufe fuch a difcovery would touch the life of one of his own family, his wife.
An innocent was formerly a common appellation for an idiot. See Mr. Whalley's note in Vol. VIII. p. 357, n. 6. MALONE. Notwithstanding Malone's ingenious explanation, I should wish to read-the pious innocent, inftead of impious.
M. MASON. 7 The petty wrens of Tharfus will fly hence,] Thus the quarto, 1609; that of 1619 reads-pretty. STEEVENS.
And open this to Pericles. I do fhame
To fuch proceeding
Who ever but his approbation added,
Though not his pre-confent,' he did not flow
I do fhame
To think of what a noble ftrain you are,
And of how cow'd a spirit.] Old copy-coward. I read (for the fake of metre)-of how cow'd a fpirit. So, in Macbeth:
"For it hath cow'd my better part of man."
Lady Macbeth urges the fame argument to perfuade her husband to commit the murder of Duncan, that Dionyza here uses to induce Cleon to conceal that of Marina :
art thou afraid
"To be the fame in thine own act and valour,
"As thou art in defire? Would'ft thou have that
"And live a coward in thine own efteem ?
Letting I dare not wait upon I would,
"Like the poor cat i'the adage?"
Again, after the murder, the exclaims :
My hands are of your colour, but I Shame "To wear a heart fo white." MALONE.
9 Though not his pre-confent,] The firft quarto reads-prince confent. The fecond quarto, which has been followed by the modern editions, has-whole confent. In the second edition, the editor or printer feems to have corrected what was apparently erroneous in the firft, by fubftituting fomething that would afford fenfe, without paying any regard to the corrupted reading, which often leads to the discovery of the true. For the emendation inferted in the text the reader is indebted to Mr. Steevens. A paffage in King John bears no very distant resemblance to the prefent:
If thou didst but confent
"To this moft cruel act, do but despair,
"And, if thou want'ft a cord, the smallest thread
"That ever spider twisted from her womb
"Will ferve to ftrangle thee." MALONE.
Be it fo then :
Yet none does know, but you, how she came dead,
Whilft ours was blurted at,2 and held a malkin,
She did difdain my child,] Thus the old copy, but I think erroneously. Marina was not of a disdainful temper. Her excellence indeed difgraced the meaner qualities of her companion, i. e. in the language of Shakspeare, diftained them. Thus, Adriana, in The Comedy of Errors, fays-" I live diftained;' and, in Tarquin and Lucrece, we meet with the fame verb again:
"Were Tarquin night (as he is but night's child) "The filver-fhining queen he would diftain-.” The verb-to ftain is frequently ufed by our author in the fenfe of-to difgrace. See Vol. XVII. p. 146, n. 8.
2 Whilft ours was blurted at,] Thus the quarto, 1609. All the fubfequent copies have-blurred at.
This contemptuous expreffion frequently occurs in our ancient dramas. So, in King Edward III. 1596:
"This day hath fet derifion on the French,
"And all the world will blurt and fcorn at us."
She did difdain my child, and stood between
Whilft ours was blurted at,] The ufurping Duke in As you like it, gives the fame reasons for his cruelty to Rosalind :
she robs thee of thy name;
"And thou wilt fhow more bright, and seem more vir
The fame caufe for Dionyza's hatred to Marina, is also alledged in Twine's tranflation: " The people beholding the beautie and comlineffe of Tharfia faid: Happy is the father that hath Tharfia to his daughter; but her companion that goeth with her is foule and evil favoured. When Dionifiades heard Tharfia commended, and her owne daughter Philomacia fo dispraised, she returned home wonderful wrath," &c. STEEVENS.