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Antiochus, King of Antioch.
Simonides, King of Pentapolis.'
The Daughter of Antiochus. Dionyza, Wife to Cleon.
Marina, Daughter to Pericles and Thaisa.
Lords, Ladies, Knights, Gentlemen, Sailors, Pirates,
Pentapolis.] This is an imaginary city, and its name might have been borrowed from some romance. We meet indeed in history with Pentapolitana regio, a country in Africa, consisting of five cities; and from thence perhaps some novellist furnished the sounding title of Pentapolis, which occurs likewise in the 37th chapter of Kyng Appolyn of Tyre, 1510, as well as in Gower, the Gesta Romanorum, and Twine's translation from it.
It should not, however, be concealed, that Pentapolis is also found in an ancient map of the world, MS. in the Cotton Library, British Museum, Tiberius, B. V.
That the reader may know through how many regions the scene of this drama is dispersed, it is necessary to observe that Antioch was the metropolis of Syria; Tyre, a city of Phoenicia in Asia; Tarsus, the metropolis of Cilicia, a country of Asia Minor; Mitylene, the capital of Lesbos, an island in the Ægean Sea; and Ephesus, the capital of Ionia, a country of the Lesser Asia. STEEVENS.
PRINCE OF TYRE.
Before the Palace of ANTIOCH.
To sing a song of old was sung,
To glad your ear, and please your eyes.
On ember-eves, and holy ales ;*
of old was sung,] I do not know that old is by any author used adverbially. We might read:
To sing a song of old was sung,
i. e. that of old &c.
But the poet is so licentious in the language which he has attributed to Gower in this piece, that I have not ventured to make any change. MALONE.
I have adopted Mr. Malone's emendation, which was evidently wanted. STEEVENS.
Gower is come;] The defect of metre (sung and come being no rhymes) points out, in my opinion, that we should read:
From ashes ancient Gower's sprung;
alluding to the restoration of the Phoenix. STEEvens.
It hath been sung at festivals,
On ember-eves, and holy-ales;] i. e. says Dr. Farmer, by
And lords and ladies of their lives5
whom this emendation was made, church-ales. The old copy has-holy days. Gower's speeches were certainly intended to rhyme throughout. MALONE.
of their lives—] The old copies read-in their lives. The emendation was suggested by Dr. Farmer. MALONE.
" 'Purpose to make men glorious; &c.] Old copy:
The purchase is to make men glorious; &c. STEEvens. There is an irregularity of metre in this couplet. The same variation is observable in Macbeth:
"I am for the air; this night I'll spend
The old copies read-The purchase &c. Mr. Steevens suggested this emendation. MALONE.
Being now convinced that all the irregular lines detected in The Midsummer-Night's Dream, Macbeth, and Pericles, have been prolonged by interpolations which afford no additional beauties, I am become more confident in my attempt to mend the passage before us. Throughout this play it should seem to be a very frequent practice of the reciter, or transcriber, to supply words which, for some foolish reason or other, were supposed to be wanting. Unskilled in the language of poetry, and more especially in that which was clouded by an affectation of antiquity, these ignorant people regarded many contractions and ellipses, as indications of somewhat accidentally omitted; and while they inserted only monosyllables or unimportant words in imaginary vacancies, they conceived themselves to be doing little mischief. Liberties of this kind must have been taken with the piece under consideration. The measure of it is too regular and harmonious in many places, for us to think it was utterly neglected in the rest. As this play will never be received as the entire composition of Shakspeare, and as violent disorders require medicines of proportionable violence, I have been by no means scrupulous in striving to reduce the metre to that exactness which I suppose it originally to have possessed. Of the same license I should not have availed myself, had I been employed on any of the undisputed dramas of our author. Those experiments which we are forbidden to perform on living subjects, may properly be attempted on dead ones, among which our Pericles may be reck
If you, born in these latter times,
oned; being dead, in its present form, to all purposes of the stage, and of no very promising life in the closet.
The purpose is to make men glorious,
Et bonum quo antiquius eo melius.] The original saying is— Bonum quo communius, eo melius.
As I suppose these lines, with their context, to have originally stood as follows, I have so given them:
And lords and ladies, of their lives
This innovation may seem to introduce obscurity; but in huddling words on each other, without their necessary articles and prepositions, the chief skill of our present imitator of antiquated rhyme appears to have consisted.
Again, old copy:
"This Antioch then, Antiochus the great
I suppose the original lines were these, and as such have printed
"This city then, Antioch the great
Another redundant line offers itself in the same chorus:
The words omitted are of little consequence, and the artificial comparison between the guilt of the parent and the child, has no resemblance to the simplicity of Gower's narratives. The lady's frailty is sufficiently stigmatized in the ensuing lines. See my further sentiments concerning the irregularities of Shakspeare's metre, in a note on The Tempest, Vol. IV. p. 72, n. 2; and again in Vol. X. 193, n. 1. STEEVENS.
7-for his chiefest seat;]
So, in Twine's translation:——
The fairest in all Syria;
To evil, should be done by none.
"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 chiefest seat of all his dominions."
8 (I tell you tation of Gower's manner, and that of Chaucer, Lydgate, &c. what mine authors say:)] This is added in imiwho often thus refer to the original of their tales. These choruses resemble Gower in few other particulars. STEEVENS. unto him took a pheere,] This word, which is frequently used by our old poets, signifies 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 speeches somewhat of an antique air. MALONE.
See Vol. XXI. p. 86, n. 1. STEEVENS.
full of face,] i. e. completely, exuberantly beautiful. A full fortune, in Othello, means a complete, a large one. See also Vol. XV. p. 397, n. 1. MALone.
By custom, what they did begin,] All the copies read, unintelligibly,-But custom &c. MALONE.
account no sin.] Account for accounted. So, in King John, waft for wafted:
"Than now the English bottoms have waft o'er."
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 answerable.