« PreviousContinue »
The senate-house of planets all did fit,
This change of a word allows the fenfe for which Mr. M. Mason contends, and without his strange supposal, that by her conception was meant her birth.
The thought is expreffed with lefs obfcurity in King Appolyn of Tyre, 1510: “ For nature had put nothynge in oblyvyon at the fourminge of her, but as a chef operacyon had set her in the fyght of the worlde." STEEVENS.
In the speech now before us, the words whofe and her may, I think, refer to the daughter of Antiochus, without greater li cence than is taken by Shakspeare in many of his plays. So, in Othello: "Our general caft us thus early for the love of his Defdemona: whom [i. e. our general] let us not therefore blame, he hath not yet made wanton the night with her." I think the conftruction is," at whofe conception the fenate-house of planets all did fit," &c. and that the words, "till Lucina reign'd, Nature," &c. are parenthetical. MALONE.
4 The fenate-houfe of planets all did fit,
To knit in her their beft perfections.] I fufpect that a rhyme. was here intended, and that we ought to tranfpofe the words in the second line, as follows:
The fenate-house of planets all did fit,
Their best perfections in her to knit.
To the contagion of this couplet perhaps we owe the fubfequent fit of rhyming in which Pericles indulges himself, at the expence of readers and commentators.
The leading thought, indeed, appears to have been adopted from Sidney's Arcadia, Book II: "The fenate-house of the planets was at no time so set for the decreeing of perfection in a man," &c.
Thus alfo, Milton, Paradife Loft, VIII. 511:
"And happy conftellations, on that hour
The fentiments of Antiochus, however, is expreffed with less affectation in Julius Cæfar:
"So mix'd in him, that nature might stand up,
Enter the Daughter of ANTIOCHUS.
PER. See, where fhe comes, apparell'd like the fpring,
Graces her fubjects, and her thoughts the king
$ See where he comes, &c.] In this fpeech of Pericles, a tranfpofition perhaps is neceffary. We might therefore read: See where he comes apparell'd like the king,
Graces her fubjects, and her thoughts the fpring
Of every virtue &c.
Antiochus had commanded that his daughter fhould be clothed in a manner suitable to the bride of Jove; and thus dreffed in royal robes, the may be faid to be apparelled like the king.
After all, I am diffatisfied with my own conjecture, and cannot help fufpecting fome deep corruption in the words of Pericles. With what propriety can a lady's thoughts be ftyled-the king of every virtue, &c.? Let the reader exert his fagacity on this occafion. In a subsequent scene, Jupiter is called the king of thoughts; and in King Henry IV. Part I. Douglas tells Hotfpur that he is the king of honour; but neither of these passages will folve our prefent difficulty. We might read:
and her thoughts the wing
Of every virtue, &c.
for in All's well that ends well we have "a virtue of a good 'wing."
That every virtue may borrow wings (i. e. derive alacrity) from the fentiments of a young, beautiful, and virtuous woman, is a truth that cannot be denied. Pericles, at this inftant, fupposes the daughter of Antiochus to be as good as fhe is fair. The paffage, indeed, with another change as flight, may convey as obvious a meaning.
She comes (fays Pericles) adorned with all the colours of the fpring; the Graces are proud to enroll themselves among her fubjects; and the king, (i. e. the chief) of every virtue that ennobles humanity, impregnates her mind :
Graces her fubjects, in her thoughts the king
Of every virtue &c.
In fhort, the has no fuperior in beauty, yet ftill fhe is herself under the dominion of virtue.
But having already stated my belief that this paffage is incura
Her face, the book of praises, where is read
bly depraved, I muft now add, that my present attempts to restore it are, even in my own judgment, as decidedly abortive. STEEVENS.
Her face the book of praifes, where is read Nothing but curious pleafures,] In what fenfe a lady's face can be ftyled a book of praifes (unless by a very forced conftruction it be understood to mean an aggregate of what is praifeworthy), I profefs my inability to understand.
A feemingly kindred thought occurs in a MS. play, entitled The Second Maiden's Tragedy:
Tyrant. Thy honours with thy daughter's love fhall rife.
"I fhall read thy defervings in her eyes.
"Helvetius. O may they be eternal books of pleasure "To show you all delight." STEEVENS.
So, in Romeo and Juliet:
"Read o'er the volume of young Paris' face,
"Your face, my thane, is as a book, where men
Again, in Love's Labour's Loft:
Study his bias leaves, and makes his book thine eyes, "Where all thofe pleasures live, that art could compre
The fame image is alfo found in his Rape of Lucrece, and in Coriolanus. Praifes is here ufed for beauties, the cause of admiration and praife. MALONE.
So, in The Elder Brother, Charles fays to Angelina,-
"The ftory of the heavens looks very like her."
Sorrow were ever ras'd,] Our author has again this expreffion in Macbeth:
"Rafe out the written troubles of the brain."
The fecond quarto, 1619, and all the fubfequent copies, read rackt. The first quarto-racte, which is only the old spelling
Could never be her mild companion.8
Ye gods that made me man, and fway in love,
PER. That would be fon to great Antiochus,
of ras'd; the verb being formerly written race. Thus, in Dido Queen of Carthage, by Marlowe and Nafhe, 1594:
"But I will take another order now,
"And race the eternal register of time."
The metaphor in the preceding line
"Her face, the book of praifes,"
fhows clearly that this was the author's word. MALONE.
$ and tefty wrath
Could never be her mild companion.] This is a bold expreffion:-tefty wrath could not well be a mild companion to any one; but by her mild companion, Shakspeare means the companion of her mildness. M. MASON.
9 That have inflam'd defire in my breast,] It should be remembered, that defire was fometimes used as a trifyllable. See Vol. XVIII. p. 450, n. 7. MALONE.
To compafs fuch a boundless happiness!] All the old copies have bondless. The reading of the text was furnished by Mr. Rowe. MALONE.
2 Before thee ftands this fair Hefperides,] In the enumeration of the perfons prefixed to this drama, which was first made by the editor of Shakspeare's plays in 1664, and copied without alteration by Mr. Rowe, the daughter of Antiochus is, by a ridiculous mistake, called Hefperides, an error to which this line seems to have given rife. Shakspeare was not quite accurate in his notion of the Hefperides, but he certainly never intended to give this appellation to the princefs of Antioch; for it appears from Love's Labour's Loft, Act IV. fcene the laft, that he thought Hefperides was the name of the garden in which the
With golden fruit, but dangerous to be touch'd;
golden apples were kept; in which fense the word is certainly ufed in the paffage now before us :
"For valour, is not love a Hercules,
"Still climbing trees in the Hefperides ?"
In the first quarto edition of this play, this lady is only called Antiochus' daughter. If Shakspeare had wifhed to have introduced a female name derived from the Hefperides, he has elfewhere shown that he knew how fuch a name ought to be formed; for in As you like it, mention is made of " Hefperia, the princefs' gentlewoman." MALONE.
3 A countless glory,] The countless glory of a face, feems a harsh expreffion; but the poet, probably, was thinking of the ftars, the countless eyes of heaven as he calls them in p. 172. MALONE.
Old copy-Her countless &c. I read-A countless glory, i. e. her face, like the firmament, invites you to a blaze of beauties too numerous to be counted. In the firft Book of the Corinthians, ch. xv: there is another glory of the stars." STEEVENS.
all thy whole heap must die,] i. e. thy whole mafs must be deftroyed. There feems to have been an opposition intended. Thy whole heap, thy body, must suffer for the offence of a part, thine eye. The word bulk, like heap in the prefent paffage, was ufed for body by Shakspeare and his contemporaries. Vol. XIV. p. 324, n. 8.
The old copies read-all the whole heap. I am answerable for this correction. MALONE.
5 Yon fometime famous princes, &c.] See before p. 159, n. 7.
So, in Twine's translation : 66 and his head was fet up at the gate, to terrifie others that should come, who beholding there the present image of death, might aduise them from affaying any fuch danger. These outrages practifed Antiochus, to the end he might continue in filthy inceft with his daughter."