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THOUGH this play, under the title of “The booke of Pericles, Prynce of Tyre," was entered by Blount in the Stationers' Registers, May 20th, 1608, it was not first published by him, but by Gosson in 1609, 4to.—The text of Pericles is miserably corrupted and mangled throughout: the later impressions differ from the first edition only in being more incorrect.—That it was first brought on the stage either in 1607 or 1608 we have evidence in the title-page of a very curious prose tract entitled The Painfull Aduentures 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; written by George Wilkins from notes taken down during the acting of the play, and with the aid of Twine's version of the story, which will be presently mentioned. (This tract was reprinted in 1857 by Professor Tycho Mommsen from a copy in the public library of Zurich).—The greater part of Pericles is undoubtedly by some very inferior dramatist : but here and there, more particularly towards the close, the hand of Shakespeare is plainly seen, and the scenes and shorter passages in which we trace him manifestly belong to his latest style of composition. Whether it had ever been acted before it received those vivifying touches from our poet, we cannot determine,-perhaps it was the “ Pericles” in which Alleyn wore the “spangled hoes” mentioned in an inventory of his theatrical apparel (vide Collier's Memoirs of Alleyn, p. 21): we at least may be sure that it was originally composed at a period long antecedent to its appearance at the Globe in 1607 or 1608 ; and we may conjecture that Shakespeare bestowed on it certain additions and improvements for the benefit of that theatre.—Pericles is mainly founded on The Patterne of painefull Aduentures : Containing the most excellent, pleasant and rari. able Historie of the strange accidents that befell unto Prince Apollonius, the Lady Lucina his wife, and Tharsia his daughter. Wherein the rncer. taintie of this world and the fickle state of mans life are lively described. Gathered into English by Lavrence Twine Gentleman, - first printed in 1576. The old playwright had also an eye to that portion of Gower's Confessio Amantis, Book Eighth, which treats of King Appolin of Tyre. (Both Twine's novel and Gower's poetical version of the same incidents are included in Collier's Shakespeare's Library, vol. i.-On the story of King Apollonius of Tyre see Douce's Illustr. of Shakespeare, vol. ii. p. 135, and Mommsen's Preface to the reprint above mentioned.)
Lords, Ladies, Knights, Gentlemen, Sailors, Pirates, Fishermen, and PERICLES.
GOWER, as Chorus,*
SCENE—dispersedly in various countries.
*"Cerimon in Pericles is, I imagine, Chæremon. Lychorida is of course Lycoris. Thaliard seems to have been originally a slip of the pen for Thaliarch. Escanes is Æschines ...
.... and Philoten, the daughter of Cleon (see the speech of Gower which introduces the 4th act], may have originated in Philotin, the accusative of Philotis.” Walker's Crit. Exam. &o. vol. ii. p. 30.
Before the palace of Antioch. To sing a song that old was sung, From ashes ancient Gower is come; Assuming man's infirmities, To glad your ear and please your eyes. It hath been sung at festivals, On ember-eves and holy-ales ;(1) And lords and ladies in their lives Have read it for restoratives : The purchase(2) is to make men glorious ; Et bonum quo antiquius, eo melius. If you, born in these latter times, When wit's more ripe, accept my rhymes, And that to hear an old man sing May to your wishes pleasure bring, I life would wish, and that I might Waste it for you, like taper-light.This Antioch, then, Antiochus the Great Built up, this city, for his chiefest seat ; The fairest in all Syria,