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Queen. And his acknowledged play, The Miseries of Enforced Marriage (1603), though totally unlike Pericles in plot (it is founded on the contemporary history of a Yorkshire family), has in common with it some tricks of metre, especially (as Delius noticed) the use of rhymes promiscuously interspersed in the midst of blank verse, even in verse-speeches which themselves alternate with prose. Cf. e.g. Pericles' dialogue with the fishermen in ii. I., and the dialogues between Ilford and Scarborow, Ilford and the Clown (Miseries of Enforced Marriage, in HazlittDodsley, ix. 492, 493).
But the suggestion that the publication of the First Quarto of Pericles was an act of reprisal by Shakespeare's company is wholly unwarranted. For the state of the text leaves no doubt that it was published surreptitiously from a copy less authentic than that on which Wilkins himself had based his paraphrase.
Pericles was surpassed by few of Shakespeare's most authentic plays in popularity. In 1609 an anonymous satirist compared a crowd of outstretched throats to an audience come 'to see Shore or Pericles.'1 The name of Pericles became a by-word for good fortune,2 and Boult seems, like Pandarus, to have given a new sobriquet to his class.3
But the immense vogue of Pericles was chiefly among the populace of all ranks. Grave and scholarly persons resented its monstrous defects as a drama, as well as its pardonable if not legitimate grossness and presently their voices began to be heard. Jonson, smarting from the derisive rejection
of his The New Inn (1629), turned savagely upon the 'mouldy tale' which it was still a safe venture to perform; and even Owen Feltham's Reply seems to admit that there were many whom Pericles 'deeply displeased.' After the Restoration it passed from the stage, on account of its offences against art rather than against decency, though its grossness was of too primitive a type to please the contemporaries of Etherege. Dryden singles it out, with the English histories collectively, as a type of the 'ridiculous incoherent story which in one play many times took up the business of an age'; and in an unfortunate, but often-quoted, line used it to illustrate the contention that no first plays are good, since
'Shakespeare's own Muse his Pericles first bore.
In our own time it has, somewhat tardily, shared in the heightened repute of the Romances.
Before the palace of Antioch.
To sing a song that old was sung,
To glad your ear, and please your eyes.
On ember-eves and holy-ales;
And lords and ladies in their lives
Have read it for restoratives :
The purchase is to make men glorious;
I. old, of old; apparently
intended for an archaism.
6. ember-eves, the eves of
9. purchase, gain, profit.
Built up, this city, for his chiefest seat;
I tell you what mine authors say:
And her to incest did provoke :
Bad child; worse father! to entice his own
In marriage-pleasures play-fellow :
As yon grim looks do testify.
What now ensues, to the judgement of your eye
SCENE I. Antioch. A room in the palace.
Enter ANTIOCHUS, PRINCE PERICLES, and
Ant. Young prince of Tyre, you have at large received
21. fere, mate.
29, 30. The confused syntax of this couplet is probably due to the writer. Malone proposed
By custom, which only emphasises its apparent tautology. 32. frame, betake them
The danger of the task you undertake.
Ant. Bring in our daughter, clothed like a bride,
For the embracements even of Jove himself;
Music. Enter the Daughter of Antiochus.
Her face the book of praises, where is read
You gods that made me man, and sway in love,
Per. That would be son to great Antiochus.
6. Bring in our daughter. Qq and Ff prefix 'Music' to these words, as a part of the speech. Malone distinguished
'Music' as a stage direction; and Dyce transferred it to v. II. 8. till Lucina reign'd, until her birth.