« AnteriorContinuar »
Hel. Well, my lord, since you have given me leave to speak,
Freely I'll speak. Antiochus you fear,
And justly too, I think, you fear the tyrant,
Therefore, my lord, go travel for a while,
Day serves not night more faithful than I'll be.
But should he wrong my liberties in absence
Hel. We'll mingle bloods together in the earth, From whence we had our being and our birth.
Per. Tyre, I now look from thee then, and to Tharsus Intend my travel, where I 'll hear from thee; And by whose letters I 'll dispose myself. The care I had and have for subjects' good, On thee I lay, whose wisdom's strength can bear it.4 I'll take thy word for faith, not ask thine oath; Who shuns not to break one, will sure crack both :5 But in our orbs we 'll live so round and safe, That time of both this truth shall ne'er convince, Thou show'dst a subject's shine, I a true prince. [Exeunt.
But a rhyme seems to have been intended. The reading of the text was furnished by the third quarto, 1630, which, however, is of no authority. Malone.
whose wisdom's strength can bear it.] Pericles transferring his authority to Helicanus during his absence, naturally brings the first scene of Measure for Measure to our mind.
will sure crack both:] Thus the folio. The word sure is not found in the quarto. Malone.
6 But in our orbs we 'll live so round and safe,] The first quarto reads-will live. For the emendation I am answerable. The quarto of 1619 has-we live. The first copy may have been right, if, as I suspect, the preceding line has been lost.
But in our orbs we 'll live so round and safe,]
in seipso totus teres atque rotundus." Horace. In our orbs means, in our different spheres. Steevens.
this truth shall ne'er convince,] Overcome. See Vol. VII, p. 74, n. 8.
8 Thou show'dst a subject's shine, I a true prince.] Shine is by
Tyre. An Ante-Chamber in the Palace:
Thal. So, this is Tyre, and this is the court. Here must I kill king Pericles; and if I do not, I am sure to be hanged at home: 'tis dangerous.-Well, I perceive he was a wise fellow, and had good discretion, that being bid to ask what he would of the king, desired he might know none of his secrets. Now do I see he had some reason for it: for if a king bid a man be a villain, he is
our ancient writers frequently used as a substantive. So, in Chloris, or The Complaint of the passionate despised Shepheard, by 'W. Smith, 1596:
"Thou glorious sunne, from whence my lesser light "The substance of his chrystal shine doth borrow." This sentiment is not much unlike that of Falstaff: "I shall think the better of myself and thee, during my life; I for a valiant lion, and thou for a true prince." Malone.
That the word shine may be used as a substantive, cannot be doubted whilst we have sunshine and moonshine. If the present reading of this passage be adopted, the word shine must necessarily be taken in that sense; but what the shine of a subject is, it would be difficult to define. The difficulty is avoided by leaving out a letter, and reading
Thou showd'st a subject shine, I a true prince.
In this case the word shine becomes a verb, and the meaning will be:-"No time shall be able to disprove this truth, that you have shown a subject in a glorious light, and I a true prince.” M. Mason.
The same idea is more clearly expressed in King Henry VIII, Act III, sc. ii:
"A loyal and obedient subject is
I can neither controvert nor support Mr. M. Mason's position, because I cannot ascertain if shine be considered as a verb, how the meaning he contends for is deduced from the words before Steevens.
9 I perceive he was a wise fellow, &c.] Who this wise fellow was, may be known from the following passage in Barnabie Riche's Souldier's Wishe to Britons Welfare, or Captaine Skill and Captaine Pill, 1604, p. 27: "I will therefore commende the poet Philipides, who being demaunded by King Lisimachus, what favour hee might doe unto him for that hee loved him, made this answere to the King; that your maiestie would never impart unto me any of your secrets." Steevens.
bound by the indenture of his oath to be one.-Hush, here come the lords of Tyre.
Enter HELICANUS, ESCANES, and other Lords.
Hel. If further yet you will be satisfied,
What from Antioch? [Aside.
Hel. Royal Antiochus (on what cause I know not) Took some displeasure at him; at least he judg'd so: And doubting lest that he had err'd or sinn'd, To show his sorrow, would correct himself; So puts himself unto the shipman's toil,1 With whom each minute threatens life or death. Thal. Well, I perceive
I shall not be hang'd now, although I would;2
With message unto princely Pericles;
1 So puts himself unto the shipman's toil,] Thus, in King Henry VIII :
"Hath into monstrous habits put the graces
"That once were his."
Again, in Chapman's version of the fifth Odyssey:
since his father's fame
"He puts in pursuite," &c.
although I would;] So, Autolycus, in The Winter's Tale : If I had a mind to be honest, I see, Fortune would not suffer
me; she drops bounties into my mouth." Malone.
3 We have no reason to desire it,] Thus all the old copies. Perhaps a word is wanting. We might read:
Commended to our master, not to us:
Yet, ere you shall depart, this we desire,
As friends to Antioch, we may feast in Tyre.4 [Exeunt.
Tharsus. A Room in the Governor's House.
Enter CLEON, DIONYZA, and Attendants.
Ele. My Dionyza, shall we rest us here, And by relating tales of others' griefs, See if 'twill teach us to forget our own?
Dio. That were to blow at fire, in hope to quench it; For who digs hills because they do aspire, Throws down one mountain, to cast up a higher. O my distressed lord, even such our griefs; Here they 're but felt and seen with mistful eyes,5 But like to groves, being topp'd, they higher risc.
We have no reason to desire it told
Your message being addressed to our master, and not to us, there is no reason why we should desire you to divulge it. If, however, desire be considered as a trisyllable, the metre, though, perhaps, not the sense, will be supplied. Malone.
I have supplied the adverb-since, both for the sake of sense and metre. Steevens.
4 Yet, ere you shall depart, this we desire,—
As friends to Antioch, we may feast in Tyre.] Thus also Agamemnon addresses Eneas in Troilus and Cressida :
"Yourself shall feast with us, before you go,
"And find the welcome of a noble foe." Malone.
5 Here they're but felt, and seen with mistful eyes,] Old copyHere they're but felt and seen with mischief's eyes. Mr. Malone reads-unseen. Steevens.
The quarto 1609, reads-and seen. The words and seen, and that which I have inserted in my text, are so near in sound, that they might easily have been confounded by a hasty pronunciation, or an inattentive transcriber. By mischief's eyes, I understand, "the eyes of those who would feel a malignant pleasure in our misfortunes, and add to them by their triumph over us." The eye has been long described by poets as either propitious, or malignant and unlucky. Thus in a subsequent scene in this play:
"Now the good gods throw their best eyes upon it!" Malone. I suspect this line, like many others before us, to be corrupt, and therefore read-mistful instead of mischiefs. So, in King Henry V, Act IV, sc. vi:
"For, hearing this, I must perforce compound
Cle. O Dionyza,
Who wanteth food, and will not say, he wants it,
Our tongues and sorrows do sound deep our woes
Fetch breath that may proclaim them louder; that,
Cle. This Tharsus, o'er which I have government, (A city, on whom plenty held full hand,)
For riches, strew'd herself even in the streets;9
The sense of the passage will then be,-Withdrawn, as we now are, from the scene we describe, our sorrows are simply felt, and appear indistinct, as through a mist. When we attempt to reduce our griefs by artful comparison, that effort is made to our disadvantage, and our calamities encrease, like trees, that shoot the higher, because they have felt the discipline of the pruning knife. Shakspeare has an expression similar to the foregoing:
"I see before me, neither here nor there,
"Nor what ensues, but have a fog in them
"Which I cannot pierce through." Cymbeline, Act III, sc. i. I may, however, have only exchanged one sort of nonsense for another; as the following comparison in Mr. Pope's Essay on Criticism, v. 392, seems to suggest a different meaning to the observation of Dionyza :
"As things seem large which we through mists descry;" thus sorrow is always apt to magnify its object.
6 Our tongues and sorrows do-] Mr. Malone reads-too.
The original copy has-to, here and in the next line; which cannot be right. To was often written by our old writers for too; and in like manner too and two were confounded. The quarto of 1619 reads-do in the first line. I think Cleon means to say-Let our tongues and sorrows too sound deep, &c. Malone. 7 till lungs] The old copy has-tongues. The correc tion was made by Mr. Steevens. Malone.
They may awake their helps to comfort them.] Old copyhelpers. Steevens.
Perhaps we should read-helps. So before:
be my helps,
"To compass such a boundless happiness!" Malone. I have adopted Mr. Malone's very natural conjecture. Steevens. 9 For riches, strew'd herself even in the streets;] For, in the