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Our heir apparent is a king:
Who dream'd, who thought of such a thing?
and down the poor ship drives.
half the flood
Hath their keel cut;] They have made half their voyage with a favourable wind. So, Gower:
"When thei were in the sea amid,
"The welkin was all over caste." Malone.
but fortune's mood-] The old copy reads--but fortune mov'd. Malone.
Mov'd could never be designed as a rhyme to flood. I suppose we should read-but fortune's mood, i. e. disposition. So, In The Comedy of Errors:
"My wife 's in a wayward mood to-day."
Again, in All's Well that Ends Well:
muddied in fortune's mood." Steevens.
8 well-a-near!] This exclamation is equivalent to well-aday, and is still used in Yorkshire, where I have often heard it. The Glossary to the Praise of Yorkshire Ale, 1697, says,-wellaneerin is lack-a-day, or alas, alas! Reed.
Doth foll in travail with her fear:] So, in Twine's transla tion: "Lucina, what with sea-sicknesse, and fear of danger, fell in labour of a child," &c. Steevens.
1 in this fell storm,] This is the reading of the earliest quarto. The folios and the modern editions have self storm.
I nill relate ;2 action may
Which might not what by me is told.3
This stage, the ship, upon whose deck
Enter PERICLES, on a Ship at Sea.
Per. Thou god of this great vast, rebuke these surges, Which wash both heaven and hell; and thou, that hast
2 I nill relate;] The further consequences of this storm I shall not describe. Malone.
3 Which might not what by me is told.] i. e. which might not conveniently convey what by me is told, &c. What ensues may conveniently be exhibited in action; but action could not well have displayed all the events that I have now related. Malone. In your imagination hold
This stage, the ship, upon whose deck
The sea-tost &c.] It is clear from these lines, that when the play was originally performed, no attempt was made to exhibit either a sea or a ship. The ensuing scene and some others must have suffered considerably in the representation, from the poverty of the stage-apparatus in the time of our author. The old copy has-seas tost. Mr. Rowe made the correction. Malone.
5 The sea-tost prince-] The old copy reads-the sea-tost Pericles. The transcriber perhaps mistook the abbreviation of Prince, for that of Pericles, a trisyllable which our present metre refuses to admit. Steevens.
6 Thou God of this great vast, rebuke these surges,] The expression is borrowed from the sacred writings: "The waters stood above the mountains;-at thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away." It should be remembered, that Pericles is here supposed to speak from the deck of his ship. Lychorida, on whom he calls, in order to obtain some intelligence of his queen, is supposed to be beneath, in the cabin. -This great vast, is, this wide expanse. See Vol. VI, p. 164,
This speech is exhibited in so strange a form in the original, and all the subsequent editions, that I shall lay it before the reader, that he may he enabled to judge in what a corrupted state this play has hitherto appeared, and be induced to treat the editor's imperfect attempts to restore it to integrity, with the more indulgence:
Upon the winds command, bind them in brass,
How does my queen?-Thou storm, thou! venomously
"The God of this great vast, rebuke these surges,
"Thy deafning dreadful thunders, gently quench
"Divinest patrioness and my wife gentle
"To those that cry by night, convey thy deitie "Aboard our dauncing boat, make swift the pangues "Of my queene's travayles? now Lychorida." Malone. 7 Having call'd them from the deep! O still —] Perhaps a word was omitted at the press. We might read:
Having call'd them from th' enchafed deep, The present regulation of the lines, by the mere repetition of the pronouns-thy and thou, renders, perhaps, any other insertion needless. Steevens.
8 Thou storm, thou! venomously
Wilt thou spit all thyself?] All the copies read-Then storm, &c. which cannot be right, because it renders the passage nonsense. The slight change that I have made, [Thou storm] affords an easy sense. Malone.
Pericles, having called to Lychorida, without the power to make her hear on account of the tempest, at last with frantick peevishness addresses himself to it—
66 Thou storm, thou! venomously
"Wilt thou spit all thyself?"
Having indulged himself in this question, he grows cooler, and observes that the very boatswain's whistle has no more effect on the sailors, than the voices of those who speak to the dead. He then repeats his enquiries to Lychorida, but receiving no answer, concludes with a prayer for his queen in her present dangerous condition.
Venomously is maliciously. Shakspeare has somewhat of the same expression in one of his historical plays:
"The watry kingdom, whose ambitious head
"Spits in the face of heaven,
Chapman likewise, in his version of the fourth Iliad, says of
the sea that she
Is as a whisper in the ears of death,
Divinest patroness, and midwife,1 gentle
Lyc. Here is a thing
Too young for such a place, who if it had
Take in your arms this piece of your dead queen.
Lyc. Patience, good sir; do not assist the storm.3
9 Is as a whisper in the ears of death,] In another place the poet supposes death to be awakened by the turbulence of the
And in the visitation of the winds,
"Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
"Curling their monstrous heads, and hanging them
King Henry IV, Part II. Malone. The image in the text might have been suggested by Sidney's Arcadia, Book II : They could scarcely, when they directed, hear their own whistle; for the sea strave with the winds which should be lowder, and the shrowds of the ship, with a ghastful noise to them that were in it, witnessed that their ruine was the wager of the others' contention." Steevens.
1 Divinest patroness, and midwife, &c.] The quarto, 1609, and the subsequent copies, read-and my wife. Mr. Steevens's happy emendation, which I have inserted in the text, is so clearly right, that it requires neither support nor illustration. If it wanted the latter, Horace would furnish it:
"Montium custos nemorumque virgo,
"Quæ laborantes utero puellas
"Ter vocata audis, adimisque leto,
Again, in the Andria of Terence :
"Juno Lucina, fer opem; serva me, obsecro!" Malone.
Conceit,] If it had thought. So, in King Richard III:
"When that he bids good morrow with such spirit."
3 Patience, good sir; do not assist the storm.] Our author uses the same expression, on the same occasion, in The Tempest:
Here's all that is left living of your queen,-
Be manly, and take comfort.
O you gods!
Vie honour with yourselves.4
Even for this charge.
Patience, good sir,
Now, mild may be thy life!
For a more blust'rous birth had never babe :
Quiet and gentle thy conditions!5
"You mar our labour;-keep your cabins; you do assist the storm." Malone.
4 Vie honour with yourselves.] Old copy-Use honour &c.
Steevens. The meaning is sufficiently clear.—In this particular you might learn from us a more honourable conduct.-But the expression is so harsh, that I suspect the passage to be corrupt. Malone.
I suspect the author wrote-Vie honour, a phrase much in use among Shakspeare and his contemporaries. Thus, in Chapman's version of the twentieth Iliad:
"What then need we vie calumnies; like women -?" See also Vol. VI, p. 71, n. 4. Mr. M. Mason has offered the same conjecture. I read, however, for the sake of measure,-yourselves. Steevens.
The meaning is evidently this: "We poor mortals recal not what we give, and therefore in that respect we may contend with you in honour." I have therefore no doubt but we ought to read: And therein may
Vie honour with &c.
The same expression occurs in the introduction to the fourth Act, where Gower says:
"The dove of Paphos might with the crow
"Vie feathers white."
The trace of the letters in the words vie and use is nearly the same, especially if we suppose that the was used instead of the u vowel; which is frequently the case in the old editions: "Nature wants stuff,
"To vie strange forms with fancy."
Antony and Cleopatra. M. Mason. 5 Quiet and gentle thy conditions!] Conditions anciently meant qualities; dispositions of mind. So, in Othello:
"And then of so gentle a condition!"
He is speaking of Desdemona. Again, in King Henry V ;
"Our tongue is rough, coz, and my condition is not smooth."