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the name of Shakspeare may not alone authenticate this play, it is not in the scale of evidence entirely infignificant; nor is it a fair conclufion, that, because we are not to confide in the titlepages of two dramas which are proved by the whole colour of the ftyle and many other confiderations not to have been the compofition of Shakspeare, we are therefore to give no credit to the title of a piece, which we are led by very strong internal proof, and by many corroborating circumftances, to attribute to him. Though the title-pages of The London Prodigal and Sir John Oldcastle fhould clearly appear to be forgeries, those of Henry IV. and Othello will ftill remain unimpeached.
The non-enumeration of Pericles in Meres's Catalogue of our author's plays, printed in 1598, is undecifive with respect to the authenticity of this piece; for neither are the three parts of King Henry VI, nor Hamlet mentioned in that lift; though it is certain they were written, and had been publickly performed, before his book was published.
Why this drama was omitted in the first edition of Shakfpeare's works, it is impoffible now to ascertain. But if we fhall allow the omiffion to be a decifive proof that it was not the compofition of our author, we must likewife exclude Troilus and Creffida from the lift of his performances: for it is certain, this was likewise omitted by the editors of the first folio, nor did they fee their error till the whole work and even the table of contents was printed; as appears from its not being paged, or enumerated in that table with his other plays. I do not, however, fuppofe that the editors, Heminge and Condell, did not know who was the writer of Troilus and Creffida, but that the piece, though printed fome years before, for a time escaped their memory. The fame may be faid of Pericles. Why this alfo was not recovered, as well as the other, we can now only conjecture. Perhaps they thought their volume had already fwelled to a fufficient fize, and they did not choose to run the risk of retarding the fale of it by encreasing its bulk and price; perhaps they did not recollect The Prince of Tyre till their book had been iffued out; or perhaps they confidered it more for their friend's credit to omit this juvenile performance. Ben Jonfon, when he collected his pieces into a volume, in the year 1616, in like manner omitted a comedy called The Cafe is Altered, which had been printed with his name fome years before, and appears to have been one of his earliest productions; having been exhibited before the year 1599.
After all, perhaps, the internal evidence which this drama itfelf affords of the hand of Shakspeare is of more weight than
any other argument that can be adduced. If we are to form our judgment by thofe unerring criterions which have been established by the learned author of The Difcourfe on Poetical Imitation, the queftion will be quickly decided; for who can point out two writers, that without any communication or knowledge of each other ever produced so many paffages, coinciding both in fentiment and expreflion, as are found in this piece and the undifputed plays of Shakspeare? Should it be faid, that he did not fcruple to borrow both fables and fentiments from other writers, and that therefore this circumftance will not prove this tragedy to be his, it may be answered, that had Pericles been an anonymous production, this coincidence might not perhaps afcertain Shakspeare's title to the play; and he might with fufficient probability be fuppofed to have only borrowed from another; but when, in addition to all the circumftances already stated, we recollect the constant tradition that has accompanied this piece, and that it was printed with his name, in his life-time, as acted at his own theatre, the parallel paffages which are fo abundantly fcattered throughout every part of Pericles and his undisputed performances, afford no flight proof, that in the feveral inftances enumerated in the courfe of the preceding obfervations, he borrowed, as was his frequent practice from himself; and that this contested play was his own compofition.
The teftimony of Dryden to this point does not appear to me fo inconfiderable as it has been reprefented. If he had only meant to say, that Pericles was produced before Othello, the fecond line of the couplet which has been already quoted, would have fufficiently expreffed his meaning; nor, in order to convey this idea was it neceffary to call the former the first dramatick performance of Shakspeare; a particular which he lived near enough the time to have learned from stage-tradition, or the more certain information of his friend Sir William D'Avenant.† If
"Confidering the vaft variety of words which any language, and efpecially the more copious ones furnish, and the infinite poffible combinations of them into all the forms of phrafeology, it would be very ftrange, if two perfons fhould hit on the fame identical terms, and much more, fhould they agree in the fame precife arrangement of them in whole fentences." Discourse on Poetical Imitation, Hurd's Horace, Vol. III. p. 109, edit. 1766.
+ Sir William D'Avenant produced his first play at the theatre in Blackfryers, in 1629, when he was twenty-four years old, at which time his paffion for apple-hunting, we may prefume, had fubfided, and given way to more manly purfuits. That a young poet thus early acquainted with the ftage, who appears to have had a great veneration for our author, who was poffefled of the only original picture of Shakspeare ever painted, who carefully preserved
he had only taken the folio edition of our author's works for his guide, without any other authority, he would have named The Tempeft as his earliest production; because it happens to stand firft in the volume. But however this may be, and whether, when Dryden entitled Pericles our author's first compofition, he meant to be understood literally or not, let it be remembered, that he calls it his PERICLES; that he speaks of it as the legiti mate, not the fpurious or adopted, offspring of our poet's muse; as the fole, not the partial, property of Shakspeare.
I am yet, therefore, unconvinced, that this drama was not written by our author. The wildness and irregularity of the fable, the artlefs conduct of the piece, and the inequalities of the poetry, may, I think, be all accounted for, by fuppofing it either his firft or one of his earliest effays in dramatick compo fition. MALONE.
On looking into Rofcius Anglicanus, better known by the name of Downes the Prompter's Book, originally printed in 1708, and lately republished by the ingenious Mr. Waldron of Drury Lane Theatre, I was not a little furprized to find, that Pericles, Prince of Tyre was one of the characters in which the famous Betterton had been moft applauded.-Could the copy from which this play was acted by him and his affociates, be recovered, it would prove a fingular curiofity; at leaft, to thofe who have fince been drudging through every scene of the original quarto, 1609, in the hope of restoring it to fuch a degree of fenfe and measure as might give it currency with the reader.
As for the prefent editor, he expects to be
Stopp'd in phials, and transfix'd with pins,"
on account of the readiness with which he has obeyed the second clause of the Ovidian precept:
"Cun&ta prius tentanda; fed immedicabile vulnus
a letter written to him by King James, who himself altered four of his plays and introduced them in a new form on the stage, should have been altogether incurious about the early history and juvenile productions of the great luminary of the dramatick world, (then only thirteen years dead) who happened alfo to be his god-father, and was by many reputed his father, is not very credible. That he should have never made an enquiry concerning a play, printed with Shakspeare's name, and which appears to have been a popular piece at the very time when D'Avenant produced his firft dramatick effay, (a third edition of Pericles having been printed in 1630) is equally improbable. And it is ftill more incredible, that our author's friend, old Mr. Heminge, who was alive in 1629, and principal proprietor and manager of the Globe and Blackfryars play houses, should not have been able to give him any information concerning a play, which had been produced at the former theatre, probably while it was under his direction, and had been acted by his company with great applause for more than thirty years.
When it is proved, however, that a gentle procefs might have been employed with equal fuccefs, let the actual cautery be rejected, or applied to the remarks of him who has fo freely uled it. STEEVENS.
Vol. II. P. 80. Add to Lift of detached Pieces of Criti cism:
$2. Remarks on Shakspeare. By Edward Dubois. Printed in "The Wreath, compofed of Selections from Sappho, Theocritus, Bion, and Mofchus," &c. 8vo. 1802.
83. An Attempt to illuftrate a few Paffages, in Shakespeare's Works. By J. T. Finegan. 8vo. 1802.
IBID. Plays altered from Shakspeare, add:
P. 152. The Merchant of Venice, a Comedy, altered from Shakspeare, by Dr. Valpy, and acted at Reading School, October, 1802. 8vo.
P. 161. King John, an historical Tragedy, altered from Shakfpeare, by Dr. Valpy, and acted at Reading School. 8vo. 1800.
IBID. The Second Part of King Henry the Fourth, altered from Shakspeare, by Dr. Valpy, and acted at Reading School. 8vo. 1801.
IBID. P. 197. Add to " England's Mourning Garment," &c. the name of the author, viz. HENRY CHETTLE.
Vol. IV. P. 442. MIDSUMMER-NIGHT'S DREAM. Add to Mr. Steevens's note;
At a banquet given by Ralph Freman, Lord Mayor of London, to the King and Queen, 9 Car. I. 1633, at Merchant Taylors' hall, the ceremonial of which is fet forth in Chauncy's Hertfordshire, p. 123, the mufick of the tongs is introduced; and from the manner in which it is mentioned, could not be of very agreeable found, though well adapted to the delicacy of Bottom's ears. In the proceflion it is faid, "These horsemen had for their mufick about a dozen of the best trumpeters in their liveries founding before them; after whom came the antimafkers, representing cripples and beggars, on the pooreft leaneft jades the dirt carts could afford, who had their mufick of keys