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Thai. Lord Cerimon hath letters of good credit,
Enter GOWER. Gow. In Antioch13, and his daughter, you have
heard Of monstrous lust the due and just reward : In Pericles, his queen and daughter, seen (Although 'assaild with fortune fierce and keen),
The poet has, however, been guilty of a slight inadvertency. If Pericles made the vow almost immediately after the birth of Marina, it was hardly necessary for him to make it again, as he has done, when he arrived at Tharsus.
11 In the fragment of the Old Metrical Romance the father dies in his daughter's arme.
Zitt was hys fader-in-lawe a lyve
AND DEYDE IN RYS DOUGHTRS ARM. 12 Tbis notion is borrowed from the ancients, who expressed their mode of conferring divine honours and immortality on men, by placing them among the stars.
13 i. e. the king of Antioch. The old copy reads Antiochus. Steevens made the alteration, observing that in Shakspeare's other plays we have Francc for the king of France ; Morocco for ske king of Morocco, &c.
PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE.
Virtue preserv'd from fell destruction's blast,
That this tragedy has some merit, it were vain to deny ; but that it is the entire composition of Shakspeare, is more than can be Jastily granted. I shall not venture with Dr. Farmer, to deterinine that the hand of our great poet is only visible in the last act ; for I think it appears in several passages dispersed over each of these divisions. I find it difficult, however, to persuade myselt that he was the original fabrieator of the plot, or the author of every dialogue, chorus, &c.
PRELIMINARY REMARKS. The story of King Lear and his three daughters was originally told by Geffrey of Monmouth, from whom Holinshed transcribed it'; and in his Chronicle Shakspeare had certainly read it seems to have been more indebted to the old anonymous play, entitled The True Chronicle Hystorie of Leire, King of England, and hia Three Daughters Gonořill, Ragan, and Cordella, 1605. A play with that title was entered on the Stationer White, May 14, 1594 ; and there are two other entries of the same piece, May 8, 1605 ; and Nov. 26, 1607. From the Mirror of Magisirates Shakspeare has taken the hint for the behaviour of the Steward, and the reply of Cordelia to her father, concerning her future marriage. The Episode of Gloucester and his sons must have been borrowed from Sidney's Arcadia, no trace of it being found in the other sources of the fable. The reader will also find the story of King Lear in the second book and tenth canto of Spenser's Faerie Queene, and in the fifteenth chapter of the third book of Warner's Albion's England. Camden, in his Remaines, under the head of Wise Speeches, tells a similar story to this of Lear, of Ina, king of the West Saxong; which, if the thing ever happened, probably was the real origin of the fable. The story has found its way into many ballads and other metrical pieces ; one ballad will be found in Dr. Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, vol. i. 3d edit. The story is also to be found in the unpublished Gesta Romanorum, and in the Romance of Perceforest. The whole of this play could not have been written till after 1603. Harenet's Declaration of Popish Impostures, to which it contains so many references, and froin which the fantastic names of several spirits are borrowed, was not published till that year. It must have been produced before the Christmas of 1606; for in the entry of Lear on the Stationers' Register, on the 26th of November, 1607, it is ex. pressly recorded to have been played, during the preceding Christmas, before his majesty at Whitehall. Malone places the date of the composition in 1605; Dr. Drake in 1604.
“Of this noble tragedy, one of the first productiong of the noblest of poets, it is scarcely possible to express our admiration in adequate terms. Whether considered as an effort of art, or as a picture of the passione, it is entitled to the highest praise. The two portions of which the fable consists, involving the fate of Lear and his danghters, and of Gloster and his sons, influence each other in 80 many points, and are blended with such consummate skill, that whilst the imagination is delighted by diversity of circumstances, the judgment is equally gratified in viewing their mutual cooperation towards the final result ; the coalescence being so intimate, as