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Though by the tenour of our strict edíct,
We might proceed to cancel of your days ;6
[Exeunt ANT. his Daughter, and Attendants.
our strict edcit.] The old copy has--your strict edict. Corrected in the folio.
5 Your exposition misinterpreting,] Your exposition of the riddle being a mistaken one; not interpreting it rightly. Malone.
6 to cancel of your days,] The quarto, 1609, readsto counsel of your days; which may mean, to deliberate how long you shall be permitted to live. But I believe that counsel was merely an error of the press, which the editor of the folio, 1664, corrected by reading to cancel off your days. The substitution of off for of is unnecessary; for cancel may have been used as a substantive. We might proceed to the cancellation or destruction of your life. Shakspeare uses the participle cancell'd in the sense required here, in his Rape of Lucrece, 1594 :
"An expir'd date, cancell'd ere well begun."
The following lines in King Richard III, likewise confirm the reading that has been chosen:
"Cancel his bond of life, dear God, I pray, "That I may live to say, the dog is dead.' To omit the article was formerly a practice not uncommon. So, in Titus Andronicus: "Ascend, fair queen, Pantheon,” i. e. the Pantheon. Steevens.
Again, in King Lear:
"Hot questrists after him, met him at gate." Malone.
Forty days longer we do respite you;] In The Gesta Romanorum, Confessio Amantis, and The History of King Appolyn, thirty days only are allowed for the solution of this question. It is difficult to account for this minute variation, but by supposing that our author copied some translation of the Gesta Romanorum hitherto undiscovered. Malone.
It is thirty days in Twine's translation. Forty, as I have observed in a note on some other play (I forget which) was the familiar term when the number to be mentioned was not of arithmetical importance. Steevens.
8 •your entertain shall be,
As doth befit our honour, and your worth.] I have no doubt
Per. How courtesy would seem to cover sin!
By the defiling of her parent's bed;
And both like serpents are, who though they feed
Will shun no course to keep them from the light.'
but that these two lines were intended to rhyme together in our author's copy, where originally they might have stood thus: your entertain shall be,
As doth befit our honour, your degree.
As doth our honour fit and your degree. So, in King Richard III, Act III, sc. vii :
"Best fitteth my degree, and your condition." Steevens 9 Where now you're both a father and a son.] Where, in this place, has the power of whereas. So, in The Two Gentlemen of
"And where I thought the remnant of mine age
"Should have been cherish'd by her childlike duty,
Where (and with the same meaning) occurs again in Act II, sc. iii, of this play:
"Where now his son's a glow-worm" &c. Steevens.
1 - for wisdom sees, those men
Blush not in actions blacker than the night,
Will shun no course to keep them from the light.] All the old copies read-will shew, but shew is evidently a corruption. The word that I have ventured to insert in the text, in its place, was suggested by these lines in a subsequént scene, which appear to me strongly to support this emendation:
"And what may make him blush in being known, "He'll stop the course by which it might be known." We might read'schew for eschew, if there were any instance of such an abbreviation being used.
The expression is here, as in many places in this play, elliptical: for wisdom sees, that those who do not blush to commit acVOL. XVII.
One sin, I know, another doth provoke;
Ay, and the targets, to put off the shame:
Ant. He hath found the meaning,3 for the which we
To have his head.
He must not live to trumpet forth my infamy,
In such a loathed manner:
And therefore instantly this prince must die;
Doth your highness call? Ant. Thaliard, you 're of our chamber, and our mind Partakes her private actions to your secresy: And for your faithfulness we will advance you. Thaliard, behold, here 's poison, and here 's gold; We hate the prince of Tyre, and thou must kill him;
tions blacker than the night, will not shun any course, in order to preserve them from being made publick. Malone.
to keep you clear,] To prevent any suspicion from falling on you. So, in Macbeth:
always thought, that I
Require a clearness." Malone.
3 He hath found the meaning,] So, in Twine's book: "Apollonius prince of Tyre hath found out the solution of my question; wherefore take shipping" &c. Steevens.
4 Thaliard.] This name is somewhat corrupted from Thaliarch, i. e. Thaliarchus, as it stands in Twine's translation. Steevens.
5 Thaliard, you 're of our chamber, &c.] So, in Twine's translation: "Thaliarchus, the only faithfull and trustie minister of my secrets" &c. The rest of the scene is formed on the same original. Steevens.
6 Partakes her private actions —] Our author in The Winter's Tale uses the word partake in an active sense, for participate : your exultation
"Partake to every one." Malone.
It fits thee not to ask the reason why,
Thal. 'Tis done.
Lest your breath cool yourself, telling your haste."
[Exit Mess. As thou
Wilt live, fly after: and, as an arrow, shot
Can get him once within my pistol's length,
I'll make him sure: so farewel to your highness. [Exit. Ant. Thaliard, adieu! till Pericles be dead,
My heart can lend no succour to my head.1
Say, is it done?] We might point differently:
'Lest your breath &c.] Old copy:
Let your breath cool yourself, telling your haste.
This passage is little better than nonsense, as it stands, and evidently requires amendment.-The words are addressed, not to the Messenger, but to Thaliard, who has told the King that he may consider Pericles as already dead; to which the King replies
Lest your breath cool yourself, telling your haste.
That is, "Say no more of it, lest your breath, in describing your alacrity, should cool your ardour.” The words let and lest might easily have been confounded. M. Mason.
See (for instances of the same typographical error,) Titus Andronicus, p. 96, n. 8. Steevens.
9 and, as] Thus the folio. The quarto reads-and like an arrow. Malone.
My heart can lend no succour to my head.] So, the King in Hamlet:
till I know 'tis done,
"How ere my haps, my joys were ne'er begun." Malone.
Tyre. A Room in the Palace.
Enter PERICLES, HELICANUS, and other Lords. Per. Let none disturb us: Why this charge of thoughts? The sad companion, dull-ey'd melancholy,3
By me so us'd a guest is, not an hour,
In the day's glorious walk, or peaceful night,
(The tomb where grief should sleep) can breed me quiet!
2 Why this charge of thoughts?] [Old copy-why should &c.] The quarto, 1609, reads-chage. The emendation was suggested by Mr. Steevens. The folio 1664, for chage substituted change. Change is substituted for charge in As you Like it, 1623, Act I, sc. iii, and in Coriolanus, Act V, sc. iii.
Thought was formerly used in the sense of melancholy. Antony and Cleopotra, Act III, sc. xi, Vol. XIII. Malone.
In what respect are the thoughts of Pericles changed? I would read," charge of thoughts," i. e. weight of them, burthen, pressure of thought. So afterwards, in this play:
"Patience, good sir, even for this charge."
The first copy reads chage.
Although thought, in the singular number, often means mee lancholy, in the plural, I believe, it is never employed with that signification. Steevens.
Change of thoughts it seems was the old reading, which I think preferable to the amendment. By change of thoughts Pericles means, that change in the disposition of his mind-that unusual propensity to melancholy and cares, which he afterwards describes, and which made his body pine, and his soul to languish. There appears, however, to be an error in the passage; we should leave out the word should, which injures both the sense and the metre, and read:
Let none disturb us: why this change of thoughts? M. Mason. 3 The sad companion, dull-ey'd melancholy,] So, in The Comedy of Errors:
"Sweet recreation barr'd, what doth ensue
"But moody and dull Melancholy,
"Kinsman to grim and comfortless despair?" Malone. dull-ey'd melancholy,] The same compound epithet oc
curs in The Merchant of Venice:
"I'll not be made a soft and dull-ey'd fool." Steevens.