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Nothing to think on, but ensuing death:
1 Fish. What, ho, Pilche!
Again, in Chapman's version of the fifth Book of Homer's Odyssey, where the shipwrecked Ulysses is described:
Two nights yet and days
"He spent in wrestling with the sable seas:
8 Enter Three Fishermen.] This scene seems to have been formed on the following lines in the Confessio Amantis : "Thus was the yonge lorde all alone, "All naked in a poure plite."There came a fisher in the weye, "And sigh a man there naked stonde, "And whan that he hath understonde "The cause, he hath of hym great routh; "And onely of his poure trouth "Of such clothes as he hadde "With great pitee this lorde he cladde: "And he hym thonketh as he sholde, “And sayth hym that it shall be yolde "If ever he gete his state ageyne; "And praith that he wolde hym seyne, "If nigh were any towne for hym. "He sayd, ye, Pentapolim,
"Where both kynge and quene dwellen.
"He gladdeth him, and gan beseche,
"That he the weye hym wolde teche."
Shakspeare, delighting to describe the manners of such people, has introduced three fishermen instead of one, and extended the dialogue to a considerable length. Malone.
9 What, ho, Pilche!] All the old copies read-What to pelche. The latter emendation was made by Mr. Tyrwhitt. For the other I am responsible. Pilche, as he has observed, is a leathern The context confirms this correction. The first fisherman appears to be the master, and speaks with authority, and some degree of contempt, to the third fisherman, who is a servant. His next speech, What, Patch-breech, I say! is in the same style. The second fisherman seems to be a servant likewise; and, after the master has called-What, ho, Pilche!-(for VOL. XVII.
2 Fish. Ho! come, and bring away the nets.
3 Fish. What say you, master?
1 Fish. Look how thou stirrest now! come away, or I'll fetch thee with a wannion.1
3 Fish. 'Faith, master, I am thinking of the poor men that were cast away before us, even now.
1 Fish. Alas, poor souls, it grieved my heart to hear what pitiful cries they made to us, to help them, when, well-a-day, we could scarce help ourselves.
3 Fish. Nay, master, said not I as much, when I saw the porpus, how he bounced and tumbled?s they say, they are half fish, half flesh: a plague on them, they' ne'er come, but I look to be washed. Master, I marvel how the fishes live in the sea.
1 Fish. Why, as men do a-land; the great ones eat up the little ones: I can compare our rich misers to nothing so fitly as to a whale; 'a plays and tumbles, driv
so I read)-explains what it is he wants :-Ho, come and bring away the nets. Malone.
In Twine's translation we have the following passage:-"He was a rough fisherman, with an hoode upon his head, and a filthie leatherne pelt upon his backe." Steevens.
1 with a wannion.] A phrase of which the meaning is obvious, though I cannot explain the word at the end of it. It is common in many of our old plays. Steevens.
2 Alas, poor souls, it grieved my heart &c.] So, in The Winter's Tale: "O the most piteous cry of the poor souls! Sometimes to see 'em, and not to see 'em ;-now the ship boring the moon with her main-mast, and anon swallowed with yest and froth, as you'd thrust a cork into a hogshead. And then for the landservice-To see how the bear tore out his shoulder-bone; how he cried to me for help." Malone.
3 when I saw the porpus how he bounced and tumbled?] The rising of porpusses near a vessel at sea, has long been considered by the superstition of sailors, as the fore-runner of a storm. So, in The Duchess of Malfy, by Webster, 1623: “He lifts up his nose like a foul porpus before a storm." Malone.
Malone considers this prognostick as arising merely from the superstition of the sailors: but Captain Cook, in his second voyage to the South Seas, mentions the playing of porpusses round the ship as a certain sign of a violent gale of wind. M. Mason.
4 a-land;] This word occurs several times in Twine's translation, as well as in P. Holland's translation of Pliny's Nat Hist. Steevens.
ing the poor fry before him, and at last devours them all at a mouthful. Such whales have I heard on a' the land, who never leave gaping, till they 've swallowed the whole parish, church, steeple, bells and all.
Per. A pretty moral.
3 Fish. But, master, if I had been the sexton, I would have been that day in the belfry.
2 Fish. Why, man?
3 Fish. Because he should have swallowed me too: and when I had been in his belly, I would have kept such a jangling of the bells, that he should never have left, till he cast bells, steeple, church, and parish, up again. But if the good king Simonides were of my mind Per. Simonides?
3 Fish. We would purge the land of these drones, that rob the bee of her honey.
Per. How from the finny subject of the sea?
2 Fish. Honest! good fellow, what 's that? if it be a day fits you, scratch it out of the calendar, and no body will look after it.8
5 as to a whale; 'a plays and tumbles, driving the poor fry before him,] So, in Coriolanus:
I would have been that day in the belfry.] That is, I should wish to have been that day in the belfry. M. Mason.
7 the finny subject of the sea-] Old copies-fenny. Corrected by Mr. Steevens. Malone. This thought is not much unlike another in As You Like It: this our life, exempt from publick haunt,
"Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
8 Honest! good fellow, what's that? if it be a day fits you, scratch it out of the calendar, and nobody will look after it.] The old copy reads-if it be a day fits you, search out of the calendar, and nobody look after it.
Part of the emendation suggested by Mr. Steevens, is confirmed by a passage in The Coxcomb, by Beaumont and Fletcher, quoted by Mr. Mason:
"I fear shrewdly, I should do something
"That would quite scratch me out of the calendar." Malone.
Per. Nay, see, the sea hath cast upon your coast,
2 Fish. What a drunken knave was the sea, to cast thee in our way!9
Per. A man whom both the waters and the wind,
1 Fish. No, friend, cannot you beg? here 's them in
The preceding speech of Pericles affords no apt introduction to the reply of the fisherman. Either somewhat is omitted that cannot now be supplied, or the whole passage is obscured by more than common depravation.
It should seem that the prince had made some remark on the badness of the day. Perhaps the dialogue originally ran thus: "Per. Peace be at your labour, honest fishermen," "The day is rough, and thwarts your occupation."
"2 Fish. Honest! good fellow, what's that? If it be not a day fits you, scratch it out of the calendar, and nobody will look after it."
The following speech of Pericles is equally abrupt and inconsequent :
"May see the sea hath cast upon your coast." The folio reads:
"' may see the sea hath cast me upon your coast."
I would rather suppose the poet wrote:
"Nay, see the sea hath cast upon your coast
Here the fisherman interposes. The prince then goes on: "A man" &c. Steevens.
May not here be an allusion to the dies honestissimus of Cicero! -"If you like the day, find it out in the almanack, and nobody will take it from you." Farmer.
The allusion is to the lucky and unlucky days which are put down in some of the old calendars. Douce.
Some difficulty, however, will remain, unless we suppose a preceding line to have been lost; for Pericles (as the text stands) has said nothing about the day. I suspect that in the lost line he wished the men a good day. Malone.
9 to cast thee in our way!] He is playing on the word cast, which anciently was used both in the sense of to throw, and to So, in Macbeth:
yet I made a shift to cast him." It is used in the latter sense above: "
till he cast bells &c.
For them to play upon,] So, in Sidney's Arcadia, Book V: "In such a shadow &c. mankind lives, that neither they know how to foresee, nor what to feare; and are, like tenis bals, tossed by the racket of the higher powers. Steevens,
our country of Greece, gets more with begging, than we can do with working.
2 Fish. Can'st thou catch any fishes then?
Per. I never practis'd it.
2 Fish. Nay, then thou wilt starve sure; for here 's nothing to be got now a-days, unless thou can'st fish for 't. Per. What I have been, I have forgot to know;
But what I am, want teaches me to think on;
1 Fish. Die quoth-a? Now gods forbid! I have a gown here; come, put it on;4 keep thee warm. Now, afore me, a handsome fellow !5 Come, thou shalt go home, and we 'll have flesh for holidays, fish for fasting-days, and moreo'er puddings and flap-jacks; and thou shalt be wel
2 A man shrunk up with cold:] Old copy.
A man throng'd up with cold;
I suspect that throng'd, which is the reading of all the copies, is corrupt. We might read:
A man shrunk up with cold;
(It might have been anciently written shronk.) So, in Cymbeline : "The shrinking slaves of winter The expression-shrunk up, is authorised by Pope in his ver sion of the 16th Iliad, 488:
"Shrunk up he sat, with wild and haggard eye,
"Nor stood to combat, nor had force to fly." Steevens. 3 For I am a man,] Old copy-for that I am. I omit that, which is equally unnecessary to sense and metre. So, in Othello: "Haply for I am black."
For is because. Steevens.
4 I have a gown here; &c.] In the prose history of Kynge Appolyn of Thyre, already quoted, the fisherman also gives him "one halfe of his blacke mantelle for to cover his body with." Steevens.
afore me, a handsome fellow!] So, in Twine's translation: "When the fisherman beheld the comlinesse and beautie of the yoong gentleman, he was mooved with compassion towardes him, and led him into his house, and feasted him with such fare as he presently had; and the more amplie to expresse his great affection, he disrobed himselfe of his poore and simple cloake &c.
flesh for holidays, fish for fasting-days, and moreo'er