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This stage, the ship', upon whose deck
Enter PERICLES, on a Ship at Sea. Per. Thou God of this great vast", rebuke these
surges, 9 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 the author.
It should be remembered that Pericles is supposed to speak from the deck. Lychorida, on whom he calls, is supposed to be in the cabin beneath. “This great vast' is 'this wide expanse.' See vol. i. p. 6, note 2. This speech is exhibited in so strange a form in the old editions, that it is here given to enable the reader to judge in what a corrupt state it has come down to us, and be induced to treat the attempts to restore it to integrity with indulgence :
• The God of this great vast, rebuke these surges,
Of my queenes travayles ? now Lychorida ?" Pericles, having called to Lychorida, without the power to make her hear on account of the tempest, at last with frantic peevishness addresses himself to it:
Thou storm thou! venemously 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 bis inquiries of Lychorida, but receiving no answer, concludes with a prayer for his queen.
Which wash both heaven and hell; and thou, that
hast Upon the winds command, bind them in brass, Having call’d them from the deep! O still thy
deafʼning, Thy dreadful thunders; gently quench thy nimble Sulphureous flashes !—0 how, Lychorida, How does my queen!—Thou storm, thou! venom
Enter LYCHORIDA, with an Infant.
queen. Per. How! how, Lychorida!
Lyc. Patience, good sir; do not assist the storm. Here's all that is left living of your queen,A little daughter; for the sake of it, Be manly, and take comfort. Per.
O you gods! Why do you make us love your goodly gifts, And snatch them straight away? We, here below, Recall not what we give, and therein may Vie 4 honour with you. Lyc.
Patience, good sir, Even for this charge. ? Maliciously.
3 i.e. who if it had thought.' 4 That is, 'contend with you in honour. The old copy reads, • Use honour with you.' See vol. iii. page 386, note 19.
Now, mild may be thy life! For a more blust'rous birth had never babe: Quiet and gentle thy conditions 5! For thou art the rudeliest welcom’d to this world, That e'er was prince's child. Happy what follows ! Thou hast as chiding ô a nativity, As fire, air, water, earth, and heaven can make, To herald thee from the womb: even at the first, Thy loss is more than can thy portage quit?, With all thou canst find here.--Now the good gods Throw their best eyes upon
it! Enter Two Sailors. 1 Sail. What courage, sir? God save you.
Per. Courage enough: I do not fear the flaw8; It hath done to me the worst. Yet, for the love Of this poor infant, this fresh-new sea-farer, I would, it would be quiet.
1 Sail. Slack the bolins 9 there; thou wilt not, wilt thou? Blow and split thyself.
2 Sail. But sea-room, an the brine and cloudy billow kiss the moon, I care not.
1 Sail. Sir, your queen must overboard; the sea works high, the wind is loud, and will not lie till the ship be cleared of the dead.
5 Conditions are qualities, dispositions of mind. See vol. i. p. 145, note 14.
6 i. e. as noisy a one. See vol. ii. p. 281, note 10.
? i. e. thou hast already lost more (by the death of thy mother) than thy safe arrival at the port of life can counterbalance, with all to boot that we can give thee. Portage is here used for conveyance into life.
8 A flaw is a stormy gust of wind. See Coriolanus, Act v. Sc. 3, note 20.
9 Bolins or bowlines are ropes by which the sails of a ship are governed when the wind is unfavourable: they are slackened when it is high. Thus in The Two Noble Kinsmen:
the wind is fair; Top the bowling.'
Per. That's your superstition.
1 Sail. Pardon us, sir; with us at sea it still hath been observed; and we are strong in custom 10. Therefore briefly yield her; for she must overboard straight.
Per. Be it as you think meet.—Most wretched
Lyc. Here she lies, sir.
10 The old copy reads, “strong in easterne.' The emendation is Mr. Boswell's.
11 Old copy, ‘in oare.'
• The air-remaining lamps.' The emendation is Malone's. The propriety of it will be evident if we recar to the author's leading thought, which is founded on the customs observed in the pomp of ancient sepulture. With old monuments and receptacles for the dead perpetual (i. e. aye-remaining) lamps were supposed to be lighted up. Thus Pope, in his Eloisa :
• Ab hopeless lasting flames, like those that burn
To light the dead, and warm th' unfruitful urn!' Instead of a monument erected over thy bones, and perpetual lamps to burn near them, the spouting whale shall oppress thee with his weight, and the mass of waters shall roll with low heavy murmur over thy head.'
13 The old copies have coffin. Pericles does not mean to bury his queen in this coffer (which was probably one lined with satin), but to take from thence the cloth of state, in which she was afterwards shrouded.
Upon the pillow: hie thee, whiles I say
[Exit LYCHORIDA. 2 Sail. Sir, we have a chest beneath the hatches, caulk'd and bitumed ready. Per. I thank thee. Mariner, say
what coast is this? 2 Sail. We are near Tharsus.
Per. Thither, gentle mariner,
Per. O make for Tharsus.
Enter CERIMON, a Servant, and some Persons who
have been shipwrecked. Cer. Philemon, ho!
lord call ? Cer. Get fire and meat for these poor men; It has been a turbulent and stormy night. Serv. I have been in many; but such a night as
this, Till now I ne'er endur'd.
Cer. Your master will be dead ere you return; There's nothing can be minister’d to nature,
9 • Change thy course, which is now for Tyrë, and go to Tharsus. VOL. IX.