The edition I'm using is the Yale Shakespeare, edited by Alfred R. Bellinger, Yale University Press, 1965. The editor's commentary is provided in a series of Appendices comprising 20 pages, from which these excerpts are taken:



The ultimate source of the story is undoubtedly a pagan Greek romance, probably by a writer of Asia Minor or Egypt, ...The story is laid in the time of Antiochus the Great (second century B. C.) The Greek original... is lost ... the original Latin version probably dates from the 5th century A.D....the main outline of the story is constant, and is that reproduced in Pericles, Prince of Tyre.

John Gower, an English poet, contemporary with Chaucer, wrote, about 1390, the Confessio Amantis (first printed by Caxton in 1483), a collection of tales illustrating the seven deadly sins. In the 8th book, which deals with lechery, occurs the case of Antiochus and his daughter, which serves as an introduction to the whole story of Apollonius...Gower is one of the immediate sources of the play; the other is the

"Patterne of Painefull Aduentures" Gathered into English by Laurence Twine Gentleman. Imprinted at London by William How, 1576." Twine was an Oxford graduate of some repute as a poet...his poetry has disappeared. No copies of the original edition are known to exist, but it was reprinted, once without date, and again in 1607.

As Gower had professed to follow Godfrey, so the play opens with an acknowledgment of Gower as its literary father...This announcement is made through the introduction of the poet himself, talking a villainous counterfeit Middle English as Chorus. Twine's novel furnished only a few passages... But there is some originality in the matter of names..., Most important of all, the prince himself, hitherto consistently known as Apollonius, becomes Pericles.



(This) begins with the following entry in the Stationers' Registers, in the year 1608

20 Maij

Entered [to Edward Blount] for his copie under thandes of Sir George Buck knight and Master Warden Seton A booke called The booke of Pericles prynze of Tyre vjd.

But Blount did not publish the play, for what reason cannot be determined. It was published in 1609 by Henry Gosson, in two quarto editions... The Quartos of 1609 were followed by another in 1611, a fourth in 1619, a fifth in 1630, which exhibits two varieties of title-page, and a sixth in 1635. Although excluded from the First Folio, of 1623, and the Second Folio, of 1632, it was included in the Third Folio of 1664...Pope rejected the play as spurious, and the next editor of a collective edition to publish it was Malone, in 1780. ...In 1784 two separate ... editions appeared... All editors since. except J, Keightly, in 1864, have printed it...

The text of the first Quartos is very corrupt. Not only are misprints common, but occasionally passages of prose are printed in lines like verse, and very often blank verse is run together like prose, ...or, divided without the slightest attention to meter. It seems likely that the source of the text was a short-hand copy, made at a performance. This would explain not only the confusion of prose and verse, but certain verbal errors as well... Whatever the source, it is sufficiently apparent that no qualified person reviewed the text before its first printing. Nor did it have the benefit of comparison with a correct copy thereafter, for the subsequent history of the text is a course of careless mistakes, varied with unintelligent corrections, until the last state thereof is worse than the first.

Stevens and Malone ... attacked the multitudinous problems with a praise-worthy courage and industry. ...every edition since their time has borne the marks of their learned labors. But... at times they restore rather what the dramatist ought to have written than what he did write...many passages in the Stevens-Malone editions are pretty certainly not what the author wrote, though they are unquestionably much smoother reading... many an unsound conjecture has received the sanction of continued repetition, and become an established part of the play....the critics do not always look for authority before they argue, and more than one ingenious deduction has been made from a conjecture mistaken for a fact.

The first edition presupposes that the play had already been acted...The first reference to it was in 1609, in an anonymous rhyme...the reference of Ben Jonson in "Come leave the loathed stage" to "some mouldy tale like Pericles" ... the couplet from Dryden's prologue to Davenant's Circe:

Shakespeare's own Muse her Pericles first bore,

The Prince of Tyre was older than the Moore.

Dryden, then, explained the defects of the piece on the grounds of Shakespeare's inexperience. In this he was wrong.

My comment:

The Yale editor contradicts Dryden without saying why, I find this a remarkable statement given the many uncertainties surrounding the play.



During the first century of the play's life, no doubt of its authenticity was expressed except by its exclusion from the First and Second Folios.

My comment:

I suggest this is another unsupported assumption. It might have been excluded simply because the printers could not get access to a copy. Or, it could be that they looked at it and decided it was in too poor a state to be worth their time and trouble to put it in shape for proper publication. But to continue with the quotations from the Appendix:

Rowe included it in his edition of 1709, but it was rejected by Pope as spurious and that view prevailed until Malone, in 1780, in his supplement to Steevens' Shakespeare of 1778, argued that it was a genuine, though youthful, production of Shakespeare. Steevens at first dissented, but finally in 1790, adopted the theory of a double authorship. With few exceptions, scholars have now agreed that Pericles is only partly the work of Shakespeare, and it is included among his later plays. This leaves three questions for discussion: 1. How much of it is attributable to Shakespeare? 2. Who wrote the rest? 3. Did Shakespeare's contribution precede or follow the work of the other author or authors?

1. The general opinion is that the largely or wholly Shakespearean part begins with Act 3 scene 1, that is, that he is the author of the portion dealing with the fortunes of Marina.... but there is still divergence of opinion as to whether Shakespeare ... wrote all of the last three ... The brothel scenes are generally held to be by a second or even a third hand. ... extreme measures would be necessary to take all the objectionable scenes out of Shakespeare, and a candid reading of the ones in this play will show that there is considerable restraint about them, as well as a definite purpose; the illustration of Marina's virtue by the blackness of her surroundings. There are ... definitely Shakespearean touches in such quantity that it is rather the part of prejudice than of scholarship to deny his authorship of them. The only other portion whose authenticity is denied is the vision of Diana (5.1.241-250). Fleay regarded it as spurious, like the vision in Cymbeline, 5.4. and most editors have quoted him with approval. But (in Pericles) the episode cannot be interpolated, for it occurs in the sources and is certainly essential to the plot...Our conclusion, then. is that Shakespeare is responsible for occasional passages of the first two acts, and for practically all the rest of the play, excepting the tetrameter Gower choruses.

2. Setting aside, for the moment, the brothel scenes, there are two serious contestants for the authorship of the rest of the play: George Wilkins and Thomas Heywood....the arguments... in the end, go rather to prove that Heywood could have written Pericles than that he did. The question cannot be considered settled until other possibilities have been examined as exhaustively as Wilkins and Heywood, but, at present, the weight of evidence is still in favor of the former.

The brothel scenes are considered as a separate problem by those who regard them as non-Shakespearean... suggested... Rowley,,,, Dekker ...Chapman ... of course if we admit the scenes to be Shakespeare's, the problem disappears.

3. Sykes, ... Steevens ... and Coleridge ... believe(d) Pericles to be a revision by Shakespeare of another's play.... A bolder theory, but one with many advocates ... that Shakespeare originally wrote The Story of Marina - that is, the greater part of the last three acts, and then laid it aside, for some reason or other, when it was completed by Wilkins and Rowley. ...Surely the natural explanation is the right one, and we have here, ... an illustration of the way in which Shakespeare handled a piece he had to refit for representation.

My comments:

On the Web I found a more recent comment (1991):

The first two acts of Pericles it is generally agreed are not by Shakespeare at all.

Sidney Lee, described as a pillar of Stratfordian orthodoxy, believed that Shakespeare reverted (in 1607) to his earlier habit of collaboration and with another's aid composed two dramas - Timon of Athens and Pericles.

From all this information and opinion by scholars the facts seem to be:

1. No one knows when the play was written.

2. No evidence is given to show that the name Shakespeare was included in the title pages of the early Quarto printed editions, so apparently it was not.

3. Scholarly opinion seems to be divided as to whether Pericles is someone else's play worked on by Shakespeare or the other way around.

4. Some parts of the play are regarded by scholars as sub-standard for Shakespeare, which is why joint or partial authorship is suggested with various names put forward for the 2nd author(s).

5. All the sources were available long before de Vere's death.

6. Pericles was (badly) printed in Quarto several times. There was a Stationers' Registers entry in 1608. The Quartos began in 1609.

7. The play has been expurgated a number of times in printing or performance because it involves scenes in a brothel.

8. The text is in atrocious condition. No one knows why. It has been amended and even rewritten in parts by later editors.

9. Some earlier writers and editors thought Pericles was an early play; now the consensus is that it is a late play.

It seems to me that the poor level of the composition of some of the play suggests that it began as an early play, was picked up later for revision, but after that was abandoned as the author's interest in the theme had subsided.

If the play was by de Vere, and there is no reason given to exclude this, the dating of the play's known appearance in 1608 may once again reflect Elizabeth Trentham's clearing out of her King's Place mansion which she sold to Fulke Greville in 1609. She may have then turned over to a printer or publisher a number of incomplete and other manuscripts such as the Sonnets and Triolus and Cressida, considered too personal or revealing for publication earlier. She herself died 3-4 years later apparently in seclusion. Her son Henry was about 15 at the time they left King's Place.

As the edited edition of Pericles we're using doesn't give a synopsis of the play's plot, here's a summary:

Act 1 Scene1

Antiochus, King of Antioch, whose wife has died, has a beautiful daughter that many a prince seeks to marry. The king has devised a riddle for would-be suitors. If solved, the daughter is theirs. If not solved, their lives are forfeit, as has happened to many. The riddle given in the play says:

I am no viper, yet I feed

On mother's flesh which did me breed.

I sought a husband, in which labour

I found that kindness in a father.

He's father, son, and husband mild;

I mother, wife, and yet his child.

How this may be, and yet in two,

As you will live, resolve it you.

Pericles, Prince of Tyre, is at Antioch to take up the challenge. He reads the strange riddle and realizes at once it means the king is incestuous with his daughter. Pericles now wants no part of her as 'soiled goods' but guesses that his life will be forfeit anyway if he solves the riddle. Pericles says nothing, except that he's changed his mind about trying to solve the riddle. Antiochus correctly deduces that Pericles has solved it, but gives him 40 days to give his answer. They all leave except Pericles who comments

...Murder's as near to lust as flame to smoke.

Poison and treasure are the hands of sin, ...

Then, lest my life be cropp'd to keep you clear,

By flight I'll shun the danger which I fear.

Pericles leaves and Antiochus re-enters:


He hath found the meaning,

For which we mean to have his head.

He gives his trusted 'servant of our chamber" Lord Thaliard poison and gold to kill Pericles. Thaliard replies

My Lord,

'Tis done.

A messenger comes in: Pericles is fled. The king tells Thaliard never to return 'unless thou say Prince Pericles is dead.' Thaliard says

My Lord, if I can get him within my pistol's length I'll make him sure enough...

My comments:

I suggest this first scene is well enough done and is early Shakespeare. If it's young de Vere writing it, at his age he's curious about sex and is investigating it in all its aspects. Here he has a story about incest and prostitution. At this early age he was steeped in classical literature as part of his education, so knew the story. As to the obvious anachronism about the pistol in ancient Greece and Rome, he would probably have said the play is for an Elizabethan audience, not ancient Greeks or Romans..

Scene 2

Pericles is now back at Tyre in his own palace. He's concerned Antiochus with a larger kingdom will overpower his own puny state. Pericles tells the whole story to his trusted elder advisor, Lord Helicanus who says

Go travel for a while

Till that his rage and anger be forgot

Or till the Destinies do cut his thread of life.

Helicanus promises to rule faithfully for him

Pericles: Tarsus intend my travel,,,

Scene 3

Lord Thaliard arrives at the court of Pericles and hears Helicanus announce to the Lords of Tyre that Pericles has returned from Antioch where the king apparently for some reason took 'some displeasure at him' and to show his sorrow he's taken to sea to 'correct himself.'

Thaliard announces himself and is offered a feast before returning to Antioch with his 'message' for Pericles undelivered,

My comments:

The plot is moving along at good speed. I see no reason to say this is not Shakespeare, but on reading it appears a bit rough in preparation. It seems unpolished, like a first draft work.

Scene 4

Tarsus - the Governor's house. The Governor Cleon and his wife and others discuss their situation. Cleon says how thriving and prosperous his city was:

Whose towers bore heads so high they kiss'd the clouds.

Now they have hunger and many sick, the living have scarcely strength to bury the dead. Pericles comes with a fleet of ships and food for them, in friendship. They are very grateful.

End of Act 1.

Act 2 scene 1

(The Gower 'chorus' tells us that while at Tarsus Pericles received a letter from Helicanus saying Thaliard had come to Tyre to kill him, and advising him to leave Tarsus, which Pericles does, but he sails into a terrible storm.)

Pericles enters, wet. He describes how he lost everything at sea, ships and men.

Three fishermen come in and talk about their work. They mention their king Simonides who has a fair daughter, her birthday, and princes and knights come from all parts of the world to joust at tourney for her love. The court is a half day's journey away, and their country is Greece. Pericles hears this. They talk to Pericles, and offer him food and shelter.

The fishermen find some rusty armour in their nets. It's the suit of armour given Pericles by his father. The second fisherman says he'll give Pericles his best gown and lead him to the Court. They ask to be remembered by Pericles if he succeeds.

My comments:

I suggest this is more very early unpolished Shakespeare. It moves along at a good pace. He may not have revised it later because the piece about the armour is a bit far-fetched, yet is essential to the plot as he's re-written it.

Scene 2.

Pentapolis: near the lists, with a pavilion for the king and his court.

Various knights pass before the king and his daughter. She recites the motto of each of the first few knights and identifies their provenance: Sparta, Macedon, Antioch, then Pericles as the 6th knight. The king comments on his 'graceful courtesy' and 'dejected state,' the daughter Thaisa says he seems to be a stranger and a Lord speaks of his rusty armour.

The king and party withdraw; great shouts within: 'the mean knight'

My comments:

This was a natural scene for de Vere. He was a champion and expert in the jousts in the lists at tourneys held for the Queen's entertainment.. It's an anachronism for ancient Greece and Rome.

Scene 3

Enter the king, his daughter Thaisa, the Court, and knights from tilting.

Thaisa gives a wreath of victory to Pericles and crowns him 'king of the days happiness.' The king and his daughter want to know who he is and Pericles tells them he's a gentleman of Tyre and his name is Pericles. They feast, then dance, the king says it's too late to talk of love, which he knows is why they're all there. They retire for the night. Pericles is granted accommodation next to the king.

Scene 4.

Tyre. The Governor's house.

Helicanus tells another Lord that when Antiochus was seated in a chariot and his daughter with him :

A fire from heaven came and shrivell'd up

Their bodies, even to loathing.. Sin had his reward.

The Lords want Helicanus to become king as no one knows where Pericles is. They'll go to look for him, meanwhile.

Scene 5

Pentapolis: the palace.

Simonides' daughter Thaisa tells him in a letter she'll only marry the 'stranger knight.' Simonides agrees with her choice. Pericles comes in.

Simonides thanks Pericles for the sweet music last night. Then he asks what do you think of my daughter. Pericles says she is virtuous and fair. The king accuses Pericles of bewitching his daughter and calls him a traitor. Pericles stands up to the king and denies it. Thasia comes in. The king asks if they love one another.

They do. He gives his blessing and says 'I will see you wed.'


Scene 1

Pericles has heard of the death of Antiochus and his daughter. He's now on shipboard with his Queen, headed for Tyre. A terrible storm comes. He calls on the gods to 'rebuke these surges' The nurse Lychorida enters with an infant. The Queen is dead, apparently in childbirth. Sailors come in, say the dead Queen must go overboard, the storm won't abate until the ship is cleared of the dead. Pericles protests, but eventually the sailors have their way. The Queen is thrown overboard in a sealed chest with gold, jewels and explanatory letter from Pericles. They are near Tarsus. Pericles says make for it, He'll leave the infant there, as it can't survive the sea voyage to Tyre.

Scene 2.

Ephesus, Cerimon's house, near the cliffs. 2 gentlemen who live there come in and say the weather is terrible, Cerimon says he's 'studied physic', through which he's become familiar with the blest infusions that dwell in vegetatives, in metals, stones...Servants bring in a chest. They open it and find Pericles' note saying it's the body of his queen who died at sea. Cerimon brings her back to life, she asks 'where am I?' They carry her out to the next chamber.

Scene 3

Tarsus: Cleon's house.

Enter Pericles, Cleon, Dionyza, his wife and Lychorida the nurse with the infant Marina in her arms. Pericles says he must get back to Tyre. He is leaving Marina and her nurse to their care. They think Pericles' Queen is drowned.

Scene 4.

Enter Cerimon and Pericles' wife, Queen Thaisa.

She assumes Pericles is lost, and will go to Dian's temple 'not distant far' and 'a vestal livery will I take me to, and never more have joy.'

This is at Ephesus.


(We need the Gower 'chorus' here. He tells us Pericles is back in Tyre, his Queen at Ephesus and their daughter Marina is at Tarsus. She is trained by Cleon in music and letters. She has education and grace. But Cleon has a daughter named Philoten who contends in skill 'with absolute Marina' as a crow might vie with a dove for 'feathers white.' Cleon's wife plans to murder Marina.)

Scene 1

Dionyza (Cleon's wife) to Leonine

Thy oath remember; thou hast sworn to do't

'Tis but a blow, which never shall be known,

Marina enters, sorrowing for the death of her nurse. Dionyza tells her to take a walk with Leonine for her health's sake. Marina finally agrees, does walk with Leonine, along near the sea shore cliffs, as instructed. He tells her he has to kill her. She says she's never hurt Dionyza or anyone or anything else. Then pirates burst in, seize Marina and Leonine runs away.

Scene 2

A brothel at Mytilene.

Enter Pandar, Bawd and Boult. They complain they are short of 'creatures' with Mytilene full of gallants. They must search for more

we were never so much out of creatures, we have but poor 3, and they can do no more than they can do...

the pirates come in with Marina. The brothel keepers get Marina for 1000 pieces to be paid later. Bawd and Boult talk about the customers and to Marina as to her duties. The scene ends with her saying

If fires be hot, knives sharp or water deep,

Untied I still my virgin knot will keep.

Diana aid my purpose.

Scene 3

Tarsus, Cleon's house.

Cleon tells his wife what a terrible thing she's done, he'd give anything to undo it:

What can'st thou say

When noble Pericles shall demand his child?


That she is dead...

She died at night. I'll say so. Who can cross it?

Scene 4

Before Marina's monument at Tarsus.

(The Gower 'chorus' tells us Pericles is now again on 'the wayward seas'

Attended on by many a lord and knight,

To see his daughter, all his life's delight.

A dumb show represents Pericles being shown the monument to Marina, Pericles laments, puts on sackcloth, and in a mighty passion departs.

Pericles rides out another terrible tempest at sea,

Gower says think you now are all in Mytilene.

Scene 5

Mytilene. A street before the brothel.

2 gentlemen come from the brothel

First gent.

to have divinity preach'd there! ...

I'll do anything now that is virtuous;

but I am out of the road of rutting for ever.

Second gent.

I am for no more bawdy houses.

Scene 6.

Mytilene. A room in the brothel.

Enter Pandar, Bawd and Boult.

They agree they'd be better off without Marina. She would make a good person out of the devil.


Here comes the Lord Lysimachus disguised.

(He's the governor of the country.)

He's introduced to Marina as a virgin and left alone with her.

She lectures him.

He gives her gold and says

'Had I brought hither a corrupted mind,

Thy speech had altered it,...

He leaves.

Bawd tells Boult to take Marina away and ravish her.

Marina gives Boult gold and says she can sing, weave, sew, and dance and can teach these things.

Boult says he'll have to check with his master and mistress, they may agree.


(The Gower 'chorus'

Marina thus the brothel scapes and chances

Into an honest house, ...

Pericles in the storm is driven ashore at Mytilene, His ship is now at anchor there.

Lysimachus, the Governor, sees the Tyrian ship and embarks to meet it.)

Scene 1.

On board Pericles' ship

Lysimachus comes aboard. He's greeted by Helicanus (who came with Pericles.) They exchange information as to who they are.

The king of Tyre has not spoken to anyone for 3 months, because of his grief at the loss of his beloved daughter and wife.

Lysimachus wants to see him.

First Lord:

Sir, we have a maid in Mytilene, I durst wager,

Would win some words of him...

Lysimachus agrees. Helicanus offers gold in exchange for fresh provisions.

The first Lord comes back with Marina. She is taken in to see Pericles,

Marina tells Pericles she's suffered just as much as he has.

Pericles seems to recognize glimpses of his lost wife in Marina, and asks where she's from, They talk. Marina tells him her story. He realizes she's his daughter, is overjoyed, then sleeps.

The goddess Diana appears to Pericles in a vision. She tells him to go to the Ephesus temple and sacrifice upon the altar. There reveal how you lost your wife at sea. Awake, and tell thy dream.

Pericles wakes up and calls them all in.

Scene 2

Ephesus, before the temple of Diana.

(Gower's 'chorus')

The regent in Mytilene is promised to be wived to fair Marina; but not until he has completed his sacrifice to Diana at Ephesus.

Scene 3.

Ephesus, the temple of Diana

Thaisa standing before the altar as High Priestess

enter Pericles with his train including Marina.

He announces himself as King of Tyre and tells the story of the loss of his wife and Cleon's attempt to murder Marina, now restored to him. Thaisa swoons. Cerimon tells Pericles

Noble sir,

If you here told Diana's altar true,

This is your wife.

Thaisa shows a ring, which Pericles recognizes.

All 3 are reunited now.

Gower has the last moralizing words which include

Antiochus and his daughter received their just reward for their monstrous lust.

Pericles, his Queen and daughter

'Although assail'd with fortune fierce and keen,

Virtue preserv'd from fell destruction's blast,

Led on by heaven, and crown'd with joy at last ...

In Helicanus may you well descry

A figure of truth, of faith, of loyalty...

For reverend Cerimon there well appears

The worth that learned charity aye wears

For wicked Cleon and his wife, when fame

Had spread their cursed deed, and honour'd name

Of Pericles, to rage the city turn,

That him and his they in his palace burn...

My Comments:

This is quite a story. No wonder it's survived for over 2 thousand years. My impression on reading this play is that it is one of the, if not the, earliest written by de Vere, if de Vere is Shakespeare. My reasoning is:

1. The use of Gower as a 'chorus' throughout is typical of older dramatic work. The first play in blank verse, from over a generation earlier: Gorboduc, by Sackville and Norton (chapter 22) had a chorus. Shakespeare in his maturity did not need such artifices. He merely dropped a few words in the mouths of his characters which gave the audience what they needed to know to understand where the plot of the play was going.

2. The use of dumb shows. This seems to relate back to masques and miracle plays. Perhaps this type of entertainment ultimately developed with music into ballet.

3. The use of Diana as a vision. This is another artificial technique dispensed with by a more mature Shakespeare.

4. The play is to my mind by Shakespeare. It shows the characteristics of his plays: an absorbing plot, the action moves along quickly, there are no unnecessarily long speeches.

5. I'm ignoring all dating and evidence based on scansion, metre, and so on as the condition of the text is in my view too poor to justify this type of evidence. I'm not alone in thinking it an early play. Dryden, and Malone thought so, and Pope thought it spurious, which means he didn't think it was mature Shakespeare.

6. I suggest the play is a youthful product because there is no character development even in Pericles and Marina. All the major roles lack individualization. They merely act out their parts and inter-act intellectually. They are cast as morally either good or bad. They are not, in my view, real people. The dramatist has insufficient life experience to create living beings with whom we can empathize..

7. Incidents like jousting and pirates were within the personal experience of the author, if de Vere, and so were fitted into the plot. The fishermen finding a suit of armour in their nets is not in Gower, where the competition was in unspecified games performed naked, as was the case in ancient Greece. But de Vere, if Shakespeare, goes into some detail. The mottoes of some knights are recited. This was very familiar ground for a former champion and expert at the lists, although it's an anachronism not in Gower. De Vere was robbed by pirates in the Channel during his return home from France.

8. If by de Vere, it would probably have been first written soon after his return from Europe. It was in Venice which he made his base for touring Italy that we have evidence for his contact with a courtesan. We know historically that Venice was slowly becoming another Sybaris. If you have over 11,600 call girls in a city of 100,000 something is not quite right.

9. The author showed some refinement of taste. He took his audience to the edge of life in a brothel but did not soil his heroine.

10. The whole play is concerned with heads of state and their families. A nurse, a brothel, pirates, seamen, fishermen, flit across the pages, but are looked at from above their level. Gower is more middle class in his writing. One of Gower's characters is a wealthy burgher, not a head of state, as in de Vere, if he's Shakespeare.

11. If by de Vere, I don't think anyone else contributed to this play, but for whatever reason it was put aside and may not even have been presented early on at Court, as it is. Later in life he may not have liked the chorus and dumb shows. But bearing in mind that he became lame with a lame hand it may have been too much for him to bother rewriting it with all these elements removed.

12. There are loose ends. For example, the Governor of Mytilene goes to a brothel where he is well known though in disguise, but yet at the end of the play he is to become the spouse of Marina, the spotless virgin and daughter of Pericles. I didn't notice his going to the brothel in Gower. (But here's an unrelated line, 494 from Book 8 of Gower:

Thus sodeinliche is fro ous went

which I transcribe as: Then suddenly has from us gone.)

You can see Gower even in modern print style is not exactly an easy read.

13. I did not find reference to a faithful Lord such as Helicanus in Gower, but de Vere had several such faithful servants in his lifetime.

14. After de Vere's demise, the play seems to have quickly found its way from a very poor manuscript into print and popular production. Probably it was part of the miscellaneous works passed on by Elizabeth Trentham in about 1608. Salacious material always sells well, and Shakespeare seems to have had a penchant for it.

My conclusion: there is no factual evidence to show that de Vere did not write this play; in fact there's internal evidence that some of his youthful life experiences are written into it.

In the next chapter we'll look at another 'posthumous' play, Cymbeline. After that The Winter's Tale and then The Tempest.

To Chapter 30 To Chapter 32

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