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Pericles, Prince of Tyre
The Complete Annotated Text on One Page
Annotations by Michael J. Cummings
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The following version of Pericles, Prince of Tyre is based on the text in the authoritative 1914 Oxford Edition of Shakespeare's works, edited by W. J. Craig. The text numbers the lines, including those with stage directions such as "Enter" and "Exit." Annotations (notes and definitions) appear in boldfaced type within the text. The character list includes descriptions and comments that did not appear in the original manuscript of the play.
Pericles: Ruler of Tyre. Although the title identifies him as a prince, Acts 3-5 refer to him as a king. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines a prince as (1a) "a monarch or king," (1b) "the ruler of a principality or state," and (2) "a male member of a royal family, especially a son of the sovereign." The Cambridge Dictionary says a prince is "a member of a royal family, especially the son of a king or queen," but notes that a prince may also be "the male ruler of a small country." Pericles, thus, is a princely king, or a kingly prince, as ruler of Tyre. He is an upright man who travels to Antioch to bid for the hand of a young lady of renowned beauty, the daughter of King Antiochus. But after learning a dark secret that the king has long concealed—his incestual relationship with his daughter— Pericles leaves the city out of fear that Antiochus will order henchmen to murder him to prevent him from revealing the secret. So begins an odyssey that tests Pericles to the limits of human endurance, exposing him to extreme peril, heartache, loss—and to the sublime joy of reuniting with loved ones he thought he would never see again.
Antiochus: King of Antioch. He is an evil man who beds his own daughter.
Daughter of Antiochus: Beautiful young woman whom the king reserves for himself. It appears that she willingly participates in incest.
Helicanus: Lord of Tyre and a loyal supporter of Pericles. He operates the government of Tyre in the absence of Pericles.
Escanes: Another lord of Tyre.
Simonides: King of Pentapolis. He holds a jousting tournament in which Pericles participates. Unlike Antiochus, Simonides is a just and upright ruler.
Thaisa: Princess Thaisa is the daughter of Simonides. Pericles wins her hand while sojourning in Pentapolis.
Marina: Beautiful and virtuous daughter of Pericles and Thaisa. She was born on a ship at sea during a violent storm. Her name is derived from mare (pronounced MAR ay), the Latin word for sea.
Lychorida: Nurse of Marina.
Cleon: Governor of Tarsus.
Dionyza: Wife of Cleon.
Philoten: Daughter of Cleon and Dionyza.
Lysimachus: Governor of Mytilene.
Cerimon: A physician and lord of Ephesus.
Thaliard: A lord of Antioch who readily accepts a commission to assassinate Pericles.
Philemon: Servant of Cerimon.
Leonine: Servant of Dionyza.
Gower: John Gower, the author of a Middle English version of the ancient story on which Shakespeare's play is based. Gower (1330-1408) says he has come back to life to comment on the action in the play. He presents a prologue at the beginning of each act; he also speaks a monologue in the fourth scene of Act 4 and another one in the second scene of Act 5. At the end of the play, he presents an epilogue.
A Pandar: (also spelled pander): Owner of a brothel in Mytilene. He also acts as a procurer, or pimp.
A Bawd: Manager of the brothel and wife of the pandar.
Boult: The servant of the pandar and the bawd.
Valdes: Pirate leader. He has no speaking part.
Minor Characters: Lords, attendants, servants, gentlemen, sailors, pirates, fishermen, messengers.
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
The Complete Annotated Text
Act 1, Prologue: Before the palace of Antioch.
Act 1, Scene 1: Antioch. A room in the palace.
Act 1, Scene 2: Tyre. A room in the palace.
Act 1, Scene 3: Tyre. An antechamber in the palace.
Act 1, Scene 4: Tarsus. A room in the Governor's house.
Act 2, Prologue.
Act 2, Scene 1: Pentapolis. An open place by the seaside.
Act 2, Scene 2: Pentapolis. A public way. Platform leading to the jousting field. A pavilion near it, for the King, Princess, Ladies, Lords, etc.
Act 2, Scene 3: Pentapolis. A hall of state. A banquet prepared.
Act 2, Scene 4: Tyre. A room in the governor's house.
Act 2, Scene 5: Tyre. A room in the palace.
Act 3, Prologue.
Act 3, Scene 1: On a ship.
Act 3, Scene 2: Ephesus. A room in Cerimon's house.
Act 3, Scene 3. Tarsus. A room in Cleon's house.
Act 3. Scene 4. Ephesus. A room in Cerimon's house.
Act 4. Prologue.
Act 4, Scene 1: Tarsus. An open place near the seashore.
Act 4, Scene 2: Mitylene. A room in a brothel.
Act 4, Scene 3: Tarsus. A room in Cleon's house.
Act 4, Scene 4: Tarsus. Before the monument of Marina.
Act 4, Scene 5: Mitylene. A street before the brothel.
Act 4, Scene 6: Mitylene. A room in the brothel.
Act 5, Prologue.
Act 5, Scene 1: On board Pericles's ship, off Mitylene.
Act 5, Scene 2: Ephesus. Before the Temple of Diana.
Act 5, Scene 3: Ephesus. The Temple of Diana; Thaisa standing near the altar, as high priestess.
Act 1, Prologue.
Before the palace of Antioch. 1
[An actor comes onstage and introduces himself as Gower. It was clear in Shakespeare's time that Gower was John Gower (1330-1408), author of a Middle English version of the ancient story on which Shakespeare based Pericles. Gower says he has come back to life to comment on the action in the play. He presents a prologue at the beginning of each act; he also speaks a monologue in the fourth scene of Act 4 and another one in the second scene of Act 5. At the end of the play, he presents an epilogue.]
To sing a song that old was sung,
From ashes ancient Gower is come,
Assuming man’s infirmities, 5
To glad your ear, and please your eyes.
[2-6: I, John Gower, have come back from the dead, assuming human form with all of its infirmities, to present on this stage an old story that will please your ears in hearing it and please your eyes in seeing it.]
It hath been sung at festivals,
On ember-eves, and holy-ales;
And lords and ladies in their lives
Have read it for restoratives: 10
[8, ember-eves: An ember eve was the day preceding an ember day. In Roman Catholic and Anglican traditions, ember days were special occasions set aside for prayer, fasting, and ordaining clergy. These days were the Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays after December 13 (the feast day of St. Lucia, or Lucy), after Ash Wednesday, after Pentecost, and after September 14 (the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.]
[8, holy-ales: Ale-drinking festivals to raise money for alms and church needs.]
The purchase [gain; reason] is to make men glorious;
Et bonum quo antiquius, eo melius
[11-12: I am presenting this story to teach you how to lead a glorious, morally upright life. It is an old story. But, as a Latin saying puts it, the older a good thing gets, the better it becomes.]
If you, born in these latter [recent] times,
When wit’s more ripe, accept my rimes,
And that to hear an old man sing 15
May to your wishes pleasure bring,
I life would wish, and that I might
Waste it for you like taper-light.
[13-18: Because you were born in these recent times, you are more sophisticated than people of generations ago. Nevertheless, if you accept me as an old storyteller who speaks in rhymes, I will act as a candle to light the stage and to enlighten your mind as I tell my tale.]
This Antioch, then, Antiochus the Great
Built up, this city, for his chiefest seat, 20
The fairest in all Syria,
I tell you what mine authors say:
[19-22: This King Antiochus the Great built a city named Antioch as his capital. It was the fairest city in all of Syria. Here is what the authors of an ancient tale said about him.]
This king unto him took a fere [spouse],
Who died and left a female heir,
So buxom, blithe, and full of face 25
As heaven had lent her all his grace;
With whom the father liking took,
And her to incest did provoke.
Bad child, worse father! to entice his own
To evil should be done by none. 30
By custom what they did begin
Was with long use account no sin.
[They committed their evil act so often that they no longer thought of it as a sin.]
The beauty of this sinful dame
Made many princes thither frame [go there],
To seek her as a bed-fellow, 35
In marriage-pleasures play-fellow:
Which to prevent, he [Antiochus] made a law,
To keep her still [To keep her for himself], and men in awe,
That whoso ask’d her for his wife,
His riddle told not, lost his life: 40
[39-40: That whoever wanted to marry her lost his life if he could not solve a riddle:]
So for her many a wight [man] did die,
As yon grim looks [As those decapitated heads on display here] do testify.
What now ensues, to the judgment of your eye
I give, my cause who best can justify. [Exit.
[43-44: I now present the events of the story. Judge for yourselves whether they deserve the attention I am giving them.]
Act 1, Scene 1
Antioch. A room in the palace.
Enter ANTIOCHUS, PERICLES, and Attendants.
ANTIOCHUS: Young Prince of Tyre, you have at large receiv’d [you have already heard about]
The danger of the task you undertake.
PERICLES: I have, Antiochus, and, with a soul 5
Embolden’d with the glory of her praise [the glory of the praise your daughter has received],
Think death no hazard in this enterprise.
ANTIOCHUS: Bring in our daughter, clothed like a bride,
For the embracements even of Jove himself;
At whose conception, till Lucina reign’d, 10
Nature this dowry gave, to glad her presence,
The senate-house of planets all did sit,
To knit in her their best perfections. [Music.
[8-13: Bring in my daughter who, in her bridal clothes, is worthy even of Jove himself. When she was conceived under the protection of Lucina, the goddess of childbirth, nature gave her this dowry: a beauty beyond compare knitted together by all the planets working together.]
Enter the Daughter of ANTIOCHUS.
PERICLES: See, where she comes apparell’d like the spring, 15
Graces her subjects, and her thoughts the king
Of every virtue gives renown to men!
[15-17: See, here she comes dressed like spring. She walks with every grace and every virtue, making her renowned among men.]
Her face the book of praises, where is read
Nothing but curious pleasures, as from thence
Sorrow were ever raz’d [No one experience sorrow in her presence], and testy wrath 20
Could never be her mild companion.
[18-21: You can read in her beautiful face the promise of titillating pleasures absent of sorrow. Wrath could never be a companion of a creature so refined and delicate.]
You gods, that made me man, and sway in love,
That hath inflam’d desire in my breast
To taste the fruit of yon celestial tree
Or die in the adventure, be my helps, 25
As I am son and servant to your will,
To compass such a boundless happiness!
[22-27: You gods—who made me a man inflamed with desire to taste the fruit of this heavenly tree, or die trying—help me as a son and servant to your will to win the boundless happiness of being with her. (Here, Pericles appears to be alluding to Adam, who tasted the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.)]
ANTIOCHUS: Prince Pericles,—
PERICLES: That would be son [son-in-law] to great Antiochus.
ANTIOCHUS: Before thee stands this fair Hesperides, 30
With golden fruit, but dangerous to be touch’d;
For death-like dragons here affright thee hard:
[30-32: Antiochus compares his daughter to one of the Hesperides, nymphs who kept watch with a dragon over golden apples growing in a garden near the Atlas Mountains of North Africa. Antiochus is saying, in effect, that if Pericles wishes to win his daughter and taste the golden fruit, he will have to risk his life in the attempt.]
Her face, like heaven, enticeth thee to view
Her countless glory, which desert must gain [which you can gain only if you prove you deserve her];
And which, without desert [without deserving her], because thine eye 35
Presumes to reach, all thy whole heap must die.
Yon sometime famous princes, like thyself, [yonder are the heads of famous princes, who, like you,]
Drawn by report [attracted by stories about her], adventurous by desire,
Tell thee with speechless tongues and semblance [face] pale,
That without covering [burial], save yon field of stars, 40
They here stand martyrs, slain in Cupid’s wars;
And with dead cheeks advise thee to desist
For going [From walking] on death’s net, whom none resist.
PERICLES: Antiochus, I thank thee, who hath taught
My frail mortality to know itself, 45
And by those fearful objects [the decapitated heads] to prepare
This body, like to them, to what I must;
For death remember’d should be like a mirror,
Who tells us life’s but breath, to trust it error [which, when breathed on, reveals a mist that quickly disappears; to trust it is an error].
I’ll make my will then; and as sick men do, 50
Who know the world, see heaven, but feeling woe,
Gripe not at earthly joys as erst [formerly] they did:
So I bequeath a happy peace to you
And all good men, as every prince should do;
My riches [I bequeath my body and all that I have] to the earth from whence they came, [To the Daughter of ANTIOCHUS. 55
But [I leave] my unspotted fire of love to you.
Thus ready for the way of life or death,
I wait the sharpest blow.
ANTIOCHUS: Scorning advice, read the conclusion then;
Which read and not expounded, ’tis decreed, 60
As these before thee thou thyself shalt bleed.
[59-61: Since you scorn my advice, I will now tell you to read the riddle. If you cannot solve it, you will die like those before you who failed at this task.]
Daugh. Of all say’d yet, mayst thou prove prosperous!
Of all say’d yet, I wish thee happiness!
[62-63: Of all who tried so far, may you prove successful! I wish you happiness!]
PERICLES: Like a bold champion, I assume the lists [Like a bold jousting champion, I enter the field],
Nor [But do not] ask advice of any other thought 65
But faithfulness and courage.
[Pericles reads the riddle.]
I am no viper, yet I feed[Aside.] Sharp physic is the last: but, O you powers!
That give heaven countless eyes to view men’s acts,
Why cloud they not their sights perpetually,
If this be true, which makes me pale to read it? 70
[67-70: The last part of the riddle speaks of a sickening sight. O you powers that allow countless eyes in the heavens to see what men do, why do you not forever prevent the heavens from seeing this evil sight? I become pale when I read about it.]
Fair glass of light, I lov’d you, and could still,
Were not this glorious casket stor’d with ill:
[71-72: Bright-shining lady, I loved you. I still could if your beauty were not sullied with the ugliness of sin.]
But I must tell you now my thoughts revolt;
For he’s no man on whom perfections wait
That, knowing sin within, will touch the gate. 75
[73-75: Now I must tell you that my thoughts revolt against the idea of marrying you. I would not be a good man if I opened the gate to a sinful place.]
You’re a fair viol, and your sense the strings,
Who, finger’d to make men his lawful music,
Would draw heaven down and all the gods to hearken;
[76-78: You are a beautiful stringed instrument, a viol. If you had a husband who fingered your strings, the heavens would listen attentively.]
But being play’d upon before your time [But you have already lost your virginity],
Hell only danceth at so harsh a chime. 80
Good sooth [In truth], I care not for you.
ANTIOCHUS: Prince Pericles, touch not, upon thy life [Prince Pericles, you will die if you touch her],
For that’s an article within our law,
As dangerous as the rest. Your time’s expir’d:
Either expound [solve the riddle] now or receive your sentence. 85
PERICLES: Great king,
Few love to hear the sins they love to act;
’Twould braid yourself too near for me to tell it. [It would shame you if I explained the riddle.]
Who has a book of all that monarchs do,
He’s more secure to keep it shut than shown; 90
[89-90: Anyone who knows all that monarchs do should keep his mouth shut rather than reveal what he knows;]
For vice repeated is like the wandering wind,
Blows dust in others’ eyes, to spread itself;
And yet the end of all is bought thus dear,
The breath is gone, and the sore eyes see clear
To stop the air would hurt them. The blind mole casts 95
Copp’d hills towards heaven, to tell the earth is throng’d [copped: having a summit or peak]
By man’s oppression; and the poor worm doth die for ’t.
[91-97: Talking openly about a vice releases it to ride the wind like a cloud of dust. The vice spreads everywhere. But not talking about the vice keeps it penned up. The mole creates hills with summits that reach toward heaven to alert the gods that earth is overrun with man's oppression, and the poor worm dies for it. (The earthworm is the mainstay of a mole's diet.)]
Kings are earth’s gods; in vice their law’s their will;
And if Jove stray, who dares say Jove doth ill?
It is enough you know; and it is fit, 100
What being more known grows worse, to smother it.
[98-101: King's are the gods of the earth. They do whatever they please because the only law they answer to is their own will. And if a great king sins, who dares to reveal that he has done so? Anyone who has knowledge of the king's sin should keep quiet; revealing the sin would just make matters worse.]
All love the womb that their first being bred,
Then give my tongue like leave to love my head.
[102-103: All people love the wombs that bred them. Then give my tongue the right to love my head—that is, allow my tongue to remain silent so that I can keep my head.]
ANTIOCHUS: [Aside.] Heaven! that I had thy head; he has found the meaning;
[104: "I wish I had thy head" has two meanings: (1) I wish I had a mind as keen as yours and (2) I plan to cut your head off.]
But I will gloze with [But I will deceive] him. Young Prince of Tyre, 105
Though by the tenour of our strict edict,
Your exposition misinterpreting [Your solution being wrong]
We might proceed to cancel of your days [We might proceed to execute you];
Yet hope, succeeding from so fair a tree
As your fair self, doth tune us otherwise: 110
Forty days longer we do respite you [We'll give you forty more days to solve the riddle];
If by which time our secret be undone,
This mercy shows we’ll joy in such a son [I will be happy to have you as a son-in-law]:
And until then your entertain [your treatment] shall be
As doth befit our honour and your worth. [Exeunt all but PERICLES. 115
PERICLES: How courtesy would seem to cover sin,
When what is done is like a hypocrite,
The which is good in nothing but in sight!
[116-118: His courtesy is a cover for his sin. When an evil person pretends to be good, he is good in nothing but the outward appearance of goodness that hides his real self.]
If it be true that I interpret false,
Then were it certain you were not so bad 120
As with foul incest to abuse your soul;
Where now you’re both a father and a son,
By your untimely claspings with your child,—
Which pleasure fits a husband, not a father;—
And she an eater of her mother’s flesh, 125
By the defiling of her parent’s bed;
And both like serpents are, who though they feed
On sweetest flowers, yet they poison breed.
[119-128: If it's true that I misinterpreted the riddle, then you certainly did not commit foul incest to stain your soul. A person who did such a thing would be both a father and a son (son-in-law). A daughter should be intimate only with a husband, not a father. Otherwise, she becomes a mother instead of a daughter in lying in her mother's bed. The father and the daughter would be like serpents that feed on sweet flowers but breed only poison.]
Antioch, farewell! for wisdom sees, those men
Blush not in actions blacker than the night, 130
Will shun no course to keep them from the light.
One sin, I know, another doth provoke;
Murder’s as near to lust as flame to smoke.
Poison and treason are the hands of sin,
Ay, and the targets, to put off the shame: 135
Then, lest my life be cropp’d to keep you clear,
By flight I’ll shun the danger which I fear. [Exit.
[129-137: Farewell, Antioch. I must leave now because I know that men who commit evils blacker than night will do anything to preserve their dark secrets, including committing murder. Murder is as near to his lust as flame to smoke. Perhaps he will poison me. Or maybe he will charge me with treason, then execute me. Whatever the case, I must flee from here immediately.]
ANTIOCHUS: He hath found the meaning, for which we mean
To take his head. 140
He must not live to trumpet forth my infamy,
Nor tell the world Antiochus doth sin
In such a loathed manner;
And therefore instantly this prince must die,
For by his fall my honour must keep high. 145
Who attends us there?
THALIARD: Doth your highness call?
You’re of our chamber, and our mind partakes 150
Her private actions to your secrecy;
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:
It fits thee not to ask the reason why, 155
Because we bid it. Say, is it done?
THALIARD: My lord, ’tis done.
Enter a Messenger.
Let your breath cool yourself, telling your haste. 160
MESSENGER: My lord, Prince Pericles is fled. [Exit.
ANTIOCHUS: [To THALIARD.] As thou
Wilt live, fly after; and, as an arrow shot
From a well-experienc’d archer hits the mark
His eye doth level at, so thou ne’er return 165
Unless thou say ‘Prince Pericles is dead.’
THALIARD: My lord,
If I can get him within my pistol’s length,
I’ll make him [dead] sure enough: so, farewell to your highness.
ANTIOCHUS: Thaliard, adieu! [Exit THALIARD. 170
Till Pericles be dead,
My heart can lend no succour [help; aid] to my head. [Exit.
Act 1, Scene 2
Tyre. A room in the palace.
PERICLES: [To those without.] Let none disturb us.—Why should this change of thoughts,
The sad companion, dull-ey’d melancholy,
Be my so us’d a guest, as not an hour 5
In the day’s glorious walk or peaceful night—
The tomb where grief should sleep—can breed me quiet?
[3-5: Pericles first shouts an order to those outside his room: "Let no one disturb me." Then, alone on the stage, he says, "Why am I always so downhearted? I cannot find rest or peace in a single hour of the glorious day or the quiet night, which is a tomb where grief should sleep."]
Here pleasures court mine eyes, and mine eyes shun them,
And danger, which I feared, is at Antioch,
Whose arm seems far too short to hit [reach] me here; 10
Yet neither pleasure’s art can joy my spirits,
Nor yet the other’s distance comfort me.
Then it is thus: the passions of the mind,
That have their first conception by mis-dread,
Have after-nourishment and life by care; 15
And what was first but fear what might be done,
Grows elder now and cares it be not done.
And so with me: the great Antiochus,—
’Gainst whom I am too little to contend,
Since he’s so great can make his will his act,— 20
Will think me speaking, though I swear to silence;
[8-21: Pericles says that pleasurable activities are available to him and that Antioch is too far away to threaten him. Yet he has no stomach for pleasure, and he still feels threatened. The "passions of the mind" are to blame for his uneasiness, he believes. The more he thinks about what Antiochus might do, the greater his worries become. Antiochus is, after all, a ruler who can muster the enormous power of his kingdom. If Antiochus thinks Pericles will reveal the king's incestuous relationship with his daughter, he will act—even though Pericles has sworn himself to silence on the matter.]
Nor boots it me [Nor is it wise] to say I honour him,
If he suspect I may dishonour him;
And what may make him blush in being known,
He’ll stop the course by which it might be known. 25
With hostile forces he’ll o’erspread the land,
And with the ostent of war will look so huge [And with his show of military might to wage war],
Amazement shall drive courage from the state [from the soldiers of Tyre];
Our men [Our men will] be vanquish’d ere they do resist,
And subjects punish’d that ne’er thought offence: 30
Which care of them, not pity of myself,—
Who am no more but as the tops of trees,
Which fence the roots they grow by and defend them,—
Make both my body pine and soul to languish,
And punish that before that he would punish. 35
[30-35: Innocent people in Tyre will suffer. Because of my concern for them rather than for myself—who am like a treetop that protects its roots below—I have a mind to take action against Antiochus before he acts against me and my people.]
Enter HELICANUS and other Lords.
FIRST LORD: [To Pericles.] Joy and all comfort in your sacred breast!
SECOND LORD: [To Pericles.] And keep your mind, till you return to us,
Peaceful and comfortable.
HELICANUS: Peace, peace! and give experience tongue. 40
They do abuse the king that flatter him;
For flattery is the bellows blows up sin;
The thing the which is flatter’d, but a spark,
To which that blast gives heat and stronger glowing;
Whereas reproof, obedient and in order, 45
Fits kings, as they are men, for they may err:
[40-46: Quiet, please. Let me, a man of experience, speak. People who flatter a ruler do him harm, for flattery is the bellows that turns a spark of sin into a raging fire of sin. But constructive and respectful criticism of a ruler is much more helpful. For a ruler is only a man, and a man makes errors from time to time.]
When Signior Sooth here does proclaim a peace,
He flatters you, makes war upon your life.
[47-48: When Signior Smoothtalk here wishes you peace, he flatters you and thus wages war against you.]
Prince, pardon me, or strike me, if you please;
I cannot be much lower than my knees. [By kneeling, Helicanus appears to be mocking the flatterers.] 50
PERICLES: All leave us else; but let your cares o’erlook
What shipping and what lading’s in our haven,
And then return to us. [Exeunt Lords.
[51-53: You lords, leave me alone now with Helicanus. But go find out what ships are in our port and what cargo they are carrying. Then report back to me. (The lords leave.)]
Hast mov’d us; what seest thou in our looks? 55
HELICANUS: An angry brow, dread lord.
PERICLES: If there be such a dart in prince’s frowns,
How durst thy tongue move anger to our face?
[59-60: How dare you risk my wrath by saying things that make me angry?]
HELICANUS: How dare the plants look up to heaven, from whence
They have their nourishment? 60
PERICLES: Thou know’st I have power
To take thy life from thee.
HELICANUS: [Kneeling.] I have ground the axe myself;
Do you but strike the blow.
PERICLES: Rise, prithee, rise; 65
Sit down; thou art no flatterer:
I thank thee for it; and heaven forbid
That kings should let their ears hear their faults hid! [Heaven forbid that kings should tolerate flattery!]
Fit counsellor and servant for a prince,
Who by thy wisdom mak’st a prince thy servant, 70
What wouldst thou have me do?
HELICANUS: To bear with patience
Such griefs as you yourself do lay upon yourself.
PERICLES: Thou speak’st like a physician, Helicanus,
That minister’st a potion [remedy; medicine] unto me 75
That thou wouldst tremble to receive thyself [That you would be wary to swallow yourself],
Attend [Listen to] me then: I went to Antioch,
Where as thou know’st, against the face of death
I sought the purchase of a glorious beauty,
From whence an issue [a child] I might propagate 80
Are arms to princes and bring joys to subjects.
Her face was to mine eye beyond all wonder;
The rest, hark in thine ear, as black as incest;
Which by my knowledge found, the sinful father
Seem’d not to strike, but smooth; but thou know’st this, 85
[84-85: When I discovered his incest, the sinful father did not strike out against me but treated me courteously. But as you well know,]
’Tis time to fear when tyrants seem to kiss.
Which fear so grew in me I hither fled,
Under the covering of a careful night,
Who seem’d my good protector; and, being here,
Bethought me what was past, what might succeed. 90
[86-90: When I tyrant behaves as he did, you know something's wrong. Out of fear for my life, I fled under the cover of night, which was a good protector. After arriving here, I thought about what had happened and whether he was devising a plan to silence me.]
I knew him tyrannous; and tyrants’ fears
Decrease not, but grow faster than the years.
And should he doubt it [And if he believes], as no doubt he doth,
That I should open to the listening air [That I will reveal publicly]
How many worthy princes’ bloods were shed, 95
To keep his bed of blackness unlaid ope [To keep his bed of blackness a secret],
To lop that doubt he’ll fill this land with arms [To stop me, he'll fill our land with soldiers],
And make pretence of wrong that I have done him [And pretend I had wronged him];
When all, for mine, if I may call ’t, offence,
Must feel war’s blow, who spares not innocence: 100
Which love to all, of which thyself art one,
Who now reprov’st me for it,—
[99-102: All our innocent people would suffer the consequences of war just because of me. And all of them, including you, would curse me for it.]
HELICANUS: Alas! sir.
PERICLES: Drew sleep out of mine eyes, blood from my cheeks,
Musings into my mind, with thousand doubts 105
How I might stop this tempest, ere it came;
And finding little comfort to relieve them,
I thought it princely charity to grieve them.
104-108: I have lost sleep and grown pale while thinking how I might prevent this calamity. A thousand doubts gnaw at me. Finding little comfort to relieve them, I simply grieve about them.]
HELICANUS: Well, my lord, since you have given me leave to speak,
Freely will I speak. Antiochus you fear, 110
And justly too, I think, you fear the tyrant,
Who either by public war or private treason
Will take away your life.
Therefore, my lord, go travel for a while,
Till that his rage and anger be forgot, 115
Or till the Destinies do cut his thread of life [end his life].
Your rule direct to any; if to me,
Day serves not light more faithful than I’ll be.
[117-118: Direct someone to rule in your place. If you choose me, I'll be as faithful as light is to day.]
PERICLES: I do not doubt thy faith;
But should he wrong my liberties in my absence? [But what if Antiochus invades Tyre while I'm gone?] 120
HELICANUS: We’ll mingle our bloods together in the earth,
From whence we had our being and our birth.
PERICLES: Tyre, I now look from thee then, and to Tarsus
Intend my travel [I will travel]l, where I’ll hear from thee,
And by whose letters I’ll dispose myself [I'll decide what to do next]. 125
The care I had and have of subjects’ good
On thee I’ll lay, whose wisdom’s strength can bear it.
I’ll take thy word for faith, not ask thine oath;
Who shuns not to break one will sure crack both.
[126-129: I now turn over to you the care for my subjects. You have the wisdom to bear this burden. Rather than making you take an oath that you will do your duty, I'll take your word that you will. We'll be faithful to each other, without swearing an oath that we will. ]
But in our orbs we’ll live so round and safe, 130
That time of both this truth shall ne’er convince,
Thou show’dst a subject’s shine, I a true prince. [Exeunt.
[130: But while you are in Tyre and I am elsewhere, both safe and content, the passage of time will prove that we are both men of our word.]
Act 1, Scene 3
Tyre. An antechamber in the palace.
THALIARD: So this is Tyre, and this the court. Here must I kill King Pericles; and if I do not, I am sure to be hanged at home: ’tis dangerous. Well, I perceive he was a wise fellow, and had good discretion, that, being bid to ask what he would of the king, desired he might know none of his secrets: now do I see he had some reason for it; for if a king bid a man be a villain, he is bound by the indenture of his oath to be one. Hush! here come the lords of Tyre.
[3, Well, I perceive . . . lords of Tyre: Well, I now realize that a man of discretion would be wise to refuse any offer made to him to know the secrets of a king. I also realize that if a king asks a man to be a villain, the man is bound by his sworn oath to be one. I'll be quiet now, for the lords of Tyre are approaching.]
Enter HELICANUS, ESCANES, and other Lords.
HELICANUS: You shall not need, my fellow peers of Tyre, 5
Further to question of your king’s departure:
His seal’d commission, left in trust with me,
Doth speak sufficiently he’s gone to travel.
[7-8: The sealed commission empowering me to act as his deputy speaks of his desire to travel.]
THALIARD: [Aside.] How! the king gone!
HELICANUS: If further yet you will be satisfied, 10
Why, as it were unlicens’d of your loves,
He would depart, I’ll give some light unto you.
Being at Antioch—
[10-13: If you want further information about why he left without informing you, I'll shed light on that subject. Being at Antioch—]
THALIARD: [Aside.] What from Antioch?
HELICANUS: Royal Antiochus—on what cause I know not— 15
Took some displeasure at him, at least he [Pericles] judg’d so;
And doubting lest [And worried] that he had err’d or sinn’d,
To show his sorrow he’d correct himself;
So puts himself unto the shipman’s toil [So he is on an ocean journey],
With whom [On which] each minute threatens life or death. 20
THALIARD: [Aside.] Well, I perceive
I shall not be hang’d now, although I would;
But since he’s gone, the king it sure must please:
He ’scap’d the land, to perish at the sea.
I’ll present myself. [Aloud.] Peace to the lords of Tyre. 25
HELICANUS: Lord Thaliard from Antiochus is welcome.
THALIARD: From him I come,
With [a] message unto [for] princely Pericles;
But since my landing I have understood
Your lord hath betook himself to unknown travels, 30
My message must return from whence it came.
HELICANUS: We have no reason to desire it,
Commended to our master, not to us:
Yet, ere you shall depart, this we desire,
As friends to Antioch, we may feast in Tyre. [Exeunt. 35
Act 1, Scene 4
Tarsus. A room in the governor's house.
Enter CLEON, DIONYZA, and Attendants.
CLEON: My Dionyza, shall we rest us here,
And by relating tales of others’ griefs,
See if ’twill teach us to forget our own? 5
DIONYZA: That were to blow at fire in hope to quench it;
[6: That's like blowing on a fire in an attempt to extinguish it;]
For who [whoever] digs [up] hills because they do aspire
Throws down one mountain to cast up a higher.
O my distressed lord! even such our griefs are;
Here they’re but felt, and seen with mischief’s eyes, 10
But like to groves, being topp’d, they higher rise.
[10-11: Here our griefs are felt. But if a troublemaker saw our situation, he could make them worse.]
CLEON: O Dionyza,
Who wanteth food, and will not say he wants it,
Or can conceal his hunger till he famish?
Our tongues and sorrows do sound deep 15
Our woes into the air; our eyes do weep
Till tongues fetch breath that may proclaim them louder;
That if heaven slumber while their creatures want,
They may awake their helps to comfort them.
[13-19: Who wants food, but will not say he wants it? Who can conceal his hunger to the point of wasting away? We have many sorrows and woes, and our eyes will weep until someone shouts to the heavens for help.]
I’ll then discourse our woes, felt several years, 20
And wanting breath to speak help me with tears.
[20-21: I'll then tell the gods about our woes, which we have felt for several years. Whenever I pause to regain my breath, you can help to make our case by simply weeping.]
DIONYZA: I’ll do my best, sir.
CLEON: This Tarsus, o’er which I have the government,
A city on whom plenty held full hand [A city that was once bountiful],
For riches strew’d herself even in the streets; 25
Whose towers bore heads so high they kiss’d the clouds,
And strangers ne’er beheld but wonder’d at;
Whose men and dames so jetted and adorn’d,
Like one another’s glass to trim them by:
[28-29: Whose men and women were so bejeweled and so well attired that one person was the mirror image of another.]
Their tables were stor’d full to glad the sight, 30
And not so much to feed on as delight;
[31: And the people delighted in how much food they had to satisfy their appetites;]
All poverty was scorn’d, and pride so great,
The name of help grew odious to repeat.
DIONYZA: O! ’tis too true.
CLEON: But see what heaven can do! By this our change, 35
These mouths, whom but of late earth, sea, and air
Were all too little to content and please,
Although they gave their creatures in abundance,
[36-38: Not long ago, our citizens had food enough from the earth, sea, and air. Nevertheless, they wanted an even greater variety to please their palates.]
As houses are defil’d for want of use,
They are now starv’d for want of exercise; 40
[39-40: Like houses that fall into disrepair for lack of occupants, our citizens grow weak for lack of food;]
Those palates who, not yet two summers younger,
Must have inventions to delight the taste,
Would now be glad of bread, and beg for it;
[41-43: It wasn't even two years ago that our people wanted new recipes to delight their taste; now they would be happy with bread, and even beg for it.]
Those mothers who, to nousle up their babes,
Thought nought too curious, are ready now 45
To eat those little darlings whom they lov’d.
[44-46: Those mothers who nuzzled their babies lovingly now think it's none too strange that they want to eat the little darlings.]
So sharp are hunger’s teeth, that man and wife
Draw lots who first shall die to lengthen life.
Here stands a lord, and there a lady weeping;
Here many sink [sicken], yet those which see them fall [die] 50
Have scarce strength left to give them burial.
Is not this true?
DIONYZA: Our cheeks and hollow eyes do witness it.
CLEON: O! let those cities that of plenty’s cup
And her prosperities so largely taste, 55
[54-55: O, let those cities that now have plenty to eat and drink]
With their superfluous riots [revelry], hear these tears:
The misery of Tarsus may be theirs. [The misery of Tarsus could happen to them.]
Enter a Lord.
LORD: Where’s the lord governor?
CLEON: Here. 60
Speak out thy sorrows which thou bring’st in haste,
For comfort is too far for us to expect.
LORD: We have descried, upon our neighbouring shore,
A portly sail of ships make hitherward.
CLEON: I thought as much. 65
One sorrow never comes but brings an heir
That may succeed as his inheritor;
And so in ours. Some neighbouring nation,
Taking advantage of our misery,
Hath stuff’d these hollow vessels with their power, 70
To beat us down, the which are down already; [To beat us down; but we are down already]
And make a conquest of unhappy me,
Whereas no glory’s got to overcome [No glory comes from defeating me].
LORD: That’s the least fear; for by the semblance [There's no fear of that; for by the appearance]
Of their white flags display’d, they bring us peace, 75
And come to us as favourers, not as foes.
CLEON: Thou speak’st like him ’s untutor’d to repeat [You speak like a naive man]:
Who makes the fairest show means most deceit.
But bring they what they will and what they can,
What need we fear? 80
The ground’s the lowest [the lowest that we can go] and we are half way there.
Go tell their general we attend him here,
To know for what [why] he comes, and whence [from where] he comes,
And what he craves.
LORD: I go, my lord. [Exit. 85
CLEON: Welcome is peace if he on peace consist;
If wars we are unable to resist.
Enter PERICLES, with Attendants.
PERICLES: Lord governor, for so we hear you are,
Let not our ships and number of our men, 90
Be like a beacon fir’d to amaze your eyes.
We have heard your miseries as far as Tyre,
And seen the desolation of your streets:
Nor come we to add sorrow to your tears,
But to relieve them of their heavy load; 95
And these our ships, you happily may think
Are like the Trojan horse was stuff’d within
With bloody veins, expecting overthrow,
Are stor’d with corn to make your needy bread,
And give them life whom hunger starv’d half dead. 100
ALL: The gods of Greece protect you!
And we’ll pray for you.
PERICLES: Arise, I pray you, rise:
We do not look for reverence, but for love,
And harbourage for ourself, our ships, and men. 105
CLEON: The which when any shall not gratify [thank you],
Or pay you with unthankfulness in thought,
Be it our wives, our children, or ourselves,
The curse of heaven and men succeed their evils!
Till when—the which, I hope, shall ne’er be seen— 110
Your Grace is welcome to our town and us.
PERICLES: Which welcome we’ll accept; feast here awhile,
Until our stars that frown lend us a smile. [Exeunt.
Act 2, Prologue.
Here have you seen a mighty king
His child, iwis [certainly], to incest bring;
A better prince and benign lord,
That will prove awful both in deed and word. 5
Be quiet, then, as men should be,
Till he hath pass’d necessity.
[4-7: You have also seen a better ruler and kindly lord, Pericles, who will prove to be impressive in deed and word. But he will have to remain quiet about the evil deeds of the mighty king until the time is right.]
I’ll show you those in troubles reign,
Losing a mite, a mountain gain.
[8-9: I'll tell you about the troubles of Pericles, who overcomes one small problem only to gain a gigantic one.]
The good in conversation, 10
To whom I give my benison,
Is still at Tarsus, where each man
Thinks all is writ he speken can;
[10-13: This good man, Pericles, to whom I give my blessing, is still in Tarsus. There, each man thinks that everything Pericles says is as wise as the words of Holy Writ (scripture).]
And, to remember what he does,
[The people] Build his statue to make him glorious: 15
But tidings to the contrary
Are brought your eyes; what need speak I?
Enter, from one side, PERICLES, talking with CLEON; all their Train [attendants] with them. Enter, at another door, a Gentleman, with a letter to PERICLES, who shows the letter to CLEON and then gives the Messenger a reward and knights him. ExeuntPERICLES, CLEON, &c., severally [separately].
GOWER resumes the prologue.
Good Helicane [Helicanus] hath stay’d at home [Tyre], 20
Not to eat honey like a drone
From others’ labours; for though he strive
To killen bad, keep good alive,
And to fulfil his prince’ desire,
Sends word of all that haps in Tyre: 25
[20-25: This passage says Helicanus has sent a message to Pericles about what is happening in Tyre. Before he embarked on his journey, Pericles had requested that Helicanus keep him informed about events in Tyre. (See 1.2.123-125.)]
How Thaliard came full bent with sin
And had intent to murder him;
And that in Tarsus was not best
Longer for him to make his rest.
[26-28: The message said that Thaliard was sent to murder Pericles and that it was unwise for Pericles to linger in Tarsus.]
He, doing so, put forth to seas, 30
Where when men been, there’s seldom ease;
For now the wind begins to blow;
Thunder above and deeps below
Make such unquiet, that the ship
Should house him safe is wrack’d and split; 35
And he, good prince, having all lost,
By waves from coast to coast is tost.
All perishen of man, of pelf,
Ne aught escapen but himself;
Till Fortune, tir’d with doing bad, 40
Threw him ashore, to give him glad;
And here he comes. What shall be next,
Pardon old Gower, this longs the text. [Exit.
[30-43: So Pericles put to sea again. But a great storm with high winds, thunder, and roiling waters wrecks his ship. No one survives but Pericles. Fortune, tired of harrying him, threw him ashore to give him hope of a better tomorrow. What happens next you'll soon find out.]
Act 2, Scene 1
Pentapolis. An open place by the sea.
Enter PERICLES, wet.
PERICLES: Yet cease your ire, you angry stars of heaven!
Wind, rain, and thunder, remember, earthly man
Is but a substance that must yield to you; 5
And I, as fits my nature, do obey you.
Alas! the sea hath cast me on the rocks,
Wash’d me from shore to shore, and left me breath
Nothing to think on but ensuing death: [To think about nothing but ensuing death:]
Let it suffice [satisfy] the greatness of your powers 10
To have bereft [robbed] a prince of all his fortunes;
And having thrown him from your watery grave,
Here to have death in peace is all he’ll crave.
Enter three Fishermen.
FIRST FISHERMAN: What, ho, Pilch! [Get moving, Pilch!] 15
SECOND FISHERMAN: Ha! come and bring away the nets.
FIRST FISHERMAN: What, Patch-breech, I say! [I say get moving, Patch-breech!]
[Pilch, Patch-breech: Nicknames based on clothing. A pilch is an outer garment of animal skin and fur. A patch-breech is apparently a patched pair of pants.]
THIRD FISHERMAN: What say you, master?
FIRST FISHERMAN: Look how thou stirrest [how you are moving] now! come away, or I’ll fetch thee with a wannion [alternate spelling of wanion, an archaic word for vengeance].
THIRD FISHERMAN: Faith, master, I am thinking of the poor men that were cast away before us even now. 20
FIRST FISHERMAN: Alas! poor souls; it grieved my heart to hear what pitiful cries they made to us to help them, when, well-a-day [alas; regrettably], we could scarce help ourselves.
THIRD FISHERMAN: Nay, master, said not I as much when I saw the porpus [porpoise] how he bounced and tumbled? they say they’re half fish half flesh [human]; a plague [curse] on them! they ne’er come but I look to be washed [doused]. Master, I marvel how the fishes live in the sea.
FIRST FISHERMAN: 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’ [he] plays and tumbles, driving the poor fry [small fish] before him, and at last devours them all at a mouthful. Such whales have I heard on o’ the land, who never leave gaping till they’ve swallowed the whole parish, church, steeple, bells, and all.
PERICLES: [Aside.] A pretty moral.
THIRD FISHERMAN: But master, if I had been the sexton [church caretaker and bell ringer], I would have been that day in the belfry [bell tower]. 25
Sec. Fish Why, man?
THIRD FISHERMAN: Because he should [would] 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,—
PERICLES: [Aside.] Simonides!
THIRD FISHERMAN: We would purge the land of these drones, that rob the bee of her honey.
PERICLES: [Aside.] How from the finny subject of the sea 30
These fishers tell the infirmities of men;
And from their watery empire recollect
All that may men approve or men detect!
[30-33: These fishermen use sea and land metaphors to describe the way men act.]
[Aloud.] Peace be at your labour, honest fishermen.
SECOND FISHERMAN: Honest! good fellow, what’s that? [Honest? Explain what you mean.] If it be a day fits you, search out of the calendar, and nobody look after it. [If you like this day, search out the almanac to see what it says. It could be your lucky day.] 35
PERICLES: Y’ [You] may see the sea hath cast me on your coast.
SECOND FISHERMAN: What a drunken knave was the sea, to cast thee in our way!
PERICLES: A man whom both the waters and the wind,
In that vast tennis-court, have made the ball
For them to play upon, entreats you pity him; 40
He asks of you, that never us’d to beg.
FIRST FISHERMAN: No, friend, cannot you beg? here’s them in our country of Greece gets more with begging than we can do with working.
SECOND FISHERMAN: Canst thou catch any fishes then?
PERICLES: I never practised it.
SECOND FISHERMAN: Nay then thou wilt starve, sure; for here’s nothing to be got now-a-days unless thou canst fish for ’t. 45
PERICLES: What I have been I have forgot to know,
But what I am want [need; distress] teaches me to think on;
A man throng’d up with cold; my veins are chill,
And have no more of life than may suffice
To give my tongue that heat to ask your help; 50
Which if you shall refuse, when I am dead,
For that I am a man, pray see me buried.
FIRST FISHERMAN: Die, quoth-a? Now, gods forbid! I have a gown here; come, put it on; keep thee warm. Now, afore me, a handsome fellow! Come, thou shalt go home, and we’ll have flesh [meat] for holidays, fish for fasting-days, and moreo’er puddings and flap-jacks; and thou shalt be welcome.
PERICLES: I thank you, sir.
FIRST FISHERMAN: Hark you, my friend; you said you could not beg. 55
PERICLES: I did but crave.
SECOND FISHERMAN: But crave! Then I’ll turn craver too, and so I shall ’scape whipping.
PERICLES: Why, are all your beggars whipped, then?
SECOND FISHERMAN: O! not all, my friend, not all; for if all your beggars were whipped, I would wish no better office than to be beadle [person who maintains order in a church]. But, master, I’ll go draw up the net. [Exit with Third Fisherman.
PERICLES: How well this honest mirth becomes their labour! 60
FIRST FISHERMAN: Hark you, sir; do you know where ye are?
PERICLES: Not well.
FIRST FISHERMAN: Why, I’ll tell you: this is called Pentapolis, and our king the good Simonides.
PERICLES: The good King Simonides do you call him?
FIRST FISHERMAN: Ay, sir; and he deserves to be so called for his peaceable reign and good government. 65
PERICLES: He is a happy king, since he gains from his subjects the name of good by his government. How far is his court distant from this shore?
FIRST FISHERMAN: Marry, sir, half a day’s journey; and I’ll tell you, he hath a fair daughter, and to-morrow is her birthday; and there are princes and knights come from all parts of the world to just [joust] and tourney for her love.
PERICLES: Were my fortunes equal to my desires, I could wish to make one there [wish to take part in a joust there].
FIRST FISHERMAN: O! sir, things must be as they may; and what a man cannot get, he may lawfully deal for his wife’s soul,— [he may lawfully bargain for—even for his wife's soul,]
Re-enter Second and Third Fishermen, drawing up a net. 70
SECOND FISHERMAN: Help, master, help! here’s a fish hangs in the net, like a poor man’s right in the law; ’twill hardly come out. Ha! bots [bugs or worms] on ’t, ’tis come at last, and ’tis turned to a rusty armour.
PERICLES: An armour, friends! I pray you, let me see it.
Thanks, Fortune, yet, that after all my crosses
Thou giv’st me somewhat [something of my own] to repair myself;
And though it was mine own, part of mine heritage, 75
Which my dead father did bequeath to me,
With this strict charge, even as he left his life,
‘Keep it, my Pericles, it hath been a shield
’Twixt [between] me and death;’—and pointed to this brace [vambrace: armor protecting the forearm];
‘For that it sav’d me, keep it; in like necessity— 80
The which the gods protect thee from!—’t [it] may defend thee.’
It kept where I kept [I kept it with me], I so dearly lov’d it;
Till the rough seas, that spare not any man,
Took it in rage, though calm’d they have given ’t again.
I thank thee for ’t; my shipwrack [shipwreck] now’s no ill, 85
Since I have here my father’s gift in ’s [in his] will.
FIRST FISHERMAN: What mean you, sir?
PERICLES: To beg of you, kind friends, this coat [armor] of worth,
For it was sometime target to [protection for] a king;
I know it by this mark. He lov’d me dearly, 90
And for his sake I wish the having of it;
And that you’d guide me to your sovereign’s court,
Where with it I may appear a gentleman;
And if that ever my low fortunes better [improve],
I’ll pay your bounties [I'll pay you for it]; till then rest your debtor. 95
FIRST FISHERMAN: Why, wilt thou tourney [joust] for the lady?
PERICLES: I’ll show the virtue [skill] I have borne in arms.
FIRST FISHERMAN: Why, do’e [do ye] take it; and the gods give thee good on ’t!
SECOND FISHERMAN: Ay, but hark you, my friend; ’twas we that made up this garment through the rough seams of the water; there are certain condolements, certain vails [certain tips or gratuities]. I hope, sir, if you thrive, you’ll remember from whence you had it.
PERICLES: Believe it, I will. 100
By your furtherance [help] I am cloth’d in steel;
And spite of all the rapture [violence] of the sea,
This jewel holds his biding on my arm [I still have this valuable jewel on my arm]:
Unto thy value will I mount myself
Upon a courser, whose delightful steps 105
Shall make the gazer joy to see him tread.
[104-106: I'll use the jewel to buy a horse that will be a pleasure to watch while it goes through its paces.]
Only, my friend, I yet am unprovided
Of a pair of bases [short, skirt-like cloth worn over armor between the waist and knees].
SECOND FISHERMAN: We’ll sure provide; thou shalt have my best gown to make thee a pair, and I’ll bring thee to the court myself.
PERICLES: Then honour be but a goal to my will! This day I’ll rise, or else add ill to ill. [Exeunt. 110
Act 2, Scene 2
Pentapolis. A public way. Platform leading to the lists [jousting area]. A pavilion near it, for the reception of the KING, Princess, Ladies, Lords, &c.
Enter SIMONIDES, THAISA, Lords, and Attendants.
SIMONIDES: Are the knights ready to begin the triumph?
FIRST LORD: They are, my liege;
And stay [await] your coming to present themselves. 5
SIMONIDES: Return them, we are ready; and our daughter,
In honour of whose birth these triumphs are,
Sits here, like beauty’s child, whom nature gat [begat]
For men to see, and seeing wonder at. [Exit a Lord.
THAISA: It pleaseth you, my royal father, to express 10
My commendations great, whose merit’s less.
[10-11: It pleases you, my royal father, to praise me more than I deserve.]
SIMONIDES: ’Tis fit it should be so; for princes [and princesses] are
A model, which heaven makes like to itself:
As jewels lose their glory if neglected,
So princes their renowns [fame; reputation] if not respected. 15
’Tis now your honour, daughter, to explain
The labour of each knight in his device.
THAISA: Which, to preserve mine honour, I’ll perform.
Enter a Knight; he passes over the stage, and his Squire presents his shield to the Princess.
SIMONIDES: Who is the first that doth prefer himself? 20
THAISA: A knight of Sparta, my renowned father;
And the device he bears upon his shield
Is a black Ethiop [Ethiopian] reaching at the sun;
The word, Lux tua vita mihi [Latin: You are my life or you are life to me].
SIMONIDES: He loves you well that holds his life of you. [The Second Knight passes over. 25
Who is the second that presents himself?
THAISA: A prince of Macedon, my royal father;
And the device he bears upon his shield
Is an arm’d knight that’s conquer’d by a lady;
The motto thus, in Spanish, Piu por dulzura que por fuerza [More by sweetness (or gentleness) than by force]. [The Third Knight passes over. 30
[line 30: Piu is an Italian word. Shakespeare should have used the Spanish word più, with a grave accent over the u.]
SIMONIDES: And what’s the third?
THAISA: The third of Antioch;
And his device, a wreath of chivalry;
The word, Me pompoe provexit apex [ Latin: My wreath is a crown of victory that drives me forward]. [The Fourth Knight passes over.
SIMONIDES: What is the fourth? 35
THAISA: A burning torch that’s turned upside down;
The word, Quod me alit me extinguit. [Latin: What nourishes me kills me.]
SIMONIDES: Which shows that beauty hath his power and will,
Which can as well inflame as it can kill. [The Fifth Knight passes over.
THAISA: The fifth, a hand environed with clouds, 40
Holding out gold that’s by the touchstone tried;
[41, touchstone: Black stone used to test the purity of precious metals.]
The motto thus, Sic spectanda fides [Thus is faith to be tested]. [The Sixth Knight, PERICLES, passes over.
SIMONIDES: And what ’s
The sixth and last, the which the knight himself
With such a graceful courtesy deliver’d? 45
THAISA: He seems to be a stranger; but his present [emblem on the shield]] is
A wither’d branch, that’s only green at top;
The motto, In hac spe vivo [In this hope I live].
SIMONIDES: A pretty moral;
From the dejected state wherein he is, 50
He hopes by you his fortune yet may flourish.
FIRST LORD: He had need mean better than his outward show
Can any way speak in his just commend;
[53-53: He'd better be a more skillful knight than his outward appearance suggests.]
For, by his rusty outside he appears
To have practis’d more the whipstock [handle of a whip] than the lance. 55
SECOND LORD: He well may be a stranger, for he comes
To an honour’d triumph strangely furnished.
THIRD LORD: And on set purpose let his armour rust
Until this day, to scour it in the dust.
SIMONIDES: Opinion’s but a fool, that makes us scan 60
The outward habit by the inward man.
But stay, the knights are coming; we’ll withdraw
Into the gallery. [Exeunt. Great shouts, and all cry, ‘The mean knight!’
[63: The sentence after exeunt is intended to suggest that the jousting has taken place and that the "mean knight" (that is, the shabbily dressed knight) has won the contest.]
Act 2, Scene 3
Pentapolis. A hall of state. A banquet prepared.
Enter SIMONIDES, THAISA, Marshal, Ladies, Lords, Knights from tilting [jousting], and Attendants.
To say you’re welcome were superfluous.
To place upon the volume of your deeds, 5
As in a title-page, your worth in arms,
Were more than you expect, or more than’s fit,
Since every worth in show commends itself.
[4-8: To say you're welcome is unnecessary. Nor is it necessary to praise your deeds with words that could appear on the title page of a book, since every deed you performed has already shown how praiseworthy you are.]
Prepare for mirth, for mirth becomes a feast:
You are princes and my guests. 10
THAISA: But you, my knight and guest;
To whom this wreath of victory I give,
And crown you king of this day’s happiness.
PERICLES: ’Tis more by fortune, lady, than by merit.
SIMONIDES: Call it by what you will, the day is yours [you have won today's competition]; 15
And here, I hope, is none that envies it.
In framing an artist art hath thus decreed,
To make some good, but others to exceed;
And you’re her labour’d scholar. Come, queen o’ the feast,—
For, daughter, so you are,—here take your place; 20
[17-20: Nature has made some artists good and others exceptional. You, Pericles, are the exceptional artist, my daughter's scholar. Come, queen of the feast—for that's what you are, daughter—and take your place at the table.]
Marshal [seat] the rest, as they deserve their grace.
KNIGHTS: We are honour’d much by good Simonides.
SIMONIDES: Your presence glads our days; honour we love,
For who [whoever] hates honour, hates the gods above.
MARSHAL: Sir, yonder is your place. 25
PERICLES: Some other is more fit.
FIRST KNIGHT: Contend not, sir; for we are gentlemen
That neither in our hearts nor outward eyes
Envy the great nor do the low despise.
PERICLES: You are right courteous knights. 30
SIMONIDES: Sit, sir; sit.
PERICLES: By Jove, I wonder, that is king of thoughts,
These cates resist me, she but thought upon.
[32-33: By Jove, the king of the gods, I wonder whether I'll have an appetite for these delicacies as I sit here near this beautiful lady.]
THAISA: [Aside.] By Juno, that is queen of marriage,
All viands that I eat do seem unsavoury, 35
Wishing him my meat [As I wish that he were my food]. Sure, he’s a gallant gentleman.
SIMONIDES: He’s but a country gentleman;
He has done no more than other knights have done;
He has broken a staff or so; so let it pass.
THAISA: [Aside.] To me he seems like diamond to glass. 40
PERICLES: [Aside.] Yon king’s to me like to my father’s picture,
Which tells me in that glory once he was;
[He] Had princes sit, like stars, about his throne,
And he [was] the sun for them to reverence.
None that beheld him, but like lesser lights 45
Did vail [doff; remove] their crowns to his supremacy;
Where now his son’s like a glow-worm in the night,
The which hath fire in darkness, none in light:
Whereby I see that Time’s the king of men;
He’s both their parent, and he is their grave, 50
And gives them what he will, not what they crave.
SIMONIDES: What, are you merry, knights?
FIRST KNIGHT: Who can be other in this royal presence?
SIMONIDES: Here, with a cup that’s stor’d unto the brim,
As you do love, fill to your mistress’ lips, 55
We drink this health to you.
Knights. We thank your Grace.
SIMONIDES: Yet pause awhile;
Yon knight doth sit too melancholy,
As if the entertainment in our court 60
Had not a show might countervail his worth [was not enough to interest him].
Note it not you, Thaisa?
THAISA: What is it
To me, my father?
SIMONIDES: O! attend, my daughter: 65
Princes in this should live like gods above,
Who freely give to every one that comes
To honour them;
And princes not doing so are like to gnats,
Which make a sound, but kill’d are wonder’d at. 70
Therefore to make his entrance more sweet,
Here say we drink this standing-bowl of wine to him.
THAISA: Alas! my father, it befits not me
Unto a stranger knight to be so bold;
He may my proffer take for an offence, 75
Since men take women’s gifts for impudence.
Do as I bid you, or you’ll move [displease] me else.
THAISA: [Aside.] Now, by the gods, he could not please me better.
SIMONIDES: And further tell him, we desire to know of him, 80
Of whence he is, his name, and parentage.
THAISA: The king, my father, sir, has drunk to you.
PERICLES: I thank him.
THAISA: Wishing it so much blood unto your life.
PERICLES: I thank both him and you, and pledge him freely. 85
THAISA: And further he desires to know of you,
Of whence you are, your name and parentage.
PERICLES: A gentleman of Tyre, my name, Pericles;
My education been in arts and arms;
Who, looking for adventures in the world, 90
Was by the rough seas reft of ships and men,
And after shipwrack [shipwreck], driven upon this shore.
THAISA: He thanks your Grace; names himself Pericles,
A gentleman of Tyre,
Who only by misfortune of the seas 95
Bereft of ships and men, cast on this shore.
SIMONIDES: Now, by the gods, I pity his misfortune,
And will awake him from his melancholy.
Come, gentlemen, we sit too long on trifles,
And waste the time which looks for other revels. 100
Even in your armours, as you are address’d,
Will very well become a soldier’s dance.
I will not have excuse, with saying this
Loud music is too harsh for ladies’ heads
Since they love men in arms as well as beds. [The Knights dance. 105
So this was well ask’d, ’twas so well perform’d.
Here is a lady that wants breathing too:
And I have often heard, you knights of Tyre
Are excellent in making ladies trip [dance], 110
And that their measures are as excellent.
PERICLES: In those that practise them they are, my lord.
SIMONIDES: O! that’s as much as you would be denied
Of your fair courtesy. [The Knights and Ladies dance.
Unclasp, unclasp; 115
Thanks, gentlemen, to all; all have done well,
[To PERICLES.] But you the best. Pages and lights, to conduct
These knights unto their several [separate] lodgings! Yours, sir,
We have given order to be next our own.
PERICLES: I am at your Grace’s pleasure. 120
SIMONIDES: Princes, it is too late to talk of love,
And that’s the mark I know you level at [And that's the thing that's on your mind];
Therefore each one betake him to his rest;
To-morrow all for speeding [winning; succeeding] do their best. [Exeunt.
Act 2, Scene 4
Tyre. A room in the governor's house.
Enter HELICANUS and ESCANES.
HELICANUS: No, Escanes, know this of me,
Antiochus from incest liv’d not free;
For which, the most high gods not minding longer 5
To withhold the vengeance that they had in store,
Due to this heinous capital offence,
Even in the height and pride of all his glory,
When he was seated in a chariot
Of an inestimable value, and his daughter with him, 10
A fire from heaven came and shrivell’d up
Their bodies, even to loathing; for they so stunk,
That all those eyes [that] ador’d them ere their fall
Scorn now their hand should give them burial.
ESCANES: ’Twas very strange. 15
HELICANUS: And yet but just; for though
This king were great, his greatness was no guard
To bar heaven’s shaft, but sin had his reward.
ESCANES: ’Tis very true.
Enter two or three Lords. 20
FIRST LORD: See, not a man in private conference
Or council has respect with him but he.
[21-22: You see, in a private conference or in the council, he does not respect the views of others. He thinks that only he is right.]
SECOND LORD: It shall no longer grieve without reproof. [We should not let this go on without rebuking him.]
THIRD LORD: And curs’d be he that will not second it.
FIRST LORD: Follow me then. Lord Helicane, a word. 25
HELICANUS: With me? and welcome. Happy day, my lords.
FIRST LORD: Know that our griefs are risen to the top,
And now at length they overflow their banks.
HELICANUS: Your griefs! for what? wrong not the prince you love.
FIRST LORD: Wrong not yourself then, noble Helicane; 30
But if the prince do live, let us salute him,
Or know what ground’s made happy by his breath [Or let us know where he is].
If in the world he live, we’ll seek him out;
If in his grave he rest, we’ll find him there;
And be resolv’d he lives to govern us [If he's alive, he should be governing us], 35
Or dead, give ’s [us] cause to mourn his funeral,
And leaves us to our free election [And, if he is dead, we must elect a new ruler].
SECOND LORD: Whose death’s indeed the strongest in our censure [Our greatest worry is that he has died]:
And knowing this kingdom is without a head,
Like goodly buildings left without a roof 40
Soon fall to ruin, your noble self,
That best know’st how to rule and how to reign,
We thus submit unto, our sovereign.
ALL: Live, noble Helicane! [Long live Helicanus!]
HELICANUS: For honour’s cause forbear your suffrages [For the sake of honor, don't press this issue now]: 45
If that you love Prince Pericles, forbear.
Take I your wish, I leap into the seas [If I had to act on your wish, I would have to go to sea],
Where’s [Where there's] hourly trouble for a minute’s ease.
A twelvemonth [A year] longer, let me entreat you
To forbear the absence of your king; 50
If in which time expir’d he not return,
I shall with aged patience bear your yoke.
But if I cannot win you to this love [But if you don't like my plan],
Go search like nobles, like noble subjects,
And in your search spend your adventurous worth; 55
Whom if you find, and win unto return [If you find him and persuade him to return],
You shall like diamonds sit about his crown.
FIRST LORD: To wisdom he’s a fool that will not yield [It would be foolish not to yield to your wisdom];
And since Lord Helicane enjoineth us,
We with our travels will endeavour it [We will undertake a journey to find him]. 60
HELICANUS: Then you love us, we you, and we’ll clasp hands:
When peers thus knit, a kingdom ever stands. [Exeunt.
Act 2, Scene 5
Pentapolis. A room in the palace.
Enter SIMONIDES, reading a letter; the Knights meet him.
FIRST KNIGHT: Good morrow to the good Simonides.
SIMONIDES: Knights, from my daughter this I let you know,
That for this twelvemonth she’ll not undertake 5
A married life.
Her reason to herself is only known,
Which yet from her by no means can I get.
SECOND KNIGHT: May we not get access to her, my lord?
SIMONIDES: Faith, by no means; she hath so strictly tied 10
Her to her chamber that ’tis impossible.
One twelve moons more she’ll wear Diana’s livery; [After a year, she'll wear the attire of Diana.]
This by the eye of Cynthia [another name for Diana] hath she vow’d,
And on her virgin honour will not break it.
THIRD KNIGHT: Though loath to bid farewell, we take our leaves. [Exeunt Knights. 15
They’re well dispatch’d [dealt with]; now to my daughter’s letter.
She tells me here, she’ll wed the stranger knight,
Or never more to view nor day nor light.
’Tis well, mistress; your choice agrees with mine; 20
I like that well: how absolute she’s in ’t,
Not minding whether I dislike or no!
Well, I do commend her choice;
And will no longer have it be delay’d.
Soft! here he comes: I must dissemble it [I must pretend to oppose her choice in order to test him]. 25
PERICLES: All fortune to the good Simonides!
SIMONIDES: To you as much, sir! I am beholding to you
For your sweet music this last night: I do
Protest my ears were never better fed 30
With such delightful pleasing harmony.
PERICLES: It is your Grace’s pleasure to commend,
Not my desert.
[31-32: I'm glad for your happiness, not for any musical talent I have.]
SIMONIDES: Sir, you are music’s master.
PERICLES: The worst of all her scholars, my good lord. 35
SIMONIDES: Let me ask you one thing.
What do you think of my daughter, sir?
PERICLES: A most virtuous princess.
SIMONIDES: And she is fair too, is she not?
PERICLES: As a fair day in summer; wondrous fair. 40
SIMONIDES: My daughter, sir, thinks very well of you;
Ay, so well, that you must be her master,
And she will be your scholar: therefore look to it.
PERICLES: I am unworthy for her schoolmaster.
SIMONIDES: She thinks not so; peruse this writing else. 45
PERICLES: [Aside.] What’s here?
A letter that she loves the knight of Tyre!
’Tis the king’s subtilty to have my life. [It must be that the king opposes me and wants me dead.]
O! seek not to entrap me, gracious lord,
A stranger and distressed gentleman, 50
That never aim’d so high to love your daughter,
But bent all offices to honour her.
SIMONIDES: Thou hast bewitch’d my daughter, and thou art
PERICLES: By the gods, I have not: 55
Never did thought of mine levy [make] offence;
Nor never did my actions yet commence
A deed might gain her love or your displeasure.
SIMONIDES: Traitor, thou liest.
PERICLES: Traitor! 60
SIMONIDES: Ay, traitor.
PERICLES: Even in his throat, unless [even if] it be the king,
That calls me traitor, I return the lie.
[62-63: You call me traitor? I won't take that from you even though you're a king.]
SIMONIDES: [Aside.] Now, by the gods, I do applaud his courage.
PERICLES: My actions are as noble as my thoughts, 65
That never relish’d of a base descent [That never desired to do something villainous].
I came unto your court for honour’s cause,
And not to be a rebel to her state;
And he that otherwise accounts of me,
This sword shall prove he’s honour’s enemy. 70
Here comes my daughter, she can witness it.
PERICLES: Then, as you are as virtuous as fair,
Resolve your angry father, if my tongue 75
Did e’er solicit, or my hand subscribe
To any syllable that made love to you.
THAISA: Why, sir, say if you had,
Who takes offence at that [which] would make me glad?
SIMONIDES: Yea, mistress, are you so peremptory [why are you so quick to say this]? 80
[Aside.] I am glad on ’t, with all my heart.
[To Thaisa.] I’ll tame you; I’ll bring you in subjection.
Will you, not having my consent,
Bestow your love and your affections
Upon a stranger? [Aside.] who, for aught [anything] I know, 85
May be, nor can I think the contrary,
As great in blood as I myself.— [As noble in his heritage as I am.—]
[Aloud.] Therefore, hear you, mistress; either frame
Your will to mine; and you, sir, hear you,
Either be rul’d by me, or I will make you— 90
Man and wife:
[lines 90-91: The dash (—) at the end of line 90 creates the pause in which Simonides makes the transition from his pretended opposition to a match between Pericles and Thaisa to his approval of a marriage between them.]
Nay, come, your hands and lips must seal it too;
And being join’d, I’ll thus your hopes destroy;
[92: You will no longer have to hope to be engaged, for I have made your engagement a reality;]
And for a further grief,—God give you joy!
What! are you both pleas’d? 95
THAISA: Yes, if you love me, sir.
PERICLES: Even as my life, or blood that fosters it.
SIMONIDES: What! are you both agreed?
THAISA and PERICLES: Yes, if ’t [it] please your majesty.
SIMONIDES: It pleaseth me so well, that I will see you wed; 100
Then with what haste you can get you to bed. [Exeunt.
Act 3, Prologue
Now sleep yslaked hath the rout; [Now satisfying sleep comforts everyone];
No din but snores the house about, [The only noise in the palace is snoring,]
Made louder by the o’er-fed breast [overfed bellies]
Of this most pompous marriage-feast. 5
The cat, with eyne [eyes] of burning coal,
Now couches fore the mouse’s hole;
And crickets sing at the oven’s mouth,
E’er [ever] the blither for their drouth [Ever chirping for females to end their mate-less drought].
Hymen [god of marriage] hath brought the bride to bed, 10
Where, by the loss of maidenhead,
A babe is moulded [conceived]. Be attent [attentive];
And time that is so briefly spent
With your fine fancies quaintly eche;
[13-14: Our time spent together here in this theatre is brief, but I will prolong it with the assistance of your imagination.]
What’s dumb in show I’ll plain with speech. 15
[15: If anything in the dumb show is not clear to you, I'll explain it later.
Enter, from one side, PERICLES and SIMONIDES, with Attendants; a Messenger meets them, kneels, and gives PERICLES a letter: PERICLES shows it to SIMONIDES; the Lords kneel to PERICLES. Then enter THAISA with child [enter THAISA pregnant], and LYCHORIDA: SIMONIDES shows his daughter the letter; she rejoices: she and PERICLES take leave of her father, and all depart. 17
By many a dern [dreary; boring] and painful perch [journey],
Of Pericles the careful search [the careful search for Pericles]
By the four opposing coigns [corners], 20
Which the world together joins,
Is made with all due diligence
That horse and sail and high expense,
Can stead the quest. At last from Tyre,—
Fame answering the most strange inquire— 25
To the court of King Simonides
Are letters brought, the tenour these:
[18-24: In their search for Pericles, the lords of Tyre undertake a long and painstaking journey to the four corners of the world, traveling on sea and land and sparing no expense to support their quest. Finally, Tyre receives news of Pericles, and Helicanus sends letters with this news to the court of King Simonides at Pentapolis. Here is what the letters say:]
Antiochus and his daughter dead;
The men of Tyrus [Tyre] on the head
Of Helicanus would set on 30
The crown of Tyre, but he will none [but he does not want it]:
The mutiny he there hastes t’ [to] oppress;
[He] Says to ’em, if King Pericles
Come not home in twice six moons,
He [Helicanus], obedient to their dooms [decision; judgment], 35
Will take the crown. The sum of this,
Brought hither to Pentapolis,
Yravished [surprised] the regions round,
And every one with claps can sound,
‘Our heir-apparent is a king! 40
Who dream’d, who thought of such a thing?’
Brief, he [Pericles] must hence depart to Tyre:
His queen, with child, makes her desire,—
Which who shall cross?—along to go;
[43-44: His pregnant queen desires to go with him—who can oppose her desire?]
Omit we all their dole and woe [I will omit from my story how the opponents of her trip raised a fuss]: 45
Lychorida, her nurse, she takes,
And so to sea. Their vessel shakes
On Neptune’s billow; half the flood
Hath their keel cut: but Fortune’s mood
Varies again; the grisled north 50
Disgorges such a tempest forth,
That, as a duck for life that dives,
So up and down the poor ship drives.
[50-53, grisled north . . . drives: The ancient north wind unleashes a violent storm that tosses the ship up and down.]
The lady shrieks, and well-a-near
Does fall in travail with her fear [Out of fear falls into labor with her unborn child]; 55
And what ensues in this fell [deadly] storm
Shall for itself itself perform.
[56-57: What happens next in this great storm will be told after the story resumes.]
I nill relate, action may
Conveniently the rest convey,
Which might not what by me is told . 60
[58-60: I have nothing more to tell you now. The action that will unfold will tell you more, but what is said might not agree with what I have said.]
In your imagination hold [pretend]
This stage [is] the ship, upon whose deck
The sea-tost [sea-tossed] Pericles appears to speak. [Exit.
Act 3, Scene 1
Enter PERICLES on a ship at sea.
PERICLES: Thou God of this great vast, rebuke these surges,
Which wash both heaven and hell; and thou [Aeolus, god of the winds], that hast
Upon the winds command, bind them in brass,
Having call’d them from the deep. O! still 5
Thy deafening, dreadful thunders; gently quench
Thy nimble, sulphurous flashes. O! how Lychorida,
How does my queen? Thou stormest venomously;
[2-7: O Neptune, god of this vast sea, calm these surges, which rise to heaven one moment and dip to hell the next. And you, Jupiter (see Jove), bind the powerful winds in brass, silence the deafening thunder, and stop the flashes of lightning. Oh, Lychorida, how is my queen doing? (Lychorida is below the deck attending the queen during the delivery of her baby.) The storm is raging;]
Wilt thou spit all thyself? The seaman’s whistle
Is as a whisper in the ears of death, 10
Unheard. Lychorida! Lucina (Juno), O!
Divinest patroness, and midwife gentle
To those that cry by night, convey thy deity
Aboard our dancing boat; make swift the pangs
Of my queen’s travails! 15
Enter LYCHORIDA, with an Infant.
LYCHORIDA: Here is a thing too young for such a place,
Who, if it had conceit [if it could think rationally], would die, as I
Am like to do: take in your arms this piece 20
Of your dead queen.
PERICLES: How, how, Lychorida!
LYCHORIDA: 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, 25
Be manly, and take comfort.
PERICLES: 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 30
Use honour with you.
[28-31: Why do you give us gifts (like Thaisa) that we love, then take them away from us? We here on earth are too respectful of you to take back gifts we have given to you.]
LYCHORIDA: Patience, good sir,
Even [If only] for this charge [baby].
PERICLES: [To the child.] Now, mild may be thy life!
For a more blust’rous birth had never babe: [No baby ever had such a blustery birth:] 35
Quiet and gentle thy conditions [mood; disposition; state of mind]!
For thou art the rudeliest welcome to this world
That e’er was prince’s child. Happy what follows!
[37-38: For you have received the harshest welcome to this world of any child born to a prince. May you know happiness hereafter.]
Thou hast as chiding [rough] a nativity [birth]
As fire, air, water, earth, and heaven can make, 40
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 ’t!
[42-44: The loss of your mother is more than should be thrust upon you at your delivery into this world, with all of its problems. Now, may the good gods help you make the best of life.]
Enter two Sailors. 45
FIRST SAILOR: What courage, sir? God save you!
PERICLES: Courage enough. I do not fear the flaw [powerful gust of wind that comes and goes]. 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.
FIRST SAILOR: Slack [Slacken] the bolins there! thou wilt not, wilt thou? Blow, and split thyself.
[49, bolins: Bowlines, which are ropes attached to a vertical edge of a square sail to keep it steady during windy weather.]
SECOND SAILOR: But sea-room, an [if] the brine and cloudy billow kiss the moon, I care not. 50
FIRST SAILOR: 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.
PERICLES: That’s your superstition.
FIRST SAILOR: Pardon us, sir; with us at sea it hath been still observed, and we are strong in custom. Therefore briefly [quickly] yield her, for she must overboard straight.
PERICLES: As you think meet. Most wretched queen!
LYCHORIDA: Here she lies, sir. 55
PERICLES: A terrible child-bed hast thou had, my dear;
No light, no fire: the unfriendly elements
Forgot thee utterly; nor have I time
To give thee hallow’d to thy grave [To conduct funeral rites], but straight
Must cast thee, scarcely coffin’d, in the ooze; 60
Where, for a monument upon thy bones,
And aye-remaining lamps [And lamps burning over the tomb], the belching whale
And humming water must o’erwhelm thy corpse,
Lying with simple shells [sea shells]! O Lychorida!
Bid Nestor bring me spices, ink and paper, 65
My casket and my jewels; and bid Nicander
Bring me the satin coffer [chest; box]: lay the babe
Upon the pillow. Hie thee [Hurry up], whiles I say
A priestly farewell to her: suddenly, woman. [Exit LYCHORIDA.
SECOND SAILOR: Sir, we have a chest beneath the hatches, caulk’d and bitumed [waterproofed] ready. 70
PERICLES: I thank thee. Mariner, say what coast is this?
SECOND SAILOR: We are near Tarsus.
PERICLES: Thither, gentle mariner,
Alter thy course for Tyre. When canst thou reach it?
[73-74: Go there, gentle mariner. Abandon your course for Tyre and set a course for Tarsus? Where will we get there?]
SECOND SAILOR: By break of day, if the wind cease. 75
PERICLES: O! make for Tarsus.
There will I visit Cleon, for the babe
Cannot hold out to Tyrus [Tyre]; there I’ll leave it
At careful nursing. Go thy ways, good mariner;
I’ll bring the body presently. [Exeunt. 80
Act 3, Scene 2
Ephesus. A room in CERIMON’S house.
Enter CERIMON, a Servant, and some Persons who have been shipwracked [shipwrecked].
CERIMON: Philemon, ho!
PHILEMON: Doth my lord call? 5
CERIMON: Get fire and meat for these poor men;
’T [It] has been a turbulent and stormy night.
SERVANT: I have been in many; but such a night as this
Till now I ne’er endur’d.
CERIMON: Your master will be dead ere you return; 10
There’s nothing can be minister’d to [in] nature
That can recover him. [To PHILEMON.] Give this to the ’pothecary [apothecary, a person who prepares medicines],
And tell me how it works. [Exeunt all except CERIMON.
Enter two Gentlemen.
FIRST GENTLEMAN: Good morrow, sir. 15
SECOND GENTLEMAN: Good morrow to your lordship.
Why do you stir so early?
FIRST GENTLEMAN: Sir,
Our lodgings, standing bleak upon the sea, 20
Shook as the earth did quake;
The very principals did seem to rend [split],
[22, principals: Two sides of a triangular truss supporting a roof]
And all to topple. Pure surprise and fear
Made me to quit the house.
SECOND GENTLEMAN: That is the cause we trouble you so early; 25
’Tis not our husbandry. [It was not our management of the household that caused us to rise early.]
CERIMON: O! you say well.
FIRST GENTLEMAN: But I much marvel that your lordship, having
Rich tire [attire; clothing] about you, should at these early hours
Shake off the golden slumber of repose. 30
’Tis most strange,
Nature should be so conversant with pain,
Being thereto not compell’d.
[31-33: It's strange that you, a physician, should want to get up so early to do research on pain when you don't have to.]
CERIMON: I hold it ever,
Virtue and cunning [know-how] were endowments greater 35
Than nobleness and riches; careless heirs
May the two latter darken and expend,
But immortality attends the former,
Making a man a god. ’Tis known I ever
Have studied physic [medicine], through which secret art, 40
By turning o’er authorities, I have—
[34-41: I have always believed that virtue and knowledge were more important than nobleness and riches. Careless heirs may cheapen the nobleness and spend the riches. But virtue and know-how in the study of medicine can result in discoveries that live on and immortalize the discoverer. It's known I have long studied medicine. Through this secret art, by the study of authoritative sources, I have—]
Together with my practice—made familiar
To me and to my aid the blest infusions [healing or comforting liquids made from plants and/or minerals]
That dwell in vegetives [vegetables and other plants], in metals, stones;
And can speak of the disturbances 45
That nature works, and of her cures; which doth give me
A more content in course of true delight
Than to be thirsty after tottering honour,
Or tie my treasure up in silken bags,
To please the fool and death. 50
[46, which doth . . . and death: Which gives me more content and delight than thirsting after honor or storing treasure in silken bags just to please fools and death.]
SECOND GENTLEMAN: Your honour has through Ephesus pour’d forth
Your charity, and hundreds call themselves
Your creatures, who by you have been restor’d [healed]:
And not your knowledge, your personal pain, but even
Your purse, still open, hath built Lord Cerimon 55
Such strong renown as time shall ne’er decay.
[53-56: It was not only your knowledge and personal sacrifice but also your open purse that built you your great reputation. Time will never forget you.]
Enter two Servants, with a chest.
FIRST SERVANT: So; lift there.
CERIMON: What is that?
FIRST SERVANT: Sir, even now 60
Did the sea toss upon our shore this chest:
’Tis of some wrack [shipwreck].
CERIMON: Set it down; let’s look upon ’t.
SECOND GENTLEMAN: ’Tis like a coffin, sir.
CERIMON: Whate’er it be, 65
’Tis wondrous heavy. Wrench it open straight;
If the sea’s stomach be o’ercharg’d with gold,
’Tis a good constraint of fortune it belches upon us.
SECOND GENTLEMAN: ’Tis so, my lord.
CERIMON: How close ’tis caulk’d and bitumed! [Bitumen was used for waterproofing. Bitumed is a verb meaning that the chest was sealed with bitumen.] 70
Did the sea cast it up?
FIRST SERVANT: I never saw so huge a billow, sir,
As toss’d it upon shore.
CERIMON: Come, wrench it open.
Soft! it smells most sweetly in my sense. 75
SECOND GENTLEMAN: A delicate odour.
CERIMON: As ever hit my nostril. So, up with it.
O you most potent gods! what’s here? a corse [corpse]!
FIRST GENTLEMAN: Most strange!
CERIMON: Shrouded in cloth of state; balm’d and entreasur’d 80
With full bags of spices! A passport too!
Apollo, perfect me i’ the characters!
Here I give to understand,
If e’er [ever] this coffin drive a-land [is driven ashore],
I, King Pericles, have lost 85
This queen worth all our mundane cost.
Who [Whoever] finds her, give her burying;
She was the daughter of a king:
Besides this treasure for a fee,
The gods requite his charity! 90
[89-90: The enclosed treasure is payment for burying her. May the gods reward you for your charity!]
If thou liv’st, Pericles, thou hast a heart
That even cracks for woe! This chanc’d [happened] to-night.
SECOND GENTLEMAN: Most likely, sir.
CERIMON: Nay, certainly to-night;
For look, how fresh she looks. They were too rough 95
That threw her in the sea. Make fire within;
Fetch hither all the boxes in my closet. [Exit Second Servant.
Death may usurp on nature many hours,
And yet the fire of life kindle again
The overpress’d spirits. I heard 100
Of an Egyptian, that had nine hours lien [lain] dead,
Who was by good appliances [resuscitation] recovered.
Re-enter Servant, with boxes, napkins, and fire.
Well said, well said; the fire and cloths.
The rough and woeful music that we have, 105
Cause it to sound, beseech you.
The viol once more;—how thou stirr’st, thou block! [You're coming to life!]
The music there! I pray you, give her air.
This queen will live; nature awakes, a warmth 110
Breathes out of her; she hath not been entranc’d
Above five hours. See! how she ’gins to blow [to blossom; to open]
Into life’s flower again.
FIRST GENTLEMAN: The heavens
Through you increase our wonder and set up 115
Your fame for ever.
CERIMON: She is alive! behold,
Her eyelids, cases to those heavenly jewels [eyes]
Which Pericles hath lost,
Begin to part their fringes of bright gold; 120
The diamonds of a most praised water [brilliance; luster]
Do appear, to make the world twice rich. Live,
And make us weep to hear your fate, fair creature,
Rare as you seem to be! [She moves.
THAISA: O dear Diana! 125
Where am I? Where’s my lord? What world is this?
SECOND GENTLEMAN: Is not this strange?
FIRST GENTLEMAN: Most rare.
CERIMON: Hush, gentle neighbours!
Lend me your hands; to the next chamber bear her. 130
Get linen; now this matter must be look’d to,
For her relapse is [For a relapse would be] mortal. Come, come;
And Aesculapius guide us! [Exeunt, carrying THAISA away.
Act 3, Scene 3
Tarsus. A room in Cleon's house.
Enter PERICLES, CLEON, DIONYZA, and LYCHORIDA, with MARINA in her arms.
PERICLES: Most honour’d Cleon, I must needs be gone;
My twelve months are expir’d, and Tyrus [Tyre] stands
In a litigious [disputed] peace. You and your lady 5
Take from my heart all thankfulness; the gods
Make up the rest upon you!
CLEON: Your shafts [arrows] of fortune, though they hurt you mortally,
Yet glance full wanderingly on us [Yet glance in respectful wonder on us].
DIONYZA: O your sweet queen! 10
That the strict fates had pleas’d you had brought her hither [here],
To have bless’d mine eyes with her!
PERICLES: We cannot but obey
The powers above us. Could I rage and roar
As doth the sea she lies in, yet the end 15
Must be as ’tis. My gentle babe Marina—whom,
For she was born at sea, I have nam’d so—here
[16-17, Marina: Pericles says he named his daughter Marina because she was born at sea. The Latin word for sea is mare (pronounced MAR ay), from which Marina is derived.]
I charge your charity withal, and leave her
The infant of your care, beseeching you
[18-19: I would like to impose on your charity and leave her in your care, asking you]
To give her princely training, that she may be 20
Manner’d as she is born.
CLEON: Fear not, my lord, but think
Your Grace, that fed my country with your corn—
For which the people’s prayers still fall upon you—
Must in your child be thought on [will be cared for attentively]. If neglection [neglect] 25
Should therein make me vile, the common body,
By you reliev’d, would force me to my duty;
[25-27: If neglection . . . duty: Be assured that if I neglect your child, our people here would force me to do my duty to her.]
But if to that my nature need a spur,
The gods revenge it upon me and mine,
To the end of generation! 30
[28-30: And if I am still deficient in my task, may the gods take revenge against me and my family to the end of the next generation.]
PERICLES: I believe you;
Your honour and your goodness teach me to ’t [Your honor and your goodness persuade me that you are telling the truth],
Without your vows. Till she be married, madam,
By bright Diana, whom we honour, all
Unscissar’d shall this hair of mine remain [I won't shave or cut my hair], 35
Though I show ill in ’t. So I take my leave.
Good madam, make me blessed in your care
In bringing up my child.
DIONYZA: I have one myself,
Who shall not be more dear to my respect 40
Than yours, my lord.
PERICLES: Madam, my thanks and prayers.
CLEON: We’ll bring your Grace e’en [even] to the edge o’ the shore;
Then give you up to the mask’d Neptune and
The gentlest winds of heaven. 45
[44, mask'd Nepture: Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, lived under water, unseen. The sea was his mask.]
PERICLES: I will embrace
Your offer. Come, dearest madam. O! no tears,
Lychorida, no tears:
Look to your little mistress, on whose grace
You may depend hereafter. Come, my lord. [Exeunt. 50
Act 3, Scene 4
Ephesus. A room in Ceremon's house.
Enter CERIMON and THAISA.
CERIMON: Madam, this letter, and some certain jewels,
Lay with you in your coffer; which are now
At your command. Know you the character? 5
THAISA: It is my lord’s.
That I was shipp’d at sea, I well remember,
Even on my eaning time [Even during childbirth]; but whether there
Deliver’d, by the holy gods,
I cannot rightly say. But since King Pericles, 10
My wedded lord, I ne’er shall see again,
A vestal livery will I take me to [I will remain celibate],
And never more have joy.
CERIMON: Madam, if this you purpose [plan to do] as you speak,
Diana’s temple is not distant far, 15
Where you may abide till your date expire.
Moreover, if you please, a niece of mine
Shall there attend you.
THAISA: My recompense is thanks, that’s all;
Yet my good will is great, though the gift small. [Exeunt. 20
Act 4, Prologue.
Gower recites this prologue in sometimes-difficult language. Here is a summary of what he says. Pericles is now in Tyre while Thaisa is in Ephesus leading a celibate life of virtue as a follower of the goddess Diana. Meanwhile, Cleon rears and educates their child, Marina, in Tarsus. She is so intelligent and graceful that everyone admires her—everyone but Cleon's wife, Dionyza. She despises Marina because her own daughter, Philoten, seems so ordinary and dull compared to Marina. Consequently, she plots to have Marina murdered.
Imagine Pericles arriv’d at Tyre,
Welcom’d and settled to his own desire.
His woeful queen we leave at Ephesus,
Unto Diana there a votaress [woman leading a prayerful life devoted to a divinity]. 5
Now to Marina bend your mind,
Whom our fast-growing scene must find
At Tarsus, and by Cleon train’d
In music, letters; who hath gain’d
Of education all the grace, 10
Which makes her both the heart and place
Of general wonder. But, alack [alas]!
That monster envy, oft the wrack [destroyer]
Of earned praise, Marina’s life
Seeks to take off by treason’s knife. 15
And in this kind hath our Cleon
One daughter, and a wench full grown,
Even ripe for marriage-rite; this maid
Hight [Named] Philoten, and it is said
For certain in our story, she 20
Would ever with Marina be:
Be ’t [it] when she [Marina] weav’d the sleided silk [silk threads]
With fingers, long, small, white as milk,
Or when she would with sharp neeld [needle] wound
The cambric [white linen or cotton fabric], which she made more sound 25
By hurting it; when to the lute
She sung, and made the night-bird [nightingale] mute,
That still records with moan [which now sings with a low moan]; or when
She would with rich and constant pen
Vail [write hymns of praise] to her mistress Dian [Diana]; still 30
This Philoten contends in skill
With absolute [highly talented] Marina: so
With the dove of Paphos might the crow
Vie feathers white. Marina gets
[32-24: Philoten is like a crow and Marina like a dove. No matter how hard she tries, Philoten can't turn her black feathers white.]
All praises, which are paid as debts, 35
And not as given. This so darks
In Philoten all graceful marks,
That Cleon’s wife, with envy rare,
A present murderer does prepare
For good Marina, that her daughter 40
Might stand peerless by this slaughter.
[35-41: Marina so enchants people that they can't help but praise her. Philoten can only stand in her shadow, her good points obscured. Envious Dionyza then recruits a murderer to kill Marina so that her daughter receives more attention.]
The sooner her vile thoughts to stead [thoughts are in place],
Lychorida, our nurse, is dead:
And cursed Dionyza hath
The pregnant instrument of wrath 45
Prest for this blow. The unborn event
I do commend to your content:
Only I carry winged time
Post on the lame feet of my rime;
[44-49: And cursed Dionyza has recruited the man to kill Marina. What happens next, I'll let you see for yourself as the play unfolds. Of course, I know what happens, for I can move through time as if I had wings on my rimes.]
Which never could I so convey, 50
Unless your thoughts went on my way.
Dionyza doth appear,
With Leonine, a murderer. [Exit.
Act 4, Scene 1
Tarsus. An open place near the seashore.
Enter DIONYZA and LEONINE.
DIONYZA: Thy oath remember; thou hast sworn to do ’t [it]:
’Tis but a blow, which never shall be known.
Thou canst not do a thing i’ [in] the world so soon, 5
To yield thee so much profit. Let not conscience,
Which is but cold, inflaming love i’ [in] thy bosom,
Inflame too nicely; nor let pity, which
Even women have cast off, melt thee, but be
A soldier to thy purpose. 10
LEONINE: I’ll do ’t [it]; but yet she is a goodly creature.
DIONYZA: The fitter, then, the gods should have her. Here
She comes weeping for her only mistress’ death.
Thou art resolv’d?
LEONINE: I am resolv’d. 15
Enter MARINA, with a basket of flowers.
MARINA: [Addressing the dead Lychorida.] No, I will rob Tellus [Roman name for Gaea, the Greek goddess of the earth] of her weed,
To strew thy green with flowers; the yellows, blues,
The purple violets, and marigolds,
Shall as a carpet hang upon thy grave, 20
While summer days do last. Ay me! poor maid,
Born in a tempest, when my mother died,
This world to me is like a lasting storm,
Whirring me from my friends.
DIONYZA: How now, Marina! why do you keep alone? 25
How chance my daughter is not with you? Do not
Consume your blood with sorrowing; you have
A nurse of me [A sympathetic friend in me]. Lord! how your favour’s [fortunes are] chang’d
With this unprofitable woe. Come,
Give me your flowers, ere the sea mar it. 30
Walk with Leonine; the air is quick there,
And it pierces and sharpens the stomach. Come,
Leonine, take her by the arm, walk with her.
MARINA: No, I pray you;
I’ll not bereave [deprive] you of your servant. 35
DIONYZA: Come, come;
I love the king your father, and yourself,
With more than foreign heart. We every day
Expect him here; when he shall come and find
Our paragon [Our beloved Marina] to all reports thus blasted [downhearted], 40
He will repent [regret] the breadth of his great voyage;
Blame both my lord and me, that we have taken
No care to your best courses [best interests]. Go, I pray you;
Walk, and be cheerful once again; reserve
That excellent complexion, which did steal 45
The eyes of young and old. Care not for me;
I can go home alone.
MARINA: Well, I will go;
But yet I have no desire to it.
DIONYZA: Come, come, I know ’tis good for you. 50
Walk half an hour, Leonine, at least.
Remember what I have said.
LEONINE: I warrant you, madam.
DIONYZA: I’ll leave you, my sweet lady, for a while;
Pray you walk softly, do not heat your blood: 55
What! I must have care of you.
MARINA: My thanks, sweet madam. [Exit DIONYZA.
Is this wind westerly that blows?
MARINA: When I was born, the wind was north. 60
LEONINE: Was ’t [it] so?
MARINA: My father, as [my] nurse said, did never fear,
But cried ‘Good seamen!’ to the sailors, galling
His kingly hands haling [pulling] ropes;
And, clasping to the mast, endur’d a sea 65
That almost burst the deck.
LEONINE: When was this?
MARINA: When I was born:
Never were waves nor wind more violent;
And from the ladder-tackle washes off 70
A canvas-climber. ‘Ha!’ says one, ‘wilt out?’
[70-71: And the wind blew a sailor off a rope ladder near the sails. As he was falling into the sea, another sailor commented, "So you're leaving us?"]
And with a dropping industry they skip [And, dripping wet, they skip]
From stem to stern; the boatswain whistles, and
[73, boatswain (or bosun): Petty officer in charge of deck hands and of ropes, chains, and other gear used to control masts and sails.]
The master [captain] calls, and trebles [triples] their confusion.
LEONINE: Come; say your prayers. 75
MARINA: What mean you?
LEONINE: If you require a little space for prayer,
I grant it. Pray; but be not tedious [but don't take too long],
For the gods are quick of ear, and I am sworn
To do my work with haste. 80
MARINA: Why will you kill me?
LEONINE: To satisfy my lady.
MARINA: Why would she have me kill’d?
Now, as I can remember, by my troth,
[84, by my troth: Truthfully.]
I never did her hurt in all my life. 85
I never spake bad word, nor did ill turn
To any living creature; believe me, la [for sure],
I never kill’d a mouse, nor hurt a fly;
I trod upon a worm against my will,
But I wept for it. How have I offended, 90
Wherein my death might yield her any profit,
Or my life imply her any danger?
LEONINE: My commission
Is not to reason of the deed, but do ’t.
MARINA: You will not do ’t for all the world, I hope. 95
You are well favour’d, and your looks foreshow
You have a gentle heart. I saw you lately,
When you caught hurt [were injured] in parting two that fought;
Good sooth [In truth], it show’d well in you; do so now;
Your lady seeks my life; come you between, 100
And save poor me, the weaker.
LEONINE: I am sworn,
And will dispatch [kill you].
Enter Pirates, whilst MARINA is struggling.
FIRST PIRATE: Hold, villain! [LEONINE runs away. 105
SECOND PIRATE: A prize! a prize!
THIRD PIRATE: Half-part, mates, half-part. [We'll share her.]
Come, let’s have her aboard suddenly. [Exeunt Pirates with MARINA.
LEONINE: These roguing thieves serve the great pirate Valdes; 110
And they have seiz’d Marina. Let her go;
There’s no hope she’ll return. I’ll swear she’s dead,
And thrown into the sea. But I’ll see further;
Perhaps they will but please themselves upon her [Perhaps they will rape her],
Not carry her aboard. If she remain, 115
Whom they have ravish’d must by me be slain. [Exit.
Act 4, Scene 2
Mytilene. A room in a brothel.
Enter a Pandar, a Bawd, and BOULT.
[A pandar is a pimp; a bawd is the operator of a brothel.]
PANDAR: Search the market narrowly; Mitylene is full of gallants; we lost too much money this mart by being too wenchless. 5
[5: Search the market carefully for more women. After all, Mitylene is full of fashionable men looking for prostitutes. Yet we've lost a lot of money because we don't have enough women.]
BAWD: We were never so much out of creatures. We have but poor three, and they can do no more than they can do; and they with continual action are even as good as rotten.
PANDAR: Therefore, let’s have fresh ones, whate’er we pay for them. If there be not a conscience to be used in every trade, we shall never prosper. [If we don't provide a good product, we'll never prosper.]
BAWD: Thou sayst true; ’tis not the bringing up of poor bastards, as, I think, I have brought up some eleven—
BOULT: Ay, to eleven [Ay, to age eleven]; and [we] brought them down again. But shall I search the market?
BAWD: What else, man? The stuff we have a strong wind will blow it to pieces, they are so pitifully sodden [unsuitable]. 10
PANDAR: Thou sayst true; they’re too unwholesome, o’ conscience [of conscience: to tell the truth]. The poor Transylvanian is dead, that lay with the little baggage.
BOULT: Ay, she quickly pooped him; she made him roast-meat for worms. But I’ll go search the market. [Exit.
PANDAR: Three or four thousand chequins [small coins] were as pretty a proportion to live quietly, and so give over [so that we can give up this trade and live quietly].
BAWD: Why to give over, I pray you? is it a shame to get [to be in this business] when we are old?
PANDAR: O! our credit comes not in like the commodity [our social standing does not improve with increasing business], nor the commodity wages not with the danger [nor does increasing business lessen the danger of running a brothel]; therefore, if in our youths we could pick up some pretty estate, ’twere not amiss to keep our door hatched. Besides, the sore terms we stand upon with the gods will be strong with us for giving over. 15
BAWD: Come, other sorts offend as well as we. [Come now, we aren't the only ones who do wrong.]
PANDAR: As well as we! ay, and better too; we offend worse. Neither is our profession any trade; it’s no calling. But here comes Boult.
Re-enter BOULT, with the Pirates and MARINA.
BOULT: Come your ways. My masters, you say she’s a virgin?
First Pirate. O! sir, we doubt it not. 20
BOULT: Master, I have gone through [I have bid] for this piece, you see: if you like her, so; if not, I have lost my earnest.
BAWD: Boult, has she any qualities?
BOULT: She has a good face, speaks well, and has excellent good clothes; there’s no further necessity of qualities can make her be refused.
BAWD: What’s her price, Boult?
BOULT: I cannot be bated one doit of a thousand pieces. [I cannot take less than a thousand doits (A doit was a Dutch coin a very small value)]. 25
PANDAR: Well, follow me, my masters, you shall have your money presently. Wife, take her in; instruct her what she has to do, that she may not be raw in her entertainment. [Exeunt Pandar and Pirates.
BAWD: Boult, take you the marks [mark down; remember; note] of her, the colour of her hair, complexion, height, age, with warrant [a guarantee] of her virginity; and cry, ‘He that will give most, shall have her first.’ Such a maiden-head were no cheap thing, if men were as they have been. Get this done as I command you.
BOULT: Performance shall follow. [Exit.
MARINA: Alack [Alas]! that Leonine was so slack, so slow. [It would have been better if Leonine had killed me.]
He should have struck, not spoke; or that these pirates— 30
Not enough barbarous—had not o’erboard thrown me
For to seek my mother!
BAWD: Why lament you, pretty one?
MARINA: That I am pretty [I regret that I am pretty].
BAWD: Come, the gods have done their part in you. 35
MARINA: I accuse them not.
BAWD: You are lit into my hands, where you are like to live.
MARINA: The more my fault
To ’scape his hands where I was like to die.
BAWD: Ay, and you shall live in pleasure. 40
BAWD: Yes, indeed, shall you, and taste gentlemen of all fashions. You shall fare well; you shall have the difference of all complexions. What! do you stop your ears?
MARINA: Are you a woman?
BAWD: What would you have me be, an [if] I be not a woman?
MARINA: An honest woman, or not a woman. 45
BAWD: Marry, whip thee, gosling; I think I shall have something to do with you. Come, you are a young foolish sapling, and must be bowed [trained; disciplined] as I would have you.
MARINA: The gods defend me!
BAWD: If it please the gods to defend you by men, then men must comfort you, men must feed you, men must stir you up. Boult’s returned.
Now, sir, hast thou cried [advertised; announced] her through the market? 50
BOULT: I have cried her almost to the number of her hairs; I have drawn her picture with my voice.
BAWD: And I prithee, tell me, how dost thou find the inclination of the people, especially of the yonger [younger] sort?
BOULT: Faith, they listened to me, as they would have hearkened to their father’s testament. There was a Spaniard’s mouth so watered, that he went to bed to her very description.
BAWD: We shall have him here to-morrow with his best ruff [pleated or frilled collar] on.
BOULT: To-night, to-night. But, mistress, do you know the French knight that cowers i’ the hams [that walks with a stoop; that walks with bent knees]? 55
BAWD: Who? Monsieur Veroles? [Vérole is the French word for syphilis.]
BOULT: Ay; he offered to cut a caper [jump for joy] at the proclamation; but he made a groan at it, and swore he would see her to-morrow.
BAWD: Well, well; as for him, he brought his disease [syphilis] hither: here he does but repair [renew] it. I know he will come in our shadow [brothel], to scatter his crowns in the sun [to scatter his money in the sunshine of Marina's beauty].
BOULT: Well, if we had of every nation a traveller, we should lodge them with this sign [we should have a sign out front with a painting of Marina on it].
BAWD: [To MARINA.] Pray you, come hither awhile. You have fortunes coming upon you. Mark me: you must seem [pretend] to do that fearfully, which you commit willingly; [and to pretend] to despise profit where you have most gain. To weep that you live as ye do makes pity in your lovers; seldom but that pity begets you a good opinion, and that opinion a mere profit [pure profit]. 60
MARINA: I understand you not.
BOULT: O! take her home, mistress, take her home; these blushes of hers must be quenched with some present practice.
BAWD: Thou sayst true, i’ faith, so they must; for your bride goes to that with shame which is her way to go with warrant [goes to bed on her wedding night with shame to show that she is innocent and untried].
BOULT: Faith, some do, and some do not. But, mistress, if I have bargained for the joint,— [joint of roasting meat]
BAWD: Thou mayst cut a morsel off the spit. 65
BOULT: I may so?
BAWD: Who should deny it? Come, young one, I like the manner of your garments well.
BOULT: Ay, by my faith, they shall not be changed yet.
BAWD: Boult, spend thou that in the town; report what a sojourner we have; you’ll lose nothing by custom [you'll get us more customers]. When nature framed this piece [Marina], she meant thee a good turn; therefore say what a paragon she is, and thou hast the harvest [profit] out of thine own report.
BOULT: I warrant you, mistress, thunder shall not so awake the beds of eels as my giving out her beauty stir up the lewdly-inclined. I’ll bring home some [men] to-night. 70
BAWD: Come your ways; follow me.
MARINA: If fires be hot, knives sharp, or waters deep,
Untied I still my virgin knot will keep.
Diana, aid my purpose!
BAWD: What have we to do with Diana? 75
Pray you, will you go with us? [Exeunt.
Act 4, Scene 3
Tarsus. A room in CLEON'S house.
Enter CLEON and DIONYZA.
DIONYZA: Why, are you foolish? Can it be undone?
CLEON: O Dionyza! such a piece of slaughter
The sun and moon ne’er look’d upon. 5
DIONYZA: I think
You’ll turn a child again.
CLEON: Were I chief lord of all this spacious world,
I’d give it [give up my position] to undo the deed. O lady [Marina]!
Much less in blood than virtue, yet a princess 10
To equal any single crown o’ the earth
I’ the justice of compare. O villain Leonine!
[10-12: Your virtue was even greater than the noble blood in your veins. By comparison, you were a princess to equal any royal person on earth. Oh, Leonine, you villain!]
Whom thou hast poison’d too;
If thou hadst drunk to him ’t [it] had been a kindness
Becoming well thy fact; what canst thou say 15
When noble Pericles shall demand his child?
[14-16: If you had drunk poison yourself in a toast to him, it would have been a just punishment for your heinous deed. What would you say if noble Pericles wants his child?]
DIONYZA: That she is dead. Nurses are not the fates,
To foster it, nor ever to preserve.
She died at night; I’ll say so. Who can cross it?
Unless you play the pious innocent, 20
And for an honest attribute cry out
‘She died by foul play.’
[17-22: I'll say that she is dead. People realize that nurses don't end or preserve life. When questioned, I'll tell people that she died during her sleep. Who can say I'm lying? Unless you play the pious innocent and—to show how honest you are—cry out, "She died by foul play."]
CLEON: O! go to [Oh, just try that]. Well, well,
Of all the faults beneath the heavens, the gods
Do like this worst. 25
DIONYZA: Be one of those that think
The pretty wrens of Tarsus will fly hence,
And open this to Pericles. I do shame
To think of what a noble strain you are,
And of how coward a spirit. 30
[26-30: You probably think the pretty wrens of Tarsus will fly to Pericles and chirp to him the whole story. You come from a noble family but are a coward at heart.]
CLEON: To such proceeding
Who ever but his approbation added,
Though not his prime consent, he did not flow
From honourable sources.
[31-34: Whoever knew about her murder but looked the other way is guilty of committing evil.]
DIONYZA: Be it so, then; 35
Yet none does know but you how she came dead,
Nor none can know, Leonine being gone.
She did distain [abase; humiliate] my child, and stood between
Her and her fortunes; none would look on her,
But cast their gazes on Marina’s face, 40
Whilst ours was blurted at and held a malkin [was insulted and regarded as a whore].
Not worth the time of day. It pierc’d me thorough [through];
And though you call my course unnatural,
You not your child well loving, yet I find
It greets me as an enterprise of kindness 45
Perform’d to your sole daughter.
[43-46: And though you—who don't love your child as much as I do—call my course of action abominable, I think it was an act of kindness performed for our only daughter.]
CLEON: Heavens forgive it!
DIONYZA: And as for Pericles,
What should he say? We wept after her hearse,
And even yet we mourn; her monument 50
Is almost finish’d, and her epitaphs
In glittering golden characters express
A general praise to her, and care in us
At whose expense ’tis done.
CLEON: Thou art like the harpy, 55
[55, harpy: In ancient mythology, a hideous creature with the head and trunk of a woman and the wings, tail, legs, and talons of a predatory bird.]
Which, to betray [deceive others], dost with thine angel’s face,
Seize with thine eagle’s talons.
DIONYZA: You are like one that superstitiously
Doth swear to the gods that winter kills the flies;
[58-59: You are so spineless that you apologize to the gods when winter kills all the flies.]
But yet I know you’ll do as I advise. [Exeunt. 60
Act 4, Scene 4
Before the monument of MARINA at Tarsus.
Thus time we waste, and longest leagues make short;
Sail seas in cockles [sea shells], have an wish but for ’t;
Making—to take your imagination— 5
From bourn to bourn, region to region.
[To speed through time, we are now making long distances short. In small boats, we are taking your imagination from boundary to boundary, region to region.]
By you being pardon’d, we commit no crime
To use one language in each several clime [each separate country]
Where our scenes seem to live. I do beseech you
To learn of me, who stand i’ the gaps to teach you, 10
The stages of our story. Pericles
Is now again thwarting [traveling] the wayward seas,
Attended on by many a lord and knight,
To see his daughter, all his life’s delight.
Old Helicanus goes along. Behind 15
Is left to govern it, you bear in mind,
Old Escanes, whom Helicanus late
Advanc’d in time to great and high estate.
Well-sailing ships and bounteous winds have brought
This king to Tarsus, think his pilot thought, 20
So with his steerage shall your thoughts grow on,
[20-22: This king to Tarsus—think that your imagination guides this captain—]
To fetch his daughter home, who first is gone [who was taken from Tarsus by pirates].
Like motes and shadows see them move awhile;
[23: Watch them move like specks of dust in a ray of sunshine;]
Your ears unto your eyes I’ll reconcile.
DUMB SHOW. 25
Enter at one door PERICLES, with his Train; CLEON and DIONYZA at the other. CLEON shows PERICLES the tomb of MARINA; whereat PERICLES makes lamentation, puts on sackcloth, and in a mighty passion departs. Exeunt CLEON and DIONYZA.
See how belief may suffer by foul show!
This borrow’d passion stands for true old woe;
[27-28: See how Cleon and Dionyza deceive Pericles by taking him to the fake tomb of Maria.]
And Pericles, in sorrow all devour’d,
With sighs shot through, and biggest tears o’er-shower’d, 30
Leaves Tarsus and again embarks. He swears
Never to wash his face, nor cut his hairs;
He puts on sackcloth, and to sea. He bears [encounters]
A tempest, which his mortal vessel [body] tears,
And yet he rides it out. Now please you wit [wit: archaic word for know or be aware] 35
The epitaph is for Marina writ
By wicked Dionyza. [Reads inscription on MARINA’S monument.
THE FAIREST, SWEET’ST, AND BEST LIES HERE,No visor [mask] does become black villany
So well as soft and tender flattery.
Let Pericles believe his daughter’s dead, 50
And bear his courses to be ordered
By Lady Fortune; while our scene must play
His daughter’s woe and heavy well-a-day
In her unholy service [in the brothel]. Patience then,
And think you now are all in Mitylen [Mitylene]. [Exit. 55
Act 4, Scene 5
Mytilene. A street before the brothel.
Enter, from the brothel, two Gentlemen.
FIRST GENTLEMAN: Did you ever hear the like?
SECOND GENTLEMAN: No, nor never shall do in such a place as this, she being once gone.
FIRST GENTLEMAN: But to have divinity preached there! did you ever dream of such a thing? 5
SECOND GENTLEMAN: No, no. Come, I am for no more bawdy-houses. Shall’s go hear the vestals sing?
FIRST GENTLEMAN: I’ll do any thing now that is virtuous; but I am out of the road of rutting [lechery] for ever. [Exeunt.
Act 4, Scene 6
Mytilene. A room in the brothel.
Enter the Pandar, the Bawd, and BOULT.
PANDAR: Well, I had rather than twice the worth of her she had ne’er come here. [I would have made double her value if she had never come here.]
BAWD: Fie, fie upon her! she is able to freeze the god Priapus [god of procreation, symbolized by an erect phallus] and undo a whole generation; we must either get her ravished [raped], or be rid of her. When she should do for clients her fitment, and do me the kindness of our profession, she has me her quirks, her reasons, her master-reasons, her prayers, her knees; that she would make a puritan of the devil if he should cheapen a kiss of her. [When she is supposed to do her job, she gives me all sorts of excuses why she can't, then prays and goes on her knees. She would turn the devil into a puritan if he tried to buy a kiss from her.]
BOULT: Faith, I must ravish her, or she’ll disfurnish us of all our cavaliers, and make all our swearers priests. 5
PANDAR: Now, the pox upon her green-sickness [iron-deficiency anemia that was associated with menstrual periods of young virgins] for me!
BAWD: Faith, there’s no way to be rid on ’t but by the way to the pox [by way of sexual intercourse]. Here comes the Lord Lysimachus, disguised.
BOULT: We should have both lord and lown [lower-class man] if the peevish baggage [woman] would but give way to customers.
LYSIMACHUS: How now! How [How much is] a dozen of virginities? 10
BAWD: Now, the gods to-bless your honour!
BOULT: I am glad to see your honour in good health.
LYSIMACHUS: You may so; ’tis the better for you that your resorters [customers] stand [to stand] upon sound legs. How now! wholesome iniquity, have you that a man may deal withal, and defy the surgeon? [Well, now do you have any healthy ladies that a man may deal with without getting a disease?]
BAWD: We have here one, sir, if she would—but there never came her like in Mitylene.
[14, if she would: If she would only cooperate (or similar words)].
LYSIMACHUS: If she’d do the deed of darkness, thou wouldst say. 15
BAWD: Your honour knows what ’tis to say well enough. [That's right.]
LYSIMACHUS: Well; call [her] forth, call forth.
BOULT: For flesh and blood, sir, white and red, you shall see a rose; and she were a rose indeed if she had but—
LYSIMACHUS: What, prithee?
BOULT: O! sir, I can be modest. 20
LYSIMACHUS: That dignifies the renown of a bawd no less than it gives a good report to a number to be chaste. [To say that a flesh peddler like you is modest is as rare as saying that a woman in a brothel is a virgin.] [ [Exit BOULT.
BAWD: Here comes that which grows to the stalk [Here comes an innocent flower]; never plucked yet, I can assure you.—
Re-enter BOULT with MARINA.
Is she not a fair creature?
LYSIMACHUS: Faith, she would serve after a long voyage at sea. Well, there’s for you [there's your money]; leave us. 25
BAWD: I beseech your honour, give me leave; a word, and I’ll have done presently.
LYSIMACHUS: I beseech you do.
bawd. [To MARINA.] First, I would have you note, this is an honourable man.
MARINA: I desire to find him so, that I may worthily note him.
BAWD: Next, he’s the governor of this country, and a man whom I am bound to. 30
MARINA: If he govern the country, you are bound to him indeed; but how honourable he is in that I know not.
BAWD: Pray you, without any more virginal fencing [without any more of your pious protests], will you use him kindly? He will line your apron with gold.
MARINA: What he will do graciously, I will thankfully receive.
LYSIMACHUS: Ha’ you done? [Are you finished?]
BAWD: My lord, she’s not paced [experienced] yet; you must take some pains to work her to your manage [to persuade her to lie with you]. Come, we will leave his honour and her together. 35
LYSIMACHUS: Go thy ways. [Exeunt Bawd, Pandar, and BOULT.] Now, pretty one, how long have you been at this trade?
MARINA: What trade, sir?
LYSIMACHUS: Why, I cannot name ’t but I shall offend. [If I name it, I will offend you.]
MARINA: I cannot be offended with my trade. Please you to name it.
LYSIMACHUS: How long have you been of this profession? 40
MARINA: E’er [Ever] since I can remember.
LYSIMACHUS: Did you go to ’t [it] so young? Were you a gamester [prostitute] at five or at seven?
MARINA: Earlier too, sir, if now I be one [if I am what you say I am].
LYSIMACHUS: Why, the house you dwell in proclaims you to be a creature of sale.
MARINA: Do you know this house to be a place of such resort, and will come into ’t [it]? I hear say you are of honourable parts, and are the governor of this place. 45
LYSIMACHUS: Why, hath your principal [overseer; boss] made known unto you who I am?
MARINA: Who is my principal?
LYSIMACHUS: Why, your herb-woman; she that sets seeds and roots of shame and iniquity. [Why, the bawd. She is like a woman who grows herbs. But the seeds she plants grow into prostitutes.] O! you have heard something of my power [as governor], and so stand aloof for more serious wooing [and so are holding back because you are intimidated by me]. But I protest to thee, pretty one, my authority shall not see thee, or else look friendly upon thee. Come, bring me to some private place; come, come.
MARINA: If you were born to honour, show it now;
If put upon you [If you earned your honor at a later time], make the judgment good 50
That thought you worthy of it.
LYSIMACHUS: How’s this? how’s this? Some more; be sage. [What's this? What's this? Are you lecturing me? Whatever, you may continue with your wise words.]
MARINA: For me,
That am a maid, though most ungentle fortune
Hath plac’d me in this sty, where, since I came, 55
Diseases have been sold dearer than physic [sold at a greater cost than cures],
O! that the gods
Would set me free from this unhallow’d place,
Though they did change me to the meanest bird [even though they changed me into the lowest bird]
That flies i’ the purer air! 60
LYSIMACHUS: I did not think
Thou couldst have spoke so well; ne’er dream’d [never did I dream] thou couldst.
Had I brought hither [here] a corrupted mind,
Thy speech had alter’d it. Hold, here’s gold for thee;
Persever [Persevere] in that clear way thou goest, 65
And the gods strengthen thee!
MARINA: The good gods preserve you!
LYSIMACHUS: For me, be you thoughten [be aware]
That I came with no ill intent, for to me
The very doors and windows savour vilely [The very doors and windows are vile]. 70
Farewell. Thou art a piece of virtue, and
I doubt not but thy training hath been noble.
Hold, here’s more gold for thee.
A curse upon him, die he like a thief,
That robs thee of thy goodness! If thou dost 75
Hear from me, it shall be for thy good.
BOULT: I beseech your honour, one piece for me.
LYSIMACHUS: Avaunt! thou damned door-keeper. Your house,
But for this virgin that doth prop it [prop it up], would 80
Sink and overwhelm you. Away! [Exit.
BOULT: How’s this? We must take another course with you [We must take more of the same from you]. If your peevish chastity, which is not worth a breakfast in the cheapest country under the cope [sky], shall undo a whole household, let me be gelded like a spaniel. Come your ways.
MARINA: Whither would you have me? [Where do you want me to go?]
BOULT: I must have your maidenhead taken off, or the common hangman shall execute it. Come your ways. We’ll have no more gentlemen driven away. Come your ways, I say.
Re-enter BAWD: 85
BAWD: How now! what’s the matter?
BOULT: Worse and worse, mistress; she has here spoken holy words to the Lord Lysimachus.
BAWD: O! abominale [abominable].
BOULT: She makes our profession as it were to stink afore the face of the gods.
BAWD: Marry, hang her up for ever! 90
BOULT: The nobleman would have dealt with her like a nobleman, and she sent him away as cold as a snowball; saying his prayers too.
BAWD: Boult, take her away; use her at thy pleasure; crack the glass of her virginity, and make the rest malleable [manageable].
BOULT: An if she were a thornier piece of ground than she is, she shall be ploughed [raped].
MARINA: Hark, hark, you gods!
BAWD: She conjures [asking the gods for help]; away with her! Would she had never come within my doors! Marry, hang you! She’s born to undo us. Will you not go the way of women-kind? Marry, come up, my dish of chastity with rosemary and bays! [a comparison of Marina to a dish (meal) seasoned with herbs]. [Exit. 95
BOULT: Come, mistress; come your ways with me.
MARINA: Whither wilt thou have me? [Where do you want me to go? What are you going to do?]
BOULT: To take from you the jewel [virginity] you hold so dear.
MARINA: Prithee, tell me one thing first.
BOULT: Come now, your one thing. 100
MARINA: What canst thou wish thine enemy to be?
BOULT: Why, I could wish him to be my master, or rather, my mistress.
MARINA: Neither of these are so bad as thou art,
Since they do better thee in their command.
Thou hold’st a place, for which the pained’st fiend 105
Of hell would not in reputation change;
[105-106: The fiend suffering the worst pain in hell, for the sake of his reputation, would not want to change places with you.]
Thou art the damned door-keeper to every
Coystril [lowlife] that comes inquiring for his Tib [prostitute],
To the choleric fisting [angry fists] of every rogue
Thy ear is liable, thy food is such 110
As hath been belch’d on by infected lungs.
BOULT: What would you have me do? go to the wars, would you? where a man may serve seven years for the loss of a leg, and have not money enough in the end to buy him a wooden one?
MARINA: Do any thing but this thou doest. Empty
Old receptacles, or common sewers, of filth;
Serve by indenture to the common hangman: 115
Any of these ways are yet better than this;
For what thou professest, a baboon, could he speak,
Would own a name too dear. O! that the gods
[117-118: Even a baboon would feel dishonored if he did what you do for a living. Oh, I wish that the gods]
Would safely deliver me from this place.
Here, here’s gold for thee. 120
If that thy master would gain by me, [If you want your master to profit from me,]
Proclaim that I can sing, weave, sew, and dance,
With other virtues, which I’ll keep from boast; [And I have other virtues, but I won't mention them because you'll think I'm boasting];
And I will undertake all these to teach.
I doubt not but this populous city will 125
Yield many scholars.
BOULT: But can you teach all this you speak of?
MARINA: Prove that I cannot, take me home again,
And prostitute me to the basest groom
That doth frequent your house. 130
BOULT: Well, I will see what I can do for thee; if I can place thee, I will.
MARINA: But, amongst honest women.
BOULT: Faith, my acquaintance lies little amongst them [I don't know many of them]. But since my master and mistress have bought you, there’s no going but by their consent; therefore I will make them acquainted with your purpose, and I doubt not but I shall find them tractable enough. Come; I’ll do for thee what I can; come your ways. [Exeunt.
Act 5, Prologue.
Marina thus the brothel ’scapes, and chances
Into an honest house, our story says.
She sings like one immortal, and she dances
As goddess-like to her admired lays [songs]; 5
Deep clerks she dumbs [She dumbfounds deep thinkers]; and with her neeld [needle] composes
Nature’s own shape, of bud, bird, branch, or berry,
That even her art sisters [resembles] the natural roses;
Her inkle, silk, twin with the rubied cherry; [Her silk embroidery imitates the rubied cherry;]
That pupils lacks she none of noble race [She has many students from noble families], 10
Who pour their bounty [money] on her; and her gain
She gives the cursed bawd. Here we her place [She gives the money she makes to the cursed bawd, in whose service she remains];
And to her father turn our thoughts again,
Where we left him, on the sea. We there him lost,
Whence, driven before the winds, he is arriv’d 15
Here where his daughter dwells: and on this coast
Suppose him now at anchor. The city striv’d
God Neptune’s annual feast to keep; from whence
Lysimachus our Tyrian ship espies,
His banners sable, trimm’d with rich expense; 20
And to him in his barge with fervour hies.
[15-21: Driven from the sea by the winds, Pericles arrived here in Mitylene, where his daughter dwells, and anchored his ship near the coast. During the annual feast honoring the sea god Neptune, Lysimachus sees Pericles's ship, trimmed richly and flying its black banners, and hurriedly rows out to it.]
In your supposing once more put your sight
Of heavy Pericles; think this his bark:
Where what is done in action, more, if might,
Shall be discover’d; please you, sit and hark. [Exit. 25
[22-25: In picturing all these things, put your mind's eye once more on heavy-hearted Pericles. Imagine that this is his ship and that more of the story now unfolds to reveal more discoveries. Sit back and watch.]
Act 5, Scene 1
On board PERICLES’S Ship, off Mitylene. A pavilion on deck, with a curtain before it; PERICLES within it, reclined on a couch. A barge lying beside the Tyrian vessel.
Enter two Sailors, one belonging to the Tyrian vessel, the other to the barge; Enter HELICANUS.
TYRANIAN SAILOR: [To the Sailor of Mitylene.] Where’s the Lord Helicanus? he can resolve you [he can tell you want to do].
O! here he is.—
Sir, there’s a barge put off from Mitylene, 5
And in it is Lysimachus, the governor,
Who craves to come aboard. What is your will?
HELICANUS: That he have his. Call up some gentlemen.
TYRANIAN SAILOR: Ho, gentlemen! my lord calls.
Enter two or three Gentlemen. 10
FIRST GENTLEMAN: Doth your lordship call?
HELICANUS: Gentlemen, there’s some of worth [there are important persons] would come aboard;
I pray ye, greet them fairly. [Gentlemen and Sailors descend, and go on board the barge.
Enter from thence, LYSIMACHUS and Lords; the Gentlemen and the two Sailors.
TYRANIA SAILOR: Sir, 15
This is the man that can, in aught [anything] you would,
LYSIMACHUS: Hail, reverend sir! The gods preserve you!
HELICANUS: And you, sir, to outlive the age I am,
And die as I would do [And die happily]. 20
LYSIMACHUS: You wish me well.
Being on shore, [during a festival] honouring of Neptune’s triumphs,
Seeing this goodly vessel ride before us,
I made to it to know of whence you are [know where you come from].
HELICANUS: First, what is your place [place of residence]? 25
LYSIMACHUS: I am the governor of this place you lie before.
Our vessel is of Tyre, in it the king;
A man who for this three months hath not spoken
To any one, nor taken sustenance 30
But to prorogue [put off] his grief.
LYSIMACHUS: Upon what ground is his distemperature [What's his problem]?
HELICANUS: ’Twould be too tedious to repeat;
But the main grief springs from the loss
Of a beloved daughter and a wife. 35
LYSIMACHUS: May we not see him?
HELICANUS: You may;
But bootless is your sight [But it will do no good]: he will not speak
LYSIMACHUS: Yet let me obtain my wish. 40
HELICANUS: Behold him. [PERICLES discovered.] This was a goodly person,
Till the disaster that, one mortal night,
Drove him to this.
LYSIMACHUS: Sir king, all hail! the gods preserve you!
Hail, royal sir! 45
HELICANUS: It is in vain; he will not speak to you.
FIRST LORD: Sir,
We have a maid in Mitylene, I durst wager,
Would win some words of him [can make him speak].
LYSIMACHUS: ’Tis well bethought. 50
She questionless [without question] with her sweet harmony [music]
And other chosen attractions [And other attractions she has perfected], would allure,
And make a battery through his deafen’d ports [ears]
Which now are midway stopp’d:
She is all happy as the fair’st of all [She has many talents and is the most beautiful of all the young ladies here], 55
And with her fellow maids is now upon
The leafy shelter [grove] that abuts against
The island’s side. [Whispers to First Lord, who puts off in the barge of LYSIMACHUS.
HELICANUS: Sure, all’s effectless; yet nothing we’ll omit, [I doubt that all of her talents can rouse him, but we're willing to try anything]
That bears recovery’s name [that could help him]. But, since your kindness 60
We have stretch’d thus far, let us beseech you,
That for our gold we may provision have,
Wherein we are not destitute for want,
But weary for the staleness [But need more variety in our diet].
LYSIMACHUS: O! sir, a courtesy, 65
Which if we should deny, the most just gods
For every graff would send a caterpillar,
And so afflict our province. Yet once more
[67: (1) Graff: graft, the union of a detached bud or shoot with a growing plant; (2) caterpillar: larva of a butterfly or moth that can cause significant damage to crops.]
Let me entreat to know at large [in detail] the cause
Of your king’s sorrow. 70
HELICANUS: Sit, sir, I will recount it to you;
But see, I am prevented.
Re-enter, from the barge, Lord, with MARINA, and a young Lady.
LYSIMACHUS: O! here is
The lady that I sent for. Welcome, fair one! 75
Is ’t [Is she] not a goodly presence?
HELICANUS: She’s a gallant lady.
LYSIMACHUS: She’s such a one, that were I well assur’d
Came of a gentle [highborn] kind and noble stock
I’d wish no better choice, and think me rarely wed. 80
Fair one, all goodness that consists in bounty
Expect even here, where is a kingly patient:
If that thy prosperous and artificial feat [If by your proven talents you]
Can draw him but to answer thee in aught [can make him answer you on any subject],
Thy sacred physic [healing power] shall receive such pay 85
As thy desires can wish.
MARINA: Sir, I will use
My utmost skill in his recovery,
That none but I and my companion maid 90
Be suffer’d to come near him.
LYSIMACHUS: Come, let us leave her;
And the gods make her prosperous! [MARINA sings.
LYSIMACHUS: Mark’d he your music?
MARINA: No, nor look’d on us. 95
LYSIMACHUS: See, she will speak to him.
MARINA: Hail, sir! my lord, lend ear.
PERICLES: Hum! ha! [This is a sarcastic answer, equivalent to "big deal" or "go away." Pericles pushes her back.]
MARINA: I am a maid,
My lord, that ne’er before invited eyes, 100
But have been gaz’d on like a comet; she speaks [Marina is referring to herself],
My lord, that, may be, hath endur’d a grief
Might equal yours, if both were justly weigh’d.
Though wayward Fortune [bad luck] did malign my state,
My derivation was from ancestors 105
Who stood equivalent with mighty kings;
But time hath rooted out my parentage,
And to the world and awkward casualties [bad luck; unfavorable events]
Bound me in servitude.—[Aside.] I will desist;
But there is something glows upon my cheek, 110
And whispers in mine ear, ‘Go not till he speak.’ ["Don't leave until he speaks."]
PERICLES: My fortunes—parentage—good parentage—
To equal mine!—was it not thus? what say you?
MARINA: I said, my lord, if you did know my parentage,
You would not do me violence. 115
PERICLES: I do think so. Pray you, turn your eyes upon me.
You are like something that—What country-woman [Woman, what country are you from]?
Here of these shores?
MARINA: No, nor of any shores;
Yet I was mortally brought forth, and am 120
No other than I appear.
PERICLES: I am great with woe, and shall deliver [give birth to] weeping.
My dearest wife was like this maid [looked like you], and such a one
My daughter might have been: [you have] my queen’s square brows;
Her stature to an inch; as wand-like straight; 125
As silver-voic’d; her [your] eyes as jewel-like,
And cas’d as richly; in pace [in the way you walk] another Juno;
Who starves the ears she feeds, and makes them hungry,
The more she gives them speech. Where do you live?
[128-129: The more you talk, the more I want to listen. Where do you live?]
MARINA: Where I am but a stranger; from the deck 130
You may discern the place [You can look out upon the place where I live].
PERICLES: Where were you bred?
And how achiev’d you these endowments, which
You make more rich to owe [own; have]? [Your talents and skills are far better than those of others who have the same gifts.]
[133-134: And how did you become so talented and charming?]
MARINA: Should I tell my history, it would seem 135
Like lies, disdain’d in the reporting.
[135-136: If I told you my history, you would think I'm lying and scorn me as I reported it.]
PERICLES: Prithee, speak;
Falseness cannot come from thee, for thou look’st
Modest as justice, and thou seem’st a palace
For the crown’d truth to dwell in. I believe thee, 140
And make my senses credit thy relation [telling of your story]
To points that seem impossible; for thou lookest
Like one I lov’d indeed. What were thy friends [What kind of family did you come from]?
Didst thou not say when I did push thee back,—
Which was when I perceiv’d thee,—that thou cam’st 145
From good descending [From a noble family]?
MARINA: So indeed I did.
PERICLES: Report thy parentage. I think thou saidst
Thou hadst been toss’d from wrong to injury,
And that thou thought’st thy griefs might equal mine, 150
If both were open’d [opened for discussion; revealed].
MARINA: Some such thing
I said, and said no more but what my thoughts
Did warrant me was likely.
PERICLES: Tell thy story; 155
If thine consider’d prove the thousandth part
Of my endurance, thou art a man, and I
[156-157: If your sufferings equal a fraction of what I have endured, you have the courage of a man]
Have suffer’d like a girl; yet thou dost look
Like Patience gazing on kings’ graves, and smiling
Extremity out of act. What were thy friends? 160
[yet thou . . . friends: Yet you look like Patience gazing on Kings' graves and, with your smile, you tame would-be evildoers. Who were your friends?]
How lost thou them? Thy name, my most kind virgin?
Recount, I do beseech thee. Come, sit by me.
MARINA: My name is Marina.
PERICLES: O! I am mock’d,
And thou by some incensed god sent hither [here] 165
To make the world to laugh at me.
MARINA: Patience, good sir,
Or here I’ll cease.
PERICLES: Nay, I’ll be patient.
Thou little know’st how thou dost startle me, 170
To call thyself Marina.
MARINA: The name
Was given me by one that had some power;
My father, and a king.
PERICLES: How! a king’s daughter? 175
And call’d Marina?
MARINA: You said you would believe me;
But, not to be a troubler of your peace,
I will end here.
PERICLES: But are you flesh and blood? 180
Have you a working pulse? and are no fairy?
Motion!—Well; speak on. Where were you born?
And wherefore call’d Marina?
MARINA: Call’d Marina
For I was born at sea. 185
PERICLES: At sea! what mother?
MARINA: My mother was the daughter of a king;
Who died the minute I was born,
As my good nurse Lychorida hath oft
Deliver’d [said] weeping. 190
PERICLES: O! stop there a little.
This is the rarest dream that e’er [ever] dull sleep
Did mock sad fools withal; this cannot be.
My daughter’s buried. Well; where were you bred?
I’ll hear you more, to the bottom of your story, 195
And never interrupt you.
MARINA: You’ll scorn to believe me; ’twere best I did give o’er [best I did stop].
PERICLES: I will believe you by the syllable
Of what you shall deliver. Yet, give me leave:
How came you in these parts? where were you bred? 200
MARINA: The king my father did in Tarsus leave me,
Till cruel Cleon, with his wicked wife,
Did seek to murder me; and having woo’d [persuaded; recruited]
A villain to attempt it, who having drawn to do ’t,
A crew of pirates came and rescu’d me; 205
Brought me to Mitylene. But, good sir,
Whither [Where] will you have me? Why do you weep? It may be
You think me an impostor; no, good faith;
I am the daughter to King Pericles,
If good King Pericles be. 210
PERICLES: Ho, Helicanus!
HELICANUS: Calls my lord?
PERICLES: Thou art a grave and noble counsellor,
Most wise in general; tell me, if thou canst,
What this maid is, or what is like to be, 215
That thus hath made me weep?
HELICANUS: I know not; but
Here is the regent, sir, of Mitylene,
Speaks nobly of her.
LYSIMACHUS: She never would tell 220
Her parentage; being demanded that,
She would sit still and weep.
PERICLES: O Helicanus! strike me, honour’d sir;
Give me a gash, put me to present pain,
Lest this great sea of joys rushing upon me 225
O’erbear [run over] the shores of my mortality,
And drown me with their sweetness. O! come hither [here],
Thou that begett’st him that did thee beget [you who gave new life to the man that did father you];
Thou that wast born at sea, buried at Tarsus,
And found at sea again. O Helicanus! 230
Down on thy knees, thank the holy gods as loud
As thunder threatens us; this is Marina.
What was thy mother’s name? tell me but that,
For truth can never be confirm’d enough,
Though doubts did ever sleep. 235
MARINA: First, sir, I pray,
What is your title?
PERICLES: I am Pericles of Tyre: but tell me now
My drown’d queen’s name, as in the rest you said
Thou hast been god-like perfect; 240
Thou’rt heir of kingdoms, and another life
To Pericles thy father.
MARINA: Is it no more to be your daughter than
To say my mother’s name was Thaisa?
Thaisa was my mother, who did end [die] 245
The minute I began [I was born].
PERICLES: Now, blessing on thee! rise; thou art my child,
Give me fresh garments. Mine own, Helicanus;
She is not dead at Tarsus, as she should have been,
By savage Cleon; she shall tell thee all; 250
When thou shalt kneel, and justify in knowledge
She is thy very princess. Who is this?
HELICANUS: Sir, ’tis the governor of Mitylene,
Who, hearing of your melancholy state,
Did come to see you. 255
PERICLES: I embrace you.
Give me my robes. I am wild in my beholding [in seeing my daughter].
O heavens! bless my girl. But, hark! what music?
Tell Helicanus, my Marina, tell him
O’er, point by point, for yet he seems to doubt, 260
How sure you are my daughter. But, what music?
HELICANUS: My lord, I hear none.
The music of the spheres! List [Listen], my Marina.
LYSIMACHUS: It is not good to cross him; give him way. 265
PERICLES: Rarest sounds! Do ye not hear?
LYSIMACHUS: My lord, I hear. [Music.
PERICLES: Most heavenly music:
It nips me unto list’ning, and thick slumber
Hangs upon mine eyes; let me rest. [Sleeps. 270
LYSIMACHUS: A pillow for his head.
So, leave him all. Well, my companion friends,
If this but answer to my just belief,
I’ll well remember you. [Exeunt all but PERICLES.
DIANA appears to PERICLES as in a vision. 275
DIANA: My temple stands in Ephesus; hie thee thither [go there],
And do upon mine altar sacrifice.
There, when my maiden priests are met together,
Before the people all [Before all the people],
Reveal how thou at sea didst lose thy wife; 280
To mourn thy crosses, with thy daughter’s, call
And give them repetition to the life [And repeat the story of your adventures and misfortunes].
Perform my bidding, or thou liv’st in woe;
Do it, and happy; by my silver bow!
[283-284: Do what I say, or you'll live in woe; if you do follow my instructions, you will be happy. I swear this by my silver bow. (Besides being the goddess of the moon and chastity, Diana was also the goddess of hunting—hence, the reference to her silver bow.]
Awake, and tell thy dream! [Disappears. 285
PERICLES: Celestial Dian, goddess argentine [silver goddess],
I will obey thee! Helicanus!
Enter HELICANUS, LYSIMACHUS, and MARINA.
PERICLES: My purpose was for Tarsus, there to strike 290
The inhospitable Cleon: but I am
For other service first: toward Ephesus
Turn our blown sails; eftsoons [in a little while] I’ll tell thee why.
[To LYSIMACHUS.] Shall we refresh us, sir, upon your shore,
And give you gold for such provision 295
As our intents will need?
With all my heart; and when you come ashore,
I have another suit.
PERICLES: You shall prevail, 300
Were it to woo my daughter; for it seems
You have been noble towards her.
LYSIMACHUS: Sir, lend me your arm.
PERICLES: Come, my Marina. [Exeunt.
Act 5, Scene 2
Before the Temple of DIANA at Ephesus.
Now our sands are almost run;
More a little, and then dumb. [
[3-4: Now our time has almost run out. I'll tell you a little more, then cease talking.]
This, my last boon, give me, 5
For such kindness must relieve me,
[5-6: Now I ask one more kindness from you,]
That you aptly will suppose
What pageantry, what feats, what shows,
What minstrelsy, and pretty din,
The regent [governor] made in Mitylen [Mitylene] 10
To greet the king. So he thriv’d [The governor did so well],
That he is promis’d to be wiv’d
To fair Marina; but in no wise [but not]
Till he [Pericles] had done his sacrifice,
As Dian [Diana] bade: whereto being bound, 15
The interim, pray you, all confound [pass the time in various wells].
In feather’d briefness sails are fill’d [The sails fill quickly, as if from the wind of giant flapping wings],
And wishes fall out as they’re will’d.
At Ephesus, the temple see,
Our king and all his company. 20
[Now allow yourself to see the king and all his company before Diana's temple at Ephesus.]
That he can hither come so soon,
Is by your fancy’s thankful doom. [Exit.
[21-22: That he can get there so soon is due to the quick work of your imagination.]
Act 5, Scene 3
The Temple of DIANA at Ephesus; THAISA standing near the altar, as high priestess; a number of Virgins on each side; CERIMON and other Inhabitants of Ephesus attending.
Enter PERICLES, with his train; LYSIMACHUS, HELICANUS, MARINA, and a Lady.
PERICLES: Hail, Dian [Diana]! to perform thy just command [to perform your command exactly as you spoke it],
I here confess myself the King of Tyre;
Who, frighted from my country, did wed 5
At Pentapolis the fair Thaisa.
At sea in childbed died she, but brought forth
A maid-child [infant girl] call’d Marina; who, O goddess!
Wears yet thy silver livery [literally, clothing or attire; figuratively, chastity]. She at Tarsus
Was nurs’d with Cleon, whom at fourteen years 10
He sought to murder; but her better stars
Brought her to Mitylene, ’gainst whose shore
Riding, her fortunes brought the maid aboard us,
[11-13: He sought to murder; but her lucky stars carried her to Mitylene, where I was anchored offshore, and brought her on board my ship]
Where, by her own most clear remembrance, she
Made known herself my daughter. 15
THAISA: Voice and favour!
You are, you are—O royal Pericles!— [She faints.
PERICLES: What means the nun? she dies! help, gentlemen!
CERIMON: Noble sir,
If you have told Diana’s altar true [If you have spoken the truth before Diana's altar], 20
This is your wife.
PERICLES: Reverend appearer, no; [Reverend sir, it can't be true]
I threw her o’erboard with these very arms.
CERIMON: Upon this coast, I warrant you.
PERICLES: ’Tis most certain. 25
CERIMON: Look to the lady. O! she’s but o’erjoy’d.
Early in blustering morn this lady was
Thrown upon this shore. I op’d [opened] the coffin,
Found there rich jewels; recover’d her, and plac’d her
Here in Diana’s temple. 30
PERICLES: May we see them?
CERIMON: Great sir, they shall be brought you to my house [brought to you at my house],
Whither [To which] I invite you. Look! Thaisa is
THAISA: O! let me look! 35
If he be none of mine, my sanctity
Will to my sense bend no licentious ear,
[36-37: If he is not Pericles, my duty as a priestess at this holy site forbids me to listen to him,]
But curb it, spite of seeing. O! my lord,
Are you not Pericles? Like him you speak,
Like him you are. Did you not name [speak of] a tempest, 40
A birth, and death?
PERICLES: The voice of dead Thaisa!
THAISA: That Thaisa am I, supposed dead
PERICLES: Immortal Dian [Diana]! 45
THAISA: Now I know you better.
When we with tears parted [departed from] Pentapolis,
The king my father gave you such a ring. [Shows a ring.
PERICLES: This, this: no more, you gods! your present kindness
Makes my past miseries sport: you shall do well, 50
That on the touching of her lips I may
Melt and no more be seen. O! come, be buried
A second time within these arms.
[49-52: Pericles says he overflows with happiness, thanks to the kindness of the gods. Now all of his anguish is gone, and he is overjoyed to embrace his wife.]
MARINA: My heart
Leaps to be gone into my mother’s bosom. [Kneels to THAISA. 55
PERICLES: Look, who kneels here! Flesh of thy flesh, Thaisa;
Thy burden at the sea, and call’d Marina,
For she was yielded there [born at sea].
THAISA: Bless’d, and mine own!
HELICANUS: Hail, madam, and my queen! 60
THAISA: I know you not.
PERICLES: You have heard me say, when I did fly from Tyre,
I left behind an ancient substitute;
Can you remember what I call’d the man?
I have nam’d him oft. 65
THAISA: ’Twas Helicanus then.
PERICLES: Still confirmation!
Embrace him, dear Thaisa; this is he.
Now do I long to hear how you were found,
How possibly preserv’d, and whom to thank, 70
Besides the gods, for this great miracle.
THAISA: Lord Cerimon, my lord; this man,
Through whom the gods have shown their power; that can
From first to last resolve you.
[72-74: Lord Cerimon, my lord—through whom the gods have shown their power—is the man who saved me. He can explain all the details.]
PERICLES: Reverend sir, 75
The gods can have no mortal officer
More like a god than you. Will you deliver [explain]
How this dead queen re-lives?
CERIMON: I will, my lord.
Beseech you, first go with me to my house. 80
Where shall be shown you all [that] was found with her;
How she came [to be] placed here in the temple;
No needful thing omitted.
PERICLES: Pure Dian! bless thee for thy vision; I
Will offer night-oblations to thee. Thaisa, 85
[84-85: Pure Diana, may you be blessed for your good work. I will make night offerings to you. Thaisa,]
This prince, the fair-betrothed of your daughter,
Shall marry her at Pentapolis. And now
This ornament [This beard, which]
Makes me look dismal [,] will I clip to form;
And what this fourteen years no razor touch’d 90
To grace thy marriage-day I’ll beautify.
[89-90: And, after not touching it with a razor for fourteen years, I'll beautify it to grace your marriage day.]
THAISA: Lord Cerimon hath letters of good credit, sir,
My father’s dead [that my father, King Simonides, is dead.
PERICLES: Heavens make a star of him! Yet there, my queen,
We’ll celebrate their nuptials, and ourselves 95
Will in that kingdom spend our following days;
Our son [son-in-law] and daughter shall in Tyrus reign.
Lord Cerimon, we do our longing stay
To hear the rest untold [To hear the rest of your story]. Sir, lead’s [us] the way. [Exeunt.
Enter GOWER. 100
In Antiochus and his daughter you have heard
Of monstrous lust the due and just reward:
In Pericles, his queen, and daughter, seen—
Although assail’d with fortune fierce and keen—
Virtue preserv’d from fell [deadly] destruction’s blast, 105
Led on by heaven, and crown’d with joy at last.
In Helicanus may you well descry [perceive]
A figure of truth, of faith, of loyalty.
In reverend Cerimon there well appears
The worth that learned charity aye wears. 110
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:
The gods for murder seemed so content 115
To punish them; although not done, but meant.
So on your patience evermore attending,
New joy wait on you! Here our play hath ending. [Exit.
dumb show: Part of a play presented in pantomime. The actors gesture but do not speak dialogue to the audience.
Aside: Stage direction indicating that the speaker is whispering to himself or to a nearby character or characters. Other characters on the stage cannot hear the aside, but the audience hears everything.
Exeunt: Stage direction indicating that two or more characters leave the stage.
prithee: I beg you; I ask you; please.
marry: By the Virgin Mary.