Part 6 out of 6
check. And when Othello still hung back:
"What! my lord," said she, "that I should have so much to do to
plead for Cassio, Michael Cassio, that came a-courting for you,
and oftentimes, when I have spoken in dispraise of you has taken
your part! I count this but a little thing to ask of you. When I
mean to try your love indeed I shall ask a weighty matter."
Othello could deny nothing to such a pleader, and only requesting
that Desdemona would leave the time to him, promised to receive
Michael Cassio again in favor.
It happened that Othello and Iago had entered into the room where
Desdemona was, just as Cassio, who had been imploring her
intercession, was departing at the opposite door; and Iago, who
was full of art, said in a low voice, as if to himself, "I like
not that." Othello took no great notice of what he said; indeed,
the conference which immediately took place with his lady put it
out of his head; but he remembered it afterward. For when
Desdemona was gone, Iago, as if for mere satisfaction of his
thought, questioned Othello whether Michael Cassio, when Othello
was courting his lady, knew of his love. To this the general
answering in the affirmative, and adding, that he had gone
between them very often during the courtship, Iago knitted his
brow, as if he had got fresh light on some terrible matter, and
cried, "Indeed!" This brought into Othello's mind the words which
Iago had let fall upon entering the room and seeing Cassio with
Desdemona; and he began to think there was some meaning in all
this, for he deemed Iago to be a just man, and full of love and
honesty, and what in a false knave would be tricks in him seemed
to be the natural workings of an honest mind, big with something
too great for utterance. And Othello prayed Iago to speak what he
knew and to give his worst thoughts words.
"And what," said Iago, "if some thoughts very vile should have
intruded into my breast, as where is the palace into which foul
things do not enter?" Then Iago went on to say, what a pity it
were if any trouble should arise to Othello out of his imperfect
observations; that it would not be for Othello's peace to know
his thoughts; that people's good names were not to be taken away
for slight suspicions; and when Othello's curiosity was raised
almost to distraction with these hints and scattered words, Iago,
as if in earnest care for Othello's peace of mind, besought him
to beware of jealousy. With such art did this villain raise
suspicions in the unguarded Othello, by the very caution which he
pretended to give him against suspicion.
"I know," said Othello, "that my wife is fair, loves company and
feasting, is free of speech, sings, plays, and dances well; but
where virtue is, these qualities are virtuous. I must have proof
before I think her dishonest."
Then Iago, as if glad that Othello was slow to believe ill of his
lady, frankly declared that he had no proof, but begged Othello
to see her behavior well, when Cassio was by; not to be jealous
nor too secure neither, for that he (Iago) knew the dispositions
of the Italian ladies, his country-women, better than Othello
could do; and that in Venice the wives let Heaven see many pranks
they dared not show their husbands. Then he artfully insinuated
that Desdemona deceived her father in marrying with Othello, and
carried it so closely that the poor old man thought that
witchcraft had been used. Othello was much moved with this
argument, which brought the matter home to him, for if she had
deceived her father why might she not deceive her husband?
Iago begged pardon for having moved him; but Othello, assuming an
indifference, while he was really shaken with inward grief at
Iago's words, begged him to go on, which Iago did with many
apologies, as if unwilling to produce anything against Cassio,
whom he called his friend. He then came strongly to the point and
reminded Othello how Desdemona had refused many suitable matches
of her own clime and complexion, and had married him, a Moor,
which showed unnatural in her and proved her to have a headstrong
will; and when her better judgment returned, how probable it was
she should fall upon comparing Othello with the fine forms and
clear white complexions of the young Italians her countrymen. He
concluded with advising Othello to put off his reconcilement with
Cassio a little longer, and in the mean while to note with what
earnestness Desdemona should intercede in his behalf; for that
much would be seen in that. So mischievously did this artful
villain lay his plots to turn the gentle qualities of this
innocent lady into her destruction, and make a net for her out of
her own goodness to entrap her, first setting Cassio on to
entreat her mediation, and then out of that very mediation
contriving stratagems for her ruin.
The conference ended with Iago's begging Othello to account his
wife innocent until he had more decisive proof; and Othello
promised to be patient; but from that moment the deceived Othello
never tasted content of mind. Poppy, nor the juice of mandragora,
nor all the sleeping potions in the world, could ever again
restore to him that sweet rest which he had enjoyed but
yesterday. His occupation sickened upon him. He no longer took
delight in arms. His heart, that used to be roused at the sight
of troops and banners and battle array, and would stir and leap
at the sound of a drum or a trumpet or a neighing war-horse,
seemed to have lost all that pride and ambition which are a
soldier's virtue; and his military ardor and all his old joys
forsook him. Sometimes he thought his wife honest, and at times
he thought her not so; sometimes he thought Iago just, and at
times he thought him not so; then he would wish that he had never
known of it; he was not the worse for her loving Cassio, so long
as he knew it not. Torn to pieces with these distracting
thoughts, he once laid hold on Iago's throat and demanded proof
of Desdemona's guilt, or threatened instant death for his having
belied her. Iago, feigning indignation that his honesty should be
taken for a vice, asked Othello if he had not sometimes seen a
handkerchief spotted with strawberries in his wife's hand.
Othello answered that he had given her such a one, and that it
was his first gift.
"That same handkerchief," said Iago, "did I see Michael Cassio
this day wipe his face with."
"If it be as you say," said Othello, "I will not rest till a wide
revenge swallow them up; and first, for a token of your fidelity,
I expect that Cassio shall be put to death within three days; and
for that fair devil [meaning his lady] I will withdraw and devise
some swift means of death for her."
Trifles light as air are to the jealous proofs as strong as holy
writ. A handkerchief of his wife's seen in Cassio's hand was
motive enough to the deluded Othello to pass sentence of death
upon them both, without once inquiring how Cassio came by it.
Desdemona had never given such a present to Cassio, nor would
this constant lady have wronged her lord with doing so naughty a
thing as giving his presents to another man; both Cassio and,
Desdemona were innocent of any offense against Othello; but the
wicked Iago, whose spirits never slept in contrivance of
villainy, had made his wife (a good, but a weak woman) steal this
handkerchief from Desdemona, under pretense of getting the work
copied, but in reality to drop it in Cassio's way, where he might
find it, and give a handle to Iago's suggestion that it was
Othello, soon after meeting his wife, pretended that he had a
headache (as he might indeed with truth), and desired her to lend
him her handkerchief to hold to his temples. She did so.
"Not this," said Othello, "but that handkerchief I gave you."
Desdemona had it not about her (for indeed it was stolen, as we
"How?" said Othello, "this is a fault indeed. That handkerchief
an Egyptian woman gave to my mother; the woman was a witch and
could read people's thoughts. She told my mother while she kept
it it would make her amiable and my father would love her; but if
she lost it or gave it away, my father's fancy would turn and he
would loathe her as much as he had loved her. She, dying, gave it
to me, and bade me, if I ever married, to give it to my wife. I
did so. Take heed of it. Make it a darling as precious as your
"Is it possible?" said the frighted lady.
"'Tis true," continued Othello; "it is a magical handkerchief; a
sibyl that had lived in the world two hundred years, in a fit of
prophetic fury worked it; the silkworms that furnished the silk
were hallowed, and it was dyed in a mummy of maidens' hearts
Desdemona, hearing the wondrous virtues of the handkerchief, was
ready to die with fear, for she plainly perceived she had lost
it, and with it, she feared, the affections of her husband. Then
Othello started and looked as if he were going to do some rash
thing, and still he demanded the handkerchief, which when she
could not produce, she tried to divert her husband from too
serious thoughts, and cheerfully told him she saw all his talk
about the handkerchief was only to put her off from her suit
about Michael Cassio, whom she went on to praise (as Iago had
foretold), till Othello in perfect distraction burst out of the
room, and then Desdemona, though unwillingly, began to suspect
that her lord was jealous.
What cause she could have ministered to him she knew not, and
then she accused herself for accusing the noble Othello, and
thought, to be sure, that some untoward news from Venice or some
state troubles had puddled his spirits and made his temper not so
sweet as formerly. And she said, "Men are not gods, and we must
not look for that observance from them when they are married
which they show us on the bridal day." And she beshrewed herself
for so unkindly judging of his unkindness.
Again Othello and Desdemona met, and he accused her more plainly
of being unfaithful and of loving another man, but he did not
name whom. And Othello wept, and Desdemona said, "Alas! the heavy
day! why do you weep?" And Othello told her he could have borne
all sorts of evils with fortitude--poverty, and disease, and
disgrace--but her infidelity had broken his heart. And he called
her a weed that looked so fair and smelled so sweet that the
sense ached at it; and wished she had never been born. And when
he had left her this innocent lady was so stupefied with wonder
at her lord's untrue suspicion of her that a weightlike sleep
came over her, and she only desired her attendant to make her bed
and to lay her wedding-sheets upon it, saying that when people
teach their babes they do it by gentle means and easy tasks, and
Othello might have chid her so; for in good faith she was but a
child when she was chidden. And this was all the complaint which
this gentle lady made.
Desdemona being retired to bed, expecting her lord would follow
her, soon fell into a slumber, the effect of her troubled
spirits, when Othello entered the chamber, full of the black
purpose which he had meditated, of putting his lady to death. But
when he saw her asleep he thought he would not shed her blood,
nor scar that white skin of hers, more white than alabaster. But
he was resolved she should die, else (as he said) she would live
to betray, more men as she had done him. Then he kissed her for
the last time (as he said), and that kiss was so sweet that he
must needs kiss her again; and he wept, but he said they were
Desdemona was awakened with his kisses, and she looked upon
Othello, and she saw him gnaw his under lip and roll his eyes,
and she knew he was always fatal when he looked so; and he bade
her prepare for death and to say her prayers, for he would not
kill her soul. And this innocent wife, as she lay at his mercy,
begged for compassion and to know her fault, and then he named
Cassio, and the handkerchief which (he said) she had given him;
and as the guiltless lady was proceeding to clear herself he
suddenly would hear no more, but, covering her up in the
bedclothes, stifled her till she died.
In this instant of time was brought into the house Cassio,
wounded and bleeding, whom Iago had set one of his creatures on
to assassinate; but the fellow not succeeding in his attempt to
kill Cassio (whom he wounded, but not mortally), and being him-
self killed by Iago to prevent discovery, in his pockets were
found certain letters, which made the guilt of Iago, and the
innocence of Cassio, clear beyond all doubt; and Cassio now came
to beg pardon of Othello, and to ask wherein he had offended him,
that he had employed Iago to murder him.
This discovery was as a thunderstroke to Othello, who now plainly
saw that he was no better than a murderer, and that his wife
(poor innocent lady) had been ever faithful to him; the extreme
anguish of which discovery making life insupportable, he fell
upon his sword, and throwing himself upon the body of his dear
injured lady, expired.
These rash acts raised much passion of horror and amazement in
the bystanders, for Othello had borne a fair reputation, and till
he was wrought upon by the arts of a villain, which his own noble
nature never gave him leave to suspect, he was a loving and a
doting husband. He had loved not wisely, but too well; and his
manly eyes (when be learned his mistake), though not used to weep
on every small occasion, dropped tears as fast as the Arabian
trees their gum. And when he was dead all his former merits and
his valiant acts were remembered. Nothing now remained for his
successor but to put the utmost censure of the law in force
against Iago, who was executed with strict tortures; and to send
word to the state of Venice of the lamentable death of their
PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE
Pericles, Prince of Tyre, became a voluntary exile from his
dominions, to avert the dreadful calamities which Antiochus, the
wicked emperor of Greece, threatened to bring upon his subjects
and city of Tyre, in revenge for a discovery which the prince had
made of a shocking deed which the emperor had done in secret; as
commonly it proves dangerous to pry into the hidden crimes of
great ones. Leaving the government of his people in the hands of
his able and honest minister, Helicanus, Pericles set sail from
Tyre, thinking to absent himself till the wrath of Antiochus, who
was mighty, should be appeased.
The first place which the prince directed his course to was
Tarsus, and hearing that the city of Tarsus was at that time
suffering under a severe famine, he took with him a store of
provisions for its relief. On his arrival he found the city
reduced to the utmost distress; and, he coming like a messenger
from heaven with his unhoped-for succor, Cleon, the governor of
Tarsus, welcomed him with boundless thanks. Pericles had not been
here many days before letters came from his faithful minister,
warning him that it was not safe for him to stay at Tarsus, for
Antiochus knew of his abode, and by secret emissaries despatched
for that purpose sought his life. Upon receipt of these letters
Pericles put out to sea again, amid the blessings and prayers of
a whole people who had been fed by his bounty.
He had not sailed far when his ship was overtaken by a dreadful
storm, and every man on board perished except Pericles, who was
cast by the sea waves naked on an unknown shore, where he had not
wandered long before he met with some poor fishermen, who invited
him to their homes, giving him clothes and provisions. The
fishermen told Pericles the name of their country was Pentapolis,
and that their king was Simonides, commonly called the good
Simonides, because of his peaceable reign and good government.
From them he also learned that King Simonides had a fair young
daughter, and that the following day was her birthday, when a
grand tournament was to be held at court, many princes and
knights being come from all parts to try their skill in arms for
the love of Thaisa, this fair princess. While the prince was
listening to this account, and secretly lamenting the loss of his
good armor, which disabled him from making one among these
valiant knights, another fisherman brought in a complete suit of
armor that he had taken out of the sea with his fishing-net,
which proved to be the very armor he had lost. When Pericles
beheld his own armor he said: "Thanks, Fortune; after all my
crosses you give me somewhat to repair myself This armor was
bequeathed to me by my dead father, for whose dear sake I have so
loved it that whithersoever I went I still have kept it by me,
and the rough sea that parted it from me, having now become calm,
hath given it back again, for which I thank it, for, since I have
my father's gift again, I think my shipwreck no misfortune."
The next day Pericles, clad in his brave father's armor, repaired
to the royal court of Simonides, where he performed wonders at
the tournament, vanquishing with ease all the brave knights and
valiant princes who contended with him in arms for the honor of
Thaisa's love. When brave warriors contended at court tournaments
for the love of kings' daughters, if one proved sole victor over
all the rest, it was usual for the great lady for whose sake
these deeds of valor were undertaken to bestow all her respect
upon the conqueror, and Thaisa did not depart from this custom,
for she presently dismissed all the princes and knights whom
Pericles had vanquished, and distinguished him by her especial
favor and regard, crowning him with the wreath of victory, as
king of that day's happiness; and Pericles became a most
passionate lover of this beauteous princess from the first moment
he beheld her.
The good Simonides so well approved of the valor and noble
qualities of Pericles, who was indeed a most accomplished
gentleman and well learned in all excellent arts, that though he
knew not the rank of this royal stranger (for Pericles for fear
of Antiochus gave out that he was a private gentleman of Tyre),
yet did not Simonides disdain to accept of the valiant unknown
for a son-in-law, when he perceived his daughter's affections
were firmly fixed upon him.
Pericles had not been many months married to Thaisa before he
received intelligence that his enemy Antiochus was dead, and that
his subjects of Tyre, impatient of his long absence, threatened
to revolt and talked of placing Helicanus upon his vacant throne.
This news came from Helicanus himself, who, being a loyal subject
to his royal master, would not accept of the high dignity
offered him, but sent to let Pericles know their intentions, that
he might return home and resume his lawful right. It was matter
of great surprise and joy to Simonides to find that his
son-in-law (the obscure knight) was the renowned Prince of Tyre;
yet again he regretted that he was not the private gentleman he
supposed him to be, seeing that he must now part both with his
admired son-in-law and his beloved daughter, whom he feared to
trust to the perils of the sea, because Thaisa was with child;
and Pericles himself wished her to remain with her father till
after her confinement; but the poor lady so earnestly desired to
go with her husband that at last they consented, hoping she would
reach Tyre before she was brought to bed.
The sea was no friendly element to unhappy Pericles, for long
before they reached Tyre another dreadful tempest arose, which so
terrified Thaisa that she was taken ill, and in a short space of
time her nurse, Lychorida, came to Pericles with a little child
in her arms, to tell the prince the sad tidings that his wife
died the moment her little babe was born. She held the babe
toward its father, saying:
"Here is a thing too young for such a place. This is the child of
your dead queen."
No tongue can tell the dreadful sufferings of Pericles when he
heard his wife was dead. As soon as he could speak he said:
"O you gods, why do you make us love your goodly gifts and then
snatch those gifts away?"
"Patience, good sir," said Lychorida, "here is all that is left
alive of our dead queen, a little daughter, and for your child's
sake be more manly. Patience, good sir, even for the sake of this
Pericles took the newborn infant in his arms, and he said to the
little babe: "Now may your life be mild, for a more blusterous
birth had never babe! May your condition be mild and gentle, for
you have had the rudest welcome that ever prince's child did meet
with! May that which follows be happy, for you have had as
chiding a nativity as fire, air, water, earth, and heaven could
make to herald you from the womb! Even at the first, your loss,"
meaning in the death of her mother, "is more than all the joys,
which you shall find upon this earth to which you are come a new
visitor, shall be able to recompense."
The storm still continuing to rage furiously, and the sailors
having a superstition that while a dead body remained in the ship
the storm would never cease, they came to Pericles to demand that
his queen should be thrown overboard; and they said:
"What courage, sir? God save you!"
"Courage enough," said the sorrowing prince. "I do not fear the
storm; it has done to me its worst; yet for the love of this poor
infant, this fresh new seafarer, I wish the storm was over."
"Sir," said the sailors, "your queen must overboard. The sea
works high, the wind is loud, and the storm will not abate till
the ship be cleared of the dead."
Though Pericles knew how weak and unfounded this superstition
was, yet he patiently submitted, saying: "As you think meet. Then
she must overboard, most wretched queen!"
And now this unhappy prince went to take a last view of his dear
wife, and as he looked on his Thaisa he said: "A terrible
childbed hast thou had, my dear; no light, no fire; the
unfriendly elements forget thee utterly, nor have I time to bring
thee hallowed to thy grave, but must cast thee scarcely coffined
into the sea, where for a monument upon thy bones the humming
waters must overwhelm thy corpse, lying with simple shells. O
Lychorida, bid Nestor bring me spices, ink, and paper, my casket
and my jewels, and bid Nicandor bring me the satin coffin. Lay
the babe upon the pillow, and go about this suddenly, Lychorida,
while I say a priestly farewell to my Thaisa."
They brought Pericles a large chest, in which (wrapped in a satin
shroud) he placed his queen, and sweet-smelling spices he strewed
over her, and beside her he placed rich jewels, and a written
paper telling who she was and praying if haply any one should
find the chest which contained the body of his wife they would
give her burial; and then with his own hands he cast the chest
into the sea. When the storm was over, Pericles ordered the
sailors to make for Tarsus. "For," said Pericles, "the babe
cannot hold out till we come to Tyre. At Tarsus I will leave it
at careful nursing."
After that tempestuous night when Thaisa was thrown into the sea,
and while it was yet early morning, as Cerimon, a worthy
gentleman of Ephesus and a most skilful physician, was standing
by the seaside, his servants brought to him a chest, which they
said the sea waves had thrown on the land.
"I never saw," said one of them, "so huge a billow as cast it on
Cerimon ordered the chest to be conveyed to his own house, and
when it was opened he beheld with wonder the body of a young and
lovely lady; and the sweet-smelling spices and rich casket of
jewels made him conclude it was some great person who was thus
strangely entombed. Searching farther, he discovered a paper,
from which he learned that the corpse which lay as dead before
him had been a queen, and wife to Pericles, Prince of Tyre; and
much admiring at the strangeness of that accident, and more
pitying the husband who had lost this sweet lady, he said:
"If you are living, Pericles, you have a heart that even cracks
with woe." Then, observing attentively Thaisa's face, he saw how
fresh and unlike death her looks were, and he said, "They were
too hasty that threw you into the sea"; for he did not believe
her to be dead. He ordered a fire to be made, and proper cordials
to be brought, and soft music to be played, which might help to
calm her amazed spirits if she should revive; and he said to
those who crowded round her, wondering at what they saw, "O, I
pray you, gentlemen, give her air; this queen will live; she has
not been entranced above five hours; and see, she begins to blow
into life again; she is alive; behold, her eyelids move; this
fair creature will live to make us weep to hear her fate."
Thaisa had never died, but after the birth of her little baby had
fallen into a deep swoon which made all that saw her conclude her
to be dead; and now by the care of this kind gentleman she once
more revived to light and life; and, opening her eyes, she said:
"Where am I? Where is my lord? What world is this?"
By gentle degrees Cerimon let her understand what had befallen
her; and when he thought she was enough recovered to bear the
sight he showed her the paper written by her husband, and the
jewels; and she looked on the paper and said:
"It is my lord's writing. That I was shipped at sea I well
remember, but whether there delivered of my babe, by the holy
gods I cannot rightly say; but since my wedded lord I never
shall see again, I will put on a vestal livery and never more
"Madam," said Cerimon, "if you purpose as you speak, the temple
of Diana is not far distant from hence; there you may abide as a
vestal. Moreover, if you please, a niece of mine shall there
attend you." This proposal was accepted with thanks by Thaisa;
and when she was perfectly recovered, Cerimon placed her in the
temple of Diana, where she became a vestal or priestess of that
goddess, and passed her days in sorrowing for her husband's
supposed loss, and in the most devout exercises of those times.
Pericles carried his young daughter (whom he named Marina,
because she was born at sea) to Tarsus, intending to leave her
with Cleon, the governor of that city, and his wife Dionysia,
thinking, for the good he had done to them at the time of their
famine, they would be kind to his little motherless daughter.
When Cleon saw Prince Pericles and heard of the great loss which
had befallen him he said, "Oh, your sweet queen, that it had
pleased Heaven you could have brought her hither to have blessed
my eyes with the sight of her!"
Pericles replied: "We must obey the powers above us. Should I
rage and roar as the sea does in which my Thaisa has, yet the end
must be as it is. My gentle babe, Marina here, I must charge your
charity with her. I leave her the infant of your care, beseeching
you to give her princely training." And then turning to Cleon's
wife, Dionysia, he said, "Good madam, make me blessed in your
tare in bringing up my child."
And she answered, "I have a child myself who shall not be more
dear to my respect than yours, my lord."
And Cleon made the like promise, saying: "Your noble services,
Prince Pericles, in feeding my whole people with your corn (for
which in their prayers they daily remember you) must in your
child be thought on. If I should neglect your child, my whole
people that were by you relieved would force me to my duty; but
if to that I need a spur, the gods revenge it on me and mine to
the end of generation."
Pericles, being thus assured that his child would be carefully
attended to, left her to the protection of Cleon and his wife
Dionysia, and with her he left the nurse, Lychorida. When he went
away the little Marina knew not her loss, but Lychorida wept
sadly at parting with her royal master.
"Oh, no tears, Lychorida," said Pericles; "no tears; look to your
little mistress, on whose grace you may depend hereafter."
Pericles arrived in safety at Tyre, and was once more settled in
the quiet possession of his throne, while his woeful queen, whom
he thought dead, remained at Ephesus. Her little babe Marina,
whom this hapless mother had never seen, was brought up by Cleon
in a manner suitable to her high birth. He gave her the most
careful education, so that by the time Marina attained the age of
fourteen years the most deeply learned men were not more studied
in the learning of those times than was Marina. She sang like one
immortal, and danced as goddess-like, and with her needle she was
so skilful that she seemed to compose nature's own shapes in
birds, fruits, or flowers, the natural roses being scarcely more
like to each other than they were to Marina's silken flowers. But
when she had gained from education all these graces which made
her the general wonder, Dionysia, the wife of Cleon, became her
mortal enemy from jealousy, by reason that her own daughter, from
the slowness of her mind, was not able to attain to that
perfection wherein Marina excelled; and finding that all praise
was bestowed on Marina, while her daughter, who was of the same
age and had been educated with the same care as Marina, though
not with the same success, was in comparison disregarded, she
formed a project to remove Marina out of the way, vainly
imagining that her untoward daughter would be more respected when
Marina was no more seen. To encompass this she employed a man to
murder Marina, and she well timed her wicked design, when
Lychorida, the faithful nurse, had just died. Dionysia was
discoursing with the man she had commanded to commit this murder
when the young Marina was weeping over the dead Lychorida.
Leonine, the man she employed to do this bad deed, though he was
a very wicked man, could hardly be persuaded to undertake it, so
had Marina won all hearts to love her. He said:
"She is a goodly creature!"
"The fitter then the gods should have her," replied her merciless
enemy. "Here she comes weeping for the death of her nurse
Lychorida. Are you resolved to obey me?"
Leonine, fearing to disobey her, replied, "I am resolved." And
so, in that one short sentence, was the matchless Marina doomed
to an untimely death. She now approached, with a basket of
flowers in her hand, which she said she would daily strew over
the grave of good Lychorida. The purple violet and the marigold
should as a carpet hang upon her grave, while summer days did
"Alas for met" she said, "poor unhappy maid, born in a tempest,
when my mother died. This world to me is like a lasting storm,
hurrying me from my friends."
"How now, Marina," said the dissembling Dionysia, "do you weep
alone? How does it chance my daughter is not with you? Do not
sorrow for Lychorida; you have a nurse in me. Your beauty is
quite changed with this unprofitable woe. Come, give me your
flowers--the sea air will spoil them--and walk with Leonine; the
air is fine, and will enliven you. Come, Leonine, take her by the
arm and walk with her."
"No, madam," said Marina, "I pray you let me not deprive you of
your servant"; for Leonine was one of Dionysia's attendants.
"Come, come," said this artful woman, who wished for a pretense
to leave her alone with Leonine, "I love the prince, your father,
and I love you. We every day expect your father here; and when he
comes and finds you so changed by grief from the paragon of
beauty we reported you, he will think we have taken no care of
you. Go, I pray you, walk, and be cheerful once again. Be careful
of that excellent complexion which stole the hearts of old and
Marina, being thus importuned, said, "Well, I will go, but yet I
have no desire to it."
As Dionysia walked away she said to Leonine, "Remember what I
have said!" shocking words, for their meaning was that he should
remember to kill Marina.
Marina looked toward the sea, her birthplace, and said, "Is the
wind westerly that blows?"
"Southwest," replied Leonine.
"When I was born the wind was north," said she; and then the
storm and tempest and all her father's sorrows, and her mother's
death, came full into her mind, and she said, "My father, as
Lychorida told me, did never fear, but cried, COURAGE, GOOD
SEAMEN, to the sailors, galling his princely hands with the
ropes, and, clasping to the masts, he endured a sea that almost
split the deck."
"When was this?" said Leonine.
"When I was born," replied Marina. "Never were wind and waves
more violent." And then she described the storm, the action of
the sailors, the boatswain's whistle, and the loud call of the
master, which," said she, "trebled the confusion of the ship."
Lychorida had so often recounted to Marina the story of her
hapless birth that these things seemed ever present to her
imagination. But here Leonine interrupted her with desiring her
to say her prayers. "What mean you?" said Marina, who began to
fear, she knew not why.
"If you require a little space for prayer, I grant it," said
Leonine; "but be not tedious; the gods are quick of ear and I am
sworn to do my work in haste."
"Will you kill me?" said Marina. "Alas! why?"
"To satisfy my lady," replied Leonine.
"Why would she have me killed?" said Marina. "Now, as I can
remember, I never hurt her in all my life. I never spake bad word
nor did any ill turn to any living creature. Believe me now, I
never killed a mouse nor hurt a fly. I trod upon a worm once
against my will, but I wept for it. How have I offended?"
The murderer replied, "My commission is not to reason on the
deed, but to do it." And he was just going to kill her when
certain pirates happened to land at that very moment, who, seeing
Marina, bore her off as a prize to their ship.
The pirate who had made Marina his prize carried her to Mitylene
and sold her for a slave, where, though in that humble condition,
Marina soon became known throughout the whole city of Mitylene
for her beauty and her virtues, and the person to whom she was
sold became rich by the money she earned for him. She taught
music, dancing, and fine needleworks, and the money she got by
her scholars she gave to her master and mistress; and the fame of
her learning and her great industry came to the knowledge of
Lysimachus, a young nobleman who was governor of Mitylene, and
Lysimachus went himself to the house where Marina dwelt, to see
this paragon of excellence whom all the city praised so highly.
Her conversation delighted Lysimachus beyond measure, for,
though he had heard much of this admired maiden, he did not
expect to find her so sensible a lady, so virtuous, and so good,
as he perceived Marina to be; and he left her, saying he hoped
she would persevere in her industrious and virtuous course, and
that if ever she heard from him again it should be for her good.
Lysimachus thought Marina such a miracle for sense, fine
breeding, and excellent qualities, as well as for beauty and all
outward graces, that he wished to marry her, and, notwithstanding
her humble situation, he hoped to find that her birth was noble;
but whenever when they asked her parentage she would sit still
Meantime, at Tarsus, Leonine, fearing the anger of Dionysia, told
her he had killed Marina; and that wicked woman gave out that she
was dead, and made a pretended funeral for her, and erected a
stately monument; and shortly after Pericles, accompanied by his
loyal minister Helicanus, made a voyage from Tyre to Tarsus, on
purpose to see his daughter, intending to take her home with him.
And he never having beheld her since he left her an infant in the
care of Cleon and his wife, how did this good prince rejoice at
the thought of seeing this dear child of his buried queen! But
when they told him Marina was dead, and showed the monument they
had erected for her, great was the misery this most wretched
father endured, and, not being able to bear the sight of that
country where his last hope and only memory of his dear Thaisa
was entombed, he took ship and hastily departed from Tarsus. From
the day he entered the ship a dull and heavy melancholy seized
him. He never spoke, and seemed totally insensible to everything
Sailing from Tarsus to Tyre, the ship in its course passed by
Mitylene, where Marina dwelt; the governor of which place,
Lysimachus, observing this royal vessel from the shore, and
desirous of knowing who was on board, went in a barge to the side
of the ship, to satisfy his curiosity. Helicanus received him
very courteously and told him that the ship came from Tyre, and
that they were conducting thither Pericles, their prince. "A man
sir," said Helicanus, "who has not spoken to any one these three
months, nor taken any sustenance, but just to prolong his grief;
it would be tedious to repeat the whole ground of his distemper,
but the main springs from the loss of a beloved daughter and a
Lysimachus begged to see this afflicted prince, and when he
beheld Pericles he saw he had been once a goodly person, and he
said to him: "Sir king, all hail! The gods preserve you! Hail,
But in vain Lysimachus spoke to him. Pericles made no answer, nor
did he appear to perceive any stranger approached. And then
Lysimachus bethought him of the peerless maid Marina, that haply
with her sweet tongue she might win some answer from the silent
prince; and with the consent of Helicanus he sent for Marina, and
when she entered the ship in which her own father sat motionless
with grief, they welcomed her on board as if they had known she
was their princess; and they cried:
"She is a gallant lady."
Lysimachus was well pleased to hear their commendations, and he
"She is such a one that, were I well assured she came of noble
birth, I would wish no better choice and think me rarely blessed
in a wife." And then he addressed her in courtly terms, as if the
lowly seeming maid had been the high-born lady he wished to find
her, calling her FAIR AND BEAUTIFUL MARINA, telling her a great
prince on board that ship had fallen into a sad and mournful
silence; and, as if Marina had the power of conferring health
and felicity, he begged she would undertake to cure the royal
stranger of his melancholy.
"Sir," said Marina, "I will use my utmost skill in his recovery,
provided none but I and my maid be suffered to come near him."
She, who at Mitylene had so carefully concealed her birth,
ashamed to tell that one of royal ancestry was now a slave, first
began to speak to Pericles of the wayward changes in her own
fate, telling him from what a high estate herself had fallen. As
if she had known it was her royal father she stood before, all
the words she spoke were of her own sorrows; but her reason for
so doing was that she knew nothing more wins the attention of the
unfortunate than the recital of some sad calamity to match their
own. The sound of her sweet voice aroused the drooping prince; he
lifted up his eyes, which had been so long fixed and motionless;
and Marina, who was the perfect image of her mother, presented to
his amazed sight the features of his dead queen. The long silent
prince was once more heard to speak.
"My dearest wife," said the awakened Pericles, "was like this
maid, and such a one might my daughter have been. My queen's
square brows, her stature to an inch, as wand-like straight, as
silver-voiced, her eyes as jewel-like. Where do you live, young
maid? Report your parentage. I think you said you had been tossed
from wrong to injury, and that you thought your griefs would
equal mine, if both were opened."
"Some such thing I said," replied Marina, "and said no more than
what my thoughts did warrant me as likely."
"Tell me your story," answered Pericles. "If I find you have
known the thousandth part of my endurance you have borne your
sorrows like a man and I have suffered like a girl; yet you do
look like Patience gazing on kings' graves and smiling extremely
out of act. How lost you your name, my most kind virgin? Recount
your story, I beseech you. Come, sit by me."
How was Pericles surprised when she said her name was MARINA, for
he knew it was no usual name, but had been invented by himself
for his own child to signify SEA-BORN.
"Oh, I am mocked," said he, "and you are sent hither by some
incensed god to make the world laugh at me."
"Patience, good sir," said Marina, "or I must cease here."
"Na@," said Pericles, "I will be patient. You little know how you
do startle me, to call yourself Marina."
"The name," she replied, "was given me by one that had some
power, my father and a king."
"How, a king's daughter!" said Pericles, "and called Marina! But
are you flesh and blood? Are you no fairy? Speak on. Where were
you born, and wherefore called Marina?"
She replied: "I was called Marina because I was born at sea. My
mother was the daughter of a king; she died the minute I was
born, as my good nurse Lychorida has often told me, weeping. The
king, my father, left me at Tarsus till the cruel wife of Cleon
sought to murder me. A crew of pirates came and rescued me and
brought me here to Mitylene. But, good sir, why do you weep? It
may be you think me an impostor. But indeed, sir, I am the
daughter to King Pericles, if good King Pericles be living."
Then Pericles, terrified as he seemed at his own sudden joy, and
doubtful if this could be real, loudly called for his attendants,
who rejoiced at the sound of their beloved king's voice; and he
said to Helicanus:
"O Helicanus, strike me, give me a gash, put me to present pain,
lest this great sea of joys rushing upon me overbear the shores
of my mortality. Oh, come hither, thou that wast born at sea,
buried at Tarsus, and found at sea again. O Helicanus, down on
your knees, thank the holy gods! This is Marina. Now blessings on
thee, my child! Give me fresh garments, mine own Helicanus! She
is not dead at Tarsus as she should have been by the savage
Dionysia. She shall tell you all, when you shall kneel to her and
call her your very Princess. Who is this?" (observing Lysimachus
for the first time).
"Sir," said Helicanus, "it is the governor of Mitylene, who,
hearing of your melancholy, came to see you."
"I embrace you, sir," said Pericles. "Give me my robes! I am well
with beholding. O Heaven bless my girl! But hark, what music is
that?"--for now, either sent by some kind god or by his own
delighted fancy deceived, he seemed to hear soft music.
"My lord, I hear none," replied Helicanus.
"None?" said Pericles. "Why, it is the music of the spheres."
As there was no music to be heard, Lysimachus concluded that the
sudden joy had unsettled the prince's understanding, and he said,
"It is not good to cross him; let him have his way." And then
they told him they heard the music; and he now complaining of a
drowsy slumber coming over him, Lysimachus persuaded him to rest
on a couch, and, placing a pillow under his head, he, quite
overpowered with excess of joy, sank into a sound sleep, and
Marina watched in silence by the couch of her sleeping parent.
While he slept, Pericles dreamed a dream which made him resolve
to go to Ephesus. His dream was that Diana, the goddess of the
Ephesians, appeared to him and commanded him to go to her temple
at Ephesus, and there before her altar to declare the story of
his life and misfortunes; and by her silver bow she swore that if
he performed her injunction he should meet with some rare
felicity. When he awoke, being miraculously refreshed, he told
his dream, and that his resolution was to obey the bidding of the
Then Lysimachus invited Pericles to come on shore and refresh
himself with such entertainment as he should find at Mitylene,
which courteous offer Pericles accepting, agreed to tarry with
him for the space of a day or two. During which time we may well
suppose what feastings, what rejoicings, what costly shows and
entertainments the governor made in Mitylene to greet the royal
father of his dear Marina, whom in her obscure fortunes he had so
respected. Nor did Pericles frown upon Lysimachus's suit, when he
understood how he had honored his child in the days of her low
estate, and that Marina showed herself not averse to his
proposals; only he made it a condition, before he gave his
consent, that they should visit with him the shrine of the
Ephesian Diana; to whose temple they shortly after all three
undertook a voyage; and, the goddess herself filling their sails
with prosperous winds, after a few weeks they arrived in safety
There was standing near the altar of the goddess, when Pericles
with his train entered the temple, the good Cerimon (now grown
very aged), who had restored Thaisa, the wife of Pericles, to
life; and Thaisa, now a priestess of the temple, was standing
before the altar; and though the many years he had passed in
sorrow for her loss had much altered Pericles, Thaisa thought she
knew her husband's features, and when he approached the altar and
began to speak, she remembered his voice, and listened to his
words with wonder and a joyful amazement. And these were the
words that Pericles spoke before the altar:
"Hail, Diana! to perform thy just commands I here confess myself
the Prince of Tyre, who, frighted from my country, at Pentapolis
wedded the fair Thaisa. She died at sea in childbed, but brought
forth a maid-child called Marina. She at Tarsus was nursed with
Dionysia, who at fourteen years thought to kill her, but her
better stars brought her to Mitylene, by whose shores as I sailed
her good fortunes brought this maid on board, where by her most
clear remembrance she made herself known to be my daughter."
Thaisa, unable to bear the transports which his words had raised
in her, cried out, "You are, you are, O royal Pericles" and
"What means this woman?" said Pericles. "She dies! Gentlemen,
"Sir," said Cerimon, "if you have told Diana's altar true, this
is your wife."
"Reverend gentleman, no," said Pericles. "I threw her overboard
with these very arms."
Cerimon then recounted how, early one tempestuous morning, this
lady was thrown upon the Ephesian shore; how, opening the coffin,
he found therein rich jewels and a paper; how, happily, he
recovered her and placed her here in Diana's temple.
And now Thaisa, being restored from her swoon, said: "O my lord,
are you not Pericles? Like him you speak, like him you are. Did
you not name a tempest, a birth, and death?"
He, astonished, said, "The voice of dead Thaisa!"
"That Thaisa am I," she replied, "supposed dead and drowned."
"O true Diana!" exclaimed Pericles, in a passion of devout
"And now," said Thaisa, "I know you better. Such a ring as I see
on your finger did the king my father give you when we with tears
parted from him at Pentapolis."
"Enough, you gods!" cried Pericles. "Your present kindness makes
my past miseries sport. Oh, come, Thaisa, be buried a second time
within these arms."
And Marina said, "My heart leaps to be gone into my mother's
Then did Pericles show his daughter to her mother, saying, "Look
who kneels here, flesh of thy flesh, thy burthen at sea, and
called Marina because she was yielded there."
"Blessed and my own!" said Thaisa. And while she hung in
rapturous joy over her child Pericles knelt before the altar,
"Pure Diana, bless thee for thy vision. For this I will offer
oblations nightly to thee."
And then and there did Pericles, with the consent of Thaisa,
solemnly affiance their daughter, the virtuous Marina, to the
well-deserving Lysimachus in marriage.
Thus have we seen in Pericles, his queen, and daughter, a famous
example of virtue assailed by calamity (through the sufferance of
Heaven, to teach patience and constancy to men), under the same
guidance becoming finally successful and triumphing over chance
and change. In Helicanus we have beheld a notable pattern of
truth, of faith, and loyalty, who, when he might have succeeded
to a throne, chose rather to recall the rightful owner to his
possession than to become great by another's wrong. In the worthy
Cerimon, who restored Thaisa to life, we are instructed how
goodness, directed by knowledge, in bestowing benefits upon
mankind approaches to the nature of the gods. It only remains to
be told that Dionysia, the wicked wife of Cleon, met with an end
proportionable to her deserts. The inhabitants of Tarsus, when
her cruel attempt upon Marina was known, rising in a body to
revenge the daughter of their benefactor, and setting fire to the
palace of Cleon, burned both him and her and their whole
household, the gods seeming well pleased that so foul a murder,
though but intentional and never carried into act, should be
punished in a way befitting its enormity.