Pericles Prince of Tyre by William Shakespeare [Clark edition]

This etext was prepared by Scott Arndt. PERICLES PRINCE OF TYRE by William Shakespeare DRAMATIS PERSONAE ANTIOCHUS, king of Antioch. PERICLES, prince of Tyre. HELICANUS, ESCANES, two lords of Tyre. SIMONIDES, kIng of Pentapolis. CLEON, governor of Tarsus. LYSIMACHUS, governor of Mytilene. CERIMON, a lord of Ephesus. THALIARD, a lord of Antioch. PFIILEMON, servant to
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This etext was prepared by Scott Arndt.


by William Shakespeare


ANTIOCHUS, king of Antioch.
PERICLES, prince of Tyre.
HELICANUS, ESCANES, two lords of Tyre. SIMONIDES, kIng of Pentapolis.
CLEON, governor of Tarsus.
LYSIMACHUS, governor of Mytilene.
CERIMON, a lord of Ephesus.
THALIARD, a lord of Antioch.
PFIILEMON, servant to Cerimon.
LEONINE, servant to Dionyza.
A Pandar.
BOULT, his servant.
The Daughter of Antiochus.
DIONYZA, wife to Cleon.
THAISA, daughter to Simonides.
MARINA, daughter to Pericles and Thaisa. LYCHORIDA, nurse to Marina.
A Bawd.
Lords, Knights, Gentlemen, Sailors, Pirates, Fishermen, and Messengers.
GOWER, as Chorus.

SCENE: Dispersedly in various countries.


[Enter GOWER.]

[Before the palace of Antioch.]

To sing a song that old was sung,
From ashes ancient Gower is come;
Assuming man’s infirmities,
To glad your ear, and please your eyes. It hath been sung at festivals,
On ember-eves and holy-ales;
And lords and ladies in their lives Have read it for restoratives:
The purchase is to make men glorious; Et bonum quo antiquius, eo melius.
If you, born in these latter times, When wit’s more ripe, accept my rhymes,
And that to hear an old man sing
May to your wishes pleasure bring,
I life would wish, and that I might Waste it for you, like taper-light.
This Antioch, then, Antiochus the Great Built up, this city, for his chiefest seat; The fairest in all Syria,
I tell you what mine authors say:
This king unto him took a fere,
Who died and left a female heir,
So buxom, so blithe, and full of face, 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:
But custom what they did begin
Was with long use account no sin.
The beauty of this sinful dame
Made many princes thither frame,
To seek her as a bed-fellow,
In marriage-pleasures play-fellow:
Which to prevent he made a law,
To keep her still, and men in awe,
That whoso ask’d her for his wife,
His riddle told not, lost his life: So for her many a wight did die,
As yon grim looks do testify.
What now ensues, to the judgement your eye I give, my cause who lest can justify.


SCENE I. Antioch. A room in the palace.

[Enter ANTIOCHUS, PRINCE PERICLES, and followers.]

Young prince of Tyre, you have at large received The danger of the task you undertake.

I have, Antiochus, and, with a soul Embolden’d with the glory of her praise, Think death no hazard in this enterprise.

Bring in our daughter, clothed like a bride, For the embracements even of Jove himself; At whose conception, till Lucina reign’d, Nature this dowry gave, to glad her presence, The senate-house of planets all did sit, To knit in her their best perfections.

[Music. Enter the Daughter of Antiochus.]

See where she comes, apparell’d like the spring, Graces her subjects, and her thoughts the king Of every virtue gives renown to men!
Her face the book of praises, where is read Nothing but curious pleasures, as from thence Sorrow were ever razed, and testy wrath
Could never be her mild companion.
You gods that made me man, and sway in love, That have inflamed desire in my breast
To taste the fruit of yon celestal tree, Or die in the adventure, be my helps,
As I am son and servant to your will, To compass such a boundless happiness!

Prince Pericles, —

That would be son to great Antiochus.

Before thee stands this fair Hesperides, With golden fruit, but dangerous to be touch’d; For death-like dragons here affright thee hard: Her face, like heaven, enticeth thee to view Her countless glory, which desert must gain; And which, without desert, because thine eye Presumes to reach, all thy whole heap must die. Yon sometimes famous princes, like thyself, Drawn by report, adventurous by desire,
Tell thee, with speechless tongues and semblance pale, That without covering, save yon field of stars, Here they stand Martyrs, slain in Cupid’s wars; And with dead cheeks advise thee to desist For going on death’s net, whom none resist.

Antiochus, I thank thee, who hath taught My frail mortality to know itself,
And by those fearful objects 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. I’ll make my will then, and, as sick men do Who know the world, see heaven, but, feeling woe, Gripe not at earthly joys as erst they did; So I bequeath a happy peace to you
And all good men, as every prince should do; My riches to the earth from whence they came; But my unspotted fire of love to you.

[To the daughter of Antiochus.]

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, As these before thee thou thyself shalt bleed.

Of all say’d yet, mayst thou prove prosperous! Of all say’d yet, I wish thee happiness!

Like a bold champion, I assume THe lists, Nor ask advice of any other thought
But faithfulness and courage.

[He reads the riddle.]

I am no viper, yet I feed
On mother’s flesh which did me breed. I sought a husband, in which labour
I found that kindness in a father:
He’s father, son, and husband mild; I mother, wife, and yet his child.
How they may be, and yet in two,
As you will live, resolve it you.
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? Fair glass of light, I loved you, and could still,

[Takes hold of the hand of the Princess.]

Were not this glorious casket stored with ill: 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, You are a fair viol, and your sense the strings; Who, finger’d to make man his lawful music, Would draw heaven down, and all the gods to hearken; But being play’d upon before your time,
Hell only danceth at so harsh a chime. Good sooth, I care not for you.

Prince Pericles, touch not, upon thy life, For that’s an article within our law,
As dangerous as the rest. Tour time’s expired: Either expound now, or receive your sentence.

Great king,
Few love to hear the sins they love to act; ‘Twould braid yourself too near for me to tell it. Who has a book of all that monarchs do,
He’s more secure to keep it shut than shown: 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 Copp’d hills towards heaven, to tell the earth is throng’d By man’s oppression; and the poor worm doth die for’t. Kind 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,
What being more known grows worse, to smother it. All love the womb that their first bred, Then give my tongue like leave to love my head.

Heaven, that I had thy head! he has found the meaning: But I will gloze with him. — Young prince of Tyre. Though by the tenour of our strict edict, Your exposition misinterpreting,
We might proceed to cancel of your days; Yet hope, succeeding from so fair a tree As your fair self, doth tune us otherwise: Forty days longer we do respite you;
If by which time our secret be undone, This mercy shows we’ll joy in such a son: And until then your entertain shall be
As doth befit our honour and your worth.

[Exeunt all but Pericles.]

How courtesy would seem to cover sin, When what is done is like an hypocrite,
The which is good in nothing but in sight! If it be true that I interpret false,
Then were it certain you were not so bad 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 an husband, not a father; And she an eater of her mother’s flesh,
By the defiling of her parent’s bed; And both like serpents are, who though they feed On sweetest flowers, yet they poison breed. Antioch, farewell! for wisdom sees, those men Blush not in actions blacker than the night, 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: Then, lest my life be cropp’d to keep you clear, By flight I ‘II shun the danger which I fear.


[Re-enter Antiochus.]

He gath found the meaning, for which we mean To have his head.
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. Who attends us there?

[Enter Thaliard.]

Doth your highness call?

You are of our chamber, and our mind partakes 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,
Because we Bid it. Say, is it done?

My lord,
Tis done.


[Enter a Messenger.]

Let your breath cool yourself, telling your haste.

My lord, prlnce Pericles is fled.


As thou
Wilt live, fly after: and like an arrow shot From a well-experienced archer hits the mark His eye doth level at, so thou ne’er return Unless thou say ‘Prince Pericles is dead.’

My lord,
If I can get him within my pistol’s length, I’ll make him sure enough: so, farewell to your highness.

Thaliard! adieu!

[Exit Thaliard.]

Pericles be dead,
My heart can lend no succour to my head.


SCENE II. Tyre. A room in the palace.

[Enter Pericles.]

PERICLES. [To Lords without.]
Let none disturb us. — Why should this change of thoughts, The sad companion, dull-eyed melancholy, Be my so used a guest as not an hour,
In the day’s glorious walk, or peaceful night, The tomb where grief should sleep, can breed me quiet? Here pleasures court mine eyes, and mine eyes shun them, And danger, which I fear’d, is at Antioch, Whose arm seems far too short to hit me here: 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; And what was first but fear what might he 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, Will think me speaking, though I swear to silence; Nor boots it me 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; With hostile forces he’11 o’erspread the land, And with the ostent of war will look so huge, Amazement shall drive courage from the state; Our men be vanquish’d ere they do resist, And subjects punish’d that ne’er thought offence: 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, Makes both my body pine and soul to languish, And punish that before that he would punish.

[Enter Helicanus, with other Lords.]

Joy and all comfort in your sacred breast!

And keep your mind, till you return to us, Peaceful and comfortable!

Peace, peace, and give experience tongue. 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,
Fits kings, as they are men, for they may err. When Signior Sooth here does proclaim a peace, He flatters you, makes war upon your life. Prince, pardon me, or strike me, if you please; I cannot be much lower than my knees.

All leave us else; but let your cares o’erlook What shipping and what lading is in our haven, And then return to us.

[Exeunt Lords.]

Helicanus, thou
Hast moved us: what seest thou in our looks?

An angry brow, dread lord.

If there be such a dart in princes’ frowns, How durst thy tongue move anger to our face?

How dare the plants look up to heaven, from whence They have their nourishment?

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.

Rise, prithee, rise.
Sit down: thou art no flatterer:
I thank thee for it; and heaven forbid That kings should let their ears hear their faults hid! Fit counsellor and servant for a prince, Who by thy wisdom makest a prince thy servant, What wouldst thou have me do?

To bear with patience
Such griefs as you yourself do lay upon yourself.

Thou speak’st like a physician, Helicanus, That minister’st a potion unto me
That thou wouldst tremble to receive thyself. Attend me, then: I went to Antioch,
And there as thou know’st, against the face of death, I sought the purchase of a glorious beauty, From whence an issue I might propagate,
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, ‘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. I knew him tyrannous; and tyrants’ fears Decrease not, but grow faster than the years: And should he doubt it, as no doubt he doth, That I should open to the listening air
How many worthy princes’ bloods were shed, To keep his bed of blackness unlaid ope, To lop that doubt, he’ll fill this land with arms, And make pretence of wrong that I have done him; When all, for mine, if I may call offence, Must feel war’s blow, who spares not innocence: Which love to all, of which thyself art one, Who now reprovest me for it, —

Alas, sir!

Drew sleep out of mine eyes, blood from my cheeks, Musings into my mind, with thousand doubts How I might stop this tempest ere it came; And finding little comfort to relieve them, I thought it princely charity to grieve them.

Well, my lord, since you have given me leave to speak, Freely will I speak. Antiochus you fear, 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,
Or till the Destinies do cut his thread of life. Your rule direct to any; if to me,
Day serves not light more faithful than I’ll be.

I do not doubt thy faith;
But should he wrong my liberties in my absence?

We’ll mingle our bloods together in the earth, From whence we had our being and our birth.

Tyre, I now look from thee then, and to Tarsus Intend my travel, where I’ll hear from thee; And by whose letters I’ll dispose myself. The care I had and have of subjects’ good On thee I 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: But in our orbs we’ll live so round and safe, That time of both this truth shall ne’er convince, Thou show’dst a subject’s shine, I a true prince.


SCENE III. Tyre. An ante-chamber in the Palace.

[Enter Thaliard.]

So, this is Tyre, and this the court. Here must I Kill King Pericles; and if I do it 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 ‘t; for if a king bid a man be a villain, he’s bound by the indenture of his oath to be one. Hush! here come the lords of Tyre.

[Enter Helicanus and Escanes, with other Lords of Tyre.]

You shall not need, my fellow peers of Tyre, Further to question me of your king’s departure: His seal’d commission, left in trust with me, Doth speak sufficiently he ‘s gone to travel.

THALIARD. [Aside.]
How! the king gone!

If further yet you will be satisfied, Why, as it were unlicensed of your loves, He would depart, I ‘II give some light unto you. Being at Antioch —

THALIARD. [Aside.]
What from Antioch?

Royal Antiochus — on what cause I know not Took some displeasure at him; at least he judged so: And doubting lest that he had err’d or sinn’d, To show his sorrow, he ‘ld correct himself; So puts himself unto the shipman’s toil, With whom each minute threatens life or death.

THALIARD. [Aside.]
Well, I perceive
I shall not be hang’d now, although I would; But since he ‘s gone, the king’s seas must please He ‘scaped the land, to perish at the sea. I ‘ll present myself. Peace to the lords of Tyre!

Lord Thaliard from Antiochus is welcome.

From him I come
With message unto princely Pericles; But since my landing I have understood
Your lord has betook himself to unknown travels, My message must return from whence it came.

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.


SCENE IV. Tarsus. A room in the Governor’s house.

[Enter Cleon, the governor of Tarsus, with Dionyza, and others.]

My Dionyza, shall we rest us here,
And by relating tales of others’ griefs, See if ’twill teach us to forqet our own?

That were to blow at fire in hope to quench it; For who digs 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, But like to groves, being topp’d, they higher rise.

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
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. I’ll then discourse our woes, felt several years, And wanting breath to speak help me with tears.

I’ll do my best, sir.

This Tarsus, o’er which I have the government, A city on whom plenty held full hand,
For riches strew’d herself even in the streets; 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: Their tables were stored full, to glad the sight, And not so much to feed on as delight;
All poverty was scorn’d, and pride so great, The name of help grew odious to repeat.

O, ’tis too true.

But see what heaven can do! By this our change, These mouths, who but of late, earth, sea, and air, Were all too little to content and please, Although they gave their creatures in abundance, As houses are defiled for want of use,
They are now starved for want of exercise: 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: Those mothers who, to nousle up their babes, Thought nought too curious, are ready now To eat those little darlings whom they loved. 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, yet those which see them fall Have scarce strength left to give them burial. Is not this true?

Our cheeks and hollow eyes do witness it.

O, let those cities that of plenty’s cup And her prosperities so largely taste,
With their superflous riots, hear these tears! The misery of Tarsus may be theirs.

[Enter a Lord.]

Where’s the lord governor?

Speak out thy sorrows which thou bring’st in haste, For comfort is too far for us to expect.

We have descried, upon our neighbouring shore, A portly sail of ships make hitherward.

I thought as much.
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,
Math stuff’d these hollow vessels with their power, To beat us down, the which are down already; And make a conquest of unhappy me,
Whereas no glory’s got to overcome.

That’s the least fear; for, by the semblance Of their white flags display’d, they bring us peace, And come to us as favourers, not as foes.

Thou speak’st like him’s untutor’d to repeat: Who makes the fairest show means most deceit. But bring they what they will and what they can, What need we fear?
The ground’s the lowest, and we are half way there. Go tell their general we attend him here, To know for what he comes, and whence he comes, And what he craves.

I go, my lord.


Welcome is peace, if he on peace consist; If wars, we are unable to resist.

[Enter Pericles with Attendants.]

Lord governor, for so we hear you are, Let not our ships and number of our men
Be like a beacon fired 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; And these our ships, you happily may think Are like the Trojan horse was stuff’d within With bloody veins, expecting overthrow,
Are stored with corn to make your needy bread, And give them life whom hunger starved half dead.

The gods of Greece protect you!
And we’ll pray for you.

Arise, I pray you, rise:
We do not look for reverence, but for love, And harbourage for ourself, our ships, and men.

The which when any shall not gratify, 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, — Your grace is welcome to our town and us.

Which welcome we’ll accept; feast here awhile, Until our stars that frown lend us a smile.



[Enter Gower.]

Mere have you seen a mighty king
His child, I wis, to incest bring;
A better prince and benign lord,
That will prove awful both in deed word. Be quiet then as men should be,
Till he hath pass’d necessity.
I’ll show you those in troubles reign, Losing a mite, a mountain gain.
The good in conversation,
To whom I give my benison,
Is still at Tarsus, where each man
Thinks all is writ he speken can;
And, to remember what he does,
Build his statue to make him glorious: But tidings to the contrary
Are brought your eyes; what need speak I?


[Enter at one door Pericles talking with Cleon talking with CLEON; all the train with them. Enter at another door a Gentleman, with a letter to Pericles; Pericles shows the letter to Cleon; gives the Messenger a reward, and knights him. Exit Pericles at one door, and Cleon at another.]

Good Helicane, that stay’d at home.
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: 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.
He, doing so, put forth to seas,
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 wreck’d and split; 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, tired with doing bad, Threw him ashore, to give him glad:
And here he comes. What shall be next, Pardon old Gower, — this longs the text.


SCENE I. Pentapolis. An open place by the sea-side.

[Enter Pericles, wet.]

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; 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:
Let it suffice the greatness of your powers To have bereft 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.]

What, ho, Pilch!

Ha, come and bring away the nets!

What, Patch-breech, I say!

What say you, master?

Look how thou stirrest now! come away, or I’ll fetch thee with a wanion.

‘Faith, master, I am thinking of the poor men that were cast away before us even now.

Alas, poor souls, it grieved my heart to hear what pitiful cries they made to us to help them, when, well-a-day, we could scarce help ourselves.

Nay, master, said not I as much when I saw the porpus how he bounced and tumbled? they say they’re half fish, half flesh: a plague on them, they ne’er come but I look to be washed. Master, I marvel how the fishes live in the sea.

Why, as men do a-land; the great ones eat up the little ones: I can compare our rich misers to nothing so fitly as to a whale; a’ plays and tumbles, driving the poor fry 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 they’ve swallowed the whole parish, church, steeple, bells, and all.

PERICLES. [Aside.]
A pretty moral.

But, master, if I had been the sexton, I would have been that day in the belfry.

Why, man?

Because he should have swallowed me too; and when I had been in his belly, I would have kept such a jangling of the bells, that he should never have left, till he cast bells, steeple, church, and parish, up again. But if the good King Simonides were of my mind, —

PERICLES. [Aside.]

We would purge the land of these drones, that rob the bee of her honey.

PERICLES. [Aside.]
How from the finny subjec of the sea These fishers tell the infirmities of men; And from their watery empire recollect
All that may men approve or men detect! Peace be at your labour, honest fishermen.

Honest! good fellow, what’s that; If it be a day fits you, search out of the calendar, and nobody look after it.

May see the sea hath cast upon your coast.

What a drunken knave was the sea to cast thee in our way!

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; He asks of you, that never used to beg.

No, friend, cannot you beg? Here’s them in our country of Greece gets more with begging than we can do with working.

Canst thou catch any fishes, then?

I never practised it.

Nay, then thou wilt starve, sure; for here’s nothing to be got now-a-days, unless thou canst fish for ‘t.

What I have been I have forgot to know; But what I am, want 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; Which if you shall refuse, when I am dead, For that I am a man, pray see me buried.

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 for holidays, fish for fasting-days, and moreo’er puddings and flap-jacks, and thou shalt be welcome.

I thank you, sir.

Hark you, my friend; you said you could not beg.

I did but crave.

But crave! Then I’ll turn craver too, and so I shall ‘scape whipping.

Why, are your beggars whipped, then?

O, not all, my friend, not all; for if all your beggars were whipped, I would wish no better office than to be beadle. But, master, I’ll go draw up the net.

[Exit with Third Fisherman.]

PERICLES. [Aside.]
How well this honest mirth becomes their 1abour!

Hark you, sir, do you know where ye are?

Not well.

Why, I’ll tell you: this is called Pentapolis, and our king the good Simonides.

The good King Simonides, do you call him?

Ay, sir; and he deserves so to be called for his peaceable reign and good government.

He is a happy king, since he gains from his subjects the name of good government. How far is his court distant from this shore?

Marry sir, half a day’s journey: and I’ll tell you, he hath a fair daughter, and to-morrow is her birth-day; and there are princes and knights come from all parts of the world to just and tourney for her love.

Were my fortunes equal to my desires, I could wish to make one there.

O, sir, things must be as they may; and what a man cannot get, he may lawfully deal for — his wife’ soul.

[Re-enter Second and Third Fishermen, drawing up a net.]

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 on’t, ’tis come at last, and ’tis turned to a rusty armour.

An armour, friends! I pray you, let me see it. Thanks, fortune, yet, that, after all my crosses, Thou givest me somewhat to repair myself, And though it was mine own, part of my heritage, 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 me and death;’ — and pointed to this brace; — For that it saved me, keep it; in like necessity — The which the gods protect thee from! — may defend thee.’ It kept where I kept, I so dearly loved it; Till the rough seas, that spare not any man, Took it in rage, though calm’d have given’t again: I thank thee for ‘t: my shipwreck now’s no ill, Since I have here my father’s gift in’s will.

What mean you’ sir?

To beg of you, kind friends, this coat of worth, For it was sometime target to a king;
I know it by this mark. He loved me dearly, And for his sake I wish the having of it; And that you’ld guide me to your sovereign court, Where with it I may appear a gentleman;
And if that ever my fortune’s better, I’ll pay your bounties; till then rest your debtor.

Why, wilt thou tourney for the lady?

I’ll show the virtue I have borne in arms.

Why, do’e take it, and the gods give thee good on ‘t!

Ay, but hark you, my friend; ’twas we that made up this garment through the rough seams of the waters: there are certain condolements, certain vails. I hope, sir, if you thrive, you’ll remember from whence you had it.

Believe’t I will.
By your furtherance I am clothed in steel; And, spite of all the rapture of the sea, This jewel holds his building on my arm: Unto thy value I will mount myself
Upon a courser, whose delightful steps Shall make the gazer joy to see him tread. Only, my friend, I yet am unprovided
Of a pair of bases.

We’ll sure provide: thou shalt have my best gown to make thee a pair; and I’ll bring thee to the court myself.

Then honour be but a goal to my will, This day I’ll rise, or else add ill to ill.


SCENE II. The same. A public way, or platform leading to the lists. A pavilion by the side of it for the reception of the King, Princess, Lords, etc.

[Enter Simonides, Lords and Attendants.]

Are the knights ready to begin the triumph?

They are, my liege;
And stay your coming to present themselves.

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 For men to see, and seeing wonder at.

[Exit a Lord.]

It pleaseth you1 my royal father, to express My commendations great, whose merit’s less.

It’s fit it should be so; for princes are A model, which heaven makes like to itself: As jewels lose their glory if neglected, So princes their renowns if not respected. ‘Tis now your honour, daughter, to explain The labour of each knight in his device.

Which, to preserve mine honour, I’ll perform.

[Enter a Knight; he passes over, and his Squire presents his shield to the Princess.]

Who is the first that doth prefer himself?

A knight of Sparta, my renowned father; And the device he bears upon his shield
Is a black Ethiope reaching at the sun: The word, ‘Lux tua vita mihi.’

He loves you well that holds his life of you.

[The Second Knight passes over.]

Who is the second that presents himself?

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.’

[The Third Knight passes over.]

And what’s the third?

The third of Antioch;
And his device, a wreath of chivalry; The word, ‘Me pompae provexit apex.’

[The Fourth Knight passes over.]

What is the fourth?

A burning torch that’s turned upside down; The word, ‘Quod me alit, me extinguit.’

Which shows that beauty hath his power and will, Which can as well inflame as it can kill.

[The Fifth Knight passes over.]

The fifth, an hand environed with clouds, Holding out gold that’s by the touchstone tried; The motto thus, ‘Sic spectanda fides.’

[The Sixith Knight, Pericles, passes over.]

And what’s
The sixth and last, the which the knight himself With such a graceful courtesy deliver’d?

He seems to be a stranger; but his present is A wither’d branch, that’s only green at top; The motto, ‘In hac spe vivo.’

A pretty moral;
From the dejected state wherein he is, He hopes by you his fortunes yet may flourish.

He had need mean better than his outward show Can any way speak in his just commend;
For by his rusty outside he appears To have practised more the whipstock than the lance.

He well may be a stranger, for he comes To an honour’d triumph strangely furnished.

And on set purpose let his armour rust Until this day, to scour it in the dust.

Opinion’s but a fool, that makes us scan The outward habit by the inward man.
But stay, the knights are coming: we will withdraw Into the gallery.


[Great shouts within, and all cry ‘The mean knight!’]

SCENE III. The same. A hall of state: a banquet prepared.

[Enter Simonides, Thaisa, Lords, Attendants, and Knights, from tilting.]

To say you’re welcome were superfluous. To place upon the volume of your deeds,
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. Prepare for mirth, for mirth becomes a feast: You are princes and my guests.

But you, my knight and guest;
To whom this wreath of victory I give, And crown you king of this day’s happiness.

‘Tis more by fortune, lady, than by merit.

Call it by what you will, the day is yours; 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 are her labour’d scholar. Come queen of the feast, — For, daughter, so you are, — here take your place: Marshal the rest, as they deserve their grace.

We are honour’d much by good Simonides.

Your presence glads our days; honour we love; For who hates honour hates the gods above.

Sir, yonder is your place.

Some other is more fit.

Contend not, sir; for we are gentlemen That neither in our hearts nor outward eyes Envy the great nor do the low despise.

You are right courteous knights.

Sit, sir, sit.

By Jove, I wonder, that is king of thoughts, These cates resist me, she but thought upon.

By Juno, that is queen of marriage, All viands that I eat do seem unsavoury, Wishing him my meat. Sure, he’s a gallant gentleman.

He’s but a country gentleman;
Has done no more than other knights have done; Has broken a staff or so; so let it pass.

To me he seems like diamond to glass.

Yon king’s to me like to my father’s picture, Which tells me in that glory once he was; Had princes sit, like stars, about his throne, And he the sun, for them to reverence;
None that beheld him, but, like lesser lights, Did vail 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, And gives them what he will, not what they crave.

What, are you merry, knights?

Who can be other in this royal presence?

Here, with a cup that’s stored unto the brim, — As you do love, fill to your mistress’ lips, — We drink this health to you.

We thank your grace.

Yet pause awhile:
Yon knight doth sit too melancholy, As if the entertainment in our court
Had not a show might countervail his worth. Note it not you, Thaisa?

What is it
To me, my father?

O attend, my daughter:
Princes in this should live like god’s 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. Therefore to make his entrance more sweet, Here, say we drink this standing-bowl of wine to him.

Alas, my father, it befits not me
Unto a stranger knight to be so bold: He may my proffer take for an offence,
Since men take women’s gifts for impudence.

Do as I bid you, or you’ll move me else.

THAISA. [Aside]
Now, by the gods, he could not please me better.

And furthermore tell him, we desire to know of him, Of whence he is, his name and parentage.

The king my father, sir, has drunk to you.

I thank him.

Wishing it so much blood unto your life.

I thank both him and you, and pledge him freely.

And further he desires to know of you, Of whence you are, your name and parentage.

A gentleman of Tyre; my name, Pericles; My education been in arts and arms;
Who, looking for adventures in the world, Was by the rough seas reft of ships and men, And after shipwreck driven upon this shore.

He thanks your grace; names himself Pericles, A gentleman of Tyre,
Who only by misfortune of the seas
Bereft of ships and men, cast on this shore.

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. 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.]

So, this was well ask’d, ’twas so well perform’d. Come, sir;
Here is a lady which wants breathing too: And I have heard you nights of Tyre
Are excellent in making ladies trip; And that their measures are as exceltent.

In those that practise them they are, my lord.

O, that’s as much as you would be denied Of your fair courtesy.

[The Knights and Ladies dance.]

Unclasp, unclasp:
Thanks gentlemen, to all; all have done well.

[To Pericles.]

But you the you the best. Pages and lights to conduct These knights unto their several lodging.

[To Pericles.]

Yours, sir,
We have given order to be next our own.

I am at your grace’s pleasure.

Princes, it is too late to talk of love; And that’s the mark I know you level at: Therefore each one betake him to his rest; To-morrow all for speeding do their best.


SCENE IV. Tyre. A room in the Govenor’s house.

[Enter Helicanus and Escanes.]

No, Escanes, know this of me,
Antiochus from incest lived not free: For which, the most high gods not minding longer 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, A fire from heavn came and shrivell’d up Their bodies, even to loathing; for they so stunk, That all those eyes adored them ere their fall Scorn now their hand should give them burial.

‘Twas very strange

And yet but justice; for though
This king were great; his greatness was no guard. To bar heaven’s shaft, but sin had his reward.

‘Tis very true.

[Enter two or three Lords.]

See, not a man in private conference Or council has respect with him but he.

It shall no longer grieve with out reproof.

And cursed be he that will not second it.

Follow me, then. Lord Helicane, a word.

With me? and welcome: happy day, my lords.

Know that our griefs are risen to the top, And now at length they overflow their banks.

Your griefs! for what? wrong not your prince your love.

Wrong not yourself, then, noble Helicane; But if the prince do live, let us salute him. Or know what ground’s made happy by his breath. If in the world he live, we’ll seek him there; And be resolved he lives to govern us,
Or dead, give’s cause to mourn his funeral, And leave us to our free election.

Whose death indeed ‘s the strongest in our censure: And knowing this kingdom is without a head, — Like goodly buildings left without a roof Soon fall to ruin, — your noble self,
That best know how to rulle and how to reign, We thus submit unto, — our sovereign.

Live, noble Helicane!

For honour’s cause, forbear your suffrages: If that you love Prince Pericles, forbear. Take I your wish, I leap into the seas,
Where’s hourly trouble for a minute’s ease. A twelve month longer, let me entreat you to Forbear the absence of your king;
If in which time expired, he not return, I shall with aged patience bear your yoke. But if I cannot win you to this love,
Go search like nobles, like noble subjects, And in your search spend your adventurous worth; Whom if you find, and win unto return,
You shall like diamonds sit about his crown.

To wisdom he’s a fool that will not yield; And since Lord Helicane enjoineth us,
We with our travels will endeavour us.

Then you love us, we you, and we’ll clasp hands: When peers thus knit, a kingdom ever stands.


SCENE V. Pentapolis. A room in the palace.

Enter Simonides, reading a letter at one door: the Knights meet him.]

Good morrow to the good Simonides.

Knights, from my daughter this I let you know, That for this twelvemonth she’ll not undertake A married life.
Her reason to herself is only known, Which yet from her by no means can I get.

May we not get access to her, my lord?

‘Faith, by no means; she hath so strictly tied Her to her chamber, that ’tis impossible. One twelve moons more she’ll wear Diana’s livery; This by the eye of Cynthia hath she vow’d, And on her virgin honour will not break it.

Loath to bid farewell, we take our leaves.

[Exeunt Knights.]

They are well dispatch’d; 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; I like that well: nay, how absolute she’s in it, Not minding whether I dislike or no!
Well, I do commend her choice;
And will no longer have it delay’d. Soft! here he comes: I must dissemble it.

[Enter Pericles.]

All fortune to the good 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
With such delightful pleasing harmony.

It is your grace’s pleasure to commend; Not my desert.

Sir, you are music’s master.

The worst of all her scholars, my good lord.

Let me ask you one thing:
What do you think of my daughter, sir?

A most virtuous princess.

And she is fair too, is she not?

As a fair day in summer, wondrous fair.

Sir, my daughter thinks very well of you; Ay, so well, that you must be her master, And she will be your scholar: therefore look to it.

I am unworthy for her schoolmaster.

She thinks not so; peruse this writing else.

PERICLES. [Aside.]
A letter, that she loves the knight of Tyre! ‘Tis the king’s subtilty to have my life. O, seek not to entrap me, gracious lord, A stranger and distressed gentleman,
That never aim’d so high to love your daughter, But bent all offices to honour her.

Thou hast bewitch’d my daughter, and thou art A villain.

By the gods, I have not:
Never did thought of mine levy offence; Nor never did my actions yet commence
A deed might gain her love or your displeasure.

Traitor, thou liest.


Ay, traitor;

Even in his throat — unless it be the king — That calls me traitor, I return the lie.

Now, by the gods, I do applaud his courage.

My actions are as noble as my thoughts, That never relish’d of a base descent.
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.

Here comes my daughter, she can witness it.

[Enter Thaisa.]

Then, as you are as virtuous as fair, Resolve your angry father, if my tongue
Did e’er solicit, or my hand subscribe To any syllable that made love to you.

Why, sir, say if you had,
Who takes offence at that would make me glad?

Yea, mistress, are you so peremptory? [Aside.]
I am glad on’t with all my heart. — 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?
who, for aught I know,
May be, nor can I think the contrary, As great in blood as I myself. —
Therefore hear you, mistress; either frame Your will to mine, — and you, sir, hear you, Either be ruled by me, or I will make you — Man and wife:
Nay, come, your hands and lips must seal it too: And being join’d, I’ll thus your hopes destroy; And for a further grief, — God give you joy! — What, are you both pleased?

Yes, if you love me, sir.

Even as my life my blood that fosters it.

What, are you both agreed?

Yes, if it please your majesty.

It pleaseth me so well, that I will see you wed; And then with what haste you can get you to bed.



[Enter Gower.]

Now sleep yslaked hath the rout;
No din but snores the house about,
Made louder by the o’er-fed breast
Of this most pompous marriage-feast. The cat, with eyne of burning coal,
Now couches fore the mouse’s hole;
And crickets sing at the oven’s mouth, E’er the blither for their drouth.
Hymen hath brought the bride to bed, Where, by the loss of maidenhead,
A babe is moulded. Be attent,
And time that is so briefly spent
With your fine fancies quaintly eche: What’s dumb in show I’ll plain with speech.

[Dumb Show.]

[Enter, Pericles and Simonides, at one door, with Attendants; a Messenger meets them, kneels, and gives Pericles a letter: Pericles shows it Simonides; the Lords kneel to him. Then enter Thaisa with child, with Lychorida a nurse. The King shows her the letter; she rejoices: she and Pericles take leave of her father, and depart, with Lychorida and their Attendants. Then exeunt Simonides and the rest.]

By many a dern and painful perch
Of Pericles the careful search,
By the four opposing coigns
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, To the court of King Simonides
Are letters brought, the tenour these: Antiochus and his daughter dead;
The men of Tyrus on the head
Of Helicanus would set on
The crown of Tyre, but he will none: The mutiny he there hastes t’ oppress;
Says to ’em, if King Pericles
Come not home in twice six moons,
He, obedient to their dooms,
Will take the crown. The sum of this, Brought hither to Pentapolis
Y-ravished the regions round,
And every one with claps can sound, ‘Our heir-apparent is a king!
Who dream’d, who thought of such a thing?’ Brief, he must hence depart to Tyre:
His queen with child makes her desire — Which who shall cross? — along to go:
Omit we all their dole and woe:
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
Disgorges such a tempest forth,
That, as a duck for life that dives, So up and down the poor ship drives:
The lady shrieks, and well-a-near
Does fall in travail with her fear: And what ensues in this fell storm
Shall for itself itself perform.
I nill relate, action may
Conveniently the rest convey;
Which might not what by me is told. In your imagination hold
This stage the ship, upon whose deck The sea-tost Pericles appears to speak.



[Enter Pericles, on shipboard.]

Thou god of this great vast, rebuke these surges, Which wash forth both heaven and hell; and thou that hast Upon the winds command, bind them in brass, Having call’d them from the deep! O, still Thy deafening, dreadful thunders; gently quench Thy nimble, sulphurous flashes! O, how, Lychorida, How does my queen? Thou stormest venomously; Wilt thou spit all thyself? The seaman’s whistle Is as a whisper in the ears of death,
Unheard. Lychorida! – Lucina, 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!

[Enter Lychorida, with an Infant.]

Now, Lychorida!

Here is a thing too young for such a place, Who, if it had conceit, would die, as I
Am like to do: take in your aims this piece Of your dead queen.

How, how, 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,
Be manly, and take comfort.

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 Use honour with you.

Patience, good sir.
Even for this charge.

Now, mild may be thy life!
For a more blustrous birth had never babe: Quiet and gentle thy conditions! for
Thou art the rudliest welcome to this world That ever was prince’s child. Happy what follows! Thiou hast as chiding a nativity
As fire, air, water, earth, and heaven can make, To herald thee from the womb: even at the first Thy loss is more than can thy portage quit, With all thou canst find here, Now, the good gods Throw their best eyes upon’t!

{Enter two Sailors.]

What courage, sir? God save you!

Courage enough: I do not fear the flaw; It hath done to me the worst. Yet, for the love Of ths poor infant, this fresh-new sea-farer, I would it would be quiet.

Slack the bolins there! Thou wilt not, wilt thou? Blow, and split thyself.

But sea-room, an the brine and cloudy billow kiss the moon, I care not.

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.

That’s your superstition.

Pardon us, sir; with us at sea it has been still observed; and we are strong in custom. Therefore briefly yield her; for she must overboard straight.

As you think meet. Most wretched queen!

Here she lies, sir.

A terrible childben 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, but straight Must cast thee, scarcely coffin’d, in the ooze; Where, for a monument upon thy bones,
And e’er-remaining lamps, the belching whale And humming water must o’erwhelm thy corpse, Lying with simple shells. O Lychorida.
Bid Nestor bring me spices, ink and paper, My casket and my jewels; and bid Nicander Bring me the satin coffer: lay the babe
Upon the pillow: hie thee, whiles I say A priestly farewell to her: suddenly, woman.

[Exit Lychorida.]

Sir, we have a chest beneath the hatches, caulked and bitumed ready.

I thank thee. Mariner, say what coast is this?

We are near Tarsus.

Thither, gentle mariner,
Alter thy course for Tyre. When, canst thou reach it?

By break of day, if the wind cease.

O, make for Tarsus!
There will I visit Cleon, for the babe Cannot hold out to Tyrus there I’ll leave it At careful nursing. Go thy ways, good mariner: I’ll bring the body presently.


SCENE II. Ephesus. A room in Cerimon’s house.

[Enter Cerimon, with a Servant, and some Persons who have been shipwrecked.]

Philemon, ho!

[Enter Philemon.]

Doth my lord call?

Get fire and meat for these poor men: ‘T has been a turbulent and stormy night.

I have been in many; but such a night as this, Till now, I ne’er endured.

Your master will be dead ere you return; There’s nothing can be minister’d to nature That can recover him.

[To Philemon.]
Give this to the ‘pothecary,
And tell me how it works.

[Exeunt all but Cerimon.]

[Enter two Gentlemen.]

Good morrow.

Good morrow to your lordship.

Why do you stir so early?