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PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE.
Antiochus, king of Antioch. Pericles, prince of Tyre. Helicanus,
two lords of Tyre. Escanes, Simonides, king of Pentapolis. Cleon, governor of Tharsus. Lysimachus, governor of Mitylene. Cerimon, a lord of Ephesus. Thaliard, a lord of Antioch. Philemon, servant to Cerimon. Leonine, servant to Dionyza. Marshal. A Pandar, and his Wife. Boult, their servant. Gower, as chorus.
The Daughter of Antiochus.
Dionyza, wife to Cleon.
Thaisa, daughter to Simonides.
Enter Gower. Before the palace of Antioch.
To sing a song of old2 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 ;3
And lords and ladies of their lives
Have read it for restoratives:
'Purpose to make men glorious;
Et 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 city then, Antioch the great
Built up for his chiefest seat;
The fairest in all Syria;
(I tell you what mine authors say :)
This king unto him took a pheere,4
Who died and left a female heir,
So buxom, 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 father! to entice his own
To evil, should be done by none.
By custom, what they did begin,
Was, with long use, accounts no sin.
Marina, daughter to Pericles and Thaisa.
Lychorida, nurse to Marina.
Lords, Ladies, Knights, Gentlemen, Sailors, Pirates, Fishermen, and Messengers, &c.
Scene, dispersedly in various countries.1
(1) That the reader may know through how many regions the scene of this drama is dispersed, it is necessary to observe, that Antioch was the metropolis of Syria; Tyre a city of Phoenicia, in Asia; Tarsus, the metropolis of Cilicia, a country of Asia Minor; Mitylene, the capitol of Lesbos, an island in the Egean sea; and Ephesus, the capital of Ionia, a country of the Lesser Asia.
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.6 What now ensues, to the judgment of your eye I give, my cause who best can justify. [Exit.
SCENE I-Antioch. A room in the palace. Enter Antiochus, Pericles, and Attendants.
Ant. Young prince of Tyre, you have at large receiv'd
The danger of the task you undertake.
Per. I have, Antiochus, and with a sonl Embolden'd with the glory of her praise, Think death no hazard, in this enterprise. [Music.
Ant. 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.
Enter the Daughter of Antiochus. Per. See, where she comes, apparell'd like the spring,
Graces her subjects, and her thoughts the king
every virtue gives renown to men!
Her face, the book of praises, where is read
Nothing but curious pleasures, as from thence
(1) Chorus, in the character of Gower, an ancient English poet, who has related the story of this play in his Confessio Amantis.
(2) i. e. That of old. (3) Whitsun-ales, &c.
(4) Wife, the word signifies a mate or companion. Il wights were fixed.
(6) Pointing to the scene of the palace gate at Antioch, on which the heads of those unfortunate
Sorrow were ever ras'd, and testy wrath
Could never be her mild companion.
Ye gods that made me man, and sway in love,
That have inflam'd desire in my breast,
To taste the fruit of yon celestial tree,
Or die in the adventure, be my helps,
As I am son and servant to your will,
To compass such a boundless happiness!
Ant. Prince Pericles,
Per. That would be son to great Antiochus.
Ant. 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
A countless glory, which desert must gain :
And which, without desert, because thine eye
Presumes to reach, all thy whole heap must die.
Yon sometime famous princes, like thyself,
Drawn by report, advent'rous by desire,
Tell thee with speechless tongues, and semblance
That, without covering, save yon field of stars,
They here stand martyrs, slain in Cupid's wars;
And with dead cheeks advise thee to desist,
For going on death's act, whom none resist.
Per. 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 wo,
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,
Read the conclusion then;
Which read and not expounded, 'tis decreed,
As these before thee thou thyself shalt bleed.
Daugh. In all, save that, may'st thou prove pros-
In all, save that, I wish thee happiness!
Per. Like a bold champion, I assume the lists,
Nor ask advice of any other thought
But faithfulness, and courage.
Who, finger'd to make man his lawful music,
Would draw heaven down, and all the gods to
But, being play'd upon before your time,
Hell only danceth at so harsh a chime:
Good sooth, I care not for you.
Ant. Prince Pericles, touch not, upon thy life,
For that's an article within our law,
As dangerous as the rest. Your time's expir'd;
Either expound now, or receive your sentence.
Per. 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 wand'ring 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
Copp'd' hills towards heaven, to tell, the earth is wrong'd
By man's oppression; and the poor worm doth die
| Kings are earth's gods: in vice their law's their will;
And if Jove stray, who dares say, Jove doth ill?
It is enough you know; and it is fit,
What being more known grows worse, to smother it.
All love the womb that their first beings bred,
Then give my tongue like leave to love my head.
Ant. Heaven, that I had thy head! he has found
But I will gloze2 with him. [Aside.] Young prince
Though by the tenor of our strict edíct,
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 Antiochus, his Daughter, and Attend.
Per. How courtesy would seem to cover sin!
When what is done is like a 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 a 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 I'll shun the danger which I fear. [Exit.
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 lov'd you, and could still,
[Takes hold of the hand of the princess.
Were not this glorious casket stor'd 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're a fair viol, and your sense the strings:
(1) Rising to a top or head. (2) Flatter, insinuate. (3) To the destruction of your life. (4) Whereas
Ant. He hath found the meaning, for the which
Which fence the roots they ow by, and defend
Makes both my body pine, and soul to languish,
And punish that before, that he would punish.
1 Lord. Joy and all comfort in your sacred breast! 2 Lord. And keep your mind, till you return to us, Peaceful and comfortable!
Hel. Peace, peace, my lords, and give experience tongue.
They do abuse the king, that flatter him:
For flattery is the bellows blows
The thing the which is flatter'd, but a spark,
To which that breath gives heat and stronger glow-
Ant. Thaliard, adieu! till Pericles be dead,
My heart can lend no succour to my head. [Exit.
SCENE II-Tyre. A room in the palace.
Enter Pericles, Helicanus, and other Lords.
Per. Let none disturb us: Why this charge of
The sad companion, dull-ey'd melancholy,
By me so us'd a guest is, not an hour,
In the day's glorious walk, or peaceful night
(The tomb where grief should sleep,) can breed
Here pleasures court mine eyes, and mine eyes
Whereas reproof, obedient, and in order,
When signior Sooth here does proclaim a peace,
Fits kings, as they are men, for they may err.
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.
Per. All leave us else; but let your cares o'erlook What shipping, and what lading's in our haven, And then return to us. [Exeunt Lords.] Helicanus,
Hast moved us: what see'st thou in our looks?
Hel An angry brow, dread lord.
Per If there be such a dart in princes' frowns,
How durst thy tongue move anger to our face?
Hel. How dare the plants look up to heaven, fro
They have their nourishment?
To take thy life.
Hel. [Kneeling. I have ground the axe myself;
Do you but strike the blow.
Thou know'st I have power
Rise, pr'ythee, rise;
Sit down, sit down; thou art no flatterer:
I thank thee for it; and high heaven forbid,
That kings should let their ears hear their faults hid!
Fit counsellor, and servant for a prince,
Who by thy wisdom mak'st a prince thy servant,
What would'st thou have me do?
With patience bear
Such griefs as you do lay upon yourself.
Per Thou speak'st like a physician, Helicanus;
Who minister'st a potion unto me,
That thou would'st tremble to receive thyself.
Attend me then: I went to Antioch,
Where, as thou know'st, against the face of death,
I sought the purchase of a glorious beauty,
From whence an issue I might propagate,
Bring arms to princes, and to subjects joys.
Her face was to mine eye beyond all wonder;
Th 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's
'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.
knew him tyrannous; and tyrants' fears
Decrease not, but grow faster than their 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't offence,
Must feel war's blow, who spares not innocence :
Which love to all (of which thyself art one,
Who now reprov'st me for it) -
And danger, which I feared, 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 be done,
Grows elder now, and cares it be not done.
And so with me ;-the great Antiochus
('Gainst whom I am too little to contend,
Since he's so great, can make his will his act,)
Will think me speaking, though I swear to silence;||I
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'll 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,
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,2
Thou show'dst a subject's shine, I a true prince.
[Exeunt. SCENE III-Tyre. An ante-chamber in the palace. Enter Thaliard.
Thal. So, this is Tyre, and this is the court. Here must I kill king Pericles; and, if I do not, am sure to be hang'd at home: 'tis dangerous. Well, I perceive he was a wise fellow, and had good discretion, that being bid to ask what he would of the king, desired he might know none of his secrets. Now do I see he had some reason for it: for if a king bid a man be a villain, he is bound by the indenture of his oath to be one.-Hush, here come the lords of Tyre.
Enter Helicanus, Escanes, and other Lords. Hel. You shall not need, my fellow peers of Tyre, Further to question of your king's departure. His seal'd commission, left in trust with me, Doth speak sufficiently, he's gone to travel.
Tha How! the king gone!
Hel. If further yet you will be satisfied, Why, as it were unlicens'd of your loves, He would depart, I'll give some light unto you. Being at AntiochThal.
What from Antioch? [Aside. Hel. Royal Antiochus (on what cause I know not,)
Took some displeasure at him; at least he judg'd so:
And doubting lest that he had err'd or sinn'd,
To show his sorrow, would correct himself;
So puts himself unto the shipman's toil,
With whom each minute threatens life or death.
Thal. Well, I perceive
I shall not be hang'd now, although I would;
But since he's gone, the king it sure must please,
He scap'd the land, to perish on the seas.--
But I'll present me. Peace to the lords of Tyre!
Hel. Lord Thaliard from Antiochus is welcome.
Thal. From him I come
With message unto princely Pericles;
But, since my landing, as I have understood
Your lord has took himself to unknown travels,
My message must return from whence it came.
Hel. We have no reason to desire it, since
Commended to our master, not to us:
Yet, ere you shall depart, this we desire,-
As friends to Antioch, we may feast in Tyre.
(1) In our different spheres. (2) Overcome. (3) To jet is to strut, to walk proudly.
SCENE IV-Tharsus. A room in the Governor's house. Enter Cleon, Dionyza, and Attendants.
Cle. My Dionyza, shall we rest us here, And by relating tales of others' griefs, See if 'twill teach us to forget our own? Dio. 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;
Here they're but felt, and seen with mistful eyes,
But like to groves, being topp'd, they higher rise.
Cle. 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 lungs
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.
Dio. I'll do my best, sir.
Cle. This Tharsus, o'er which I have 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 jetted3 and adorn'd,
Like one another's glass to trim them by :
Their tables were stor'd 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.
Dio. O, 'tis too true.
Cle. But see what heaven can do! By this our change,
These mouths, whom but of late, earth, sea, and air,
Were all too little to content and please,
Although they gave their creatures in abundance,
As houses are defil'd for want of use,
They are now starv'd 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 nousles up their babes,
Thought nought too curious, are ready now,
To eat those little darlings whom they lov'd.
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;
many sink, yet those which see them fall,
Have scarce strength left to give them burial.
Is not this true?
Dio. Our cheeks and hollow eyes do witness it. Cle. O, let those cities, that of Plenty's cup And her prosperities so largely taste, With their superfluous riots, hear these tears!
(4) To dress them by. (5) Nurse fondly.
The misery of Tharsus may be theirs. Enter a Lord.
Lord. Where's the lord governor? Cle. Here.
Speak out thy sorrows which thou bring'st, in haste, For comfort is too far for us to expect.
Lord. We have descried, upon our neighbouring shore,
A portly sail of ships make hitherward.
C 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,
Hath 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.
Lord. 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.
Cle. Thou speak'st like him's untutor'd to repeat, Who makes the fairest show, means most deceit. But bring they what they will, what need we fear? The ground's the low'st, 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.
Lord. I go, my [Exit. Cle. Welcome is peace, if he on peace consist ;2 If wars, we are unable to resist.
Enter Pericles, with Attendants.
Per. Lord governor, for so we hear you are, Let not our ships and number of our men, Be, like a beacon fir'd, to amaze your eyes. We have heard your miseries as far as Tyre, And seen the desolation of your streets: Nor come we to add sorrow to your tears, But to relieve them of their heavy load; And these our ships you happilys may think Are, like the Trojan horse, war-stuff'd within, With bloody views, expecting overthrow, Are stor'd with corn, to make your needy bread, And give them life, who are hunger-starv'd, half dead.
All. The gods of Greece protect you!
And we'll pray for you.
Per. Rise, I pray you, rise; We do not look for reverence, but for love, And harbourage for ourself, our ships, and men. Cle. 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.
Per. Which welcome we'll accept; feast here a while, Until our stars that frown, lend us a smile. [Exe.
Prove awful both in deed and word.
Be quiet then, as men should be,
Till he hath pass'd necessity.
I'll show you those in trouble's reign,
Losing a mite, à mountain gain.
The good in conversation5
(To whom I give my benizon,6)
Is still at Tharsus, where each man
Thinks all is writ he spoken can :
And, to remember what he does,
Gild his statue glorious:
But tidings to the contrary
Are brought your eyes; what need speak I? Dumb show. Enter at one door Pericles, 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; then gives the Messenger a reward, and knights him. Exeunt Pericles, Cleon, &c. severally.
Gow. Good Helicane hath staid at home,
Not to eat honey, like a drone,
From others' labours; forth 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 hid intent, to murder him;
And that in Tharsus was not best
Longer for him to make his rest:
He knowing 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, tir'd with doing bad,
Threw him ashore, to give him glad :
And here he comes: what shall be next,
Pardon old Gower: this long's the text. [Ex.
An open place by the sea-side. Enter Pericles, wet.
Per. Yet cease your ire, ye 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 wat'ry grave, Here to have death in peace, is all he'll crave, Enter three Fishermen.