PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE


Return to table of contents or to previous file.

Act III

[Enter GOWER]
GOWER Now sleep y-slaked 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 crouches 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 takes 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 tenor 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 grisly 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.
[Exit]

Scene I:

[Enter PERICLES, on shipboard]
PERICLES Thou god of this great vast, rebuke these surges,
Which wash 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!
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 arms this piece
Of your dead queen.
PERICLES How, how, Lychorida!
LYCHORIDA Patience, good sir; do not assist the storm.
Here's all that is left living of your queen,
A little daughter: for the sake of it,
Be manly, and take comfort.
PERICLES O you gods!
Why do you make us love your goodly gifts,
And snatch them straight away? We here below
Recall not what we give, and therein may
Use honour with you.
LYCHORIDA Patience, good sir,
Even for this charge.
PERICLES Now, mild may be thy life!
For a more blustrous birth had never babe:
Quiet and gentle thy conditions! for
Thou art the rudeliest welcome to this world
That ever was prince's child. Happy what follows!
Thou 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]
First Sailor What courage, sir? God save you!
PERICLES Courage enough: I do not fear the flaw;
It hath done to me the worst. Yet, for the love
Of this poor infant, this fresh-new sea-farer,
I would it would be quiet.
First Sailor Slack the bolins there! Thou wilt not, wilt thou?
Blow, and split thyself.
Second Sailor But sea-room, an the brine and cloudy billow kiss
the moon, I care not.
First Sailor Sir, your queen must overboard: the sea works high,
the wind is loud, and will not lie till the ship be
cleared of the dead.
PERICLES That's your superstition.
First Sailor Pardon us, sir; with us at sea it hath been still
observed: and we are strong in custom. Therefore
briefly yield her; for she must overboard straight.
PERICLES As you think meet. Most wretched queen!
LYCHORIDA Here she lies, sir.
PERICLES A terrible childbed 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]
Second Sailor Sir, we have a chest beneath the hatches, caulked
and bitumed ready.
PERICLES I thank thee. Mariner, say what coast is this?
Second Sailor We are near Tarsus.
PERICLES Thither, gentle mariner.
Alter thy course for Tyre. When canst thou reach it?
Second Sailor By break of day, if the wind cease.
PERICLES 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.
[Exeunt]

Scene II Ephesus. A room in CERIMON's house.

[Enter CERIMON, with a Servant, and some Persons who
have been shipwrecked]
CERIMON Philemon, ho!
[Enter PHILEMON]
PHILEMON Doth my lord call?
CERIMON Get fire and meat for these poor men:
'T has been a turbulent and stormy night.
Servant I have been in many; but such a night as this,
Till now, I ne'er endured.
CERIMON 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]
First Gentleman Good morrow.
Second Gentleman Good morrow to your lordship.
CERIMON Gentlemen,
Why do you stir so early?
First Gentleman Sir,
Our lodgings, standing bleak upon the sea,
Shook as the earth did quake;
The very principals did seem to rend,
And all-to topple: pure surprise and fear
Made me to quit the house.
Second Gentleman That is the cause we trouble you so early;
'Tis not our husbandry.
CERIMON O, you say well.
First Gentleman But I much marvel that your lordship, having
Rich tire about you, should at these early hours
Shake off the golden slumber of repose.
'Tis most strange,
Nature should be so conversant with pain,
Being thereto not compell'd.
CERIMON I hold it ever,
Virtue and cunning were endowments greater
Than nobleness and riches: careless heirs
May the two latter darken and expend;
But immortality attends the former.
Making a man a god. 'Tis known, I ever
Have studied physic, through which secret art,
By turning o'er authorities, I have,
Together with my practise, made familiar
To me and to my aid the blest infusions
That dwell in vegetives, in metals, stones;
And I can speak of the disturbances
That nature works, and of her cures; which doth give me
A more content in course of true delight
Than to be thirsty after tottering honour,
Or tie my treasure up in silken bags,
To please the fool and death.
Second Gentleman Your honour has through Ephesus pour'd forth
Your charity, and hundreds call themselves
Your creatures, who by you have been restored:
And not your knowledge, your personal pain, but even
Your purse, still open, hath built Lord Cerimon
Such strong renown as time shall ne'er decay.
[Enter two or three Servants with a chest]
First Servant So; lift there.
CERIMON What is that?
First Servant Sir, even now
Did the sea toss upon our shore this chest:
'Tis of some wreck.
CERIMON Set 't down, let's look upon't.
Second Gentleman 'Tis like a coffin, sir.
CERIMON Whate'er it be,
'Tis wondrous heavy. Wrench it open straight:
If the sea's stomach be o'ercharged with gold,
'Tis a good constraint of fortune it belches upon us.
Second Gentleman 'Tis so, my lord.
CERIMON How close 'tis caulk'd and bitumed!
Did the sea cast it up?
First Servant I never saw so huge a billow, sir,
As toss'd it upon shore.
CERIMON Wrench it open;
Soft! it smells most sweetly in my sense.
Second Gentleman A delicate odour.
CERIMON As ever hit my nostril. So, up with it.
O you most potent gods! what's here? a corse!
First Gentleman Most strange!
CERIMON Shrouded in cloth of state; balm'd and entreasured
With full bags of spices! A passport too!
Apollo, perfect me in the characters!
[Reads from a scroll]
'Here I give to understand,
If e'er this coffin drive a-land,
I, King Pericles, have lost
This queen, worth all our mundane cost.
Who finds her, give her burying;
She was the daughter of a king:
Besides this treasure for a fee,
The gods requite his charity!'
If thou livest, Pericles, thou hast a heart
That even cracks for woe! This chanced tonight.
Second Gentleman Most likely, sir.
CERIMON Nay, certainly to-night;
For look how fresh she looks! They were too rough
That threw her in the sea. Make a fire within:
Fetch hither all my boxes in my closet.
[Exit a Servant]
Death may usurp on nature many hours,
And yet the fire of life kindle again
The o'erpress'd spirits. I heard of an Egyptian
That had nine hours lien dead,
Who was by good appliance recovered.
[Re-enter a Servant, with boxes, napkins, and fire]
Well said, well said; the fire and cloths.
The rough and woeful music that we have,
Cause it to sound, beseech you.
The viol once more: how thou stirr'st, thou block!
The music there!--I pray you, give her air.
Gentlemen.
This queen will live: nature awakes; a warmth
Breathes out of her: she hath not been entranced
Above five hours: see how she gins to blow
Into life's flower again!
First Gentleman The heavens,
Through you, increase our wonder and set up
Your fame forever.
CERIMON She is alive; behold,
Her eyelids, cases to those heavenly jewels
Which Pericles hath lost,
Begin to part their fringes of bright gold;
The diamonds of a most praised water
Do appear, to make the world twice rich. Live,
And make us weep to hear your fate, fair creature,
Rare as you seem to be.
[She moves]
THAISA O dear Diana,
Where am I? Where's my lord? What world is this?
Second Gentleman Is not this strange?
First Gentleman Most rare.
CERIMON Hush, my gentle neighbours!
Lend me your hands; to the next chamber bear her.
Get linen: now this matter must be look'd to,
For her relapse is mortal. Come, come;
And AEsculapius guide us!
[Exeunt, carrying her away]

Scene III Tarsus. A room in CLEON's house.

[Enter PERICLES, CLEON, DIONYZA, and LYCHORIDA with
MARINA in her arms]
PERICLES Most honour'd Cleon, I must needs be gone;
My twelve months are expired, and Tyrus stands
In a litigious peace. You, and your lady,
Take from my heart all thankfulness! The gods
Make up the rest upon you!
CLEON Your shafts of fortune, though they hurt you mortally,
Yet glance full wanderingly on us.
DIONYZA O your sweet queen!
That the strict fates had pleased you had brought her hither,
To have bless'd mine eyes with her!
PERICLES We cannot but obey
The powers above us. Could I rage and roar
As doth the sea she lies in, yet the end
Must be as 'tis. My gentle babe Marina, whom,
For she was born at sea, I have named so, here
I charge your charity withal, leaving her
The infant of your care; beseeching you
To give her princely training, that she may be
Manner'd as she is born.
CLEON Fear not, my lord, but think
Your grace, that fed my country with your corn,
For which the people's prayers still fall upon you,
Must in your child be thought on. If neglection
Should therein make me vile, the common body,
By you relieved, would force me to my duty:
But if to that my nature need a spur,
The gods revenge it upon me and mine,
To the end of generation!
PERICLES I believe you;
Your honour and your goodness teach me to't,
Without your vows. Till she be married, madam,
By bright Diana, whom we honour, all
Unscissor'd shall this hair of mine remain,
Though I show ill in't. So I take my leave.
Good madam, make me blessed in your care
In bringing up my child.
DIONYZA I have one myself,
Who shall not be more dear to my respect
Than yours, my lord.
PERICLES Madam, my thanks and prayers.
CLEON We'll bring your grace e'en to the edge o' the shore,
Then give you up to the mask'd Neptune and
The gentlest winds of heaven.
PERICLES I will embrace
Your offer. Come, dearest madam. O, no tears,
Lychorida, no tears:
Look to your little mistress, on whose grace
You may depend hereafter. Come, my lord.
[Exeunt]

Scene IV Ephesus. A room in CERIMON's house.

[Enter CERIMON and THAISA]
CERIMON Madam, this letter, and some certain jewels,
Lay with you in your coffer: which are now
At your command. Know you the character?
THAISA It is my lord's.
That I was shipp'd at sea, I well remember,
Even on my eaning time; but whether there
Deliver'd, by the holy gods,
I cannot rightly say. But since King Pericles,
My wedded lord, I ne'er shall see again,
A vestal livery will I take me to,
And never more have joy.
CERIMON Madam, if this you purpose as ye speak,
Diana's temple is not distant far,
Where you may abide till your date expire.
Moreover, if you please, a niece of mine
Shall there attend you.
THAISA My recompense is thanks, that's all;
Yet my good will is great, though the gift small.
[Exeunt]

Go to next file.
Automatically converted by James Farrow