Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V

Enter Antiochus, Prince Pericles, and followers
large, at 1 at length, in full, thoroughly
receive (v.) 2 understand, take in, comprehend


Young Prince of Tyre, you have at large received

The danger of the task you undertake?


I have, Antiochus, and with a soul

Emboldened 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,
embracement (n.) embrace, clasping, hug

At whose conception, till Lucina reigned,

Nature this dowry gave; to glad her presence,
glad (v.) 2 make a gladness of

The senate-house of planets all did sit

To knit in her their best perfections.

Enter Antiochus's Daughter
apparel (v.) 1 clothe, dress up, trick out


See where she comes, apparelled 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
curious (adj.) 2 exquisite, excellent, fine

Sorrow were ever razed, and testy wrath
raze, raze out erase, obliterate, wipe out

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 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!
compass (v.) 1 accomplish, fulfil, achieve, bring about


Prince Pericles –


That would be son to great Antiochus.


Before thee stands this fair Hesperides,

With golden fruit, but dangerous to be touched,

For deathlike dragons here affright thee hard.
affright (v.) frighten, terrify, scare
deathlike (adj.) deadly, mortal, fatal

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 the whole heap must die.

Yon sometimes famous princes, like thyself,
sometimes (adv.) formerly, once, at one time, previously

Drawn by report, adventurous by desire,
adventurous (adj.) risk-taking, imprudently bold, rashly daring

Tell thee with speechless tongues and semblance pale
semblance (n.) 1 appearance, outward show

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 remembered 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,
erst (adv.) 1 formerly, once, before
gripe (v.) clutch, grasp, seize

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,

(to the Daughter)

But my unspotted fire of love to you.

Thus ready for the way of life or death,

I wait the sharpest blow, Antiochus.


Scorning advice, read the conclusion then,
conclusion (n.) 3 riddle, enigma, conundrum

Which read and not expounded, 'tis decreed,

As these before thee, thou thyself shalt bleed.


Of all 'sayed yet, mayst thou prove prosperous!
assay (v.) 1 attempt, try, venture

Of all 'sayed yet, I wish thee happiness.


Like a bold champion I assume the lists,
assume (v.) 3 undertake, enter, choose
list (n.) 1 (usually plural) combat arena at a tournament

Nor ask advice of any other thought

But faithfulness and courage.

He reads aloud


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.
resolve (v.) 1 answer, respond to

(Aside) Sharp physic is the last. But O you powers

That give heaven countless eyes to view men's acts,

Why cloud they not their sights perpetually,

If this be true which makes me pale to read it?

Fair glass of light, I loved you, and could still,
glass (n.) 1 mirror, looking-glass See Topics: Frequency count

Were not this glorious casket stored with ill.
ill (n.) 1 wrong, injury, harm, evil
stored (adj.) well supplied, rich, plentifully provided

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,
sense (n.) 1 senses, sensation, organs of sense
viol (n.) type of stringed instrument played with a bow

Who, fingered to make man his lawful music,

Would draw heaven down and all the gods to hearken,

But, being played 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. Your time's expired;
dangerous (adj.) threatening, severe, menacing

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.
braid (v.) upbraid, reproach, disparage
near (adv.) 1 closely, intimately, seriously

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

Copped hills towards heaven, to tell the earth is thronged
copped (adj.) humped, peaked, heaped up in a mound
throng (v.) crush, overwhelm

By man's oppression, and the poor worm doth die for't.

Kings are earth's gods; in vice, their law's their will;

And if Jove stray, who dares say Jove doth ill?
ill (n.) 1 wrong, injury, harm, evil

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 being 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,
gloze (v.) 1 speak fair words, flatter, talk plausibly

Though by the tenor of our strict edict,

Your exposition misinterpreting,

We might proceed to cancel of your days,
cancel of (v.) [unclear word-class] put an end to, wipe out

Yet hope, succeeding from so fair a tree
succeed (v.) 2 proceed, result, issue naturally

As your fair self, doth tune us otherwise.

Forty days longer we do respite you,

If by which time our secret be undone,
undo (v.) 5 unravel, solve, explain

This mercy shows we'll joy in such a son.
joy (v.) 1 feel joy, be happy, rejoice

And until then your entertain shall be
entertain (n.) entertainment, reception, treatment

As doth befit our honour and your worth.

Exeunt. Pericles remains alone


How courtesy would seem to cover sin,
seem (v.) 2 arrange, contrive, try speciously

When what is done is like an hypocrite,

The which is good in nothing but in sight.
sight (n.) 2 outward appearance, external show

If it be true that I interpret false,
false (n.) false person, deceiver

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 pleasures 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.
course (n.) 1 course of action, way of proceeding See Topics: Frequency count
shew (v.) eschew, avoid, shirk

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.
put off (v.) 2 keep away, avert, evade
target (n.) light round shield See Topics: Weapons

Then, lest my life be cropped to keep you clear,
clear (adj.) 2 innocent, blameless, free from fault, not guilty
crop (v.) 1 cut down, remove, hack off

By flight I'll shun the danger which I fear.


Enter Antiochus


He hath 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
attend (v.) 2 serve, follow, wait [on/upon]


                         Doth your highness call?


Thaliard, you are of our chamber, Thaliard,
chamber (n.) 2 bedchamber, bedroom

And our mind partakes her private actions
partake (v.) 1 make known, impart, communicate

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, Prince 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 never return unless thou say
level at (v.) 1 aim for, have as a target

‘ 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
length (n.) 1 range, reach, scope
sure (adj.) 2 harmless, innocuous, unable to cause damage



Thaliard, adieu.

Exit Thaliard

                         Till Pericles be dead,

My heart can lend no succour to my head.


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