Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V

Enter Pericles with his Lords


Let none disturb us.

Exeunt Lords

                         Why should this change of thoughts,

The sad companion, dull-eyed melancholy,
sad (adj.) 1 serious, grave, solemn See Topics: Frequency count

Be my so used a guest as not an hour
used (adj.) customary, usual, accustomed

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 feared, is at Antioch,

Whose aim seems far too short to hit me here.
short (adj.) 1 wanting, insufficient, inadequate

Yet neither pleasure's art can joy my spirits,
joy (v.) 2 add joy to, enjoy, gladden, brighten

Nor yet the other's distance comfort me.

Then it is thus: the passions of the mind,
passion (n.) 2 emotional state, mental condition

That have their first conception by misdread,
misdread (n.) dread of evil, fear of harm

Have after-nourishment and life by care,
after-nourishment (n.) later sustenance
care (n.) 4 anxiety, worry, solicitude [about]

And what was first but fear what might be done

Grows elder now and cares it be not done;
care (v.) feel concern, be anxious, trouble oneself

And so with me. The great Antiochus,

'Gainst whom I am too little to contend,
contend (v.) 2 compete, vie, rival

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
boot (v.) 1 help, serve, benefit, be useful [to]

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.
course (n.) 1 course of action, way of proceeding See Topics: Frequency count

With hostile forces he'll o'erspread the land,

And with the ostent of war will look so huge
ostent (n.) display, show, manifestation

Amazement shall drive courage from the state,
amazement (n.) 1 alarm, apprehension, fear

Our men be vanquished ere they do resist,

And subjects punished 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,
fence (n.) 3 protect, shield, defend

Makes both my body pine and soul to languish,

And punish that before that he would punish.

Enter Helicanus and the 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,
abuse (v.) 4 demean, do wrong to, dishonour

For flattery is the bellows blows up sin;

The thing which is flattered, but a spark,

To which that wind gives heat and stronger glowing;

Whereas reproof, obedient and in order,

Fits kings as they are men, for they may err.

When Signor Sooth here does proclaim peace,
sooth (n.) 3 flattery, sycophant, sweet-talk

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.

He kneels
care (n.) 1 attentiveness, heedfulness, diligence
overlook (v.) 3 inspect, superintend, oversee


All leave us else. But let your cares o'erlook

What shipping and what lading's in our haven,
haven (n.) harbour, port
lading (n.) cargo, freight, merchandise

And then return to us.

Exeunt Lords


Thou hast moved us. What seest thou in our looks?
move (v.) 2 move to anger, provoke, exasperate


An angry brow, dread lord.
brow (n.) 1 appearance, aspect, countenance See Topics: Frequency count
dread (adj.) 1 revered, deeply honoured, held in awe


If there be such a dart in princes' frowns,
dart (n.) arrow; or: light spear

How durst thy tongue move anger to our face?


How dare the plants look up to heaven,

From whence they have their nourishment?


Thou knowest I have power to take thy life from thee.


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't, and heaven forbid

That kings should let their ears hear their faults hid.

Fit counsellor and servant for a prince,

Who by thy wisdom makes a prince thy servant,

What wouldst thou have me do?


To bear with patience such griefs

As you yourself do lay upon yourself.


Thou speakest like a physician, Helicanus,

That ministers a potion unto me

That thou wouldst tremble to receive thyself.

Attend me then. I went to Antioch,
attend (v.) 7 listen [to], pay attention [to]

Where as thou knowest, against the face of death

I sought the purchase of a glorious beauty,
purchase (n.) 2 acquisition, prize, spoil

From whence an issue I might propagate,
issue (n.) 1 child(ren), offspring, family, descendant See Topics: Frequency count

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

Seemed not to strike, but smooth. But thou knowest this,
seem (v.) 1 have the look [of], give the appearance [of]
smooth (v.) 2 adopt a flattering manner, make a plausible show, conciliate

'Tis time to fear when tyrants seem to kiss.

Such fear so grew in me I hither fled

Under the covering of a careful night
careful (adj.) 4 protecting; watchful, acting as a safeguard

Who seemed my good protector; and, being here,

Bethought me what was past, what might succeed.
bethink (v.), past form bethought 1 call to mind, think about, consider, reflect See Topics: Frequency count

I knew him tyrannous, and tyrants' fears

Decrease not, but grow faster than the years.

And should he doubt, as no doubt he doth,
doubt (v.) 2 suspect, have suspicions about, fear

That I should open to the listening air
open (v.) 1 reveal, uncover, disclose

How many worthy princes' bloods were shed

To keep his bed of blackness unlaid ope,
unlaid ope not laid open, undisclosed, unrevealed

To lop that doubt, he'll fill this land with arms,
doubt (n.) 2 danger, risk, fear
lop (v.) remove, eliminate, get rid of

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 reprovedst me for't –
now (adv.) just now


                         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 for 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,
direct (v.) delegate, assign, hand over

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?
liberty (n.) 3 (plural) rights, prerogatives, privileges


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,
intend (v.) 5 be determined to make, plan to take

And by whose letters I'll dispose myself.
dispose (v.) 4 direct, make arrangements for

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
orb (n.) 2 sphere, orbit, circle

That time of both this truth shall ne'er convince,
convince (v.) 2 disprove, confute

Thou showedst a subject's shine, I a true prince.
shine (n.) shining quality, radiance


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