Pericles


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V

Enter Pericles, wet


PERICLES

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 seas hath cast me on the rocks,

Washed me from shore to shore, and left my breath
breath (n.) 4 life, spirit, living and breathing existence

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.
crave (v.) 1 beg, entreat, request See Topics: Frequency count

He lies down

Enter three Fishermen


FIRST FISHERMAN

What ho, Pilch!


SECOND FISHERMAN

Ha, come and bring away the nets!


FIRST FISHERMAN

What, Patchbreech, I say!


THIRD FISHERMAN

What say you, master?


FIRST FISHERMAN

Look how thou stirrest now! Come

away, or I'll fetch thee with a wanion.
wanion, with a with a vengeance, with a plague


THIRD FISHERMAN

Faith, master, I am thinking of the

poor men that were cast away before us even now.


FIRST FISHERMAN

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.


THIRD FISHERMAN

Nay, master, said not I as much

when I saw the porpoise 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?


FIRST FISHERMAN

Why, as men do a-land; the great
a-land (adv.) on shore, on land

ones eat up the little ones. I can compare our rich

misers to nothing so fitly as to a whale; 'a plays and
fitly (adv.) 1 justly, fittingly, aptly

tumbles, driving the poor fry before him, and at last

devour them all at a mouthful. Such whales have I heard

on a-th' land who never leave gaping till they swallowed

the whole parish, church, steeple, bells, and all.


PERICLES

(aside)

A pretty moral!


THIRD FISHERMAN

But, master, if I had been the

sexton, I would have been that day in the belfry.


SECOND FISHERMAN

Why, man?


THIRD FISHERMAN

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)

Simonides?


THIRD FISHERMAN

We would purge the land of these

drones that rob the bee of her honey.


PERICLES

(aside)
finny (adj.) provided with fins
subject (n.) 1 subjects, people [of a state]

How from the finny subject of the sea

These fishers tell the infirmities of men,
fisher (n.) fisherman

And from their watery empire recollect
recollect (v.) gather up, collect, amass

All that may men approve or men detect! –
approve (v.) 2 endorse, support, accept as true

Peace be at your labour, honest fishermen!


SECOND FISHERMAN

Honest, good fellow? What's

that? If it be a day fits you, search out of the calendar,
fit (v.) 1 suit, befit, be suitable [for]

and nobody look after it.


PERICLES

May see the sea hath cast upon your coast–


SECOND FISHERMAN

What a drunken knave was the sea
knave (n.) 1 scoundrel, rascal, rogue See Topics: Frequency count

to cast thee in our way!
cast (v.) 6 cast up, throw up, regurgitate


PERICLES

A man whom both the waters and the wind,

In that vast tennis-court, hath made the ball

For them to play upon entreats you pity him.

He asks of you that never used to beg.


FIRST FISHERMAN

No, friend, cannot you beg? Here's

them in our country of Greece gets more with begging

than we can do with working.


SECOND FISHERMAN

Canst thou catch any fishes then?


PERICLES

I never practised it.
practise (v.) 3 engage in, carry on, take up


SECOND FISHERMAN

Nay then, thou wilt starve, sure,

for here's nothing to be got nowadays unless thou canst

fish for't.


PERICLES

What I have been I have forgot to know;

But what I am, want teaches me to think on:

A man thronged up with cold; my veins are chill,
throng up (v.) cram, fill, burden

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.


FIRST FISHERMAN

Die, quotha! Now gods forbid it an I
quoth (v.) said See Topics: Frequency count
quoth a, quotha (int.) did he say?, indeed!

have a gown here! Come, put it on, keep thee warm.
gown (n.) 1 loose upper garment worn by men

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 flapjacks, and thou
pudding (n.) 1 type of large savoury dish; dumpling, pasty

shalt be welcome.


PERICLES

I thank you, sir.


SECOND FISHERMAN

Hark you, my friend, you said you

could not beg?


PERICLES

I did but crave.
crave (v.) 1 beg, entreat, request See Topics: Frequency count


SECOND FISHERMAN

But crave? Then I'll turn craver
craver (n.) beggar, asker, supplicant

too, and so I shall 'scape whipping.
scape, 'scape (v.) escape, avoid See Topics: Frequency count


PERICLES

Why, are your beggars whipped then?


SECOND FISHERMAN

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
office (n.) 2 role, position, place, function

net.

Exit Second and Third Fisherman


PERICLES

(aside)
become (v.) 1 be fitting, befit, be appropriate to See Topics: Frequency count

How well this honest mirth becomes their labour!


FIRST FISHERMAN

Hark you, sir, do you know where ye

are?


PERICLES

Not well.


FIRST FISHERMAN

Why, I'll tell you. This is called

Pentapolis, and our king the good Simonides.


PERICLES

The good Simonides do you call him?


FIRST FISHERMAN

Ay, sir, and he deserves so to be

called for his peaceable reign and good government.


PERICLES

He is a happy king, since he gains from his

subjects the name of good by his government. How far

is his court distant from this shore?


FIRST FISHERMAN

Marry, sir, half a day's journey. And

I'll tell you, he hath a fair daughter, and tomorrow

is her birthday, and there are princes and knights come

from all parts of the world to joust and tourney for her
tourney (v.) take part in a tournament

love.


PERICLES

Were my fortunes equal to my desires, I could

wish to make one there.


FIRST FISHERMAN

O, sir, things must be as they may;

and what a man cannot get, he may lawfully deal for his

wife's soul.

Enter the two Fishermen, drawing up a net


SECOND FISHERMAN

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
bots (n.) stomach worm affecting horses See Topics: Swearing

turned to a rusty armour.


PERICLES

An armour, friends? I pray you let me see it.

Thanks, Fortune, yet that after all thy 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,
brace (n.) 4 armoured covering for the arms; or: coat of armour See Topics: Body-armour

‘ For that it saved me, keep it. In like necessity,
like (adj.) 1 same, similar, alike, equal See Topics: Frequency count

The which the gods protect thee from, may't defend thee.’

It kept where I kept, I so dearly loved it,
keep (v.) 1 lodge, live, dwell

Till the rough seas, that spares not any man,

Took it in rage, though calmed have given't again.

I thank thee for't. My shipwreck now's no ill,
ill (n.) 2 trouble, affliction, misfortune

Since I have here my father gave in his will.


FIRST FISHERMAN

What mean you, sir?


PERICLES

To beg of you, kind friends, this coat of worth,

For it was sometime target to a king.
sometime (adv.) 1 formerly, at one time, once
target (n.) light round shield See Topics: Weapons

I know it by this mark. He loved me dearly,

And for his sake I wish the having of it,

And that you'd guide me to your sovereign's court,

Where with it I may appear a gentleman.
appear (v.) 3 present oneself as, have the character of

And if that ever my low fortune's better,

I'll pay your bounties; till then rest your debtor.
bounty (n.) 3 act of kindness, good turn
pay (v.) 1 repay, requite, recompense


FIRST FISHERMAN

Why, wilt thou tourney for the lady?
tourney (v.) take part in a tournament


PERICLES

I'll show the virtue I have borne in arms.
virtue (n.) 1 quality, accomplishment, ability


FIRST FISHERMAN

Why, d'ye take it, and the gods give

thee good on't.


SECOND FISHERMAN

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
condolement (n.) 2 [unclear meaning] share-out, tangible expression of thanks

vails. I hope, sir, if you thrive, you'll remember from
vail (n.) 2 [textiles: remnant of cloth, leftover of material] tip, gratuity, perk

whence you had them.


PERICLES

Believe't, I will.

By your furtherance I am clothed in steel,
furtherance (n.) aid, assistance, help

And spite of all the rapture of the sea
rapture (n.) 1 seizure, plundering, carrying away

This jewel holds his building on my arm.
building (n.) 1 position, fixed place, location

Unto thy value I will mount myself

Upon a courser, whose delightful steps
courser (n.) swift horse, sprinter, charger
delightful (adj.) full of delight, experiencing great pleasure

Shall make the gazer joy to see him tread.

Only, my friend, I yet am unprovided

Of a pair of bases.
base (n.) 4 [plural] type of knee-length skirt worn by a knight on horseback


SECOND FISHERMAN

We'll sure provide. Thou shalt

have my best gown to make thee a pair, and I'll bring
gown (n.) 1 loose upper garment worn by men

thee to the court myself.


PERICLES

Then honour be but a goal to my will,

This day I'll rise, or else add ill to ill.
ill (n.) 2 trouble, affliction, misfortune

Exeunt

 
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