Pericles

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Original text
Enter Gower.
TO sing a Song that old was sung,
From ashes, auntient Gower is come,
Assuming mans infirmities,
To glad your eare, and please your eyes:
It hath been sung at Feastiuals,
On Ember eues, and Holydayes:
And Lords and Ladyes in their liues,
Haue red it for restoratiues:
The purchase is to make men glorious,
Et bonum quo Antiquius eo melius:
If you, borne in those latter times,
When Witts more ripe, accept my rimes;
And that to heare 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 Antioch, then Antiochus the great,
Buylt vp this Citie, for his chiefest Seat;
The fayrest in all Syria.
I tell you what mine Authors saye:
This King vnto him tooke a Peere,
Who dyed, and left a female heyre,
So bucksome, blith, and full of face,
As heauen had lent her all his grace:
With whom the Father liking tooke,
And her to Incest did prouoke:
Bad child, worse father, to intice his owne
To euill, should be done by none:
But custome what they did begin,
Was with long vse, account'd no sinne;
The beautie of this sinfull Dame,
Made many Princes thither frame,
To seeke her as a bedfellow,
In maryage pleasures, playfellow:
Which to preuent, he made a Law,
To keepe her still, and men in awe:
That who so askt her for his wife,
His Riddle tould, not lost his life:
So for her many of wight did die,
As yon grimme lookes do testifie.
What now ensues, to the iudgement of your eye,
I giue my cause, who best can iustifie.
Exit.
Original text
Act I, Scene I
Enter Antiochus, Prince Pericles, and followers.

Anti.
Young Prince of Tyre, you haue at large receiued
The danger of the taske you vndertake.

Peri.
I haue (Antiochus) and with a soule
emboldned / With the glory of her prayse,
thinke death no hazard, / In this enterprise.

Ant.
Musicke
bring in our daughter, clothed like a bride,
For embracements euen of Ioue himselfe;
At whose conception, till Lucina rained,
Nature this dowry gaue; to glad her presence,
The Seanate house of Planets all did sit,
To knit in her, their best perfections.
Enter Antiochus daughter.

Per.
See where she comes, appareled like the Spring,
Graces her subiects, and her thoughts the King,
Of euery Vertue giues renowne to men:
Her face the booke of prayses, where is read,
Nothing but curious pleasures, as from thence,
Sorrow were euer racte, and teastie wrath
Could neuer be her milde companion.
You Gods that made me man, and sway in loue;
That haue enflamde desire in my breast,
To taste the fruite of yon celestiall tree,
(Or die in th'aduenture) be my helpes,
As I am sonne and seruant to your will,
To compasse such a bondlesse happinesse.

Anti.
Prince Pericles.

Peri.
That would be sonne to great Antiochus.

Ant.
Before thee standes this faire Hesperides,
With golden fruite, but dangerous to be toucht:
For Death like Dragons heere affright thee hard:
Her face like Heauen, inticeth thee to view
Her countlesse glory; which desert must gaine:
And which without desert, because thine eye
Presumes to reach, all the whole heape must die:
Yon sometimes famous Princes, like thy selfe,
Drawne by report, aduentrous by desire,
Tell thee with speachlesse tongues, and semblance pale,
That without couering, saue yon field of Starres,
Heere they stand Martyrs slaine in Cupids Warres:
And with dead cheekes, aduise thee to desist,
For going on deaths net, whom none resist.

Per.
Antiochus, I thanke thee, who hath taught,
My frayle mortalitie to know it selfe;
And by those fearefull obiectes, to prepare
This body, like to them, to what I must:
For Death remembered should be like a myrrour,
Who tels vs, life's but breath, to trust it errour:
Ile make my Will then, and as sicke men doe,
Who know the World, see Heauen, but feeling woe,
Gripe not at earthly ioyes as earst they did;
So I bequeath a happy peace to you,
And all good men, as euery Prince should doe;
My ritches to the earth, from whence they came;
But my vnspotted fire of Loue, to you:
Thus ready for the way of life or death,
I wayte the sharpest blow (Antiochus)
Scorning aduice; read the conclusion then:
Which read and not expounded, tis decreed,
As these before thee, thou thy selfe shalt bleed.

Daugh.
Of all sayd yet, mayst thou prooue prosperous,
Of all sayd yet, I wish thee happinesse.

Peri.
Like a bold Champion I assume the Listes,
Nor aske aduise of any other thought,
But faythfulnesse and courage.
The Riddle.
I am no Viper, yet I feed
On mothers flesh which did me breed:
I sought a Husband, in which labour,
I found that kindnesse in a Father;
Hee's Father, Sonne, and Husband milde;
I, Mother, Wife; and yet his child:
How they may be, and yet in two,
As you will liue resolue it you.
Sharpe Phisicke is the last: But ô you powers!
That giues heauen countlesse eyes to view mens actes,
Why cloude they not their sights perpetually,
If this be true, which makes me pale to read it?
Faire Glasse of light, I lou'd you, and could still,
Were not this glorious Casket stor'd with ill:
But I must tell you, now my thoughts reuolt,
For hee's no man on whom perfections waite,
That knowing sinne within, will touch the gate.
You are a faire Violl, and your sense, the stringes;
Who finger'd to make man his lawfull musicke,
Would draw Heauen downe, and all the Gods to harken:
But being playd vpon before your time,
Hell onely daunceth at so harsh a chime:
Good sooth, I care not for you.

Ant.
Prince Pericles, touch not, vpon thy life;
For that's an Article within our Law,
As dangerous as the rest: your time's expir'd,
Either expound now, or receiue your sentence.

Peri.
Great King,
Few loue to heare the sinnes they loue to act,
T'would brayde your selfe too neare for me to tell it:
Who has a booke of all that Monarches doe,
Hee's more secure to keepe it shut, then showne.
For Vice repeated, is like the wandring Wind,
Blowes dust in others eyes to spread it selfe;
And yet the end of all is bought thus deare,
The breath is gone, and the sore eyes see cleare:
To stop the Ayre would hurt them, the blind Mole castes
Copt hilles towards heauen, to tell the earth is throng'd
By mans oppression, and the poore Worme doth die for't:
Kinges are earths Gods; in vice, their law's their will:
And if Ioue stray, who dares say, Ioue doth ill:
It is enough you know, and it is fit;
What being more knowne, growes worse, to smother it.
All loue the Wombe that their first beeing bred,
Then giue my tongue like leaue, to loue my head.

Ant.
Heauen, that I had thy head; he ha's found the mea-ning:
But I will gloze with him. Young Prince of Tyre,
Though by the tenour of your strict edict,
Your exposition misinterpreting,
We might proceed to counsell of your dayes;
Yet hope, succeeding from so faire a tree
As your faire selfe, doth tune vs otherwise;
Fourtie dayes longer we doe respite you,
If by which time, our secret be vndone,
This mercy shewes, wee'le ioy in such a Sonne:
And vntill then, your entertaine shall bee
As doth befit our honour and your worth.
Manet Pericles solus.

Peri.
How courtesie would seeme to couer sinne,
When what is done, is like an hipocrite,
The which is good in nothing but in sight.
If it be true that I interpret false,
Then were it certaine you were not so bad,
As with foule Incest to abuse your soule:
Where now you both a Father and a Sonne,
By your vntimely claspings with your Child,
(Which pleasures fittes a husband, not a father)
And shee an eater of her Mothers flesh,
By the defiling of her Parents bed,
And both like Serpents are; who though they feed
On sweetest Flowers, yet they Poyson breed.
Antioch farewell, for Wisedome sees those men,
Blush not in actions blacker then the night,
Will shew no course to keepe them from the light:
One sinne (I know) another doth prouoke;
Murther's as neere to Lust, as Flame to Smoake:
Poyson and Treason are the hands of Sinne,
I, and the targets to put off the shame,
Then least my life be cropt, to keepe you cleare,
By flight, Ile shun the danger which I feare.
Exit.
Enter Antiochus.

Anti.
He hath found the meaning.
For which we meane to haue his head:
He must not liue to trumpet foorth my infamie,
Nor tell the world Antiochus doth sinne
In such a loathed manner:
And therefore instantly this Prince must die,
For by his fall, my honour must keepe hie.
Who attends vs there?
Enter Thaliard.

Thali.
Doth your highnes call?

Antio.
Thaliard, you are of our Chamber, Thaliard,
And our minde pertakes her priuat actions,
To your secrecie; and for your faythfulnes,
We will aduaunce you, Thaliard:
Behold, heere's Poyson, and heere's Gold:
Wee hate the Prince of Tyre, and thou must kill him;
It fittes thee not to aske the reason why?
Because we bid it: say, is it done?

Thali.
My Lord, tis done.

Anti.
Enough.
Enter a Messenger.
Let your breath coole your selfe, telling your haste.

Mess.
My Lord, Prince Pericles is fled.

Antin.
As thou wilt liue flie after, and like an arrow
shot from a well experienst Archer hits the marke his
eye doth leuell at: so thou neuer returne vnlesse thou say
Prince Pericles is dead.

Thal.
My Lord, if I can get him within my Pistols
length, Ile make him sure enough , so farewell to your
highnesse.
Thaliard adieu,
till Pericles be dead,
My heart can lend no succour to my head.
Original text
Act I, Scene II
Enter Pericles with his Lords.

Pe.
Let none disturb vs, why shold this chãge of thoughts
The sad companion dull eyde melancholie,
By me so vsde a guest, as not an houre
In the dayes glorious walke or peacefull night,
The tombe where griefe stould sleepe can breed me quiet,
Here pleasures court mine eies, and mine eies shun them,
And daunger which I fearde is at Antioch,
Whose arme seemes farre too short to hit me here,
Yet neither pleasures Art can ioy my spirits,
Nor yet the others distance comfort me,
Then it is thus, the passions of the mind,
That haue their first conception by misdread,
Haue after nourishment and life, by care
And what was first but feare, what might be done,
Growes elder now, and cares it be not done.
And so with me the great Antiochus,
Gainst whom I am too little to contend,
Since hee's so great, can make his will his act,
Will thinke me speaking, though I sweare to silence,
Nor bootes it me to say, I honour,
If he suspect I may dishonour him.
And what may make him blush in being knowne,
Heele stop the course by which it might be knowne,
With hostile forces heele ore-spread the land,
And with the stint of warre will looke so huge,
Amazement shall driue courage from the state,
Our men be vanquisht ere they doe resist,
And subiects punisht that nere thought offence,
Which care of them, not pittie of my selfe,
Who once no more but as the tops of trees,
Which fence the rootes they grow by and defend them,
Makes both my bodie pine, and soule to languish,
And punish that before that he would punish.
Enter all the Lords to Pericles.

1.Lord.
Ioy and all comfort in your sacred brest.

2.Lord.
And keepe your mind till you returne to vs
peacefull and comfortable.

Hel.
Peace, peace, and giue experience tongue,
They doe abuse the King that flatter him,
For flatterie is the bellowes blowes vp sinne,
The thing the which is flattered, but a sparke,
To which that sparke giues heate, and stronger
Glowing, whereas reproofe obedient and in order,
Fits kings as they are men, for they may erre,
When signior sooth here does proclaime peace,
He flatters you, makes warre vpon your life.
Prince paadon me, or strike me if you please,
I cannot be much lower then my knees.


Per.
All leaue vs else: but let your cares ore-looke,
What shipping, and what ladings in our hauen,
And then returne to vs,
Hellicans
thou hast / Mooude vs, what seest thou in our lookes?

Hel.
An angrie brow, dread Lord.

Per.
If there be such a dart in Princes frownes,
How durst thy tongue moue anger to our face?

Hel.
How dares the plants looke vp to heauen,
From whence they haue their nourishment?

Per.
Thou knowest I haue power to take thy life from thee.

Hel.
I haue ground the Axe my selfe, / Doe but you strike the blowe.

Per.
Rise, prethee rise, sit downe, thou art no flatterer,
I thanke thee fort, and heaue forbid
That kings should let their eares heare their faults hid.
Fit Counsellor, and seruant for a Prince,
Who by thy wisdome makes a Prince thy seruant,
What wouldst thou haue me doe?

Hel.
To beare with patience such griefes
as you your selfe doe lay vpon your selfe.

Per.
Thou speakst like a Physition Hellicanus,
That ministers a potion vnto me:
That thou wouldst tremble to receiue thy selfe,
Attend me then, I went to Antioch,
Where as thou knowst against the face of death,
I sought the purchase of a glorious beautie,
From whence an issue I might propogate,
Are armes to Princes, and bring ioies to subiects,
Her face was to mine eye beyond all wonder,
The rest harke in thine eare, as blacke as incest,
Which by my knowledge found, the sinful father
Seemde not to strike, but smooth, but thou knowst this,
Tis time to feare when tyrants seemes to kisse.
Which feare so grew in me I hither fled,
Vnder the couering of a carefull night,
Who seemd my good protector, and being here,
Bethought what was past, what might succeed,
I knew him tyrannous, and tyrants feare
Decrease not, but grow faster then the yeares,
And should he doo't, as no doubt he doth,
That I should open to the listning ayre ,
How many worthie Princes blouds were shed,
To keepe his bed of blacknesse vnlayde ope,
To lop that doubt, hee'le fill this land with armes,
And make pretence of wrong that I haue done him,
When all for mine, if I may call offence,
Must feel wars blow, who spares not innocence,
Which loue to all of which thy selfe art one,
Who now reprou'dst me fort.

Hell.
Alas sir.

Per.
Drew sleep out of mine eies, blood frõmy cheekes,
Musings into my mind, with thousand doubts
How I might stop this tempest ere it came,
And finding little comfort to relieue them,
I thought it princely charity to griue for them.

Hell.
Well my Lord, since you haue giuen mee leaue to speake,
Freely will I speake, Antiochus you feare,
And iustly too, I thinke you feare the tyrant,
Who either by publike warre, or priuat treason,
Will take away your life:
therfore my Lord, go trauell for a while,
till that his rage and anger be forgot,
or till the Destinies doe cut his threed of life:
your rule direct to anie, if to me,
day serues not light more faithfull then Ile be.

Per.
I doe not doubt thy faith.
But should he wrong my liberties in my absence?

Hel.
Weele mingle our bloods togither in the earth,
From whence we had our being, and our birth.

Per.
Tyre I now looke from thee then, and to Tharsus
Intend my trauaile, where Ile heare from thee,
And by whose Letters Ile dispose my selfe.
The care I had and haue of subiects good,
On thee I lay, whose wisdomes strength can beare it,
Ile take thy word, for faith not aske thine oath,
Who shuns not to breake one, will cracke both.
But in our orbs will liue so round, and safe,
That time of both this truth shall nere conuince,
Thou shewdst a subiects shine, I a true Prince.
Exit.
Original text
Act I, Scene III
Enter Thaliard solus.
So this is Tyre, and this the Court, heere must
I kill King Pericles, and if I doe it not, I am sure to be
hang'd at home : t'is daungerous. Well, I perceiue he
was a wise fellowe, and had good discretion, that beeing
bid to aske what hee would of the King, desired he might
knowe none of his secrets. Now doe I see hee had some
reason for't: for if a king bidde a man bee a villaine, hee's
bound by the indenture of his oath to bee one. Husht,
heere comes the Lords of Tyre.
Enter Hellicanus, Escanes, with other Lords.

Helli.
You shall not neede my fellow-Peers of Tyre,
further to question mee of your kings departure:
his sealed Commission left in trust with mee,
does speake sufficiently hee's gone to trauaile.

Thaliard.
How? the King gone?

Hell.
If further yet you will be satisfied,
(why as it were vnlicensed of your loues)
he would depart? Ile giue some light vnto you,
beeing at Antioch.

Thal.
What from Antioch?

Hell.
Royall Antiochus on what cause I knowe not,
tooke some displeasure at him, at least hee iudg'de so: and
doubting lest hee had err'de or sinn'de,
to shewe his sorrow, hee'de correct himselfe;
so puts himselfe vnto the Shipmans toyle,
with whome eache minute threatens life or death.

Thaliard.
Well, I perceiue I shall not be hang'd
now, although I would, but since hee's gone, the Kings
seas must please: hee scap'te the Land to perish at the
Sea, I'le present my selfe.
Peace to the Lords of Tyre.
Lord Thaliard from Antiochus is welcome.

Thal.
From him I come
with message vnto princely Pericles,
but since my landing, I haue vnderstood
your Lord has betake himselfe to vnknowne trauailes,
now message must returne from whence it came.

Hell.
Wee haue no reason to desire it,
commended to our maister not to vs,
yet ere you shall depart, this wee desire
as friends to Antioch wee may feast in Tyre.
Exit.
Original text
Act I, Scene IV
Enter Cleon the Gouernour of Tharsus, with
his wife and others.

Cleon.
My Dyoniza shall wee rest vs heere,
And by relating tales of others griefes,
See if t'will teach vs to forget our owne?

Dion.
That were to blow at fire in hope to quench it,
For who digs hills because they doe aspire?
Throwes downe one mountaine to cast vp a higher:
O my distressed Lord, euen such our griefes are,
Heere they are but felt, and seene with mischiefs eyes,
But like to Groues, being topt, they higher rise.

Cleon.
O Dioniza.
Who wanteth food, and will not say hee wants it,
Or can conceale his hunger till hee famish?
Our toungs and sorrowes to sound deepe:
Our woes into the aire, our eyes to weepe.
Till toungs fetch breath that may proclaime / Them louder,
that if heauen slumber, while / Their creatures want,
they may awake / Their helpers, to comfort them.
Ile then discourse our woes felt seuerall yeares,
And wanting breath to speake, helpe mee with teares.

Dyoniza.
Ile doe my best Syr.

Cleon.
This Tharsus ore which I haue the gouernement,
A Cittie on whom plentie held full hand:
For riches strew'de herselfe euen in her streetes,
Whose towers bore heads so high they kist the clowds,
And strangers nere beheld, but wondred at,
Whose men and dames so jetted and adorn'de,
Like one anothers glasse to trim them by,
Their tables were stor'de full to glad the sight,
And not so much to feede on as delight,
All pouertie was scor'nde, and pride so great,
The name of helpe grewe odious to repeat.

Dion.
O t'is too true.

Cle.
But see what heauen can doe by this our change,
These mouthes who but of late, earth, sea, and ayre,
Were all too little to content and please,
Although thy gaue their creatures in abundance,
As houses are defil'de for want of vse,
They are now staru'de for want of exercise,
Those pallats who not yet too sauers younger,
Must haue inuentions to delight the tast,
Would now be glad of bread and beg for it,
Those mothers who to nouzell vp their babes,
Thought nought too curious, are readie now
To eat those little darlings whom they lou'de,
So sharpe are hungers teeth, that man and wife,
Drawe lots who first shall die, to lengthen life.
Heere stands a Lord, and there a Ladie weeping:
Heere manie sincke, yet those which see them fall,
Haue scarce strength left to giue them buryall.
Is not this true?

Dion.
Our cheekes and hollow eyes doe witnesse it.

Cle.
O let those Cities that of plenties cup,
And her prosperities so largely taste,
With their superfluous riots heare these teares,
The miserie of Tharsus may be theirs.
Enter a Lord.

Lord.
Wheres the Lord Gouernour?

Cle.
Here,
speake out thy sorrowes, which thee bringst in hast,
for comfort is too farre for vs to expect.

Lord.
Wee haue descryed vpon our neighbouring shore,
a portlie saile of ships make hitherward.

Cleon.
I thought as much.
One sorrowe neuer comes but brings an heire,
That may succcede as his inheritor:
And so in ours, some neighbouring nation,
Taking aduantage of our miserie,
That stuff't the hollow vessels with their power,
To beat vs downe, the which are downe alreadie,
And make a conquest of vnhappie mee,
Whereas no glories got to ouercome.

Lord.
That's the least feare. For by the semblance
of their white flagges displayde, they bring vs peace,
and come to vs as fauourers , not as foes.

Cleon.
Thou speak'st like himnes vntuterd to repeat
Who makes the fairest showe, meanes most deceipt.
But bring they what they will, and what they can,
What need wee leaue
our grounds the lowest? / And wee are halfe way there:
Goe tell their Generall wee attend him heere,
to know for what he comes, and whence he comes,
and what he craues?

Lord.
I goe my Lord.

Cleon.
Welcome is peace, if he on peace consist,
If warres, wee are vnable to resist.
Enter Pericles with attendants.

Per.
Lord Gouernour, for so wee heare you are,
Let not our Ships and number of our men,
Be like a beacon fier'de, t'amaze your eyes,
Wee haue heard your miseries as farre as Tyre,
And seene the desolation of your streets,
Nor come we to adde sorrow to your teares,
But to relieue them of their heauy loade,
And these our Ships you happily may thinke,
Are like the Troian Horse, was stuft within
With bloody veines expecting ouerthrow,
Are stor'd with Corne, to make your needie bread,
And giue them life, whom hunger-staru'd halfe dead.

Omnes.
The Gods of Greece protect you,
And wee'le pray for you.

Per.
Arise I pray you, rise;
we do not looke for reuerence, / But for loue,
and harborage for our selfe, our ships, & men.

Cleon.
The which when any shall not gratifie,
Or pay you with vnthankfulnesse in thought,
Be it our Wiues, our Children, or our selues,
The Curse of heauen and men succeed their euils:
Till when the which (I hope) shall neare be seene:
Your Grace is welcome to our Towne and vs.

Peri.
Which welcome wee'le accept, feast here awhile,
Vntill our Starres that frowne, lend vs a smile.
Exeunt.
Modern text
I CHORUS
Enter Gower

GOWER
To sing a song that old 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 holidays,
And lords and ladies in their lives
Have read it for restoratives.
The purchase is to make men glorious,
Et bonum 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 Antioch, then. Antiochus the Great
Built up this city for his chiefest seat,
The fairest in all Syria;
I tell you what mine authors say.
This king unto him took a peer,
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 child, worse father, to entice his own
To evil should be done by none;
But custom what they did begin
Was with long use accounted no sin.
The beauty of this sinful dame
Made many princes thither frame
To seek her as a bedfellow,
In marriage pleasures playfellow;
Which to prevent he made a law,
To keep her still and men in awe,
That whoso asked 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.
What now ensues, to the judgement of your eye–
I give my cause, who best can justify.
Exit
Modern text
Act I, Scene I
Enter Antiochus, Prince Pericles, and followers

ANTIOCHUS
Young Prince of Tyre, you have at large received
The danger of the task you undertake?

PERICLES
I have, Antiochus, and with a soul
Emboldened with the glory of her praise
Think death no hazard in this enterprise.

ANTIOCHUS
Music!
Bring in our daughter, clothed like a bride
For the embracements even of Jove himself,
At whose conception, till Lucina reigned,
Nature this dowry gave; to glad her presence,
The senate-house of planets all did sit
To knit in her their best perfections.
Enter Antiochus's Daughter

PERICLES
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
Sorrow were ever razed, and testy wrath
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!

ANTIOCHUS
Prince Pericles –

PERICLES
That would be son to great Antiochus.

ANTIOCHUS
Before thee stands this fair Hesperides,
With golden fruit, but dangerous to be touched,
For deathlike dragons here affright thee hard.
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,
Drawn by report, adventurous by desire,
Tell thee with speechless tongues and semblance pale
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.

PERICLES
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,
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.

ANTIOCHUS
Scorning advice, read the conclusion then,
Which read and not expounded, 'tis decreed,
As these before thee, thou thyself shalt bleed.

DAUGHTER
Of all 'sayed yet, mayst thou prove prosperous!
Of all 'sayed yet, I wish thee happiness.

PERICLES
Like a bold champion I assume the lists,
Nor ask advice of any other thought
But faithfulness and courage.
He reads aloud
THE RIDDLE
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.
(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,
Were not this glorious casket stored 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 are a fair viol, and your sense the strings,
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.

ANTIOCHUS
Prince Pericles, touch not, upon thy life,
For that's an article within our law
As dangerous as the rest. Your time's expired;
Either expound now or receive your sentence.

PERICLES
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 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
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?
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.

ANTIOCHUS
(aside)
Heaven, that I had thy head! He has found the meaning.
But I will gloze with him. – Young Prince of Tyre,
Though by the tenor of our strict edict,
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. Pericles remains alone

PERICLES
How courtesy would seem to cover sin,
When what is done is like an 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 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.
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 cropped to keep you clear,
By flight I'll shun the danger which I fear.
Exit
Enter Antiochus

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

THALIARD
Doth your highness call?

ANTIOCHUS
Thaliard, you are of our chamber, Thaliard,
And our mind partakes her private actions
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?

THALIARD
My lord, 'tis done.

ANTIOCHUS
Enough.
Enter a Messenger
Let your breath cool yourself, telling your haste.

MESSENGER
My lord, Prince Pericles is fled.
Exit

ANTIOCHUS
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
‘ Prince Pericles is dead.’

THALIARD
My lord, if I can get him within my pistol's
length, I'll make him sure enough. So farewell to your
highness.

ANTIOCHUS
Thaliard, adieu.
Exit Thaliard
Till Pericles be dead,
My heart can lend no succour to my head.
Exit
Modern text
Act I, Scene II
Enter Pericles with his Lords

PERICLES
Let none disturb us.
Exeunt Lords
Why should this change of thoughts,
The sad companion, dull-eyed melancholy,
Be my so used a guest as not an hour
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.
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 misdread,
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;
Nor boots it me to say I honour
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 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,
Makes both my body pine and soul to languish,
And punish that before that he would punish.
Enter Helicanus and the Lords

FIRST LORD
Joy and all comfort in your sacred breast!

SECOND LORD
And keep your mind till you return to us
Peaceful and comfortable.

HELICANUS
Peace, peace, and give experience tongue.
They do abuse the king that flatter him,
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,
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

PERICLES
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,
Thou hast moved us. What seest thou in our looks?

HELICANUS
An angry brow, dread lord.

PERICLES
If there be such a dart in princes' frowns,
How durst thy tongue move anger to our face?

HELICANUS
How dare the plants look up to heaven,
From whence they have their nourishment?

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

HELICANUS
I have ground the axe myself. Do you but strike the blow.

PERICLES
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?

HELICANUS
To bear with patience such griefs
As you yourself do lay upon yourself.

PERICLES
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,
Where as thou knowest, against the face of death
I sought the purchase of a glorious beauty,
From whence an issue I might propagate,
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,
'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
Who seemed my good protector; and, being here,
Bethought me what was past, what might succeed.
I knew him tyrannous, and tyrants' fears
Decrease not, but grow faster than the years.
And should he doubt, 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 – 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 –

HELICANUS
Alas, sir!

PERICLES
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.

HELICANUS
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,
Day serves not light more faithful than I'll be.

PERICLES
I do not doubt thy faith,
But should he wrong my liberties in my absence?

HELICANUS
We'll mingle our bloods together in the earth,
From whence we had our being and our birth.

PERICLES
Tyre, I now look from thee then, and to Tarsus
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,
Thou showedst a subject's shine, I a true prince.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act I, Scene III
Enter Thaliard alone

THALIARD
So this is Tyre, and this the court. Here must
I kill King Pericles; and if I do it not, I am sure to be
hanged 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't, for if a king bid a man be a villain, he's
bound by the indenture of his oath to be one. Husht!
Here comes the lords of Tyre.
Enter Helicanus and Escanes, with other lords

HELICANUS
You shall not need, my fellow peers of Tyre,
Further to question me of your King's departure.
His sealed commission, left in trust with me,
Doth speak sufficiently he's gone to travel.

THALIARD
(aside)
How? the King gone?

HELICANUS
If further yet you will be satisfied
Why, as it were, unlicensed of your loves
He would depart, I'll give some light unto you.
Being at Antioch –

THALIARD
(aside)
What from Antioch?

HELICANUS
Royal Antiochus, on what cause I know not,
Took some displeasure at him; at least he judged so.
And doubting lest he had erred or sinned,
To show his sorrow he'd correct himself;
So puts himself unto the shipman's toil,
With whom each minute threatens life or death.

THALIARD
(aside)
Well, I perceive I shall not be hanged
now although I would; but since he's gone, the King's
seas must please; he 'scaped the land to perish at the
sea. I'll present myself.
He comes forward
Peace to the lords of Tyre!

HELICANUS
Lord Thaliard from Antiochus is welcome.

THALIARD
From him I come
With message unto princely Pericles,
But since my landing I have understood
Your lord has betaken himself to unknown travels.
Now my message must return from whence it came.

HELICANUS
We have no reason to desire it,
Commended to our master, not to us.
Yet, ere you shall depart, this we desire,
As friends to Antioch, we may feast in Tyre.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act I, Scene IV
Enter Cleon, the Governor of Tarsus, with Dionyza,
his wife, and others

CLEON
My Dionyza, shall we rest us here
And, by relating tales of others' griefs,
See if 'twill teach us to forget our own?

DIONYZA
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 are.
Here they are but felt, and seen with mischief's eyes,
But like to groves, being topped, they higher rise.

CLEON
O Dionyza,
Who wanteth food and will not say he wants it,
Or can conceal his hunger till he famish?
Our tongues and sorrows force us to sound deep
Our woes into the air, our eyes to weep,
Till tongues fetch breath that may proclaim them louder,
That, if heaven slumber while their creatures want,
They may awake their helpers to comfort them.
I'll then discourse our woes, felt several years,
And wanting breath to speak, help me with tears.

DIONYZA
I'll do my best, sir.

CLEON
This Tarsus, o'er which I have the government,
A city on whom plenty held full hand,
For riches strewed herself even in her streets,
Whose towers bore heads so high they kissed the clouds,
And strangers ne'er beheld but wondered at,
Whose men and dames so jetted and adorned,
Like one another's glass to trim them by;
Their tables were stored full, to glad the sight,
And not so much to feed on as delight;
All poverty was scorned, and pride so great,
The name of help grew odious to repeat.

DIONYZA
O, 'tis too true!

CLEON
But see what heaven can do by this our change.
These mouths who 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 defiled for want of use,
They are now starved 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 nuzzle up their babes
Thought naught too curious are ready now
To eat those little darlings whom they loved.
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;
Here many sink, yet those which see them fall
Have scarce strength left to give them burial.
Is not this true?

DIONYZA
Our cheeks and hollow eyes do witness it.

CLEON
O, let those cities that of plenty's cup
And her prosperities so largely taste
With their superfluous riots, hear these tears!
The misery of Tarsus may be theirs.
Enter a Lord

LORD
Where's the lord governor?

CLEON
Here.
Speak out thy sorrows which thou bringest 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.

CLEON
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 stuffed the 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 displayed they bring us peace,
And come to us as favourers, not as foes.

CLEON
Thou speakest like him's untutored to repeat:
Who makes the fairest show means most deceit.
But bring they what they will and what they can,
What need we fear?
The ground's the lowest 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 lord.
Exit

CLEON
Welcome is peace if he on peace consist;
If wars, we are unable to resist.
Enter Pericles with attendants

PERICLES
Lord governor, for so we hear you are,
Let not our ships and number of our men
Be like a beacon fired t' 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 happily may think
Are like the Trojan horse, was stuffed within
With bloody veins expecting overthrow,
Are stored with corn to make your needy bread,
And give them life whom hunger starved half dead.

ALL
The gods of Greece protect you!
And we'll pray for you.
They kneel

PERICLES
Arise, I pray you, rise.
We do not look for reverence but for love,
And harbourage for ourself, our ships, and men.

CLEON
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.

PERICLES
Which welcome we'll accept, feast here awhile,
Until our stars that frown lend us a smile.
Exeunt
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