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Pericles, Prince of Tyre

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[Enter GOWER]
GOWERHere have you seen a mighty king
His child, I wis, to incest bring;
A better prince and benign lord,
That will prove awful both in deed and word.
Be quiet then as men should be,5
Till he hath pass'd necessity.
I'll show you those in troubles reign,
Losing a mite, a mountain gain.
The good in conversation,
To whom I give my benison,10
Is still at Tarsus, where each man
Thinks all is writ he speken can;
And, to remember what he does,
Build his statue to make him glorious:
But tidings to the contrary15
Are brought your eyes; what need speak I?
[ Enter at one door PERICLES talking with CLEON; all the train with them. Enter at another door a Gentleman, with a letter to PERICLES; PERICLES shows the letter to CLEON; gives the Messenger a reward, and knights him. Exit PERICLES at one door, and CLEON at another ]
Good Helicane, that stay'd at home,
Not to eat honey like a drone
From others' labours; for though he strive
To killen bad, keep good alive;20
And to fulfil his prince' desire,
Sends word of all that haps in Tyre:
How Thaliard came full bent with sin
And had intent to murder him;
And that in Tarsus was not best25
Longer for him to make his rest.
He, doing so, put forth to seas,
Where when men been, there's seldom ease;
For now the wind begins to blow;
Thunder above and deeps below30
Make such unquiet, that the ship
Should house him safe is wreck'd and split;
And he, good prince, having all lost,
By waves from coast to coast is tost:
All perishen of man, of pelf,35
Ne aught escapen but himself;
Till fortune, tired with doing bad,
Threw him ashore, to give him glad:
And here he comes. What shall be next,
Pardon old Gower,--this longs the text.40
ACT II SCENE I Pentapolis. An open place by the sea-side.
[Enter PERICLES, wet]
PERICLESYet 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 sea hath cast me on the rocks,5
Wash'd me from shore to shore, and left me breath
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,10
Here to have death in peace is all he'll crave.
[Enter three FISHERMEN]
First FishermanWhat, ho, Pilch!
Second FishermanHa, come and bring away the nets!
First FishermanWhat, Patch-breech, I say!
Third FishermanWhat say you, master?15
First FishermanLook how thou stirrest now! come away, or I'll
fetch thee with a wanion.
Third FishermanFaith, master, I am thinking of the poor men that
were cast away before us even now.
First FishermanAlas, poor souls, it grieved my heart to hear what20
pitiful cries they made to us to help them, when,
well-a-day, we could scarce help ourselves.
Third FishermanNay, master, said not I as much when I saw the
porpus how he bounced and tumbled? they say
they're half fish, half flesh: a plague on them,25
they ne'er come but I look to be washed. Master, I
marvel how the fishes live in the sea.
First FishermanWhy, as men do a-land; the great ones eat up the
little ones: I can compare our rich misers to
nothing so fitly as to a whale; a' plays and30
tumbles, driving the poor fry before him, and at

last devours them all at a mouthful: such whales
have I heard on o' the land, who never leave gaping
till they've swallowed the whole parish, church,
steeple, bells, and all.35
PERICLES[Aside] A pretty moral.
Third FishermanBut, master, if I had been the sexton, I would have
been that day in the belfry.
Second FishermanWhy, man?
Third FishermanBecause he should have swallowed me too: and when I40
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,--45
PERICLES[Aside] Simonides!
Third FishermanWe would purge the land of these drones, that rob
the bee of her honey.
PERICLES[Aside] How from the finny subject of the sea
These fishers tell the infirmities of men;50
And from their watery empire recollect
All that may men approve or men detect!
Peace be at your labour, honest fishermen.
Second FishermanHonest! good fellow, what's that? If it be a day
fits you, search out of the calendar, and nobody55
look after it.
PERICLESMay see the sea hath cast upon your coast.
Second FishermanWhat a drunken knave was the sea to cast thee in our
PERICLESA man whom both the waters and the wind,60
In that vast tennis-court, have made the ball
For them to play upon, entreats you pity him:
He asks of you, that never used to beg.
First FishermanNo, friend, cannot you beg? Here's them in our
country Greece gets more with begging than we can do65
with working.
Second FishermanCanst thou catch any fishes, then?
PERICLESI never practised it.
Second FishermanNay, then thou wilt starve, sure; for here's nothing
to be got now-a-days, unless thou canst fish for't.70
PERICLESWhat I have been I have forgot to know;
But what I am, want teaches me to think on:
A man throng'd up with cold: my veins are chill,
And have no more of life than may suffice
To give my tongue that heat to ask your help;75
Which if you shall refuse, when I am dead,
For that I am a man, pray see me buried.
First FishermanDie quoth-a? Now gods forbid! I have a gown here;
come, put it on; keep thee warm. Now, afore me, a
handsome fellow! Come, thou shalt go home, and80
we'll have flesh for holidays, fish for
fasting-days, and moreo'er puddings and flap-jacks,
and thou shalt be welcome.
PERICLESI thank you, sir.
Second FishermanHark you, my friend; you said you could not beg.85
PERICLESI did but crave.
Second FishermanBut crave! Then I'll turn craver too, and so I
shall 'scape whipping.
PERICLESWhy, are all your beggars whipped, then?
Second FishermanO, not all, my friend, not all; for if all your90
beggars were whipped, I would wish no better office
than to be beadle. But, master, I'll go draw up the
[Exit with Third Fisherman]
PERICLES[Aside] How well this honest mirth becomes their labour!
First FishermanHark you, sir, do you know where ye are?95
First FishermanWhy, I'll tell you: this is called Pentapolis, and
our king the good Simonides.
PERICLESThe good King Simonides, do you call him.
First FishermanAy, sir; and he deserves so to be called for his100
peaceable reign and good government.
PERICLESHe 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 FishermanMarry, sir, half a day's journey: and I'll tell105
you, he hath a fair daughter, and to-morrow is her
birth-day; and there are princes and knights come
from all parts of the world to just and tourney for her love.
PERICLESWere my fortunes equal to my desires, I could wish
to make one there.110
First FishermanO, sir, things must be as they may; and what a man
cannot get, he may lawfully deal for--his wife's soul.
[Re-enter Second and Third Fishermen, drawing up a net]
Second FishermanHelp, 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, and115
'tis turned to a rusty armour.
PERICLESAn armour, friends! I pray you, let me see it.
Thanks, fortune, yet, that, after all my crosses,
Thou givest me somewhat to repair myself;
And though it was mine own, part of my heritage,120
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;--
'For that it saved me, keep it; in like necessity--125
The which the gods protect thee from!--may
defend thee.'
It kept where I kept, I so dearly loved it;
Till the rough seas, that spare not any man,
Took it in rage, though calm'd have given't again:130
I thank thee for't: my shipwreck now's no ill,
Since I have here my father's gift in's will.
First FishermanWhat mean you, sir?
PERICLESTo beg of you, kind friends, this coat of worth,
For it was sometime target to a king;135
I know it by this mark. He loved me dearly,
And for his sake I wish the having of it;
And that you'ld guide me to your sovereign's court,
Where with it I may appear a gentleman;
And if that ever my low fortune's better,140
I'll pay your bounties; till then rest your debtor.
First FishermanWhy, wilt thou tourney for the lady?
PERICLESI'll show the virtue I have borne in arms.
First FishermanWhy, do 'e take it, and the gods give thee good on't!
Second FishermanAy, but hark you, my friend; 'twas we that made up145
this garment through the rough seams of the waters:
there are certain condolements, certain vails. I
hope, sir, if you thrive, you'll remember from
whence you had it.
PERICLESBelieve 't, I will.150
By your furtherance I am clothed in steel;
And, spite of all the rapture of the sea,
This jewel holds his building on my arm:
Unto thy value I will mount myself
Upon a courser, whose delightful steps155
Shall make the gazer joy to see him tread.
Only, my friend, I yet am unprovided
Of a pair of bases.
Second FishermanWe'll sure provide: thou shalt have my best gown to
make thee a pair; and I'll bring thee to the court myself.160
PERICLESThen honour be but a goal to my will,
This day I'll rise, or else add ill to ill.

Continue to Pericles, Act 2, Scene 2


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