Act II - Act II, Scene 1
Mere 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 word.
Be quiet then as men should be,
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,
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 contrary
Are brought your eyes; what need speak I?
[Enter at one door Pericles talking with Cleon 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;
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 best
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 below
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,
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.
SCENE I. Pentapolis. An open place by the sea-side.
[Enter Pericles, wet.]
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 sea hath cast me on the rocks,
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,
Here to have death in peace is all he'll crave.
[Enter three Fishermen.]
What, ho, Pilch!
Ha, come and bring away the nets!
What, Patch-breech, I say!
What say you, master?
Look how thou stirrest now! come away, or I'll fetch thee with a
'Faith, master, I am thinking of the poor men that were cast away
before us even now.
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
Nay, 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, they ne'er come but I look to be washed.
Master, I marvel how the fishes live in the sea.
Why, 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 and 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 they've
swallowed the whole parish, church, steeple, bells, and all.
A pretty moral.
But, master, if I had been the sexton, I would have been that day
in the belfry.
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, --
We would purge the land of these drones, that rob the bee of her
How from the finny subjec of the sea
These fishers tell the infirmities of men;
And from their watery empire recollect
All that may men approve or men detect!
Peace be at your labour, honest fishermen.
Honest! good fellow, what's that; If it be a day fits you, search
out of the calendar, and nobody look after it.
May see the sea hath cast upon your coast.
What a drunken knave was the sea to cast thee in our way!
A man whom both the waters and the wind,
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.
No, friend, cannot you beg? Here's them in our country of Greece
gets more with begging than we can do with working.
Canst thou catch any fishes, then?
I never practised it.
Nay, then thou wilt starve, sure; for here's nothing to be got
now-a-days, unless thou canst fish for 't.
What 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;
Which if you shall refuse, when I am dead,
For that I am a man, pray see me buried.
Die 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, and we'll have flesh for holidays, fish for
fasting-days, and moreo'er puddings and flap-jacks, and thou
shalt be welcome.
I thank you, sir.
Hark you, my friend; you said you could not beg.
I did but crave.
But crave! Then I'll turn craver too, and so I shall 'scape
Why, are your beggars whipped, then?
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 net.
[Exit with Third Fisherman.]
How well this honest mirth becomes their 1abour!
Hark you, sir, do you know where ye are?
Why, I'll tell you: this is called Pentapolis, and our king the
The good King Simonides, do you call him?
Ay, sir; and he deserves so to be called for his peaceable reign
and good government.
He is a happy king, since he gains from his subjects the name of
good government. How far is his court distant from this shore?
Marry sir, half a day's journey: and I'll tell 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.
Were my fortunes equal to my desires, I could wish to make one
O, sir, things must be as they may; and what a man cannot get, he
may lawfully deal for -- his wife' soul.
[Re-enter Second and Third Fishermen, drawing up a net.]
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 turned to a rusty armour.
An 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,
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 --
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:
I thank thee for 't: my shipwreck now's no ill,
Since I have here my father's gift in's will.
What mean you' sir?
To beg of you, kind friends, this coat of worth,
For it was sometime target to a king;
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 court,
Where with it I may appear a gentleman;
And if that ever my fortune's better,
I'll pay your bounties; till then rest your debtor.
Why, wilt thou tourney for the lady?
I'll show the virtue I have borne in arms.
Why, do'e take it, and the gods give thee good on 't!
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 vails. I hope, sir, if you thrive, you'll
remember from whence you had it.
Believe't I will.
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 steps
Shall make the gazer joy to see him tread.
Only, my friend, I yet am unprovided
Of a pair of bases.
We'll sure provide: thou shalt have my best gown to make thee a
pair; and I'll bring thee to the court myself.
Then honour be but a goal to my will,
This day I'll rise, or else add ill to ill.