Act II, Prologue

Enter GOWER

 

GOWER Here 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,
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?
  DUMB SHOW.
  [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;
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.
  [Exit]

 

Act II, Scene 1 Pentapolis. An open place by the sea-side.

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 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]
First Fisherman What, ho, Pilch!
Second Fisherman Ha, come and bring away the nets!
First Fisherman What, Patch-breech, 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.
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
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.
First Fisherman 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've 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] How from the finny subject 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.
Second Fisherman Honest! good fellow, what's that? If it be a day
fits you, search out of the calendar, and nobody
look after it.
PERICLES May see the sea hath cast upon your coast.
Second Fisherman What a drunken knave was the sea to cast thee in our
way!
PERICLES 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.
First Fisherman No, friend, cannot you beg? Here's them in our
country Greece gets more with begging than we can do
with working.
Second Fisherman Canst thou catch any fishes, then?
PERICLES I never practised it.
Second Fisherman Nay, then thou wilt starve, sure; for here's nothing
to be got now-a-days, 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 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.
First Fisherman 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.
PERICLES I thank you, sir.
Second Fisherman Hark you, my friend; you said you could not beg.
PERICLES I did but crave.
Second Fisherman But crave! Then I'll turn craver too, and so I
shall 'scape whipping.
PERICLES Why, are all 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
net.
  [Exit with Third Fisherman]
PERICLES [Aside] 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 King 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 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.
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.
  [Re-enter Second and Third 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 turned to a rusty armour.
PERICLES 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.
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;
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,
I'll pay your bounties; till then rest your debtor.
First Fisherman Why, wilt thou tourney for the lady?
PERICLES I'll show the virtue I have borne in arms.
First Fisherman Why, do 'e 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 vails. I
hope, sir, if you thrive, you'll remember from
whence you had it.
PERICLES 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.
Second Fisherman We'll sure provide: thou shalt have my best gown to
make thee a pair; and I'll bring 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.
  [Exeunt]

 

To see other scenes in the show:

Full Text Act III, Scene 1 At sea.
Act I, Scene 1 Antioch. A room in the palace. Act III, Scene 2 Ephesus. A room in Cerimon's house.
Act I, Scene 2 A room in the palace. Act III, Scene 3 Tarsus. A room in Cleon's house./Act III, Scene 4 A room in Cerimon's house.
Act I, Scene 3 An ante-chamber in the palace. Act IV, Scene 1 Tarsus. An open place near the sea=shore.
Act I, Scene 4 A room in the Governor's house Act IV, Scene 2 Mytilene. A room in a brothel.
Act II, Scene 1 Pentapolis.  An open place by the sea-side. Act IV, Scene 3 Tarsus. A room in Cleon's house.
Act II, Scene 2 The same.  A public way or platform leading to the lists.  A pavilion by the side of it for the reception of King, Princess, Lords, etc. Act IV, Scene 4 Chorus dialogue./Act IV, Scene 5 Mytilene. A street before the brothel.
Act II, Scene 3 The same. A hall of state: a banquet prepared. Act IV, Scene 6 The same. A room in the brothel.
Act II, Scene 4 Tyre.  A room in the Governor's house. Act V, Scene 1 On board Pericles' ship, off Mytilene.  A close pavilion on deck with a curtain before it:  Pericles within it, reclined on a couch. A barge lying beside the Tyrian vessel.
Act II, Scene 5 Pentapolis. A room in the palace. Act V, Scene 2 Chorus dialogue./Act V, Scene 3 The temple of Diana at Ephesus: Thaisa standing near the altar, as high priestess: a number of virgins on each side: Cerimon and other inhabitants of Ephesus attending.

 

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