Act III, Prologue

Enter GOWER

 

GOWER Now sleep y-slaked hath the rout;
No din but snores the house about,
Made louder by the o'er-fed breast
Of this most pompous marriage-feast.
The cat, with eyne of burning coal,
Now crouches fore the mouse's hole;
And crickets sing at the oven's mouth,
E'er the blither for their drouth.
Hymen hath brought the bride to bed.
Where, by the loss of maidenhead,
A babe is moulded. Be attent,
And time that is so briefly spent
With your fine fancies quaintly eche:
What's dumb in show I'll plain with speech.
  DUMB SHOW.
  [Enter, PERICLES and SIMONIDES at one door, with
Attendants; a Messenger meets them, kneels, and
gives PERICLES a letter: PERICLES shows it
SIMONIDES; the Lords kneel to him. Then enter
THAISA with child, with LYCHORIDA a nurse. The
KING shows her the letter; she rejoices: she and
PERICLES takes leave of her father, and depart with
LYCHORIDA and their Attendants. Then exeunt
SIMONIDES and the rest]
  By many a dern and painful perch
Of Pericles the careful search,
By the four opposing coigns
Which the world together joins,
Is made with all due diligence
That horse and sail and high expense
Can stead the quest. At last from Tyre,
Fame answering the most strange inquire,
To the court of King Simonides
Are letters brought, the tenor these:
Antiochus and his daughter dead;
The men of Tyrus on the head
Of Helicanus would set on
The crown of Tyre, but he will none:
The mutiny he there hastes t' oppress;
Says to 'em, if King Pericles
Come not home in twice six moons,
He, obedient to their dooms,
Will take the crown. The sum of this,
Brought hither to Pentapolis,
Y-ravished the regions round,
And every one with claps can sound,
'Our heir-apparent is a king!
Who dream'd, who thought of such a thing?'
Brief, he must hence depart to Tyre:
His queen with child makes her desire--
Which who shall cross?--along to go:
Omit we all their dole and woe:
Lychorida, her nurse, she takes,
And so to sea. Their vessel shakes
On Neptune's billow; half the flood
Hath their keel cut: but fortune's mood
Varies again; the grisly north
Disgorges such a tempest forth,
That, as a duck for life that dives,
So up and down the poor ship drives:
The lady shrieks, and well-a-near
Does fall in travail with her fear:
And what ensues in this fell storm
Shall for itself itself perform.
I nill relate, action may
Conveniently the rest convey;
Which might not what by me is told.
In your imagination hold
This stage the ship, upon whose deck
The sea-tost Pericles appears to speak.
  [Exit]

 

Act III, Scene 1

Enter PERICLES, on shipboard

 

PERICLES Thou god of this great vast, rebuke these surges,
Which wash both heaven and hell; and thou, that hast
Upon the winds command, bind them in brass,
Having call'd them from the deep! O, still
Thy deafening, dreadful thunders; gently quench
Thy nimble, sulphurous flashes! O, how, Lychorida,
How does my queen? Thou stormest venomously;
Wilt thou spit all thyself? The seaman's whistle
Is as a whisper in the ears of death,
Unheard. Lychorida!--Lucina, O
Divinest patroness, and midwife gentle
To those that cry by night, convey thy deity
Aboard our dancing boat; make swift the pangs
Of my queen's travails!
  [Enter LYCHORIDA, with an Infant]
  Now, Lychorida!
LYCHORIDA Here is a thing too young for such a place,
Who, if it had conceit, would die, as I
Am like to do: take in your arms this piece
Of your dead queen.
PERICLES How, how, Lychorida!
LYCHORIDA Patience, good sir; do not assist the storm.
Here's all that is left living of your queen,
A little daughter: for the sake of it,
Be manly, and take comfort.
PERICLES O you gods!
Why do you make us love your goodly gifts,
And snatch them straight away? We here below
Recall not what we give, and therein may
Use honour with you.
LYCHORIDA Patience, good sir,
Even for this charge.
PERICLES Now, mild may be thy life!
For a more blustrous birth had never babe:
Quiet and gentle thy conditions! for
Thou art the rudeliest welcome to this world
That ever was prince's child. Happy what follows!
Thou hast as chiding a nativity
As fire, air, water, earth, and heaven can make,
To herald thee from the womb: even at the first
Thy loss is more than can thy portage quit,
With all thou canst find here. Now, the good gods
Throw their best eyes upon't!
  [Enter two Sailors]
First Sailor What courage, sir? God save you!
PERICLES Courage enough: I do not fear the flaw;
It hath done to me the worst. Yet, for the love
Of this poor infant, this fresh-new sea-farer,
I would it would be quiet.
First Sailor Slack the bolins there! Thou wilt not, wilt thou?
Blow, and split thyself.
Second Sailor But sea-room, an the brine and cloudy billow kiss
the moon, I care not.
First Sailor Sir, your queen must overboard: the sea works high,
the wind is loud, and will not lie till the ship be
cleared of the dead.
PERICLES That's your superstition.
First Sailor Pardon us, sir; with us at sea it hath been still
observed: and we are strong in custom. Therefore
briefly yield her; for she must overboard straight.
PERICLES As you think meet. Most wretched queen!
LYCHORIDA Here she lies, sir.
PERICLES A terrible childbed hast thou had, my dear;
No light, no fire: the unfriendly elements
Forgot thee utterly: nor have I time
To give thee hallow'd to thy grave, but straight
Must cast thee, scarcely coffin'd, in the ooze;
Where, for a monument upon thy bones,
And e'er-remaining lamps, the belching whale
And humming water must o'erwhelm thy corpse,
Lying with simple shells. O Lychorida,
Bid Nestor bring me spices, ink and paper,
My casket and my jewels; and bid Nicander
Bring me the satin coffer: lay the babe
Upon the pillow: hie thee, whiles I say
A priestly farewell to her: suddenly, woman.
  [Exit LYCHORIDA]
Second Sailor Sir, we have a chest beneath the hatches, caulked
and bitumed ready.
PERICLES I thank thee. Mariner, say what coast is this?
Second Sailor We are near Tarsus.
PERICLES Thither, gentle mariner.
Alter thy course for Tyre. When canst thou reach it?
Second Sailor By break of day, if the wind cease.
PERICLES O, make for Tarsus!
There will I visit Cleon, for the babe
Cannot hold out to Tyrus: there I'll leave it
At careful nursing. Go thy ways, good mariner:
I'll bring the body presently.
  [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.

 

To view other Pericles sections:

Main Play Page      Play Text     Scene by Scene Synopsis     Character Directory     Commentary  

 

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Henry VI, Part 1 Henry VI, Part 2 Henry VI, Part 3 Henry VIII Julius Caesar King John
King Lear Love's Labours Lost Love's Labours Wonne Macbeth Measure for Measure Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor A Mid Summer Night's Dream  Much Ado About Nothing Othello Pericles Richard II
Richard III Romeo & Juliet Sir Thomas More Taming of the Shrew The Tempest Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus Troilus & Cressida Twelfth Night Two Gentlemen of Verona The Two Noble Kinsman The Winter's Tale

 

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