Pericles simplified


Pericles is one of Shakespeare’s late-in-his-writing-life romantic fairy tales, written for an adult audience.  We don’t think he wrote the first part of the play.  Pericles is what we call one of his “contrast” stories; a play where he creates a scene so dark that when it turns light, it turns bright.  The play’s central theme is the apparent tragic loss of a princess (and the loss of the princess’ daughter), both located in dramatic fashion late in the play.  The play is set around 170 B.C.; a time when Syria had a huge presence on the eastern end of the Mediterranean. We’re told Antiochus the Great built the city of Antioch, “his chiefest seat, the fairest in all Syria.”  The Antiochus in this story was the “Great’s” son, and was at that time king of Syria.  Antiochus’ daughter was “so bright, blithe, and perfect of face as heaven had lent her all his grace.”  She is nameless, known only as his daughter.  She has had many suitors, but “whoso asked her for his wife lost his life.”  Antiochus and his Daughter had an incestuous relationship; “bad child, worse father!”  That’s why her suitors lost their lives. There you go. It’s hard to get any darker than that.  But in classic Shakespeare style, Shakespeare draws an enormously appealing Marina. We’ll get to Marina later.

Pericles is the Prince of Tyre, a city that might be present day Lebanon.  We learn that he has an interest in Antiochus’ daughter, but we never learn how that interest came to be.  On his visit to Antioch he quickly realizes that the king and his daughter have an unnatural relationship. He wisely decides it’s in his best interest to immediately leave Antioch, not wanting to lose his head as other suitors had, well aware that kings being kings can pretty much do as they please.  Antiochus is not about to give his daughter up. 

The play opens in Antioch where Pericles is calling on Antiochus; Pericles having, as we say, a serious interest in winning the hand of Antiochus’ daughter.  We learn that she is absolutely gorgeous.  Antiochus lets Pericles know that “if you are not worthy” you will lose your head.  Antiochus has him read a Riddle; a riddle that in part reads “he’s father, son and husband mild; I mother, wife and yet his child.”  He leaves Antioch promptly.

King Antiochus is upset with himself, saying “Heaven, that I had thy head. He has found the meaning.”  Antiochus tells his aide Thaliard that “thou must kill him,” and to not “return unless thou say Prince Pericles is dead.” 

Pericles returns to Tyre and lets us know how he thinks things might play out. He is justifiably frightened, knowing that Antiochus will fear him, believing that he might talk, and that a king can “make his will his act.”  He also notes that “kings have long arms.” Pericles confides in his aide Helicanus, telling him of what he learned while in Antioch.  He fears that Antiochus (fearing that Pericles “might reveal his sin”) will not only try to kill him but will run roughshod over Tyre. Helicanus calmly suggests that the prince “travel for a while.”  Pericles leaves for Tarsus. He lets Helicanus know that he is to tell no one of his whereabouts.  Thaliard soon arrives in Tyre and is well received by Helicanus, who tells him nothing. 

In Tarsus, Cleon, the Governor, is talking with his wife Dionyza, letting us know how difficult life is for their citizens. They have had plenty in the past but are now enduring a famine. Pericles soon arrives with a mini-armada, “ships stored with corn to make your needy bread and give them life whom hunger starved half dead.”  He tells Cleon that “we have heard your miseries as far as Tyre and come to relieve them.” Cleon understatedly says “your Grace is welcome to our town and us.” 

While in Tarsus, Pericles learns that Thaliard has in fact arrived in Tyre with “intent to murder him.” Through some means he is advised to leave Tarsus. Pericles sails from Tarsus with all his ships, only to lose them during a violent storm at sea.  He is cast up on a remote beach, the only survivor. Pericles has washed up on the shore of Pentapolis. He is greeted on the beach by three fishermen who treat him beautifully.  The fishermen haul in his rusted armor; armor he had inherited from his father.  They feed him and provide him with fresh clothes. They lead him to the “good King Simonides’ court,” a “half a day’s journey” away.

We learn that King Simonides “hath a fair daughter, and tomorrow her birthday, and princes come from all parts of the world to joust and tourney for her love.”  Pericles plans to participate.  Each knight in his armor and with “his emblematic shield” passes by the princess. Pericles’ armor is rusted and “his shield is a withered branch.”  Pericles wins the princess’ wreath, she saying “to me he seems like diamond to glass.”  Pericles lets Simonides know who he is. A party begins. Thaisa, the princess, and Pericles dance.

Helicanus is still in Tyre.  We learn that Antiochus and his daughter died “when a fire from heaven came and shriveled up their bodies” when they were “seated in a chariot of inestimable value.”  Tyre’s lords want Helicanus to become “our sovereign,” but he suggests the lords wait “a twelve-month longer” and “go search for Pericles like nobles.”  They agree.

Simonides tells the knights (except Pericles) that he has a letter from his daughter that lets her father know that “this twelvemonth she’ll not undertake a married life.”  The knights exit.  Simonides then tells us his daughter has told him, again through the letter, that “she’ll wed the stranger knight or never more to view nor day nor light.”  Simonides puts Pericles to a test, saying “Thou hast bewitched my daughter, and thou art a villain, a traitor.”  Pericles responds that “my actions are as noble as my thoughts.”  Simonides says “I’ll make you man and wife.  Are you both agreed?”  Both respond “Yes, if ‘t please your majesty.” 

Pericles and Thaisa have married and have set sail for Tyre, Pericles now aware that Helicanus’ “twelve month” period is about up and that he must return home if he is to lead his people.  During a ferocious storm at sea, Thaisa gives birth to a girl, named Marina by Pericles, Thaisa “dying” during the delivery.  Marina is born late at night.  On the basis of a long-held serious superstition, the sailors demand that “the ship must be cleared of the dead,” promptly.  Thaisa is wrapped well and carefully placed with certain tributes in a coffin.  She is dropped overboard, right at the height of the storm, the ship “having had a chest beneath the hatches.”   With Marina but an hour old, Pericles commands the ship head for Tarsus where “I will visit Cleon.” 

At dawn, Cerimon, a physician, and two gentlemen are on a beach in Ephesus. Two servants haul the casket to Cerimon, the chest having just been “tossed upon the shore.”  They promptly open the casket and find Thaisa. Cerimon quickly recognizes that she is alive, noting that “she hath not been entranced above five hours.”  They learn from documents in the coffin that she is a queen and the daughter of a king.  They, of course, take very good care of her and she revives, unharmed by the ordeal.  She tells Cerimon she wants to live “a life of chastity.”  Cerimon shows her the way to “Diana’s temple where a niece of mine shall there attend you.”  Diana was the goddess of hunting and of the moon. 

Pericles arrives in Tarsus and meets with Cleon and Dionyza.  He leaves his daughter, Marina, with the two of them, to be cared for as a princess, Cleon saying “Fear not, my lord,” noting how generous Pericles had been to them, having “fed my country with your corn.”  Lychorida, Thaisa’s attendant, stays there in Tarsus to help care for the child.  Pericles asks Cleon “to give her princely training, that she may be mannered as she was born.” He accepts the request.  Pericles leaves promptly, needing to get to Tyre. 

Now fourteen years later, we learn that when compared with Dionyza’s daughter “Marina gets all the praises,” an issue that so troubles Dionyza that she demands that her servant, Leonine, kill Marina so that “her daughter might stand peerless by this slaughter.”  We also learn that Lychorida, Thaisa and Marina’s attendant, has just died. Marina puts up a beautiful defense when she learns of Leonine’s plan to kill her, as he says “to satisfy my lady.” But just as Leonine is about to kill her, he having drawn his sword, pirates seize her and carry her away.  Leonine tells Dionyza that he did what he was told to do. She poisons him. Dionyza tells Cleon that she had Marina killed, devastating Cleon who says “of all the faults beneath the heavens, the gods do like this worst.”  When Cleon asks rhetorically “what canst thou say when noble Pericles shall demand his child,” she calmly says we tell him “we wept after her hearse, and yet we mourn.”

Marina is sold by the pirates to a brothel owner in Mytilene, a port city near Ephesus.  She cleverly and smoothly talks her way out of any encounters, two Gentlemen saying things like “but to have divinity preached there! Did you ever dream of such a thing?” and “come, I am for no more bawdy houses.  Shall we go hear the vestals sing?”  Lysimachus, the governor of Mytilene, visits the brothel and has a wonderful conversation with her. He ends up giving her enough money and gold to buy her freedom.  As the Act ends, she tells Bolt, the servant and solicitor for the brothel owner that he needs to get out of the business, and that he needs to find her a job as a teacher. He says to her “Well, I will see what I can do for thee.  If I can place thee, I will.” 

Helicanus greets Lysimachus at sea, Lysimachus having sailed from Mytilene with hopes to speak with Pericles, Pericles being on-board.  Helicanus lets Lysimachus know that “he will not speak to any.”  Lysimachus persists, saying “we have a maid in Mytilene, I durst wager would win some words of him.”  Helicanus gives him a chance.  Marina enters. Helicanus observes “she’s a fine-looking lady.”  She says to Pericles “My lord, lend ear.”  He mumbles and forcibly pushes her away, knocking her down. She lets him know that her griefs are the equal of his.  He speaks, asking her “what country are you from?” He says to himself “my dearest wife was like this maid, and such a one my daughter might have been.”  She tells him her “ancestors stood equivalent with mighty kings.”  She gets his attention. She tells him “my name is Marina, for I was born at sea, and my father a king.”  He can’t believe what he’s hearing, having been told his daughter was killed by Dionyza’s servant.  She goes on, saying “but, good sir, why do you weep?  I am the daughter to King Pericles, if good King Pericles be.”  He blurts out “thou’rt my child.”  Everybody lets everybody else know who they are. 

Pericles hears “heavenly music.”  No one else hears any music.  He falls asleep.  The others leave quietly.  He is visited by the goddess Diana who suggests he visit her temple in Ephesus.  We learn Marina and Lysimachus plan to marry.

The group follows Pericles’s suggestion: they visit Diana’s temple in Ephesus. Cerimon and Thaisa enter.  Not recognizing her, Pericles tells them his sad tale in detail.  Thaisa cries “You are, you are Pericles.” She faints.  Cerimon tells the others of the time the coffin washed up on the shore of Ephesus.  Pericles and Thaisa embrace.  Pericles introduces Thaisa to her daughter.  They all plan to return to Pentapolis where “we’ll celebrate their nuptials.”  Pericles and Thaisa plan to “spend our following days” there.  He tells all that “our son and daughter shall in Tyrus reign.”  Lord Cerimon is honored.

Principal Characters

Antiochus.  Antiochus is the king of Antioch, the son of Antiochus the Great.  We’re told Antiochus the Great ruled Syria around 200 B.C. and built Antioch, the then capital of Syria.  This Antiochus ruled Syria around 170 B.C., the time of this play.  He had an incestuous relationship with his beautiful daughter.  Prince after prince, each having an interest in Antiochus’ daughter, lost his head, each not realizing her father didn’t want to give her up.  Pericles wisely escaped the fate of the other princes.  Antiochus and his daughter lose their lives in a lightning strike, the gods (we’re told) getting even for the father-daughter’s misconduct.

Cleon.  Cleon is the governor of Tarsus, a city on the southern coast of Turkey.  Soon after he returns from Antioch to Tyre, Pericles leaves for Tarsus, justly fearing for his life, knowing Antiochus has a contract out on his head.  He is grandly welcomed in Tarsus, having delivered shiploads of corn to Cleon and his starving people.  Late in the play, Pericles leaves his new-born daughter in Cleon’s care, Pericles having lost his wife at childbirth; he having to return to Tyre to run the country, knowing he can’t properly care for a days-old daughter. Fourteen years later, Marina having grown into quite the fine looking young lady, it’s reported that Dionyza, Cleon’s wife, plans to kill Marina, envious of all the attention she gets, wanting her same-age daughter to “stand peerless by this slaughter.”  Cleon is not at all happy with his wife’s decision to have Marina killed. All believe Marina was killed, but she wasn’t!  At the last moment, Marina was captured by pirates and whisked away. 

Marina.  Marina is Pericles and Thaisa’s daughter, born at sea, her mother “dying” at the time of her birth.  Pericles leaves his days-old daughter in the care of Cleon and Dionyza in Tarsus.  They do raise her as a princess should be raised, they owing Pericles big-time for saving their citizens from starvation.  But, Dionyza grows envious of the beautiful and talented Marina (Marina receives more attention than Dionyza’s daughter receives) and plans to have her killed, Marina now fourteen.  But just as she is about to be killed by Dionyza’s servant, Marina is captured by pirates who in turn sell her to a brothel owner in Mytilene, a city near Ephesus.  She talks her way out of any encounters at the brothel; one guest, Lysimachus, the governor of Mytilene, being so impressed by her eloquence and style, gives her gold so she can buy her freedom.  She and her father reunite at sea late in the play.  The two of them then reunite with her mother (and Pericles’ wife), Thaisa, at Diana’s temple in Ephesus.  She and Lysimachus marry.  The two of them “shall reign in Tyrus.” 

Pericles.  Pericles, the Prince of Tyre, finds himself in real trouble early in the play when he solves Antiochus’ “riddle,” realizing Antiochus and his beautiful daughter have an incestuous relationship.  This is the dark part of the play; a part that Shakespeare uses to make the end so emotional. Initially, Pericles is known as the Prince of Tyre; Tyre often is referred to as Tyrus.  On a two thousand year old map, it looks as if Tyre is perhaps present day Lebanon. Tyre seems to be more of a city than a state. At some point Pericles the Prince becomes Pericles the King.  Pericles spends very little time (at least in the play) in Tyre, spending most of his time at sea or bouncing around from Tyre to Antioch to Tarsus to Pentapolis to Mytilene to Ephesus.  He is the protagonist in this family love story, following the pattern Shakespeare often used to lead us from misfortunes to personal triumphs. 

Simonides.   Simonides is the King of Pentapolis, an area believed to be on the northern coast of Africa.  Midway through the play, Pericles finds himself cast on Pentapolis’ shore, the sole survivor of a terrible storm at sea that sunk his fleet of ships.  He had left Tarsus with his ships, justly fearing Antiochus’ men would track him down, they wanting to eliminate any risk that he might tell anyone the true story of Antiochus and his daughter.  It’s in Pentapolis where Pericles meets and marries Thaisa, Simonides’ daughter, the princess of Pentapolis. 

Thaisa.  Thaisa is the wife of Pericles who “dies” in a violent storm at sea at the time she is giving birth to her daughter, named Marina by Pericles.  She dies late at night, is placed in a coffin, along with “tributes and jewels and sweet scented spices,” and is dropped overboard, the superstition among sailors being that “the sea will not lie still till the ship be cleared of the dead.”  At the morning’s dawn, on the coast of Turkey at Ephesus, the casket is “tossed up upon the shore.”  As Cerimon, a physician, and two gentlemen are walking along the beach, they find the casket and find Thaisa “entranced” rather than dead.  With great care, as you might imagine, they revive her.  Cerimon leads her to “Diana’s temple” where “a niece of mine shall there attend you.”  Pericles finds her right at the end of the play and introduces his magnificent wife to her magnificent daughter, Marina.

The Play

Act 1, Scene 1
Pericles has arrived in Antioch and has arranged for a meeting with the king and his daughter; he being there to test his chances to win the king’s daughter, a beautiful young woman, so he’s heard.   

ANTIOCHUS:  Young Prince of Tyre, you have received the danger of the task you undertake.

PERICLES:  I have, Antiochus, and think death no hazard in this enterprise. 

    Music sounds offstage.  Antiochus’ daughter enters.

PERICLES:  See where she comes, appareled like the spring.  You gods that made me man, and sway in love, that inflamed desire in my breast to taste the fruit of yon celestial tree or die in th’ adventure, be my help, as I am son and servant to your will. 

ANTIOCHUS:  Prince Pericles -----

PERICLES:  That would be son to Great Antiochus.

ANTIOCHUS:  Her face, like heaven, enticeth thee to view her countless glory, which worthiness must gain; and if you are not worthy, all the whole heap must die. 

    He points to the heads.

ANTIOCHUS:  Those sometimes famous princes, like thyself, drawn by report, advent’rous by desire, tell thee with speechless tongues and semblance pale that here they stand martyrs slain in Cupid’s wars, whom none resist. 

PERICLES:  Antiochus, I thank thee.  For death remembered should be like a mirror which tells us life’s but breath, to trust it error.  I’ll make my will and grasp not at earthly joys as not long ago they did; so I bequeath a happy peace to you and all good men, as every prince should do. 

PERICLES TO THE DAUGHTER:  But my unspotted fire of love to you.  Ready for the way of life or death, I wait the sharpest blow.

ANTIOCHUS:  Scorning advice, read the conclusion, as these before thee, thou thyself shalt bleed.

DAUGHTER:  Of all who have been tested, mayst thou prove prosperous.  I wish thee success. 

PERICLES READS THE RIDDLE:  I sought a husband, in which labor I found a 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. 

PERICLES ASIDE:  O you powers that gives heaven countless eyes to view men’s acts, why truly, I care not for you.

ANTIOCHUS:  Your time’s expired.  Either expound now or receive your sentence.

PERICLES:  Great king, 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 wand’ring wind, which blows dust in others’ eyes to spread itself.  King’s are earth’s gods; in vice their law’s their will; and if Jove stray, who dares say Jove doth ill? 

ANTIOCHUS ASIDE:  Heaven, that I had thy head!  He has found the meaning.  But I will use flattering words with him.  Young Prince of Tyre, we might proceed to cancel your days, yet hope, succeeding from so fair a tree as your fair self, doth tune us otherwise. 

    All except Pericles exit.

Pericles to Himself, No. 1

His courteous attempt to cover sin,
Exposing me to the hypocrite in
Him, is good only in its appearance.
If I do falsely interpret this myth,
Then it is certain in such circumstance
That it’s approved to abuse your soul with
Foul incest, he being both a father
And a son with his course claspings with her,
Pleasure which befits a husband, not a
Father.  Antioch, farewell.  We do see
Men blush not in actions blacker than the
Night, keeping actions from the light.  The key 
To keeping my head with me which is dear
Is flight.  I’ll shun the danger which I fear. 

    Pericles exits.  Antiochus enters.

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.  This prince must die. Who attends us there?

    Thaliard enters.

ANTIOCHUS:  Thaliard, you are of our chamber.  Our mind partakes her private actions to your secrecy; and for your faithfulness we will advance you.  Here’s poison, and here’s gold.  We hate the Prince of Tyre, and thou must kill him.  Say, is it done?

THALIARD:  My lord, ‘tis done.

    A Messenger enters.

MESSENGER:  My lord, Prince Pericles is fled

    The Messenger exits.

ANTIOCHUS TO THALIARD:  As thou wilt live, fly after.  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. 

ANTIOCHUS:  Thaliard, adieu.  Till Pericles be dead.

    They exit.

    Act 1, Scene 2
    Pericles has returned to Tyre.  Pericles and an Attendant are on stage.

PERICLES:  Let not disturb us.

    Attendant exits.

Pericles to Himself, No. 2 

Antiochus, being great, is able
To make his will his act, we unable
To contend, being too little.  He will
Think me speaking though I swear to silence;
Be suspect of my honor if I’m still,
Fearing I’ll dishonor him.  If he sense
He might be known, he’ll with hostile forces
O’er spread the land to stop the feared sources. 
His onslaught of soldiers will look so grand
That the mere presence of forces unleashed
Will cause our young men to be vanquished, and
Our innocent subjects to be punished. 
As the tops of trees protect the roots, I
Am here to protect what people grow by.  

    Helicanus and two Lords enter.

HELICANUS:  Peace, peace, let experience speak.  They do abuse the king that flatter him, for flattery is the bellows blows up sin.  When Sir Flattery here does proclaim peace, he flatters you, makes war upon your life.

    He kneels.

PERICLES TO THE LORDS:  Let your cares o’erlook what shipping and what lading’s in our haven, and then return to us.

    The Lords exit.

PERICLES TO HELICANUS:  What seest thou in our looks?

HELICANUS:  An angry brow, dread lord.

PERICLES:  How durst thy tongue incite my anger.

HELICANUS:  How dares 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 ax myself.

PERICLES:  Rise, prithee rise.

    Helicanus rises.

PERICLES:  Thou art no flatterer.  Fit counselor 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 to Helicanus  

In Antioch I sought to find a wife,
The most wondrous beauty seen in my life,
But found by my knowledge a place as black
As incest.  The sinful father sensing
I knew, tyrants knowing not to attack
At home, caused me, under the covering
Of a watchful night, to flee.  Tyrants’ fears
Decrease not but grow faster than the years,
And should he fear I might reveal his sin
To the list’ning air, letting others know
How so many heads of princes have been
Shed to keep his blackened bed hidden so
He may keep his secret, he’ll fill this land
With arms; with all the blame on me well fanned. 

HELICANUS:  Alas, sir!

PERICLES:  Drew sleep out of mine eyes, blood from my cheeks, musings into my mind.  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, 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.  If to me, day serves not light more faithful than I’ll be. 

PERICLES:  I do not doubt thy faith.

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. The care I had and have of subjects’ good on thee I lay. 

    They exit.

    Act 1, Scene 3
    Thaliard enters 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.  Hush.  Here comes the lords of Tyre.

    He steps aside.  Helicanus with other lords enters.

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 does speak sufficiently he’s gone to travel.

THALIARD ASIDE:  How?  The King gone?

HELICANUS:  I’ll give some light unto you.

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, he put himself unto the shipman’s toil, with whom each minute threatens life or death.

THALIARD ASIDE:  He ‘scapted the land to perish at the sea.  I’ll present myself.  Peace to the lords of Tyre! 

HELICANUS:  Lord Thaliard from Antiochus is welcome.

THALIARD:  I have understood your lord has betook himself to unknown travels.  Now message must return from whence it came.

HELICANUS:  Yet ere you shall depart, this we desire: as friends to Antioch, we may feast in Tyre.

    They exit.

    Act 1, Scene 4
    Cleon, the Governor of Tarsus, and his wife Dionyza enter 

CLEON:  My Dionyza, shall we rest us here and, by relating tales of others’ griefs, see it ‘twill teach us to forget our own?

DIONYZA:  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 pruned, they higher rise. 

CLEON:  Who lacks food, and will not say he wants it, or can conceal his hunger till he famish? I’ll 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. The tables of men and women were stored full so 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 to Dionyza 

These mouths showed but little contentment and
Joy with what the earth, sea and air did hand
Them, these creatures being then so unwise.
As houses are defiled by lack of use,
These mouths are starved for lack of exercise.
These mouths who did two summers past abuse
Their palates by demanding creative
Dishes would now beg for bread just to live. 
Hunger’s teeth are so sharp that couples draw
Lots to determine who shall be first to
Die and who will lengthen life.  I here saw
A lord and lady weeping, as did you!
Those that see them fall scarcely have strength to
Give them a burial.  Is not this true?

DIONYZA:  Our cheeks and hollow eyes do witness it.

CLEON:  O, let those cities that have Plenty’s cup hear these tears.  The misery of Tarsus may be theirs.

    A Lord enters.

LORD:  Where’s the Lord Governor?

CLEON:  Here.  Speak out thy sorrows.

LORD:  We have descried upon our neighboring shore a portly sail of ships make hitherward.

CLEON:  I thought as much.  Some neighboring nation, taking advantage of our misery, hath stuffed the hollow vessels with their power to beat us down.

LORD:  That’s the least fear, for, by the semblance of their white flags displayed, they bring us peace and come to us as favorers, not as foes.

CLEON:  Bring they what they will and what they can.  What need we fear?  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.

    Pericles with Attendants enters.

PERICLES:  Lord Governor, 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 come to relieve them.  Thee our ships are stored with corn to make your needy bread and give them life whom hunger starved half dead. 

ALL KNEELING:  The gods of Greece protect you, and we’ll pray for you.

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

    Cleon and the others rise.

CLEON:  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.

    They exit.

    Act 2, Scene 1
    Pericles learns from Helicanus that Thaliard was in Tyre with “intent to murder him and that in Tarsus was not best longer for him to make his rest.”  By this time Pericles had left Tarsus, but a storm at sea was so severe “that the ship should house him safe is wrecked and split,” and that all but the prince himself was lost, and that the storm “threw him ashore to give him glad.” 

As the Act opens, Pericles finds himself washed up on shore, soaking wet. 

PERICLES:  Alas, the seas have cast me on the rocks and left my life nothing to think on but ensuing death. 

    Three Fishermen enter.

THIRD FISHERMAN:  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.  Such whales have I heard on a’ the land, who never leave gaping till they swallowed the whole parish ---- church, steeple, bells and all.

PERICLES ASIDE:  A pretty moral.

THIRD FISHERMAN:  But if the good King Simonides were of my mind ----


THIRD FISHERMAN:  We would purge the land of these drones that rob the bee of her honey. 

PERICLES ASIDE:  Peace be at your labor, honest fishermen.

SECOND FISHERMAN:  Good fellow, what’s that?

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 who entreats you pity him.  He asks of you that never used to beg.

FIRST FISHERMAN:  No, friend, cannot you beg? 

SECOND FISHERMAN:  Canst thou catch any fishes, then?

PERICLES:  I never practiced it.

SECOND FISHERMAN:  Nay, then, thou wilt starve sure.

PERICLES:  I am a man thronged up with cold.  If you shall refuse, when I am dead, pray you see me buried.

FIRST FISHERMAN:  Die, die he say?  Now gods forbid ‘t, an I have a gown.  Here, come, put it on; keep thee warm.

    Pericles puts on the garment.

FIRST FISHERMAN:  Now, come, thou shalt go home.  We’ll have fish for fasting days, and moreo’er, puddings and flapjacks, and thou shalt be welcome.

PERICLES:  I thank you, sir.

SECOND FISHERMAN:  Master, I’ll go draw up the net.

    He exits with the Third Fisherman.

PERICLES ASIDE:  How well this honest mirth becomes their labor!

FIRST FISHERMAN:  Hark you, sir, do you know where you are?

PERICLES:  Not well.

FIRST FISHERMAN:  Why, I’ll tell you.  This is called Pentapolis, and our king the good Simonides.

PERICLES:  “The good Simonides” do you call him?

FIRST FISHERMAN:  Ay, sir, and he deserves so to be called for his peaceable reign and good government. 

PERICLES:  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 tomorrow is her birthday; and there are princes and knights come from all parts of the world to joust and tourney for her love. 

PERICLES:  Were my fortunes equal to my desires, I could wish to make one there.

    The two other Fisherman enter, drawing up a net.

SECOND FISHERMAN:  Help, master, help!  Here’s a fish hangs in the net.  Ha! ‘tis come at last, and ‘tis turned to a rusty armor.

PERICLES:  An armor friends?  I pray you let me see it.

    They pull out the armor.

PERICLES:  Thanks.  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.”  It kept where I kept.  I so dearly loved it, till the rough seas took it in rage.  I thank thee for ‘t; my shipwreck now’s no ill since I have here my father gave in his will. 

FIRST FISHERMAN:  What mean you, sir?

PERICLES:  To beg of you, kind friends, guide me to your sovereign’s court, where with it I may appear a gentleman. 

FIRST FISHERMAN:  Why, wilt thou tourney for the lady?

PERICLES:  I’ll slow the virtue I have borne in arms.

FIRST FISHERMAN:  Why, do take it, and the gods give thee good on ‘t.

SECOND FISHERMAN:  I hope, sir, if you thrive, you’ll remember from whence you had them. 

PERICLES:  Believe ‘t, I will

    He puts on the armor.

PERICLES:  By your furtherance I am clothed in steel.  This jeweled bracelet on my arm will with its value allow me a courser, whose steps shall make the gazer joy to see him tread.  Only, my friend, I yet am unprovided with garments. 

SECOND FISHERMAN:  We’ll sure provide.  I’ll bring thee to the court myself.

PERICLES:  This day I’ll rise or else add ill to ill.

    They exit.

    Act 2, Scene 2
    King Simonides and his daughter Thaisa, the princess of Pentapolis, enter.

SIMONIDES:  Are the knights ready to begin the triumph?

FIRST LORD: They are, my liege. 

SIMONIDES:  Reply to them we are ready, and our daughter here, in honor of whose birth these triumphs are.

    An Attendant exits.

THAISA:  It pleaseth you to express my commendations great, whose merit’s less.

SIMONIDES:  ‘Tis now your honor, daughter, to entertain the labor of each knight in his emblematic shield.

    Each night will present a shield to Thaisa.  The king asks his daughter who each knight is.  The first Knight passes by.

THAISA:  A knight of Sparta.  His shield bears a black Ethiop reaching for the sun.

    The second Knight passes by.

THAISA:  A prince of Macedon.  His shield bears an armed knight that’s conquered by a lady.

    The third Knight passes by.

THAISA:  The third, of Antioch; his shield is a wreath of chivalry.

    The fourth Knight passes by:

THAISA:  A burning torch that’s turned upside down.

    The fifth Knight passes by:

THAISA:  The fifth’s shield represents a hand holding out gold. 

    The sixth Knight (Pericles) passes by.

THAISA:  He seems to be a stranger.  His shield is a withered branch.

SIMONIDES:  From the dejected state wherein he is, he hopes by you his fortunes yet may flourish.

FIRST LORD:  He must of necessity mean better than his outward show.

SECOND LORD:  He well may be a stranger, for he comes strangely furnished.

THIRD LORD:  And intentionally let his armor rust until this day, to scour in the dust. 

SIMONIDES:  Opinion’s but a fool that makes us scan the outward habit by the inward man.

    They exit.

    Act 2, Scene 3
    Simonides, Thaisa, Lords, Ladies and the Knights in armor are on stage.

SIMONIDES:  To say you’re welcome were superfluous.  Every worth in show commends itself.  Prepare for mirth, for mirth becomes a feast.

THAISA TO PERICLES:  But you my knight and guest, to whom this wreath of victory I give and crown you king of this day’s happiness.

    She places a wreath on Pericles’ head.

PERICLES:  ‘Tis more by fortune, lady, than my merit.

SIMONIDES:  Call it by what you will, the day is yours. Come, queen o’ the feast, for daughter, so you are; here, take your place.

MARSHALL TO PERICLES:  Sir, yonder is your place.

PERICLES:   Some other is more fit.

SIMONIDES:  Sit, sir, sit.

    They sit.

SIMONIDES ASIDE:  By Jove I wonder, that is king of thoughts.

THAISA ASIDE:  By Juno, that is queen of marriage.  Sure, he’s a gallant gentleman.

SIMONIDES:  He’s but a country gentleman.  So let it pass.

THAISA ASIDE:  To me he seems like diamond to glass.

PERICLES ASIDE:  Yon king’s to me like to my father’s picture.  Now his son’s like a glowworm in the night, the which hath fire in darkness, none in light.

SIMONIDES:  What, are you merry, knights?

KNIGHTS:  Who can be other in this royal presence?

SIMONIDES:  We drink this health to you.

    He drinks.

SIMONIDES:  Yet pause awhile.  You knight doth sit too melancholy.  Note it not you, Thaisa?

THAISA: What is ‘t to me, my father?

SIMONIDES:  O, pay attention, my daughter.  Here, say we drink this standing-bowl of wine to him. 

    He drinks.

THAISA:  Alas, my father, it befits not me unto a stranger knight to be so bold.  Men take women’s gifts for impudence.

SIMONIDES:  How?  Do as I bid you, or you’ll make me angry. 

THAISA ASIDE:  He could not please me better.

SIMONIDES:  An furthermore tell him we desire to know of him of whence he is, his name and parentage. 

THAISA TO PERICLES:  My father, sir, has drunk to you.

PERICLES:  I thank him.

    He drinks to Simonides.

THAISA:  And further, he desires to know of you of whence you are, your name and parentage.

PERICLES:  A gentleman of Tyre, my name Pericles.  My education has been in arts and arms, who, looking for adventures in the world, was by the rough seas reft of ships and men, and after shipwreck driven upon this shore.

THAISA TO SIMONIDES:  He thanks your Grace; names himself Pericles, a gentleman of Tyre, who only by misfortune of the seas, bereft of ships and men, cast on this shore.

SIMONIDES:  Now, by the gods, I pity his misfortune, and will awake him from his melancholy.  Come, gentlemen, we sit too long on trifles and waste the time which looks for other revels.

    They dance.

SIMONIDES:  Come, sir.

    He presents Pericles to Thaisa.

SIMONIDES:  Here’s a lady that wants breathing too, and I have heard you knights of Tyre are excellent in making ladies dance nimbly.

    They dance.

SIMONIDES:  Thanks, gentlemen;

SIMONIDES:  Pages, conduct these men unto their several lodgings.

SIMONIDES TO PERICLES:  Yours, sir, we have given order be next our own.

PERICLES:  I am at your Grace’s pleasure.

    They exit.

    Act 2, Scene 4.
    Helicanus and Escanes, both lords of Tyre, enter. 

HELICANUS:  No, Escanes, know this of me:  When Antiochus was seated in a chariot of an inestimable value, and his daughter with him, a fire from heaven came and shriveled up those bodies even to loathing.

ESCANES:  ‘Twas very strange.

HELICANUS:  And yet but justice.  Sin had his reward.

ESCANES:  ‘Tis very true.

    Two or three lords enter.

FIRST LORD:  Follow me, then.  Lord Helicane, a word.

HELICANUS:  With me?  And welcome.

FIRST LORD:  Know that our griefs are risen to the top.

HELICANUS:  Your griefs?  For what?

FIRST LORD:  If the Prince do live, let us salute him, or know what ground’s made happy by his breath.  If in the world he live, we’ll seek him out; if in his grave he rest, we’ll find him there, and be resolved he lives to govern us, or dead, give ‘s cause to mourn his funeral and leave us to our free election.

SECOND LORD:  Knowing this kingdom is without a head --- like goodly buildings left without a roof soon fall to ruin --- your noble self, that best know how to rule and how to reign, we thus submit unto, our sovereign. 

HELICANUS:  If that you love Prince Pericles, forbear.  A twelve-month longer let me entreat you to forbear the absence of your king; I shall with aged patience bear your yoke.  Go search like nobles

FIRST LORD:  To wisdom he’s a fool that will not yield.  We with our travels will endeavor.  

HELICANUS:  Then you love us, we you, and we’ll clasp hands.  When peers thus knit, a kingdom ever stands.

    They exit.

    Act 2, Scene 5
    Simonides enters, reading a letter.  The Knights meet him.

SIMONIDES:  Knights, from my daughter this I let you know, that for this twelvemonth she’ll not undertake a married life.  Her reason to herself is only known.

SECOND KNIGHT:  May we not get access to her, my lord?

SIMONIDES:  Faith, by no means. 

THIRD KNIGHT:  We take our leaves.

    The Knights exit.

SIMONIDES:  So, they are well dispatched.  Now to my daughter’s letter.  She tells me here she’ll wed the stranger knight or never more to view nor day nor light.  ‘Tis well, mistress, your choice agrees with mine.  I like that well.  Soft, here he comes.

    Pericles enters.

SIMONIDES:  Let me ask you one thing: what do you think of my daughter, sir?

PERICLES: A most virtuous princess.

SIMONIDES:  And she is fair too, is she not?

PERICLES:  As a fair day in summer.

SIMONIDES:  Sir, my daughter thinks very well of you.  Therefore look to it.  Peruse this writing else.

PERICLES ASIDE:  What’s here?  A letter that she loves the knight of Tyre?  ‘Tis the king’s subtlety to have my life.  O, seek not to entrap me, gracious lord, a stranger and distressed gentleman that never aimed so high to love your daughter. 

SIMONIDES:  Thou hast bewitched my daughter, and thou art a villain.

PERICLES:  By the gods, I have not!  Nor never did my actions yet commence a deed might gain her love or your displeasure.

SIMONIDES:  Traitor, thou liest!

PERICLES:  Traitor?

SIMONIDES ASIDE:  Now, by the gods, I do applaud his courage.

PERICLES:  My actions are as noble as my thoughts.  I came unto your court for honor’s cause, and not to be a rebel to her state. 

SIMONIDES:  No?  Here comes my daughter.  She can witness it.

    Thaisa enters.

PERICLES:  Resolve your angry father if my tongue did e’er solicit or my hand subscribe to any syllable that made love to you.

THAISA:  Why, sir, say if you had, who takes offense at that would make me glad?

SIMONIDES:  Yea, mistress, are you so determined?

SIMONIDES ASIDE:  I am glad on ‘t with all my heart.

SIMONIDES:  Will you, not having my consent, bestow your love and your affections upon a stranger?

SIMONIDES ASIDE:  Who, for aught I know, may be as great in blood as I myself.

SIMONIDES:  I’ll make you man and wife.  Come, your hands and lips must seal it too.  God give you joy!  What, are you both pleased?


THAISA TO PERICLES:  If you love me, sir.

PERICLES:  Even as my life loves my blood that fosters it.

SIMONIDES:  Are you both agreed?

BOTH:  Yes, if ‘t please your Majesty.

SIMONIDES:  It pleaseth me so well that I will see you wed.

    They exit.

    Act 3, Scene 1
    Pericles is on his ship at sea.

PERICLES:  The god of this great ocean, rebuke these surges.  Thou that hast upon the winds command, bind them in brass, having called them from the deep!  O Divinest patroness,
convey thy deity aboard our dancing boat, make swift the pangs of my queen’s travails! 

    Lychorida enters carrying an infant.

LYCHORIDA:  Here is a thing too young for such a place.  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? 

LYCHORIDA:  Patience good sir.

    She hands him the baby.

PERICLES TO THE INFANT:  Now mild may be thy life, for a more blusterous birth had never babe.  Quiet and gentle thy conditions, for thou art the rudeliest welcome to this world that ever was prince’s child. 

    Two sailors enter.

FIRST SAILOR:  What courage, sir?  God save you.

PERICLES:  Courage enough.  Yet for the love of this poor infant, this fresh new seafarer.  I would it would be quiet. 

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; we are strong in custom.  Therefore briefly yield ‘er, for she must overboard straight. 

LYCHORIDA:  Here she lies, sir.

PERICLES:  Th’ unfriendly elements forgot thee utterly.  Nor have I time to give thee hallowed to thy grave, but straight must cast thee, scarcely coffined.  O, Lychorida, lay the babe upon the pillow.  Hie thee, whiles I say a priestly farewell to her.

    Lychorida exits.

SECOND SAILOR:  Sir, we have a chest beneath the hatches.

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.

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 Tyre.  There I’ll leave it at careful nursing.

    They exit.

    Act 3, Scene 2
    Lord Cerimon, a physician from Ephesus, is on stage. 

    Two Gentlemen enter.

SECOND GENTLEMAN:  Good morrow to your Lordship.

CERIMON:  Gentlemen, why do you stir so early.

FIRST GENTLEMAN:  Sir, our lodgings, standing bleak upon the sea, shook as the earth did quake.  Pure surprise and fear made me to quit the house.

SECOND GENTLEMAN:  That is the cause we trouble you so early.

CERIMON:  O, you say well.

FIRST GENTLEMAN:  I much marvel that your Lordship, having luxurious accoutrements about you, should  at these  early hours shake off the golden slumber of repose.

Cerimon to Gentlemen:       

I hold it ever that skill and virtue
Hold more value than nobles’ riches do.
Careless heirs may darken noble claims and
Spend their riches, where immortality
‘Tends the former, making a good man grand.
‘Tis known through good fortune I did study
Medicine, and, through its select learning
And together with my practice, have seen 
The benefit of blessed infusions
Found in plants and the glorious sulfate
Found in stones; speaking to the dispersions
Nature offers and how she cures. That fate
Hath given me this delight is my stealth;
Death separating a man from his wealth.

SECOND GENTLEMAN:  Your honor has through Ephesus poured forth your charity, and hundreds call themselves your creatures, who by you have been restored. 

    Two Servants enter with a chest.

SERVANT:  Sir, even now did the sea toss up upon our shore this chest.  ‘Tis of some wreck.
CERIMON:  Set ‘t down.  Let’s look upon ‘t.

SECOND GENTLEMAN:  ‘Tis like a coffin, sir.

CERIMON:  What e’er it be, ‘tis wondrous heavy.  Wrench it open straight.  Did the sea cast it up?
SERVANT:  I never saw so huge a billow, sir, as tossed it upon shore.

    They open the chest.

CERIMON:  What’s here?  A corpse?

SECOND GENTLEMAN:  Most strange!

CERIMON:  Shrouded in cloth of state, balmed and entreasured with full bags of spices.  A passport too!

CERIMON READS:  Here I give to understand, if e’er this coffin drives aland, I, King Pericles, hast lost this queen, worth all our mundane cost.  Who finds her, give her burying.  She was the daughter of a king.

CERIMON:  If thou livest, Pericles, thou hast a heart that ever cracks for woe. This occurred last night.

SECOND GENTLEMAN:  Most likely, sir.

CERIMON:  Nay, certainly last night, for look how fresh she looks.  Fetch hither all my boxes from my private room.

    A servant exits.

CERIMON:  Death may usurp on nature many hours, and yet the fire of life kindles again the o’erpressed spirits.   

    Enter a Servant with boxes, napkins and fire.

CERIMON:  The harsh and woeful music that we have, cause it to sound, beseech you.

    Music sounds.

CERIMON:  I pray you, give her air. Gentlemen, this queen will live.  Nature awakes a warm breath out of her.  She hath not been entranced above five hours.  See how she begins to blossom into life’s flower again.

FIRST GENTLEMAN:  The heavens, through you, increase our wonder, and sets up your fame forever.

CERIMON:  She is alive.  Live and make us weep to hear your fate, fair creature, rare as you seem to be.

    She moves.

THAISA:  Where am I?  Where’s my lord?  What world is this?

SECOND GENTLEMAN:  Is not this strange?


CERIMON:  Hush, my gentle neighbors!  Lend me your hands.  To the next chamber bear her.  Get linen.  Now this matter must be looked to, for her relapse would be fatal.  Come, come.

    They carry her away as they all exit.

    Act 3, Scene 3
    Pericles enters at Tarsus, with Cleon and Dionyza, and Lychorida with the child.

PERICLES:  Most honored Cleon, I must needs be gone.  My twelve months are expired, and Tyrus stands in a contentious state.

CLEON:  Your damaging blows, though they haunt you mortally, yet glance full strangely on us.

DIONZYA:  O, your sweet queen!

PERICLES:  We cannot but obey the powers above us.  My gentle babe Marina, whom, for she was born at sea, I have named so, here I charge your charity withal, leaving her the infant of your care, that she may be mannered as she is born.

CLEON:  Fear not, my lord, but think your Grace, that fed my country with your corn, for which the people’s prayers still upon you, must in your child be thought on.

PERICLES:  I believe you.  Your honor and your goodness teach me to ‘t without your vows.  So I take my leave.  Good madam, make me blessed in your care in bringing up my child.

DIONYZA:  I have one myself, who shall not be more dear to my respect than yours, my lord.

PERICLES:  Madam, my thanks and prayers.  O, no tears, Lychorida, no tears!  Look to your little mistress, on whose grace you may depend hereafter.  Come, my lord. 

    They exit.

    Act 3, Scene 4
    Cerimon and Thaisa are on stage.  We are told that fourteen years have elapsed  between Acts three and four, and that Marina has been “trained in music, letters; who hath gained of education all grace which makes high both the art and place of general wonder.”  We also learn that Dionyza seriously envies “all praises Marina gets” and that “a present murderer does prepare for good Marina, that her (Dionyza’s) daughter might stand peerless by this slaughter.”

CERIMON:  Madam, this letter and some certain jewels lay with you in your coffer, which are at your command.  Know you the handwriting?

    He shows her the letter.

THAISA:  It is my lord’s.  But since King Pericles, my wedded lord, I ne’er shall see again, a life of chastity will I take me to, and never more have joy.

CERIMON:  Madam, if this your purpose as you speak, Diana’s temple is not distant far, where you may abide till your date expire.  Moreover, if you please, a niece of mine shall there attend you.

THAISA:  My recompense is thanks, that’s all. 

    They exit.

    Act 4, Scene 1
    Dionyza and her servant, Leonine, are on stage

DIONYZA:  Thy oath remember.  Thou hast sworn to do ‘t. Thou canst not do a thing in the world so soon to yield thee so much profit.  Let not conscience thy bosom inflame too nicely.  Nor let pity, which even women have cast off, melt thee; but be a soldier to thy purpose. 

LEONINE:  I will do ‘t; but yet.  She is a goodly creature.

DIONYZA:  The fitter, then, the gods should have her.  Here she comes weeping for her only mistress’ death.

Marina enters with a basket of flowers.

MARINA:  Ay me, poor maid, born in a tempest when my mother died, this world to me is as a lasting storm, whirring me from my family.

DIONYZA:  How now, Marina?  Do not consume your blood with sorrowing.  Have you a nurse of me!  Walk with Leonine.  Come, Leonine, take her by the arm.  Walk with her.

MARINA:  No, I pray you, I’ll not deprive you of your servant. 

DIONYZA:  Come, come.  I love the king your father and yourself with more than foreign heart.  We every day expect him here.  He will blame both my lord and me that we have taken no care to your best courses.  Go, I pray you, walk, and be cheerful once again.

MARINA:  Well, I will go, but yet I have no desire to it.

DIONYZA:  Walk half an hour, Leonine, at the least.  Remember what I have said.

LEONINE:  I warrant you, madam.

DIONYZA:  I’ll leave you, my sweet lady, for a while.

    Dionyza exits.

MARINA:  Is this wind westerly that blows?

LEONINE:  Southwest.

MARINA:  When I was born, the wind was north.

LEONINE:  Was ‘t so?

MARINA:  My father, as nurse says, did never fear, and clasping to the mast, endured a sea that almost burst the deck.

LEONINE:  When was this?

MARINA:  When I was born.  Never was waves nor wind more violent.

LEONINE:  Come, say your prayers.

    He draws his sword.

MARINA:  What mean you?

LEONINE:  If you require a little space for prayer, I grant it.  I am sworn to do my work in haste.

MARINA:  Why will you kill me?

LEONINE:  To satisfy my lady.

Marina to Leonine 

Why would your lady have me killed?  Now, I
Do know I ne’er did hurt her in all my
Life.  I never spoke a bad word of her,
Nor ever harmed a living creature.  What
Is this?  I ne’er killed a mouse, nor ever
Trod upon a worm against my will but
That I wept for it. Where did I offend
That she might profit if my life doth end?
How doth my life imply her danger?  You
Cannot do it for all the world, having
A gentle heart.  I saw you part those two
Who fought; you then injured; the act showing
Well in you.  Do so now.  Your fair lady
Seeks my life.  Come ‘tween us and save poor me.

LEONINE:  My commission is not to reason of the deed, but do ‘t.  I am sworn and will dispatch. 

    Pirates enter.  Leonine runs offstage.

SECOND PIRATE:  A prize, a prize!

    He seizes Marina.

THIRD PIRATE:  Come, let’s have her aboard suddenly.

    They exit, carrying Marina.  Leonine enters.

LEONINE:  These rouging thieves serve the great pirate Valdes, and they have seized Marina.  Let her go.  There’s no hope she will return.  I’ll swear she’s dead, and thrown into the sea. 

    He exits.

    Act 4, Scene 2 
    Marina is sold by the pirates to a brothel in Mytilene; Mytilene being a port city on the island of Lesbos in the Aegean Sea.  Pander owns the brothel; Bawd is Pander’s wife and manages the brothel; Bolt is their servant. 

PANDER:  Mytilene is full of pleasure-seeking men.  We lost too much money in the most recent mart, being out of prostitutes. 

BAWD:  We were never so much out of creatures.  We have but poor three, and they can do no more than they can do. 

PANDER:  Therefore let’s have fresh ones, whate’er we pay for them.

BAWD:  Thou sayst true.

BOLT:  Shall I search the market?

BAWD:  What else, man.

PANDER:  Thou sayst true.

    Bolt exits.

PANDER:  Three or four thousand gold coins would be nice to have and live quietly and so cease working.

BAWD:  Why cease working, I pray you.

PANDER:  The sore terms we stand upon with the gods will be strong with us for retiring.

BAWD:  Come, other sorts offend as well as we.

PANDER:  As well as we? Ay, and better too; we offend worse.

    Bolt enters with the Pirates and Marina.

BOLT:  You say she’s a virgin?

PIRATE:  O, sir, we doubt it not.

BAWD:  Bolt, has she any qualities?

BOLT:  She has a good face, speaks well, and has excellent good clothes.

BAWD:  What’s her price, Bolt?

BOLT:  I can get the price reduced below a thousand gold pieces.

PANDER:  Well, my masters; you shall have your money presently.  Wife, take her in.  Instruct her what to do.

    He exits with the Pirates.

BAWD:  Bolt, write down the color of her hair, complexion, height, her age, with warrant of her virginity, and cry “He that will give most shall have her first.”

    Bolt exits.

MARINA:  Alack that Leonine was so slack, so slow!  He should have struck, not spoke. Or that these pirates had o’erboard thrown me for to seek my mother.

BAWD:  Why lament you, pretty one.

MARINA:  That I am pretty.

BAWD:  You shall fare well; you shall have the difference of men of every sort.  What, do you stop your ears?

MARINA:  Are you a woman?

BAWD:  What would you have me be, an I be not a woman?

MARINA:  A honest woman, or not a woman.

BAWD:  Marry, confound the young goose.

    Bolt enters.

BAWD:  Now, sir, hast thou cried her through the market?

BOLT:  There was a Spaniard’s mouth watered an he went to bed to her very description.

BAWD:  We shall have him here tomorrow.

BOLT:  Tonight, tonight!

BAWD TO MARINA:  Pray you, come hither awhile.  You have fortunes coming upon you.  You must seem to do that fearfully which you commit willingly.

MARINA:  I understand you not.

BOLT:  O, take her home.  These blushes of hers must be quenched with some present practice.

BAWD:  Thou sayst true.  Come, young one, I like the manner of your garments well.

    She gives Bolt some money.

BAWD:  Report what a guest we have.  You’ll lose nothing through our getting customers.

BOLT:  I’ll bring home some tonight.

MARINA:  If fires be hot, knives sharp, or waters deep, tide I still my virgin knot will keep.

    They exit.

    Act 4, Scene 3
    Cleon and Dionyza are on stage, Dionyza having told Cleon that she had Marina killed.

DIONYZA:  Can it be undone?

CLEON:  O Dionyza, such a piece of slaughter the son and moon ne’er looked upon!  Were I chief lord of all this spacious world, I’d give it to undo the deed.  O villain, Leonine, whom thou hast poisoned too!  What canst thou say when noble Pericles shall demand his child.?

DIONYZA:  That she is dead.  She died at night; I’ll say so.  Who can cross it unless you play the impious innocent and cry out “She died by foul play!” 

CLEON:  Of all the faults beneath the heavens, the gods do like this worst.

DIONYZA:  Be it so, then.  Yet none does know but you how she came dead, nor none can know, Leonine being gone.  She did distain my child and stood between her and her fortunes.  None would look on her, but cast their gazes on Marina’s face.  I find it greets me as an enterprise of kindness performed to your sole daughter.

CLEON:  Heavens forgive it.

DIONYZA:  And as for Pericles, what should he say?  We wept after her hearse, and yet we mourn. 

    They exit.

    Act 4, Scene 4 
    Pericles arrives in Tarsus, learns of Marina’s death and vows perpetual mourning. 

    Act 4, Scene 5 
    Marina talks her way out of losing her virginity through eloquent pleas to two gentlemen customers.

FIRST GENTLEMAN:  Did you ever hear the like?

SECOND GENTLEMAN:  No, nor never shall do in such a place as this.

FIRST GENTLEMAN:  But to have divinity preached there!  Did you ever dream of such a thing?

SECOND GENTLEMAN:  No, no.  Come, I am for no more bawdy houses.  Shall we go hear the vestals sing?

FIRST GENTLEMAN:  I’ll do anything now that is virtuous.

    Act 4, Scene 6
    Pander, the Bawd and Bolt are on stage.

PANDER:  Well, I had rather than twice the worth of her she had ne’er come here.
BAWD:  We must either get her ravished or be rid of her.  She would make a puritan of the devil if he should offer to pay her for a kiss.

    Lysimachus enters.

BAWD:  Here comes the Lord Lysimachus disguised. 

    Lysimachus removes his disguise.

BAWD:  Now the gods bless your Honor!

BOLT:  I am glad to see your Honor in good health.

BAWD:  We have here one, sir, if she would ------

LYSIMACHUS:  If she’d do the deeds of darkness, thou wouldst say?

BAWD:  Your Honor knows what ‘tis to say, well enough.

    Pander exits.

BOLT:  For flesh and blood, sir, you shall see a rose; and she were a rose indeed, if she had but ----

LYSIMACHUS:  What, prithee?

    Pander enters with Marina.

BAWD:  Is she not a fair creature?

    Lysimachus gives her money.

LYSIMACHUS:  Well, there’s for you.  Leave us.

BAWD:  I beseech your Honor, give me leave a word, and, I’ll have done presently.

LYSIMACHUS:  I beseech you, do.

    He moves aside.

BAWD TO MARINA:  First, I would have you note this is an honorable man.

MARINA:  I desire to find him so.

BAWD:  Next, he’s the governor of this country and a man whom I am bound to.

MARINA:  If he govern the country, you are bound to him indeed, but how honorable he is in that I know not.

BAWD:  Pray you, will you use him kindly?  He will line your apron with gold.

MARINA:  What he will do graciously, I will thankfully receive.

    Lysimachus comes forward.

LYSIMACHUS:  Ha’ you done?

BAWD:  My lord, she’s not trained yet.  Come well leave his Honor and her together.

Bawd, Pander and Bolt exit.

LYSIMACHUS:  Why, the house you dwell in proclaims you to be a creature of sale.

MARINA:  Do you know this house to be a place people come to for such purposes?  I hear say you’re of honorable parts and are the governor of this place.

LYSIMACHUS:  Hath your principal made known unto you who I am?

MARINA:  Who is my principal?

LYSIMACHUS:  Come, bring me to some private place.  Come, come.

MARINA:  If you were born to honor, show it now.

LYSIMACHUS:  How’s this?  Some more.  Be sage.

MARINA:  Fortune have placed me in the sty, where I pray that the gods would set me free from this unhallowed place. 

LYSIMACHUS:  I did not think thou couldst have spoke so well, ne’er dreamt thou couldst.  Hold, here’s gold for thee.  Persevere in that clear way thou goest and the gods strengthen thee!

    He gives her money.

MARINA:  The good gods preserve you.

LYSIMACHUS:  Fare thee well.  Thou art a piece of virtue, and I doubt not but thy training hath been noble.  Hold, here’s more gold for thee. 

    He gives her money.

LYSIMACHUS:  If thou dost hear from me, it shall be for thy good.

    He exits.

BOLT:  How’s this?  We must take another course with you!  Come along.

MARINA:  Whither would you have me?

BOLT:  We’ll have no more gentlemen driven away.  Come along, I say.

    Bawd and Pander enter.

BAWD:  How now, what’s the matter?

BOLT:  She has here spoken holy words to the Lord Lysimachus!

BAWD:  Marry, hang her up forever.

BOLT:  She sent him away as cold as a snowball, saying his prayers too.

BAWD:  Bolt, take her away

MARINA:  Hark, hark, you gods!

BAWD:  Away with her!  Would she had never come within my doors.  She’s born to undo us. 

    Bawd and Pander exit.

BOLT:  Come, mistress, come your way with me.

MARINA:  Prithee, tell me one thing first.  What canst thou wish thine enemy to be?

BOLT:  Why, I could wish him to be my master, or rather, my mistress.

Marina to Bolt  

Neither of these is so bad as thou art.
The most pained’st fiend of hell would not part
With his reputation for yours.  Just what
Are you to every base fellow who calls
Here for his strumpet?  Do anything but
This.  Empty old trash bins; clean the duke’s stalls;
Serve as an apprentice to the hangman. 
But for thy soul, do something else you can.
Here, here’s gold for thee that the gods might at
Their mercies deliver me.  Thy master
Could profit by me by proclaiming that
I can sing, weave, sew and dance, with better
Virtues I’ll keep from boast.  I’ll plan to teach.
We should have many pupils here to reach. 

BOLT:  But can you teach all this you speak of?

MARINA:  Prove that I cannot.

BOLT:  Well, I will see what I can do for thee.  If I can place thee, I will

MARINA:  But amongst honest women.

BOLT:  Faith, my acquaintance lies little amongst them.  But since my master and mistress hath bought you, there’s no going but by their consent.  Therefore I will make them acquainted with your purpose, and I doubt not but I shall find them tractable enough.  Come, I’ll do for thee what I can.

    They exit.

Act 5, Scene 1
At sea, Helicanus on his ship from Tyrus and Lysimachus on his ship from Mytilene meet. 

TYRIAN SAILOR:  Where is Lord Helicanus?  O, here he is.  There is a barge put off from Mytilene, and in it is Lysimachus, the Governor, who craves to come aboard.  What is your will?

HELICANUS:  That he have his.

    Two Gentlemen enter.

HELICANUS:  Gentlemen, there is some of worth would come aboard. I pray, greet him fairly.
Lysimachus with Lords and a Sailor from Mytilene enter.

LYSIMACHUS TO HELICANUS:  Hail, reverend sir.

HELICANUS:  And you, to outlive the age I am.

LYSIMACHUS:  You wish me well.  I need to know of whence you are.

HELICANUS:  First, what is your place?

LYSIMACHUS:  I am the governor of this place you lie before.

HELICANUS:  Sir, our vessel is of Tyre, in it the King, a man who for this three months hath not spoken to anyone, nor taken sustenance but to prolong his grief.

LYSIMACHUS:  Upon what ground is his distemperature?

HELICANUS:  The main grief springs from the loss of a beloved daughter and a wife.

LYSIMACHUS:  May we not see him?

HELICANUS:  You may.  He will not speak to any.

LYSIMACHUS:  Yet let me obtain my wish.

    Pericles comes forward.

LYSIMACHUS:  Sir king, all hail!

HELICANUS:  It is in vain; he will not speak to you.

LORD:  Sir, we have a maid in Mytilene, I durst wager would win some words of him.

LYSIMACHUS:  ‘Tis well bethought.

    Lysimachus signals to a Lord, who exits.  The Lord and Marina and her companion enter.

LYSIMACHUS:  O, here’s the lady that I sent for.  Welcome, fair one. 

HELICANUS:  She’s a fine-looking lady.

LYSIMACHUS:  She’s such a one that, were I well assured came of a gentle kind and noble stock. Fair one, if thy artful feat can draw him but to answer, thy sacred medicine shall receive such pay as thy desires can wish.

MARINA:  Sir, I will use my utmost skill in his recovery, provided that none but I and  my companion maid be permitted to come near him.

LYSIMACHUS:  Come, let us leave her.

    Lysimachus, Helicanus and others move aside.  Marina sings.

MARINA TO PERICLES:  Hail, sir!  My lord, lend ear.

    He forcefully pushes her away.

PERICLES:  Hum, ha!

Marina to Pericles 

I am a maid who never has been one
To invite eyes, but have been gazed upon
Like a comet.  This maid who speaks, my lord,
May have endured a grief every bit the
Equal of yours, if fairness did afford.
Truly, wayward Fortune poorly led me,
Misfortune changing the life I was meant
To live, my ancestors equivalent
With mighty kings.  Time hath rooted out my
Parentage. Awkward accidents have bound
Me to servitude.  (I will desist.  I
Hear a voice say “Let him speak.”)  If you’d found
Opportunity to experience
My parents, you’d not do me violence.

PERICLES:  I do think so.  Pray you turn your eyes upon me.  What country are you from?  Here of these shores? 

MARINA:  No, nor of any shores.  Yet I was born of mortals, and am no other than I appear.

Pericles to Himself and Marina

This maid is like my dearest wife and one
My daughter might have been. She here has done
As she’d have done, my queen’s brows, her stature
To an inch, and as wand-like straight; her eyes
As jewel-like and encased as richly.  Her
Voice starves the ears she feeds, drawing out sighs,
Making them hungry as she gives them speech.
Where bred?  Your accomplishments seem to reach
Beyond others; thou seemest a palace
Of Justice where truth doth dwell.  Who were thy
Parents, for thou lookest like one of us
We loved indeed.  Didst thou not say when I
Pushed thee back when thou made your appearance
That you were descended from good parents?

MARINA:  So indeed I did.

PERICLES:  Report thy parentage.  I think thou said’st thou hadst been tossed from wrong to injury, and that thou thought’st thy griefs might equal mine, if both were revealed. 

MARINA:  Some such thing I said. 

PERICLES: Tell thy story.  I do beseech thee.  Come, sit by me.

    She sits.

MARINA:  My name is Marina.

PERICLES:  O, I am mocked, and thou by some incensed god sent hither to make the world to laugh at me!

MARINA:  Patience, good sir, or here I’ll cease.

PERICLES:  Nay, I’ll be patient.  Thou little know’st how thou dost startle me to call thyself Marina.

MARINA:  The name was given me by one that had some power --- my father, and a king.

PERICLES:  How, a king’s daughter?  And called Marina?

MARINA:  You said you would believe me.  But not to be a troubler of your peace, I will end here.

PERICLES:  But are you flesh and blood?  Well, speak on.  Where were you born?  And wherefore called

MARINA:  Called Marina for I was born at sea.

PERICLES:  My mother was the daughter of a king, who died the minute I was born, as my good nurse Lychorida hath oft delivered weeping.

PERICLES:  O, stop there a little!

PERICLES ASIDE:  This cannot be my daughter, buried.

PERICLES:  Well, where were you bred? 

MARINA:  You scorn.  Believe me, ‘twee best I did cease.

PERICLES:  Yet give me permission to ask you the following: How came you to these parts?  Where were you bred?

MARINA:  The King my father did in Tarsus leave me, till cruel Cleon and his wicked wife did seek to murder me, having wooed a villain to attempt it.  A crew of pirates came and rescued me, brought me to Mytilene --- but, good sir, why do you weep?  I am the daughter to King Pericles, if good King Pericles be. 

PERICLES:  Ho, Helicanus!

HELICANUS:  Calls my lord?

PERICLES:  Tell me, if thou canst, what this maid is that hath made me weep.

HELICANUS:  I know not; but here’s the regent, sir, of Mytilene speaks nobly of her.

LYSIMACHUS:  She never would tell her parentage.  Being demanded that, she would sit still and weep. 

PERICLES:  O, come hither, thou that beget’st him that did thee beget, thou that wast born at sea, buried at Tarsus, and found at sea again.  O, Helicanus, this is Marina.  What was thy mother’s name?

MARINA:  First, sir, I pray, what is your title?

PERICLES:  I am Pericles of Tyre.  But tell me now my drowned queen’s name.

MARINA:  Thaisa was my mother, who did end the minute I began. 

PERICLES:  Now, blessing on thee!  Rise.  Thou’rt my child ---- mine own Helicanus.  She is not dead at Tarsus.  She is thy very princess.  Who is this?

HELICANUS:  Sir, ‘tis the Governor of Mytilene.

PERICLES TO LYSIMACHUS:  I embrace you.  Give me my robes.  I am wild in my beholding.
They put fresh garments on him.

PERICLES:  O heavens bless my girl!  But hark, what music?  But what music?

HELICANUS:  My lord, I hear none.

PERICLES:  None?  List, my Marina.

LYSIMACHUS: It is not good to cross him.  Give him way. 

PERICLES:  Rarest sounds!  Do you not hear?

LYSIMACHUS:  Music, my lord?

PERICLES:  Most heavenly music.  It nips me unto list’ning, and think slumber hangs upon mine eyes.  Let me rest.

    He sleeps.

LYSIMACHUS:  A pillow for his head.  So, leave him all.

    All but Pericles exit.  Diana descends.

DIANA:  My temple stands in Ephesus.  Hie thee thither and before the people all, reveal how thou at sea didst lose thy wife.  To mourn thy adversities and give them repetition to life.  Do ‘t, and happy, awake, and tell thy dream.

    She ascends.

PERICLES:  Celestial Dian, I will obey thee.  Helicanus!

Helicanus, Lysimachus, Marina and attendants enter.


PERICLES:  My purpose was for Tarsus, but I am for other service first.  Toward Ephesus turn our full sails.  Soon I’ll tell thee why.

PERICLES TO LYSIMACHUS:  Shall we refresh us, sir, upon your shore.

LYSIMACHUS:  Sir, with all my heart.  And when you come ashore, I have another suit.

PERICLES:  You shall prevail where it to woo my daughter, for it seems you have been noble towards her. 

LYSIMACHUS:  Sir, lend me your arm.

PERICLES:  Come, my Marina.

    They exit.

    Act 5, Scene 2 
    We learn that Pericles is honored and celebrated in Mytilene, and that Lysimachus and Marina plan to marry.

    Act 5, Scene 3
    In Ephesus, at Diana’s temple, Cerimon and Thaisa enter at one door; Pericles Marina, Helicanus and Lysimachus enter at another.

PERICLES:  Hail, Dian!  I here confess myself the King of Tyre, who frighted from my country, did wed at Pentapolis the fair Thaisa.  At sea in childbed died she, but brought forth a maid child called Marina.  She at Tarsus was brought up by Cleon, who at fourteen years he sought to murder.  But her better stars brought her to Mytilene where she made known herself my daughter. 

THAISA:  You are, you are --- O royal Pericles!

    She falls in a faint.

PERICLES:  She dies!  Help, gentlemen!

CERIMON:  Noble sir, if you have told Diana’s altar true, this is your wife.

PERICLES:  No, I threw her overboard with these very arms.

CERIMON:  Look to the lady.  Early one blustering morn this lady was thrown upon this shore.  I opened the coffin, found there rich jewels, recovered her, and placed her here in Diana’s temple.   Look, Thaisa is recovered.

    Thaisa rises.

THAISA:  O, let me look!  O, my lord, are you not Pericles?  Did you not name a tempest, a birth and death.

PERICLES:  The voice of dead Thaisa!

THAISA:  That Thaisa am I, supposed dead and drowned.  Now I know the better.

She points to the ring on his hand.
THAISA:  When we with tears parted Pentapolis, the king my father gave you such a ring.

PERICLES:  This, this!  No more, you gods!  Your present kindness makes my past miseries sports.  O, come, be buried a second time, within these arms!

    They embrace.

MARINA KNEELING:  My heart leaps to be gone into my mother’s bosom.

PERICLES:  Look who kneels here, flesh of thy flesh, Thaisa, thy burden at the sea, and called Marina for she was yielded there. 

THAISA EMBRACING MARINA:  Blessed, and mine own!

HELICANUS:  Hail, madam, and my queen.

THAISA:  I know you not.

PERICLES:  You have heard me say, when I did fly from Tyre I left behind an ancient substitute.  Can you remember what I called the man?  I have named him often.

THAISA:  ‘Twas Helicanus then.

PERICLES:  Embrace him, dear Thaisa.  This is he.

    They embrace.

PERICLES:  Now do I long to hear how you were found, and who to thank, besides the gods, for this great miracle.

THAISA:  Lord Cerimon, my lord, this man through whom the gods have shown their power.

PERICLES:  Reverend sir, will you deliver how this dead queen relives?

CERIMON:  I will, my lord.  Beseech you, first let us show you this temple where she came to be placed, no needful thing omitted. 

PERICLES:  Pure Dian.  I bless thee for thy vision and will offer nightly prayers to thee.  Thaisa, this prince, the fair betrothed of your daughter, shall marry her at Pentapolis.  What this fourteen years no razor touched, to grace thy marriage day I’ll beautify.

THAISA:  Lord Cerimon hath letters of good credit, sir, my father’s dead.

PERICLES:  Heavens make a star of him!  Yet there, my queen, we’ll celebrate their nuptials, and ourselves will in that kingdom spend our following days.  Our son and daughter shall in Tyrus reign.  Lord Cerimon, we do our longing stay to hear the rest unfold.  Sir, lead ‘s the way.

    They exit.


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