Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Tom Bishop
Not Peer Reviewed

Pericles, Prince of Tyre (Modern)

[Thunder.] Enter Pericles on shipboard.
Pericles The god of this great vast, rebuke these surges
Which wash both heaven and hell! And thou that hast
1115Upon the winds command, bind them in brass,
Having called them from the deep; O still
Thy deafening dreadful thunders, gently quench
Thy nimble sulphurous flashes! [He calls.] Oh, how-- Lychorida --
How does my queen? [Thunder.] Thou storm, venomously
1120Wilt thou spit all thyself? The seaman's whistle
Is as a whisper in the ears of death,
Unheard. [He calls.] Lychorida? Lucina, o
Divinest patroness and midwife gentle
To those that cry by night, convey thy deity
1125Aboard our dancing boat, make swift the pangs
Of my queen's travails! Now, Lychorida.
Enter Lychorida, [with a baby].
Lychorida Here is a thing too young for such a place,
Who if it had conceit would die, as I
Am like to do. 1130Take in your arms this piece
Of your dead queen.
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,
1135Be manly, and take comfort.
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
1140Vie honor with you.
Patience, good sir,
Even for this charge.
[To the baby] Now mild may be thy life,
For a more blusterous birth had never babe;
Quiet and gentle thy conditions, for
1145Thou 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.
1150Even 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.
1 Sailor What courage sir? God save you.
1155Pericles 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.
1 Sailor [Calls to sailors off.] Slack the bowlines there! [To the storm.] Thou wilt not, wilt thou? 1160Blow and split thyself!
2 Sailor But sea-room, an the brine and cloudy billow kiss the moon, I care not.
1 Sailor [To Pericles] Sir, your queen must overboard. The sea works high, the wind is loud, and will not lie till the ship 1165be cleared of the dead.
Pericles That's your superstition.
1 Sailor Pardon us, sir. With us at sea it hath been still observed, and we are strong in custom. Therefore briefly yield 'er, for she must overboard straight.
As you think meet. 1170Most wretchèd queen!
Here she lies, sir.
[The body of Thaisa is revealed.]
Pericles A terrible child-bed hast thou had, my dear.
No light, no fire. Th'unfriendly elements
Forgot thee utterly. Nor have I time
1175To give thee hallowed to thy grave, but straight
Must cast thee, scarcely coffined, 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,
1180Lying 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
1185A priestly farewell to her. Suddenly, woman!
[Exit Lychorida, with the baby.]
2 Sailor Sir, we have a chest beneath the hatches, caulked and bitumed ready.
Pericles I thank thee, mariner. Say, what coast is this?
2 Sailor We are near Tharsus.
1190Pericles Thither, gentle Mariner,
Alter thy course for Tyre. When canst thou reach it?
2 Sailor By break of day, if the wind cease.
Pericles Oh, make for Tharsus!
There will I visit Cleon, for the babe
1195Cannot hold out to Tyrus. There I'll leave it
At careful nursing. Go thy ways, good mariner.
I'll bring the body presently.
Exeunt [different ways, Pericles with the body of Thaisa.]