Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Tom Bishop
Not Peer Reviewed

Pericles, Prince of Tyre (Modern)

Enter Lord Cerimon with a servant [and another man in distress].
Cerimon [Calling offstage] Philemon, ho!
Enter Philemon.
Philemon Doth my lord call?
Cerimon Get fire and meat for these poor men.
[Exit Philemon.]
'T'as been a turbulent and stormy night.
Servant I have been in many, but such a night as this,
1205Till now I ne'er endured.
Cerimon [To servant] Your master will be dead ere you return.
There's nothing can be ministered to nature
That can recover him. [To the other man, giving him a note.] Give this to the 'pothecary,
And tell me how it works.
[Exeunt both men.]
Enter two gentlemen.
1 Gentleman Good morrow.
2 Gentleman Good morrow to your lordship.
Cerimon Gentlemen, why do you stir so early?
1 Gentleman Sir,
Our lodgings standing bleak upon the sea
1215Shook as the earth did quake.
The very principals did seem to rend
And all to topple.
Pure surprise and fear,
Made me to quit the house.
2 Gentleman That is the cause we trouble you so early,
'Tis not our husbandry!
Oh, you say well!
1 Gentleman But I much marvel that your lordship,
Rich tire about you, should at these early hours
Shake off the golden slumber of repose.
'Tis most strange
Nature should be so conversant with pain,
1225Being thereto not compelled.
I hold it ever
Virtue and cunning
were endowments greater
Than nobleness and riches.
Careless heirs
May the two latter darken and expend,
But immortality attends the former,
1230Making a man a god.
'Tis known, I ever
Have studied physic,
through which secret art,
By turning o'er authorities
I have,
Together with my practice, made familiar
To me and to my aid the blest infusions
That dwells
1235in vegetives, in metals, stones;
And I can speak of the
That nature works, and of her cures,
which doth give me
A more content in course of true delight
Than to be thirsty after tottering honor,
tie my pleasure up in silken bags
1240To please the fool, and death.
2 Gentleman
Your honor has
Through Ephesus
poured forth your charity,
And hundreds call themselves
your creatures who
By you have been restored.
And not your knowledge,
Your personal pain,
1245but even your purse still open
Hath built Lord Cerimon
such strong renown
As time shall never --
Enter two or three [servants] with a chest.
[1] Servant
So, lift there!
What's that?
1250[1] Servant
Sir, even now
Did the sea toss up upon our shore
this chest;
'Tis of some wreck.
Set't down. Let's look upon't.
2 Gentleman
'Tis like a coffin, sir.
Whate'er it be,
'Tis wondrous heavy.
1255[To servants] Wrench it open straight!
[The servants begin work on the chest.]
[To the gentlemen] If the sea's stomach be o'er-charged with gold,
'Tis a good constraint of Fortune it belches upon us.
2 Gentleman
'Tis so, my lord.
How close 'tis caulked & bitumed!
Did the sea cast it up?
1260[1] Servant I never saw so huge a billow sir,
As tossed it upon shore.
Wrench it open.
[The servants force the lid.]
Soft! It smells most sweetly in my sense.
2 Gentleman A delicate odour.
Cerimon As ever hit my nostril. So, up with it!
[The servants open the chest.]
O you most potent gods! What's here, a corpse?
12652 Gentleman Most strange!
Cerimon Shrouded in cloth of state, balmed and entreasured
With full bags of spices! A passport too!
[He takes a paper from the chest.]
Apollo, perfect me
in the characters! [He reads.]
Here I give to understand,
1270If e'er this coffin drives a-land:
I, King Pericles, have lost
This queen, worth all our mundane cost.
Who finds her, give her burying:
She was the daughter of a king.
1275Besides this treasure for a fee,
The Gods requite his charity!
If thou liv'st, Pericles, thou hast a heart
That ever cracks for woe! This chanced tonight.
2 Gentleman
Most likely, sir.
Nay, certainly tonight,
For look how fresh she looks. They were too rough
That threw her in the sea.
[To servants] Make a fire within.
Fetch hither all my boxes in my closet.
[Exeunt servants.]
[To gentlemen] Death may usurp on nature many hours,
And yet
the fire of life kindle again
The o'er-pressed spirits.
1285I heard of an Egyptian
That had nine hours lain dead, who was
By good appliance recovered.
Enter one [servant] with napkins and fire.
Well said, well said! The fire and cloths!
[To gentlemen] The rough and woeful music that we have,
Cause it to sound, beseech you.
[A gentleman withdraws to cue music.]
1290[To servant] The vial once more. How thou stir'st, thou block!
[Calls.] The music there! [Music plays.] 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.
1295See how she 'gins to blow into life's flower again.
1 Gentleman The heavens through you increase our wonder,
And sets up your fame for ever.
She is alive.
Behold her eyelids,
cases to those
Heavenly jewels which Pericles hath lost,
1300Begin to part their fringes of bright gold.
The diamonds of a most praisèd water
Doth appear,
to make the world twice rich. Live,
And make us weep
to hear your fate, fair creature,
Rare as you seem to be.
She moves.
O dear Diana!
Where am I? Where's my lord?
What world is this?
2 Gentleman
Is not this strange?
1 Gentleman
Most rare!
Hush, my gentle neighbors.
Lend me your hands.
To the next chamber bear her.
[To servants] Get linen. 1310Now this matter must be looked to,
For her relapse is mortal. Come, come;
And Aesculapius guide us.
They carry her away. Exeunt omnes.