Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Tom Bishop
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Pericles, Prince of Tyre (Quarto)


Enter Cleon the Gouernour of Tharsus, with
390
his wife and others.
Cleon.My Dyoniza shall wee rest vs heere,
And by relating tales of others griefes,
See if t'will teach vs to forget our owne?
Dion. That were to blow at fire in hope to quench it,
395For who digs hills because they doe aspire?
Throwes downe one mountaine to cast vp a higher:
O my distressed Lord, euen such our griefes are,
Heere they are but felt, and seene with mischiefs eyes,
But like to Groues, being topt, they higher rise.
400Cleon. O Dioniza.
Who wanteth food, and will not say hee wants it,
Or can conceale his hunger till hee famish?
Our toungs and sorrowes to sound deepe:
Our woes into the aire, our eyes to weepe.
405Till toungs fetch breath that may proclaime
Them louder, that if heauen slumber, while
Their creatures want, they may awake
Their helpers, to comfort them.
Ile then discourse our woes felt seuerall yeares,
410And wanting breath to speake, helpe mee with teares.
Dyoniza. Ile doe my best Syr.
Cleon. This Tharsus ore which I haue the gouerne-
A Cittie on whom plentie held full hand:
For riches strew'de herselfe euen in her streetes,
415Whose towers bore heads so high they kist the clowds,
And strangers nere beheld, but wondred at,
Whose men and dames so jetted and adorn'de,
Like one anothers glasse to trim them by,
Their tables were stor'de full to glad the sight,
420And not so much to feede on as delight,
All pouertie was scor'nde, and pride so great,
The name of helpe grewe odious to repeat.
Dion. O t'is too true.
Cle. But see what heauen can doe by this our change,
425These mouthes who but of late, earth, sea, and ayre,
Were all too little to content and please,
Although thy gaue their creatures in abundance,
As houses are defil'de for want of vse,
They are now staru'de for want of exercise,
430Those pallats who not yet too sauers younger,
Must haue inuentions to delight the tast,
Would now be glad of bread and beg for it,
Those mothers who to nouzell vp their babes,
Thought nought too curious, are readie now
435To eat those little darlings whom they lou'de,
So sharpe are hungers teeth, that man and wife,
Drawe lots who first shall die, to lengthen life.
Heere stands a Lord, and there a Ladie weeping:
Heere manie sincke, yet those which see them fall,
440Haue scarce strength left to giue them buryall.
Is not this true?
Dion. Our cheekes and hollow eyes doe witnesse it.
Cle. O let those Cities that of plenties cup,
And her prosperities so largely taste,
445With their superfluous riots heare these teares,
The miserie of Tharsus may be theirs.
Enter a Lord.
Lord. Wheres the Lord Gouernour?
Cle. Here, speake out thy sorrowes, which thee bringst
450in hast, for comfort is too farre for vs to expect.
Lord. Wee haue descryed vpon our neighbouring
shore, a portlie saile of ships make hitherward.
Cleon. I thought as much.
One sorrowe neuer comes but brings an heire,
455That may succcede as his inheritor:
And so in ours, some neighbouring nation,
Taking aduantage of our miserie,
That stuff't the hollow vessels with their power,
To beat vs downe, the which are downe alreadie,
460And make a conquest of vnhappie mee,
Whereas no glories got to ouercome.
Lord. That's the least feare.
For by the semblance of their white flagges displayde, they
bring vs peace, and come to vs as fauourers , not as foes.
465Cleon. Thou speak'st like himnes vntuterd to repeat
Who makes the fairest showe, meanes most deceipt.
But bring they what they will, and what they can,
What need wee leaue our grounds the lowest?
And wee are halfe way there: Goe tell their Generall wee
470attend him heere, to know for what he comes, and whence
he comes, and what he craues?
Lord. I goe my Lord.
Cleon. Welcome is peace, if he on peace consist,
If warres, wee are vnable to resist.
475
Enter Pericles with attendants.
Per. Lord Gouernour, for so wee heare you are,
Let not our Ships and number of our men,
Be like a beacon fier'de, t'amaze your eyes,
Wee haue heard your miseries as farre as Tyre,
480And seene the desolation of your streets,
Nor come we to adde sorrow to your teares,
But to relieue them of their heauy loade,
And these our Ships you happily may thinke,
Are like the Troian Horse, was stuft within
485With bloody veines expecting ouerthrow,
Are stor'd with Corne, to make your needie bread,
And giue them life, whom hunger-staru'd halfe dead.
Omnes. The Gods of Greece protect you,
And wee'le pray for you.
490Per. Arise I pray you, rise; we do not looke for reuerence,
But for loue, and harborage for our selfe, our ships, & men.
Cleon. The which when any shall not gratifie,
Or pay you with vnthankfulnesse in thought,
Be it our Wiues, our Children, or our selues,
495The Curse of heauen and men succeed their euils:
Till when the which (I hope) shall neare be seene:
Your Grace is welcome to our Towne and vs.
Peri. Which welcome wee'le accept, feast here awhile,
Vntill our Starres that frowne, lend vs a smile.
Exeunt.