Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: George Wilkins
Editors: Tom Bishop, Andrew Forsberg
Not Peer Reviewed

Wilkins: The Adventures of Pericles (Modern)


1

The Argument of the whole History.

Antiochus the Great, who was the first founder of Antioch, the most famous city in all Syria, having one only daughter in the 5prime and glory of her youth, fell in most unnatural love with her. And what by the power of his persuasions and fear of his tyranny, he so prevailed with her yielding heart that he became master of his desires. Which to continue to himself, his daughter being for her beauty desired in marriage of many great princes, he made this law: that whoso presumed to desire 10her in marriage and could not unfold the meaning of his questions, for that attempt should lose his life. Fearless of this law, many princes adventured and in their rashness perished. Amongst the number, PERICLES, the Prince of Tyre and neighbor to this tyrant King Antiochus, was the last who undertook to resolve this riddle, which he accordingly, through 15his great wisdom, performed.

And, finding both the subtlety and sin of the tyrant, for his own safety fled secretly from Antioch back to Tyre, and there acquainted Helicanus, a grave counselor of his, with the proceedings as also with his present fear what might succeed, from whose counsel he took advice for a space to leave his kingdom 20and betake himself to travel. To which yielding, Pericles puts to sea, arrives at Tharsus, which he finds (through the dearth of corn) in much distress. He there relieves Cleon and Dionyza, with their distressed city, with the provision which he brought of purpose. But by his good counselor, Helicanus, hearing news of Antiochus' death, he intends for Tyre, puts again 25to sea, suffers shipwreck, his ships and men all lost, till, (as it were) Fortune tired with his mishaps, he is thrown upon the shore, relieved by certain poor fishermen, and, by an armor of his which they by chance dragged up in their nets, his misfortunes being a little repaired, Pericles arrives at the court of good Simonides, King of Pentapolis, where through his 30nobleness both in arms and arts he wins the love of fair Thaisa, the king's daughter, and by her father's consent marries her.

In this absence of his, and for which absence, the Tyrians his subjects mutiny, would elect Helicanus (whom Pericles ordained his substitute in his absence) their king, which passion of theirs Helicanus by his grave persuasions 35subdued, and won them to go in quest of their lost Prince, Pericles. In this search he is found, and, with his wife Thaisa who is now with child and Lychorida her nurse, having taken leave of his kingly father, puts again for Tyre, but with the terror of a tempest at sea, his queen falls in travail, is delivered of a daughter whom he names Marina, in which childbirth his queen dies. She is 40thrown overboard, at departure of whom Pericles altereth his course from Tyre, being a shorter cut, to his host Cleon in Tharsus. He there leaves his young daughter to be fostered up, vowing to himself a solitary and pensive life for the loss of his queen.

Thaisa, thus supposed dead and in the seas buried, is the next morning on 45the shore taken up at Ephesus by Cerimon, a most skilful physician, who by his art, practiced upon this queen, so prevailed that after five hours entranced she is by his skill brought to able health again, and by her own request by him placed to live a votary in Diana's Temple at Ephesus. Marina, Pericles sea-born daughter, is by this grown to discreet years, she is envied of 50Dionyza, Cleon's wife, her foster mother, for that Marina's perfection exceedeth a daughter of hers. Marina by this envy of hers should have been murdered, but being rescued by certain pirates, is as it were reserved to a greater mishap, for by them she is carried to Meteline, sold to the devil's broker, a bawd, to have been trained up in that infection. She is courted of many, and 55how wonderfully she preserves her chastity.

Pericles returns from Tyre toward Tharsus to visit the hospitable Cleon, Dionyza, and his young daughter Marina, where by Dionyza's dissembling tears and a tomb that was erected for her, Pericles is brought to believe that his Marina lies there buried, and that she died of her natural death. 60For whose loss he tears his hair, throws off his garments, forswears the society of men or any other comfort. In which passion for many months continuing, he at last arrives at Meteline, when being seen and pitied by Lysimachus, the governor, his daughter (though of him unknown so) is by the governor sent for, who by her excellent skill in song, and pleasantness in 65discourse, with relating the story of her own mishap, she so wins again her father's lost senses that he knows her for his child, she him for her father. In which overjoy, as if his senses were now all confounded, Pericles falls asleep, where in a dream he is by Diana warned to go to Ephesus and there to make his sacrifice. Pericles obeys, and there comes to the knowledge 70of Thaisa, his wife, with their several joys that they three so strangely divided, are as strangely met.

Lysimachus, the governor, marrieth Marina, and Pericles, leaving his mourning, causeth the bawd to be burned. Of his revenge to Cleon and Dionyza, his rewarding of the fishermen that relieved him, his justice toward the pirates that made sale of his daughter, his return 75back to his kingdom, and of him and his wife's deaths. Only entreating the Reader to receive this history in the same manner as it was under the habit of ancient Gower, the famous English Poet, by the Kings Majesty's Players excellently presented.

The names of the personages mentioned in this history.

80John Gower, the Presenter.
Antiochus, built Antioch
His daughter.
Pericles, Prince of Tyre.
Thaliart, a villain.
85Helicanus
Eschines; Two grave counselors.
Cleon, Governor of Tharsus.
Dionyza, his wife.
Two or three fishermen.
90Symonides, King of Pentapolis.
Thaisa, his daughter.
Five Princes.
Lychorida, a nurse.
Cerimon, a physician.
95Marina, Pericles' daughter.
A Murderer.
Pirates.
A Bawd.
A Lena.
100A Pander.
Lysimachus, Governor of Meteline.
Diana, Goddess of Chastity.