Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Wilkins: The Adventures of Pericles (Modern)


The Eleventh Chapter.

How Pericles, after fourteen years absence, arrived at Tharsus and, not 1735finding his daughter, lamented her supposed death; and how, taking ship again, he was by cross-winds driven to Meteline, where his daughter Marina was; and how, by the means of Prince Lysimachus coming aboard his ship to comfort him, he came to the knowledge of his lost daughter and also of his wife Thaisa.

Having thus preserved Marina, our story gives us now leave to return again to 1740Prince Pericles, who after fourteen years' absence arrived at Tharsus and was received into the house of Cleon and Dionyza, with whom he had left his young daughter Marina to be fostered up.

At the news of whose coming, Cleon and Dionyza again appareled themselves in mournful habits, went out to meet him. Who when Pericles beheld in so sad an outside: "My trusty friends, what cause enforceth you to give so sad a welcome 1745to my entertainment?" "O my good lord," answered Dionyza, "would any tongue but ours might be the herald of your mishap. But sorrow's pipes will burst have they not vent, and you of force must know Marina is dead."

Which when Pericles heard, the very word "Death" seemed like an edge that cut his heart; his flesh trembled and his strength failed. Yet in agony a long time standing amazed, with his eyes intentively fixed on the ground, and at length recovering 1750himself and taking breath, he first cast his eyes up to heaven, saying: "O you Gods! extremity of passion doth make me almost ready to accuse you of injustice." And then throwing his eyes greedily upon her. "But woman," quoth he, "If (as thou sayest) my most dear Marina be dead, is the money and the treasure which I also left with you for her perished with her?" When she answered: "Some is, and some yet remaineth. And as for your 1755daughter (my lord) lest you should any way suspect us, we have sufficient witness. For our citizens, being mindful of your benefits bestowed upon them, have erected unto her a monument of brass fast by yours."

And when she had so said, she brought forth such money, jewels, and apparel as it pleased her to say were remaining of Marina's store. Whereupon Pericles, giving credit to this report of her death, he commanded his servants to take up 1760what she had brought and bear them to his ships, while he himself would go visit his daughter's monument. Which when he beheld, and had read the epitaph as before written, his affection brake out into his eyes and he expressed more actual sorrow for the loss of her then inditement can express.

First tumbling himself upon her monument, he then fell into a swoon as if, since he might not leave all his life with her, yet he would 1765leave half at least. From which trance being at the length recovered, he apparels himself in sack-cloth, running hastily unto his ships, desireth the sea to take him into their womb, since neither land nor water was fortunate unto him -- for the one had bereft him of a daughter, the other of a wife. But as befitted them, being most careful of his safety, they used their best persuasions to assuage this tempest of his sorrow. 1770

Presently, as much as might be in such a case, they prevailed, and partly by time, which is a curer of all cares, continually mitigated some part of the grief. When he, perceiving the wind to stand fit for their departure, he hoisted up sails and gave farewell to the shore. Nor had they long sailed in their course, but the wind came about into a contrary quarter, and blew so fiercely that it troubled both sea and ships, the rain fell 1775fiercely from above, and the sea wrought wondrously underneath, so that the tempest being terrible for the time, it was in that extremity thought fittest to strike sail, to let the helm go, and to suffer the ship to drive with the tide whither it would please the gods to direct it.

But as joy evermore succeedeth heaviness, so was this sharp storm occasion of a joyful meeting betwixt this sorrowful father and his lost daughter. For while Prince Pericles' 1780ship is thus governed at random, by fortune it striketh upon the shore of the city, Meteline, where now Marina remained, of whose death he (as before) being fully persuaded, in whose life he had hope his decayed comforts should again have had new growth. And being now again at sea, he vowed to himself never more to have fellowship or conference with any man, charging all his followers, of whom Helicanus was one, that none of them upon the 1785pain of his displeasure (and who is ignorant that the displeasure of kings is as dangerous as death) should dare to speak unto him – no, not so much as they who attended him with meat -- and withal commanded them that they should not ordain for him any more but so small a competence, as might even scarcely maintain nature, accounting now that life which he possessed tedious to him, and wishing death in the most unfriendly languishment.

In which state while he 1790consisted, pining of his body and perplexed in mind, it happened that at one self-same time, Lord Helicanus going from the prince's ship and landing on the shore, the Governor Lysimachus, who (as before is mentioned) tendered Marina, was standing at the haven, and, noting Pericles' ships riding there at anchor, he began with himself to commend the comeliness of the vessels, and applaud the state they upheld in their burdens, and in especially, that of the admiral 1795wherein the prince himself was. Who seeing Helicanus come on shore and his grave and reverent countenance promising him to be a father of experience and worthy of his conference, he in courteous manner saluted him, and demanded of him of whence those ships: "For sir," quoth he, "by their arms and ensigns I perceive they are strangers to our harbors" as also that it would please him to deliver to him who was the owner of them. When Helicanus, as in the whole story, 1800discoursed unto him his misfortunes, as also of his former worth and his present languishment from which he could not be removed, neither by his wisdom nor by the counsel of his friends.

When Lysimachus, pitying his ruin, entreated Helicanus that he might speak with him, whereby to try if his persuasions had power prevail with him more than the will of himself or power of his subjects. Which being by Helicanus granted, he forthwith conducted him down where his master 1805lay. Whom when Lysimachus beheld, so attired from the ordinary habit of other men -- as with a long overgrown beard, diffused hair, undecent nails on his fingers, and himself lying upon his couch groveling on his face – he, somewhat astonished at the strangeness thereof, called unto him with a soft voice, "Prince Pericles." Who hearing himself named and thinking it to be some of his men that called upon him contrary to his commandment, he arose up suddenly with a 1810fierce countenance. But seeing him to be a stranger, very comely and honorably attired, he shrunk himself down upon his pillow and held his peace.

When Lysimachus demanded of Helicanus if it were his custom to be so silent to all men, "Sir, it is," quoth he, "and hath continued so for the space of this month. Neither dare any of us his subjects, though we suffer much sorrow for him, by our persuasions seek to alter him." "Now surely," quoth Lysimachus, "though 1815his misfortunes have been great, and by which he hath great cause for this sorrow, it is great pity he should continue thus perverse and obstinate, or so noble a gentleman come to so dishonorable a death." And thereupon bethinking with himself what honorable means he might use to recover him, he suddenly remembering the wisdom that he had known Marina had in persuasion, and having heard since of her excellent skill in music, singing and dancing, he by the consent of 1820Helicanus caused her to be sent for, resolving with himself that if the excellency of her ministry had no power to work on him, all physic was in vain and he from thence would resign him over to his grave.

The messenger speedily is returned, bringing Marina along with him. Whom when Lysimachus beheld, "Marina," quoth he, "let me request of thee thy help and uttermost knowledge in comforting the owner of this ship, which lieth in darkness and will receive no comfort nor 1825come abroad into the light for the sorrow that he conceiveth through the loss of a wife and a daughter. From which if thou recover him and to his former health restore him, I will, as I am a gentleman, give thee in recompense thirty sesterces of gold, and as many of silver, and though the bawd hath bought thee according to the laws of our city, from whom no authority can compel thee, yet for thirty days will I redeem thee."

Which when Marina heard, she went 1830boldly down into the cabin to him, and with a mild voice saluted him, saying: "God save you, sir, and be of good comfort, for an innocent virgin whose life hath been distressed by shipwreck and her chastity by dishonesty and hath yet been preserved from both, thus courteously saluteth thee." But perceiving him to yield her no answer, she began to record in verses, and therewithal to sing so sweetly that Pericles, notwithstanding his great sorrow, wondered at her, at last 1835taking up another instrument, unto his ears she preferred this:

Amongst the harlots foul I walk,
Yet harlot none am I;
The rose amongst the thorns doth grow,
And is not hurt thereby.
1840The thief that stole me, sure I think,
Is slain before this time;
A bawd me bought, yet am I not
Defiled by fleshly crime.
Nothing were pleasanter to me,
1845Than parents mine to know:
I am the issue of a king,
My blood from kings doth flow.
In time the heavens may mend my state
And send a better day,
1850For sorrow adds unto our griefs
But helps not any way.
Show gladness in your countenance,
Cast up your cheerful eyes,
That god remains, that once of nought
1855Created earth and skies.

With this music of Marina's, as with no delight else was he a whit altered, but lay groveling on his face, only casting an eye upon her as he were rather discontented than delighted with her endeavor. Whereupon she began with moral precepts to reprove him, and told him that he was born a prince, whose dignity being to govern others it was most 1860foul in him to misgovern himself, which while he continued in that sullen estate, he did; no less, thus to mourn for the loss of a wife and child or at any of his own misfortunes, approved that he was an enemy to the authority of the heavens, whose power was to dispose of him and his at their pleasure. And that it was as unfit for him to repine (for his continuing sorrow showed he did no less) against their determinations and their unaltered wills as it 1865was for the giants to make war against the gods, who were confounded in their enterprise.

"Not fit to sorrow?" quoth he, rising up like a cloud that bespeaks thunder, "Presumptuous beauty in a child, how darest thou urge so much?" And therewithal, in this rash distemperature, struck her on the face. When she, who never until that time knew what blows were, fell suddenly in a swoon, but being again recovered, she cried out: "O humility -- ordained especially for princes 1870who, having power over all, should contemn none -- whither art thou fled?" Then weeping a while: "And O you Gods! creators both of heaven and earth, look upon my afflictions and take compassion upon me that am unfortunate in all things. I have been tossed from wrong to injury, I was born amongst the waves and troublesome tempests of the sea, my mother died in pains and pangs of childbirth and burial was denied her on the earth, whom my father adorned with jewels, laid 1875gold at her head, and silver at her feet, and, enclosing her in a chest, committed her to the sea. As for me, unfortunate wretch, my father, who with princely furniture put me in trust to Cleon and Dionyza, who commanded a servant of theirs to murder me, from whose cruelty by pirates I was rescued, brought by them to this city, and sold to have been hackneyed by a common bawd, though (I thank the heavens) I have preserved my chastity. And now after all these crosses, for 1880my courtesies to be struck thus to bleeding! O cruel fate!"

By which tale of hers, Pericles being moved, since by all the circumstances he guessed she was his child, and yet not knowing whether he might believe himself to be awake or in a dream, he began again to capitulate with her of her former relation, as namely, where she was born, who were her parents, and what her name was. To the which she answered, "My name is Marina, and so called because I was born upon the sea." 1885"O my Marina!" cried out Pericles, being struck into such an ecstasy of joy that he was not able to contain himself, willing her again to discourse unto him the story of her misfortunes, for he could not hear too much. Which she obeying him in, and he knowing her to be his child, seeing that the supposed dead was risen again, he falls on her neck and kisses her, calls upon Helicanus to come unto him, shows him his daughter, bids him to kneel to her, thanketh 1890Lysimachus that so fortunately had brought her to beget life in the father who begot her.

So, one while weeping, at others joying, and his senses being mastered by a gentle conqueror, in that extremity of passion he fell into a slumber, in which sweet sleep of his he was by Diana warned to hie to Ephesus, and there upon the altar of that goddess to offer up his sacrifice before the priests, and there to discourse the whole progress of his life. Which he remembering 1895being awake, he accordingly shipped himself, with Lysimachus, Marina, and his own subjects, to perform.

Who, landing at Ephesus and giving notice of the purpose for which he was come, he was by all the priests and votaries attended to the temple. Being brought to the altar, this was the substance of his sacrifice: "I, Pericles, born Prince of Tyre, who having in youth attained to all kind of knowledge, resolved the riddle of Antiochus, to the intent to have married his 1900daughter, whom he most shamefully defiled. To preserve myself from whose anger, I fled to sea, suffered shipwreck, was courteously entertained by good Symonides, King of Pentapolis, and after espoused his fair daughter Thaisa." At the naming of whom, she herself, being by, could not choose but start: for in this Temple was she placed to be a nun by Lord Cerimon, who preserved her life. But Pericles going on: "When, Antiochus and his daughter," quoth he, "were by lightning struck 1905dead from heaven, I conducted my queen with me from her father's court with purpose to receive again my kingdom. Where, upon the sea, she was delivered of this my daughter. In that travail she died, whom I enclosed in a chest and threw it into the sea."

When Thaisa, standing by and no longer being able to temper her affections, being assured he was her lord, she ran hastily unto him, embraced him in her arms, and would have kissed him. Which when Pericles saw, he 1910was moved with disdain and thrust her from him, accusing her for lightness, whose modesty and good grace he at his first entrance did commend. When she, falling at his feet and pouring forth her tears abundantly, gladness compelled her to cry out: "O my Lord Pericles, deal not ungently with me. I am your wife, daughter unto Symonides. My name is Thaisa. You were my schoolmaster and instructed me in music. You are that prince whom I loved, not for 1915concupiscence but desire of wisdom. I am she which was delivered and died at the sea, and by your own hands was buried in the deeps."

Which words of hers, Lord Cerimon standing by, he was ready to aver, but it needed not. For Pericles, though at the first astonished, joy had now so revived his spirits that he knew her to be herself. But throwing his head into her bosom, having nothing but this to utter, he cried aloud, "O you heavens! my misfortunes 1920were now again blessings, since we are again contracted." So giving his daughter to her arms to embrace her as a child and Lysimachus to enfold her as a wife, and giving order the solemnity of marriage should straight be provided for, he then caused the bawd to be burnt, who with so much labor had sought to violate her princely chastity, whilst Marina rewarded the pander who had been so faithful to her.

And then, after he had seen her marriage with Lysimachus, 1925he leaveth Ephesus and intends for Tyre, taking Pentapolis in his way, where by the death of good Symonides, as lawful heir he was made sovereign. He also highly rewarded the poor fishermen who had relieved him. From thence he arrived at Tharsus, where he revenged himself of Cleon and Dionyza by stoning them to death. From thence to Tyre, where peaceably he was received into his kingdom and given also possession of all the twenty territories of Antiochus. 1930Where, by his wife, though in the declining of both their years, it pleased the gods to bless him with a son, who growing to the lusty strength of youth and the father declining to his grave, age being no longer able to be sustained by the benefit of nature, fell into certain cold and dry diseases. In which case, the knowledge of his physicians could stand him in little stead, either by their cunning or experience.

So as no remedy being to be found against 1935death, being in perfect memory he departed this life in the arms of his beloved Thaisa and in the midst of his friends, nobles, allies and children, in great honor. His kingdom of Tyrus he gave by will to Lysimachus and his daughter Marina, and to their heirs after them forever, who lived long together and had much comfort by their issue. Unto his queen Thaisa he gave the two kingdoms of Antioch and Pentapolis for term of her life, and at her death 1940to descend to her young son, Symonides. But Thaisa, who could not then be young since Pericles died old, continued not long in her widow's estate, but, pining much with sorrow and wearing with age, forsook the present world, leaving her two kingdoms (according to his father's will) to her young son, Symonides.

FINIS