Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Wilkins: The Adventures of Pericles (Modern)


The Tenth Chapter.

How Marina, being thus sold to a bawd, preserved her virginity; 1475and how she converted all that ever came to make hire of her beauty from the looseness of their desires.

Marina was no sooner thus concluded for by the he-bawd, but the pirates were as soon brought home to his master's house and received their payment. When after their departure, she giving command 1480to the pander, her man, that he should go back into the marketplace and there with open cry proclaim what a picture of Nature they had at home for every lascivious eye to gaze upon, the she-bawd began to instruct her with what compliment she should entertain her customers.

She first asked her if she were a virgin. When Marina replied, she 1485thanked the gods, she never knew what it was to be otherwise. "In so being," quoth the she-bawd, "you have been well; but now in plain terms I must teach you how to be worse." "It is not goodness in you," quoth Marina, "to teach me to be so." "For goodness," answered the bawd, "it is a lecture such as we use seldom, and our consciences never read one 1490to another; and therefore attend unto me: you must now be like a stake for every man to shoot at, you must be like a ford that must receive all waters, you must have the benefit of all nations, and seem to take delight in all men."

"I thank my stars," answered Marina, "I am displeased with none." For by this answer it appeared such was the purity of her mind that 1495she understood not what this devil's solicitor pleaded unto her. But she, quickly taking her off, told in more immodest phrase that she had paid for her, and that she and all her body was hers, that willy-nilly she must now be what she herself had been (and there is seldom any bawd but before time hath been a whore), that to conclude, she had 1500bought her like a beast and she meant to hire her out.

When she, understanding unwillingly what all these words tended unto, she fell prostrate at her feet, and, with tears showered down in abundance, she entreated her not to make hire of her body to so diseaseful a use, which she hoped the gods had ordained to a more happy 1505purpose. When the bawd answered her, "Come, come, these drops avail thee not. Thou art now mine and I will make my best of thee. And I must now learn you to know we whom the world calls bawds -- but more properly are to be styled factors for men -- are in this like the hangman: neither to regard prayers nor tears, but our own profit."

So calling 1510for her slave, which was governor over her she-household, this was her appointment unto him: "Go," quoth she, "and take this maiden, as she is thus decked in costly apparel" -- for it is to be remembered that the former pirates had no way despoiled her of her ornaments, with purpose to price her at the higher rate – "and leading her along, this be the cry 1515through the whole city: that whosoever desireth the purchase of so wondrous a beauty shall, for his first enjoying her, pay ten pieces of gold, and that afterward she shall be common unto the people for one piece at a time."

Which will of hers Marina being no way able to resist but with her sorrow, only desiring of the good gods to be 1520protectors of her chastity, she with this her slave was hurried along, and who, with the tenor of his priapine proclamation, had so awaked the intemperance of the whole city that, against her return, of high and low there was a full crowding at the door, every man carrying his money in his hand and thinking him the happiest man that might first have 1525access.

But heaven, who is still a protector of virtue against vice, ordained this for Marina: that the sending her abroad, with purpose first to show her and after to make sale of her to the world, was the only means to defend her in the state of her virginity. For as she was (as before is said) led along, and thousands of people wondering 1530about her and flocking as it had been so many flies to infect so delicate a preservative, it happened that Lysimachus, the chief governor of Meteline, looking out at his window to observe what strange occasion drew the giddy havoc of people to muster themselves into such throngs, he, not without great admiration, observed that it was to make boot of 1535so precious a beauty, whose inflaming colors, which Nature had with her best art placed upon her face, compelled him to censure that she was rather a deserving bed-fellow for a prince than a play-fellow for so rascally an assembly.

So pitying awhile her misfortune, that it was so hard to be thrown into the jaws of two such poisonous and devouring 1540serpents, a pander and a bawd, yet at last, being inflamed with a little sinful concupiscence by the power of her face, he resolved himself that since she must fall, it were far more fitter into his own arms, whose authority could stretch to do her good, than into the hot embracements of many to her utter ruin. So presently dismissing away 1545a servant of his, he gave him charge to give in charge to the bawd that, at the return home of this new piece of merchandise of hers, as she respected -- or in time of need would be beholding to -- his favor (and Heavens forfend but bawds now and then should stand in need of authority), she should keep her private from the conference of any, for 1550he himself that night late in the evening, in secret and in some disguise, would (for her guest's sake) visit her house.

There needed no further encouragement to bid the bawd stir up her damnable limbs to make all fit. It was enough in this that the governor had sent word it was he that was to come. But having given the best garnish she could to 1555her sinful habitation, and Marina being returned home again by the pander, who had led her up and down as bear-herds lead bears, for show first and to be baited after, she took her up with her into a private chamber, when the fruit of her instructions were how she should now learn to behave herself, for she had fortunes coming upon her: she was now to 1560be received, respected, and regarded of a man that was honorable.

"Heaven grant that I may find him so," quoth Marina." "Thou needest not doubt it, sweetheart," quoth the bawd, "for though I tell it thee in private which for a million he would not have to be known publicly, he is no worse a man thou art shortly to deal withal than the governor of this whole 1565city, a gentleman that is courteous, a favorer of our calling, one that will as soon have his hand in his pocket as such a pretty dilling as thou shalt come in his eye, and not, as most of our gentlemen do, draw it out empty but, filling it full of gold, will most Jove-like rain it down into his Danae's lap. In brief, he is a nobleman, and, which is a 1570thing which we respect more than his nobility, he is liberal. He is courteous, and thou mayest command him; he is virtuous, and thou mayest learn of him."

"All these indeed," answered Marina, "are properties due unto so worthy a gentleman whom you picture him to be. And if he be liberal in good, I shall be glad to taste of his bounty; if courteous, I shall as willingly 1575become his servant; and if virtuous, it shall be in me no way to make him vicious." "Well, well, well," says the bawd, "we must have no more of this puling, and I must have you learn to know, vice is as hereditary to our house as the old barn to your country beggar."

But as she would have proceeded with more of these her devilish counsels, hastily into the 1580chamber came the pander unto them, who as hot as a toast with his haste to bring the news, he told them that the Lord Lysimachus was come, and, as if the word "come" had been his cue, he entered the chamber with the master bawd, when, the whole fry of sinners curtsying about him very largely as the prologue to his entertainment, distributed gold among them, then as 1585roundly demanded for that same fresh piece of stuff which by their proclamation they told they had now to make sale of and he of set purpose was come to have a sight of.

When they all, pointing toward Marina, told him there she was, and "for ourselves," quoth they, "we having done the office of right chamberlains --1590brought you together-- we will shut the door after us, and so leave you." Who no sooner departed, but Lysimachus the governor began to demand of her the performance of that for which he came. When she, prostrating herself at his feet, entreated him to take pity of her, and from point to point (excepting her birth and death of her parents) discoursed unto him the whole story of 1595her misfortunes: as that by the practice of Dionyza and cruelty of Leonine, she should have been murdered, and how it pleased the gods to rescue her from that ruin by certain pirates who after sold her to this brothel, where, most unhappy, he was witness she remained. "Then, gentle sir," quoth she, "since Heaven hath been so gracious to restore me from death, let not 1600their good to me be a means for you to be author of my more misfortune."

But the governor, suspecting these tears but to be some new cunning which her matron the bawd had instructed her in to draw him to a more large expense, he as freely told her so, and now began to be more rough with her, urging her that he was the governor, whose authority could wink 1605at those blemishes herself and that sinful house could cast upon her, or his displeasure punish at his own pleasure: "which displeasure of mine thy beauty shall not privilege thee from nor my affection, which hath drawn me unto this place, abate, if thou with further lingering withstand me." By which words she understanding him to be as confident 1610in evil as she was constant in good, she entreated him but to be heard, and thus she began:

"If as you say (my lord) you are the governor, let not your authority, which should teach you to rule others, be the means to make you misgovern yourself. If the eminence of your place came unto you by descent and the 1615royalty of your blood, let not your life prove your birth a bastard. If it were thrown upon you by opinion, make good that opinion was the cause to make you great."

"What reason is there in your justice, who hath power over all, to undo any? If you take from me mine honor, you are like him that makes a gap into forbidden ground after whom too many enter, and you are 1620guilty of all their evils. My life is yet unspotted, my chastity unstained in thought. Then if your violence deface this building, the workmanship of heaven made up for good and not to be the exercise of sin's intemperance, you do kill your own honor, abuse your own justice, and impoverish me."

"Why," quoth Lysimachus, "this house, wherein thou livest, is even the receptacle of 1625all men's sins and nurse of wickedness, and how canst thou then be otherwise than naught, that livest in it?" "It is not good," answered Marina, "when you that are the governor, who should live well, the better to be bold to punish evil, do know that there is such a roof, and yet come under it. Is there a necessity (my yet good lord) if there be fire before me, that I must straight then thither 1630fly and burn myself? Or if suppose this house (which too too many feel such houses are) should be the doctor's patrimony, and surgeon's feeding, follows it therefore, that I must needs infect myself to give them maintenance? O my good lord: kill me but not deflower me, punish me how you please so you spare my chastity; and since it is all the dowry that both the gods have given and 1635men have left to me, do not you take it from me. Make me your servant, I will willingly obey you; make me your bondwoman, I will account it freedom; let me be the worst that is called vile, so I may still live honest, I am content. Or if you think it is too blessd a happiness to have me so, let me even now, now in this minute, die, and I'll account my death more happy than my birth."

With 1640which words being spoken upon her knees, while her eyes were the glasses that carried the water of her mishap, the good gentlewoman being moved, he lift her up with his hands, and even then embraced her in his heart, saying aside: "Surely this is virtue's image, or rather virtue's self sent down from heaven a while to reign on earth, to teach us what we should be."

So instead of willing her 1645to dry her eyes, he wiped the wet himself off, and could have found in his heart with modest thoughts to have kissed her but that he feared the offer would offend her. This only he said: "Lady -- for such your virtues are, a far more worthy style your beauty challenges, and no way less your beauty can promise me that you are -- I hither came with thoughts intemperate, foul 1650and deformed, the which your pains so well have laved that they are now white. Continue still to all so. And for my part, who hither came but to have paid the price, a piece of gold, for your virginity, now give you twenty to relieve your honesty. It shall become you still to be even as you are, a piece of goodness, the best wrought up that ever Nature made. And if that 1655any shall enforce you ill, if you but send to me I am your friend." With which promise leaving her presence, she most humbly thanked the gods for the preservation of her chastity and the reformation of his mind.

Lysimachus, though departed thus, intended not to leave her so, but with diligent eyes to attend how she behaved herself to all other who should have 1660admittance to her. And for that purpose, having power to command the bawd, he placed himself in the next chamber where he might hear even to a syllable whatsoever passed. Where he was no sooner settled with a former charge given to the bawd that any man should have access to her, but by turns he heard she had also won others and preserved herself from them as she had formerly done 1665against him, gaining ten times as much of profit by her prayers and tears as she should have done by prostituting her beauty to their wills.

At last, all of them being departed and the house unfrequented, --- only of their own household and of the governor --, the bawd standing ready at the door as he should go out, making his obeisance unto him as he should return, in hope 1670of his fee or reward, he with an angry brow turned towards him, saying, "Villain, thou hast a house here the weight of whose sin would sink the foundation even unto hell did not the virtue of one that is lodged therein keep it standing." And so as it were enraged, giving them nothing, he departed.

By which displeasure of his, the whole swarm of bawds (as truly it was) guessed 1675that their new tenant had not been pliant to his will. And all rushing in hastily upon her, first taking away the gold which the charity (and not injury) of all who had been there had given her to relieve her with, they cried against her: they should be all undone by her, their house would grow uncustomedand their trading would fall to decay by her squeamishness and want of 1680familiarity to their clients, resolving now that there was no way to bring her unto their bow but by having her ravished. For it is to be noted, not any that parted the house besides Lysimachus, but, even as he did, so they in like manner railed against them, so forcibly had her persuasions prevailed with them.

Whereupon, for that purpose they gave her up to the pander who first agreed for her, saying 1685that he that had bargained for the whole joint, it was fittest for him to cut a morsel from off the spit. So leaving them together, and telling him they gave her up to his power to do even what he would with her, the man and wife (though both bawds) departed, when the pander going to her, told her that he, his master, nor their ancient family would, as thus long they had been, be undone 1690by ere a puritan piece of them all. "And therefore," quoth he, "come on and resolve yourself without more whining, for I am but the bawd's servant. The bawd hath commanded me, and every servant by the indenture of his duty is bound to obey his master."

So catching her rashly by the hand as he would have enforced her to his will, she, first calling on Diana, patroness of chastity to defend her, fell 1695likewise down at his feet and besought him but to hear her. Which being granted, she demanded of him what thing he could wish himself to be which was more vile than he was, or more hateful than he would make himself to be? "Why, my master or my mistress," quoth the villain, "I think, who have all the sins subject to mankind reigning in them, and are indeed as bad as the Devil himself." "Yet," 1700quoth Marina, "thou goest about to be worse than they, and to do an office at their setting on which thy master himself hath more pity than to attempt: to rob me of mine honor which, in spite of them and thee, the gods (who I hope will protect it still) have till this breathing protected; to leprous my chaste thoughts with remembrance of so foul a deed, which thou then shalt have done; 1705to damn thine own soul by undoing of mine."

At which word, the villain being struck into some remorse and standing in a pause, Marina went forward and told him: "If thou wantest gold, there is some for thee" --part of that she had reserved which before was given her, from the bawd's knowledge – "or if thou wantest maintenance, provide me but some residence in an honest house, and I have 1710experience in many things which shall labor for thee: as namely, I am skilful in the seven liberal sciences, well exercised in all studies, and dare approve this -- that my skill in singing and playing on instruments exceeds any in the city. Therefore," quoth she, "as thou before didst proclaim my beauty in the market to the open world, whereby to have made me a common prostitute, so now again proclaim my 1715virtues unto them, and I doubt not but this honorable city will afford scholars sufficient, the instructing of whom will return profit enough, both to repay the master what he paid out for me, provide an honester course for thee than this thou livest in, and give a quiet content unto myself."

"Sooth," quoth the villain, being now moved unto much more compassion of her, "if you have, as you 1720say, these qualities, I will labor with my master and do my best for your release." "If not," answered Marina, "I give thee free leave to bring me back again, and prostitute me to that course which was first pretended for me." In brief, the villain so labored with the bawd his master that though he would not give her leave to depart his house, yet in hope of the profit which would come in by her other qualities, she should stay in his house, and none with her former 1725grievances disturb her, and withal charged the pander to set up a bill in the marketplace of her excellency in speaking and in singing.

At the report of which there crowded as many, to the bawd's great profit, to be delighted with her worth as there came before to have made spoil of her virtue; and not any man but gave her money largely and departed contented. Only above the rest the Lord 1730Lysimachus had evermore an especial regard in the preservation of her safety no otherwise than if she had been descended from himself, and rewarded the villain very liberally for the diligent care he had over her.