Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Wilkins: The Adventures of Pericles (Quarto)


The fourth Chapter.

460How Pericles puts foorth to Sea, suffers shipwrecke, is relieued by certaine poore Fishermen, at last arriues at Simonides Court, king of Pentapolis, where in feates of Armes hee exceedeth all the Princes that came to honor the birth day of his faire daughter Thaysa, and with purpose also to sue to hir for marriage.

465Prince Pericles hauing thus releeued Tharsus, and bin warnd (for the auoydance of a greater danger) by his good Counsellour Helycanus to forsake the Citie, though not without much sorrow of the Cittizens for his departure, he is once againe at sea, seeking a new refuge, and accounting any countrey his best Inne, where he found the best safety. No sooner were 470his woodden castles floating on the vnconstant deepes: but as if Neptune himselfe, chiefe soueraigne of that watery empire, would haue come in person to haue giuen calme gratulations, and friendly welcomes to this curteous prince, the whole nation of the flouds were at quiet, there were no windes blustering, no surges rising, no raines showring, no tempest storming, but 475all calmenesse was vppon the face of this kingdome, only a troupe of cheerfull Dolphins, as Ambassadours, sent from their kingly Maister, came dauncing on the waters, for the entertaining of him. At which, his ioyfull Marriners being scarce from sight of land, with pleasant notes spread forth their comely sailes, and with their brasen keeles, cut an easie passage on the 480greene medowes of the flouds. At last, Fortune hauing brought him heere, where she might make him the fittest Tennis-ball for her sport: euen as sodainely as thought this was the alteration, the Heauens beganne to thunder, and the skies shone with flashes of fire: day now had no other shew but only name, for darkenes was on the whole face of the waters, hills of seas 485were about him, one sometimes tossing him euen to the face of heauen, while another sought to sincke him to the roofe of hell, some cryed, others laboured, hee onely prayed: at last, two rauenous billowes meeting, the one, with intent to stoppe vp all clamour, and the other, to wash away all labour, his vessells no longer able to wrestle with the tempest, were all 490split. In briefe, he was shipwrackt, his good friends and subiectes all were lost, nothing left to helpe him but distresse, and nothing to complaine vnto but his misery. O calamity! there might you haue heard the windes whistling, the raine dashing, the sea roaring, the cables cracking, the tacklings breaking, the ship tearing, the men miserably crying out to 495saue their liues: there might you haue seene the sea searching the ship, the boordes fleeting, the goodes swimming, the treasure sincking, and the poore soules shifting to saue themselues, but all in vaine, for partly by the violence of the tempest, and partely thorow that dismall darkenesse, which vnfortunately was come vpon them, they were all drowned, gentle 500Pericles only excepted, till (as it were Fortune being tyred with this mishap) by the helpe of a plancke, which in this distresse hee got holde on, hee was, with much labour, and more feare, driuen on the shore of Pentapolis, where a while complaining him of his mishaps, and accusing the Gods of this iniury doone to his innocencie, not knowing on what shoare, 505whether friend or foe he had, being certayne Fishermen, who had also suffered in the former tempest, and had beene witnesses of his vntimely shipwracke: (the day being cleered againe) were come out from their homely cottages to dry and repaire their nettes, who being busied about their work, and no whit regarding his lamentation, passed away their labour with discourse 510to this purpose, in comparing the Sea to Brokers and Usurers, who seeme faire, and looke louely till they haue got men into their clutches, when one tumbles them, and an other tosses them, but seldome leauing vntill they haue suncke them. Againe comparing our rich men to Whales, that make a great shew in the worlde, rowling and tumbling vp and downe, but are 515good for little, but to sincke others: that the fishes liue in the sea, as the powerfull on shoare, the great ones eate vp the little ones: with which morall obseruations driuing out their labor, and prince Pericles, wondring that from the finny subiects of the sea these poore countrey people learned the infirmities of men, more than mans obduracy and dulnes could 520learne one of another: at length ouercharged with cold which the extreamity of water had pressed him with, and no longer being able to endure, he was compelled to demaund their simple helpe, offering to their eares the mishap of his shipwracke, which hee was no sooner about to relate, but they remembred their eies, not without much sorrow, to haue bin the witnesses 525thereof: and beholding the comely feature of this Gentleman, the chiefe of these Fishermen was mooued with compassion toward him, and lifting him vp from the ground, himselfe with the helpe of his men, led him to his house, where with such fare as they presently had, or they could readily prouide, they with a hearty welcome feasted him, and the more to expresse 530their tendernesse to his misfortune, the master dishabited himselfe of his outward apparell to warme and cherish him, which curtesy Pericles as curteously receiuing, vowing, if euer his fortunes came to their ancient height, their curtesies should not die vnrecompensed, and being somewhat repayred in heart by their releefe, he demaunded of the country on the 535which he was driuen, of the name of the King, and of the manner of the gouernement. When the maister Fisherman commaunding his seruants to goe dragge vp some other nettes, which yet were abroade, he seated himselfe by him, and of the question he demaunded to this purpose, resolued him; Our countrey heere on the which you are driuen sir, is called Pentapolis, 540and our good king thereof is called Symonides: the Good King call you him, quoth Pericles? Yea, and rightly so called sir, quoth the poore Fisherman, who so gouernes his kingdome with iustice and vprightnesse, that he is no readier to commaund, than we his subiects are willing to obey. He is a happy King, quoth Pericles, since he gaines the name of Good by his 545gouernement, and then demaunded how farre his Court was distant from that place: wherein he was resolued, some halfe a dayes iourney, and from point to point also informed, that the King had a princely daughter named Thaysa, in whome was Beauty so ioyned with Vertue, that it was as yet vnresolued which of them deserued the greater comparison: and in memory 550of whose birth day, her father yeerely celebrated feasts and triumphes, in the honour of which, many Princes and Knights from farre and remote Countries came, partly to approoue their chiualry, but especially (being her fathers only child,) in hope to gaine her loue: which name of Chiualry to approoue, that all the violence of the water had not power to quench 555the noblenesse of his minde. Pericles sighing to himselfe he broke out thus: Were but my fortunes aunswerable to my desires some should feele that I would be one there. When as if all the gods had giuen a plaudite to his wordes, the Fishermen, who before were sent out by their Maister to dragge out the other nettes, hauing found somwhat in the botome too 560ponderous for their strength to pull vp, they beganne to lewre and hallow to their Maister for more helpe, crying that there was a fish hung in their net, like a poore mans case in the Lawe, it would hardly come out, but Industry being a preuayling workeman, before helpe came, vp came the Fish expected, but prooued indeede to be a rusty armour. At the name of 565which word Armour, Pericles being rowzed, he desired of the poore Fishermen, that he who better than they, was acquainted with such furniture, might haue the view of it. In briefe, what hee could aske of them, was granted: the Armour is by Pericles viewed, and knowne to be a defence which his father at his last will gaue him in charge to keepe, that it might prooue 570to be a defender of the sonne, which he had knowne to be a preseruer of the father: so accompting all his other losses nothing, since he had that agayne, whereby his father could not challenge him of disobedience: and thanking Fortune, that after all her crosses, shee had yet giuen him somewhat to repayre his fortunes, begging this Armour of the Fishermen, 575and telling them, that with it hee would shew the vertue hee had learned in Armes, and trie his chiualry for their Princesse Thaysa, which they applauding, and one furnishing him with an old gowne to make Caparisons for his horse, which horse hee prouided with a lewel, whom all the raptures of the sea could not bereaue from his arme, and other furnishing him with 580the long sideskirtes of their cassockes, to make him bases, his Armour rusted: and thus disgracefully habilited, Prince Pericles with their conduct is gone to the court of Symonides, where the Fishermen had foretolde him was all the preparation, that eyther Art or Industrie might attaine vnto, to solemnize the birth day of faire Thaysa the good King Symonides 585daughter. This is the day, this Symonides Court, where the King himselfe, with the Princesse his daughter, haue placed themselues in a Gallery, to beholde the triumphes of seuerall Princes, who in honour of the Princes birth day, but more in hope to haue her loue, came purposely thither, to approoue their chiualrie. They thus seated, and Prince Pericles, as well 590as his owne prouiding, and the Fishermens care could furnish him, likewise came to the court. In this maner also seuerall princes (their horses richly caparasoned, but themselues more richly armed, their Pages before them bearing their Deuices on their shields) entred then the Tilting place. The first a prince of Macedon, and the Deuice hee bore vpon his shield, 595was a blacke Ethiope reaching at the Sunne, the word, Lux tua vita mihi: which being by the knights Page deliuered to the Lady, and from her presented to the King her father, hee made playne to her the meaning of each imprese: and for this first, it was, that the Macedonian Prince loued her so well hee helde his life of her. The second, a Prince of 600Corinth, and the Deuice hee bare vpon his shield was a wreathe of Chiualry, the word, Me pompae prouexet apex, the desire of renowne drew him to this enterprise. The third of Antioch, and his Deuice was an armed Knight, being conquered by a Lady, the word, Pue per dolcera qui per sforsa: more by lenitie than by force. The fourth of Sparta, and the Deuice he 605bare was a mans arme enuironed with a cloude, holding out golde thats by the touchstone tride, the word, Sic spectanda fides, so faith is to be looked into. The fift of Athens, and his Deuice was a flaming Torch turned downeward, the word, Qui me alit me extinguit, that which giues me life giues me death. The sixt and last was Pericles Prince of Tyre, 610who hauing neither Page to deliuer his shield, nor shield to deliuer, making his Deuice according to his fortunes, which was a withered Braunch being onely greene at the top, which prooued the abating of his body, decayed not the noblenesse of his minde, his word, In hac spe viuo, In that hope I liue. Himselfe with a most gracefull curtesie presented 615it vnto her, which shee as curteously receiued, whilest the Peeres attending on the King forbare not to scoffe, both at his presence, and the present hee brought, being himselfe in a rusty Armour, the Caparison of his horse of plaine country russet, and his owne Bases but the skirtes of a poore Fishermans coate, which the King mildely reproouing them for, hee tolde 620them, that as Vertue was not to be approoued by wordes, but by actions, so the outward habite was the least table of the inward minde, and counselling them not to condemne ere they had cause to accuse: They went forward to the triumph, in which noble exercise they came almost all, as short of Pericles perfections, as a body dying, of a life flourishing. 625To be short, both of Court and Commons, the praises of none were spoken of, but of the meane Knights (for by any other name he was yet vnknowne to any.) But the Triumphes being ended, Pericles as chiefe, (for in this dayes honour hee was Champion) with all the other Princes, were by the Kings Marshall conducted into the Presence, where Symonides and his 630daughter Thaysa, with a most stately banquet stayed to giue them a thankefull intertainment. At whose entraunce, the Lady first saluting Pericles, gaue him a wreathe of Chiualry, welcommed him as her knight and guest, and crowned him King of that dayes noble enterprise. In the end, all being seated by the Marshall at a table, placed directly 635ouer-against where the king and his daughter sate as it were by some diuine operation, both King and daughter, at one instant were so strucke in loue with the noblenesse of his woorth, that they could not spare so much time to satisfie themselues with the delicacie of their viands, for talking of his prayses: while Pericles on the other side obseruing the 640dignity wherein the King sate, that so many Princes came to honour him, so many Peeres stoode ready to attend him, hee was strucke with present sorrow, by remembring the losse of his owne. Which the good Symonides taking note of, and accusing himselfe before there was cause, that Pericles spirites were dumpt into their melancholy, through some dislike 645of so the slackenesse hee found in his entertainement, or neglect of his woorth, calling for a boule of wine, hee dranke to him, and so much further honoured him, that he made his daughter rise from her seate to beare it to him, and withall, willing her to demaund of him his name, Countrey, and fortunes, a message (gentle Lady) shee was as ready to 650obey vnto, as her Father was to commaund, reioycing that shee had any occasion offered her whereby shee might speake vnto him. Pericles by this time hath pledged the King, and by his daughter (according to his request) thus returneth what hee is, that hee was a Gentleman of Tyre, his name Pericles, his education beene in Artes and Armes, who looking 655for aduentures in the world, was by the rough and vnconstant Seas, most vnfortunately bereft both of shippes and men, and after shipwrecke, throwen vpon that shoare. Which mis-haps of his the king vnderstanding of, hee was strucke with present pitty to him, and rising from his state, he came foorthwith and imbraced him, bade him be cheered, and tolde him, 660that whatsoeuer misfortune had impayred him of, Fortune, by his helpe, could repayre to him, for both himselfe and Countrey should be his friendes, and presently calling for a goodly milke white Steede, and a payre of golden spurres, them first hee bestowed vppon him, telling him, they were the prises due to his merite, and ordained for that dayes 665enterprise: which kingly curtesie Pericles as thankefully accepting. Much time beeing spent in dauncing and other reuells, the night beeing growne olde, the King commaunded the Knights shoulde be conducted to their lodgings, giuing order, that Pericles Chamber should be next his owne, where wee will leaue them to take quiet rest, and returne backe to Tyre.