Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Wilkins: The Adventures of Pericles (Quarto)


The seauenth Chapter.

How faire Thaysa died in trauell of childe-birth vppon the Sea, and being throwen for buriall in the waters, was cast ashoare at Ephesus, and how by the 980excellent labour of Lord Cerimon a skilfull Physition, she was restored to her life againe, and by her owne request placed to liue a Votary in the Temple of Diana.

Prince Pericles, with his Queene Thaysa, being thus on shippe-boorde, and their marriners merrily hauing hoysed vppe their sayles, their vessels, as prowde of such a fraught wherewith they 985were enriched, galloped cheerefully on the Ocean. Fortune did now seeme to looke fairely, neyther was there promise of any other alteration, the day looked louely, and the sea smiled for ioy, to haue her bosome pressed with these burthens: But nothing in this world that is permanent, Time is the father of Fortune, hee 990is slippery, and then of necessitie must his childe be fickle: and this was his alteration, a cloude seemed to arise from forth the south, which being by the Maister and Marriners beheld, they tolde Prince Pericles, that it was messenger of a storme, which was no sooner spoken, but as if the heauens had conspired with the 995waters, and the windes bin assistant to both, they kept such a blustering, and such an vnruely stirre, that none could be heard to speake but themselues, seas of waters were receiued into their ships while others fought against them to expell them out, stop the lecage there cries out one, hale vppe the maine bowlings there 1000calles out another, and with their confusion (neither vnderstanding other, since the storme had gotte the maistery) they made such a hideous noyse, that it had had power to haue awakened Death, and to haue affrighted Patience: nor could it choose then but bring much terror to our sea-sicke Queene, who had beene vsed to better 1005attendance, than was now offered her by these ill tutored seruantes Winde and Water: but they who neither respect birth nor blood, prayers nor threats, time nor occasion, continued still their boysterous hauocke. With which stirre (good Lady) her eies and eares, hauing not till then bin acquainted, she is strucke into 1010such a hasty fright, that welladay she falles in trauell, is deliuered of a daughter, and in this childe-birth dies, while her princely husband being aboue the hatches, is one while praying to heauen for her safe deliuerance, an other while suffering for the sorow wherwith he knew his Queene was imburthened, he chid 1015the contrary storme (as if it had been sensible of hearing) to be so vnmanerly, in this vnfitting season, and when so good a Queene was in labor, to keep such a blustering: thus while the good Prince remayned reproouing the one, and pittying the other, vp comes Lycorida the Nurse, sent along by good Symonides with 1020his daughter, and into his armes deliuers his Sea-borne Babe, which he taking to kisse, and pittying it with these words: Poore inch of Nature (quoth he) thou arte as rudely welcome to the worlde, as euer Princesse Babe was, and hast as chiding a natiuitie, as fire, ayre, earth, and water can affoord thee, 1025when, as if he had forgot himselfe, he abruptly breaks out: but say Licorida, how doth my Queene? O sir (quoth she) she hath now passed all daungers, and hath giuen vppe her griefes by ending her life. At which wordes, no tongue is able to expresse the tide of sorrowe that ouer-bounded Pericles, 1030first looking on his Babe, and then crying out for the mother, pittying the one that had lost her bringer ere shee had scarce saluted the worlde, lamenting for himselfe that had beene bereft of so inestimable a Iewell by the losse of his wife, in which sorrowe as he would haue proceeded, vppe came the Maister to him, 1035who for that the storme continued still in his tempestuous height, brake off his sorrowe with these sillables. Sir, the necessitie of the time affoordes no delay, and we must intreate you to be contented, to haue the dead body of your Queene throwne ouer-boorde. How varlet! quoth Pericles, interrupting him, 1040wouldest thou haue me cast that body into the sea for buriall, who being in misery receiued me into fauour? We must intreate you to temperance sir (quoth the Maister) as you respect your owne safety, or the prosperitie of that prety Babe in your armes. At the naming of which word Babe, Pericles looking 1045mournfully vpon it, shooke his head, and wept. But the Maister going on, tolde him, that by long experience they had tried, that a shippe may not abide to carry a dead carcasse, nor would the lingering tempest cease while the dead body remayned with them. But the Prince seeking againe to perswade them, 1050tolde them, that it was but the fondnes of their superstition to thinke so. Call it by what you shal please sir (quoth the Maister) but we that by long practise haue tried the proofe of it, if not with your graunt, then without your consent (for your owne safety, which wee with all duety tender) must so dispose 1055of it. So calling for his seruants about him, he willed one of them, to bring him a chest, which he foorthwith caused to be well bitumed and well leaded for her coffin, then taking vp the body of his (euen in death) faire Thaysa, he arrayed her in princely apparrell, placing a Crowne of golde vppon her 1060head, with his owne hands, (not without store of funerall teares) he layed her in that Toombe, then placed hee also store of golde at her head, and great treasure of siluer at her feete, and hauing written this Letter which he layd vpon her breast, with fresh water flowing in his eyes, as loath to 1065leaue her sight, he nayled vp the Chest, the Tenor of which writing was in forme as followeth;

If ere it hap this Chest be driuen
On any shoare, on coast or hauen,
I Pericles the Prince of Tyre,
1070(That loosing her, lost all desire,)
Intreate you giue her burying,
Since she was daughter to a King:
This golde I giue you as a fee,
The Gods requite your charitie.

1075The Chest then being nayled vp close, he commaunded it to be lifted ouer-boorde, and then naming his Childe Marina, for that she was borne vppon the Sea, he directed his Maister to alter the course from Tyre, (being a shorter cutte to Tharsus) and for whose safety he thither intended, where with his hoste 1080Cleon and Dionysa his wife, he intended to leaue his little infant, to be fostered and brought vp. The dead body being thus throwne ouer-boorde, when as if Fortune had bethought her, that shee had wrought her vtmost spight to him, by bereauing him of so great a comfort, euen in the instant 1085the tempest ceaseth, where we will leaue Prince Pericles vppon calme waters, though not with a calme minde, sayling to Tharsus: and beholde, the next morning, by which time, the waues had rouled, from waue to waue this Chest to land, and cast it ashoare on the coast of Ephesus, in which Citty 1090liued a Lord called Cerimon, who, though of noble bloud, and great possessions, yet was he so addicted to studie, and in searching out the excellencie of Arts, that his felicitie consisted in contemplation, wisely fore-knowing, so icie is the state of riches, that it is thawed to nothing, by the least 1095aduersitie, that carelesse heires may dispend, and riot consume them, when one vertue, and our deserued fame attendeth immortality, this consideration made him so to apply his time in Letters, and in searching out the nature of Simples, that he grew so excellent in the secret of Physicke, as if 1100Apollo himselfe, or another Aesculapius had beene his Schoolemaister: nor was he of this plentie a niggard to the needie, but so bountifull to the distressed, that his house and hand were accompted the hospitalls for the diseased. This Lord Cerimon had his residence built so neare the shoare, that 1105in his windowes he ouer-looked the Sea: and being this morning in conference with some that came to him both for helpe for themselues, and reliefe for others; and some that were relating the crueltie of the last nights tempest, on a sodayne casting his eye from foorth his casement towards the maine, he might 1110espie the waters, as it were, playing with the Chest wherein the dead Queene was incoffind, and which was vpon the sodayne, by a more eager billow, cast on his bankes, when presently thinking it to be the remnant of some shippewracke, caused in the last nights storme, calling for his seruants, hee 1115foorthwith commaunded them to haue it brought vppe to him as forfeited vnto him, being cast on his ground, which accordingly performed, hee as presently gaue charge it should be opened, when not without much wonder he straitway viewed the dead body of the Queene, so crowned, so royally apparelled, so 1120intreasured as before, and taking vp the writing which he likewise found placed vpon her breast, hee read it to the Gentlemen, who at that time accompanied him, and knowing it thereby to be the dead Queene to Prince Pericles. Now surely, quoth Cerimon, thou hast a bodie euen drowned with woe for 1125the losse of so goodly a creature: for Gentlemen, sayde he, as you may perceiue, such was the excellencie of her beauty, that grimme Death himselfe hath not power to suffer any deformitie to accompany it. Then laying his hand gently vpon her cheeke, he bethought him that life had not lost 1130all the workemanshippe that Nature had bestowed vppon her, for euen at the opening of the Chest, and as it were she then receiuing fresh aire, he might perceue, a new but calm glowing to reespire in her cheeks, with which being somewhat amazed. Now surely Gentlemen, quoth hee turning to them, 1135who were greedily set round about him, this Queene hath not long beene intraunced, and I haue read of some Egyptians, who after foure houres death, (if man may call it so) haue raised impouerished bodies, like to this, vnto their former health, nor can it be disparagement to me to vse my best 1140practise on this Queene, to which by the Gentlemen that accompanyed him, hee was incouraged to attempt, since that the recouery of her could not but appeare to be a worke of wonder, and since that his fortune was so successefull in his ministring, that all Ephesus was repleate with his helpe, 1145so calling for a seruant of his to attend him with certayne boxes which he named were in his studie, as also with fire and necessary linnen, inuoking Apollo to be gratious to his empericke, and the worke in hand, he began to apply to her, First pulling downe the clothes from off the Ladies bosome, 1150he powred vppon her a most precious oyntment, and bestowing it abroad with his hand, perceiued some warmth in her breast, and that there was life in the body, whereat somewhat astonished, he felt her pulses, layde his cheeke to her mouth, and examining all other tokens that he could deuise, 1155he perceiued how death stroue with life within her, and that the conflict was dangerous, and doubtfull who should preuaile. Which beeing done, he chafed the body against the fire, vntill the bloud which was congealed with colde was wholly dissolued, when powring a precious liquor into her mouth, 1160hee perceiued warmth more and more to encrease in her, and the golden fringes of her eyes a litle to part: then calling softly to the Gentlemen who were witnesses about him, he bade them that they should commaund some still musicke to sound. For certainely quoth he, I thinke this Queene will 1165liue, and suppose that she hath bin much abused, for she hath not beene long intraunced, condemning them for rashnesse so hastily to throwe her ouer-boorde. And when he had so said, he tooke the body reuerently into his armes, and bare it into his owne Chamber, and layed it vpon his bed groueling 1170vpon the breast, then tooke hee certaine hote and comfortable oiles, and warming them vpon the coles, he dipped faire wooll therein, and fomented all the bodie ouer therewith, vntill such time as the congealed bloud and humours were thorowly resolued, and the spirites in due forme recouered their 1175woonted course, the veines waxed warme, the arteries beganne to beate, and the lungs drew in the fresh ayre againe, and being perfectly come to her selfe, lifting vp those now againe pricelesse diamonds of her eyes, O Lord (quoth shee) where am I? for it seemeth to me that 1180I haue beene in a strange Countrey. And wheres my Lord I pray you? I long to speake with him. But Cerimon, who best knew, that now with any thing to discomfort her, might breede a relapse, which would be vnrecouerable, intreated her to be cheered, for her Lord was well, and 1185that anone, when the time was more fitting, and that her decayed spirites were repayred, hee would gladly speake with her: So, as it were, being but newly awaked from death, to the great amasement of the beholders, she presently fell into a most comfortable slumber, which Lord Cerimon giuing 1190charge none should disturbe her of, he in the meane time, and against she should awake, prouided cherishing meates, and as her strength grew, gaue wholesome clothes to refresh her with. But not long after, weakenesse being banished from her, and Cerimon, by communication knew, that shee 1195came of the stocke of a King, he sent for many of his friendes to come vnto him, and adopted her for his owne daughter, and related vnto her, howe after so greeuous a tempest, in what manner shee was found. In which tempest she supposing her kingly husband to be shipwrecked, shee 1200with many teares intreated, that since he had giuen her life, he would be pleased to giue her leaue to liue vnknowne to any man. To which Cerimon accorded: and for that intent placed her in the Temple of Diana, which was there consecrated at Ephesus.