Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Wilkins: The Adventures of Pericles (Quarto)

The sixt Chapter.

How Prince Pericles is married to Thaysa king Symonides daughter, and how after he hath heard newes of Antiochus death, hee with his wife departeth toward his owne Country of Tyre.

740Prince Pericles hauing had (as before is mentioned) his lodging directed next adioyning to the kings bed-chamber, whereas all the other Princes vppon their comming to their lodgings betooke themselues to their pillowes, and to the nourishment of a quiet sleepe, he of the Gentlemen that attended him, (for it is to be noted, that vpon the grace that the 745king had bestowed on him, there was of his Officers toward him no attendance wanting) hee desired that hee might be left priuate, onely that for his instant solace they would pleasure him with some delightfull Instrument, with which, and his former practise hee intended to passe away the tediousnesse of the night insteade of more fitting slumbers.

750His wil was presently obeyed in all things since their master had commaunded he should be disobeyed in nothing: the Instrument is brought him, and as hee had formerly wished,the Chamber is disfurnished of any other company but himselfe, where presently hee beganne to compell such heauenly voyces from the sencelesse workemanship, as if Apollo 755himselfe had now beene fingering on it, and as if the whole Sinode of the gods, had placed their deities round about him of purpose, to haue beene delighted with his skill, and to haue giuen prayses to the excellencie of his art, nor was this sound only the rauisher of al hearers, but from his owne cleere breast hee sent such cheerefull 760notes, which by him were made vp so answerable to the others sound, that they seemed one onely consort of musike, and had so much delicacie, and out of discordes making vp so excellent a coniunction, that they had had power to haue drawne backe an eare, halfe way within the graue to haue listned vnto it, for thus much by our story we are certaine of, 765that the good Symonides (being by the height of night, and the former dayes exercise, in the ripenesse of his contentfull sleepe) hee reioyced to be awakend by it, and not accompting it a disease that troubled him in the hearing, but a pleasure wherewith hee still wished to be delighted. In briefe, hee was so satisfied to heare him thus expresse his excellence, 770that hee accompted his Court happy to entertaine so worthy a guest, and himselfe more happy in his acquaintance. But day that hath still that soueraigntie to drawe backe the empire of the night, though a while shee in darkenesse vsurpe, brought the morning on, and while the king was studying with what aunswerable present, wherewith to gratifie this 775noble Prince for his last nights musicke, a Gentlewoman (whose seruice was thither commaunded by his Daughter) brought him a letter, whose in-side had a sute to him to this purpose.

The Lady Thaysaes Letter to the King her Father.

My most noble Father, what my blushing modesty forbids me to 780speake, let your fatherly loue excuse that I write, I am subdude by loue, yet not inthralld through the licentiousnes of a loose desire, but made prisoner in that noble battell twixt Affection and Zeale: I haue no life but in this liberty, neither any liberty but in this thraldome, nor shall your tender selfe, weighing my affections truely in the Scale of your 785Iudgement, haue cause to contradict me, since him I loue hath as much merite in him, to challenge the title of a Sonne, as I blood of yours to inherite the name of daughter, then if you shall refuse to giue him me in marriage, deny not I pray you to make ready for my funerall.

Tis the stranger Pericles.
790Which request of hers, when the king her father had thus vnderstood of, hee beganne first to examine with him selfe, what vertue was in this choice, that should bind her thoughts to this liking, and what succeeding comfort hee might expect, the expectation of which, might inuite him to his consent. First hee beganne to 795remember himselfe, that he came vnto his Court but poore, and for pouerty, quoth the good king, tis a woorkemanship, that Nature makes vppe euen for others to contemne, and, which in these times, is growne odious to keepe companie withall, that to marrie her which was his onely childe, and the expectation of his subiectes, with 800one of so lowe blood and meane discent, would returne, rather a dishonour than a dignitie to his name, since Parents rather expect the aduauncement of Titles, and the raising of their houses, in the vniting of their issue, than the declining: but in the end, when hee had put all the Interiections he could between her loue and his 805liking, his vprightnesse made him see, that in vertue consisted mans onely perfection, and in him, as her befitting Court, she thought it fittest to keepe her royall residence, and in that opinion allowing of his daughters choice, hee thought himselfe happy to liue Father to such a vertuous sonne, and his daughter more happy to be coupled 810to so noble a husband. And as hee was now thus contracting them together in his reioycing thoughts, euen in the instant came in Pericles, to giue his Grace that salutation which the morning required of him, when the king intending to dissemble that in shew, which hee had determined on in heart, hee first tolde him, that his daughter 815had that morning sent vnto him that Letter, wherein shee intreated of him, that his Grace would be pleased, that himselfe (whom shee knew to call by no other name but the Stranger Pericles) might become her Schoolemaister, of whose rariety in musicke, excellencie in song, with comelinesse in dauncing, not onely shee had heard, but 820himselfe had borne testimonie to be the best, that euer their iudgements had had cause to iudge of. When Pericles, though willing to yeelde any courtesies to so gratious a Lady, and not disdaining to be commaunded any seruices by so good a Lord, yet replyed, Though all his abilities were at his Graces pleasure, yet he thought himselfe 825vnwoorthy to be his daughters schoolemaister. I but quoth Symonides, shee will not be denied to be your Scholler, and for manifest proofe thereof heere is her owne Character, which to that purpose shee hath sent vnto vs, and we to that purpose giue you leaue to reade: which Pericles ouerlooking, and finding the whole tenour thereof to be, 830that his daughter from all the other Princes, nay from the whole worlde, sollicited him for her husband, he straitway rather coniectured it to be some subtiltie of the father to betray his life, than any constancy of the princesse to loue him: and foorthwith prostrating himselfe at the kings feete, hee desired that his Grace would no way 835seeke to staine the noblenesse of his minde, by any way seeking to intrappe the life of so harmelesse a Gentleman, or that with euill he would conclude so much good which he already had begunne toward him, protesting, that for his part, his thoughts had neuer that ambition, so much as to ayme at the loue of his daughter, nor any 840action of his, gaue cause of his princely displesure: but the king faining still an angry brow, turned toward him, and tolde him, that like a traitour, hee lyed. Traytour, quoth Pericles? I, traytour, quoth the king, that thus disguised, art stolne into my Court, with the witchcraft of thy actions to bewitch, the 845yeelding spirit of my tender Childe. Which name of Traytor being againe redoubled, Pericles then, insteade of humblenesse seemed not to forget his auntient courage, but boldely replyed, That were it any in his Court, except himselfe, durst call him traytor, euen in his bosome he would write the lie: affirming, that he came into 850his Court in search of honour, and not to be a rebell to his State, his bloud was yet vntainted, but with the heate, got by the wrong the king had offered him, and that he boldly durst, and did defie, himselfe, his subiectes, and the prowdest danger, that eyther tyranny or treason could inflict vpon him. Which noblenesse of his, the king 855inwardly commending, though otherwise dissembling, he answered, he should prooue it otherwise, since by his daughters hand, it there was euident, both his practise and her consent therein. Which wordes were no sooner vttered, but Thaysa (who euer since she sent her Father her Letter, could not containe her selfe in any 860quiet, till she heard of his answer) came now in, as it had beene her parte, to make aunswere to her Fathers last sillable, when prince Pericles yeelding his body toward her, in most curteous manner demaunded of her by the hope she had of heauen, or the desire she had to haue her best wishes fulfilled heere in the 865worlde, that shee would now satisfie, her now displeased Father, if euer he, by motion, or by letters, by amorous glaunces, or by any meanes that Louers vse to compasse their disseignes, had sought to be a friend in the noblenesse of her thoughts, or a copartner in the worthinesse of her loue, when she as constant to finish, 870as she was forward to attempt, againe required of him, that suppose he had, who durst take offence thereat, since that it was her pleasure to giue him to knowe that he had power to desire no more than she had willingnesse to performe? How minion, quoth her Father (taking her off at the very word, who dare be displeased 875withall?) Is this a fit match for you? a stragling Theseus borne we knowe not where, one that hath neither bloud nor merite for thee to hope for, or himselfe to challenge euen the least allowaunce of thy perfections, when she humbling her princely knees before her Father, besought him to consider, that suppose his birth were base 880(when his life shewed him not to be so) yet hee had vertue, which is the very ground of all nobilitie, enough to make him noble: she intreated him to remember that she was in loue, the power of which loue was not to be confined by the power of his will. And my most royall Father, quoth shee, what with my penne 885I haue in secret written vnto you, with my tongue now I openly confirme, which is, that I haue no life but in his loue, neither any being but in the enioying of his worth. But daughter (quoth Symonides) equalles to equalls, good to good is ioyned, this not being so, the bauine of your minde in rashnesse kindled, must 890againe be quenched, or purchase our displeasure. And for you sir (speaking to prince Pericles) first learne to know, I banish you my Court, and yet scorning that our kingly inragement should stoope so lowe, for that your ambition sir, Ile haue your life. Be constant, quoth Thaysa, for euerie droppe of blood hee sheades 895of yours, he shall draw an other from his onely childe. In briefe, the king continued still his rage, the Lady her constancie. While Pericles stoode amazed at both, till at last the Father being no longer able to subdue that which he desired as much as shee, catching them both rashly by the handes, as if hee meant strait to haue 900inforced them to imprisonment, he clapt them hand in hand, while they as louingly ioyned lip to lip, and with tears trickling from his aged eyes, adopted him his happy sonne, and bade them liue together as man and wife. What ioy there was at this coupling, those that are Louers and enioy their wishes, can better conceiue, 905than my pen can set downe; the one reioycing to be made happy by so good and gentle a Lord, the other as happy to be inriched by so vertuous a Lady. What preparation there was for their marriage, is sufficiently expressed in this, that she was the onely daughter to a king, and had her fathers liking in her loue: what speede there 910to was to that marriage, let those iudge who haue the thoughtes of Thaysa at this instant, only conceiue the solempnities at the Temple are doone, the feast in most solempne order finished, the day spent in musicke, dauncing, singing, and all Courtly communication, halfe of the night in maskes and other courtly shewes, and the 915other halfe in the happy and lawfull imbracements of these most happy Louers. The discourse at large of the liberall Chalenges made and proclaimed, at Tilt, Barriers, running at the Ring, ioco di can, mannaging fierce horses, running on foote, and dauncing in armours, of the stately presented Playes, Shewes disguised, 920Speeches, Maskes and Mummeries, with continuall harmony of all kindes of Musicke, with banquetting in all delicacie, I leaue to the consideration of them who haue behelde the like in Courtes, and at the wedding of princes, rather than afford them to the description of my penne, only let such conceiue, all things in 925due order were accomplished, the dueties of marriage performed: and faire Thaysa this night is conceiued with child. The next day Ioy dwelling thorow the whole kingdom for this coniunction, euery man arose to feasting and iollity, for the wedding triumphs continued a whole moneth, while Time with his feathered wings, 930so fanned away the houres, and with his slippery feete, so glided ouer the dayes, that nine Moones had almost chaunged their light, ere halfe the time was thought to be expired, when it happened, that as the good Symonides and princely Pericles with his faire Thaysa were walking in the garden adioyning to 935their pallace, one of the Lords, who (as before) were sent by graue and carefull Helycanus, in search of their absent Prince, came hastily in to them, who vppon his knee deliuered vnto the yoong Prince a Letter, which being opened the contents therein spake thus vnto him: That Antiochus and his daughter (as is 940before described) were with the violence of lightning (shot from heauen,) strucke sodainely dead. And moreouer, that by the consent of the generall voyces the Cittie of Antioch, with all the riches therein, and the whole kingdome were reserued for his possession and princely government. Which Letter when 945he had read, he presently imparted the news thereof to his kingly Father, who vppon view receiued, hee strait knew (what vntill then the modesty of Pericles had concealed) that his sonne whome from pouerty hee aduanced to be the bedfellow of his daughter, was Prince of Tyre, who for the feare he had of 950Antiochus, had forsooke his kingdome, and now had giuen vnto him the kingdome of Antiochus for recompence, that graue Helycanus had not without much labour, appeased the stubborne mutiny of the Tyrians, who in his absence would haue elected him their king, and that to auoyde a future insurrection, (his whole 955state) in safety, how necessary it was for him to make a speedy returne, which gladnesse Symonides imparted to his Daughter, who as gladly receiued them. While Pericles intending a while to leaue his deerest deere behinde him, considering how dangerous it was for her to trauell by sea, being with childe, and so neere 960her time, he beganne to iatreate of his kingly father of all necessarie prouision for his departure, since the safety of twoo kingdomes did importune so much: when on the other side Thaysa falling at her fathers feete, her teares speaking in her sute faster than her wordes, shee humbly requested, that as his 965reuerend age tendered her, or the prosperitie of the Infant wherewith shee thought her selfe happy to be imburthened, hee would not permitte her to remaine behinde him. Which teares of hers preuayling with the aged King, though compelling his teares to take a loth and sorrowfull departure of her. Their 970Shippes be strongly appoynted, and fraught with all things conuenient as golde, siluer, apparrell, bedding, victualls, and armour, and fearing what vnfortunately hapned, causing an aged Nurse called Lycorida a Midwife, with other hand maides to attend her. They are shipt, and hee on shoare, the one gasing 975after the other with a greedy desire, vntill the high vsurping waters tooke away the sight from them both.