Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Wilkins: The Adventures of Pericles (Quarto)


The third Chapter.

How Pericles arriuing at Tharsus releeued the Cittie, almost 365famished for want of foode, and how Helycanus sent him word of what had happened at Tyre, with his departure from Tharsus.

Prince Pericles by the aduise of his good Counsellor Helicanus, hauing left Tyre, and intended his whole course for Tharsus, of which City lord Cleon was gouernor, who at this instance with Dyonysa his wife, were 370relating the present miseries wherein themselues and their Citty Tharsus consisted: the ground of which forced lamentation was, to see the power of change, that this their City, who not two summers younger, did so excell in pompe, and bore a state, whom all hir neighbors enuied for her greatnes, to whom strangers resorted, as to the schoole of variety, where they might best 375enrich their vnderstandings with experience, whose houses were like so many Courts for Kings, rather than sleeping places for subiects, whose people were curious in their diet, rich in attire, enuious in lookes, where was plenty in aboundance, pride in fulnesse, nothing in scarcenesse, but Charitie and Loue, the dignitie of whose pallats the whole riches of Nature could hardly 380satisfie, the ornaments of whose attire Art it selfe with all inuention could not content, are now so altered, that in steade of dowlny beds, they make their pillowes on boords, in stead of full furnished tables, hunger calles now out for so much bread, as may but satisfie life: sacke-cloth is now their wearing instead of silke, teares instead of inticing glaunces, are now the acquaintance 385of their eyes, in briefe, riot hath heere lost all her dominion, and now is no excesse, but whats in sorrow, heere standes one weeping, and there lies another dying, so sharpe are hungers teeth, and so rauenous the deuouring mouth of famine, that all pittie is exiled betweene the husband and the wife, nay all tendernesse betweene the mother and the children, faintesse hath now got that 390emperie ouer strength, there is none so whole to releeue the sicke, neither haue the liuing sufficiencie to giue buriall to the dead. Thus while this Cleon Lord Gouernour of Tharsus, and Dyonysa his Lady, with interchanging wordes were describing the sorrows which their almost vnpeopled Citty felt, who from the height of multiplication were substracted, almost to nothing: 395(for, what is life, if it want sustenaunce?) a fainting messenger came slowely into them, his fearefull lookes described that he brought sorrowe, and in slowe wordes hee deliuered this, that vpon their coastes there was discouered a fleete of shippes making thitherward, which Cleon supposing to be an army, which some neighbour nation (taking aduantage of their present mishap) had 400sent for their vtter ouerthrowe, hee commaunded the bringer, vpon their landing, to this purpose to salute their Generall, That Tharsus was subdewed before their comming, and that it was small conquest to subdew where there was no abilitie to resist, that they desired but this, that their citty might still stand, and that for the riches which their prosperitie had purchased, they 405freely resigned to them, they though their enemies, (for humanities sake) in the place of breeding, would affoord them buriall. Pericles by this is landed, and no sooner entred into their vnshut gates, but his princely eies were partaking witnesses of their widowed desolation. The messenger by this also hath deliuered the pleasure of the Gouernour, which the Prince 410weeping to attend, who rather came to releeue than to ransacke, he demaunded of the fellow, where the Gouernour was, and foorthwith to be conducted to him, which being effected, in the market place they mette, where Pericles without further hinderance deliuered to him, that his thoughts were deceued, to suppose them for enimies, who were now come to them for comfortable friends, 415and those his shippes which their fears might cause them to think were fraughted with their destruction, were intreasured with corne for their reliefe: at which the feeble soules not hauling strength enough to giue a showte for ioy, gazing on him, and heauen, fell on their knees, and wept. But Pericles going to the place of Judgement, causing all the liuing to be 420assembled thither, thus freely deliuered to them: You Cittizens of Tharsus, whom penury of victuall pincheth at this present, Know you, that I Pericles Prince of Tyre am come purposely to releeue you, in respect of which benefit I doubt not but you will be thus thankefull as to conceale my arriuing heere, and for a while to giue me safe harborage, and hospitalitie 425for my shippes and men, since by the tyranny of Antiochus, though not driuen, yet for a while I am desirous to leaue mine owne Countrey, and continue my residence heere with you, in recompence of which loue, I haue brought with me a hundred thousand bushells of wheate, which equally for your releefe shall be distributed amongst you, each man paying for euery bushell eight 430peeces of brasse, the price bestowed thereon in my owne Country. At which, as if the verie name of bread only had power to renew strength in them, they gaue a great showt, offering their Citty to him as his owne, and their repaired strength in his defence: with which corne their necessities being supplied, and euery man willingly paying his eight peeces of brasse, as hee 435had appoynted, Pericles demaunded for the Gouernour and the chiefe men of the gouernement, disdaining to bee a Merchant to sell corne, but out of his princely magnificence, bestowed the whole reuenew thereof to the beautifying of their Citty. Which when the Cittizens vnderstoode, to gratifie these large benefites, and to acknowledge him their patron and 440releeuer sent them by the gods, they erected in the Market place a monument in the memoriall of him, and made his statue of brasse, standing in a Charriot, holding corne in his right hand, and spurning it with his left foote, and on the bases of the pillar whereon it stoode, was ingrauen in great Letters this inscription: Pericles Prince of Tyre gaue a gift vnto the 445City of Tharsus, whereby he deliuered it from cruell death. So a while we desire the Reader to leaue Pericles heartning vp the decayed Cittizens of Tharsus, and turne their eyes to good Helycanus at Tyre.

Good Helycanus as prouident at home, as his Prince was prosperous abroade, let no occasion slip wherein hee might send word to Tharsus of what 450occurrents soeuer had happened in his absence, the chiefe of which was, that Thalyart by Antiochus was sent, with purpose to murther him, and that Antiochus, though fayling in his practise by his absence, seemed not yet to desist from like intents, but that he againe, suborned such like Instruments to the like treason, aduising him withall for his more 455certaine safetie, for a while to leaue Tharsus, as a refuge too neere the reach of the tyrant. To which Pericles consenting, hee takes his leaue of his hoste Cleon and Dyonysa, and the Cittizens as sory to leaue him, as sorrow can bee for the lacke of comfort.