Internet Shakespeare Editions

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  • Title: Pericles, Prince of Tyre (Quarto)
  • Editor: Tom Bishop

  • Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Tom Bishop
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Pericles, Prince of Tyre (Quarto)

    The Play of Pericles
    Prince of Tyre. &c.
    Enter Gower.
    TO sing a Song that old was sung,
    From ashes, auntient Gower is come,
    Assuming mans infirmities,
    5To glad your eare, and please your eyes:
    It hath been sung at Feastiuals,
    On Ember eues, and Holydayes:
    And Lords and Ladyes in their liues,
    Haue red it for restoratiues:
    10The purchase is to make men glorious,
    Et bonum quo Antiquius eo melius:
    If you, borne in those latter times,
    When Witts more ripe, accept my rimes;
    And that to heare an old man sing,
    15May to your Wishes pleasure bring:
    I life would wish, and that I might
    Waste it for you, like Taper light.
    This Antioch, then Antiochus the great,
    Buylt vp this Citie, for his chiefest Seat;
    20The fayrest in all Syria.
    I tell you what mine Authors saye:
    This King vnto him tooke a Peere,
    Who dyed, and left a female heyre,
    So bucksome, blith, and full of face,
    25As heauen had lent her all his grace:
    With whom the Father liking tooke,
    And her to Incest did prouoke:
    Bad child, worse father, to intice his owne
    To euill, should be done by none:
    30But custome what they did begin,
    Was with long vse, account'd no sinne;
    The beautie of this sinfull Dame,
    Made many Princes thither frame,
    To seeke her as a bedfellow,
    35In maryage pleasures, playfellow:
    Which to preuent, he made a Law,
    To keepe her still, and men in awe:
    That who so askt her for his wife,
    His Riddle tould, not lost his life:
    40So for her many of wight did die,
    As yon grimme lookes do testifie.
    What now ensues, to the iudgement of your eye,
    I giue my cause, who best can iustifie.