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  • Title: Pericles, Prince of Tyre (Modern)
  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 (Modern)

    Enter the King[, Thaisa, Marshal, attendants,] and Knights [dressed in armor] from tilting.
    To say you're welcome were superfluous:
    To place upon the volume of your deeds,
    As in a title page, your worth in arms,
    Were more than you expect, or more than's fit,
    Since every worth in show commends itself.
    775Prepare for mirth, for mirth becomes a feast.
    You are princes, and my guests.
    [To Pericles] But you my knight and guest,
    To whom this wreath of victory I give
    And crown you king of this day's happiness.
    [Thaisa puts a wreath on Pericles' head.]
    'Tis more by fortune, lady, than my merit.
    Call it by what you will, the day is yours,
    And here, I hope, is none that envies it.
    In framing an artist, art hath thus decreed:
    To make some good, but others to exceed,
    785And you are her labored scholar. [To Thaisa] Come, queen o'th'feast --
    For, daughter, so you are --, here take your place.
    [To Marshal] Marshal the rest as they deserve their grace.
    We are honored much by good Simonides.
    [The Marshal shows the Knights to their places.]
    Your presence glads our days. Honor we love,
    790For who hates honor hates the gods above.
    [To Pericles] Sir, yonder is your place.
    Some other is more fit.
    1 Knight
    Contend not, sir, for we are gentlemen
    Have neither in our hearts nor outward eyes
    795Envied the great, nor shall the low despise.
    You are right courteous knights.
    Sit, sir, sit.
    [They begin the feast.]
    [Aside] By Jove I wonder, that is king of thoughts:
    These cates resist me, he not thought upon.
    [Aside] By Juno, that is queen of marriage,
    All viands that I eat do seem unsavory,
    Wishing him my meat. [Aloud to Simonides] Sure, he's a gallant gentleman.
    He's but a country gentleman;
    Has done no more than other knights have done:
    Has broken a staff, 805or so; so let it pass.
    [Aside] To me he seems like diamond to glass.
    [Aside] Yon king's to me like to my father's picture,
    Which tells me in that glory once he was,
    Had princes sit like stars about his throne,
    810And he the sun for them to reverence.
    None that beheld him, but, like lesser lights,
    Did vail their crowns to his supremacy;
    Where now his son's like a glow-worm in the night,
    The which hath fire in darkness, none in light;
    815Whereby I see that Time's the king of men:
    He's both their parent and he is their grave,
    And gives them what he will, not what they crave.
    [To all] What, are you merry, knights?
    Who can be other in this royal presence?
    Here, with a cup that's stored unto the brim --
    As you do love, fill to your mistress' lips.
    We drink this health to you. [He drinks.]
    We thank your Grace.
    [To Thaisa] Yet pause awhile: yon knight doth sit too melancholy,
    825As if the entertainment in our court,
    Had not a show might countervail his worth:
    Note it not you, Thaisa?
    What is't to me, my father?
    Oh, attend, my daughter: 830Princes, in this,
    Should live like gods above, who freely give
    To everyone that come to honor them:
    And princes not doing so, are like to gnats,
    Which make a sound, but, killed, are wondered at.
    Therefore to make his entrance more sweet,
    835Here: say we drink this standing bowl of wine to him.
    [He drinks.]
    Alas, my father, it befits not me
    Unto a stranger knight to be so bold!
    He may my proffer take for an offence,
    Since men take women's gifts for impudence.
    How? Do as I bid you, or you'll move me else.
    [Aside] Now, by the gods, he could not please me better.
    And further, tell him we desire to know
    Of whence he is, his name, and parentage.
    [Thaisa approaches Pericles.]
    The King my father, sir, has drunk to you.
    I thank him.
    Wishing it so much blood unto your life.
    I thank both him and you, and pledge him freely.
    [He drinks.]
    And further, he desires to know of you
    Of whence you are, your name and parentage.
    A gentleman of Tyre, my name Pericles;
    My education been in arts and arms,
    Who, looking for adventures in the world,
    Was by the rough seas reft of ships and men,
    And after shipwreck, driven upon this shore.
    [Thaisa returns to Simonides.]
    He thanks your Grace; names himself Pericles,
    A gentleman of Tyre,
    Who only by misfortune of the seas
    Bereft of ships and men, cast on this shore.
    Now by the gods, I pity his misfortune,
    And will awake him from his melancholy.
    860[To all] Come, gentlemen, we sit too long on trifles,
    And waste the time which looks for other revels.
    Even in your armors as you are addressed
    Will well become a soldiers' dance.
    I will not have excuse with saying this:
    865"Loud music is too harsh for ladies' heads" --
    Since they love men in arms, as well as beds.
    [Music, and the Knights] dance.
    So this was well asked, 'twas so well performed.
    [Indicating Thaisa to Pericles] Come, sir, here's a lady that wants breathing too,
    870And, I have heard, you knights of Tyre
    Are excellent in making ladies trip,
    And that their measures are as excellent.
    In those that practice them, they are, my lord.
    Oh, that's as much as you would be denied
    875Of your fair courtesy.
    They dance.
    Unclasp, unclasp!
    Thanks, gentlemen, to all; all have done well.
    [To Pericles] But you the best. [Calling] Pages and lights, to conduct
    These knights unto their several lodgings.
    880[To Pericles] Yours, sir, we have given order be next our own.
    I am at your Grace's pleasure.
    Princes, it is too late to talk of love,
    And that's the mark, I know, you level at.
    Therefore, each one betake him to his rest,
    885Tomorrow all for speeding do their best.