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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Helicanus and Escanes.
    No, Escanes, know this of me:
    Antiochus from incest lived not free.
    For which the most high gods not minding 890longer
    To withhold the vengeance that they had in store,
    Due to this heinous capital offence,
    Even in the height and pride of all his glory,
    When he was seated in a chariot
    Of an inestimable value, and his daughter 895with him,
    A fire from heaven came and shrivelled up
    Their bodies even to loathing, for they so stunk
    That all those eyes adored them ere their fall
    Scorn now their hand should give them burial.
    'Twas very strange.
    And yet but justice; for though
    This king were great, his greatness was no guard
    To bar heaven's shaft, but sin had his reward.
    'Tis very true.
    [Enter three Lords.]
    9051 Lord
    [Apart, to his fellow Lords] See -- not a man, in private conference
    Or council, has respect with him but he!
    2 Lord
    It shall no longer grieve without reproof.
    3 Lord
    And cursed be he that will not second it.
    1 Lord
    Follow me then.[Advancing] Lord Helicane, a word.
    With me? And welcome. Happy day, my lords!
    1 Lord
    Know that our griefs are risen to the top,
    And now at length they overflow their banks.
    Your griefs? For what? Wrong not your prince you love.
    9151 Lord
    Wrong not yourself then, noble Helicane!
    But if the prince do live, let us salute him,
    Or know what ground's made happy by his breath.
    If in the world he live, we'll seek him out;
    If in his grave he rest, we'll find him there
    920And be resolved he lives to govern us,
    Or dead, gives cause to mourn his funeral
    And leaves us to our free election.
    2 Lord
    Whose death indeed's the strongest in our censure;
    And knowing this kingdom is without a head --
    925Like goodly buildings left without a roof
    Soon fall to ruin -- your noble self,
    That best know how to rule and how to reign,
    We thus submit unto, our sovereign.
    [Kneeling] Live, noble Helicane!
    Try honor's cause: forbear your suffrages.
    If that you love Prince Pericles, forbear.
    Take I your wish, I leap into the seas,
    Where's hourly trouble for a minute's ease.
    A twelve-month longer, let me entreat you
    935So to forbear the absence of your king,
    If in which time expired he not return,
    I shall with agèd patience bear your yoke.
    But if I cannot win you to this love,
    Go search like nobles, like noble subjects,
    940And in your search, spend your adventurous worth,
    Whom if you find and win unto return,
    You shall like diamonds sit about his crown.
    1 Lord
    To wisdom, he's a fool that will not yield.
    And since Lord Helicane enjoineth us,
    945We with our travels will endeavor it.
    Then you love us, we you, and we'll clasp hands:
    [They take one another's hands.]
    When peers thus knit, a kingdom ever stands.