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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    [Thunder.] Enter Pericles on shipboard.
    The god of this great vast, rebuke these surges
    Which wash both heaven and hell! And thou that hast
    1115Upon the winds command, bind them in brass,
    Having called them from the deep; O still
    Thy deafening dreadful thunders, gently quench
    Thy nimble sulphurous flashes! [He calls.] Oh, how-- Lychorida --
    How does my queen? [Thunder.] Thou storm, venomously
    1120Wilt thou spit all thyself? The seaman's whistle
    Is as a whisper in the ears of death,
    Unheard. [He calls.] Lychorida? Lucina, o
    Divinest patroness and midwife gentle
    To those that cry by night, convey thy deity
    1125Aboard our dancing boat, make swift the pangs
    Of my queen's travails! Now, Lychorida.
    Enter Lychorida, [with a baby].
    Here is a thing too young for such a place,
    Who if it had conceit would die, as I
    Am like to do. 1130Take in your arms this piece
    Of your dead queen.
    How? How, Lychorida?
    Patience, good sir. Do not assist the storm.
    Here's all that is left living of your queen:
    A little daughter. For the sake of it,
    1135Be manly, and take comfort.
    O you gods!
    Why do you make us love your goodly gifts,
    And snatch them straight away? We here below
    Recall not what we give, and therein may
    1140Vie honor with you.
    Patience, good sir,
    Even for this charge.
    [She gives him the baby.]
    [To the baby] Now mild may be thy life,
    For a more blusterous birth had never babe;
    Quiet and gentle thy conditions, for
    1145Thou art the rudeliest welcome to this world
    That ever was prince's child; happy what follows,
    Thou hast as chiding a nativity,
    As fire, air, water, earth, and heaven can make,
    To herald thee from the womb.
    1150Even at the first thy loss is more than can
    Thy portage quit with all thou canst find here.
    Now the good gods throw their best eyes upon't!
    Enter two Sailors.
    1 Sailor
    What courage sir? God save you.
    Courage enough, I do not fear the flaw,
    It hath done to me the worst. Yet for the love
    Of this poor infant, this fresh new sea-farer,
    I would it would be quiet.
    1 Sailor
    [Calls to sailors off.] Slack the bowlines there! [To the storm.] Thou wilt not, wilt thou? 1160Blow and split thyself!
    2 Sailor
    But sea-room, an the brine and cloudy billow kiss the moon, I care not.
    1 Sailor
    [To Pericles] Sir, your queen must overboard. The sea works high, the wind is loud, and will not lie till the ship 1165be cleared of the dead.
    That's your superstition.
    1 Sailor
    Pardon us, sir. With us at sea it hath been still observed, and we are strong in custom. Therefore briefly yield 'er, for she must overboard straight.
    As you think meet. 1170Most wretchèd queen!
    Here she lies, sir.
    [The body of Thaisa is revealed.]
    A terrible child-bed hast thou had, my dear.
    No light, no fire. Th'unfriendly elements
    Forgot thee utterly. Nor have I time
    1175To give thee hallowed to thy grave, but straight
    Must cast thee, scarcely coffined, in the ooze,
    Where for a monument upon thy bones,
    And e'er-remaining lamps, the belching whale
    And humming water must o'erwhelm thy corpse,
    1180Lying with simple shells. O Lychorida,
    Bid Nestor bring me spices, ink and paper,
    My casket and my jewels, and bid Nicander
    Bring me the satin coffer. Lay the babe
    Upon the pillow. Hie thee, whiles I say
    1185A priestly farewell to her. Suddenly, woman!
    [Exit Lychorida, with the baby.]
    2 Sailor
    Sir, we have a chest beneath the hatches, caulked and bitumed ready.
    I thank thee, mariner. Say, what coast is this?
    2 Sailor
    We are near Tharsus.
    Thither, gentle Mariner,
    Alter thy course for Tyre. When canst thou reach it?
    2 Sailor
    By break of day, if the wind cease.
    Oh, make for Tharsus!
    There will I visit Cleon, for the babe
    1195Cannot hold out to Tyrus. There I'll leave it
    At careful nursing. Go thy ways, good mariner.
    I'll bring the body presently.
    Exeunt [different ways, Pericles with the body of Thaisa.]