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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Lord Cerimon with a servant [and another man in distress].
    [Calling offstage] Philemon, ho!
    1200Enter Philemon.
    Doth my lord call?
    Get fire and meat for these poor men.
    [Exit Philemon.]
    'T'as been a turbulent and stormy night.
    I have been in many, but such a night as this,
    1205Till now I ne'er endured.
    [To servant] Your master will be dead ere you return.
    There's nothing can be ministered to nature
    That can recover him. [To the other man, giving him a note.] Give this to the 'pothecary,
    And tell me how it works.[Exeunt both men.]
    1210Enter two gentlemen.
    1 Gentleman
    Good morrow.
    2 Gentleman
    Good morrow to your lordship.
    Gentlemen, why do you stir so early?
    1 Gentleman
    Our lodgings standing bleak upon the sea
    1215Shook as the earth did quake.
    The very principals did seem to rend
    And all to topple. Pure surprise and fear,
    Made me to quit the house.
    2 Gentleman
    That is the cause we trouble you so early,
    'Tis not our husbandry!
    Oh, you say well!
    1 Gentleman
    But I much marvel that your lordship, having
    Rich tire about you, should at these early hours
    Shake off the golden slumber of repose.
    'Tis most strange
    Nature should be so conversant with pain,
    1225Being thereto not compelled.
    I hold it ever
    Virtue and cunning were endowments greater
    Than nobleness and riches. Careless heirs
    May the two latter darken and expend,
    But immortality attends the former,
    1230Making a man a god. 'Tis known, I ever
    Have studied physic, through which secret art,
    By turning o'er authorities I have,
    Together with my practice, made familiar
    To me and to my aid the blest infusions
    That dwells 1235in vegetives, in metals, stones;
    And I can speak of the disturbances
    That nature works, and of her cures, which doth give me
    A more content in course of true delight
    Than to be thirsty after tottering honor,
    Or tie my pleasure up in silken bags
    1240To please the fool, and death.
    2 Gentleman
    Your honor has
    Through Ephesus poured forth your charity,
    And hundreds call themselves your creatures who
    By you have been restored. And not your knowledge,
    Your personal pain, 1245but even your purse still open
    Hath built Lord Cerimon such strong renown
    As time shall never --
    Enter two or three [servants] with a chest.
    [1] Servant
    So, lift there!
    What's that?
    1250[1] Servant
    Sir, even now
    Did the sea toss up upon our shore this chest;
    'Tis of some wreck.
    Set't down. Let's look upon't.
    2 Gentleman
    'Tis like a coffin, sir.
    Whate'er it be,
    'Tis wondrous heavy. 1255[To servants] Wrench it open straight!
    [The servants begin work on the chest.]
    [To the gentlemen] If the sea's stomach be o'er-charged with gold,
    'Tis a good constraint of Fortune it belches upon us.
    2 Gentleman
    'Tis so, my lord.
    How close 'tis caulked & bitumed!
    Did the sea cast it up?
    1260[1] Servant
    I never saw so huge a billow sir,
    As tossed it upon shore.
    Wrench it open.
    [The servants force the lid.]
    Soft! It smells most sweetly in my sense.
    2 Gentleman
    A delicate odour.
    As ever hit my nostril. So, up with it!
    [The servants open the chest.]
    O you most potent gods! What's here, a corpse?
    12652 Gentleman
    Most strange!
    Shrouded in cloth of state, balmed and entreasured
    With full bags of spices! A passport too!
    [He takes a paper from the chest.]
    Apollo, perfect me in the characters! [He reads.]
    Here I give to understand,
    1270If e'er this coffin drives a-land:
    I, King Pericles, have lost
    This queen, worth all our mundane cost.
    Who finds her, give her burying:
    She was the daughter of a king.
    1275Besides this treasure for a fee,
    The Gods requite his charity!
    If thou liv'st, Pericles, thou hast a heart
    That ever cracks for woe! This chanced tonight.
    2 Gentleman
    Most likely, sir.
    Nay, certainly tonight,
    For look how fresh she looks. They were too rough
    That threw her in the sea. [To servants] Make a fire within.
    Fetch hither all my boxes in my closet.
    [Exeunt servants.]
    [To gentlemen] Death may usurp on nature many hours,
    And yet the fire of life kindle again
    The o'er-pressed spirits. 1285I heard of an Egyptian
    That had nine hours lain dead, who was
    By good appliance recovered.
    Enter one [servant] with napkins and fire.
    Well said, well said! The fire and cloths!
    [To gentlemen] The rough and woeful music that we have,
    Cause it to sound, beseech you.
    [A gentleman withdraws to cue music.]
    1290[To servant] The vial once more. How thou stir'st, thou block!
    [Calls.] The music there! [Music plays.] I pray you, give her air.
    Gentlemen, this queen will live!
    Nature awakes a warm breath out of her.
    She hath not been entranced above five hours.
    1295See how she 'gins to blow into life's flower again.
    1 Gentleman
    The heavens through you increase our wonder,
    And sets up your fame for ever.
    She is alive.
    Behold her eyelids, cases to those
    Heavenly jewels which Pericles hath lost,
    1300Begin to part their fringes of bright gold.
    The diamonds of a most praisèd water
    Doth appear, to make the world twice rich. Live,
    And make us weep to hear your fate, fair creature,
    Rare as you seem to be.
    She moves.
    O dear Diana!
    Where am I? Where's my lord? What world is this?
    2 Gentleman
    Is not this strange?
    1 Gentleman
    Most rare!
    Hush, my gentle neighbors.
    Lend me your hands. To the next chamber bear her.
    [To servants] Get linen. 1310Now this matter must be looked to,
    For her relapse is mortal. Come, come;
    And Aesculapius guide us.
    They carry her away. Exeunt omnes.