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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Enter Antiochus, Prince Pericles, and followers.
    45Anti. Young Prince of Tyre, you haue at large receiued
    The danger of the taske you vndertake.
    Peri. I haue (Antiochus) and with a soule emboldned
    With the glory of her prayse, thinke death no hazard,
    In this enterprise.
    50Ant. Musicke bring in our daughter, clothed like a bride,
    For embracements euen of Ioue himselfe;
    At whose conception, till Lucina rained,
    Nature this dowry gaue; to glad her presence,
    The Seanate house of Planets all did sit,
    55To knit in her, their best perfections.
    Enter Antiochus daughter.
    Per. See where she comes, appareled like the Spring,
    Graces her subiects, and her thoughts the King,
    Of euery Vertue giues renowne to men:
    60Her face the booke of prayses, where is read,
    Nothing but curious pleasures, as from thence,
    Sorrow were euer racte, and teastie wrath
    Could neuer be her milde companion.
    You Gods that made me man, and sway in loue;
    65That haue enflamde desire in my breast,
    To taste the fruite of yon celestiall tree,
    (Or die in th'aduenture) be my helpes,
    As I am sonne and seruant to your will,
    To compasse such a bondlesse happinesse.
    70Anti. Prince Pericles.
    Peri. That would be sonne to great Antiochus.
    Ant. Before thee standes this faire Hesperides,
    With golden fruite, but dangerous to be toucht:
    For Death like Dragons heere affright thee hard:
    75Her face like Heauen, inticeth thee to view
    Her countlesse glory; which desert must gaine:
    And which without desert, because thine eye
    Presumes to reach, all the whole heape must die:
    Yon sometimes famous Princes, like thy selfe,
    80Drawne by report, aduentrous by desire,
    Tell thee with speachlesse tongues, and semblance pale,
    That without couering, saue yon field of Starres,
    Heere they stand Martyrs slaine in Cupids Warres:
    And with dead cheekes, aduise thee to desist,
    85For going on deaths net, whom none resist.
    Per. Antiochus, I thanke thee, who hath taught,
    My frayle mortalitie to know it selfe;
    And by those fearefull obiectes, to prepare
    This body, like to them, to what I must:
    90For Death remembered should be like a myrrour,
    Who tels vs, life's but breath, to trust it errour:
    Ile make my Will then, and as sicke men doe,
    Who know the World, see Heauen, but feeling woe,
    Gripe not at earthly ioyes as earst they did;
    95So I bequeath a happy peace to you,
    And all good men, as euery Prince should doe;
    My ritches to the earth, from whence they came;
    But my vnspotted fire of Loue, to you:
    Thus ready for the way of life or death,
    100I wayte the sharpest blow (Antiochus)
    Scorning aduice; read the conclusion then:
    Which read and not expounded, tis decreed,
    As these before thee, thou thy selfe shalt bleed.
    Daugh. Of all sayd yet, mayst thou prooue prosperous,
    105Of all sayd yet, I wish thee happinesse.
    Peri. Like a bold Champion I assume the Listes,
    Nor aske aduise of any other thought,
    But faythfulnesse and courage.
    The Riddle.
    I am no Viper, yet I feed
    On mothers flesh which did me breed:
    I sought a Husband, in which labour,
    I found that kindnesse in a Father;
    Hee's Father, Sonne, and Husband milde;
    115I, Mother, Wife; and yet his child:
    How they may be, and yet in two,
    As you will liue resolue it you.
    Sharpe Phisicke is the last: But ô you powers!
    That giues heauen countlesse eyes to view mens actes,
    120Why cloude they not their sights perpetually,
    If this be true, which makes me pale to read it?
    Faire Glasse of light, I lou'd you, and could still,
    Were not this glorious Casket stor'd with ill:
    But I must tell you, now my thoughts reuolt,
    125For hee's no man on whom perfections waite,
    That knowing sinne within, will touch the gate.
    You are a faire Violl, and your sense, the stringes;
    Who finger'd to make man his lawfull musicke,
    Would draw Heauen downe, and all the Gods to harken:
    130But being playd vpon before your time,
    Hell onely daunceth at so harsh a chime:
    Good sooth, I care not for you.
    Ant. Prince Pericles, touch not, vpon thy life;
    For that's an Article within our Law,
    135As dangerous as the rest: your time's expir'd,
    Either expound now, or receiue your sentence.
    Peri. Great King,
    Few loue to heare the sinnes they loue to act,
    T'would brayde your selfe too neare for me to tell it:
    140Who has a booke of all that Monarches doe,
    Hee's more secure to keepe it shut, then showne.
    For Vice repeated, is like the wandring Wind,
    Blowes dust in others eyes to spread it selfe;
    And yet the end of all is bought thus deare,
    145The breath is gone, and the sore eyes see cleare:
    To stop the Ayre would hurt them, the blind Mole castes
    Copt hilles towards heauen, to tell the earth is throng'd
    By mans oppression, and the poore Worme doth die for't:
    Kinges are earths Gods; in vice, their law's their will:
    150And if Ioue stray, who dares say, Ioue doth ill:
    It is enough you know, and it is fit;
    What being more knowne, growes worse, to smother it.
    All loue the Wombe that their first beeing bred,
    Then giue my tongue like leaue, to loue my head.
    155Ant. Heauen, that I had thy head; he ha's found the mea-(ning:
    But I will gloze with him. Young Prince of Tyre,
    Though by the tenour of your strict edict,
    Your exposition misinterpreting,
    We might proceed to counsell of your dayes;
    160Yet hope, succeeding from so faire a tree
    As your faire selfe, doth tune vs otherwise;
    Fourtie dayes longer we doe respite you,
    If by which time, our secret be vndone,
    This mercy shewes, wee'le ioy in such a Sonne:
    165And vntill then, your entertaine shall bee
    As doth befit our honour and your worth.
    Manet Pericles solus.
    Peri. How courtesie would seeme to couer sinne,
    When what is done, is like an hipocrite,
    170The which is good in nothing but in sight.
    If it be true that I interpret false,
    Then were it certaine you were not so bad,
    As with foule Incest to abuse your soule:
    Where now you both a Father and a Sonne,
    175By your vntimely claspings with your Child,
    (Which pleasures fittes a husband, not a father)
    And shee an eater of her Mothers flesh,
    By the defiling of her Parents bed,
    And both like Serpents are; who though they feed
    180On sweetest Flowers, yet they Poyson breed.
    Antioch farewell, for Wisedome sees those men,
    Blush not in actions blacker then the night,
    Will shew no course to keepe them from the light:
    One sinne (I know) another doth prouoke;
    185Murther's as neere to Lust, as Flame to Smoake:
    Poyson and Treason are the hands of Sinne,
    I, and the targets to put off the shame,
    Then least my life be cropt, to keepe you cleare,
    By flight, Ile shun the danger which I feare. Exit.
    190Enter Antiochus.
    Anti. He hath found the meaning.
    For which we meane to haue his head:
    He must not liue to trumpet foorth my infamie,
    Nor tell the world Antiochus doth sinne
    195In such a loathed manner:
    And therefore instantly this Prince must die,
    For by his fall, my honour must keepe hie.
    Who attends vs there?
    Enter Thaliard.
    200Thali. Doth your highnes call?
    Antio. Thaliard, you are of our Chamber, Thaliard,
    And our minde pertakes her priuat actions,
    To your secrecie; and for your faythfulnes,
    We will aduaunce you, Thaliard:
    205Behold, heere's Poyson, and heere's Gold:
    Wee hate the Prince of Tyre, and thou must kill him;
    It fittes thee not to aske the reason why?
    Because we bid it: say, is it done?
    Thali. My Lord, tis done.
    210Enter a Messenger.
    Anti. Enough. Let your breath coole your selfe, telling
    your haste.
    Mess. My Lord, Prince Pericles is fled.
    Antin. As thou wilt liue flie after, and like an arrow shot
    215from a well experienst Archer hits the marke his eye doth
    leuell at: so thou neuer returne vnlesse thou say Prince Pe-
    ricles is dead.
    Thal. My Lord, if I can get him within my Pistols
    length, Ile make him sure enough , so farewell to your
    Thaliard adieu, till Pericles be dead,
    My heart can lend no succour to my head.