Page images

They may awake their helps to comfort them.
I'll then discourse our woes, felt several years,
And wanting breath to speak, help me with tears.
Dio. I'll do my best, sir.

Cle. This Tharsus, o'er which I have government, A city on whom Plenty held full hand,

(For riches strewed herself even in the streets,) Whose towers bore heads so high, they kissed the clouds,

And strangers ne'er beheld, but wondered at;
Whose men and dames so jetted1 and adorned,
Like one another's glass to trim them by :
Their tables were stored full, to glad the sight,
And not so much to feed on, as delight;
All poverty was scorned, and pride so great,
The name of help grew odious to repeat.

Dio. O, 'tis too true.

Cle. But see what Heaven can do! By this our change,

These mouths, whom but of late, earth, sea, and air,
Were all too little to content and please,
Although they gave their creatures in abundance,
As houses are defiled for want of use,
They are now starved for want of exercise.

Those palates, who, not yet two summers younger,2
Must have inventions to delight the taste,
Would now be glad of bread and beg for it.
Those mothers who, to nousle 3 up their babes,
Thought nought too curious, are ready now,
To eat those little darlings whom they loved.
So sharp are hunger's teeth, that man and wife
Draw lots, who first shall die to lengthen life.

1 To jet is to strut, to walk proudly.

2 The old copy has:


who not yet too savers younger."

The emendation was proposed by Mason.

3 Thus in New Custom; Dodsley's Old Plays, vol. i. p. 284:— "Borne to all wickedness, and nusled in all evil." So Spenser, Faerie Queene, i. vi. 23:—

"Whom, till to ryper years he gan aspyre,

He nousled up in life and manners wilde."

Here stands a lord, and there a lady weeping;
Here many sink, yet those which see them fall,
Have scarce strength left to give them burial.
Is not this true?

Dio. Our cheeks and hollow eyes do witness it. Cle. O, let those cities, that of Plenty's cup And her prosperities so largely taste, With their superfluous riots, hear these tears! The misery of Tharsus may be theirs.

Enter a Lord.

Lord. Where's the lord governor?
Cle. Here.

Speak out thy sorrows which thou bring'st, in haste, For comfort is too far for us to expect.

Lord. We have descried, upon our neighboring

A portly sail of ships make hitherward.
Cle. I thought as much.

One sorrow never comes, but brings an heir,

That may succeed as his inheritor;
And so in ours. Some neighboring nation,
Taking advantage of our misery,

Hath stuffed these hollow vessels with their power,1
To beat us down, the which are down already;
And make a conquest of unhappy me,2

Whereas no glory's got to overcome.


Lord. That's the least fear; for, by the semblance Of their white flags displayed, they bring us peace, And come to us as favorers, not as foes.


Cle. Thou speak'st like him untutored to repeat, Who makes the fairest show means most deceit. But bring they what they will, what need we fear?

1 By power is meant forces.

2 A letter has been probably dropped at press: we may read, "of

unhappy men."

3 It has been already observed, that whereas was sometimes used for where; as well as the converse, where for whereas. 4 The quarto of 1609 reads:

"Thou speak'st like himnes untutored to repeat.”

The ground's the low'st, and we are half way there.'
Go tell their general, we attend him here,
To know for what he comes, and whence he comes,
And what he craves.


I go, my lord.


Cle. Welcome is peace, if he on peace consist; 2 If wars, we are unable to resist.

Enter PERICLES, with Attendants.

Per. Lord governor,-for so we hear you are,— Let not our ships, and number of our men, Be, like a beacon fired, to amaze your eyes. We have heard your miseries as far as Tyre, And seen the desolation of your streets! Nor come we to add sorrow to your tears, But to relieve them of their heavy load; And these our ships you happily may think Are, like the Trojan horse, war-stuffed within, With bloody views, expecting overthrow,3 Are stored with corn, to make your needy bread, And give them life, who are hunger-starved, half dead. All. The gods of Greece protect you! And we'll pray for you.


Rise, I pray you, rise;
We do not look for reverence, but for love;
And harborage for ourself, our ships, and men.
Cle. The which when any shall not gratify,
Or pay you with unthankfulness in thought,
Be it our wives, our children, or ourselves,
The curse of Heaven and men succeed their evils!

1 The quarto of 1619 reads:

"But bring they what they will, and what they can,
What need we fear?

The ground's the low'st, and we are halfway there."

2 i. e. if he rest or stand on peace.

3 The old copy reads:

'And these our ships you happily may think
Are like the Trojan horse, was stuffed within
With bloody veines," &c.

The emendation is Steevens's.

Till when (the which, I hope, shall ne'er be seen,)
Your grace is welcome to our town and us.

Per. Which welcome we'll accept; feast here a while,

Until our stars, that frown, lend us a smile. [Exeunt.


Enter GoWER.

Gow. Here have you seen a mighty king
His child, I wis, to incest bring;
A better prince, and benign lord,
Prove awful both in deed and word.1
Be quiet, then, as men should be,
Till he hath passed necessity.
I'll show you those in trouble's reign,
Losing a mite, a mountain gain.
The good in conversation,
(To whom I give my benizon,)
Is still at Tharsus, where each man
Thinks all is writ he spoken can; 3
And, to remember what he does,
Gild his statue to make it glorious.
But tidings to the contrary


Are brought your eyes; what need speak I?

Dumb Show.

Enter, at one door, PERICLES, talking with CLEON; all the Train with them. Enter, at another door, a

1 i. e. you have seen a better prince, &c. that will prove awful," i. e. reverent. The verb in the first line is carried on to the third.

2 "The good prince (on whom I bestow my best wishes) is still engaged at Tharsus, where every man," &c. Conversation is conduct, behavior.

3 "Pays as much respect to whatever Pericles says, as if it were Holy Writ."



[ocr errors]

Gentleman, with a letter to PERICLES; PERICLES shows the letter to CLEON; then gives the Messenger a reward, and knights him. Exeunt PERIcles, CLEON, &c. Severally.

Gow. Good Helicane, that staid at home,1
Not to eat honey, like a drone,
From others' labors; for though he strive
To killen bad, keep good alive;
And, to fulfil his prince' desire,
Sends word of all that haps in Tyre;
How Thaliard came full bent with sin,
And hid intent, to murder him;
And that in Tharsus was not best
Longer for him to make his rest.
He knowing so, put forth to seas,
Where when men been, there's seldom ease;
For now the wind begins to blow;
Thunder above, and deeps below,
Make such unquiet, that the ship
Should house him safe, is wrecked and split;
And he, good prince, having all lost,
By waves from coast to coast is tost;
All perishen of man, of pelf,
Ne aught escapen but himself;
Till fortune, tired with doing bad,
Threw him ashore, to give him glad;
And here he comes: what shall be next,—
Pardon old Gower; this 'longs the text.



SCENE I. Pentapolis. An open Place by the

Enter PERICLES, wet.

Per. Yet cease your ire, ye angry stars of heaven! Wind, rain, and thunder, remember, earthly man

1 Thus the old copy. Steevens reads:

"Good Helicane hath staid at home."

2 Old copy:-" Saved one of all," &c. The emendation is Steevens's.

« PreviousContinue »