Pericles, Prince of Tyre

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Prologue

       
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[Enter GOWER]

  • Gower. Now sleep y-slaked hath the rout;
    No din but snores the house about, 1120
    Made louder by the o'er-fed breast
    Of this most pompous marriage-feast.
    The cat, with eyne of burning coal,
    Now crouches fore the mouse's hole;
    And crickets sing at the oven's mouth, 1125
    E'er the blither for their drouth.
    Hymen hath brought the bride to bed.
    Where, by the loss of maidenhead,
    A babe is moulded. Be attent,
    And time that is so briefly spent 1130
    With your fine fancies quaintly eche:
    What's dumb in show I'll plain with speech.
    DUMB SHOW.
    [Enter, PERICLES and SIMONIDES at one door, with]
    Attendants; a Messenger meets them, kneels, and 1135
    gives PERICLES a letter: PERICLES shows it
    SIMONIDES; the Lords kneel to him. Then enter
    THAISA with child, with LYCHORIDA a nurse. The
    KING shows her the letter; she rejoices: she and
    PERICLES takes leave of her father, and depart with 1140
    LYCHORIDA and their Attendants. Then exeunt
    SIMONIDES and the rest]
    By many a dern and painful perch
    Of Pericles the careful search,
    By the four opposing coigns 1145
    Which the world together joins,
    Is made with all due diligence
    That horse and sail and high expense
    Can stead the quest. At last from Tyre,
    Fame answering the most strange inquire, 1150
    To the court of King Simonides
    Are letters brought, the tenor these:
    Antiochus and his daughter dead;
    The men of Tyrus on the head
    Of Helicanus would set on 1155
    The crown of Tyre, but he will none:
    The mutiny he there hastes t' oppress;
    Says to 'em, if King Pericles
    Come not home in twice six moons,
    He, obedient to their dooms, 1160
    Will take the crown. The sum of this,
    Brought hither to Pentapolis,
    Y-ravished the regions round,
    And every one with claps can sound,
    'Our heir-apparent is a king! 1165
    Who dream'd, who thought of such a thing?'
    Brief, he must hence depart to Tyre:
    His queen with child makes her desire—
    Which who shall cross?—along to go:
    Omit we all their dole and woe: 1170
    Lychorida, her nurse, she takes,
    And so to sea. Their vessel shakes
    On Neptune's billow; half the flood
    Hath their keel cut: but fortune's mood
    Varies again; the grisly north 1175
    Disgorges such a tempest forth,
    That, as a duck for life that dives,
    So up and down the poor ship drives:
    The lady shrieks, and well-a-near
    Does fall in travail with her fear: 1180
    And what ensues in this fell storm
    Shall for itself itself perform.
    I nill relate, action may
    Conveniently the rest convey;
    Which might not what by me is told. 1185
    In your imagination hold
    This stage the ship, upon whose deck
    The sea-tost Pericles appears to speak.

[Exit]

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