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Pericles, Prince of Tyre

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Act III, Scene 1

On ship.


[Enter PERICLES, on shipboard]

  • Pericles. Thou god of this great vast, rebuke these surges,
    Which wash both heaven and hell; and thou, that hast
    Upon the winds command, bind them in brass,
    Having call'd them from the deep! O, still
    Thy deafening, dreadful thunders; gently quench 1195
    Thy nimble, sulphurous flashes! O, how, Lychorida,
    How does my queen? Thou stormest venomously;
    Wilt thou spit all thyself? The seaman's whistle
    Is as a whisper in the ears of death,
    Unheard. Lychorida!—Lucina, O 1200
    Divinest patroness, and midwife gentle
    To those that cry by night, convey thy deity
    Aboard our dancing boat; make swift the pangs
    Of my queen's travails!
    [Enter LYCHORIDA, with an Infant] 1205
    Now, Lychorida!
  • Lychorida. Here is a thing too young for such a place,
    Who, if it had conceit, would die, as I
    Am like to do: take in your arms this piece
    Of your dead queen. 1210
  • 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,
    Be manly, and take comfort. 1215
  • Pericles. 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
    Use honour with you. 1220
  • Lychorida. Patience, good sir,
    Even for this charge.
  • Pericles. Now, mild may be thy life!
    For a more blustrous birth had never babe:
    Quiet and gentle thy conditions! for 1225
    Thou 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: even at the first 1230
    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]

  • Pericles. 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.
  • First Sailor. Slack the bolins there! Thou wilt not, wilt thou? 1240
    Blow, and split thyself.
  • Second Sailor. But sea-room, an the brine and cloudy billow kiss
    the moon, I care not.
  • First Sailor. Sir, your queen must overboard: the sea works high,
    the wind is loud, and will not lie till the ship be 1245
    cleared of the dead.
  • First Sailor. Pardon us, sir; with us at sea it hath been still
    observed: and we are strong in custom. Therefore
    briefly yield her; for she must overboard straight. 1250
  • Pericles. As you think meet. Most wretched queen!
  • Pericles. A terrible childbed hast thou had, my dear;
    No light, no fire: the unfriendly elements
    Forgot thee utterly: nor have I time 1255
    To give thee hallow'd to thy grave, but straight
    Must cast thee, scarcely coffin'd, 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, 1260
    Lying 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 1265
    A priestly farewell to her: suddenly, woman.


  • Second Sailor. Sir, we have a chest beneath the hatches, caulked
    and bitumed ready.
  • Pericles. I thank thee. Mariner, say what coast is this? 1270
  • Pericles. Thither, gentle mariner.
    Alter thy course for Tyre. When canst thou reach it?
  • Pericles. O, make for Tarsus! 1275
    There will I visit Cleon, for the babe
    Cannot hold out to Tyrus: there I'll leave it
    At careful nursing. Go thy ways, good mariner:
    I'll bring the body presently.