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Pericles, Prince of Tyre

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Act III, Scene 2

Ephesus. A room in CERIMON’s house.


[Enter CERIMON, with a Servant, and some Persons who] [p]have been shipwrecked]


  • Cerimon. Get fire and meat for these poor men:
    'T has been a turbulent and stormy night.
  • Servant. I have been in many; but such a night as this,
    Till now, I ne'er endured.
  • Cerimon. Your master will be dead ere you return; 1290
    There's nothing can be minister'd to nature
    That can recover him.
    Give this to the 'pothecary,
    And tell me how it works. 1295

[Exeunt all but CERIMON]

[Enter two Gentlemen]

  • Cerimon. Gentlemen, 1300
    Why do you stir so early?
  • First Gentleman. Sir,
    Our lodgings, standing bleak upon the sea,
    Shook as the earth did quake;
    The very principals did seem to rend, 1305
    And all-to topple: pure surprise and fear
    Made me to quit the house.
  • Second Gentleman. That is the cause we trouble you so early;
    'Tis not our husbandry.
  • First 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, 1315
    Being thereto not compell'd.
  • Cerimon. I hold it ever,
    Virtue and cunning were endowments greater
    Than nobleness and riches: careless heirs
    May the two latter darken and expend; 1320
    But immortality attends the former.
    Making 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 practise, made familiar 1325
    To me and to my aid the blest infusions
    That dwell in 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 1330
    Than to be thirsty after tottering honour,
    Or tie my treasure up in silken bags,
    To please the fool and death.
  • Second Gentleman. Your honour has through Ephesus pour'd forth
    Your charity, and hundreds call themselves 1335
    Your creatures, who by you have been restored:
    And not your knowledge, your personal pain, but even
    Your purse, still open, hath built Lord Cerimon
    Such strong renown as time shall ne'er decay.

[Enter two or three Servants with a chest]

  • First Servant. Sir, even now
    Did the sea toss upon our shore this chest:
    'Tis of some wreck. 1345
  • Cerimon. Set 't down, let's look upon't.
  • Cerimon. Whate'er it be,
    'Tis wondrous heavy. Wrench it open straight:
    If the sea's stomach be o'ercharged with gold, 1350
    'Tis a good constraint of fortune it belches upon us.
  • Cerimon. How close 'tis caulk'd and bitumed!
    Did the sea cast it up?
  • First Servant. I never saw so huge a billow, sir, 1355
    As toss'd it upon shore.
  • Cerimon. Wrench it open;
    Soft! it smells most sweetly in my sense.
  • Cerimon. As ever hit my nostril. So, up with it. 1360
    O you most potent gods! what's here? a corse!
  • Cerimon. Shrouded in cloth of state; balm'd and entreasured
    With full bags of spices! A passport too!
    Apollo, perfect me in the characters! 1365
    [Reads from a scroll]
    'Here I give to understand,
    If e'er this coffin drive a-land,
    I, King Pericles, have lost
    This queen, worth all our mundane cost. 1370
    Who finds her, give her burying;
    She was the daughter of a king:
    Besides this treasure for a fee,
    The gods requite his charity!'
    If thou livest, Pericles, thou hast a heart 1375
    That even cracks for woe! This chanced tonight.
  • Cerimon. Nay, certainly to-night;
    For look how fresh she looks! They were too rough
    That threw her in the sea. Make a fire within: 1380
    Fetch hither all my boxes in my closet.
    [Exit a Servant]
    Death may usurp on nature many hours,
    And yet the fire of life kindle again
    The o'erpress'd spirits. I heard of an Egyptian 1385
    That had nine hours lien dead,
    Who was by good appliance recovered.
    [Re-enter a Servant, with boxes, napkins, and fire]
    Well said, well said; the fire and cloths.
    The rough and woeful music that we have, 1390
    Cause it to sound, beseech you.
    The viol once more: how thou stirr'st, thou block!
    The music there!—I pray you, give her air.
    This queen will live: nature awakes; a warmth 1395
    Breathes out of her: she hath not been entranced
    Above five hours: see how she gins to blow
    Into life's flower again!
  • First Gentleman. The heavens,
    Through you, increase our wonder and set up 1400
    Your fame forever.
  • Cerimon. She is alive; behold,
    Her eyelids, cases to those heavenly jewels
    Which Pericles hath lost,
    Begin to part their fringes of bright gold; 1405
    The diamonds of a most praised water
    Do 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]

  • Thaisa. O dear Diana,
    Where am I? Where's my lord? What world is this?
  • Cerimon. Hush, my gentle neighbours! 1415
    Lend me your hands; to the next chamber bear her.
    Get linen: now this matter must be look'd to,
    For her relapse is mortal. Come, come;
    And AEsculapius guide us!

[Exeunt, carrying her away]