Open Source Shakespeare

Pericles, Prince of Tyre

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Act IV, Scene 3

Tarsus. A room in CLEON’s house.



  • Dionyza. Why, are you foolish? Can it be undone? 1815
  • Cleon. O Dionyza, such a piece of slaughter
    The sun and moon ne'er look'd upon!
  • Dionyza. I think
    You'll turn a child again.
  • Cleon. Were I chief lord of all this spacious world, 1820
    I'ld give it to undo the deed. O lady,
    Much less in blood than virtue, yet a princess
    To equal any single crown o' the earth
    I' the justice of compare! O villain Leonine!
    Whom thou hast poison'd too: 1825
    If thou hadst drunk to him, 't had been a kindness
    Becoming well thy fact: what canst thou say
    When noble Pericles shall demand his child?
  • Dionyza. That she is dead. Nurses are not the fates,
    To foster it, nor ever to preserve. 1830
    She died at night; I'll say so. Who can cross it?
    Unless you play the pious innocent,
    And for an honest attribute cry out
    'She died by foul play.'
  • Cleon. O, go to. Well, well, 1835
    Of all the faults beneath the heavens, the gods
    Do like this worst.
  • Dionyza. Be one of those that think
    The petty wrens of Tarsus will fly hence,
    And open this to Pericles. I do shame 1840
    To think of what a noble strain you are,
    And of how coward a spirit.
  • Cleon. To such proceeding
    Who ever but his approbation added,
    Though not his prime consent, he did not flow 1845
    From honourable sources.
  • Dionyza. Be it so, then:
    Yet none does know, but you, how she came dead,
    Nor none can know, Leonine being gone.
    She did disdain my child, and stood between 1850
    Her and her fortunes: none would look on her,
    But cast their gazes on Marina's face;
    Whilst ours was blurted at and held a malkin
    Not worth the time of day. It pierced me through;
    And though you call my course unnatural, 1855
    You not your child well loving, yet I find
    It greets me as an enterprise of kindness
    Perform'd to your sole daughter.
  • Cleon. Heavens forgive it!
  • Dionyza. And as for Pericles, 1860
    What should he say? We wept after her hearse,
    And yet we mourn: her monument
    Is almost finish'd, and her epitaphs
    In glittering golden characters express
    A general praise to her, and care in us 1865
    At whose expense 'tis done.
  • Cleon. Thou art like the harpy,
    Which, to betray, dost, with thine angel's face,
    Seize with thine eagle's talons.
  • Dionyza. You are like one that superstitiously 1870
    Doth swear to the gods that winter kills the flies:
    But yet I know you'll do as I advise.