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Pericles, Prince of Tyre

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Act IV, Scene 4



[Enter GOWER, before the monument of MARINA at Tarsus]

  • Gower. Thus time we waste, and longest leagues make short; 1875
    Sail seas in cockles, have an wish but for't;
    Making, to take your imagination,
    From bourn to bourn, region to region.
    By you being pardon'd, we commit no crime
    To use one language in each several clime 1880
    Where our scenes seem to live. I do beseech you
    To learn of me, who stand i' the gaps to teach you,
    The stages of our story. Pericles
    Is now again thwarting the wayward seas,
    Attended on by many a lord and knight. 1885
    To see his daughter, all his life's delight.
    Old Escanes, whom Helicanus late
    Advanced in time to great and high estate,
    Is left to govern. Bear you it in mind,
    Old Helicanus goes along behind. 1890
    Well-sailing ships and bounteous winds have brought
    This king to Tarsus,—think his pilot thought;
    So with his steerage shall your thoughts grow on,—
    To fetch his daughter home, who first is gone.
    Like motes and shadows see them move awhile; 1895
    Your ears unto your eyes I'll reconcile.
    [Enter PERICLES, at one door, with all his train;]
    CLEON and DIONYZA, at the other. CLEON shows
    PERICLES the tomb; whereat PERICLES makes 1900
    lamentation, puts on sackcloth, and in a mighty
    passion departs. Then exeunt CLEON and DIONYZA]
    See how belief may suffer by foul show!
    This borrow'd passion stands for true old woe;
    And Pericles, in sorrow all devour'd, 1905
    With sighs shot through, and biggest tears
    Leaves Tarsus and again embarks. He swears
    Never to wash his face, nor cut his hairs:
    He puts on sackcloth, and to sea. He bears 1910
    A tempest, which his mortal vessel tears,
    And yet he rides it out. Now please you wit.
    The epitaph is for Marina writ
    By wicked Dionyza.
    [Reads the inscription on MARINA's monument] 1915
    'The fairest, sweet'st, and best lies here,
    Who wither'd in her spring of year.
    She was of Tyrus the king's daughter,
    On whom foul death hath made this slaughter;
    Marina was she call'd; and at her birth, 1920
    Thetis, being proud, swallow'd some part o' the earth:
    Therefore the earth, fearing to be o'erflow'd,
    Hath Thetis' birth-child on the heavens bestow'd:
    Wherefore she does, and swears she'll never stint,
    Make raging battery upon shores of flint.' 1925
    No visor does become black villany
    So well as soft and tender flattery.
    Let Pericles believe his daughter's dead,
    And bear his courses to be ordered
    By Lady Fortune; while our scene must play 1930
    His daughter's woe and heavy well-a-day
    In her unholy service. Patience, then,
    And think you now are all in Mytilene.