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Pericles, Prince of Tyre

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Act IV, Scene 6

The same. A room in the brothel.


[Enter Pandar, Bawd, and BOULT]

  • Pandar. Well, I had rather than twice the worth of her she
    had ne'er come here.
  • Bawd. Fie, fie upon her! she's able to freeze the god
    Priapus, and undo a whole generation. We must 1950
    either get her ravished, or be rid of her. When she
    should do for clients her fitment, and do me the
    kindness of our profession, she has me her quirks,
    her reasons, her master reasons, her prayers, her
    knees; that she would make a puritan of the devil, 1955
    if he should cheapen a kiss of her.
  • Boult. 'Faith, I must ravish her, or she'll disfurnish us
    of all our cavaliers, and make our swearers priests.
  • Pandar. Now, the pox upon her green-sickness for me!
  • Bawd. 'Faith, there's no way to be rid on't but by the 1960
    way to the pox. Here comes the Lord Lysimachus disguised.
  • Boult. We should have both lord and lown, if the peevish
    baggage would but give way to customers.


  • Lysimachus. How now! How a dozen of virginities? 1965
  • Bawd. Now, the gods to-bless your honour!
  • Boult. I am glad to see your honour in good health.
  • Lysimachus. You may so; 'tis the better for you that your
    resorters stand upon sound legs. How now!
    wholesome iniquity have you that a man may deal 1970
    withal, and defy the surgeon?
  • Bawd. We have here one, sir, if she would—but there never
    came her like in Mytilene.
  • Lysimachus. If she'ld do the deed of darkness, thou wouldst say.
  • Bawd. Your honour knows what 'tis to say well enough. 1975
  • Boult. For flesh and blood, sir, white and red, you shall
    see a rose; and she were a rose indeed, if she had but—
  • Boult. O, sir, I can be modest. 1980
  • Lysimachus. That dignifies the renown of a bawd, no less than it
    gives a good report to a number to be chaste.

[Exit BOULT]

  • Bawd. Here comes that which grows to the stalk; never
    plucked yet, I can assure you. 1985
    [Re-enter BOULT with MARINA]
    Is she not a fair creature?
  • Lysimachus. 'Faith, she would serve after a long voyage at sea.
    Well, there's for you: leave us.
  • Bawd. I beseech your honour, give me leave: a word, and 1990
    I'll have done presently.
  • Bawd. [To MARINA] First, I would have you note, this is
    an honourable man.
  • Marina. I desire to find him so, that I may worthily note him. 1995
  • Bawd. Next, he's the governor of this country, and a man
    whom I am bound to.
  • Marina. If he govern the country, you are bound to him
    indeed; but how honourable he is in that, I know not.
  • Bawd. Pray you, without any more virginal fencing, will 2000
    you use him kindly? He will line your apron with gold.
  • Marina. What he will do graciously, I will thankfully receive.
  • Bawd. My lord, she's not paced yet: you must take some
    pains to work her to your manage. Come, we will 2005
    leave his honour and her together. Go thy ways.

[Exeunt Bawd, Pandar, and BOULT]

  • Lysimachus. Now, pretty one, how long have you been at this trade?
  • Lysimachus. Why, I cannot name't but I shall offend. 2010
  • Marina. I cannot be offended with my trade. Please you to name it.
  • Lysimachus. How long have you been of this profession?
  • Marina. E'er since I can remember.
  • Lysimachus. Did you go to 't so young? Were you a gamester at
    five or at seven? 2015
  • Marina. Earlier too, sir, if now I be one.
  • Lysimachus. Why, the house you dwell in proclaims you to be a
    creature of sale.
  • Marina. Do you know this house to be a place of such resort,
    and will come into 't? I hear say you are of 2020
    honourable parts, and are the governor of this place.
  • Lysimachus. Why, hath your principal made known unto you who I am?
  • Lysimachus. Why, your herb-woman; she that sets seeds and roots
    of shame and iniquity. O, you have heard something 2025
    of my power, and so stand aloof for more serious
    wooing. But I protest to thee, pretty one, my
    authority shall not see thee, or else look friendly
    upon thee. Come, bring me to some private place:
    come, come. 2030
  • Marina. If you were born to honour, show it now;
    If put upon you, make the judgment good
    That thought you worthy of it.
  • Lysimachus. How's this? how's this? Some more; be sage.
  • Marina. For me, 2035
    That am a maid, though most ungentle fortune
    Have placed me in this sty, where, since I came,
    Diseases have been sold dearer than physic,
    O, that the gods
    Would set me free from this unhallow'd place, 2040
    Though they did change me to the meanest bird
    That flies i' the purer air!
  • Lysimachus. I did not think
    Thou couldst have spoke so well; ne'er dream'd thou couldst.
    Had I brought hither a corrupted mind, 2045
    Thy speech had alter'd it. Hold, here's gold for thee:
    Persever in that clear way thou goest,
    And the gods strengthen thee!
  • Marina. The good gods preserve you!
  • Lysimachus. For me, be you thoughten 2050
    That I came with no ill intent; for to me
    The very doors and windows savour vilely.
    Fare thee well. Thou art a piece of virtue, and
    I doubt not but thy training hath been noble.
    Hold, here's more gold for thee. 2055
    A curse upon him, die he like a thief,
    That robs thee of thy goodness! If thou dost
    Hear from me, it shall be for thy good.

[Re-enter BOULT]

  • Boult. I beseech your honour, one piece for me. 2060
  • Lysimachus. Avaunt, thou damned door-keeper!
    Your house, but for this virgin that doth prop it,
    Would sink and overwhelm you. Away!


  • Boult. How's this? We must take another course with you. 2065
    If your peevish chastity, which is not worth a
    breakfast in the cheapest country under the cope,
    shall undo a whole household, let me be gelded like
    a spaniel. Come your ways.
  • Marina. Whither would you have me? 2070
  • Boult. I must have your maidenhead taken off, or the common
    hangman shall execute it. Come your ways. We'll
    have no more gentlemen driven away. Come your ways, I say.

[Re-enter Bawd]

  • Bawd. How now! what's the matter? 2075
  • Boult. Worse and worse, mistress; she has here spoken holy
    words to the Lord Lysimachus.
  • Bawd. O abominable!
  • Boult. She makes our profession as it were to stink afore
    the face of the gods. 2080
  • Bawd. Marry, hang her up for ever!
  • Boult. The nobleman would have dealt with her like a
    nobleman, and she sent him away as cold as a
    snowball; saying his prayers too.
  • Bawd. Boult, take her away; use her at thy pleasure: 2085
    crack the glass of her virginity, and make the rest malleable.
  • Boult. An if she were a thornier piece of ground than she
    is, she shall be ploughed.
  • Marina. Hark, hark, you gods!
  • Bawd. She conjures: away with her! Would she had never 2090
    come within my doors! Marry, hang you! She's born
    to undo us. Will you not go the way of women-kind?
    Marry, come up, my dish of chastity with rosemary and bays!


  • Boult. Come, mistress; come your ways with me. 2095
  • Marina. Whither wilt thou have me?
  • Boult. To take from you the jewel you hold so dear.
  • Marina. Prithee, tell me one thing first.
  • Boult. Come now, your one thing.
  • Marina. What canst thou wish thine enemy to be? 2100
  • Boult. Why, I could wish him to be my master, or rather, my mistress.
  • Marina. Neither of these are so bad as thou art,
    Since they do better thee in their command.
    Thou hold'st a place, for which the pained'st fiend
    Of hell would not in reputation change: 2105
    Thou art the damned doorkeeper to every
    Coistrel that comes inquiring for his Tib;
    To the choleric fisting of every rogue
    Thy ear is liable; thy food is such
    As hath been belch'd on by infected lungs. 2110
  • Boult. What would you have me do? go to the wars, would
    you? where a man may serve seven years for the loss
    of a leg, and have not money enough in the end to
    buy him a wooden one?
  • Marina. Do any thing but this thou doest. Empty 2115
    OLD receptacles, or common shores, of filth;
    Serve by indenture to the common hangman:
    Any of these ways are yet better than this;
    For what thou professest, a baboon, could he speak,
    Would own a name too dear. O, that the gods 2120
    Would safely deliver me from this place!
    Here, here's gold for thee.
    If that thy master would gain by thee,
    Proclaim that I can sing, weave, sew, and dance,
    With other virtues, which I'll keep from boast: 2125
    And I will undertake all these to teach.
    I doubt not but this populous city will
    Yield many scholars.
  • Boult. But can you teach all this you speak of?
  • Marina. Prove that I cannot, take me home again, 2130
    And prostitute me to the basest groom
    That doth frequent your house.
  • Boult. Well, I will see what I can do for thee: if I can
    place thee, I will.
  • Marina. But amongst honest women. 2135
  • Boult. 'Faith, my acquaintance lies little amongst them.
    But since my master and mistress have bought you,
    there's no going but by their consent: therefore I
    will make them acquainted with your purpose, and I
    doubt not but I shall find them tractable enough. 2140
    Come, I'll do for thee what I can; come your ways.