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Pericles, Prince of Tyre

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Act V, Scene 1

On board PERICLES’ ship, off Mytilene. A close


pavilion on deck, with a curtain before it; PERICLES [p]within it, reclined on a couch. A barge lying [p]beside the Tyrian vessel. [p][Enter two Sailors, one belonging to the Tyrian] [p]vessel, the other to the barge; to them HELICANUS]

  • Tyrian Sailor. [To the Sailor of Mytilene] Where is lord Helicanus?
    he can resolve you. 2175
    O, here he is.
    Sir, there's a barge put off from Mytilene,
    And in it is Lysimachus the governor,
    Who craves to come aboard. What is your will?
  • Helicanus. That he have his. Call up some gentlemen. 2180

[Enter two or three Gentlemen]

  • Helicanus. Gentlemen, there's some of worth would come aboard;
    I pray ye, greet them fairly. 2185
    [The Gentlemen and the two Sailors descend, and go]
    on board the barge]
    [Enter, from thence, LYSIMACHUS and Lords; with the]
    Gentlemen and the two Sailors]
  • Tyrian Sailor. Sir, 2190
    This is the man that can, in aught you would,
    Resolve you.
  • Lysimachus. Hail, reverend sir! the gods preserve you!
  • Helicanus. And you, sir, to outlive the age I am,
    And die as I would do. 2195
  • Lysimachus. You wish me well.
    Being on shore, honouring of Neptune's triumphs,
    Seeing this goodly vessel ride before us,
    I made to it, to know of whence you are.
  • Lysimachus. I am the governor of this place you lie before.
  • Helicanus. Sir,
    Our vessel is of Tyre, in it the king;
    A man who for this three months hath not spoken
    To any one, nor taken sustenance 2205
    But to prorogue his grief.
  • Lysimachus. Upon what ground is his distemperature?
  • Helicanus. 'Twould be too tedious to repeat;
    But the main grief springs from the loss
    Of a beloved daughter and a wife. 2210
  • Helicanus. You may;
    But bootless is your sight: he will not speak To any.
  • Helicanus. Behold him. 2215
    [PERICLES discovered]
    This was a goodly person,
    Till the disaster that, one mortal night,
    Drove him to this.
  • Lysimachus. Sir king, all hail! the gods preserve you! 2220
    Hail, royal sir!
  • Helicanus. It is in vain; he will not speak to you.
  • First Lord. Sir,
    We have a maid in Mytilene, I durst wager,
    Would win some words of him. 2225
  • Lysimachus. 'Tis well bethought.
    She questionless with her sweet harmony
    And other chosen attractions, would allure,
    And make a battery through his deafen'd parts,
    Which now are midway stopp'd: 2230
    She is all happy as the fairest of all,
    And, with her fellow maids is now upon
    The leafy shelter that abuts against
    The island's side.

[Whispers a Lord, who goes off in the barge of LYSIMACHUS]

  • Helicanus. Sure, all's effectless; yet nothing we'll omit
    That bears recovery's name. But, since your kindness
    We have stretch'd thus far, let us beseech you
    That for our gold we may provision have,
    Wherein we are not destitute for want, 2240
    But weary for the staleness.
  • Lysimachus. O, sir, a courtesy
    Which if we should deny, the most just gods
    For every graff would send a caterpillar,
    And so afflict our province. Yet once more 2245
    Let me entreat to know at large the cause
    Of your king's sorrow.
  • Helicanus. Sit, sir, I will recount it to you:
    But, see, I am prevented.
    [Re-enter, from the barge, Lord, with MARINA, and a] 2250
    young Lady]
  • Lysimachus. O, here is
    The lady that I sent for. Welcome, fair one!
    Is't not a goodly presence?
  • Lysimachus. She's such a one, that, were I well assured
    Came of a gentle kind and noble stock,
    I'ld wish no better choice, and think me rarely wed.
    Fair one, all goodness that consists in bounty
    Expect even here, where is a kingly patient: 2260
    If that thy prosperous and artificial feat
    Can draw him but to answer thee in aught,
    Thy sacred physic shall receive such pay
    As thy desires can wish.
  • Marina. Sir, I will use 2265
    My utmost skill in his recovery, Provided
    That none but I and my companion maid
    Be suffer'd to come near him.
  • Lysimachus. Come, let us leave her;
    And the gods make her prosperous! 2270

[MARINA sings]

  • Marina. No, nor look'd on us.
  • Marina. Hail, sir! my lord, lend ear. 2275
  • Marina. I am a maid,
    My lord, that ne'er before invited eyes,
    But have been gazed on like a comet: she speaks,
    My lord, that, may be, hath endured a grief 2280
    Might equal yours, if both were justly weigh'd.
    Though wayward fortune did malign my state,
    My derivation was from ancestors
    Who stood equivalent with mighty kings:
    But time hath rooted out my parentage, 2285
    And to the world and awkward casualties
    Bound me in servitude.
    I will desist;
    But there is something glows upon my cheek, 2290
    And whispers in mine ear, 'Go not till he speak.'
  • Pericles. My fortunes—parentage—good parentage—
    To equal mine!—was it not thus? what say you?
  • Marina. I said, my lord, if you did know my parentage,
    You would not do me violence. 2295
  • Pericles. I do think so. Pray you, turn your eyes upon me.
    You are like something that—What country-woman?
    Here of these shores?
  • Marina. No, nor of any shores:
    Yet I was mortally brought forth, and am 2300
    No other than I appear.
  • Pericles. I am great with woe, and shall deliver weeping.
    My dearest wife was like this maid, and such a one
    My daughter might have been: my queen's square brows;
    Her stature to an inch; as wand-like straight; 2305
    As silver-voiced; her eyes as jewel-like
    And cased as richly; in pace another Juno;
    Who starves the ears she feeds, and makes them hungry,
    The more she gives them speech. Where do you live?
  • Marina. Where I am but a stranger: from the deck 2310
    You may discern the place.
  • Pericles. Where were you bred?
    And how achieved you these endowments, which
    You make more rich to owe?
  • Marina. If I should tell my history, it would seem 2315
    Like lies disdain'd in the reporting.
  • Pericles. Prithee, speak:
    Falseness cannot come from thee; for thou look'st
    Modest as Justice, and thou seem'st a palace
    For the crown'd Truth to dwell in: I will 2320
    believe thee,
    And make my senses credit thy relation
    To points that seem impossible; for thou look'st
    Like one I loved indeed. What were thy friends?
    Didst thou not say, when I did push thee back— 2325
    Which was when I perceived thee—that thou camest
    From good descending?
  • Pericles. Report thy parentage. I think thou said'st
    Thou hadst been toss'd from wrong to injury, 2330
    And that thou thought'st thy griefs might equal mine,
    If both were open'd.
  • Marina. Some such thing
    I said, and said no more but what my thoughts
    Did warrant me was likely. 2335
  • Pericles. Tell thy story;
    If thine consider'd prove the thousandth part
    Of my endurance, thou art a man, and I
    Have suffer'd like a girl: yet thou dost look
    Like Patience gazing on kings' graves, and smiling 2340
    Extremity out of act. What were thy friends?
    How lost thou them? Thy name, my most kind virgin?
    Recount, I do beseech thee: come, sit by me.
  • Pericles. O, I am mock'd, 2345
    And thou by some incensed god sent hither
    To make the world to laugh at me.
  • Marina. Patience, good sir,
    Or here I'll cease.
  • Pericles. Nay, I'll be patient. 2350
    Thou little know'st how thou dost startle me,
    To call thyself Marina.
  • Marina. The name
    Was given me by one that had some power,
    My father, and a king. 2355
  • Pericles. How! a king's daughter?
    And call'd Marina?
  • Marina. You said you would believe me;
    But, not to be a troubler of your peace,
    I will end here. 2360
  • Pericles. But are you flesh and blood?
    Have you a working pulse? and are no fairy?
    Motion! Well; speak on. Where were you born?
    And wherefore call'd Marina?
  • Marina. Call'd Marina 2365
    For I was born at sea.
  • Marina. My mother was the daughter of a king;
    Who died the minute I was born,
    As my good nurse Lychorida hath oft 2370
    Deliver'd weeping.
  • Pericles. O, stop there a little!
    This is the rarest dream that e'er dull sleep
    Did mock sad fools withal: this cannot be: 2375
    My daughter's buried. Well: where were you bred?
    I'll hear you more, to the bottom of your story,
    And never interrupt you.
  • Marina. You scorn: believe me, 'twere best I did give o'er.
  • Pericles. I will believe you by the syllable 2380
    Of what you shall deliver. Yet, give me leave:
    How came you in these parts? where were you bred?
  • Marina. The king my father did in Tarsus leave me;
    Till cruel Cleon, with his wicked wife,
    Did seek to murder me: and having woo'd 2385
    A villain to attempt it, who having drawn to do't,
    A crew of pirates came and rescued me;
    Brought me to Mytilene. But, good sir,
    Whither will you have me? Why do you weep?
    It may be, 2390
    You think me an impostor: no, good faith;
    I am the daughter to King Pericles,
    If good King Pericles be.
  • Pericles. Thou art a grave and noble counsellor,
    Most wise in general: tell me, if thou canst,
    What this maid is, or what is like to be,
    That thus hath made me weep?
  • Helicanus. I know not; but 2400
    Here is the regent, sir, of Mytilene
    Speaks nobly of her.
  • Lysimachus. She would never tell
    Her parentage; being demanded that,
    She would sit still and weep. 2405
  • Pericles. O Helicanus, strike me, honour'd sir;
    Give me a gash, put me to present pain;
    Lest this great sea of joys rushing upon me
    O'erbear the shores of my mortality,
    And drown me with their sweetness. O, come hither, 2410
    Thou that beget'st him that did thee beget;
    Thou that wast born at sea, buried at Tarsus,
    And found at sea again! O Helicanus,
    Down on thy knees, thank the holy gods as loud
    As thunder threatens us: this is Marina. 2415
    What was thy mother's name? tell me but that,
    For truth can never be confirm'd enough,
    Though doubts did ever sleep.
  • Marina. First, sir, I pray,
    What is your title? 2420
  • Pericles. I am Pericles of Tyre: but tell me now
    My drown'd queen's name, as in the rest you said
    Thou hast been godlike perfect,
    The heir of kingdoms and another like
    To Pericles thy father. 2425
  • Marina. Is it no more to be your daughter than
    To say my mother's name was Thaisa?
    Thaisa was my mother, who did end
    The minute I began.
  • Pericles. Now, blessing on thee! rise; thou art my child. 2430
    Give me fresh garments. Mine own, Helicanus;
    She is not dead at Tarsus, as she should have been,
    By savage Cleon: she shall tell thee all;
    When thou shalt kneel, and justify in knowledge
    She is thy very princess. Who is this? 2435
  • Helicanus. Sir, 'tis the governor of Mytilene,
    Who, hearing of your melancholy state,
    Did come to see you.
  • Pericles. I embrace you.
    Give me my robes. I am wild in my beholding. 2440
    O heavens bless my girl! But, hark, what music?
    Tell Helicanus, my Marina, tell him
    O'er, point by point, for yet he seems to doubt,
    How sure you are my daughter. But, what music?
  • Pericles. None!
    The music of the spheres! List, my Marina.
  • Lysimachus. It is not good to cross him; give him way.
  • Pericles. Rarest sounds! Do ye not hear?


  • Pericles. Most heavenly music!
    It nips me unto listening, and thick slumber
    Hangs upon mine eyes: let me rest.


  • Lysimachus. A pillow for his head:
    So, leave him all. Well, my companion friends,
    If this but answer to my just belief,
    I'll well remember you.

[Exeunt all but PERICLES]

[DIANA appears to PERICLES as in a vision]

  • Diana. My temple stands in Ephesus: hie thee thither,
    And do upon mine altar sacrifice.
    There, when my maiden priests are met together,
    Before the people all, 2465
    Reveal how thou at sea didst lose thy wife:
    To mourn thy crosses, with thy daughter's, call
    And give them repetition to the life.
    Or perform my bidding, or thou livest in woe;
    Do it, and happy; by my silver bow! 2470
    Awake, and tell thy dream.


  • Pericles. Celestial Dian, goddess argentine,
    I will obey thee. Helicanus!


  • Pericles. My purpose was for Tarsus, there to strike
    The inhospitable Cleon; but I am
    For other service first: toward Ephesus
    Turn our blown sails; eftsoons I'll tell thee why. 2480
    Shall we refresh us, sir, upon your shore,
    And give you gold for such provision
    As our intents will need?
  • Lysimachus. Sir, 2485
    With all my heart; and, when you come ashore,
    I have another suit.
  • Pericles. You shall prevail,
    Were it to woo my daughter; for it seems
    You have been noble towards her. 2490