Act I, Scene 1
Antioch (Syria). A room in the palace.
- Enter Antiochus, Prince Pericles, and Followers.
Antiochus1 - 2
- Young Prince of Tyre, you have at large received
- The danger of the task you undertake.
Pericles3 - 5
- I have, Antiochus, and with a soul
- Embold’ned with the glory of her praise,
- Think death no hazard in this enterprise.
Antiochus6 - 11
- Bring in our daughter, clothed like a bride
- For embracements even of Jove himself;
- At whose conception, till Lucina reigned,
- Nature this dowry gave: to glad her presence,
- The senate-house of planets all did sit,
- To knit in her their best perfections.
- Enter Antiochus’ Daughter.
Pericles12 - 24
- See where she comes, apparelled like the spring,
- Graces her subjects, and her thoughts the king
- Of every virtue gives renown to men!
- Her face the book of praises, where is read
- Nothing but curious pleasures, as from thence
- Sorrow were ever ras’d, and testy wrath
- Could never be her mild companion.
- You gods that made me man, and sway in love,
- That have inflam’d desire in my breast
- To taste the fruit of yon celestial tree
- (Or die in th’ adventure), be my helps,
- As I am son and servant to your will,
- To compass such a boundless happiness!
- Prince Pericles—
- That would be son to great Antiochus.
Antiochus27 - 40
- Before thee stands this fair Hesperides,
- With golden fruit, but dangerous to be touch’d;
- For death-like dragons here affright thee hard.
- Her face, like heaven, enticeth thee to view
- Her countless glory, which desert must gain;
- And which without desert because thine eye
- Presumes to reach, all the whole heap must die.
- Yon sometimes famous princes, like thyself,
- Drawn by report, advent’rous by desire,
- Tell thee, with speechless tongues and semblance pale,
- That without covering, save yon field of stars,
- Here they stand martyrs, slain in Cupid’s wars;
- And with dead cheeks advise thee to desist
- For going on death’s net, whom none resist.
Pericles41 - 55
- Antiochus, I thank thee, who hath taught
- My frail mortality to know itself,
- And by those fearful objects to prepare
- This body, like to them, to what I must;
- For death remembered should be like a mirror,
- Who tells us life’s but breath, to trust it error.
- I’ll make my will then, and as sick men do,
- Who know the world, see heaven, but feeling woe,
- Gripe not at earthly joys as erst they did;
- So I bequeath a happy peace to you
- And all good men, as every prince should do;
- My riches to the earth from whence they came;
- To the Princess.
- But my unspotted fire of love to you.
- Thus ready for the way of life or death,
- I wait the sharpest blow, Antiochus.
Antiochus56 - 58
- Scorning advice, read the conclusion then;
- Which read and not expounded, ’tis decreed,
- As these before thee, thou thyself shalt bleed.
Daughter59 - 60
- Of all ’say’d yet, mayst thou prove prosperous!
- Of all ’say’d yet, I wish thee happiness!
Pericles61 - 86
- Like a bold champion I assume the lists,
- Nor ask advice of any other thought
- But faithfulness and courage.
- The Riddle
- I am no viper, yet I feed
- On mother’s flesh which did me breed.
- I sought a husband, in which labor
- I found that kindness in a father.
- He’s father, son, and husband mild;
- I mother, wife—and yet his child.
- How they may be, and yet in two,
- As you will live, resolve it you.
- Sharp physic is the last. But O you powers!
- That gives heaven countless eyes to view men’s acts,
- Why cloud they not their sights perpetually,
- If this be true which makes me pale to read it?
- Aside to the Princess.
- Fair glass of light, I lov’d you, and could still,
- Were not this glorious casket stor’d with ill.
- But I must tell you, now my thoughts revolt,
- For he’s no man on whom perfections wait
- That, knowing sin within, will touch the gate.
- You are a fair viol, and your sense the strings;
- Who, finger’d to make man his lawful music,
- Would draw heaven down, and all the gods to hearken;
- But being play’d upon before your time,
- Hell only danceth at so harsh a chime.
- Good sooth, I care not for you.
Antiochus87 - 90
- Prince Pericles, touch not, upon thy life,
- For that’s an article within our law,
- As dangerous as the rest. Your time’s expir’d,
- Either expound now, or receive your sentence.
Pericles91 - 108
- Great King,
- Few love to hear the sins they love to act;
- ’Twould braid yourself too near for me to tell it.
- Who has a book of all that monarchs do,
- He’s more secure to keep it shut than shown;
- For vice repeated is like the wand’ring wind,
- Blows dust in others’ eyes, to spread itself;
- And yet the end of all is bought thus dear,
- The breath is gone, and the sore eyes see clear
- To stop the air would hurt them. The blind mole casts
- Copp’d hills towards heaven, to tell the earth is throng’d
- By man’s oppression, and the poor worm doth die for’t.
- Kings are earth’s gods; in vice their law’s their will;
- And if Jove stray, who dares say Jove doth ill?
- It is enough you know, and it is fit,
- What being more known grows worse, to smother it.
- All love the womb that their first being bred,
- Then give my tongue like leave to love my head.
Antiochus109 - 120
- Heaven, that I had thy head! He has found the meaning.
- But I will gloze with him.—Young Prince of Tyre,
- Though by the tenor of our strict edict,
- Your exposition misinterpreting,
- We might proceed to cancel of your days;
- Yet hope, succeeding from so fair a tree
- As your fair self, doth tune us otherwise.
- Forty days longer we do respite you;
- If by which time our secret be undone,
- This mercy shows we’ll joy in such a son;
- And until then your entertain shall be
- As doth befit our honor and your worth.
- Exeunt. Manet Pericles solus.
Pericles121 - 142
- How courtesy would seem to cover sin,
- When what is done is like an hypocrite,
- The which is good in nothing but in sight!
- If it be true that I interpret false,
- Then were it certain you were not so bad
- As with foul incest to abuse your soul;
- Where now you’re both a father and a son
- By your uncomely claspings with your child
- (Which pleasures fits a husband, not a father),
- And she an eater of her mother’s flesh
- By the defiling of her parent’s bed;
- And both like serpents are, who though they feed
- On sweetest flowers, yet they poison breed.
- Antioch, farewell, for wisdom sees those men
- Blush not in actions blacker than the night
- Will ’schew no course to keep them from the light.
- One sin, I know, another doth provoke:
- Murder’s as near to lust as flame to smoke;
- Poison and treason are the hands of sin,
- Ay, and the targets to put off the shame;
- Then lest my life be cropp’d to keep you clear,
- By flight I’ll shun the danger which I fear.
- Enter Antiochus.
Antiochus143 - 150
- He hath found the meaning,
- For which we mean to have his head.
- He must not live to trumpet forth my infamy,
- Nor tell the world Antiochus doth sin
- In such a loathed manner;
- And therefore instantly this prince must die,
- For by his fall my honor must keep high.
- Who attends us there?
- Enter Thaliard.
- Doth your Highness call?
Antiochus152 - 159
- Thaliard—you are of our chamber, Thaliard,
- And our mind partakes her private actions
- To your secrecy; and for your faithfulness
- We will advance you, Thaliard. Behold,
- Here’s poison and here’s gold; we hate the Prince
- Of Tyre, and thou must kill him. It fits thee not
- To ask the reason why, because we bid it.
- Say, is it done?
- My lord, ’tis done.
Antiochus161 - 162
- Enter an Antiochan Messenger.
- Let your breath cool yourself, telling your haste.
- My lord, Prince Pericles is fled.
Antiochus164 - 168
- As thou
- Wilt live, fly after, and like an arrow shot
- From a well-experienc’d archer hits the mark
- His eye doth level at, so thou never return
- Unless thou say Prince Pericles is dead.
Thaliard169 - 171
- My lord,
- If I can get him within my pistol’s length,
- I’ll make him sure enough; so farewell to your Highness.
Antiochus172 - 174
- Thaliard, adieu!
- Exit Thaliard.
- Till Pericles be dead,
- My heart can lend no succor to my head.