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Pericles: Act I, Scene 1

Pericles
Act I, Scene 1

Antioch (Syria). A room in the palace.

  1. Enter Antiochus, Prince Pericles, and Followers.

Antiochus

1 - 2
  1. Young Prince of Tyre, you have at large received
  2. The danger of the task you undertake.

Pericles

3 - 5
  1. I have, Antiochus, and with a soul
  2. Embold’ned with the glory of her praise,
  3. Think death no hazard in this enterprise.
  1. Music.

Antiochus

6 - 11
  1. Bring in our daughter, clothed like a bride
  2. For embracements even of Jove himself;
  3. At whose conception, till Lucina reigned,
  4. Nature this dowry gave: to glad her presence,
  5. The senate-house of planets all did sit,
  6. To knit in her their best perfections.
  1. Enter Antiochus’ Daughter.

Pericles

12 - 24
  1. See where she comes, apparelled like the spring,
  2. Graces her subjects, and her thoughts the king
  3. Of every virtue gives renown to men!
  4. Her face the book of praises, where is read
  5. Nothing but curious pleasures, as from thence
  6. Sorrow were ever ras’d, and testy wrath
  7. Could never be her mild companion.
  8. You gods that made me man, and sway in love,
  9. That have inflam’d desire in my breast
  10. To taste the fruit of yon celestial tree
  11. (Or die in th’ adventure), be my helps,
  12. As I am son and servant to your will,
  13. To compass such a boundless happiness!

Antiochus

25
  1. Prince Pericles

Pericles

26
  1. That would be son to great Antiochus.

Antiochus

27 - 40
  1. Before thee stands this fair Hesperides,
  2. With golden fruit, but dangerous to be touch’d;
  3. For death-like dragons here affright thee hard.
  4. Her face, like heaven, enticeth thee to view
  5. Her countless glory, which desert must gain;
  6. And which without desert because thine eye
  7. Presumes to reach, all the whole heap must die.
  8. Yon sometimes famous princes, like thyself,
  9. Drawn by report, advent’rous by desire,
  10. Tell thee, with speechless tongues and semblance pale,
  11. That without covering, save yon field of stars,
  12. Here they stand martyrs, slain in Cupid’s wars;
  13. And with dead cheeks advise thee to desist
  14. For going on death’s net, whom none resist.

Pericles

41 - 55
  1. Antiochus, I thank thee, who hath taught
  2. My frail mortality to know itself,
  3. And by those fearful objects to prepare
  4. This body, like to them, to what I must;
  5. For death remembered should be like a mirror,
  6. Who tells us life’s but breath, to trust it error.
  7. I’ll make my will then, and as sick men do,
  8. Who know the world, see heaven, but feeling woe,
  9. Gripe not at earthly joys as erst they did;
  10. So I bequeath a happy peace to you
  11. And all good men, as every prince should do;
  12. My riches to the earth from whence they came;
  13. To the Princess.
  14. But my unspotted fire of love to you.
  15. Thus ready for the way of life or death,
  16. I wait the sharpest blow, Antiochus.

Antiochus

56 - 58
  1. Scorning advice, read the conclusion then;
  2. Which read and not expounded, ’tis decreed,
  3. As these before thee, thou thyself shalt bleed.

Daughter

59 - 60
  1. Of all ’say’d yet, mayst thou prove prosperous!
  2. Of all ’say’d yet, I wish thee happiness!

Pericles

61 - 86
  1. Like a bold champion I assume the lists,
  2. Nor ask advice of any other thought
  3. But faithfulness and courage.
  4. Reads.
  5. The Riddle
  6. I am no viper, yet I feed
  7. On mother’s flesh which did me breed.
  8. I sought a husband, in which labor
  9. I found that kindness in a father.
  10. He’s father, son, and husband mild;
  11. I mother, wifeand yet his child.
  12. How they may be, and yet in two,
  13. As you will live, resolve it you.
  14. Aside.
  15. Sharp physic is the last. But O you powers!
  16. That gives heaven countless eyes to view men’s acts,
  17. Why cloud they not their sights perpetually,
  18. If this be true which makes me pale to read it?
  19. Aside to the Princess.
  20. Fair glass of light, I lov’d you, and could still,
  21. Were not this glorious casket stor’d with ill.
  22. But I must tell you, now my thoughts revolt,
  23. For he’s no man on whom perfections wait
  24. That, knowing sin within, will touch the gate.
  25. You are a fair viol, and your sense the strings;
  26. Who, finger’d to make man his lawful music,
  27. Would draw heaven down, and all the gods to hearken;
  28. But being play’d upon before your time,
  29. Hell only danceth at so harsh a chime.
  30. Good sooth, I care not for you.

Antiochus

87 - 90
  1. Prince Pericles, touch not, upon thy life,
  2. For that’s an article within our law,
  3. As dangerous as the rest. Your time’s expir’d,
  4. Either expound now, or receive your sentence.

Pericles

91 - 108
  1. Great King,
  2. Few love to hear the sins they love to act;
  3. ’Twould braid yourself too near for me to tell it.
  4. Who has a book of all that monarchs do,
  5. He’s more secure to keep it shut than shown;
  6. For vice repeated is like the wand’ring wind,
  7. Blows dust in others’ eyes, to spread itself;
  8. And yet the end of all is bought thus dear,
  9. The breath is gone, and the sore eyes see clear
  10. To stop the air would hurt them. The blind mole casts
  11. Copp’d hills towards heaven, to tell the earth is throng’d
  12. By man’s oppression, and the poor worm doth die for’t.
  13. Kings are earth’s gods; in vice their law’s their will;
  14. And if Jove stray, who dares say Jove doth ill?
  15. It is enough you know, and it is fit,
  16. What being more known grows worse, to smother it.
  17. All love the womb that their first being bred,
  18. Then give my tongue like leave to love my head.

Antiochus

109 - 120
  1. Aside.
  2. Heaven, that I had thy head! He has found the meaning.
  3. But I will gloze with him.—Young Prince of Tyre,
  4. Though by the tenor of our strict edict,
  5. Your exposition misinterpreting,
  6. We might proceed to cancel of your days;
  7. Yet hope, succeeding from so fair a tree
  8. As your fair self, doth tune us otherwise.
  9. Forty days longer we do respite you;
  10. If by which time our secret be undone,
  11. This mercy shows we’ll joy in such a son;
  12. And until then your entertain shall be
  13. As doth befit our honor and your worth.
  1. Exeunt. Manet Pericles solus.

Pericles

121 - 142
  1. How courtesy would seem to cover sin,
  2. When what is done is like an hypocrite,
  3. The which is good in nothing but in sight!
  4. If it be true that I interpret false,
  5. Then were it certain you were not so bad
  6. As with foul incest to abuse your soul;
  7. Where now you’re both a father and a son
  8. By your uncomely claspings with your child
  9. (Which pleasures fits a husband, not a father),
  10. And she an eater of her mother’s flesh
  11. By the defiling of her parent’s bed;
  12. And both like serpents are, who though they feed
  13. On sweetest flowers, yet they poison breed.
  14. Antioch, farewell, for wisdom sees those men
  15. Blush not in actions blacker than the night
  16. Will ’schew no course to keep them from the light.
  17. One sin, I know, another doth provoke:
  18. Murder’s as near to lust as flame to smoke;
  19. Poison and treason are the hands of sin,
  20. Ay, and the targets to put off the shame;
  21. Then lest my life be cropp’d to keep you clear,
  22. By flight I’ll shun the danger which I fear.
  1. Exit.
  1. Enter Antiochus.

Antiochus

143 - 150
  1. He hath found the meaning,
  2. For which we mean to have his head.
  3. He must not live to trumpet forth my infamy,
  4. Nor tell the world Antiochus doth sin
  5. In such a loathed manner;
  6. And therefore instantly this prince must die,
  7. For by his fall my honor must keep high.
  8. Who attends us there?
  1. Enter Thaliard.

Thaliard

151
  1.                       Doth your Highness call?

Antiochus

152 - 159
  1. Thaliardyou are of our chamber, Thaliard,
  2. And our mind partakes her private actions
  3. To your secrecy; and for your faithfulness
  4. We will advance you, Thaliard. Behold,
  5. Here’s poison and here’s gold; we hate the Prince
  6. Of Tyre, and thou must kill him. It fits thee not
  7. To ask the reason why, because we bid it.
  8. Say, is it done?

Thaliard

160
  1.                  My lord, ’tis done.

Antiochus

161 - 162
  1.                     Enough.
  2. Enter an Antiochan Messenger.
  3. Let your breath cool yourself, telling your haste.

Antiochan Messenger

163
  1. My lord, Prince Pericles is fled.
  1. Exit.

Antiochus

164 - 168
  1.                                   As thou
  2. Wilt live, fly after, and like an arrow shot
  3. From a well-experienc’d archer hits the mark
  4. His eye doth level at, so thou never return
  5. Unless thou say Prince Pericles is dead.

Thaliard

169 - 171
  1. My lord,
  2. If I can get him within my pistol’s length,
  3. I’ll make him sure enough; so farewell to your Highness.

Antiochus

172 - 174
  1. Thaliard, adieu!
  2. Exit Thaliard.
  3.                  Till Pericles be dead,
  4. My heart can lend no succor to my head.
  1. Exit.
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