Act I, Scene 4
Tarsus. A room in the Governor’s house.
- Enter Cleon, the Governor of Tharsus, with his wife Dionyza
- and others.
Cleon1 - 3
- My Dionyza, shall we rest us here,
- And by relating tales of others’ griefs,
- See if ’twill teach us to forget our own?
Dionyza4 - 9
- That were to blow at fire in hope to quench it,
- For who digs hills because they do aspire
- Throws down one mountain to cast up a higher.
- O my distressed lord, even such our griefs are;
- Here they are but felt, and seen with mischief’s eyes,
- But like to groves, being topp’d, they higher rise.
Cleon10 - 19
- O Dionyza!
- Who wanteth food and will not say he wants it,
- Or can conceal his hunger till he famish?
- Our tongues and sorrows to sound deep our woes
- Into the air, our eyes to weep, till tongues
- Fetch breath that may proclaim them louder, that
- If heaven slumber, while their creatures want,
- They may awake their helpers to comfort them.
- I’ll then discourse our woes, felt several years,
- And wanting breath to speak, help me with tears.
- I’ll do my best, sir.
Cleon21 - 31
- This Tharsus, o’er which I have the government,
- A city on whom plenty held full hand,
- For riches strew’d herself even in her streets;
- Whose towers bore heads so high they kiss’d the clouds,
- And strangers ne’er beheld but wond’red at;
- Whose men and dames so jetted and adorn’d,
- Like one another’s glass to trim them by;
- Their tables were stor’d full, to glad the sight,
- And not so much to feed on as delight;
- All poverty was scorn’d, and pride so great,
- The name of help grew odious to repeat.
- O, ’tis too true.
Cleon33 - 50
- But see what heaven can do by this our change:
- These mouths who, but of late, earth, sea, and air
- Were all too little to content and please,
- Although they gave their creatures in abundance,
- As houses are defil’d for want of use,
- They are now starv’d for want of exercise;
- Those palates who, not yet two summers younger,
- Must have inventions to delight the taste,
- Would now be glad of bread and beg for it;
- Those mothers who, to nousle up their babes,
- Thought nought too curious, are ready now
- To eat those little darlings whom they lov’d.
- So sharp are hunger’s teeth, that man and wife
- Draw lots who first shall die to lengthen life.
- Here stands a lord, and there a lady weeping;
- Here many sink, yet those which see them fall
- Have scarce strength left to give them burial.
- Is not this true?
- Our cheeks and hollow eyes do witness it.
Cleon52 - 55
- O, let those cities that of plenty’s cup
- And her prosperities so largely taste,
- With their superfluous riots, hear these tears!
- The misery of Tharsus may be theirs.
- Enter a Lord of Tarsus.
Lord of Tarsus56
- Where’s the Lord Governor?
Cleon57 - 59
- Speak out thy sorrows which thou bring’st in haste,
- For comfort is too far for us to expect.
Lord of Tarsus60 - 61
- We have descried, upon our neighboring shore,
- A portly sail of ships make hitherward.
Cleon62 - 70
- I thought as much.
- One sorrow never comes but brings an heir
- That may succeed as his inheritor;
- And so in ours, some neighboring nation,
- Taking advantage of our misery,
- Hath stuff’d the hollow vessels with their power
- To beat us down, the which are down already,
- And make a conquest of unhappy me,
- Whereas no glory’s got to overcome.
Lord of Tarsus71 - 73
- That’s the least fear; for by the semblance
- Of their white flags display’d, they bring us peace,
- And come to us as favorers, not as foes.
Cleon74 - 81
- Thou speak’st like him’s untutor’d to repeat:
- Who makes the fairest show means most deceit.
- But bring they what they will and what they can,
- What need we fear?
- Our ground’s the lowest, and we are half way there.
- Go tell their general we attend him here,
- To know for what he comes, and whence he comes,
- And what he craves.
Lord of Tarsus82
- I go, my lord.
Cleon83 - 84
- Welcome is peace, if he on peace consist;
- If wars, we are unable to resist.
- Enter Pericles with Lord and Attendants.
Pericles85 - 96
- Lord Governor, for so we hear you are,
- Let not our ships and number of our men
- Be like a beacon fir’d t’ amaze your eyes.
- We have heard your miseries as far as Tyre,
- And seen the desolation of your streets;
- Nor come we to add sorrow to your tears,
- But to relieve them of their heavy load;
- And these our ships, you happily may think
- Are like the Troyan horse was stuff’d within
- With bloody veins, expecting overthrow,
- Are stor’d with corn to make your needy bread,
- And give them life whom hunger starv’d half dead.
All97 - 98
- The gods of Greece protect you!
- And we’ll pray for you.
Pericles99 - 101
- Arise, I pray you, rise.
- We do not look for reverence but for love,
- And harborage for ourself, our ships, and men.
Cleon102 - 107
- The which when any shall not gratify,
- Or pay you with unthankfulness in thought,
- Be it our wives, our children, or ourselves,
- The curse of heaven and men succeed their evils!
- Till when—the which I hope shall ne’er be seen—
- Your Grace is welcome to our town and us.
Pericles108 - 109
- Which welcome we’ll accept; feast here awhile,
- Until our stars that frown lend us a smile.