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Pericles: Act III, Prologue

Act III, Prologue

  1. Enter Gower.


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  1. Now sleep yslacked hath the rout,
  2. No din but snores the house about,
  3. Made louder by the o’erfed breast
  4. Of this most pompous marriage-feast.
  5. The cat, with eyne of burning coal,
  6. Now couches from the mouse’s hole;
  7. And crickets sing at the oven’s mouth,
  8. Are the blither for their drouth.
  9. Hymen hath brought the bride to bed,
  10. Where, by the loss of maidenhead,
  11. A babe is moulded. Be attent,
  12. And time that is so briefly spent
  13. With your fine fancies quaintly eche:
  14. What’s dumb in show I’ll plain with speech.
  15. Dumb Show.
  16. Enter Pericles and Simonides, at one door, with Attendants.
  17. The Second Tyrian Messenger meets them, kneels, and gives
  18. Pericles a letter. Pericles shows it Simonides; the Lords
  19. kneel to him. Then enter Thaisa with child, with Lychorida,
  20. a nurse. The King shows her the letter; she rejoices. She
  21. and Pericles take leave of her father, and depart with
  22. Lychorida and their Attendants. Then exeunt Simonides and
  23. the rest.
  24. By many a dern and painful perch,
  25. Of Pericles the careful search,
  26. By the four opposing coigns
  27. Which the world together joins,
  28. Is made with all due diligence
  29. That horse and sail and high expense
  30. Can stead the quest. At last from Tyre,
  31. Fame answering the most strange inquire,
  32. To th’ court of King Simonides
  33. Are letters brought, the tenor these:
  34. Antiochus and his daughter dead,
  35. The men of Tyrus on the head
  36. Of Helicanus would set on
  37. The crown of Tyre, but he will none.
  38. The mutiny he there hastes t’ oppress,
  39. Says to ’em, if King Pericles
  40. Come not home in twice six moons,
  41. He, obedient to their dooms,
  42. Will take the crown. The sum of this,
  43. Brought hither to Pentapolis,
  44. Yravished the regions round,
  45. And every one with claps can sound,
  46. Our heir-apparent is a king!
  47. Who dreamt? Who thought of such a thing?”
  48. Brief, he must hence depart to Tyre:
  49. His queen, with child, makes her desire
  50. Which who shall cross?—along to go.
  51. Omit we all their dole and woe.
  52. Lychorida, her nurse, she takes,
  53. And so to sea. Their vessel shakes
  54. On Neptune’s billow; half the flood
  55. Hath their keel cut. But fortune, mov’d,
  56. Varies again; the grisled north
  57. Disgorges such a tempest forth,
  58. That, as a duck for life that dives,
  59. So up and down the poor ship drives.
  60. The lady shrieks, and well-a-near
  61. Does fall in travail with her fear;
  62. And what ensues in this fell storm
  63. Shall for itself itself perform.
  64. I nill relate, action may
  65. Conveniently the rest convey,
  66. Which might not what by me is told.
  67. In your imagination hold
  68. This stage the ship, upon whose deck
  69. The seas-toss’d Pericles appears to speak.
  1. Exit.
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