GOWER, as Chorus
ANTIOCHUS, King of Antioch
PERICLES, Prince of Tyre
two lords of Tyre
SIMONIDES, King of Pentapolis
CLEON, Governor of Tharsus
LYSIMACHUS, Governor of Mytilene
CERIMON, a lord of Ephesus
THALIARD, a lord of Antioch
PHILEMON, servant to Cerimon
LEONINE, servant to Dionyza
BOULT, his servant
THE DAUGHTER of Antiochus
DIONYZA, wife to Cleon
THAISA, daughter to Simonides
MARINA, daughter to Pericles and Thaisa
LYCHORIDA, nurse to Marina
Lords, Ladies, Knights, Gentlemen, Sailors,
Pirates, Fishermen, and Messengers
Dispersedly in various countries
PERICLES, Prince of Tyre
Antioch. Before the palace
To sing a song that old was sung,
From ashes ancient Gower is come,
Assuming man's infirmities,
To glad your ear and please your eyes.
It hath been sung at festivals,
On ember-eves and holy-ales;
And lords and ladies in their lives
Have read it for restoratives.
The purchase is to make men glorious;
Et bonum quo antiquius, eo melius.
If you, born in those latter times,
When wit's more ripe, accept my rhymes,
And that to hear an old man sing
May to your wishes pleasure bring,
I life would wish, and that I might
Waste it for you, like taper-light.
This Antioch, then, Antiochus the Great
Built up, this city, for his chiefest seat;
The fairest in all Syria-
I tell you what mine authors say.
This king unto him took a fere,
Who died and left a female heir,
So buxom, blithe, and full of face,
As heaven had lent her all his grace;
With whom the father liking took,
And her to incest did provoke.
Bad child! Worse father! To entice his own
To evil should be done by none.
But custom what they did begin
Was with long use account no sin.
The beauty of this sinful dame
Made many princes thither frame
To seek her as a bed-fellow,
In marriage-pleasures play-fellow;
Which to prevent he made a law-
To keep her still, and men in awe-
That whoso ask'd her for his wife,
His riddle told not, lost his life.
So for her many a wight did die,
As yon grim looks do testify.
What now ensues to the judgment of your eye
I give, my cause who best can justify. Exit
Antioch. The palace
Enter ANTIOCHUS, PRINCE PERICLES, and followers
ANTIOCHUS. Young Prince of Tyre, you have at large
The danger of the task you undertake.
PERICLES. I have, Antiochus, and, with a soul
Embold'ned with the glory of her praise,
Think death no hazard in this enterprise.
ANTIOCHUS. Bring in our daughter, clothed like a bride
For the embracements even of Jove himself; [Music]
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 the DAUGHTER of ANTIOCHUS
PERICLES. See where she comes, apparell'd 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 raz'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 the adventure, be my helps,
As I am son and servant to your will,
To compass such a boundless happiness!
ANTIOCHUS. Prince Pericles-
PERICLES. That would be son to great Antiochus.
ANTIOCHUS. 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.
PERICLES. 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.
ANTIOCHUS. Scorning advice, read the conclusion then:
Which read and not expounded, 'tis decreed,
As these before thee, thou thyself shalt bleed.
DAUGHTER. Of all 'say'd yet, mayst thou prove prosperous!
Of all 'say'd yet, I wish thee happiness!
PERICLES. Like a bold champion I assume the lists
Nor ask advice of any other thought
But faithfulness and courage. [Reads]