SCENE IPentapolis. An open place by the sea-side.
Enter PERICLES, wet.
Yet cease your ire, you angry stars of heaven!
Wind, rain, and thunder, remember, earthly man
Is but a substance that must yield to you;
And I, as fits my nature, do obey you:
Alas, the sea hath cast me on the rocks,
Wash'd me from shore to shore, and left me breath
Nothing to think on but ensuing death:
Let it suffice the greatness of your powers
To have bereft a prince of all his fortunes;
10And having thrown him from your watery grave,
Here to have death in peace is all he'll crave. Enter three Fishermen.
What, ho, Pilch! Sec. Fish.
Ha, come and bring away the
nets! First Fish.
What, Patch-breech, I say! Third Fish.
What say you, master? First Fish.
Look how thou stirrest now!
come away, or I'll fetch thee with a wanion. Third Fish.
'Faith, master, I am thinking
of the poor men that were cast away before
us even now. First Fish.
Alas, poor souls, it grieved my
heart to hear what pitiful cries they made to
us to help them, when, well-a-day, we could
scarce help ourselves. Third Fish.
Nay, master, said not I as
much when I saw the porpus how he bounced
and tumbled? they say they're half fish, half
flesh: a plague on them, they ne'er come but
I look to be washed. Master, I marvel how
the fishes live in the sea. First Fish.
Why, as men do a-land; the
great ones eat up the little ones: I can compare
our rich misers to nothing so fitly as to
a whale; a' plays and tumbles, driving the poor
fry before him, and at last devours them all
at a mouthful: such whales have I heard on
o' the land, who never leave gaping till they've
swallowed the whole parish, church, steeple,
bells, and all. Per.
A pretty moral. Third Fish.
But, master, if I had been the
sexton, I would have been that day in the
belfry. Sec. Fish.
Why, man? Third Fish.
Because he should have swallowed
me too; and when I had been in his
belly, I would have kept such a jangling of
the bells, that he should never have left, till
he cast bells, steeple, church, and parish up
again. But if the good King Simonides were
of my mind,-- Per.
Simonides! Third Fish.
We would purge the land of
these drones, that rob the bee of her honey. Per.
How from the finny subject of the sea
These fishers tell the infirmities of men;
And from their watery empire recollect
All that may men approve or men detect!
Peace be at your labor, honest fishermen.
Honest! good fellow, what's
that? If it be a day fits you, search out of
the calendar, and nobody look after it. Per.
May see the sea hath cast upon your
coast. Sec. Fish.
What a drunken knave was the
sea to cast thee in our way! Per.
A man whom both the waters and the wind,
In that vast tennis-court, have made the ball
For them to play upon, entreats you pity him;
He asks of you, that never used to beg.
No, friend, cannot you beg?
Here's them in our country of Greece gets
more with begging than we can do with working. Sec. Fish.
Canst thou catch any fishes, then? Per.
I never practised it. Sec. Fish.
Nay, then thou wilt starve, sure;
for here's nothing to be got now-a-days,
unless thou canst fish for't. Per.
What I have been I have forgot to know;
But what I am, want teaches me to think on:
A man throng'd up with cold: my veins are chill,
And have no more of life than may suffice
To give my tongue that heat to ask your help;
80Which if you shall refuse, when I am dead,
For that I am a man, pray see me buried.
Die quoth-a? Now gods forbid!
I have a gown here; come, put it on;
keep thee warm. Now, afore me, a handsome
fellow! Come, thou shalt go home, and we'll
have flesh for holidays, fish for fasting-days,
and moreo'er puddings and flap-jacks, and
thou shalt be welcome. Per.
I thank you, sir. Sec. Fish.
Hark you, my friend; you said
you could not beg. Per.
I did but crave. Sec. Fish.
But crave! Then I'll turn craver
too, and so I shall 'scape whipping. Per.
Why, are all your beggars whipped, then? Sec. Fish.
O, not all, my friend, not all;
for if all your beggars were whipped, I would
wish no better office than to be beadle. But,
master, I'll go draw up the net. Exit with Third Fisherman. Per.
How well this honest mirth becomes their labor!
Hark you, sir, do you know
where ye are? Per.
Not well. First Fish.
Why, I'll tell you: this is
called Pentapolis, and our king the good Simonides. Per.
The good King Simonides, do you call
him? First Fish.
Ay, sir; and he deserves so to
be called for his peaceable reign and good government. Per.
He is a happy king, since he gains
from his subjects the name of good by his
government. How far is his court distant from
this shore? First Fish.
Marry, sir, half a day's jour-
ney: and I'll tell you, he hath a fair daughter,
and to-morrow is her birth-day; and there
are princes and knights come from all parts of
the world to just and tourney for her love. Per.
Were my fortunes equal to my desires,
I could wish to make one there. First Fish.
O, sir, things must be as they
may; and what a man cannot get, he may
lawfully deal for--his wife's soul. Re-enter Second and Third Fishermen, drawing up a net. Sec. Fish.
Help, master, help! here's a
fish hangs in the net, like a poor man's right
in the law; 'twill hardly come out. Ha! bots
on't, 'tis come at last, and 'tis turned to a
rusty armor. Per.
An armor, friends! I pray you, let me see it.
Thanks, fortune, yet, that, after all my crosses,
Thou givest me somewhat to repair myself;
And though it was mine own, part of my heritage,
Which my dead father did bequeath to me,
With this strict charge, even as he left his life.
'Keep it, my Pericles; it hath been a shield
'Twixt me and death;'--and pointed to this brace;--
'For that it saved me, keep it; in like necessity--
The which the gods protect thee from!--may defend thee.'
It kept where I kept, I so dearly loved it;
Till the rough seas, that spare not any man,
Took it in rage, though calm'd have given't again:
I thank thee for't: my shipwreck now's no ill,
Since I have here my father's gift in's will.
What mean you, sir? Per.
To beg of you, kind friends, this coat of worth,
For it was sometime target to a king;
I know it by this mark. He loved me dearly,
And for his sake I wish the having of it;
And that you'ld guide me to your sovereign's court,
Where with it I may appear a gentleman;
And if that ever my low fortune's better,
I'll pay your bounties; till then rest your debtor.
Why, wilt thou tourney for the lady? Per.
I'll show the virtue I have borne in arms.
Why, do'e take it, and the gods
give thee good on't! Sec. Fish.
Ay, but hark you, my friend;
'twas we that made up this garment through
the rough seams of the waters: there are
certain condolements, certain vails. I hope, sir,
if you thrive, you'll remember from
whence you had it. Per.
Believe't, I will.
160By your furtherance I am clothed in steel;
And, spite of all the rapture of the sea,
This jewel holds his building on my arm:
Unto thy value I will mount myself
Upon a courser, whose delightful steps
Shall make the gazer joy to see him tread.
Only, my friend, I yet am unprovided
Of a pair of bases.
We'll sure provide: thou shalt
have my best gown to make thee a pair; and
I'll bring thee to the court myself. Per.
Then honor be but a goal to my will,
This day I'll rise, or else add ill to ill. [Exeunt.