William Shakespeare's Pericles, Prince of Tyre in the complete original text.
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Pericles, Prince of Tyre

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Act II. Scene I.

Scene I.—Pentapolis. An open Place by
the Sea-side.

Enter PERICLES, wet.

Per. 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;
And having thrown him from your watery
grave,
Here to have death in peace is all he'll crave.

Enter three Fishermen.
First Fish. 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 wannion.
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. [Aside.] 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 swal-
lowed 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. [Aside.] Simonides!
Third Fish. We would purge the land of
these drones, that rob the bee of her honey.
Per. [Aside.] 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!
[Aloud.] Peace be at your labour, honest fisher-
men,
Sec. Fish. Honest! good fellow, what's that?
if it be a day fits you, search out of the calendar,
and nobody look after it.
Per. Y' may see the sea hath cast me on 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 us'd to beg.
First Fish. 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;
Which if you shall refuse, when I am dead.
For that I am a man, pray see me buried.
First Fish. 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.
First 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 labour!
First Fish. 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 to be
so 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 journey;
and I'll tell you, he hath a fair daughter, and
to-morrow is her birthday; 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 law-
fully 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 armour.
Per. An armour, friends! I pray you, let
me see it.
Thanks, Fortune, yet, that after all my crosses
Thou giv'st me somewhat to repair myself;
And though it was mine own, part of mine
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 sav'd me, keep it; in like necessity—
The which the gods protect thee from!—'t may
defend thee.'
It kept where I kept, I so dearly lov'd it;
Till the rough seas, that spare not any man,
Took it in rage, though calm'd they have given 't
again. '
I thank thee for't; my shipwrack now's no ill,
Since I have here my father's gift in's will.
First Fish. 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 lov'd me dearly,
And for his sake I wish the having of it;
And that you'd guide me to your sovereign's
court,
Where with it I may appear a gentleman;
And if that ever my low fortunes better,
I'll pay your bounties; till then rest your
debtor.
First Fish. Why, wilt thou tourney for the
lady?
Per. I'll show the virtue I have borne in
arms.
First Fish. 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 water; there are certain
condolements, certain vails. I hope, sir, if you
thrive, you'll remember from whence you had it.
Per. Believe it, I will.
By your furtherance I am cloth'd in steel;
And spite of all the rapture of the sea,
This jewel holds his biding on my arm:
Unto thy value will I 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.
Sec. Fish. 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 honour be but a goal to my will!
This day I'll rise, or else add ill to ill. [Exeunt.
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