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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act III. Scene I.

Pericles, Prince of Tyre

Enter PERICLES, on shipboard.

Per.Thou God of this great vast, rebuke these surges,

Which wash both heaven and hell; and thou, that hast

Upon the winds command, bind them in brass,

Having call’d them from the deep. O! still

Thy deafening, dreadful thunders; gently quench

Thy nimble, sulphurous flashes. O! how Lychorida,

How does my queen? Thou stormest venomously;

Wilt thou spit all thyself? The seaman’s whistle

Is as a whisper in the ears of death,

Unheard. Lychorida! Lucina, O!

Divinest patroness, and midwife gentle

To those that cry by night, convey thy deity

Aboard our dancing boat; make swift the pangs

Of my queen’s travails!

Enter LYCHORIDA, with an Infant.

Now, Lychorida!

Lyc.Here is a thing too young for such a place,

Who, if it had conceit, would die, as I

Am like to do: take in your arms this piece

Of your dead queen.

Per.How, how, Lychorida!

Lyc.Patience, good sir; do not assist the storm.

Here’s all that is left living of your queen,

A little daughter: for the sake of it,

Be manly, and take comfort.

Per.O you gods!

Why do you make us love your goodly gifts,

And snatch them straight away? We here below,

Recall not what we give, and therein may

Use honour with you.

Lyc.Patience, good sir,

Even for this charge.

Per.Now, mild may be thy life!

For a more blust’rous birth had never babe:

Quiet and gentle thy conditions!

For thou art the rudeliest welcome to this world

That e’er was prince’s child. Happy what follows!

Thou hast as chiding a nativity

As fire, air, water, earth, and heaven can make,

To herald thee from the womb; even at the first

Thy loss is more than can thy portage quit,

With all thou canst find here. Now, the good gods

Throw their best eyes upon ’t!

Enter two Sailors.

First Sail.What courage, sir? God save you!

Per.Courage enough. I do not fear the flaw; It hath done to me the worst. Yet for the love Of this poor infant, this fresh-new sea-farer,

I would it would be quiet.

First Sail.Slack the bolins there! thou wilt not, wilt thou? Blow, and split thyself.

Sec. Sail.But sea-room, an the brine and cloudy billow kiss the moon, I care not.

First Sail.Sir, your queen must overboard: the sea works high, the wind is loud, and will not lie till the ship be cleared of the dead.

Per.That’s your superstition.

First Sail.Pardon us, sir; with us at sea it hath been still observed, and we are strong in custom. Therefore briefly yield her, for she must overboard straight.

Per.As you think meet. Most wretched queen!

Lyc.Here she lies, sir.

Per.A terrible child-bed hast thou had, my dear;

No light, no fire: the unfriendly elements

Forgot thee utterly; nor have I time

To give thee hallow’d to thy grave, but straight

Must cast thee, scarcely coffin’d, in the ooze;

Where, for a monument upon thy bones,

And aye-remaining lamps, the belching whale

And humming water must o’erwhelm thy corpse,

Lying with simple shells! O Lychorida!

Bid Nestor bring me spices, ink and paper,

My casket and my jewels; and bid Nicander

Bring me the satin coffer: lay the babe

Upon the pillow. Hie thee, whiles I say

A priestly farewell to her: suddenly, woman.[Exit LYCHORIDA.

Sec. Sail.Sir, we have a chest beneath the hatches, caulk’d and bitumed ready.

Per.I thank thee. Mariner, say what coast is this?

Sec. Sail.We are near Tarsus.

Per.Thither, gentle mariner,

Alter thy course for Tyre. When canst thou reach it?

Sec. Sail.By break of day, if the wind cease.

Per.O! make for Tarsus.

There will I visit Cleon, for the babe

Cannot hold out to Tyrus; there I’ll leave it

At careful nursing. Go thy ways, good mariner;

I’ll bring the body presently.[Exeunt.