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

Act III. Scene II.

Pericles, Prince of Tyre

Ephesus.A Room in CERIMON’S House.

Enter CERIMON, a Servant, and some Persons who have been shipwracked.

Cer.Philemon, ho!


Phil.Doth my lord call?

Cer.Get fire and meat for these poor men;

’T has been a turbulent and stormy night.

Ser.I have been in many; but such a night as this

Till now I ne’er endur’d.

Cer.Your master will be dead ere you return;

There’s nothing can be minister’d to nature

That can recover him.[To PHILEMON.]Give this to the ’pothecary,

And tell me how it works.[Exeunt all except CERIMON.

Enter two Gentlemen.

First Gent.Good morrow, sir.

Sec. Gent.Good morrow to your lordship.


Why do you stir so early?

First Gent.Sir,

Our lodgings, standing bleak upon the sea,

Shook as the earth did quake;

The very principals did seem to rend,

And all to topple. Pure surprise and fear

Made me to quit the house.

Sec. Gent.That is the cause we trouble you so early;

’Tis not our husbandry.

Cer.O! you say well.

First Gent.But I much marvel that your lordship, having

Rich tire about you, should at these early hours

Shake off the golden slumber of repose.

’Tis most strange,

Nature should be so conversant with pain,

Being thereto not compell’d.

Cer.I hold it ever,

Virtue and cunning were endowments greater

Than nobleness and riches; careless heirs

May the two latter darken and expend,

But immortality attends the former,

Making a man a god. ’Tis known I ever

Have studied physic, through which secret art,

By turning o’er authorities, I have—

Together with my practice—made familiar

To me and to my aid the blest infusions

That dwell in vegetives, in metals, stones;

And can speak of the disturbances

That nature works, and of her cures; which doth give me

A more content in course of true delight

Than to be thirsty after tottering honour,

Or tie my treasure up in silken bags,

To please the fool and death.

Sec. Gent.Your honour has through Ephesus pour’d forth

Your charity, and hundreds call themselves

Your creatures, who by you have been restor’d:

And not your knowledge, your personal pain, but even

Your purse, still open, hath built Lord Cerimon

Such strong renown as time shall ne’er decay.

Enter two Servants, with a chest.

First Serv.So; lift there.

Cer.What is that?

First Serv.Sir, even now

Did the sea toss upon our shore this chest:

’Tis of some wrack.

Cer.Set it down; let’s look upon ’t.

Sec. Gent.’Tis like a coffin, sir.

Cer.Whate’er it be,

’Tis wondrous heavy. Wrench it open straight;

If the sea’s stomach be o’ercharg’d with gold,

’Tis a good constraint of fortune it belches upon us.

Sec. Gent.’Tis so, my lord.

Cer.How close ’tis caulk’d and bitumed!

Did the sea cast it up?

First Serv.I never saw so huge a billow, sir,

As toss’d it upon shore.

Cer.Come, wrench it open.

Soft! it smells most sweetly in my sense.

Sec. Gent.A delicate odour.

Cer.As ever hit my nostril. So, up with it.

O you most potent gods! what’s here? a corse!

First Gent.Most strange!

Cer.Shrouded in cloth of state; balm’d and entreasur’d

With full bags of spices! A passport too!

Apollo, perfect me i’ the characters!

Here I give to understand,

If e’er this coffin drive a-land,

I, King Pericles, have lost

This queen worth all our mundane cost.

Who finds her, give her burying;

She was the daughter of a king:

Besides this treasure for a fee,

The gods requite his charity!

If thou liv’st, Pericles, thou hast a heart

That even cracks for woe! This chanc’d to-night.

Sec. Gent.Most likely, sir.

Cer.Nay, certainly to-night;

For look, how fresh she looks. They were too rough

That threw her in the sea. Make fire within;

Fetch hither all the boxes in my closet.[Exit Second Servant.

Death may usurp on nature many hours,

And yet the fire of life kindle again

The overpress’d spirits. I heard

Of an Egyptian, that had nine hours lien dead,

Who was by good appliances recovered.

Re-enter Servant, with boxes, napkins, and fire.

Well said, well said; the fire and cloths.

The rough and woeful music that we have,

Cause it to sound, beseech you.

The viol once more;—how thou stirr’st, thou block!

The music there! I pray you, give her air.


This queen will live; nature awakes, a warmth

Breathes out of her; she hath not been entranc’d

Above five hours. See! how she ’gins to blow

Into life’s flower again.

First Gent.The heavens

Through you increase our wonder and set up

Your fame for ever.

Cer.She is alive! behold,

Her eyelids, cases to those heavenly jewels

Which Pericles hath lost,

Begin to part their fringes of bright gold;

The diamonds of a most praised water

Do appear, to make the world twice rich. Live,

And make us weep to hear your fate, fair creature,

Rare as you seem to be![She moves.

Thai.O dear Diana!

Where am I? Where’s my lord? What world is this?

Sec. Gent.Is not this strange?

First Gent.Most rare.

Cer.Hush, gentle neighbours!

Lend me your hands; to the next chamber bear her.

Get linen; now this matter must be look’d to,

For her relapse is mortal. Come, come;

And Æsculapius guide us![Exeunt, carrying THAISA away.