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

Act IV. Prologue.

Pericles, Prince of Tyre

Enter GOWER.

Imagine Pericles arriv’d at Tyre,

Welcom’d and settled to his own desire.

His woeful queen we leave at Ephesus,

Unto Diana there a votaress.

Now to Marina bend your mind,

Whom our fast-growing scene must find

At Tarsus, and by Cleon train’d

In music, letters; who hath gain’d

Of education all the grace,

Which makes her both the heart and place

Of general wonder. But, alack!

That monster envy, oft the wrack

Of earned praise, Marina’s life

Seeks to take off by treason’s knife.

And in this kind hath our Cleon

One daughter, and a wench full grown,

Even ripe for marriage-rite; this maid

Hight Philoten, and it is said

For certain in our story, she

Would ever with Marina be:

Be ’t when she weav’d the sleided silk

With fingers, long, small, white as milk,

Or when she would with sharp neeld wound

The cambric, which she made more sound

By hurting it; when to the lute

She sung, and made the night-bird mute,

That still records with moan; or when

She would with rich and constant pen

Vail to her mistress Dian; still

This Philoten contends in skill

With absolute Marina: so

With the dove of Paphos might the crow

Vie feathers white. Marina gets

All praises, which are paid as debts,

And not as given. This so darks

In Philoten all graceful marks,

That Cleon’s wife, with envy rare,

A present murderer does prepare

For good Marina, that her daughter

Might stand peerless by this slaughter.

The sooner her vile thoughts to stead,

Lychorida, our nurse, is dead:

And cursed Dionyza hath

The pregnant instrument of wrath

Prest for this blow. The unborn event

I do commend to your content:

Only I carry winged time

Post on the lame feet of my rime;

Which never could I so convey,

Unless your thoughts went on my way.

Dionyza doth appear,

With Leonine, a murderer.[Exit.