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Gary Taylor, John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan (eds), The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition

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Sc. 31.2

Enter Pericles with his lords

pericles Let none disturb us.

Editor’s Note[Exeunt lords]

Why should this change of thoughts,

2The sad companion, dull-eyed melancholy,

Editor’s Note3Be my so used a guest as not an hour

Editor’s Note4In the day's glorious walk or peaceful night,

Editor’s Note5The tomb where grief should sleep, can breed me quiet?

6Here pleasures court mine eyes, and mine eyes shun them,

7And danger, which I feared, 's at Antioch,

Editor’s Note8Whose arm seems far too short to hit me here.

Editor’s Note9Yet neither pleasure's art can joy my spirits,

10Nor yet the other's distance comfort me.

Editor’s Note11Then it is thus: the passions of the mind,

Editor’s Note12That have their first conception by misdread,

13Have after-nourishment and life by care;

14And what was first but fear what might be done

Editor’s Note15Grows elder now, and cares it be not done.

16And so with me. The great Antiochus,

Editor’s Note17'Gainst whom I am too little to contend,

18Since he's so great can make his will his act,

19Will think me speaking though I swear to silence;

pg 2670Editor’s Note20Nor boots it me to say I honour him

21If he suspect I may dishonour him.

Link 22And what may make him blush in being known,

Editor’s Note23He'll stop the course by which it might be known.

24With hostile forces he'll o'erspread the land,

Editor’s Note25And with th'ostent of war will look so huge

Editor’s Note26Amazement shall drive courage from the state,

Editor’s Note27Our men be vanquished ere they do resist,

28And subjects punished that ne'er thought offence;

29Which care of them, not pity of myself,

30Who am no more but as the tops of trees

Editor’s Note31Which fence the roots they grow by and defend them,

Editor’s Note32Makes both my body pine and soul to languish,

33And punish that before that he would punish.

Editor’s NoteEnter [Helicanus and] all the Lords to Pericles

first lord Joy and all comfort in your sacred breast!

Editor’s Note35

second lord And keep your mind peaceful and comfortable.

Editor’s Note36

helicanus Peace, peace, and give experience tongue.

37They do abuse the King that flatter him,

Editor’s Note38For flattery is the bellows blows up sin;

39The thing the which is flattered, but a spark

40To which that wind gives heat and stronger glowing;

41Whereas reproof, obedient and in order,

Editor’s Note42Fits kings as they are men, for they may err.

Editor’s Note43When Signor Sooth here does proclaim a peace

44He flatters you, makes war upon your life.

[He kneels]

45Prince, pardon me, or strike me if you please,

46I cannot be much lower than my knees.

Editor’s Note47

pericles All leave us else; but let your cares o'erlook

Editor’s Note48What shipping and what lading's in our haven,

49And then return to us.

[Exeunt Lords]

Helicane, thou

50Hast movèd us. What seest thou in our looks?

Editor’s Note51

helicanus An angry brow, dread lord.


pericles If there be such a dart in princes' frowns,

Editor’s Note53How durst thy tongue move anger to our face?

Link 54

helicanus How dares the plants look up to heaven from whence

55They have their nourishment?


pericles Thou knowest I have power to take thy life from thee.

pg 2671 57

helicanus I have ground

58The axe myself; do you but strike the blow.

Editor’s Note59

pericles Rise, prithee, rise. [Raising him up] Sit down. Thou art no flatterer,

60I thank thee for't, and heaven forbid

61That kings should let their ears hear their faults hid.

62Fit counsellor and servant for a prince,

63Who by thy wisdom makes a prince thy servant,

64What wouldst thou have me do?

helicanus To bear with patïence

65Such griefs as you yourself do lay upon yourself.


pericles Thou speak'st like a physician, Helicanus,

Editor’s Note67That ministers a potion unto me

68That thou wouldst tremble to receive thyself.

Editor’s Note69Attend me, then: I went to Antioch,

70Where, as thou know'st, against the face of death

Editor’s Note71I sought the purchase of a glorious beauty

Editor’s Note72From whence an issue I might propagate,

73[. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ]

74Are arms to princes and bring joys to subjects.

75Her face was to mine eye beyond all wonder,

76The rest—hark in thine ear—as black as incest,

77Which by my knowledge found, the sinful father

Editor’s Note78Seemed not to strike, but smooth. But thou know'st this:

Editor’s Note79'Tis time to fear when tyrants seems to kiss;

80Which fear so grew in me I hither fled

81Under the covering of a careful night,

82Who seemed my good protector, and being here

Editor’s Note83Bethought me what was past, what might succeed.

84I knew him tyrannous, and tyrants' fears

85Decrease not, but grow faster than the years.

86And should he doubt, as no doubt he doth,

Editor’s Note87That I should open to the listening air

88How many worthy princes' bloods were shed

Editor’s Note89To keep his bed of blackness unlaid ope,

Link 90To lop that doubt he'll fill this land with arms,

91And make pretence of wrong that I have done him,

Editor’s Note92When all for mine—if I may call't—offence

93Must feel war's blow, who spares not innocence;

94Which love to all, of which thyself art one,

Editor’s Note95Who now reproved'st me for't—

helicanus Alas, sir.


pericles Drew sleep out of mine eyes, blood from my cheeks,

97Musings into my mind, with thousand doubts,

98How I might stop this tempest ere it came,

pg 267299And, finding little comfort to relieve them,

100I thought it princely charity to grieve for them.


helicanus Well, my lord, since you have given me leave to speak,

102Freely will I speak. Antiochus you fear,

103And justly too, I think, you fear the tyrant,

104Who either by public war or private treason

105Will take away your life.

106Therefore, my lord, go travel for a while,

107Till that his rage and anger be forgot,

Editor’s Note108Or till the destinies do cut his thread of life.

Editor’s Note109Your rule direct to any; if to me,

110Day serves not light more faithful than I'll be.


pericles I do not doubt thy faith,

112But should he wrong my liberties in my absence?

Editor’s Note113

helicanus We'll mingle our bloods together in the earth

Editor’s Note114From whence we had our being and our birth.


pericles Tyre, I now look from thee then, and to Tarsus

116Intend my travel, where I'll hear from thee,

117And by whose letters I'll dispose myself.

118The care I had and have of subjects' good

119On thee I lay, whose wisdom's strength can bear it.

120I'll take thy word for faith, not ask thine oath;

121Who shuns not to break one will sure crack both.

Editor’s Note122But in our orbs we'll live so round and safe

Editor’s Note123That time of both this truth shall ne'er convince:

Editor’s Note124Thou showed'st a subject's shine, I a true prince.


Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
3.1.1 Exeunt lords They may seem concerned about Pericles' well-being—Pericles may seem particularly fatigued and anxious.
Editor’s Note
3.3 used frequent, common
Editor’s Note
3.4 day's glorious walk daylight (as the sun progresses across the sky)
Editor’s Note
3.5 breed me create in me
Editor’s Note
3.8 arm … too short (Antiochus' power does not extend so far.)
Editor’s Note
3.9 pleasure's art (Pericles can find no joy in what is normally pleasing.)
Editor’s Note
3.9 joy bring joy to
Editor’s Note
3.11 passions emotions
Editor’s Note
3.12 misdread sudden awareness of fear
Editor’s Note
3.15 elder stronger
Editor’s Note
3.17 too little too weak, powerless
Editor’s Note
3.20 Nor boots it me nor does it matter to me
Editor’s Note
3.23 stop the course eliminate the way
Editor’s Note
3.25 th'ostent display, show, appearance (of Antiochus' military forces)
Editor’s Note
3.26 Amazement terror
Editor’s Note
3.27 ere before
Editor’s Note
3.31 fence enclose, fortify
Editor’s Note
3.32 pine suffer, endure pain
Editor’s Note
3.33.1 Helicanus He may carry a walking stick or seem frail.
Editor’s Note
3.35 Peace be quiet
Editor’s Note
3.35 give experience tongue let experience speak. (Helicanus implies that his age and experience should be given voice over the other lords.)
Editor’s Note
3.36 Peace … tongue Perhaps spoken angrily or contemptuously, he may push past the other sycophantic lords, who could react with anger or embarrassment.
Editor’s Note
3.38 flattery (two syllables)
Editor’s Note
3.38 the bellows blows up sin makes the sin greater (comparing flattery to a bellows used to blow a fire to increase its flame; also perhaps a pregnancy metaphor)
Editor’s Note
3.42 Fits is appropriate for
Editor’s Note
3.43 Signor Sooth Sir Flatterer, Sir Appeasement ('Sooth' is associated with the verb 'to soothe' (OED n. 8) and, more generally, blandishment and flattery.)
Editor’s Note
3.47 let your cares o'erlook carefully oversee and record
Editor’s Note
3.48 lading cargo
Editor’s Note
3.51 dread revered
Editor’s Note
3.53 How durst … anger how did your words dare to openly incite anger
Editor’s Note
3.59 Raising him up Alternatively, he may raise himself at this command.
Editor’s Note
3.67 ministers administers
Editor’s Note
3.69 Attend me listen to me
Editor’s Note
3.71 purchase acquisition
Editor’s Note
3.72 an issue offspring
Editor’s Note
3.72–4 propagate, … Are The omitted line would presumably have reflected on children (royal or in general). Editors have variously suggested: 'For royal progeny are general blessings' (Steevens), 'Worthy to heir my throne; for kingly boys' (Walker), or 'As children are heav'n's blessings, to parents' (Taylor).
Editor’s Note
3.78 smooth smooth over, conceal
Editor’s Note
3.79 seems to kiss are unduly affectionate
Editor’s Note
3.83 Bethought me I recalled
Editor’s Note
3.87 open disclose, reveal
Editor’s Note
3.87 listening (two syllables)
Editor’s Note
3.89 unlaid ope unopened, hidden
Editor’s Note
3.92 offence Probably spoken ironically, though Pericles may indicate that he feels complicit in the incest business by uncovering it.
Editor’s Note
3.95 reproved'st reprimands
Editor’s Note
3.108 destinies … life (Three mythological Greek Fates determined each person's individual destiny and time of death; Atropos, the third Fate, cuts the thread of life at the moment of death.)
Editor’s Note
3.109 direct delegate
Editor’s Note
3.113–4 We'll … birth Pericles may gesture to indicate his satisfaction with this answer, or he may shake Helicanus' hand.
Editor’s Note
3.114 wrong my liberties i.e. invade Tyre
Editor’s Note
3.122 orbs heavenly spheres (thought to influence human actions)
Editor’s Note
3.122 round truthful, plain, honest
Editor’s Note
3.123 convince persuade against, disprove
Editor’s Note
3.124 shine lustre, brilliance
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