Pericles Translation Act 2, Chorus
Here have you seen a mighty king His child, I wis, to incest bring; A better prince and benign lord, That will prove awful both in deed and word. Be quiet then as men should be, Till he hath pass'd necessity. I'll show you those in troubles reign, Losing a mite, a mountain gain. The good in conversation, To whom I give my benison, Is still at Tarsus, where each man Thinks all is writ he speken can; And, to remember what he does, Build his statue to make him glorious: But tidings to the contrary Are brought your eyes; what need speak I?
Here you've seen a king commit incest with his daughter. Pericles will turn out to be a much more powerful prince and a better ruler, strong in both word and deed. But now he has to keep his mouth shut, until enough time has passed. I'll show you how much trouble he had to deal with; once he got over the molehill, he ran into a mountain. That good man whom I bless, Pericles, is still at Tarsus, where everyone is singing his praises and the city is erecting a statue of him to remember him by—everything seems happy. But what you're about to see contradicts that, so what can I say?
DUMB SHOW Enter at one door PERICLES talking with CLEON; all the train with them. Enter at another door a Gentleman, with a letter to PERICLES; PERICLES shows the letter to CLEON; gives the Messenger a reward, and knights him. Exit PERICLES at one door, and CLEON at another
Good Helicane, that stay'd at home, Not to eat honey like a drone From others' labours; for though he strive To killen bad, keep good alive; And to fulfil his prince' desire, Sends word of all that haps in Tyre: How Thaliard came full bent with sin And had intent to murder him; And that in Tarsus was not best Longer for him to make his rest. He, doing so, put forth to seas, Where when men been, there's seldom ease; For now the wind begins to blow; Thunder above and deeps below Make such unquiet, that the ship Should house him safe is wreck'd and split; And he, good prince, having all lost, By waves from coast to coast is tost: All perishen of man, of pelf, Ne aught escapen but himself; Till fortune, tired with doing bad, Threw him ashore, to give him glad: And here he comes. What shall be next, Pardon old Gower,—this longs the text.
Back at home, Helicanus has hardly been a lazy worker bee: he's done everything the prince asked him to, and has sent news of everything happening in Tyre. He told Pericles how Thaliard came to murder him, and advised him not to stay in Tarsus much longer. Pericles sailed away on the sea, where men can never rest easy, and was quickly caught up in a storm. The winds blew, loud thunder was heard, and the ship that should have kept him safe was wrecked. Having lost everything, Pericles was tossed by waves from coast to coast. He had nothing and no one to keep him company, since no one else escaped alive. Finally, fortune got tired of ruining his life, and threw him on shore to make him happy. Here he comes. What happens next—actually, I'll shut up now.