A line-by-line translation

Pericles

Pericles Translation Act 2, Scene 1

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Enter PERICLES, wet

PERICLES

Yet cease your ire, you angry stars of heaven! Wind, rain, and thunder, remember, earthly man Is but a substance that must yield to you; And I, as fits my nature, do obey you: Alas, the sea hath cast me on the rocks, Wash'd me from shore to shore, and left me breath Nothing to think on but ensuing death: Let it suffice the greatness of your powers To have bereft a prince of all his fortunes; And having thrown him from your watery grave, Here to have death in peace is all he'll crave.

PERICLES

Please, heaven, stop your wrath! Wind, rain and thunder: remember that earthly men can only yield to you and recognize that I, as an earthly man, do obey you. The sea has tossed me onto the rocks, washed me from shore to shore, and left me sure of nothing but that my end is near. Please, let it be enough for your great powers that I, a prince, have lost everything. Since you've thrown me out of your watery grave, all I ask is to die here in peace.

Enter three FISHERMEN

FIRST FISHERMAN

What, ho, Pilch!

FIRST FISHERMAN

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SECOND FISHERMAN

Ha, come and bring away the nets!

SECOND FISHERMAN

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FIRST FISHERMAN

What, Patch-breech, I say!

FIRST FISHERMAN

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THIRD FISHERMAN

What say you, master?

THIRD FISHERMAN

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FIRST FISHERMAN

Look how thou stirrest now! come away, or I'llfetch thee with a wanion.

FIRST FISHERMAN

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THIRD FISHERMAN

Faith, master, I am thinking of the poor men thatwere cast away before us even now.

THIRD FISHERMAN

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FIRST FISHERMAN

Alas, poor souls, it grieved my heart to hear whatpitiful cries they made to us to help them, when,well-a-day, we could scarce help ourselves.

FIRST FISHERMAN

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THIRD FISHERMAN

Nay, master, said not I as much when I saw the porpus how he bounced and tumbled? they say they're half fish, half flesh: a plague on them, they ne'er come but I look to be washed. Master, I marvel how the fishes live in the sea.

THIRD FISHERMAN

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FIRST FISHERMAN

Why, as men do a-land; the great ones eat up the little ones: I can compare our rich misers to nothing so fitly as to a whale; a' plays and tumbles, driving the poor fry before him, and at last devours them all at a mouthful: such whales have I heard on o' the land, who never leave gaping till they've swallowed the whole parish, church, steeple, bells, and all.

FIRST FISHERMAN

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PERICLES

[Aside] A pretty moral.

PERICLES

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THIRD FISHERMAN

But, master, if I had been the sexton, I would havebeen that day in the belfry.

THIRD FISHERMAN

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SECOND FISHERMAN

Why, man?

SECOND FISHERMAN

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THIRD FISHERMAN

Because he should have swallowed me too: and when I had been in his belly, I would have kept such a jangling of the bells, that he should never have left, till he cast bells, steeple, church, and parish up again. But if the good King Simonides were of my mind,—

THIRD FISHERMAN

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PERICLES

[Aside] Simonides!

PERICLES

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THIRD FISHERMAN

We would purge the land of these drones, that robthe bee of her honey.

THIRD FISHERMAN

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PERICLES

[Aside] How from the finny subject of the sea These fishers tell the infirmities of men; And from their watery empire recollect All that may men approve or men detect! Peace be at your labour, honest fishermen.

PERICLES

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SECOND FISHERMAN

Honest! good fellow, what's that? If it be a dayfits you, search out of the calendar, and nobodylook after it.

SECOND FISHERMAN

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PERICLES

May see the sea hath cast upon your coast.

PERICLES

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SECOND FISHERMAN

What a drunken knave was the sea to cast thee in ourway!

SECOND FISHERMAN

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PERICLES

A man whom both the waters and the wind, In that vast tennis-court, have made the ball For them to play upon, entreats you pity him: He asks of you, that never used to beg.

PERICLES

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FIRST FISHERMAN

No, friend, cannot you beg? Here's them in ourcountry Greece gets more with begging than we can dowith working.

FIRST FISHERMAN

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SECOND FISHERMAN

Canst thou catch any fishes, then?

SECOND FISHERMAN

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PERICLES

I never practised it.

PERICLES

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SECOND FISHERMAN

Nay, then thou wilt starve, sure; for here's nothingto be got now-a-days, unless thou canst fish for't.

SECOND FISHERMAN

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PERICLES

What I have been I have forgot to know; But what I am, want teaches me to think on: A man throng'd up with cold: my veins are chill, And have no more of life than may suffice To give my tongue that heat to ask your help; Which if you shall refuse, when I am dead, For that I am a man, pray see me buried.

PERICLES

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FIRST FISHERMAN

Die quoth-a? Now gods forbid! I have a gown here; come, put it on; keep thee warm. Now, afore me, a handsome fellow! Come, thou shalt go home, and we'll have flesh for holidays, fish for fasting-days, and moreo'er puddings and flap-jacks, and thou shalt be welcome.

FIRST FISHERMAN

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PERICLES

I thank you, sir.

PERICLES

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SECOND FISHERMAN

Hark you, my friend; you said you could not beg.

SECOND FISHERMAN

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PERICLES

I did but crave.

PERICLES

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SECOND FISHERMAN

But crave! Then I'll turn craver too, and so Ishall 'scape whipping.

SECOND FISHERMAN

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PERICLES

Why, are all your beggars whipped, then?

PERICLES

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SECOND FISHERMAN

O, not all, my friend, not all; for if all your beggars were whipped, I would wish no better office than to be beadle. But, master, I'll go draw up the net.

SECOND FISHERMAN

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Exit with Third Fisherman

PERICLES

[Aside] How well this honest mirth becomes their labour!

PERICLES

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FIRST FISHERMAN

Hark you, sir, do you know where ye are?

FIRST FISHERMAN

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PERICLES

Not well.

PERICLES

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FIRST FISHERMAN

Why, I'll tell you: this is called Pentapolis, andour king the good Simonides.

FIRST FISHERMAN

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PERICLES

The good King Simonides, do you call him.

PERICLES

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FIRST FISHERMAN

Ay, sir; and he deserves so to be called for hispeaceable reign and good government.

FIRST FISHERMAN

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PERICLES

He is a happy king, since he gains from his subjectsthe name of good by his government. How far is hiscourt distant from this shore?

PERICLES

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FIRST FISHERMAN

Marry, sir, half a day's journey: and I'll tell you, he hath a fair daughter, and to-morrow is her birth-day; and there are princes and knights come from all parts of the world to just and tourney for herlove.

FIRST FISHERMAN

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PERICLES

Were my fortunes equal to my desires, I could wishto make one there.

PERICLES

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FIRST FISHERMAN

O, sir, things must be as they may; and what a mancannot get, he may lawfully deal for—his wife's soul.

FIRST FISHERMAN

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Re-enter Second and Third Fishermen, drawing up a net

SECOND FISHERMAN

Help, master, help! here's a fish hangs in the net, like a poor man's right in the law; 'twill hardly come out. Ha! bots on't, 'tis come at last, and 'tis turned to a rusty armour.

SECOND FISHERMAN

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PERICLES

An armour, friends! I pray you, let me see it. Thanks, fortune, yet, that, after all my crosses, Thou givest me somewhat to repair myself; And though it was mine own, part of my heritage, Which my dead father did bequeath to me. With this strict charge, even as he left his life, 'Keep it, my Pericles; it hath been a shield Twixt me and death;'— and pointed to this brace;— 'For that it saved me, keep it; in like necessity— The which the gods protect thee from!— may defend thee.' It kept where I kept, I so dearly loved it; Till the rough seas, that spare not any man, Took it in rage, though calm'd have given't again: I thank thee for't: my shipwreck now's no ill, Since I have here my father's gift in's will.

PERICLES

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FIRST FISHERMAN

What mean you, sir?

FIRST FISHERMAN

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PERICLES

To beg of you, kind friends, this coat of worth, For it was sometime target to a king; I know it by this mark. He loved me dearly, And for his sake I wish the having of it; And that you'ld guide me to your sovereign's court, Where with it I may appear a gentleman; And if that ever my low fortune's better, I'll pay your bounties; till then rest your debtor.

PERICLES

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FIRST FISHERMAN

Why, wilt thou tourney for the lady?

FIRST FISHERMAN

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PERICLES

I'll show the virtue I have borne in arms.

PERICLES

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FIRST FISHERMAN

Why, do 'e take it, and the gods give thee good on't!

FIRST FISHERMAN

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SECOND FISHERMAN

Ay, but hark you, my friend; 'twas we that made up this garment through the rough seams of the waters: there are certain condolements, certain vails. I hope, sir, if you thrive, you'll remember from whence you had it.

SECOND FISHERMAN

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PERICLES

Believe 't, I will. By your furtherance I am clothed in steel; And, spite of all the rapture of the sea, This jewel holds his building on my arm: Unto thy value I will mount myself Upon a courser, whose delightful steps Shall make the gazer joy to see him tread. Only, my friend, I yet am unprovided Of a pair of bases.

PERICLES

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SECOND FISHERMAN

We'll sure provide: thou shalt have my best gown tomake thee a pair; and I'll bring thee to the court myself.

SECOND FISHERMAN

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PERICLES

Then honour be but a goal to my will,This day I'll rise, or else add ill to ill.

PERICLES

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Exeunt

Pericles
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Bailey sincox
About the Translator: Bailey Sincox

Bailey Sincox is a PhD student in English at Harvard University, where she researches the theatre of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Her teaching experience includes accessible online courses with edX on Hamlet and The Merchant of Venice. She holds a Master's from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor's from Duke University.