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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

Come on, buddy!

SECOND FISHERMAN

Ha, come and bring away the nets!

SECOND FISHERMAN

Hey, come bring the nets in!

FIRST FISHERMAN

What, Patch-breech, I say!

FIRST FISHERMAN

What'd you say, dummy?

THIRD FISHERMAN

What say you, master?

THIRD FISHERMAN

What did you say, master?

FIRST FISHERMAN

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

FIRST FISHERMAN

Oh, look how fast you're moving now! Come on, then, or I'll come after you with a vengeance.

THIRD FISHERMAN

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

THIRD FISHERMAN

Master, I'm thinking of the poor men that were shipwrecked before us even now.

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

Poor souls. It was heart-wrenching to hear them crying out for help when, truth be told, we could barely help ourselves.

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

I told you this was coming when I saw the dolphin jumping in the waves. They say dolphins are part fish, part human . . . curse them, every time I see one I end up in a storm. Master, how do fish live in the sea?

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

The same way men do on land: the big ones eat the little ones. Whales are like rich men, they play and tumble, pushing all the little fish in front of them, then eat them up all in one gulp. I've heard of whales like that on land, who won't stop until they've swallowed the whole parish, church, steeple, bells, and everything else.

PERICLES

[Aside] A pretty moral.

PERICLES

[To himself] That's a nice moral.

THIRD FISHERMAN

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

THIRD FISHERMAN

But master, if I worked in a church, I'd want to be there for that.

SECOND FISHERMAN

Why, man?

SECOND FISHERMAN

Why, man?

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

Because, when he swallowed me, I would have made a bunch of noise in his belly. I would have jangled all the bells so much that he wouldn't have left until he vomited up all the bells, steeple, church, and parish again. If King Simonides agreed with me—

PERICLES

[Aside] Simonides!

PERICLES

[To himself] Simonides!

THIRD FISHERMAN

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

THIRD FISHERMAN

—then we could get rid of all the men that are robbing the king of his wealth.

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

[To himself] It's amazing how these fishermen have gone from talking about fish in the sea to explaining the men's weaknesses, and how, from their watery corner of the world, they've come to understand everything that men could think of or discover.

[To the FISHERMEN] Hello there, honest fishermen.

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

Honest? What's that mean? If you pointed to any old day on the calendar, we wouldn't know what it meant. 

PERICLES

May see the sea hath cast upon your coast.

PERICLES

As you can see, I've been shipwrecked here.

SECOND FISHERMAN

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

SECOND FISHERMAN

The sea must have been drunk if it dropped you here.

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

I'm a man whom the waves and the wind have hit around like a tennis ball all day in gigantic tennis court of the sea. Please, have pity on me. I'm asking you, and I don't usually beg.

FIRST FISHERMAN

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

FIRST FISHERMAN

You don't beg? There's a lot of people in our country, Greece, that get more from begging than we do from working.

SECOND FISHERMAN

Canst thou catch any fishes, then?

SECOND FISHERMAN

Do you know how to catch fish?

PERICLES

I never practised it.

PERICLES

I've never tried it.

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

Well, you'll starve then. There's nothing to be had these days unless you fish for it.

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

I can't think about what I was before; I can only think about what I am now, which is cold. I'm freezing down to my veins and barely have enough life left in me to warm my tongue up to ask you for help. Please help me, or at least, when I'm dead, make sure I get a proper burial. 

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

Did you say "die"? May the gods forbid! I have a coat here, come on, put it on, get warm. Now come with me, handsome man! You can come home with me. We'll have meat on holidays, fish on fasting days, and plenty of desserts and pancakes, and you're welcome to it all.

PERICLES

I thank you, sir.

PERICLES

Thank you, sir.

SECOND FISHERMAN

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

SECOND FISHERMAN

Hey, man, you said you wouldn't beg!

PERICLES

I did but crave.

PERICLES

I only asked.

SECOND FISHERMAN

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

SECOND FISHERMAN

Only asked! Maybe I'll become a beggar too, and talk my way out of a whipping.

PERICLES

Why, are all your beggars whipped, then?

PERICLES

Why? Are all beggars whipped in this country, then?

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

Oh, not all of them, my friend, not all. If all beggars were whipped, I would want no better job than to be a beadle. But master, I'll go pull the nets in.

Exit with Third Fisherman

PERICLES

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

PERICLES

[To himself] Joking makes their work fun!

FIRST FISHERMAN

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

FIRST FISHERMAN

Listen, sir, do you know where you are?

PERICLES

Not well.

PERICLES

Not really.

FIRST FISHERMAN

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

FIRST FISHERMAN

Well, I'll tell you. This is Pentapolis, and our king is the good Simonides.

PERICLES

The good King Simonides, do you call him.

PERICLES

The good King Simonides, huh?

FIRST FISHERMAN

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

FIRST FISHERMAN

Yes, sir, and he deserves it. He rules with peace and good government.

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

He's fortunate to have his subjects speak so highly of his government. How far is the court from where we are now?

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

Well, sir, it's half a day's journey. And, by the way, he has a beautiful daughter and tomorrow is her birthday. Princes and knights from all over the world have come to fight in a tournament for her love.

PERICLES

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

PERICLES

If my luck matched my desires, I'd try my hand at that.

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

Oh, Sir, things are what they are. What a man can't get, he can trade for (like his wife's soul).

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

Help, master, help! There's a heavy fish stuck in the net! He's as stuck as a poor man in a prison! We can't get it out. Hey! Here we go! We got it out at last, and it turned into a suit of rusty armor.

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

Armor? Let me see that. After all the bad luck I've had, finally, something to help me fix myself, though it is my own, and part of my heritage: this is my armor, given to me by my dead father. Just before he died he told me, "Keep it, Pericles. It's kept me safe all my life," and he pointed to this brace, "It saved me. Keep it. When you need it, though I hope the gods will protect you from such a situation, it will defend you." I've always had it with me and have always loved it. I'd never been separated from it until the storm, which doesn't spare anyone, took it in its rage. Now that it's calmed, it's given it back again. I thank you for it. I didn't lose much after all in the shipwreck, since I have my father's gift now.

FIRST FISHERMAN

What mean you, sir?

FIRST FISHERMAN

What do you mean, sir?

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

Friends, can I beg for you to give me this armor? I recognize the marks; it belongs to a king who loved me, and I want to have it for his sake. Can I also ask you to lead me to the king's court? With this armor, I'll dress up like like a gentleman and, if I win and improve my bad luck, I'll pay you back for kindness. Until then, I owe you.

FIRST FISHERMAN

Why, wilt thou tourney for the lady?

FIRST FISHERMAN

What, you're going to enter the tournament for the lady?

PERICLES

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

PERICLES

I'll show how skilled I am in battle.

FIRST FISHERMAN

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

FIRST FISHERMAN

Well, take it, then, and may the gods bless you!

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

But listen, sir: we're the ones that pulled this armor out of the rough sea, so there are certain conditions, certain respects to paid. I hope, sir, if you're successful, that you'll remember where you got it from.

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

Believe me, I will. With your help, I have a suit of armor. In spite of what the sea did to me, I still have this valuable ring, which I'll sell to buy a horse so beautiful everyone will love to see me riding him. And yet, my friends, I still need some jousting equipment.

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

We can help you with that. We'll make sure you get a pair, and I'll bring you to court myself.

PERICLES

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

PERICLES

All I want is honor. It can only get better from here.

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.