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Pericles

Pericles Translation Act 2, Scene 2

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Enter SIMONIDES, THAISA, Lords, and Attendants

SIMONIDES

Are the knights ready to begin the triumph?

SIMONIDES

Are the knights ready to begin the contest?

FIRST LORD

They are, my liege;And stay your coming to present themselves.

FIRST LORD

They are, sir, and are waiting to present themselves to you.

SIMONIDES

Return them, we are ready; and our daughter, In honour of whose birth these triumphs are, Sits here, like beauty's child, whom nature gat For men to see, and seeing wonder at.

SIMONIDES

Bring them in; I'm ready. Since this whole thing is in honor of her birthday, my beautiful daughter, whom Nature made for men to see, will sit here, where everyone can marvel at her.

Exit a Lord

THAISA

It pleaseth you, my royal father, to expressMy commendations great, whose merit's less.

THAISA

Father, you like bragging about me even when I don't deserve it.

SIMONIDES

It's fit it should be so; for princes are A model which heaven makes like to itself: As jewels lose their glory if neglected, So princes their renowns if not respected. 'Tis now your honour, daughter, to explain The labour of each knight in his device.

SIMONIDES

I have to—princes are as vain as the gods. Just like jewels lose their shine if they're not polished, princes lose their reputations if they're not respected. Now, daughter, it's your job to explain what each knight's emblem means.

THAISA

Which, to preserve mine honour, I'll perform.

THAISA

I'll do my best.

Enter a Knight; he passes over, and his Squire presents his shield to the Princess

SIMONIDES

Who is the first that doth prefer himself?

SIMONIDES

Who's this first knight?

THAISA

A knight of Sparta, my renowned father; And the device he bears upon his shield Is a black Ethiope reaching at the sun The word, 'Lux tua vita mihi.'

THAISA

A knight from Sparta, sir. The design on his shield shows an African man reaching toward the sun, with the motto "Your light is my life."

SIMONIDES

He loves you well that holds his life of you.

SIMONIDES

Sounds like he loves you a lot, if you're his whole life.

The Second Knight passes over

SIMONIDES

Who is the second that presents himself?

SIMONIDES

Who's the second knight?

THAISA

A prince of Macedon, my royal father; And the device he bears upon his shield Is an arm'd knight that's conquer'd by a lady; The motto thus, in Spanish, 'Piu por dulzura que por fuerza.'

THAISA

A prince of Macedon, sir. His design shows a knight being conquered by a lady. The motto, in Spanish, is "Better by sweetness than by force."

The Third Knight passes over

SIMONIDES

And what's the third?

SIMONIDES

And the third?

THAISA

The third of Antioch;And his device, a wreath of chivalry;The word, 'Me pompae provexit apex.'

THAISA

The third is from Antioch. His shield shows a green wreath, with the motto, "I'll fight my way to the top."

The Fourth Knight passes over

SIMONIDES

What is the fourth?

SIMONIDES

And the fourth?

THAISA

A burning torch that's turned upside down;The word, 'Quod me alit, me extinguit.'

THAISA

A burning torch turned upside down, with the motto, "That which lights me snuffs me out."

SIMONIDES

Which shows that beauty hath his power and will,Which can as well inflame as it can kill.

SIMONIDES

Which symbolizes that his love of beauty could as easily lead him to do great things as evil ones.

The Fifth Knight passes over

THAISA

The fifth, an hand environed with clouds,Holding out gold that's by the touchstone tried;The motto thus, 'Sic spectanda fides.'

THAISA

The fifth knight's shield shows a hand emerging from clouds, holding pure gold. His motto is, "Faith should be valued this way."

The Sixth Knight, PERICLES, passes over

SIMONIDES

And what'sThe sixth and last, the which the knight himselfWith such a graceful courtesy deliver'd?

SIMONIDES

And what about the sixth and the last? It's very polite to go last, you know.

THAISA

He seems to be a stranger; but his present isA wither'd branch, that's only green at top;The motto, 'In hac spe vivo.'

THAISA

I think he's a stranger. His shield design is a dead tree branch with only a little green at the top. The motto is, "This hope keeps me alive."

SIMONIDES

A pretty moral;From the dejected state wherein he is,He hopes by you his fortunes yet may flourish.

SIMONIDES

That's a nice moral. It means that he's currently down and out but hopes that, by marrying you, he'll be on his way to a better fortune.

FIRST LORD

He had need mean better than his outward show Can any way speak in his just commend; For by his rusty outside he appears To have practised more the whipstock than the lance.

FIRST LORD

He'll have to do better than this to prove himself. His rusty armor looks less like a knight's and more like it came from a junk shop.

SECOND LORD

He well may be a stranger, for he comesTo an honour'd triumph strangely furnished.

SECOND LORD

He must be a stranger, since he showed up with such a strange outfit.

THIRD LORD

And on set purpose let his armour rustUntil this day, to scour it in the dust.

THIRD LORD

And let his armor rust until today on purpose, before he wears it in the tournament.

SIMONIDES

Opinion's but a fool, that makes us scan The outward habit by the inward man. But stay, the knights are coming: we will withdraw Into the gallery.

SIMONIDES

It's foolish to judge a book by its cover. Wait, the knights are coming—let's go into the stadium.

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.