Pericles Translation Act 3, Chorus
By many a dern and painful perch Of Pericles the careful search, By the four opposing coigns Which the world together joins, Is made with all due diligence That horse and sail and high expense Can stead the quest. At last from Tyre, Fame answering the most strange inquire, To the court of King Simonides Are letters brought, the tenor these: Antiochus and his daughter dead; The men of Tyrus on the head Of Helicanus would set on The crown of Tyre, but he will none: The mutiny he there hastes t' oppress; Says to 'em, if King Pericles Come not home in twice six moons, He, obedient to their dooms, Will take the crown. The sum of this, Brought hither to Pentapolis, Y-ravished the regions round, And every one with claps can sound, 'Our heir-apparent is a king! Who dream'd, who thought of such a thing?' Brief, he must hence depart to Tyre: His queen with child makes her desire— Which who shall cross?— along to go: Omit we all their dole and woe: Lychorida, her nurse, she takes, And so to sea. Their vessel shakes On Neptune's billow; half the flood Hath their keel cut: but fortune's mood Varies again; the grisly north Disgorges such a tempest forth, That, as a duck for life that dives, So up and down the poor ship drives: The lady shrieks, and well-a-near Does fall in travail with her fear: And what ensues in this fell storm Shall for itself itself perform. I nill relate, action may Conveniently the rest convey; Which might not what by me is told. In your imagination hold This stage the ship, upon whose deck The sea-tost Pericles appears to speak.
The search for Pericles was long and difficult, and covered all four corners of the world. It was made with all the careful and determined effort that horses, boats, and money could make possible. At last, news came all the way from Tyre to answer the strange inquiries, and reached the court of King Simonides. Here is what the letters said: that Antiochus and his daughter are dead, and that the people of Tyre want to crown Helicanus king, but he refused. Helicanus is trying to contain a mutiny, but if Pericles doesn't return within a year, he'll give in to their wishes and take the crown. Hearing this, everyone in Pentapolis rejoiced and clapped their hands, saying, "our princess's husband is a king! who would have thought?" So he has to return to Tyre, and his pregnant queen demands to go with him (and who could say no to that?). We'll skip over their argument. She takes her nurse, Lychorida, with her to sea. Their ship shakes on the waves and they cross half the sea. But then fortune's mood changes, and a powerful storm comes from the north. It tosses the ship in the waves like a duck diving for its life. The poor queen goes into labor early, partly out of fear. The rest of what happened during the storm, you'll have to see for yourself; I can't explain it as well as action can show it. Now imagine the stage is a ship, and that Pericles speaks from the deck.
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