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Pericles

Pericles Translation Act 3, Scene 1

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Enter PERICLES, on shipboard

PERICLES

Thou god of this great vast, rebuke these surges, Which wash both heaven and hell; and thou, that hast Upon the winds command, bind them in brass, Having call'd them from the deep! O, still Thy deafening, dreadful thunders; gently quench Thy nimble, sulphurous flashes! O, how, Lychorida, How does my queen? Thou stormest venomously; Wilt thou spit all thyself? The seaman's whistle Is as a whisper in the ears of death, Unheard. Lychorida!— Lucina, O Divinest patroness, and midwife gentle To those that cry by night, convey thy deity Aboard our dancing boat; make swift the pangs Of my queen's travails!

PERICLES

God of the sea, please stop this horrible storm, which washes over both heaven and hell. You can control the wind; settle them down, since you're the one who called them up. Stop the deafening, terrifying thunder and halt the quick, bright lightning! Oh, Lychorida, how is the queen doing? This storm is absolutely crazy! From what the sailors are saying, we're due to die any minute now. Lychorida—oh, Lucina, goddess of midwives and childbirth, come aboard our boat and make my wife's labor go quickly!

Enter LYCHORIDA, with an Infant

PERICLES

Now, Lychorida!

PERICLES

Now, Lychorida!

LYCHORIDA

Here is a thing too young for such a place, Who, if it had conceit, would die, as I Am like to do: take in your arms this piece Of your dead queen.

LYCHORIDA

Here's a baby far too young to be on board this ship. If she were smart, she'd die, just like I'm about to do. Here's all that's left of your dead queen.

PERICLES

How, how, Lychorida!

PERICLES

What, what, Lychorida!

LYCHORIDA

Patience, good sir; do not assist the storm. Here's all that is left living of your queen, A little daughter: for the sake of it, Be manly, and take comfort.

LYCHORIDA

Don't cry, sir, we've got enough wailing with the storm going on. Here's all that's left alive of your queen: a little daughter. For her sake, be a man and be strong.

PERICLES

O you gods! Why do you make us love your goodly gifts, And snatch them straight away? We here below Recall not what we give, and therein may Use honour with you.

PERICLES

Oh, you gods! Why do you give us good things that we love and then take them away? Those of us on earth hardly know what to do.

LYCHORIDA

Patience, good sir,Even for this charge.

LYCHORIDA

Calm down, sir—as bad as this is.

PERICLES

Now, mild may be thy life! For a more blustrous birth had never babe: Quiet and gentle thy conditions! for Thou art the rudeliest welcome to this world That ever was prince's child. Happy what follows! Thou hast as chiding a nativity As fire, air, water, earth, and heaven can make, To herald thee from the womb: even at the first Thy loss is more than can thy portage quit, With all thou canst find here. Now, the good gods Throw their best eyes upon't!

PERICLES

[To the baby] May you have an easy life! No baby has ever had such a chaotic birth, but you seem to be quiet and gentle! This is the worst welcome to the world that any princess has ever had. It can only go up from here! This is the roughest start for a newborn that fire, water, earth, and heaven could put together as you came out of the wombyou've lost everything before you had anything at all. May the gods take note of this and bless your future!

Enter two Sailors

FIRST SAILOR

What courage, sir? God save you!

FIRST SAILOR

Have courage, sir! God bless you!

PERICLES

Courage enough: I do not fear the flaw; It hath done to me the worst. Yet, for the love Of this poor infant, this fresh-new sea-farer, I would it would be quiet.

PERICLES

I have enough courage; I've never been afraid in my life (to my own injury). But for this baby's sake, this brand-new sailor, I wish the storm would quiet down.

FIRST SAILOR

Slack the bolins there! Thou wilt not, wilt thou?Blow, and split thyself.

FIRST SAILOR

Let the sails go slack there! Do it, why don't you! Hurry up!

SECOND SAILOR

But sea-room, an the brine and cloudy billow kissthe moon, I care not.

SECOND SAILOR

The waves are coming in over the sides of the ship, and the clouds have covered the moon so it's completely dark! I can't do anything!

FIRST SAILOR

Sir, your queen must overboard: the sea works high,the wind is loud, and will not lie till the ship becleared of the dead.

FIRST SAILOR

Sir, we have to throw the queen overboard. The waves are high, the wind is loud, and this storm won't stop until the ship is cleared of the dead.

PERICLES

That's your superstition.

PERICLES

That's your superstition. 

FIRST SAILOR

Pardon us, sir; with us at sea it hath been still observed: and we are strong in custom. Therefore briefly yield her; for she must overboard straight.

FIRST SAILOR

Sorry, sir, it's the way things are done at sea, and we're true to tradition. Give her up quickly, because we have to throw her overboard now.

PERICLES

As you think meet. Most wretched queen!

PERICLES

If you think it's best. Poor queen!

LYCHORIDA

Here she lies, sir.

LYCHORIDA

Here she is, sir.

PERICLES

A terrible childbed hast thou had, my dear; No light, no fire: the unfriendly elements Forgot thee utterly: nor have I time To give thee hallow'd to thy grave, but straight Must cast thee, scarcely coffin'd, in the ooze; Where, for a monument upon thy bones, And e'er-remaining lamps, the belching whale And humming water must o'erwhelm thy corpse, Lying with simple shells. O Lychorida, Bid Nestor bring me spices, ink and paper, My casket and my jewels; and bid Nicander Bring me the satin coffer: lay the babe Upon the pillow: hie thee, whiles I say A priestly farewell to her: suddenly, woman.

PERICLES

You've had a terrible experience giving birth, my dear. No light, no warmth, and a storm. And I don't even have time to bury you; I have to throw you into the sea without a coffin, straight into the depths. Instead of a tombstone and lighted lamps, you'll have whales, flowing water, and simple shells.

[To LYCHORIDA] Lychorida, have Nestor bring in some spices, ink, and paper, a casket, and my jewels. And ask Nicander to bring me that fancy box. Lay the baby on that pillow, there, and go, while I say goodbye to my wife. Hurry!

Exit LYCHORIDA

SECOND SAILOR

Sir, we have a chest beneath the hatches, caulkedand bitumed ready.

SECOND SAILOR

Sir, we have a chest ready, waterproofed and sealed.

PERICLES

I thank thee. Mariner, say what coast is this?

PERICLES

Thank you. Sailor, where are we?

SECOND SAILOR

We are near Tarsus.

SECOND SAILOR

We're near Tarsus.

PERICLES

Thither, gentle mariner.Alter thy course for Tyre. When canst thou reach it?

PERICLES

Let's go there, and then change course for Tyre. How soon can we get there?

SECOND SAILOR

By break of day, if the wind cease.

SECOND SAILOR

By morning, if the wind stops.

PERICLES

O, make for Tarsus! There will I visit Cleon, for the babe Cannot hold out to Tyrus: there I'll leave it At careful nursing. Go thy ways, good mariner: I'll bring the body presently.

PERICLES

Let's go to Tarsus! I'll visit Cleon, since the baby can't make it to Tyre. I'll leave her there for them to take care of. Go about your business, sailors. I'll bring you the body now.

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.