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Pericles

Pericles Translation Act 4, Scene 3

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Enter CLEON and DIONYZA

DIONYZA

Why, are you foolish? Can it be undone?

DIONYZA

You idiot, why would you ask if I can "undo it?"

CLEON

O Dionyza, such a piece of slaughterThe sun and moon ne'er look'd upon!

CLEON

Dionyza, there's never been such a horrible murder committed on the earth.

DIONYZA

I thinkYou'll turn a child again.

DIONYZA

I think you're about to turn back into a baby!

CLEON

Were I chief lord of all this spacious world, I'ld give it to undo the deed. O lady, Much less in blood than virtue, yet a princess To equal any single crown o' the earth I' the justice of compare! O villain Leonine! Whom thou hast poison'd too: If thou hadst drunk to him, 't had been a kindness Becoming well thy fact: what canst thou say When noble Pericles shall demand his child?

CLEON

Were I the king of the whole world, I would do anything to undo this. Poor Marina! She was not only a princess by blood, she was a virtuous person, the equal of any single princess on the earth by comparison! Curse you, Leonine. And you've poisoned him, too, haven't you? If you'd poisoned yourself, it would have been the punishment you deserved. What are you going to say to Pericles when he comes looking for his child?

DIONYZA

That she is dead. Nurses are not the fates, To foster it, nor ever to preserve. She died at night; I'll say so. Who can cross it? Unless you play the pious innocent, And for an honest attribute cry out 'She died by foul play.'

DIONYZA

That she's dead. The Fates aren't nurses; they don't protect our lives forever or even for a while. She died at night; I'll say so. Who would dare to contradict me? Unless you try to play Mr. Innocent and, in a display of honesty, blurt out, "She was murdered!"

CLEON

O, go to. Well, well,Of all the faults beneath the heavens, the godsDo like this worst.

CLEON

Oh, quit it. Well, well, of all the evil things that go on on earth, the gods will be the least happy about this.

DIONYZA

Be one of those that think The petty wrens of Tarsus will fly hence, And open this to Pericles. I do shame To think of what a noble strain you are, And of how coward a spirit.

DIONYZA

You're one of those who thinks a little birdie is going to fly to Tarsus and tell Pericles what happened! I'm ashamed to think of what a coward you are, and a king, too.

CLEON

To such proceeding Who ever but his approbation added, Though not his prime consent, he did not flow From honourable sources.

CLEON

Anyone who would have said "yes" to this, even if he didn't do it himself, is a bad person.

DIONYZA

Be it so, then: Yet none does know, but you, how she came dead, Nor none can know, Leonine being gone. She did disdain my child, and stood between Her and her fortunes: none would look on her, But cast their gazes on Marina's face; Whilst ours was blurted at and held a malkin Not worth the time of day. It pierced me through; And though you call my course unnatural, You not your child well loving, yet I find It greets me as an enterprise of kindness Perform'd to your sole daughter.

DIONYZA

So be it. But no one besides you knows how she died—and no one else will know, since Leonine is dead. She made my daughter look bad, and stood between her and a good marriage. No one would look at her when Marina was nearby; they looked at her face, while our daughter's was criticized and treated as though she wasn't worth the time of day. It hurt me to see that and, though you may criticize me, it strikes me as what a loving parent ought to do for your only daughter.

CLEON

Heavens forgive it!

CLEON

May the gods forgive you!

DIONYZA

And as for Pericles, What should he say? We wept after her hearse, And yet we mourn: her monument Is almost finish'd, and her epitaphs In glittering golden characters express A general praise to her, and care in us At whose expense 'tis done.

DIONYZA

And as for Pericles, what can he say? We cried at her funeral, and we mourn now. The monument to her is almost finished. The epitaph on it proclaims how great she was in gold letters. We've done all the right things, and have spared no expense.

CLEON

Thou art like the harpy,Which, to betray, dost, with thine angel's face,Seize with thine eagle's talons.

CLEON

You harpy! You use your beautiful face to get away with evil.

DIONYZA

You are like one that superstitiouslyDoth swear to the gods that winter kills the flies:But yet I know you'll do as I advise.

DIONYZA

You're like a person who superstitiously swears by the gods, but I know you'll do as I say.

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.