Shakescleare Translation

Pericles Translation Act 4, Scene 4

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Enter GOWER, before the monument of MARINA at Tarsus


Thus time we waste, and longest leagues make short; Sail seas in cockles, have an wish but for't; Making, to take your imagination, From bourn to bourn, region to region. By you being pardon'd, we commit no crime To use one language in each several clime Where our scenes seem to live. I do beseech you To learn of me, who stand i' the gaps to teach you, The stages of our story. Pericles Is now again thwarting the wayward seas, Attended on by many a lord and knight. To see his daughter, all his life's delight. Old Escanes, whom Helicanus late Advanced in time to great and high estate, Is left to govern. Bear you it in mind, Old Helicanus goes along behind. Well-sailing ships and bounteous winds have brought This king to Tarsus,— think his pilot thought; So with his steerage shall your thoughts grow on,— To fetch his daughter home, who first is gone. Like motes and shadows see them move awhile; Your ears unto your eyes I'll reconcile.


Again, we'll sail over miles of miles of ocean as if it were nothing, hopping from country to country and region to region, by the power of your imagination. Forgive us for using the same language in all these different places where our scenes are set for the sake of simplicity. Now let me fill you in on what happens next, in the gaps between the parts of our story: Pericles takes to the unruly sea once again, along with many courtiers. He's coming to see his daughter, the light of his life. Old Escanes, Helicanus's friend whom he left in charge, is governing while he's gone. Keep that in mind, since Helicanus is going along with Pericles. With a sturdy ship and a good wind at his back, Pericles arrives in Tarsus. Just imagine his ship and all its cargo, arriving here to take Marina home, who's gone. Watch them move like ghosts and shadows for a while, and then I'll explain in words what you've just seen.

DUMB SHOW: Enter PERICLES, at one door, with all his train; CLEON and DIONYZA, at the other. CLEON shows PERICLES the tomb; whereat PERICLES makes lamentation, puts on sackcloth, and in a mighty passion departs. Then exeunt CLEON and DIONYZA


See how belief may suffer by foul show! This borrow'd passion stands for true old woe; And Pericles, in sorrow all devour'd, With sighs shot through, and biggest tears o'ershower'd, Leaves Tarsus and again embarks. He swears Never to wash his face, nor cut his hairs: He puts on sackcloth, and to sea. He bears A tempest, which his mortal vessel tears, And yet he rides it out. Now please you wit. The epitaph is for Marina writ By wicked Dionyza. [Reads the inscription on MARINA's monument] 'The fairest, sweet'st, and best lies here, Who wither'd in her spring of year. She was of Tyrus the king's daughter, On whom foul death hath made this slaughter; Marina was she call'd; and at her birth, Thetis, being proud, swallow'd some part o' the earth: Therefore the earth, fearing to be o'erflow'd, Hath Thetis' birth-child on the heavens bestow'd: Wherefore she does, and swears she'll never stint, Make raging battery upon shores of flint.' No visor does become black villany So well as soft and tender flattery. Let Pericles believe his daughter's dead, And bear his courses to be ordered By Lady Fortune; while our scene must play His daughter's woe and heavy well-a-dayIn her unholy service. Patience, then, And think you now are all in Mytilene.


Poor Pericles believed that fake performance! He's really grieving, though, as if she were gone. Pericles leaves Tarsus wrecked by grief, overcome with sighs and shedding constant tears. He swears never to wash his face or cut his hair or wear anything but black, and sets out to sea. Another storm comes and damages the boat,  but he rides it out. Now listen to the epitaph the wicked Dionyza wrote for Marina:

[He reads the inscription on MARINA's monument]

The sweetest, most beautiful girl lies here. She died too young, in the spring of her life. She was the daughter of the king of Tyre; death has taken her away from us. Her name was Marina. At her birth, Thetis was jealous of her and swallowed a piece of the earth; the earth, afraid of being flooded, gave this watery girl back to heaven. That's why the sea continues to storm, barraging our shores with waves.

No shady presentation could be more fitting for evil deeds than such soft, tender flattery. Let Pericles believe his daughter's dead; he's in Fortune's hands for now. Our next scene will have to do with his daughter's misfortune and trials in an ungodly occupation. Patience, then, and imagine you're all in Mytilene.