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Gentleman, with a letter to PERICLES; PERICLES shows the letter to CLEON; then gives the Messenger a reward, and knights him. Exeunt PERICLES, CLEON, &c. severally.
Gow. Good Helicane, that staid at home,1
Longer for him to make his rest.
Till fortune, tired with doing bad,
SCENE I. Pentapolis. An open Place by the Sea-side.
Enter PERICLES, wet.
Per. Yet cease your ire, ye angry stars of heaven! Wind, rain, and thunder, remember, earthly man
Thus the old copy. Steevens reads:
"Good Helicane hath staid at home."
2 Old copy :-" Saved one of all," &c. The emendation is Steevens's.
Is but a substance that must yield to you;
Alas, the sea hath cast me on the rocks,
Enter three Fishermen.
1 Fish. What, ho, Pilche!1
Ho! come, and bring away the nets.
1 Fish. Look how thou stirrest now! come away, or I'll fetch thee with a wannion.2
3 Fish. 'Faith, master, I am thinking of the poor men that were cast away before us, even now.
1 Fish. Alas, poor souls, it grieved my heart to hear what pitiful cries they made to us, to help them, when, well-a-day, we could scarce help ourselves.
3 Fish. Nay, master, said not I as much, when I saw the porpoise, how he bounced and tumbled? They say they are half fish, half flesh: a plague on them, they ne'er come, but I look to be washed. Master, I marvel how the fishes live in the sea.
1 Fish. Why, as men do a-land; the great ones eat up the little ones. I can compare our rich misers to nothing so fitly as to a whale; 'a plays and tumbles, driving the poor fry before him, and at last devours them all at a mouthful. Such whales have I heard on a'the land, who never leave gaping till they've
1 The old copy reads:
"What to pelche."
The emendation was suggested by Mr. Tyrwhitt, who remarks that Pilche is a leathern coat.
2 This expression, which is equivalent to with a mischief, or with a vengeance, is of very frequent occurrence in old writers.
swallowed the whole parish, church, steeple, bells
Per. A pretty moral.
3 Fish. But, master, if I had been the sexton, I would have been that day in the belfry.
2 Fish. Why, man?
3 Fish. Because he should have swallowed me too; and when I had been in his belly, I would have kept such a jangling of the bells, that he should never have left, till he cast bells, steeple, church, and parish, up again. But if the good king Simonides were of my mind
3 Fish. We would purge the land of these drones, that rob the bee of her honey.
Per. How from the finny subject of the sea
2 Fish. Honest! good fellow, what's that? if it be a day fits you, scratch it out of the calendar, and no body will look after it.1
Per. Nay, see, the sea hath cast upon your coast2 Fish. What a drunken knave was the sea; to cast thee in our way!
Per. A man whom both the waters and the wind, In that vast tennis-court, hath made the ball For them to play upon, entreats you pity him; He asks of you, that never used to beg.
1 Fish. No, friend, cannot you beg? here's them in our country of Greece, gets more with begging, than we can do with working.
1 The old copy reads, "If it be a day fits you search out of the calendar, and nobody look after it." Some remark upon the day appears to have been omitted. Steevens supplied it thus :—
"Per. Peace be at your labor, honest fishermen ; The day is rough, and thwarts your occupation." The following speech of Pericles is equally abrupt :
"Y' may see the sea hath cast me upon your coast." The emendation is by Steevens.
2 Fish. Canst thou catch any fishes then?
Per. I never practised it.
2 Fish. Nay, then thou wilt starve, sure; for here's nothing to be got now-a-days, unless thou canst fish for't.
Per. What I have been, I have forgot to know;
1 Fish. Die, quoth-a? Now, gods forbid! I have a gown here; come, put it on; keep thee warm. Now, afore me, a handsome fellow! Come, thou shalt go home, and we'll have flesh for holydays, fish for fastingdays, and, moreover, puddings and flap-jacks,' and thou shalt be welcome.
Per. I thank you, sir.
2 Fish. Hark you, my friend, you said you could not beg.
Per. I did but crave.
2 Fish. But crave? Then I'll turn craver, too, and so I shall 'scape whipping.
Per. Why, are all your beggars whipped, then?
2 Fish. O, not all, my friend, not all; for if all your beggars were whipped, I would wish no better office, than to be beadle. But, master, I'll go draw up the net. [Exeunt two of the Fishermen. Per. How well this honest mirth becomes their labor!.
1 Fish. Hark you, sir! do you know where you are? Per. Not well.
1 Fish. Why, I'll tell you; this is called Pentapolis, and our king, the good Simonides.
Per. The good king Simonides, do you call him? 1 Fish. Ay, sir; and he deserves to be so called, for his peaceable reign and good government.
1 Flap-jacks are pancakes.
Per. He is a happy king, since he gains from his subjects the name of good, by his government. How far is his court distant from this shore?
1 Fish. Marry, sir, half a day's journey; and I'll tell you, he hath a fair daughter, and to-morrow is her birth-day; and there are princes and knights come from all parts of the world, to just and tourney for her love.
Per. Were my fortunes equal to my desires, I could wish to make one there.
1 Fish. O sir, things must be as they may; and what a man cannot get, he may lawfully deal for-his wife's soul.1
Re-enter the two Fishermen, drawing up a net.
2 Fish. Help, master, help; here's a fish hangs in the net, like a poor man's right in the law; 'twill hardly come out. Ha! bots on't, 'tis come at last, and 'tis turned to a rusty armor.
Per. An armor, friends! I pray you, let me see it. Thanks, fortune, yet, that after all my crosses, Thou giv'st me somewhat to repair myself; And, though it was mine own, part of mine heritage, Which my dead father did bequeath to me, With this strict charge, (even as he left his life,) Keep it, my Pericles; it hath been a shield 'Twixt me and death; (and pointed to this brace; 1) For that it saved me, keep it; in like necessity,
The which the gods protect thee from! it may defend
It kept where I kept, I so dearly loved it;
1 The fisherman may be supposed to begin a new sentence-" His wife's soul;" but here he is interrupted by his comrades.
2 This comic execration was formerly used in the room of one less decent.
3 i. e. and I thank you, though it was mine own.
4 The brace is the armor for the arm.