Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

This stage, the ship9, upon whose deck

The sea-tost Pericles appears to speak. [Exit.

SCENE I.

Enter PERICLES, on a Ship at Sea.

Per. Thou God of this great vast1, rebuke these surges,

9 It is clear from these lines that when the play was originally performed, no attempt was made to exhibit either a sea or a ship. The ensuing scene and some others must have suffered considerably in the representation, from the poverty of the stage apparatus in the time of the author.

i It should be remembered that Pericles is supposed to speak from the deck. Lychorida, on whom he calls, is supposed to be in the cabin beneath. 'This great vast' is this wide expanse.' See vol. i. p. 6, note 2. This speech is exhibited in so strange a form in the old editions, that it is here given to enable the reader to judge in what a corrupt state it has come down to us, and be induced to treat the attempts to restore it to integrity with indulgence :

The God of this great vast, rebuke these surges,

Which wash both heaven and hell; and thou that hast
Upon the windes commaund, bind them in brasse;
Having call'd them from the deepe, ô still
Thy deafning dreadful thunders, gently quench
Thy nimble sulphirous flashes, ô How Lychorida!.
How does my queene? thou storm venemously,
Wilt thou speat all thyself? the sea-mans whistle
Is as a whisper in the eares of death,
Unheard Lychorida? Lucina oh!

Divinest patrioness and my wife gentle

To those that cry by night, convey thy deitie

Aboard our dauncing boat, make swift the pangues

Of my queenes travayles? now Lychorida?"

Pericles, having called to Lychorida, without the power to make her hear on account of the tempest, at last with frantic peevishness addresses himself to it :

Thou storm thou! venemously

Wilt thou spit all thyself?'

Having indulged himself in this question, he grows cooler, and observes that the very boatswain's whistle has no more effect on the sailors than the voices of those who speak to the dead. He then repeats his inquiries of Lychorida, but receiving no answer, concludes with a prayer for his queen.

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 deaf'ning,

Thy dreadful thunders; gently quench thy nimble Sulphureous flashes!-O how, Lychorida,

How does my queen!-Thou storm, thou! venomously 2

[ocr errors]

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!-Now, Lychorida-

Enter LYCHORIDA, with an Infant.

Lyc. Here is a thing

Too young for such a place, who if it had
Conceit 3 would die as I am like to do.

Take in your arms this piece of your dead queen.
Per. How! how, Lychorida!

Lyc. 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.

Per.

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

Vie honour with you.

Lyc.

Even for this charge.

2 Maliciously.

Patience, good sir,

3 i. e. who if it had thought."

4 That is, 'contend with you in honour.' The old copy reads, Use honour with you.' See vol. iii. page 386, note 19.

Per.

Now, mild may be thy life!

For a more blust'rous birth had never babe:

Quiet and gentle thy conditions 5!

For thou art the rudeliest welcom'd to this world, That e'er 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 quit7,

With all thou canst find here.-Now the good gods Throw their best eyes upon it!

Enter Two Sailors.

1 Sail. What courage, sir? God save you. Per. 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.

1 Sail. Slack the bolins 9 there; thou wilt not, wilt thou? Blow and split thyself.

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

1 Sail. Sir, your queen must overboard; the sea works high, the wind is loud, and will not lie till the ship be cleared of the dead.

5 Conditions are qualities, dispositions of mind. See vol. i. p. 145, note 14.

6 i. e. as noisy a one. See vol. ii. p. 281, note 10.

7 i. e. thou hast already lost more (by the death of thy mother) than thy safe arrival at the port of life can counterbalance, with all to boot that we can give thee. Portage is here used for conveyance into life.

8 A flaw is a stormy gust of wind. See Coriolanus, Act v. Sc. 3, note 20.

9 Bolins or bowlines are ropes by which the sails of a ship are governed when the wind is unfavourable: they are slackened when it is high. Thus in The Two Noble Kinsmen :

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Per. That's your superstition.

1 Sail. Pardon us, sir; with us at sea it still hath been observed; and we are strong in custom 1o. Therefore briefly yield her; for she must overboard straight.

Per. Be it as you think meet.-Most wretched queen!

Lyc. Here she lies, sir.

Per. A terrible child-bed hast thou had, my dear, No light, no fire; the unfriendly elements Forgot thee utterly; nor have I time

11

To give thee hallow'd to thy grave, but straight
Must cast thee, scarcely coffin'd, in the ooze 11;
Where, for a monument upon thy bones,
And aye-remaining 12 lamps, the belching whale,
And humming water must o'erwhelm thy corpse,
Lying with simple shells. Lychorida,

Bid Nestor bring me spices, ink, and paper,
My casket and my jewels; and bid Nicander
Bring me the satin coffer 13: lay the babe

10 The old copy reads, 'strong in easterne.' The emendation is Mr. Boswell's.

11 Old copy,' in oare.'

12 The old copies erroneously read :

'The air-remaining lamps.'

The emendation is Malone's. The propriety of it will be evident if we recur to the author's leading thought, which is founded on the customs observed in the pomp of ancient sepulture. Within old monuments and receptacles for the dead perpetual (i. e. aye-remaining) lamps were supposed to be lighted up. Thus Pope, in his Eloisa:

'Ah hopeless lasting flames, like those that burn,

To light the dead, and warm th' unfruitful urn!' 'Instead of a monument erected over thy bones, and perpetual lamps to burn near them, the spouting whale shall oppress thee with his weight, and the mass of waters shall roll with low heavy murmur over thy head.'

13 The old copies have coffin. Pericles does not mean to bury his queen in this coffer (which was probably one lined with satin), but to take from thence the cloth of state, in which she was afterwards shrouded.

Upon the pillow: hie thee, whiles I say

A priestly farewell to her: suddenly, woman.

[Exit LYCHORIDA. 2 Sail. Sir, we have a chest beneath the hatches, caulk'd and bitumed ready.

Per. I thank thee. Mariner, say what coast is this? 2 Sail. We are near Tharsus.

Per. Thither, gentle mariner, Alter thy course for Tyre9.

reach it?

When canst thou

2 Sail. By break of day, if the wind cease. Per. O make for Tharsus.

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.

SCENE II.

[Exeunt.

Ephesus. A Room in Cerimon's House.

Enter CERIMON, a Servant, and some Persons who have been shipwrecked.

Cer. Philemon, ho!

Enter PHILemon.

Phil. Doth my lord call?

Cer. Get fire and meat for these poor men;

It has been a turbulent and stormy night.

Serv. I have been in many; but such a night as this,

Till now I ne'er endur'd.

Cer. Your master will be dead ere you return; There's nothing can be minister'd to nature,

[ocr errors]

9 Change thy course, which is now for Tyre, and go to Tharsus.

[blocks in formation]
« ZurückWeiter »