This page contains the original text of Pericles Act 2, Prologue. Shakespeare’s original Pericles text is extremely long, so we’ve split the text into one Scene per page. All Acts are listed on the Pericles text page, or linked to from the bottom of this page.
Pericles, Act 2, Prologue.
Here have you seen a mighty king
His child, I wis, to incest bring;
A better prince and benign lord,
That will prove aweful both in deed and word.
Be quiet then, as men should be,
Till he hath pass’d necessity.
I’ll show you those in troubles reign,
Losing a mite, a mountain gain.
The good in conversation,
To whom I give my benison,
Is still at Tharsus, where each man
Thinks all is writ he speken can;
And, to remember what he does,
Build his statue to make him glorious.
But tidings to the contrary
Are brought your eyes; what need speak I?
Enter at one door Pericles talking with Cleon; all the Train with them. Enter at another door the First Tyrian Messenger with a letter to Pericles. Pericles shows the letter to Cleon. Pericles gives the Messenger a reward and knights him. Exit Pericles at one door and Cleon at another.
Good Helicane, that stay’d at home,
Not to eat honey like a drone
From others’ labors; for though he strive
To killen bad, keep good alive,
And to fulfill his prince’ desire,
Sends word of all that haps in Tyre:
How Thaliard came full bent with sin
And hid intent to murder him;
And that in Tharsus was not best
Longer for him to make his rest.
He, doing so, put forth to seas,
Where when men been, there’s seldom ease,
For now the wind begins to blow;
Thunder above, and deeps below,
Makes such unquiet, that the ship
Should house him safe is wrack’d and split,
And he, good prince, having all lost,
By waves from coast to coast is toss’d.
All perishen of man, of pelf,
Ne aught escapend but himself;
Till Fortune, tir’d with doing bad,
Threw him ashore, to give him glad.
And here he comes. What shall be next,
Pardon old Gower—this long’s the text.
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