This page contains the original text of Pericles Act 4, 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 4, Prologue.
Imagine Pericles arriv’d at Tyre,
Welcom’d and settled to his own desire.
His woeful queen we leave at Ephesus,
Unto Diana there ’s a votaress.
Now to Marina bend your mind,
Whom our fast-growing scene must find
At Tharsus, and by Cleon train’d
In music’s letters, who hath gain’d
Of education all the grace,
Which makes her both th’ heart and place
Of general wonder. But alack,
That monster Envy, oft the wrack
Of earned praise, Marina’s life
Seeks to take off by treason’s knife,
And in this kind: our Cleon hath
One daughter, and a full-grown wench,
Even ripe for marriage rite; this maid
Hight Philoten, and it is said
For certain in our story, she
Would ever with Marina be:
Be’t when they weav’d the sleided silk
With fingers long, small, white as milk;
Or when she would with sharp needle wound
The cambric, which she made more sound
By hurting it; or when to th’ lute
She sung, and made the night-bird mute,
That still records with moan; or when
She would with rich and constant pen
Vail to her mistress Dian; still
This Philoten contends in skill
With absolute Marina: so
The dove of Paphos might with the crow
Vie feathers white. Marina gets
All praises, which are paid as debts,
And not as given. This so darks
In Philoten all graceful marks,
That Cleon’s wife, with envy rare,
A present murderer does prepare
For good Marina, that her daughter
Might stand peerless by this slaughter.
The sooner her vile thoughts to stead,
Lychorida, our nurse, is dead,
And cursed Dionyza hath
The pregnant instrument of wrath
Prest for this blow. The unborn event
I do commend to your content;
Only I carried winged time
Post on the lame feet of my rhyme,
Which never could I so convey,
Unless your thoughts went on my way.
Dionyza does appear,
With Leonine, a murderer.
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