This page contains the original text of Pericles Act 4, Scene 2. 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, Scene 2. Mytilene. A room in a brothel.
Enter Pandar, Bawd, and BOULT
Search the market narrowly; Mytilene is full of
gallants. We lost too much money this mart by being
We were never so much out of creatures. We have but
poor three, and they can do no more than they can
do; and they with continual action are even as good as rotten.
Therefore let’s have fresh ones, whate’er we pay for
them. If there be not a conscience to be used in
every trade, we shall never prosper.
Thou sayest true: ’tis not our bringing up of poor
bastards,–as, I think, I have brought up some eleven–
Ay, to eleven; and brought them down again. But
shall I search the market?
What else, man? The stuff we have, a strong wind
will blow it to pieces, they are so pitifully sodden.
Thou sayest true; they’re too unwholesome, o’
conscience. The poor Transylvanian is dead, that
lay with the little baggage.
Ay, she quickly pooped him; she made him roast-meat
for worms. But I’ll go search the market.
Three or four thousand chequins were as pretty a
proportion to live quietly, and so give over.
Why to give over, I pray you? is it a shame to get
when we are old?
O, our credit comes not in like the commodity, nor
the commodity wages not with the danger: therefore,
if in our youths we could pick up some pretty
estate, ’twere not amiss to keep our door hatched.
Besides, the sore terms we stand upon with the gods
will be strong with us for giving over.
Come, other sorts offend as well as we.
As well as we! ay, and better too; we offend worse.
Neither is our profession any trade; it’s no
calling. But here comes Boult.
Re-enter BOULT, with the Pirates and MARINA
[To MARINA] Come your ways. My masters, you say
she’s a virgin?
O, sir, we doubt it not.
Master, I have gone through for this piece, you see:
if you like her, so; if not, I have lost my earnest.
Boult, has she any qualities?
She has a good face, speaks well, and has excellent
good clothes: there’s no further necessity of
qualities can make her be refused.
What’s her price, Boult?
I cannot be bated one doit of a thousand pieces.
Well, follow me, my masters, you shall have your
money presently. Wife, take her in; instruct her
what she has to do, that she may not be raw in her
Exeunt Pandar and Pirates
Boult, take you the marks of her, the colour of her
hair, complexion, height, age, with warrant of her
virginity; and cry ‘He that will give most shall
have her first.’ Such a maidenhead were no cheap
thing, if men were as they have been. Get this done
as I command you.
Performance shall follow.
Alack that Leonine was so slack, so slow!
He should have struck, not spoke; or that these pirates,
Not enough barbarous, had not o’erboard thrown me
For to seek my mother!
Why lament you, pretty one?
That I am pretty.
Come, the gods have done their part in you.
I accuse them not.
You are light into my hands, where you are like to live.
The more my fault
To scape his hands where I was like to die.
Ay, and you shall live in pleasure.
Yes, indeed shall you, and taste gentlemen of all
fashions: you shall fare well; you shall have the
difference of all complexions. What! do you stop your ears?
Are you a woman?
What would you have me be, an I be not a woman?
An honest woman, or not a woman.
Marry, whip thee, gosling: I think I shall have
something to do with you. Come, you’re a young
foolish sapling, and must be bowed as I would have
The gods defend me!
If it please the gods to defend you by men, then men
must comfort you, men must feed you, men must stir
you up. Boult’s returned.
Now, sir, hast thou cried her through the market?
I have cried her almost to the number of her hairs;
I have drawn her picture with my voice.
And I prithee tell me, how dost thou find the
inclination of the people, especially of the younger sort?
‘Faith, they listened to me as they would have
hearkened to their father’s testament. There was a
Spaniard’s mouth so watered, that he went to bed to
her very description.
We shall have him here to-morrow with his best ruff on.
To-night, to-night. But, mistress, do you know the
French knight that cowers i’ the hams?
Who, Monsieur Veroles?
Ay, he: he offered to cut a caper at the
proclamation; but he made a groan at it, and swore
he would see her to-morrow.
Well, well; as for him, he brought his disease
hither: here he does but repair it. I know he will
come in our shadow, to scatter his crowns in the
Well, if we had of every nation a traveller, we
should lodge them with this sign.
[To MARINA] Pray you, come hither awhile. You
have fortunes coming upon you. Mark me: you must
seem to do that fearfully which you commit
willingly, despise profit where you have most gain.
To weep that you live as ye do makes pity in your
lovers: seldom but that pity begets you a good
opinion, and that opinion a mere profit.
I understand you not.
O, take her home, mistress, take her home: these
blushes of hers must be quenched with some present practise.
Thou sayest true, i’ faith, so they must; for your
bride goes to that with shame which is her way to go
‘Faith, some do, and some do not. But, mistress, if
I have bargained for the joint,–
Thou mayst cut a morsel off the spit.
I may so.
Who should deny it? Come, young one, I like the
manner of your garments well.
Ay, by my faith, they shall not be changed yet.
Boult, spend thou that in the town: report what a
sojourner we have; you’ll lose nothing by custom.
When nature flamed this piece, she meant thee a good
turn; therefore say what a paragon she is, and thou
hast the harvest out of thine own report.
I warrant you, mistress, thunder shall not so awake
the beds of eels as my giving out her beauty stir up
the lewdly-inclined. I’ll bring home some to-night.
Come your ways; follow me.
If fires be hot, knives sharp, or waters deep,
Untied I still my virgin knot will keep.
Diana, aid my purpose!
What have we to do with Diana? Pray you, will you go with us?
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