David Bruce: William Shakespeare’s PERICLES, PRINCE OF TRYE: A Retelling in Prose — Act 5: Prologue and Scene 1

Act 5 

 — Prologue —

John Gower said to you the reader, “Marina thus escapes from the brothel, and it happens that she comes into an honest house, our story says. She sings like an immortal goddess, and she dances like a goddess to her admirable songs. Learned scholars are struck dumb by her intelligence, and with her needle she embroiders nature’s own shapes, whether of bud, bird, branch, or berry, so well that her art seems to be twin sisters of the natural roses. Her linen thread and silk seem to be a twin to the ruby-red cherry, and so she does not lack pupils who are noble. They wish to learn how to embroider as she does and so they pour their bounty on her, and whatever she makes she gives to the cursed bawd.

“Here we leave her, and we turn our thoughts again to her father, where we left him, on the sea. We lost him there, but now, driven before the winds, he has arrived here where his daughter is dwelling, and so suppose him now to be at anchor on this coast.

“The city has been celebrating the sea-god Neptune’s annual feast. From that feast, Lysimachus sees the Tyrian ship. Its banners are sable — black — and they are trimmed with rich expense. Lysimachus now hurries to that ship in his barge.

“In your imagination once more put your sight on Pericles, who is sorrowing because he believes that his daughter, Marina, is dead. Imagine his ship and let it take up a big space in your imagination. Soon, much shall be revealed. Sit back, read, and pay attention.”

 — 5.1 —

Pericles, who had not washed or cut his hair for months, and who had lost weight, sat on a couch on the deck of his ship in the harbor of Mytilene. A barge had just sailed up to his ship. Standing near Pericles was Helicanus.

Two sailors arrived on deck. One sailor was from Pericles’ ship, which was from Tyre; the other sailor was from Lysimachus’ barge, which was from Mytilene.

The Tyrian sailor said to the sailor from Mytilene, “I am looking for Helicanus; he can give permission for your governor to come aboard. Oh, here he is.”

He then said to Helicanus, “Sir, there’s a barge that has come from Mytilene, and in it is Lysimachus the governor, who desires to come aboard. What is your will?”

“That he have his,” Helicanus said. “Summon some gentlemen.”

The Tyrian sailor shouted, “Ho, gentlemen! My lord calls.”

Two or three gentlemen arrived.

The first gentleman asked, “Does your lordship call for us?”

“Gentlemen, there’s some people of worth — members of the nobility — who want to come aboard. Please, greet them well.”

The gentlemen and the two sailors left and went on board the barge.

Lysimachus and some lords exited the barge, along with the gentlemen and the two sailors.

The Tyrian sailor said to Lysimachus, indicating Helicanus, “Sir, this is the man who can answer all of your questions.”

“Hail, reverend sir!” Lysimachus said. “May the gods preserve you!”

“And may the gods cause you, sir, to outlive the age I am, and die as I would die — honorably,” Helicanus replied.

“You wish me well,” Lysimachus said. “Being on shore, holding festivities in honor of the sea-god Neptune, and seeing this handsome vessel anchoring before us, I made my way to it, to know from where you came.”

“First, what is your position?” Helicanus asked.

“I am the governor of this place you lie at anchor before — Mytilene.”

“Sir, our vessel is from Tyre, and in it is King Pericles, who for the past three months has not spoken to anyone, nor has he taken sustenance except just enough to keep himself alive and prolong his grief.”

“What is the reason for his malady?” Lysimachus asked.

“It would be too tedious to repeat, but his main grief springs from the loss of a beloved daughter and a wife.”

“May we not see him?”

“You may, but seeing him will do no good,” Helicanus said. “He will not speak to anyone.”

“Yet let me obtain my wish,” Lysimachus said.

“Here he is,” Helicanus replied, walking Lysimachus and the others over to Pericles. “He was a handsome person, until the disaster that, one deadly night, drove him to this.”

Pericles’ misfortunes had started when he lost his wife; they had intensified when he was told that his daughter was dead.

“Sir King, all hail!” Lysimachus said. “May the gods preserve you! Hail, royal sir!”

“It is in vain,” Helicanus said. “He will not speak to you.”

The first lord said, “Sir, we have a maiden in Mytilene, whom I dare to wager would win some words from him. She can make him speak.”

“That is a good idea,” Lysimachus said, immediately realizing which maiden the first lord was referring to. “She with her sweet harmony of voice and with her other chosen attractions, would without question allure — win — him over. Just like soldiers forcing their way through a gateway, she would make a passage through his deafened parts, which now are halfway closed. She is the one who can make his half-deaf ears hear. She is most fortunate in being the most beautiful of all, and with her fellow maidens she is now upon the leafy shelter that abuts against the island’s side.”

The festivities honoring Neptune were taking place outside on the shore. A shelving — gently sloping — bank was on the side of the island, and it seemed to support the island. Some trees grew where the shelving bank met the island. Marina — the fairest maiden — and her female companions had seated themselves under those trees because their leaves provided shelter from the Sun.

Lysimachus ordered a lord to take the barge and get the fairest maiden. The lord exited.

Helicanus said, “To be sure, nothing has been effective in curing King Pericles, yet we’ll do anything that might result in his recovery. But, since we have imposed on your kindness thus far, let us further ask you that in return for our gold we may have provisions. We need provisions not because we are destitute and lack money, but because we are weary of the staleness.”

In this culture, keeping fresh food was difficult at sea. Canning had not yet been invented, and fresh fruits and vegetables had to be eaten quickly, as did non-preserved meat. Malnutrition was rampant among sailors, who often got the disease scurvy.

Lysimachus replied, “Sir, that is a courtesy that if we should deny it, the most just gods would send caterpillars to eat all the cultivated plants we have and so afflict our province with famine. Once again let me ask you to tell me — in more detail — the cause of your King’s sorrow.”

“Sit, sir. I will recount the story to you,” Helicanus said.

He looked up and said, “But I see that I am prevented from doing so.”

The lord had returned with the fairest maiden — Marina — who was accompanied by another young maiden who was carrying a harp.

“Oh, here is the lady whom I sent for,” Lysimachus said. “Welcome, fair one!”

He asked Helicanus, “Isn’t she attractive?”

“She’s a gallant lady.”

Lysimachus said, “She’s such a lady, that, were I well assured that she was born into an aristocratic and noble family, I would wish no better choice to be my wife, and I would think myself extremely well wed.”

He said to Marina, “Fair one, all goodness that consists in bounty expect even here, where is a Kingly patient who does not speak. You will be well rewarded if you can help this King. If your beneficial and skillful abilities can draw him out so that he speaks a few words in answer to you about anything, your sacred medicine shall receive such pay as your desires can wish.”

“Sir, I will use my best skills in his recovery,” Marina replied, “provided that none but I and my companion maiden are allowed to come near him.”

“Come, let us leave her, and may the gods make her prosperous!” Lysimachus said.

He and the others withdrew from Pericles, Marina, and her maiden companion. They were not far away, but they did not look at Marina as she attempted to cure Pericles.

Marina sang, and her companion accompanied her on the harp.

Once the song had finished, Lysimachus came over and asked, “Did he pay any attention to your music?”

“No,” Marina replied. “He did not even look at us.”

Lysimachus went back to his companions and said, “Watch, she will speak to him.”

“Hail, sir!” Marina said, going close to Pericles. “My lord, lend me an ear. Listen to me.”

Pericles made a noise and pushed her away from him.

“I am a maiden, my lord, who never before has invited eyes to look at me, but I have been gazed on as if I were a comet — something rare. I who am speaking, my lord, am one who, perhaps, has endured a grief that might equal yours, if both were justly and fairly weighed.

“Although wayward, capricious fortune has maligned and harmed me, I am descended from ancestors who were the equivalent of mighty Kings. But time has uprooted my parentage, and time has bound me in servitude to the world and to painful chance accidents.”

Marina thought, I will stop talking to him.

She hesitated and thought,But there is something inside me that causes my cheeks to glow and whispers in my ear, “Don’t leave until he speaks.”

Pericles said, “‘My fortunes’ — ‘parentage’ — ‘good parentage’ — to equal mine! Was that what you said? What did you say?”

“I said, my lord, that if you knew my parentage, you would not do me violence,” Marina said.

“I think you are right,” Pericles replied. “Please, turn your eyes upon me.”

A vision of his wife, Thaisa, began to fill his mind: “You are like something that — what country are you from? Are these shores where you were born?”

“No, nor was I born on any shores,” replied Marina, who had been born at sea. “Yet I was mortally brought forth, and I am no other than I appear to be. I am a human being.”

“I am great — pregnant — with woe, and I shall deliver tears with my weeping,” Pericles said. “My dearest wife was like this maiden, and my daughter might have been such a one as this maiden. She has my Queen’s high forehead. She has my wife’s stature to an inch; her posture is as wand-like straight; she is as silver-voiced; her eyes are as jewel-like and are encased in eyebrows as beautiful. In her walk she is another Juno, Queen of the gods. And she starves the ears she feeds and makes them hungry the more she gives them speech — the more she speaks, the more her audience wants her to speak.”

He said to Marina, “Where do you live?”

“Where I am only a stranger. From the deck you may see the place I live.”

“Where were you raised? And how did you achieve these accomplishments, which you make richer because you have them?”

“If I should tell my history, it would seem like lies disdained in the reporting,” Marina said. “You would not believe what I tell you.”

“Please, speak,” Pericles requested. “Falseness cannot come from you; you look as modest as Justice, and you seem to be a palace for the crowned Truth to dwell in. I will believe you, and I will make my senses believe you if you relate things that seem to be impossible because you look like someone I loved indeed.

“Who was your family?

“Didn’t you say, when I pushed you away from me — which was when I first perceived you — that you came from good ancestors?”

“So indeed I did,” Marina replied.

“Tell me your parentage. I think you said that you had been tossed from wrong to injury, and that you thought your griefs might equal mine, if both your griefs and mine were disclosed.”

“Some such thing I said,” Marina replied, “and I said no more but what I believe is likely to be true.”

“Tell me your story,” Pericles said. “If your griefs, carefully considered, prove to be one thousandth of the griefs that I have endured, then you are a man, and I have suffered like a girl — only a man could endure what I have endured and still live.

“Yet you look like a statue of Patience gazing on Kings’ graves in a cemetery and smiling the most extreme calamities out of existence. One such as you would reject suicide.

“Who was your family? How did you lose them? What is your name, my most kind virgin?

“Tell me your story, I ask you. Come, sit by me.”

“My name is Marina.”

“Oh, I am being mocked,” Pericles said. “Some angry god has sent you here to make the world laugh at me.”

“Be calm, good sir, or I’ll stop telling you my story.”

“I’ll be patient and calm,” Pericles promised, “but you little know how much I was startled when you told me your name is Marina.”

“The name was given to me by one who had some power: my father, who was a King.”

“What!” Pericles said. “You are a King’s daughter! And you are named Marina?”

“You said that you would believe me, but so that I am not a troubler of your peace, I will end my story here.”

“But are you flesh and blood? Have you a working pulse? And are you no fairy?”

He felt her pulse and said, “Motion! I feel a pulse! Well; speak on. Where were you born? And why are you named Marina?”

“I was named Marina because I was born at sea.”

“At sea! Who was your mother?”

“My mother was the daughter of a King; she died the minute I was born, as my good nurse, Lychorida, has often told me as she wept.”

“Oh, stop there for a little while!” Pericles cried.

He thought, This is the most excellent dream that dull sleep has ever mocked sad and distressed fools with. This maiden cannot be my daughter: My daughter’s buried.

He continued, “Well, where were you raised? I’ll hear more, all the way to the bottom — the end — of your story, and I will never interrupt you.”

“You are scornful of my story,” Marina said. “Believe me, it is best that I stop telling it.”

“I will believe every syllable of what you tell me. Still, let me ask these questions: How came you to live in these parts? Where were you raised?”

“The King my father left me in Tarsus until cruel Cleon, with his wicked wife, sought to murder me. They persuaded a villain to murder me, and after he had drawn his sword to do it, a crew of pirates came and rescued me. They brought me to Mytilene. But, good sir, where are your questions leading me? Why do you weep? It may be that you think I am an impostor. No, indeed. I am the daughter of King Pericles, if good King Pericles is still alive.”

“Helicanus!” Pericles shouted.

“Is my lord calling me?”

“You are a grave and noble counselor, very wise in many things. Tell me, if you can, who this maiden is, or what she is likely to be, who thus has made me weep?”

“I don’t know, sir,” Helicanus replied, “but here is the regent of Mytilene. He speaks nobly of her.”

Lysimachus said, “She would never tell us her parentage. If we asked her to tell us, she would sit still and weep.”

“Helicanus, hit me, honored sir,” Pericles said. “Give me a gash and immediate pain lest this great sea of joys rushing upon me overpower the shores of my mortality and drown me with their sweetness.”

He said to Marina, “Oh, come here, you have given birth to that man who begat you. You have given me a rebirth — you who were born at sea, buried at Tarsus, and found at sea again!”

He then said, “Helicanus, get down on your knees and thank the holy gods as loudly as thunder threatens us. This is Marina.”

He asked her, “What was your mother’s name? Tell me that because truth can never be confirmed enough even when all doubts sleep. I definitely know who you are, but please tell me this one additional detail.”

“First, sir, let me ask you this: What is your title?”

“I am King Pericles of Tyre, but tell me now my drowned Queen’s name. In all the rest that you have said, you have been as perfectly correct as a god would be, and you are the heir of Kingdoms and another life to me, Pericles, your father.”

“All I have to do to be acknowledged as your daughter is to say my mother’s name was Thaisa?” Marina asked. “Thaisa was my mother, whose life ended the minute mine began.”

“Now I give you my blessing!” Pericles said. “Rise — you are my child.”

He ordered an attendant, “Give me fresh garments.”

Pericles was wearing dirty sackcloth in mourning; now he wanted his clean royal clothing.

He said, “She is my own daughter, Helicanus. She is not dead at Tarsus, although reports stated that savage Cleon killed her. She shall tell you everything, and you shall kneel, and acknowledge that she is your true Princess.”

Looking at Lysimachus, he asked, “Who is this?”

Helicanus replied, “Sir, he is the governor of Mytilene, who, hearing of your melancholy and depressed state of mind, came to see you.”

“I embrace you,” Pericles said to Lysimachus, doing just that.

He ordered again, “Give me my royal robes. I am wild in my appearance.”

He said, “May the Heavens bless my girl! But, listen. What music is that?”

He then said, “Tell Helicanus, my Marina, tell him what you have told me, point by point, for yet he seems to doubt that you are truly my daughter. But, what is that music?”

“My lord, I hear no music,” Helicanus said.

“None!” Pericles said. “I hear the music of the spheres — the music of the planets and the stars as they move through the sky! Listen to it, my Marina.”

“It is not good to contradict him,” Lysimachus said. “Let him have his way.”

“These are the rarest sounds! Do you not hear the music?” Pericles asked.

Humoring Pericles, Lysimachus said, “Yes, my lord, I hear it.”

Music sounded. You, the reader, may hear it.

“This is most Heavenly music!” Pericles said. “It compels me to listen to it, and thick slumber hangs upon my eyes. Let me rest.”

He began to sleep.

“Give him a pillow for his head,” Lysimachus said. “Let all of us leave him. Well, my companion friends, if this but answer to my just belief, I’ll well remember you.”

Already, he was thinking of marrying Marina. He had just heard that she was the daughter of a King, and if so, she would be a good wife for him.

All except Pericles withdrew a short distance away, and the goddess Diana appeared to Pericles in a dream.

The goddess said to him, “My temple stands in Ephesus. Hurry there, and sacrifice upon my altar. There, when my chaste priests and nuns are met together, before all the people, reveal how you lost your wife at sea. To mourn your own sufferings, as well as your daughter’s sufferings, recall them and speak about them accurately.

“Either perform my bidding, or you will live in woe. Do what I tell you to do, and you will be happy. I swear this by my silver bow!

“Awake, and tell everybody your dream.”

The goddess disappeared.

Pericles woke up and said, “Celestial Diana, goddess argentine — goddess of silver — I will obey you.”

He called, “Helicanus!”

Helicanus, Lysimachus, and Marina went to him.

“Sir?” Helicanus said.

Pericles said to Helicanus, “My plan was to sail for Tarsus, there to strike the inhospitable Cleon, but I have something else to do first. Turn our full sails toward Ephesus. Soon I’ll tell you why.”

He then said to Lysimachus, “Shall we refresh ourselves, sir, upon your shore, and I shall give you gold for such provisions as our plan will need?”

“Sir, with all my heart,” Lysimachus said, “and, when you come ashore, I have another suit.”

The first suit was Pericles’ asking for provisions; Pericles was able to guess the second suit, which was Lysimachus’.

“You shall prevail if your suit is to woo my daughter, for it seems that you have nobly treated her.”

“Sir, lend me your arm,” Lysimachus said.

“Come, my Marina,” Pericles said.

***

 — Prologue —

John Gower said to you the reader, “Marina thus escapes from the brothel, and it happens that she comes into an honest house, our story says. She sings like an immortal goddess, and she dances like a goddess to her admirable songs. Learned scholars are struck dumb by her intelligence, and with her needle she embroiders nature’s own shapes, whether of bud, bird, branch, or berry, so well that her art seems to be twin sisters of the natural roses. Her linen thread and silk seem to be a twin to the ruby-red cherry, and so she does not lack pupils who are noble. They wish to learn how to embroider as she does and so they pour their bounty on her, and whatever she makes she gives to the cursed bawd.

“Here we leave her, and we turn our thoughts again to her father, where we left him, on the sea. We lost him there, but now, driven before the winds, he has arrived here where his daughter is dwelling, and so suppose him now to be at anchor on this coast.

“The city has been celebrating the sea-god Neptune’s annual feast. From that feast, Lysimachus sees the Tyrian ship. Its banners are sable — black — and they are trimmed with rich expense. Lysimachus now hurries to that ship in his barge.

“In your imagination once more put your sight on Pericles, who is sorrowing because he believes that his daughter, Marina, is dead. Imagine his ship and let it take up a big space in your imagination. Soon, much shall be revealed. Sit back, read, and pay attention.”

 — 5.1 —

Pericles, who had not washed or cut his hair for months, and who had lost weight, sat on a couch on the deck of his ship in the harbor of Mytilene. A barge had just sailed up to his ship. Standing near Pericles was Helicanus.

Two sailors arrived on deck. One sailor was from Pericles’ ship, which was from Tyre; the other sailor was from Lysimachus’ barge, which was from Mytilene.

The Tyrian sailor said to the sailor from Mytilene, “I am looking for Helicanus; he can give permission for your governor to come aboard. Oh, here he is.”

He then said to Helicanus, “Sir, there’s a barge that has come from Mytilene, and in it is Lysimachus the governor, who desires to come aboard. What is your will?”

“That he have his,” Helicanus said. “Summon some gentlemen.”

The Tyrian sailor shouted, “Ho, gentlemen! My lord calls.”

Two or three gentlemen arrived.

The first gentleman asked, “Does your lordship call for us?”

“Gentlemen, there’s some people of worth — members of the nobility — who want to come aboard. Please, greet them well.”

The gentlemen and the two sailors left and went on board the barge.

Lysimachus and some lords exited the barge, along with the gentlemen and the two sailors.

The Tyrian sailor said to Lysimachus, indicating Helicanus, “Sir, this is the man who can answer all of your questions.”

“Hail, reverend sir!” Lysimachus said. “May the gods preserve you!”

“And may the gods cause you, sir, to outlive the age I am, and die as I would die — honorably,” Helicanus replied.

“You wish me well,” Lysimachus said. “Being on shore, holding festivities in honor of the sea-god Neptune, and seeing this handsome vessel anchoring before us, I made my way to it, to know from where you came.”

“First, what is your position?” Helicanus asked.

“I am the governor of this place you lie at anchor before — Mytilene.”

“Sir, our vessel is from Tyre, and in it is King Pericles, who for the past three months has not spoken to anyone, nor has he taken sustenance except just enough to keep himself alive and prolong his grief.”

“What is the reason for his malady?” Lysimachus asked.

“It would be too tedious to repeat, but his main grief springs from the loss of a beloved daughter and a wife.”

“May we not see him?”

“You may, but seeing him will do no good,” Helicanus said. “He will not speak to anyone.”

“Yet let me obtain my wish,” Lysimachus said.

“Here he is,” Helicanus replied, walking Lysimachus and the others over to Pericles. “He was a handsome person, until the disaster that, one deadly night, drove him to this.”

Pericles’ misfortunes had started when he lost his wife; they had intensified when he was told that his daughter was dead.

“Sir King, all hail!” Lysimachus said. “May the gods preserve you! Hail, royal sir!”

“It is in vain,” Helicanus said. “He will not speak to you.”

The first lord said, “Sir, we have a maiden in Mytilene, whom I dare to wager would win some words from him. She can make him speak.”

“That is a good idea,” Lysimachus said, immediately realizing which maiden the first lord was referring to. “She with her sweet harmony of voice and with her other chosen attractions, would without question allure — win — him over. Just like soldiers forcing their way through a gateway, she would make a passage through his deafened parts, which now are halfway closed. She is the one who can make his half-deaf ears hear. She is most fortunate in being the most beautiful of all, and with her fellow maidens she is now upon the leafy shelter that abuts against the island’s side.”

The festivities honoring Neptune were taking place outside on the shore. A shelving — gently sloping — bank was on the side of the island, and it seemed to support the island. Some trees grew where the shelving bank met the island. Marina — the fairest maiden — and her female companions had seated themselves under those trees because their leaves provided shelter from the Sun.

Lysimachus ordered a lord to take the barge and get the fairest maiden. The lord exited.

Helicanus said, “To be sure, nothing has been effective in curing King Pericles, yet we’ll do anything that might result in his recovery. But, since we have imposed on your kindness thus far, let us further ask you that in return for our gold we may have provisions. We need provisions not because we are destitute and lack money, but because we are weary of the staleness.”

In this culture, keeping fresh food was difficult at sea. Canning had not yet been invented, and fresh fruits and vegetables had to be eaten quickly, as did non-preserved meat. Malnutrition was rampant among sailors, who often got the disease scurvy.

Lysimachus replied, “Sir, that is a courtesy that if we should deny it, the most just gods would send caterpillars to eat all the cultivated plants we have and so afflict our province with famine. Once again let me ask you to tell me — in more detail — the cause of your King’s sorrow.”

“Sit, sir. I will recount the story to you,” Helicanus said.

He looked up and said, “But I see that I am prevented from doing so.”

The lord had returned with the fairest maiden — Marina — who was accompanied by another young maiden who was carrying a harp.

“Oh, here is the lady whom I sent for,” Lysimachus said. “Welcome, fair one!”

He asked Helicanus, “Isn’t she attractive?”

“She’s a gallant lady.”

Lysimachus said, “She’s such a lady, that, were I well assured that she was born into an aristocratic and noble family, I would wish no better choice to be my wife, and I would think myself extremely well wed.”

He said to Marina, “Fair one, all goodness that consists in bounty expect even here, where is a Kingly patient who does not speak. You will be well rewarded if you can help this King. If your beneficial and skillful abilities can draw him out so that he speaks a few words in answer to you about anything, your sacred medicine shall receive such pay as your desires can wish.”

“Sir, I will use my best skills in his recovery,” Marina replied, “provided that none but I and my companion maiden are allowed to come near him.”

“Come, let us leave her, and may the gods make her prosperous!” Lysimachus said.

He and the others withdrew from Pericles, Marina, and her maiden companion. They were not far away, but they did not look at Marina as she attempted to cure Pericles.

Marina sang, and her companion accompanied her on the harp.

Once the song had finished, Lysimachus came over and asked, “Did he pay any attention to your music?”

“No,” Marina replied. “He did not even look at us.”

Lysimachus went back to his companions and said, “Watch, she will speak to him.”

“Hail, sir!” Marina said, going close to Pericles. “My lord, lend me an ear. Listen to me.”

Pericles made a noise and pushed her away from him.

“I am a maiden, my lord, who never before has invited eyes to look at me, but I have been gazed on as if I were a comet — something rare. I who am speaking, my lord, am one who, perhaps, has endured a grief that might equal yours, if both were justly and fairly weighed.

“Although wayward, capricious fortune has maligned and harmed me, I am descended from ancestors who were the equivalent of mighty Kings. But time has uprooted my parentage, and time has bound me in servitude to the world and to painful chance accidents.”

Marina thought, I will stop talking to him.

She hesitated and thought,But there is something inside me that causes my cheeks to glow and whispers in my ear, “Don’t leave until he speaks.”

Pericles said, “‘My fortunes’ — ‘parentage’ — ‘good parentage’ — to equal mine! Was that what you said? What did you say?”

“I said, my lord, that if you knew my parentage, you would not do me violence,” Marina said.

“I think you are right,” Pericles replied. “Please, turn your eyes upon me.”

A vision of his wife, Thaisa, began to fill his mind: “You are like something that — what country are you from? Are these shores where you were born?”

“No, nor was I born on any shores,” replied Marina, who had been born at sea. “Yet I was mortally brought forth, and I am no other than I appear to be. I am a human being.”

“I am great — pregnant — with woe, and I shall deliver tears with my weeping,” Pericles said. “My dearest wife was like this maiden, and my daughter might have been such a one as this maiden. She has my Queen’s high forehead. She has my wife’s stature to an inch; her posture is as wand-like straight; she is as silver-voiced; her eyes are as jewel-like and are encased in eyebrows as beautiful. In her walk she is another Juno, Queen of the gods. And she starves the ears she feeds and makes them hungry the more she gives them speech — the more she speaks, the more her audience wants her to speak.”

He said to Marina, “Where do you live?”

“Where I am only a stranger. From the deck you may see the place I live.”

“Where were you raised? And how did you achieve these accomplishments, which you make richer because you have them?”

“If I should tell my history, it would seem like lies disdained in the reporting,” Marina said. “You would not believe what I tell you.”

“Please, speak,” Pericles requested. “Falseness cannot come from you; you look as modest as Justice, and you seem to be a palace for the crowned Truth to dwell in. I will believe you, and I will make my senses believe you if you relate things that seem to be impossible because you look like someone I loved indeed.

“Who was your family?

“Didn’t you say, when I pushed you away from me — which was when I first perceived you — that you came from good ancestors?”

“So indeed I did,” Marina replied.

“Tell me your parentage. I think you said that you had been tossed from wrong to injury, and that you thought your griefs might equal mine, if both your griefs and mine were disclosed.”

“Some such thing I said,” Marina replied, “and I said no more but what I believe is likely to be true.”

“Tell me your story,” Pericles said. “If your griefs, carefully considered, prove to be one thousandth of the griefs that I have endured, then you are a man, and I have suffered like a girl — only a man could endure what I have endured and still live.

“Yet you look like a statue of Patience gazing on Kings’ graves in a cemetery and smiling the most extreme calamities out of existence. One such as you would reject suicide.

“Who was your family? How did you lose them? What is your name, my most kind virgin?

“Tell me your story, I ask you. Come, sit by me.”

“My name is Marina.”

“Oh, I am being mocked,” Pericles said. “Some angry god has sent you here to make the world laugh at me.”

“Be calm, good sir, or I’ll stop telling you my story.”

“I’ll be patient and calm,” Pericles promised, “but you little know how much I was startled when you told me your name is Marina.”

“The name was given to me by one who had some power: my father, who was a King.”

“What!” Pericles said. “You are a King’s daughter! And you are named Marina?”

“You said that you would believe me, but so that I am not a troubler of your peace, I will end my story here.”

“But are you flesh and blood? Have you a working pulse? And are you no fairy?”

He felt her pulse and said, “Motion! I feel a pulse! Well; speak on. Where were you born? And why are you named Marina?”

“I was named Marina because I was born at sea.”

“At sea! Who was your mother?”

“My mother was the daughter of a King; she died the minute I was born, as my good nurse, Lychorida, has often told me as she wept.”

“Oh, stop there for a little while!” Pericles cried.

He thought, This is the most excellent dream that dull sleep has ever mocked sad and distressed fools with. This maiden cannot be my daughter: My daughter’s buried.

He continued, “Well, where were you raised? I’ll hear more, all the way to the bottom — the end — of your story, and I will never interrupt you.”

“You are scornful of my story,” Marina said. “Believe me, it is best that I stop telling it.”

“I will believe every syllable of what you tell me. Still, let me ask these questions: How came you to live in these parts? Where were you raised?”

“The King my father left me in Tarsus until cruel Cleon, with his wicked wife, sought to murder me. They persuaded a villain to murder me, and after he had drawn his sword to do it, a crew of pirates came and rescued me. They brought me to Mytilene. But, good sir, where are your questions leading me? Why do you weep? It may be that you think I am an impostor. No, indeed. I am the daughter of King Pericles, if good King Pericles is still alive.”

“Helicanus!” Pericles shouted.

“Is my lord calling me?”

“You are a grave and noble counselor, very wise in many things. Tell me, if you can, who this maiden is, or what she is likely to be, who thus has made me weep?”

“I don’t know, sir,” Helicanus replied, “but here is the regent of Mytilene. He speaks nobly of her.”

Lysimachus said, “She would never tell us her parentage. If we asked her to tell us, she would sit still and weep.”

“Helicanus, hit me, honored sir,” Pericles said. “Give me a gash and immediate pain lest this great sea of joys rushing upon me overpower the shores of my mortality and drown me with their sweetness.”

He said to Marina, “Oh, come here, you have given birth to that man who begat you. You have given me a rebirth — you who were born at sea, buried at Tarsus, and found at sea again!”

He then said, “Helicanus, get down on your knees and thank the holy gods as loudly as thunder threatens us. This is Marina.”

He asked her, “What was your mother’s name? Tell me that because truth can never be confirmed enough even when all doubts sleep. I definitely know who you are, but please tell me this one additional detail.”

“First, sir, let me ask you this: What is your title?”

“I am King Pericles of Tyre, but tell me now my drowned Queen’s name. In all the rest that you have said, you have been as perfectly correct as a god would be, and you are the heir of Kingdoms and another life to me, Pericles, your father.”

“All I have to do to be acknowledged as your daughter is to say my mother’s name was Thaisa?” Marina asked. “Thaisa was my mother, whose life ended the minute mine began.”

“Now I give you my blessing!” Pericles said. “Rise — you are my child.”

He ordered an attendant, “Give me fresh garments.”

Pericles was wearing dirty sackcloth in mourning; now he wanted his clean royal clothing.

He said, “She is my own daughter, Helicanus. She is not dead at Tarsus, although reports stated that savage Cleon killed her. She shall tell you everything, and you shall kneel, and acknowledge that she is your true Princess.”

Looking at Lysimachus, he asked, “Who is this?”

Helicanus replied, “Sir, he is the governor of Mytilene, who, hearing of your melancholy and depressed state of mind, came to see you.”

“I embrace you,” Pericles said to Lysimachus, doing just that.

He ordered again, “Give me my royal robes. I am wild in my appearance.”

He said, “May the Heavens bless my girl! But, listen. What music is that?”

He then said, “Tell Helicanus, my Marina, tell him what you have told me, point by point, for yet he seems to doubt that you are truly my daughter. But, what is that music?”

“My lord, I hear no music,” Helicanus said.

“None!” Pericles said. “I hear the music of the spheres — the music of the planets and the stars as they move through the sky! Listen to it, my Marina.”

“It is not good to contradict him,” Lysimachus said. “Let him have his way.”

“These are the rarest sounds! Do you not hear the music?” Pericles asked.

Humoring Pericles, Lysimachus said, “Yes, my lord, I hear it.”

Music sounded. You, the reader, may hear it.

“This is most Heavenly music!” Pericles said. “It compels me to listen to it, and thick slumber hangs upon my eyes. Let me rest.”

He began to sleep.

“Give him a pillow for his head,” Lysimachus said. “Let all of us leave him. Well, my companion friends, if this but answer to my just belief, I’ll well remember you.”

Already, he was thinking of marrying Marina. He had just heard that she was the daughter of a King, and if so, she would be a good wife for him.

All except Pericles withdrew a short distance away, and the goddess Diana appeared to Pericles in a dream.

The goddess said to him, “My temple stands in Ephesus. Hurry there, and sacrifice upon my altar. There, when my chaste priests and nuns are met together, before all the people, reveal how you lost your wife at sea. To mourn your own sufferings, as well as your daughter’s sufferings, recall them and speak about them accurately.

“Either perform my bidding, or you will live in woe. Do what I tell you to do, and you will be happy. I swear this by my silver bow!

“Awake, and tell everybody your dream.”

The goddess disappeared.

Pericles woke up and said, “Celestial Diana, goddess argentine — goddess of silver — I will obey you.”

He called, “Helicanus!”

Helicanus, Lysimachus, and Marina went to him.

“Sir?” Helicanus said.

Pericles said to Helicanus, “My plan was to sail for Tarsus, there to strike the inhospitable Cleon, but I have something else to do first. Turn our full sails toward Ephesus. Soon I’ll tell you why.”

He then said to Lysimachus, “Shall we refresh ourselves, sir, upon your shore, and I shall give you gold for such provisions as our plan will need?”

“Sir, with all my heart,” Lysimachus said, “and, when you come ashore, I have another suit.”

The first suit was Pericles’ asking for provisions; Pericles was able to guess the second suit, which was Lysimachus’.

“You shall prevail if your suit is to woo my daughter, for it seems that you have nobly treated her.”

“Sir, lend me your arm,” Lysimachus said.

“Come, my Marina,” Pericles said.

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

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