ACT II
Scene III.
 

The same. A hall of state: a banquet prepared.

[Enter Simonides, Thaisa, Lords, Attendants, and Knights, from
tilting.]

SIMONIDES
Knights,
To say you're welcome were superfluous.
To place upon the volume of your deeds,
As in a title-page, your worth in arms,
Were more than you expect, or more than's fit,
Since every worth in show commends itself.
Prepare for mirth, for mirth becomes a feast:
You are princes and my guests.

THAISA
But you, my knight and guest;
To whom this wreath of victory I give,
And crown you king of this day's happiness.

PERICLES
'Tis more by fortune, lady, than by merit.

SIMONIDES
Call it by what you will, the day is yours;
And here, I hope, is none that envies it.
In framing an artist, art hath thus decreed,
To make some good, but others to exceed;
And you are her labour'd scholar. Come queen of the feast, --
For, daughter, so you are, -- here take your place:
Marshal the rest, as they deserve their grace.

KNIGHTS
We are honour'd much by good Simonides.

SIMONIDES
Your presence glads our days; honour we love;
For who hates honour hates the gods above.

MARSHALL
Sir, yonder is your place.

PERICLES
Some other is more fit.

FIRST KNIGHT
Contend not, sir; for we are gentlemen
That neither in our hearts nor outward eyes
Envy the great nor do the low despise.

PERICLES
You are right courteous knights.

SIMONIDES
Sit, sir, sit.

PERICLES
By Jove, I wonder, that is king of thoughts,
These cates resist me, she but thought upon.

THAISA
By Juno, that is queen of marriage,
All viands that I eat do seem unsavoury,
Wishing him my meat. Sure, he's a gallant gentleman.

SIMONIDES
He's but a country gentleman;
Has done no more than other knights have done;
Has broken a staff or so; so let it pass.

THAISA
To me he seems like diamond to glass.

PERICLES
Yon king's to me like to my father's picture,
Which tells me in that glory once he was;
Had princes sit, like stars, about his throne,
And he the sun, for them to reverence;
None that beheld him, but, like lesser lights,
Did vail their crowns to his supremacy:
Where now his son's like a glow-worm in the night,
The which hath fire in darkness, none in light:
Whereby I see that Time's the king of men,
He's both their parent, and he is their grave,
And gives them what he will, not what they crave.

SIMONIDES
What, are you merry, knights?

KNIGHTS
Who can be other in this royal presence?

SIMONIDES
Here, with a cup that's stored unto the brim, --
As you do love, fill to your mistress' lips, --
We drink this health to you.

KNIGHTS
We thank your grace.

SIMONIDES
Yet pause awhile:
Yon knight doth sit too melancholy,
As if the entertainment in our court
Had not a show might countervail his worth.
Note it not you, Thaisa?

THAISA
What is it
To me, my father?

SIMONIDES
O attend, my daughter:
Princes in this should live like god's above,
Who freely give to every one that comes
To honour them:
And princes not doing so are like to gnats,
Which make a sound, but kill'd are wonder'd at.
Therefore to make his entrance more sweet,
Here, say we drink this standing-bowl of wine to him.

THAISA
Alas, my father, it befits not me
Unto a stranger knight to be so bold:
He may my proffer take for an offence,
Since men take women's gifts for impudence.

SIMONIDES
How!
Do as I bid you, or you'll move me else.

THAISA
[Aside]
Now, by the gods, he could not please me better.

SIMONIDES
And furthermore tell him, we desire to know of him,
Of whence he is, his name and parentage.

THAISA
The king my father, sir, has drunk to you.

PERICLES
I thank him.

THAISA
Wishing it so much blood unto your life.

PERICLES
I thank both him and you, and pledge him freely.

THAISA
And further he desires to know of you,
Of whence you are, your name and parentage.

PERICLES
A gentleman of Tyre; my name, Pericles;
My education been in arts and arms;
Who, looking for adventures in the world,
Was by the rough seas reft of ships and men,
And after shipwreck driven upon this shore.

THAISA
He thanks your grace; names himself Pericles,
A gentleman of Tyre,
Who only by misfortune of the seas
Bereft of ships and men, cast on this shore.

SIMONIDES
Now, by the gods, I pity his misfortune,
And will awake him from his melancholy.
Come, gentlemen, we sit too long on trifles,
And waste the time, which looks for other revels.
Even in your armours, as you are address'd,
Will very well become a soldier's dance.
I will not have excuse, with saying this,
Loud music is too harsh for ladies' heads
Since they love men in arms as well as beds.

[The Knights dance.]

So, this was well ask'd, 'twas so well perform'd.
Come, sir;
Here is a lady which wants breathing too:
And I have heard you nights of Tyre
Are excellent in making ladies trip;
And that their measures are as exceltent.

PERICLES
In those that practise them they are, my lord.

SIMONIDES
O, that's as much as you would be denied
Of your fair courtesy.

[The Knights and Ladies dance.]

Unclasp, unclasp:
Thanks gentlemen, to all; all have done well.

[To Pericles.]

But you the you the best. Pages and lights to conduct
These knights unto their several lodging.

[To Pericles.]

Yours, sir,
We have given order to be next our own.

PERICLES
I am at your grace's pleasure.

SIMONIDES
Princes, it is too late to talk of love;
And that's the mark I know you level at:
Therefore each one betake him to his rest;
To-morrow all for speeding do their best.

[Exeunt.]