ACT II
Scene I.
 

Pentapolis. An open place by the sea-side.

[Enter Pericles, wet.]

PERICLES
Yet cease your ire, you angry stars of heaven!
Wind, rain, and thunder, remember, earthly man
Is but a substance that must yield to you;
And I, as fits my nature, do obey you:
Alas, the sea hath cast me on the rocks,
Wash'd me from shore to shore, and left me breath
Nothing to think on but ensuing death:
Let it suffice the greatness of your powers
To have bereft a prince of all his fortunes;
And having thrown him from your watery grave,
Here to have death in peace is all he'll crave.

[Enter three Fishermen.]

FIRST FISHERMAN
What, ho, Pilch!

SECOND FISHERMAN
Ha, come and bring away the nets!

FIRST FISHERMAN
What, Patch-breech, I say!

THIRD FISHERMAN
What say you, master?

FIRST FISHERMAN
Look how thou stirrest now! come away, or I'll fetch thee with a
wanion.

THIRD FISHERMAN
'Faith, master, I am thinking of the poor men that were cast away
before us even now.

FIRST FISHERMAN
Alas, poor souls, it grieved my heart to hear what pitiful cries
they made to us to help them, when, well-a-day, we could scarce
help ourselves.

THIRD FISHERMAN
Nay, master, said not I as much when I saw the porpus how he
bounced and tumbled? they say they're half fish, half flesh:
a plague on them, they ne'er come but I look to be washed.
Master, I marvel how the fishes live in the sea.

FIRST FISHERMAN
Why, as men do a-land; the great ones eat up the little ones: I
can compare our rich misers to nothing so fitly as to a whale;
a' plays and tumbles, driving the poor fry before him, and at
last devours them all at a mouthful. such whales have I heard
on o' the land, who never leave gaping till they they've
swallowed the whole parish, church, steeple, bells, and all.

PERICLES
[Aside.]
A pretty moral.

THIRD FISHERMAN
But, master, if I had been the sexton, I would have been that day
in the belfry.

SECOND FISHERMAN
Why, man?

THIRD FISHERMAN
Because he should have swallowed me too; and when I had been in
his belly, I would have kept such a jangling of the bells, that
he should never have left, till he cast bells, steeple, church,
and parish, up again. But if the good King Simonides were of
my mind, --

PERICLES
[Aside.]
Simonides!

THIRD FISHERMAN
We would purge the land of these drones, that rob the bee of her
honey.

PERICLES
[Aside.]
How from the finny subjec of the sea
These fishers tell the infirmities of men;
And from their watery empire recollect
All that may men approve or men detect!
Peace be at your labour, honest fishermen.

SECOND FISHERMAN
Honest! good fellow, what's that; If it be a day fits you, search
out of the calendar, and nobody look after it.

PERICLES
May see the sea hath cast upon your coast.

SECOND FISHERMAN
What a drunken knave was the sea to cast thee in our way!

PERICLES
A man whom both the waters and the wind,
In that vast tennis-court, have made the ball
For them to play upon, entreats you pity him;
He asks of you, that never used to beg.

FIRST FISHERMAN
No, friend, cannot you beg? Here's them in our country of Greece
gets more with begging than we can do with working.

SECOND FISHERMAN
Canst thou catch any fishes, then?

PERICLES
I never practised it.

SECOND FISHERMAN
Nay, then thou wilt starve, sure; for here's nothing to be got
now-a-days, unless thou canst fish for 't.

PERICLES
What I have been I have forgot to know;
But what I am, want teaches me to think on:
A man throng'd up with cold: my veins are chill,
And have no more of life than may suffice
To give my tongue that heat to ask your help;
Which if you shall refuse, when I am dead,
For that I am a man, pray see me buried.

FIRST FISHERMAN
Die quoth-a? Now gods forbid! I have a gown here; come, put it
on; keep thee warm. Now, afore me, a handsome fellow! Come,
thou shalt go home, and we'll have flesh for holidays, fish for
fasting-days, and moreo'er puddings and flap-jacks, and thou
shalt be welcome.

PERICLES
I thank you, sir.

SECOND FISHERMAN
Hark you, my friend; you said you could not beg.

PERICLES
I did but crave.

SECOND FISHERMAN
But crave! Then I'll turn craver too, and so I shall 'scape
whipping.

PERICLES
Why, are your beggars whipped, then?

SECOND FISHERMAN
O, not all, my friend, not all; for if all your beggars were
whipped, I would wish no better office than to be beadle.
But, master, I'll go draw up the net.

[Exit with Third Fisherman.]

PERICLES
[Aside.]
How well this honest mirth becomes their 1abour!

FIRST FISHERMAN
Hark you, sir, do you know where ye are?

PERICLES
Not well.

FIRST FISHERMAN
Why, I'll tell you: this is called Pentapolis, and our king the
good Simonides.

PERICLES
The good King Simonides, do you call him?

FIRST FISHERMAN
Ay, sir; and he deserves so to be called for his peaceable reign
and good government.

PERICLES
He is a happy king, since he gains from his subjects the name of
good government. How far is his court distant from this shore?

FIRST FISHERMAN
Marry sir, half a day's journey: and I'll tell you, he hath a
fair daughter, and to-morrow is her birth-day; and there are
princes and knights come from all parts of the world to just and
tourney for her love.

PERICLES
Were my fortunes equal to my desires, I could wish to make one
there.

FIRST FISHERMAN
O, sir, things must be as they may; and what a man cannot get, he
may lawfully deal for -- his wife' soul.

[Re-enter Second and Third Fishermen, drawing up a net.]

SECOND FISHERMAN
Help, master, help! here's a fish hangs in the net, like a poor
man's right in the law; 'twill hardly come out. Ha! bots on't,
'tis come at last, and 'tis turned to a rusty armour.

PERICLES
An armour, friends! I pray you, let me see it.
Thanks, fortune, yet, that, after all my crosses,
Thou givest me somewhat to repair myself,
And though it was mine own, part of my heritage,
Which my dead father did bequeath to me,
With this strict charge, even as he left his life.
'Keep it, my Pericles; it hath been a shield
'Twixt me and death;' -- and pointed to this brace; --
For that it saved me, keep it; in like necessity --
The which the gods protect thee from! -- may defend thee.'
It kept where I kept, I so dearly loved it;
Till the rough seas, that spare not any man,
Took it in rage, though calm'd have given't again:
I thank thee for 't: my shipwreck now's no ill,
Since I have here my father's gift in's will.

FIRST FISHERMAN
What mean you' sir?

PERICLES
To beg of you, kind friends, this coat of worth,
For it was sometime target to a king;
I know it by this mark. He loved me dearly,
And for his sake I wish the having of it;
And that you'ld guide me to your sovereign court,
Where with it I may appear a gentleman;
And if that ever my fortune's better,
I'll pay your bounties; till then rest your debtor.

FIRST FISHERMAN
Why, wilt thou tourney for the lady?

PERICLES
I'll show the virtue I have borne in arms.

FIRST FISHERMAN
Why, do'e take it, and the gods give thee good on 't!

SECOND FISHERMAN
Ay, but hark you, my friend; 'twas we that made up this garment
through the rough seams of the waters: there are certain
condolements, certain vails. I hope, sir, if you thrive, you'll
remember from whence you had it.

PERICLES
Believe't I will.
By your furtherance I am clothed in steel;
And, spite of all the rapture of the sea,
This jewel holds his building on my arm:
Unto thy value I will mount myself
Upon a courser, whose delightful steps
Shall make the gazer joy to see him tread.
Only, my friend, I yet am unprovided
Of a pair of bases.

SECOND FISHERMAN
We'll sure provide: thou shalt have my best gown to make thee a
pair; and I'll bring thee to the court myself.

PERICLES
Then honour be but a goal to my will,
This day I'll rise, or else add ill to ill.

[Exeunt.]