William Shakespeare: Pericles, Act III, Scene I

Scene I

Enter Pericles, on shipboard

Pericles

Thou god of this great vast, rebuke these surges, Which wash both heaven and hell; and thou, that hast Upon the winds command, bind them in brass, Having call'd them from the deep! O, still Thy deafening, dreadful thunders; gently quench Thy nimble, sulphurous flashes! O, how, Lychorida, How does my queen? Thou stormest venomously; Wilt thou spit all thyself? The seaman's whistle Is as a whisper in the ears of death, Unheard. Lychorida!—Lucina, O Divinest patroness, and midwife gentle To those that cry by night, convey thy deity Aboard our dancing boat; make swift the pangs Of my queen's travails!

Enter Lychorida, with an Infant

Now, Lychorida!

Lychorida

Here is a thing too young for such a place, Who, if it had conceit, would die, as I Am like to do: take in your arms this piece Of your dead queen.

Pericles

How, how, Lychorida!

Lychorida

Patience, good sir; do not assist the storm. Here's all that is left living of your queen, A little daughter: for the sake of it, Be manly, and take comfort.

Pericles

O you gods! Why do you make us love your goodly gifts, And snatch them straight away? We here below Recall not what we give, and therein may Use honour with you.

Lychorida

Patience, good sir, Even for this charge.

Pericles

Now, mild may be thy life! For a more blustrous birth had never babe: Quiet and gentle thy conditions! for Thou art the rudeliest welcome to this world That ever was prince's child. Happy what follows! Thou hast as chiding a nativity As fire, air, water, earth, and heaven can make, To herald thee from the womb: even at the first Thy loss is more than can thy portage quit, With all thou canst find here. Now, the good gods Throw their best eyes upon't!

Enter two Sailors

First Sailor

What courage, sir? God save you!

Pericles

Courage enough: I do not fear the flaw; It hath done to me the worst. Yet, for the love Of this poor infant, this fresh-new sea-farer, I would it would be quiet.

First Sailor

Slack the bolins there! Thou wilt not, wilt thou? Blow, and split thyself.

Second Sailor

But sea-room, an the brine and cloudy billow kiss the moon, I care not.

First Sailor

Sir, your queen must overboard: the sea works high, the wind is loud, and will not lie till the ship be cleared of the dead.

Pericles

That's your superstition.

First Sailor

Pardon us, sir; with us at sea it hath been still observed: and we are strong in custom. Therefore briefly yield her; for she must overboard straight.

Pericles

As you think meet. Most wretched queen!

Lychorida

Here she lies, sir.

Pericles

A terrible childbed hast thou had, my dear; No light, no fire: the unfriendly elements Forgot thee utterly: nor have I time To give thee hallow'd to thy grave, but straight Must cast thee, scarcely coffin'd, in the ooze; Where, for a monument upon thy bones, And e'er-remaining lamps, the belching whale And humming water must o'erwhelm thy corpse, Lying with simple shells. O Lychorida, Bid Nestor bring me spices, ink and paper, My casket and my jewels; and bid Nicander Bring me the satin coffer: lay the babe Upon the pillow: hie thee, whiles I say A priestly farewell to her: suddenly, woman.

Exit Lychorida

Second Sailor

Sir, we have a chest beneath the hatches, caulked and bitumed ready.

Pericles

I thank thee. Mariner, say what coast is this?

Second Sailor

We are near Tarsus.

Pericles

Thither, gentle mariner. Alter thy course for Tyre. When canst thou reach it?

Second Sailor

By break of day, if the wind cease.

Pericles

O, make for Tarsus! There will I visit Cleon, for the babe Cannot hold out to Tyrus: there I'll leave it At careful nursing. Go thy ways, good mariner: I'll bring the body presently.

Exeunt