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the Letter to CLEON; then gives the Messenger a Exeunt PERICLES, Reward, and Knights him.
CLEON, &c. severally.
Gow. Good Helicane hath staid at home,
Not to eat honey, like a drone,
From others' labours; forth he strive
To killen bad, keep good alive;
Ne aught escapen but himself;
SCENE 1. PENTAPOLIS. An open Place by the Sea-side.
Enter PERICLES, wet.
Per. Yet cease your ire, ye 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 wat'ry grave, Here to have death in peace, is all he'll crave.
Enter three Fishermen.
1 Fish. What, ho, Pilche!
2 Fish. Ho! come, and bring away the nets.
3 Fish. What say you, master?
1 Fish. Look how thou stirrest now! come away, or I'll fetch thee with a wannion.
3 Fish. 'Faith, master, I am thinking of the poor men that were cast away before us, even now.
1 Fish. 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.
3 Fish. Nay, master, said not I as much, when I saw the porpus, how he bounced and tumbled? they say, they are half fish, half flesh; a plague on them, they ne'er come, but I look to be wash'd. Master, I marvel how the fishes live in the sea.
1 Fish. 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 a'the land, who never leave gaping, till they've swallow'd the whole parish, church, steeple, bells and all.
Per. A pretty moral.
3 Fish. But, master, if I had been the sexton, I would have been that day in the belfry.
2 Fish. Why, man?
3 Fish. Because he should have swallow'd 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— Per. Simonides?
3 Fish. We would purge the land of these drones, that rob the bee of her honey.
Per. How from the finny subject of the sea
2 Fish. Honest! good fellow, what's that? if it be a day fits you, scratch it out of the calendar, and nobody will look after it.
Per. Nay, see, the sea hath cast upon your coast
2 Fish. What a drunken knave was the sea, to cast thee in our way!
Per. A man, whom both the waters and the wind,
For them to play upon, entreats you pity him;
1 Fish. No, friend, cannot you beg? here's them in our country of Greece, gets more with begging, thau we can do with working.
2 Fish. Canst thou catch any fishes then?
Per. I never practis'd it.
2 Fish. Nay, then thou wilt starve sure; for here's nothing to be got now a-days, unless thou canst fish for't. Per. What I have been, I have forgot to know; But what I am, want teaches me to think on; A man shrunk 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 I am a man, pray see me buried.
1 Fish. 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, fist for fastingdays, and moreo'er puddings and flap-jacks; and thou shalt be welcome.
Per. I thank you, sir.
2 Fish. Hark you, my friend, you said you could not beg.
Per. I did but crave.
2 Fish. But crave? then I'll turn craver too, and so I shall 'scape whipping.
Per. Why, are all your beggars whipp'd then?
2 Fish. O, not all, my friend, not all; for if all your beggars were whipp'd, I would wish no better office, than to be beadle. But, master, I'll go draw up the [Exeunt two of the Fishermen.
Per. How well this honest mirth becomes their labour! 1 Fish. Hark you, sir; do you know where you are? Per. Not well.
1 Fish. Why I'll tell you: this is called Pentapolis, and our king, the good Simonides.
Per. The good king Simonides, do you call him? 1 Fish. Ay, sir; and he deserves to be so call'd, for his peaceable reign, and good government.
Per. He is a happy king, since from his subjects He gains the name of good, by his government. How far is his court distant from this shore?
1 Fish. Marry, sir, half a day's journey; and I'll tell you, he hath a fair daughter, and to-morrow is her birthday; and there are princes and knights come from all parts of the world, to just and tourney for her love. Per. Did but my fortunes equal my desires, I'd wish to make one there.
1 Fish. O, sir, things must be as they may; and what a man cannot get, he may lawfully deal for his wife's soul.
Re-enter the two Fishermen, drawing up a Net.
2 Fish. Help, master, help; here's a fish bang's 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 turn'd to a rusty armour.
Per. An armour, friends! I pray you, let me see it.
And, though it was mine own, part of mine heritage,
1 Fish. What mean you, sir?
Per. 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 lov'd me dearly,
And for his sake, I wish the having of it;
And that you'd guide me to your sovereign's court Where with't I may appear a gentleman; And if that ever my low fortunes better, I'll pay your bounties; till then, rest your debtor. 1 Fish. Why, wilt thou tourney for the lady? Per. I'll show the virtue I have borne in arms. 1 Fish. Why, do ye take it, and the gods give thee good on't!
2 Fish. 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. 1 hope, sir, if you thrive, you'll remember from whence you had it.
Per. Believ't, I will.
Now, by your furtherance, I am cloth'd in steel;
This jewel holds his biding on my arm;
Unto thy value will I mount myself
Of a pair of bases.
2 Fish. We'll sure provide: thou shalt have my best gown to make thee a pair; and I'll bring thee to the court myself.
Per. Then honour be but a goal to my will; This day I'll rise, or else add ill to ill.
SCENE II. The same. A public Way, or Platform, leading to the Lists. A Pavilion by the side of it, for the Reception of the KING, PRINCESS, Lords, &c. Enter SIMONIDES, THAISA, Lords, and Attendants. Sim. Are the knights ready to begin the triumph? 1 Lord. They are, my liege;
And stay your coming to present themselves.