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Abridged Pericles/#1/Revelation/Act 1, Scene 1

The play opens with Pericles, Prince of Tyre, visiting
Antioch, the “fairest city in all Syria;” he having plans to woo and win
Hesperides, Antiochus’ daughter.  Antiochus
warns Pericles of the “danger of the task you undertake.”  Pericles boldly says “I think death no hazard
in this enterprise.”  She enters.  Pericles says “See where she comes, appareled
like the spring, bestowed with beauty and charms that give renown to men.”  Antiochus again warns him, saying “some
famous princes, like thyself, drawn by report, advent’rous by desire, here
stand martyrs slain in Cupid’s wars, and tell thee with speechless tongues to
desist from entering death’s net, whom none resist.”  A not-to-be-denied Pericles continues with
his mission.  Antiochus says “scorning
advice, read the conclusion, then:” Pericles reads the riddle: “I feed on
mother’s flesh which did me breed. I sought a husband, in which labor I found
that kindness in a father.  He’s father,
son, and husband mild; I mother, wife and yet his child.”  Aside Pericles asks “why doesn’t heaven cloud
their sights if this be true which makes me pale to read it? Truly, I care not
for you.”  Antiochus says “Either expound
now or receive your sentence.”  Pericles
says “Great king, few love to hear the sins they love to act.  He who has a book of all that monarchs do is
more secure to keep it shut than shown.
Vice repeated is like the wand’ring wind; it blows dust in others’ eyes
to spread itself.  Give my tongue
permission to love my head.”  He says to
Pericles “Forty days longer we do give you relief, if by which time our secret
be undone, this mercy shows we’ll joy in such a son.”  All except Pericles exit.  He says “Antioch, farewell.  Lest my life be cropped to keep you clear, by
flight I’ll shun the danger which I fear.”
He exits.  Antiochus enters and
says “He hath found the meaning, for which we mean to have his head.  He must not live to trumpet forth my infamy,
nor tell the world Antiochus doth sin in such a loathed manner.  This prince must die.”  Thaliard, a nobleman of Antioch, enters.  Antiochus tells him “For your faithfulness we
will advance you, Thaliard.  Here’s
poison, and here’s gold.  We hate the
Prince of Tyre, and thou must kill him.
It fits thee not to ask the reason why: because we bid it.”  Thaliard says “My lord, ‘tis done.”  A Messenger enters and reports “My lord,
Prince Pericles is fled.”  Antiochus
tells Thaliard “Never return unless thou say Prince Pericles is dead.”  They exit.

Abridged Pericles/#2/Strategy/Act 1, Scenes 2-3

Pericles has now returned to Tyre and is alone on the
stage talking to us.  He says “Great
Antiochus, who can make his will his act, will think me speaking though I swear
to silence.  If what may make him blush
be known he’ll stop the course by which it might be known.  He’ll o’er-spread the land with such terror
that our men will be vanquished before they do resist, and subjects punished
that ne’er thought offense.”  Lords enter
and praise the prince.  Helicanus, a key
lord to Pericles, says “They do abuse the King that flatter him.”  Helicanus and Pericles exchange words,
Pericles having said “What seest thou in our looks?”  Helicanus had replied “An angry brow, dread
lord.”  Pericles replies “Thou art no
flatterer; kings should let their ears hear their faults hid.  What wouldst thou have me do?”  Helicanus says “To bear with patience such
griefs as you yourself do lay upon yourself.”
Pericles says to Helicanus that he went to Antioch to see the king’s
daughter whose “face was to mine eye beyond all wonder.”   But, he says “the rest was as black as
incest, but thou know’st this.”  He suggests
to Helicanus that Antiochus’ fear that Pericles will disclose his secret is
real. Pericles says “He’ll fill this land with arms, and make pretense of wrong
that I have done him, when all must feel war’s blow, that spares not
innocence.”  Helicanus says simply “Alas,
sir. Since you have given me leave to speak, freely will I speak. Antiochus
will take away your life.  Therefore, go
travel for a while, till his anger be forgot, or till the Destines do cut his
thread of life.”  Pericles tells
Helicanus that in his absence he’ll look to him to lead Tyre and “to Tarsus
intend my travel, where I’ll hear from thee.”
They exit.  Thaliard enters Tyre
and tells us “Here I must kill King Pericles; and if I do not, I am sure to be
hanged at home. Hush! Here come the lords of Tyre.”  He steps aside and overhears Helicanus say
“His sealed commission left in trust with me.
He’s gone to travel.  Royal
Antiochus took some displeasure at him — at least he judged so; and put
himself at risk at sea.”  Thaliard aside
says “He ‘scaped the land to perish at the sea.
I’ll present myself.”  He says to
Helicanus “I have understood your lord has betook himself to unknown travels. I
must return with that message.”
Helicanus tells him “Before you shall depart; as friends to Antioch, we
may feast in Tyre.”

Abridged Pericles/#3/Fortuitous/Act 1, Scene 4

The people of Tarsus are suffering through a famine.  Cleon and Dionyza, Tarsus’ Governor and his
wife, are on stage discussing their plight.
Cleon asks “Who wanteth food, and will not say he wants it, or can
conceal his hunger till he famish?”  We
learn their “woes” have been “felt for several years.”  He lets us know that “This Tarsus, whose men
and dames, their tables stored full, not so much to feed as to delight, where
poverty was scorned and pride so great that the word help grew odious to repeat.”  He says “But see these mouths are now starved
for want of exercise. Those palates would now be glad for bread and to beg for
it.  Let those cities with Plenty’s cup
hear these tears.”  A Lord enters and
says “We have descried upon our neighboring shore a portly sail of ships make
hitherward.”  Cleon says ‘Some
neighboring nation, taking advantage of our misery, hath stuffed the hollow
vessels with their power to beat us down.”
The Lord says “For, by the semblance of their white flags displayed,
they bring us peace and come to us as favorers, not as foes.”  Cleon tells him “Bring them what they will
and what they can.  What need we
fear?”  Pericles enters and says “Lord
Governor, we have heard your miseries as far as Tyre and come to relieve
them.  These ships are stored with corn
to make your needy bread and give them life whom hunger starved half
dead.”  Cleon says “Your Grace is welcome
to our town and us.”

Abridged Pericles/#4/Survivor/Act 2, Scene 1

We learn that Pericles quickly leaves Tarsus, aware that
Thaliard is “intent to murder him; and that in Tarsus was not best longer for
him to make his rest.”  We learn that he
“put forth to seas” but that his ship his “wracked and split” in a violent
storm, and all the sailors, except for him, perished.  We learn that the seas “threw him ashore to
give him glad.”  The scene opens with
Pericles saying to himself “the seas hath cast me on the rocks and left my life
nothing to think on but ensuing death.”
He has found himself near Pentapolis on the north coast of Africa.  Three Fishermen enter.  They talk among themselves.  Pericles approaches them, saying “Peace be at
your labor, honest fishermen.  The Second
Fisherman cries “What a drunken knave has the sea cast our way.”  Pericles replies “A man who entreats you pity
him; he asks of you that never used to beg.”
The Second Fisherman asks ‘Canst thou catch any fishes, then?”  Pericles responds “I never practiced it.”  The Second Fisherman says “Nay, then, thou
wilt starve sure.”  Pericles says “I am a
man filled up with cold.  If you refuse
me, when I am dead, pray you see me buried.”
The First Fisherman says “Die, did he say?  I have a gown.  Here, put it on; keep thee warm.  Come home with us.  We’ll have fish, and moreo’er, puddings and
flapjacks, and thou shalt be welcome.”
The Second Fisherman says “I’ll go draw up the net.”  He and the Third Fisherman exit.  The First Fisherman asks “Hark you, sir, do
you know where you are?”  Pericles
answers “Not well.”  The Fisherman says
“This is Pentapolis, and our king the good Simonides.”  Pericles asks “How far is his court from this
shore?”  The Fisherman says “Half a day’s
journey.  He hath a fair daughter and
tomorrow is her birthday. There are knights and princes from all parts of the
world come to joust and tourney for her love.”
The other two fishermen return.
The Second says “Here’s a fish hangs in the net. ‘Tis turned to rusty
armor.”  They pull out the armor.
Pericles says “Thanks.  It was mine own,
part of my heritage which my dead father did bequeath to me.  It kept where I kept, I so dearly love
it.  I thank thee for it.  I beg of you, guide me to your sovereign’s
court, where with it I may appear a gentleman.”
The First Fisherman asks “Wilt thou tourney for the lady?”  Pericles says “I’ll show the virtue I have
borne in arms.”  The Second Fisherman
says “I hope, sir, if you thrive, you’ll remember from whence you had
them.”  Pericles says “I will.”  He puts on the armor.  He says “I am clothed in steel, but I am
unprovided of shirts and garments.”  The
Second says “We’ll sure provide.  Thou
shalt have my best gown.  I’ll bring thee
to the court myself.”  Pericles replies
“This day I’ll rise or else add ill to ill.”
They exit.

Abridged Pericles/#5/Tournament/Act 2, Scene 2

The scene opens in the court of King Simonides.  Simonides tells his First Lord to “tell the
knights that we are ready, and our daughter here, in honor of whose birth these
triumphs are.”  The first Knight passes
by, presenting a shield with “a black Ethiopian reaching at the sun.”  The second Knight is “a prince of Macedon”
with a shield displaying “an armed knight that’s conquered by a lady.”  The third is a knight of Antioch with a
“device bearing a wreath of chivalry.”
The fourth Knight has a shield with “a burning torch that’s turned
upside down.”  The fifth Knight has a
shield “environed with clouds, holding out gold.”  The sixth Knight is Pericles.  His shield is “a withered branch that’s only
green at top.”  Simonides weighs in,
saying “He hopes by you his fortunes yet may flourish.”  The Lords comment, saying “He had need mean
better than his outward show” and “He well may be a stranger, strangely
furnished. And deliberately he let his armor rust.”  Simonides says to his Lords “But stay, the
knights are coming.”

Abridged Pericles/#6/Greeting/Act 2, Scene 3

Simonides, Thaisa, the knights and others are on
stage.  Simonides welcomes the knights,
saying “Every worth in show commends itself.
Prepare for mirth, for mirth becomes a feast. You are princes and my guests.”  Thaisa says to Pericles “This
wreath of victory I give and crown you king of this day’s happiness.”  Pericles replies “Tis more by fortune, lady,
than my merit.”  Simonides jumps in,
saying “Call it by what you will, the day is yours.”  Simonides has Thaisa sit near him and Pericles
sit near her.  Aside she says “Sure, he’s
a gallant gentleman.”  Simonides says
“He’s but a country gentleman.” Aside she says “To me he seems like diamond to
glass.”  Aside Pericles says “Yon king’s
to me like to my father’s picture, which tells in that glory once he was.”  Thaisa (on her father’s command) goes up to
Pericles and says “The King, my father, sir, has drunk to you.  And further, he desires to know of you, your
name and parentage.”  Pericles lays it
out, saying “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.”  She returns to her father,
letting him know of their conversation.
The knights dance with the ladies. Simonides presents Pericles to
Thaisa, saying “Here’s a lady that wants exercise too, and I have heard that
knights of Tyre are excellent dancers.”
They dance.  Simonides says “Pages,
conduct these knights unto their several lodgings.”  He says to Pericles “We have given order be
next our own.”  They exit.

 

Abridged Pericles/#7/Challenge/Act 2, Scene 4

The scene shifts back to Tyre.  Lords Helicanus and Escanes are on
stage.  Helicanus tells him “Antiochus,
seated in a chariot of inestimable value, and his daughter with him, a fire
from heaven came and shriveled up those bodies even to loathing.”  Escanes replies “Twas very strange.”  Helicanus says “And yet was justice.”  Escanes replies “Very true.”  Two or three lords enter.  The First Lord says “Lord Helicanus, a word
with you.  Our griefs have risen to the
top.”  Helicanus says “Your griefs? For
what?”  The First Lord verbally stumbles,
looking for words.  The Second Lord steps
in, saying “Knowing this kingdom is without a head, your noble self, that best
know how to rule and how to reign, we thus submit unto, our sovereign.”  Helicanus replies “A twelve-month longer let me
entreat you to forbear the absence of your king; if in which time expired, he
not return, I shall with aged patience bear your yoke.  Go search like nobles.”  The First Lord says “To wisdom he’s a fool
that will not yield.  We with our travels
will endeavor.”  They exit.

 

 

 

Abridged Pericles/#8/Love/Act 2, Scene 5

The scene shifts back to Pentapolis where Simonides lets the
knights know that “for this twelvemonth she’ll not undertake a married
life.  Her reason is known only to
herself.”  A knight says “We take our
leaves.”  They exit.  Now alone, Simonides says “Now to my
daughter’s letter.  She tells me here
she’ll wed the stranger knight or never more to view nor day nor night.  I like that well.”  Pericles enters.  Simonides asks “What do you think of my
daughter, sir?”  Pericles says “A most
virtuous princess; as fair a day in summer.”
Simonides asks him to read her letter.
Simonides then says “Thou hast bewitched my daughter, and thou art a
villain.”  Pericles cries “By the gods, I
have not.”  Simonides snaps “Traitor,
thou liest.”  Pericles cries
“Traitor?”  Aside, Simonides says “I do
applaud his courage.”  Pericles says “My
actions are as noble as my thoughts; I came unto your court for honor’s cause,
and not to be a rebel to her state.”  Thaisa
enters.  She tells her father that
Pericles has been a gentleman.  He says
to his daughter “Will you, not having my consent, bestow your love and your
affections upon a stranger?”  Aside he
says “Who, for aught I know, may be as great in blood as I myself.”  He then says to the two of them “Are you both
pleased?”  She says “Yes.”  She then turns to Pericles and says “if you
love me sir.”  Pericles says “Even as my
life loves my blood.”  Simonides says
“I’ll make you man and wife. Come, your hands and lips must seal it too.  It pleaseth me so well that I will see you
wed.”

Abridged Pericles/#9/Tragedy/Act 3, Scene 1

We learn that Pericles and Thaisa married; that she
became pregnant; that letters from Tyre confirm that Antiochus and his daughter
are dead; that Helicanus will accept the crown if “Pericles come not home in
twice six moons;” that the people of Pentapolis now know that their “heir
apparent is a king;” and that Pericles plans to depart for Tyre.  As the scene opens, Pericles and Thaisa are
at sea, their ship having encountered a terrible storm and “up and down the
poor ship drives.”  Lychorida, the
midwife, enters carrying an infant.  She
says to Pericles “take in your arms this piece of your dead queen.”  Pericles responds “How, Lychorida?”  She says “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.”  She hands him the infant.  He says “Now mild may be thy life, for never
a more blusterous and violently welcomed birth for a prince’s child.”  Two sailors enter.  The First Sailor says “Sir, your queen must
overboard.  The sea will not become still
till the ship is cleared of the dead.”
Pericles says “That’s your superstition.”  The sailor says “We are strong in custom.  Therefore quickly yield her, for she must
overboard straight.”  Lychorida says
“Here she lies, sir.”  Pericles says “Lay
the babe upon the pillow.  Hie thee,
whiles I say a priestly farewell to her.”
Lychorida exits with the infant.
The Second Sailor says “Sir, we have a chest beneath the hatches.”
Pericles says “What coast is this?”  The
sailor says “We are near Tarsus.” Pericles commands “Alter thy course for
Tyre.  When canst thou reach it?”  The Second Sailor says “By break of day if
the wind cease.”  Pericles changes his
mind, saying “O make for Tarsus!  There
will I visit Cleon, for the babe cannot hold out to Tyre.  There I’ll leave it at careful nursing.”

Abridged Pericles/#10/Miracle/Act 3, Scene 2

The scene opens on a beach in Ephesus.  Lord Cerimon, a physician, is walking along
the shore.  It’s very early in the
morning.  Two Gentlemen enter.  Cerimon says “Gentlemen, why do you stir so
early?”  The First Gentleman says “Our
lodgings shook as the earth did quake.
Fear made me to quit the house.”
He goes on to say to Cerimon “But I marvel that your Lordship, having
luxurious accoutrements about you, should at these early hours shake off the
golden slumber of repose.”  Cerimon goes
on to offer a course in philosophy, saying “I have, together with my practice,
made familiar to me to blessed infusions that dwell in plants and herbs that
Nature works, which give me more contentment and true delight than tying my
pleasure up in silken purses to please the fool and death.”  Servants enter with a chest.  A Servant says “Sir, the sea did toss up upon
our shore this chest.”  Cerimon says
“Let’s look upon it.  Wrench it open.
Soft!  It smells most sweetly in my
sense.”  They open the chest. Cerimon
says “What’s here?  A corpse, shrouded in
cloth of state, balmed and entreasured with full bags of spices. A Passport
too!”  He reads “I, King Pericles, have
lost this queen, worth all our earthly cost.
Who finds her, give her burying.
She was the daughter of a king.”
Cerimon says “Look how fresh she looks.
Fetch hither all my boxes in my chest.”
A Servant exits and returns with boxes, napkins and fire.”  Music sounds.
Cerimon cries “I pray you, give her air.
Gentlemen, this queen will live.
Nature awakes a warm breath out of her.
She hath not been entranced above five hours. She is alive.  Live, and make us weep to hear your fate,
fair creature, rare as you seem to be.”
She moves.  Thaisa says “O dear
Diana, where am I?  Where’s my lord?  What world is this?  A Gentleman says “Is not this strange?”  Cerimon says “Lend me your hands.  To the next chamber bear her.  Get linen.
For her relapse is mortal. Come, come.”
They carry her away.