Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Pericles, Prince of Tyre
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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
 
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
 
Act II. Scene III.
 
The Same.  A Hall of State.  A Banquet prepared.
 
Enter SIMONIDES, THAISA, Marshal, Ladies, Lords, Knights from tilting, and Attendants.
  Sim.  Knights,
To say you’re welcome were superfluous.
To place upon the volume of your deeds,        5
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.        10
  Thai.  But you, my knight and guest;
To whom this wreath of victory I give,
And crown you king of this day’s happiness.
  Per.  ’Tis more by fortune, lady, than by merit.
  Sim.  Call it by what you will, the day is yours;        15
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’re her labour’d scholar. Come, queen o’ the feast,—
For, daughter, so you are,—here take your place;        20
Marshal the rest, as they deserve their grace.
  Knights.  We are honour’d much by good Simonides.
  Sim.  Your presence glads our days; honour we love,
For who hates honour, hates the gods above.
  Marshal.  Sir, yonder is your place.        25
  Per.        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.
  Per.  You are right courteous knights.        30
  Sim.        Sit, sir; sit.
  Per.  By Jove, I wonder, that is king of thoughts,
These cates resist me, she but thought upon.
  Thai.  [Aside.]  By Juno, that is queen of marriage,
All viands that I eat do seem unsavoury,        35
Wishing him my meat. Sure, he’s a gallant gentleman.
  Sim.  He’s but a country gentleman;
He has done no more than other knights have done;
He has broken a staff or so; so let it pass.
  Thai.  To me he seems like diamond to glass.        40
  Per.  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        45
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,        50
And gives them what he will, not what they crave.
  Sim.  What, are you merry, knights?
  First Knight.  Who can be other in this royal presence?
  Sim.  Here, with a cup that’s stor’d unto the brim,
As you do love, fill to your mistress’ lips,        55
We drink this health to you.
  Knights.        We thank your Grace.
  Sim.  Yet pause awhile;
Yon knight doth sit too melancholy,
As if the entertainment in our court        60
Had not a show might countervail his worth.
Note it not you, Thaisa?
  Thai.        What is it
To me, my father?
  Sim.        O! attend, my daughter:        65
Princes in this should live like gods 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.        70
Therefore to make his entrance more sweet,
Here say we drink this standing-bowl of wine to him.
  Thai.  Alas! my father, it befits not me
Unto a stranger knight to be so bold;
He may my proffer take for an offence,        75
Since men take women’s gifts for impudence.
  Sim.  How!
Do as I bid you, or you’ll move me else.
  Thai.  [Aside.]  Now, by the gods, he could not please me better.
  Sim.  And further tell him, we desire to know of him,        80
Of whence he is, his name, and parentage.
  Thai.  The king, my father, sir, has drunk to you.
  Per.  I thank him.
  Thai.  Wishing it so much blood unto your life.
  Per.  I thank both him and you, and pledge him freely.        85
  Thai.  And further he desires to know of you,
Of whence you are, your name and parentage.
  Per.  A gentleman of Tyre, my name, Pericles;
My education been in arts and arms;
Who, looking for adventures in the world,        90
Was by the rough seas reft of ships and men,
And after shipwrack, driven upon this shore.
  Thai.  He thanks your Grace; names himself Pericles,
A gentleman of Tyre,
Who only by misfortune of the seas        95
Bereft of ships and men, cast on this shore.
  Sim.  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.        100
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.        105
So this was well ask’d, ’twas so well perform’d.
Come, sir;
Here is a lady that wants breathing too:
And I have often heard, you knights of Tyre
Are excellent in making ladies trip,        110
And that their measures are as excellent.
  Per.  In those that practise them they are, my lord.
  Sim.  O! that’s as much as you would be denied
Of your fair courtesy.  [The Knights and Ladies dance.
        Unclasp, unclasp;        115
Thanks, gentlemen, to all; all have done well,
[To PERICLES.]  But you the best. Pages and lights, to conduct
These knights unto their several lodgings! Yours, sir,
We have given order to be next our own.
  Per.  I am at your Grace’s pleasure.        120
  Sim.  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.
 
 
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