Pericles, Prince of Tyre

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Prologue

       
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[Enter GOWER]

  • Gower. Imagine Pericles arrived at Tyre,
    Welcomed and settled to his own desire.
    His woeful queen we leave at Ephesus, 1495
    Unto Diana there a votaress.
    Now to Marina bend your mind,
    Whom our fast-growing scene must find
    At Tarsus, and by Cleon train'd
    In music, letters; who hath gain'd 1500
    Of education all the grace,
    Which makes her both the heart and place
    Of general wonder. But, alack,
    That monster envy, oft the wrack
    Of earned praise, Marina's life 1505
    Seeks to take off by treason's knife.
    And in this kind hath our Cleon
    One daughter, and a wench full grown,
    Even ripe for marriage-rite; this maid
    Hight Philoten: and it is said 1510
    For certain in our story, she
    Would ever with Marina be:
    Be't when she weaved the sleided silk
    With fingers long, small, white as milk;
    Or when she would with sharp needle wound 1515
    The cambric, which she made more sound
    By hurting it; or when to the lute
    She sung, and made the night-bird mute,
    That still records with moan; or when
    She would with rich and constant pen 1520
    Vail to her mistress Dian; still
    This Philoten contends in skill
    With absolute Marina: so
    With the dove of Paphos might the crow
    Vie feathers white. Marina gets 1525
    All praises, which are paid as debts,
    And not as given. This so darks
    In Philoten all graceful marks,
    That Cleon's wife, with envy rare,
    A present murderer does prepare 1530
    For good Marina, that her daughter
    Might stand peerless by this slaughter.
    The sooner her vile thoughts to stead,
    Lychorida, our nurse, is dead:
    And cursed Dionyza hath 1535
    The pregnant instrument of wrath
    Prest for this blow. The unborn event
    I do commend to your content:
    Only I carry winged time
    Post on the lame feet of my rhyme; 1540
    Which never could I so convey,
    Unless your thoughts went on my way.
    Dionyza does appear,
    With Leonine, a murderer.

[Exit]

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