This page contains the original text of Pericles Act 4, Scene 3. Shakespeare’s original Pericles text is extremely long, so we’ve split the text into one Scene per page. All Acts are listed on the Pericles text page, or linked to from the bottom of this page.
Pericles, Act 4, Scene 3. Tarsus. A room in CLEON’s house.
Enter CLEON and DIONYZA
Why, are you foolish? Can it be undone?
O Dionyza, such a piece of slaughter
The sun and moon ne’er look’d upon!
You’ll turn a child again.
Were I chief lord of all this spacious world,
I’ld give it to undo the deed. O lady,
Much less in blood than virtue, yet a princess
To equal any single crown o’ the earth
I’ the justice of compare! O villain Leonine!
Whom thou hast poison’d too:
If thou hadst drunk to him, ‘t had been a kindness
Becoming well thy fact: what canst thou say
When noble Pericles shall demand his child?
That she is dead. Nurses are not the fates,
To foster it, nor ever to preserve.
She died at night; I’ll say so. Who can cross it?
Unless you play the pious innocent,
And for an honest attribute cry out
‘She died by foul play.’
O, go to. Well, well,
Of all the faults beneath the heavens, the gods
Do like this worst.
Be one of those that think
The petty wrens of Tarsus will fly hence,
And open this to Pericles. I do shame
To think of what a noble strain you are,
And of how coward a spirit.
To such proceeding
Who ever but his approbation added,
Though not his prime consent, he did not flow
From honourable sources.
Be it so, then:
Yet none does know, but you, how she came dead,
Nor none can know, Leonine being gone.
She did disdain my child, and stood between
Her and her fortunes: none would look on her,
But cast their gazes on Marina’s face;
Whilst ours was blurted at and held a malkin
Not worth the time of day. It pierced me through;
And though you call my course unnatural,
You not your child well loving, yet I find
It greets me as an enterprise of kindness
Perform’d to your sole daughter.
Heavens forgive it!
And as for Pericles,
What should he say? We wept after her hearse,
And yet we mourn: her monument
Is almost finish’d, and her epitaphs
In glittering golden characters express
A general praise to her, and care in us
At whose expense ’tis done.
Thou art like the harpy,
Which, to betray, dost, with thine angel’s face,
Seize with thine eagle’s talons.
You are like one that superstitiously
Doth swear to the gods that winter kills the flies:
But yet I know you’ll do as I advise.
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