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men were not more studied in the learning of those times than was
Marina. She sang like one immortal, and danced as goddesslike, and with
her needle she was so skilful that she seemed to compose nature's own
shapes, in birds, fruits, or flowers, the natural roses being scarcely
more like to each other than they were to Marina's silken flowers. But
when she had gained from education all these graces, which made her the
general wonder, Dionysia, the wife of Cleon, became her mortal enemy
from jealousy, by reason that her own daughter, from the slowness of
her mind, was not able to attain to that perfection wherein Marina
excelled: and finding that all praise was bestowed on Marina, whilst
her daughter, who was of the same age, and had been educated with the
same care as Marina, though not with the same success, was in
comparison disregarded, she formed a project to remove Marina out of
the way, vainly imagining that her untoward daughter would be more
respected when Marina was no more seen. To encompass this she employed
a man to murder Marina, and she well timed her wicked design, when
Lychorida, the faithful nurse, had just died. Dionysia was discoursing
with the man she had commanded to commit this murder, when the young
Marina was weeping over the dead Lychorida. Leonine, the man she
employed to do this bad deed, though he was a very wicked man, could
hardly be persuaded to undertake it, so had Marina won all hearts to
love her. He said: 'She is a goodly creature!' 'The tatter then the
gods should have her,' replied her merciless enemy: 'here she comes
weeping for the death of her nurse Lychorida: are you resolved to obey
me?' Leonine, fearing to disobey her, replied: 'I am resolved.' And so,
in that one short sentence, was the matchless Marina doomed to an
untimely death. She now approached, with a basket of flowers in her
hand, which she said she would daily strew over the grave of good
Lychorida. The purple violet and the marigold should as a carpet hang
upon her grave, while summer days did last. 'Alas, for me!' she said,
'poor unhappy maid, born in a tempest, when my mother died. This world
to me is like a lasting storm, hurrying me from my friends.' 'How now,
Marina,' said the dissembling Dionysia, 'do you weep alone? How does it
chance my daughter is not with you? Do not sorrow for Lychorida, you
have a nurse in me. Your beauty is quite changed with this unprofitable
woe. Come, give me your flowers, the sea-air will spoil them; and walk
with Leonine: the air is fine, and will enliven you. Come, Leonine,
take her by the arm, and walk with her.' 'No, madam,' said Marina, 'I
pray you let me not deprive you of your servant': for Leonine was one
of Dionysia's attendants. 'Come, come,' said this artful woman, who
wished for a presence to leave her alone with Leonine, 'I love the
prince, your father, and I love you. We every day expect your father
here; and when he comes, and finds you so changed by grief from the
paragon of beauty we reported you, he will think we have taken no care
of you. Go, I pray you, walk, and be cheerful once again. Be careful of
that excellent complexion, which stole the hearts of old and young.'
Marina, being thus importuned, said: 'Well, I will go, but yet I have
no desire to it.' As Dionysia walked away, she said to Leonine:
'Remember what I have said!' - shocking words, for their meaning was
that he should remember to kill Marina.

Marina looked towards the sea, her birthplace, and said: 'Is the wind
westerly that blows?' 'South-west,' replied Leonine. 'When I was born
the wind was north,' said she: and then the storm and tempest, and all
her father's sorrows, and her mother's death, came full into her mind;
and she said: 'My father, as Lychorida told me, did never fear, but
cried, Courage, good seamen, to the sailors, galling his princely hands
with the ropes, and, clasping to the masts, he endured a sea that
almost split the deck.' 'When was this?' said Leonine. 'When I was
born,' replied Marina: 'never were wind and waves more violent'; and
then she described the storm, the action of the sailors, the
boatswain's whistle, and the loud call of the master, 'which,' said
she, 'trebled the confusion of the ship.' Lychorida had so often
recounted to Marina the story of her hapless birth that these things
seemed ever present to her imagination. But here Leonine interrupted
her with desiring her to say her prayers. 'What mean you?' said Marina,
who began to fear, she knew not why. 'If you require a little space for
prayer, I grant it,' said Leonine; 'but be not tedious, the gods are
quick of ear, and I am sworn to do my work in haste.' 'Will you kill
me?' said Marina: 'alas! why?' 'To satisfy my lady,' replied Leonine.
'Why would she have me killed?' said Marina: 'now, as I can remember, I
never hurt her in all my life. I never spake bad word, nor did any ill
turn to any living creature. Believe me now, I never killed a mouse,
nor hurt a fly. I trod upon a worm once against my will, but I wept for
it. How have I offended?' The murderer replied: 'My commission is not
to reason on the deed, but to do it.' And he was just going to kill
her, when certain pirates happened to land at that very moment, who
seeing Marina, bore her off as a prize to their ship.

The pirate who had made Marina his prize carried her to Mitylene, and
sold her for a slave, where, though in that humble condition, Marina
soon became known throughout the whole city of Mitylene for her beauty
and her virtues; and the person to whom she was sold became rich by the
money she earned for him. She taught music, dancing, and fine
needleworks, and the money she got by her scholars she gave to her
master and mistress; and the fame of her learning and her great
industry came to the knowledge of Lysimachus, a young nobleman who was
governor of Mitylene, and Lysimachus went himself to the house where
Marina dwelt, to see this paragon of excellence, whom all the city
praised so highly. Her conversation delighted Lysimachus beyond
measure, for though he had heard much of this admired maiden, he did
not expect to find her so sensible a lady, so virtuous, and so good, as
he perceived Marina to be; and he left her, saying, he hoped she would
persevere in her industrious and virtuous course, and that if ever she
heard from him again it should be for her good. Lysimachus thought
Marina such a miracle for sense, fine breeding, and excellent
qualities, as well as for beauty and all outward graces, that he wished
to marry her, and notwithstanding her humble situation, he hoped to
find that her birth was noble; but ever when they asked her parentage
she would sit still and weep.

Meantime, at Tarsus, Leonine, fearing the anger of Dionysia, told her
he had killed Marina; and that wicked woman gave out that she was dead,
and made a pretended funeral for her, and erected a stately monument;
and shortly after Pericles, accompanied by his royal minister
Helicanus, made a voyage from Tyre to Tarsus, on purpose to see his
daughter, intending to take her home with him: and he never having
beheld her since he left her an infant in the care of Cleon and his
wife, how did this good prince rejoice at the thought of seeing this
dear child of his buried queen! but when they told him Marina was dead,
and showed the monument they had erected for her, great was the misery
this most wretched father endured, and not being able to bear the sight
of that country where his last hope and only memory of his dear Thaisa
was entombed, he took ship, and hastily departed from Tarsus. From the
day he entered the ship a dull and heavy melancholy seized him. He
never spoke, and seemed totally insensible to everything around him.

Sailing from Tarsus to Tyre, the ship in its course passed by Mitylene,
where Marina dwelt; the governor of which place, Lysimachus, observing
this royal vessel from the shore, and desirous of knowing who was on
board, went in a barge to the side of the ship, to satisfy his
curiosity. Helicanus received him very courteously and told him that
the ship came from Tyre, and that they were conducting thither
Pericles, their prince; 'A man, sir,' said Helicanus, 'who has not
spoken to any one these three months, nor taken any sustenance, but
just to prolong his grief; it would be tedious to repeat the whole
ground of his distemper, but the main springs from the loss of a
beloved daughter and a wife.' Lysimachus begged to see this afflicted
prince, and when he beheld Pericles, he saw he had been once a goodly
person, and he said to him: 'Sir king, all hail, the gods preserve you,
hail, royal sir!' But in vain Lysimachus spoke to him; Pericles made no
answer, nor did he appear to perceive any stranger approached. And then
Lysimachus bethought him of the peerless maid Marina, that haply with
her sweet tongue she might win some answer from the silent prince: and
with the consent of Helicanus he sent for Marina, and when she entered
the ship in which her own father sat motionless with grief, they
welcomed her on board as if they had known she was their princess; and
they cried: 'She is a gallant lady.' Lysimachus was well pleased to
hear their commendations, and he said: 'She is such a one, that were I
well assured she came of noble birth, I would wish no better choice,
and think me rarely blessed in a wife.' And then he addressed her in
courtly terms, as if the lowly-seeming maid had been the high-born lady
he wished to kind her, calling her Fair and beautiful Marina, telling
her a great prince on board that ship had fallen into a sad and
mournful silence; and, as if Marina had the power of conferring health
and felicity, he begged she would undertake to cure the royal stranger
of his melancholy. 'Sir,' said Marina, 'I will use my utmost skill in
his recovery, provided none but I and my maid be suffered to come near
him.'

She, who at Mitylene had so carefully concealed her birth, ashamed to
tell that one of royal ancestry was now a slave, first began to speak
to Pericles of the wayward changes in her own fate, telling him from
what a high estate herself had fallen. As if she had known it was her
royal father she stood before, all the words she spoke were of her own
sorrows; but her reason for so doing was, that she knew nothing more
wins the attention of the unfortunate than the recital of some sad
calamity to match their own. The sound of her sweet voice aroused the
drooping prince; he lifted up his eyes, which had been so long fixed
and motionless; and Marina, who was the perfect image of her mother,
presented to his amazed sight the features of his dead queen. The
long-silent prince was once more heard to speak. 'My dearest wife,'
said the awakened Pericles, 'was like this maid, and such a one might
my daughter have been. My queen's square brows, her stature to an inch,
as wand-like straight, as silver-voiced, her eyes as jewel-like. Where
do you live, young maid? Report your parentage. I think you said you
had been tossed from wrong to injury, and that you thought your griefs
would equal mine, if both were opened.' 'Some such thing I said,'
replied Marina, 'and said no more than what my thoughts did warrant me
as likely.' 'Tell me your story,' answered Pericles; 'if I find you
have known the thousandth part of my endurance, you have borne your
sorrows like a man, and I have suffered like a girl; yet you do look
like Patience gazing on kings' graves, and smiling extremity out of
act. How lost you your name, my most kind virgin? Recount your story I
beseech you. Come, sit by me.' How was Pericles surprised when she said
her name was Marina, for he knew it was no usual name, but had been
invented by himself for his own child to signify seaborn: 'O, I am
mocked,' said he, 'and you are sent hither by some incensed god to make
the world laugh at me.' 'Patience, good sir,' said Marina, 'or I must
cease here.' 'Nay,' said Pericles, 'I will be patient; you little know
how you do startle me, to call yourself Marina.' 'The name,' she
replied, 'was given me by one that had some power, my father, and a
king.' 'How, a king's daughter!' said Pericles, 'and called Marina! But
are you flesh and blood? Are you no fairy? Speak on; where were you
born? and wherefore called Marina?' She replied: 'I was called Marina,
because I was born at sea. My mother was the daughter of a king; she
died the minute I was born, as my good nurse Lychorida has often told
me weeping. The king, my father, left me at Tarsus, till the cruel wife
of Cleon sought to murder me. A crew of pirates came and rescued me,
and brought me here to Mitylene. But, good sir, why do you weep? It may
be, you think me an impostor. But, indeed, sir, I am the daughter to
king Pericles, if good king Pericles be living.' Then Pericles,
terrified as he seemed at his own sudden joy, and doubtful if this
could be real, loudly called for his attendants, who rejoiced at the
sound of their beloved king's voice; and he said to Helicanus: 'O
Helicanus, strike me, give me a gash, put me to present pain, lest this
great sea of joys rushing upon me, overbear the shores of my mortality.
O, come hither, thou that west born at sea, buried at Tarsus, and found
at sea again. O Helicanus, down on your knees, thank the holy gods!
This is Marina. Now blessings on thee, my child! Give me fresh
garments, mine own Helicanus! She is not dead at Tarsus as she should
have been by the savage Dionysia. She shall tell you all, when you
shall kneel to her and call her your very princess. Who is this?'
(observing Lysimachus for the first time). 'Sir,' said Helicanus, 'it
is the governor of Mitylene, who, hearing of your melancholy, came to
see you.' 'I embrace you, sir,' said Pericles. 'Give me my robes! I am
wild with beholding - O heaven bless my girl! But hark, what music is
that?' - for now, either sent by some kind god, or by his own delighted
fancy deceived, he seemed to hear soft music. 'My lord, I hear none,'
replied Helicanus. 'None?' said Pericles; 'why it is the music of the
spheres.' As there was no music to be heard, Lysimachus concluded that
the sudden joy had unsettled the prince's understanding; and he said:
'It is not good to cross him: let him have his way': and then they told
him they heard the music; and he now complaining of a drowsy slumber
coming over him, Lysimachus persuaded him to rest on a couch, and
placing a pillow under his head, he, quite overpowered with excess of
joy, sank into a sound sleep, and Marina watched in silence by the
couch of her sleeping parent.

While he slept, Pericles dreamed a dream which made him resolve to go
to Ephesus. His dream was, that Diana, the goddess of the Ephesians,
appeared to him, and commanded him to go to her temple at Ephesus, and
there before her altar to declare the story of his life and
misfortunes; and by her silver bow she swore, that if he performed her
injunction, he should meet with some rate felicity. When he awoke,
being miraculously refreshed, he told his dream, and that his
resolution was to obey the bidding of the goddess.

Then Lysimachus invited Pericles to come on shore, and refresh himself
with such entertainment as he should find at Mitylene, which courteous
offer Pericles accepting, agreed to tarry with him for the space of a
day or two. During which time we may well suppose what feastings, what
rejoicings, what costly shows and entertainments the governor made in
Mitylene, to greet the royal father of his dear Marina, whom in her
obscure fortunes he had so respected. Nor did Pericles frown upon
Lysimachus's suit, when he understood how he had honoured his child in
the days of her low estate, and that Marina showed herself not averse
to his proposals; only he made it a condition, before he gave his
consent, that they should visit with him the shrine of the Ephesian
Diana: to whose temple they shortly after all three undertook a voyage;
and, the goddess herself filling their sails with prosperous winds,
after a few weeks they arrived in safety at Ephesus.

There was standing near the altar of the goddess, when Pericles with
his train entered the temple, the good Cerimon (now grown very aged)
who had restored Thaisa, the wife of Pericles, to life; and Thaisa, now
a priestess of the temple, was standing before the altar; and though
the many years he had passed in sorrow for her loss had much altered
Pericles, Thaisa thought she knew her husband's features, and when he
approached the altar and began to speak, she remembered his voice, and
listened to his words with wonder and a joyful amazement. And these
were the words that Pericles spoke before the altar: 'Hail, Diana! to
perform thy just commands, I here confess myself the prince of Tyre,
who, frighted from my country, at Pentapolis wedded the fair Thaisa:
she died at sea in childbed, but brought forth a maid-child called
Marina. She at Tarsus was nursed with Dionysia, who at fourteen years
thought to kill her, but her better stars brought her to Mitylene, by
whose shores as I sailed, her good fortunes brought this maid on board,
where by her most clear remembrance she made herself known to be my
daughter.'

Thaisa, unable to bear the transports which his words had raised in
her, cried out: 'You are, you are, O royal Pericles' - and fainted.
'What means this woman?' said Pericles: 'she dies! gentlemen, help.'
'Sir,' said Cerimon, 'if you have told Diana's altar true, this is your
wife.' 'Reverend gentleman, no,' said Pericles: 'I threw her overboard
with these very arms.' Cerimon then recounted how, early one
tempestuous morning, this lady was thrown upon the Ephesian shore; how,
opening the coffin, he found therein rich jewels, and a paper; how,
happily, he recovered her, and placed her here in Diana's temple. And
now, Thaisa being restored from her swoon said: 'O my lord, are you not
Pericles? Like him you speak, like him you are. Did you not name a
tempest, a birth, and death?' He astonished said: 'The voice of dead
Thaisa!' 'That Thaisa am I,' she replied, 'supposed dead and drowned.'
'O true Diana!' exclaimed Pericles, in a passion of devout
astonishment. 'And now,' said Thaisa, 'I know you better. Such a ring
as I see on your finger did the king my father give you, when we with
tears parted from him at Pentapolis.' 'Enough, you gods!' cried
Pericles, 'your present kindness makes my past miseries sport. O come,
Thaisa, be buried a second time within these arms.

And Marina said: 'My heart leaps to be gone into my mother's bosom.'
Then did Pericles show his daughter to her mother, saying: 'Look who
kneels here, flesh of thy flesh, thy burthen at sea, and called Marina,
because she was yielded there.' 'Blessed and my own!' said Thaisa: and
while she hung in rapturous joy over her child, Pericles knelt before
the altar, saying: 'Pure Diana, bless thee for thy vision. For this, I
will offer oblations nightly to thee.' And then and there did Pericles,
with the consent of Thaisa, solemnly affiance their daughter, the
virtuous Marina, to the well-deserving Lysimachus in marriage.

Thus have we seen in Pericles, his queen, and daughter, a famous
example of virtue assailed by calamity (through the sufferance of
Heaven, to teach patience and constancy to men), under the same
guidance becoming finally successful, and triumphing over chance and
change. In Helicanus we have beheld a notable pattern of truth, of
faith, and loyalty, who, when he might have succeeded to a shone, chose
rather to recall the rightful owner to his possession, than to become
great by another's wrong. In the worthy Cerimon, who restored Thaisa to
life, we are instructed how goodness directed by knowledge, in
bestowing benefits upon mankind, approaches to the nature of the gods.
It only remains to be told, that Dionysia, the wicked wife of Cleon,
met with an end proportionable to her deserts; the inhabitants of
Tarsus, when her cruel attempt upon Marina was known, rising in a body
to revenge the daughter of their benefactor, and setting fire to the
palace of Cleon, burnt both him and her, and their whole household: the
gods seeming well pleased, that so foul a murder, though but
intentional, and never carried into act, should be punished in a way
befitting its enormity.












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Online LibraryCharles LambTales of Shakespeare → online text (page 23 of 23)