Tarsus. A room in Cleon’s house.
Dionyza has told Cleon about Marina’s murder (as she supposed) and he is deeply distressed. Dionyza tells him he’s a fool and assures him that Pericles will never know, since she has poisoned Leonine. Cleon is disturbed at his wife’s character, but she is sure he’ll obey her. (57 lines)
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!
I think you’ll turn a child again.
Were I chief lord of all this spacious world,
I’d give it to undo the deed. O lady,
Much less in blood than virtue, yet a princess
To equal any single crown a’ th’ earth
I’ th’ justice of compare! O villain Leonine!
Whom thou hast pois’ned too.
If thou hadst drunk to him, ’t ’ad 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, not 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 thinks
The petty wrens of Tharsus 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 honorable courses.
Be it so then,
Yet none does know but you how she came dead,
Nor none can know, Leonine being gone.
She did distain my child, and stood between
Her and her fortunes. None would look on her,
But cast their gazes on Marina’s face;
Whilest ours was blurted at and held a mawkin
Not worth the time of day. It pierc’d me thorough,
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 finished, and her epitaphs
In glitt’ring 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 talents.
Y’ are like one that superstitiously
Do swear to th’ gods that winter kills the flies,
But yet I know you’ll do as I advise.