Pericles, Prince of Tyre In Plain and Simple English (Digital Download)
A Hidden Gem in Shakespeare's Crown

Among Shakespeare's vast and diverse works, "Pericles" sparkles subtly, often overshadowed by the more famous tragedies and comedies. Yet, for those who delve deep, it unfolds as a riveting tale, if only one can decipher the Bard's intricate language.

Journey with Pericles, Prince of Tyre, through an adventure replete with storms, shipwrecks, romance, and redemption. A tapestry of themes awaits the discerning reader, waiting to be unraveled and appreciated.

For those who've previously felt tangled in the web of Shakespearean prose, fear not! BookCaps emerges as your guiding light. Dive into an accessible, modern-day rendition of "Pericles, Prince of Tyre", crafted to preserve the essence of the original while making it comprehensible to all. Accompanied by Shakespeare's authentic text, this modern translation offers both the seasoned aficionado and the budding reader a chance to relish this lesser-known, yet magnificent play.






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SCENE I. DUKE ORSINO's palace. Enter DUKE ORSINO, CURIO, and other Lords; Musicians attending



If music be the food of love, play on;

If music is what feeds love, keep playing;

Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,

Give me more than I need of it, which, without having enough,

The appetite may sicken, and so die.

The desire for love might starve, and then die.

That strain again! it had a dying fall:

That sound again! it got quieter and quieter;

O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound,

Oh, it came over my ear like the sweet sound,

That breathes upon a bank of violets,

That drifts over a field of violets,

Stealing and giving odour! Enough; no more:

Stealing and then giving away the scent! Enough; no more:

'Tis not so sweet now as it was before.

It is not as sweet now as it was before.

O spirit of love! how quick and fresh art thou,

Oh the spirit of love! You are so quick and fresh,

That, notwithstanding thy capacity

That, no matter your depth

Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there,

Takes in as much as the sea; nothing enters there,

Of what validity and pitch soe'er,

No matter how real and strong,

But falls into abatement and low price,

That doesn't become less and cheaper,

Even in a minute: so full of shapes is fancy

Even in a minute: affection is so full of imagination

That it alone is high fantastical.

That by itself it is fantasy.


Will you go hunt, my lord?

Will you go hunt, my lord?



What, Curio?

What, Curio



The hart.

The hart [a kind of deer, but sounding like "heart"].


Why, so I do, the noblest that I have:

Why, indeed I do, the most noble that I have:

O, when mine eyes did see Olivia first,

Oh, when I first saw Olivia,

Methought she purged the air of pestilence!

I thought she took all the poison from the world!

That instant was I turn'd into a hart;

In that moment I was turned into a heart;

And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds,

And my desires, like evil and cruel hunting dogs,

E'er since pursue me.

Have been chasing me ever since.


How now! what news from her?

So, what's going on? Any news from her?


So please my lord, I might not be admitted;

My lord, I am afraid I was not allowed to see her;

But from her handmaid do return this answer:

But her maid gave me this answer:

The element itself, till seven years' heat,

The sun itself, unless after giving the heat of seven years all at once,

Shall not behold her face at ample view;

Would not be able to easily see her face;

But, like a cloistress, she will veiled walk

But, like a nun, she will walk with a veil over her face

And water once a day her chamber round

And spread salt water around her room

With eye-offending brine: all this to season

Once a day, in order to honor

A brother's dead love, which she would keep fresh

Her love for her dead brother, which she wants to keep fresh

And lasting in her sad remembrance.

And lasting in her sad memories.


O, she that hath a heart of that fine frame

Oh, she has a good heart,

To pay this debt of love but to a brother,

To pay so much love and sacrifice just to a brother,

How will she love, when the rich golden shaft

How will she love, when fate and time

Hath kill'd the flock of all affections else

Has killed her ability to love anything else

That live in her; when liver, brain and heart,

That might be found inside her; when her liver, brain, and heart,

These sovereign thrones, are all supplied, and fill'd

Those ruling thrones, are all occupied and filled

Her sweet perfections with one self king!

Her sweet virtues with one person as king!

Away before me to sweet beds of flowers:

Let me go now to sweet beds of flowers:

Love-thoughts lie rich when canopied with bowers.

Thoughts of love are richer when covered with garden plants.



SCENE II. The sea-coast. Enter VIOLA, a Captain, and Sailors



What country, friends, is this?

What country, friends, is this?



This is Illyria, lady.

This is Illyria, lady.



And what should I do in Illyria?

And what should I do now that I'm in Illyria?

My brother he is in Elysium.

My brother is in Heaven.

Perchance he is not drown'd: what think you, sailors?

Unless by some chance he is not drowned: what do you think, sailors?


It is perchance that you yourself were saved.

It was by chance that you yourself were saved.


O my poor brother! and so perchance may he be.

Oh my poor brother! And so maybe he will be saved by luck


True, madam: and, to comfort you with chance,

True, madam: and to comfort you with how likely it is,

Assure yourself, after our ship did split,

Be reassured, after our ship split,

When you and those poor number saved with you

When you and the too-small number saved with you

Hung on our driving boat, I saw your brother,

Hung onto our lifeboat, I saw your brother,

Most provident in peril, bind himself,

Very wise and practical in danger, tying himself,

Courage and hope both teaching him the practise,

Courage and hope both inspiring him to do so,

To a strong mast that lived upon the sea;

To a strong mast that floated on the sea;

Where, like Arion on the dolphin's back,

Where, like that mythical character riding the dolphin

I saw him hold acquaintance with the waves

I saw him fight against the waves

So long as I could see.

As long as I could see him.


For saying so, there's gold:

For saying so, here's some gold:

Mine own escape unfoldeth to my hope,

My own escape encourages the hope,

Whereto thy speech serves for authority,

Which your speech gives authority to,

The like of him. Know'st thou this country?

The likelihood of him living. Do you know this country?


Ay, madam, well; for I was bred and born

Yes, madam, well; for I was born and raised

Not three hours' travel from this very place.

Less that three hours' travel from this very place.


Who governs here?

Who rules here?


A noble duke, in nature as in name.

A noble duke, who is also a good man.


What is the name?

What is the name?






Orsino! I have heard my father name him:

Orsino! I have heard my father speak of him:

He was a bachelor then.

He was a bachelor then.


And so is now, or was so very late;

And also is now, or was so very recently;

For but a month ago I went from hence,

For it was only a month ago when I left here,

And then 'twas fresh in murmur,--as, you know,

And then the rumor was - since, as you know,

What great ones do the less will prattle of,--

The poor love to gossip about the rich, -

That he did seek the love of fair Olivia.

That he wanted the love of beautiful Olivia.


What's she?

What is she?



A virtuous maid, the daughter of a count

A virtuous young woman, the daughter of a count

That died some twelvemonth since, then leaving her

That died about a year ago, then leaving her

In the protection of his son, her brother,

Under the guardianship of his son, her brother,

Who shortly also died: for whose dear love,

Who soon also died; and for whose sake,

They say, she hath abjured the company

They say, she has given up the company

And sight of men.

And presence of men.


O that I served that lady

Oh how I wish I served that lady

And might not be delivered to the world,

And would not have to face the world,

Till I had made mine own occasion mellow,

Until I had helped resolve this situation

What my estate is!

And found my fortune!


That were hard to compass;

The duke's situation is difficult;

Because she will admit no kind of suit,

Because she refuses any kind of courting,

No, not the duke's.

No, not the duke's.


There is a fair behavior in thee, captain;

You are both handsome and honest, captain;

And though that nature with a beauteous wall

And though nature often uses an attractive wall

Doth oft close in pollution, yet of thee

To disguise trash, yet when it comes to you

I will believe thou hast a mind that suits

I will believe you have a mind that suits

With this thy fair and outward character.

Your attractive and kind appearance.

I prithee, and I'll pay thee bounteously,

I ask you, and I'll pay you well,

Conceal me what I am, and be my aid

Hide what I am, and help me

For such disguise as haply shall become

With the kind of disguise that would be helpful

The form of my intent. I'll serve this duke:

For my purposes. I'll work for this duke:

Thou shall present me as an eunuch to him:

You can present me as a eunuch to him:

It may be worth thy pains; for I can sing

It may be worth your trouble; for I can sing

And speak to him in many sorts of music

And talk to him pleasantly and cleverly

That will allow me very worth his service.

That will make him hiring me very worthwhile.

What else may hap to time I will commit;

What else may happen I leave to time;

Only shape thou thy silence to my wit.

Only keep my secret.


Be you his eunuch, and your mute I'll be:

You be his eunuch, and I won't say a thing about it;

When my tongue blabs, then let mine eyes not see.

If I blab, may I go blind.


I thank thee: lead me on.

Thank you: now show me the way.





What a plague means my niece, to take the death of

What in tarnation is my niece doing, to react to the death of

her brother thus? I am sure care's an enemy to life.

her brother in such a way? I am sure moping is bad for you.


By my troth, Sir Toby, you must come in earlier o'

Truthfully, Sir Toby, you must come in earlier at

nights: your cousin, my lady, takes great

night: your relative, my lady, has a lot of

exceptions to your ill hours.

issues with your bad timing.


Why, let her except, before excepted.

Well, let her have issues before she is issued.


Ay, but you must confine yourself within the modest

Yes, but you must keep yourself inside the bounds

limits of order.

of proper behavior.


Confine! I'll confine myself no finer than I am:

Keep myself! I'll keep myself no better than I am kept:

these clothes are good enough to drink in; and so be

these clothes are good enough to drink it; and so are

these boots too: an they be not, let them hang

these books too: and if they are not, let them hang

themselves in their own straps.

themselves in their own straps.
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