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This mercy shows we'll joy in such a son:
And until then your entertain shall be
As doth befit our honour and your worth.
[Eceunt Ant., his Daughter, and Attendants.
Per. How courtesy would seem to cover sin,
When what is done is like an hypocrite,
The which is good in nothing but in sight!
If it be true that I interpret false,
Then were it certain you were not so bad
As with foul incest to abuse your soul;
Where now you're both a father and a son,
By your untimely claspings with your child,
Which pleasure fits an husband, not a father ;-
And she an eater of her mother's flesh,
By the defiling of her parent's bed;
And both like serpents are, who, though they feed
On sweetest flowers, yet they poison breed.
Antioch, farewell! for wisdom sees, those men
Blush not in actions blacker than the night
Will shun no course to keep them from the light.
One sin I know another doth provoke;
Murder's as near to lust as flame to smoke:
Poison and treason are the hands of sin,
Ay, and the targets to put off the shame:
Then, lest my life be cropp'd to keep you clear,
By flight I'll shun the danger which I fear.
[Exit. Re-enter ANTIOCHUS. Ant. He hath found the meaning, for the which we mean To have his head. He must not live to trumpet forth my infamy, Nor tell the world Antiochus doth sin In such a loathed manner; And therefore instantly this prince must die; For by his fall my honour must keep high. Who attends us there?
Doth your highness call?
Ant. Thaliard, you're of our chamber, and our mind
Partakes her private actions to your secrecy:
And for your faithfulness we will advance you.
Thaliard, behold here's poison and here's gold;
We hate the Prince of Tyre, and thou must kill him:
It fits thee not to ask the reason why,
Because we bid it. Say, is it done?
Enter a Messenger.
Let your breath cool yourself, telling your haste.
Mess. My lord, Prince Pericles is fled.
Wilt live, fly after: and as an arrow shot
From a well-experienc'd archer hits the mark
His eye doth level at, so thou ne'er return
Unless thou say Prince Pericles is dead.
Thal. My lord,
If I can get him once within my pistol's length
I'll make him sure enough: so, farewell to your highness.
Ant. Thaliard, adieu! [Exit THAL.] Till Pericles be dead My heart can lend no succour to my head.
SCENE II.-TYRE. A Room in the Palace.
Enter PERICLES. Per. [to those without.] Let none disturb us. ---Why should
this change of thoughts,
Thc sad companion, dull-ey'd melancholy,
Be my so us'd a guest as not an hour
In the day's glorious walk, or peaceful night,
The tomb where grief should sleep, -can breed me quiet?
Here pleasures court mine eyes, and mine eyes shun them,
And danger, which I fear'd, is at Antioch,
Whose aim seems far too short to hit me here:
Yet neither pleasure's art can joy my spirits,
Nor yet the other's distance comfort me.
Then it is thus: the passions of the mind,
That have their first conception by mis-dread,
Have after-nourishment and life by care;
And what was first but fear what might be done,
Grows elder now, and cares it be not done.
And so with me:
:-the great Antiochus, –
'Gainst whom I am too little to contend,
Since he's so great, can make his will his act, -
Will think we speaking, though I swear to silence;
Nor boots it me to say I honour him,
If he suspect I may dishonour him:
And what may make him blush in being known,
He'll stop the course by which it might be known;
With hostile forces he'll o'erspread the land,
And with the ostent of war will look so huge,
Amazement shall drive courage from the state;
Our men be vanquish'd ere they do resist,
And subjects punish'd that ne'er thought offence:
Which care of them, not pity of myself, —
Who once no more but as the tops of trees,
Which fence the roots they grow by, and defend them,-
Makes both my body pine and soul to languish,
And punish that before that he would punish.
Enter HELICANUS and other Lords.
1 Lord. Joy and all comfort in your sacred breast!
2 Lord. And keep your mind, till you return to us, Peaceful and comfortable!
Hel. Peace, peace, my lords, and give experience tongue. They do abuse the king that flatter him: For flattery is the bellows blows up sin; The thing the which is flatter'd, but a spark, To which that blast gives heat and stronger glowing; Whereas reproof, obedient, and in order, Fits kings, as they are men, for they may err. When Signior Sooth here does proclaim a peace He flatters you, makes war upon your life. Prince, pardon me, or strike me if you please; I cannot be much lower than my knees.
Per. All leave us else; but let your cares o'erlook What shipping and what lading's in our haven, And then return to us. (Exeunt Lords. ] Helicanus, thou Hast nioved us: what seest thou in our looks?
Hel. An angry brow, dread lord.
Per. If there be such a dart in princes' frowns, How durst thy tongue move anger to our face?
Hel. How dare the plants look up to heaven, from whence They have their nourishment? Per.
Thou know'st I have power To take thy life from thee.
Hel. [kneeling.) I have ground the axe myself ;
Do you but strike the blow.
Rise, pr’ythee, rise.
Sit down, sit down: thou art no flatterer:
I thank thee for it; and heaven forbid
That kings should let their ears hear their faults chid!
Fit counsellor and servant for a prince,
Who by thy wisdom mak'st a prince thy servant,
What wouldst thou have me do?
To bear with patience
Such griefs as you yourself do lay upon yourself.
Per. Thou speak’st like a physician, Helicanus,
That minister'st a potion unto me
That thou wouldst tremble to receive thyself.
Attend me, then: I went to Antioch,
Where, as thou know'st, against the face of death,
I sought the purchase of a glorious beauty,
From whence an issue I might propagate,
Are arms to princes, and bring joys to subjects.
Her face was to mine eye beyond all wonder;
The rest, -hark in thine ear,-as black as incest :
Which by my knowledge found, the sinful father
Seem'd not to strike, but smooth: but thou know'st this,
'Tis time to fear when tyrants seem to kiss.
Which fear so grew in me, I hither fled,
Under the covering of a careful night,
Who seem'd my good protector; and, being here,
Bethought me what was past, what might succeed.
I knew him tyrannous; and tyrants' fears
Decrease not, but grow faster than their years:
And should he doubt it, -as no doubt he doth,-
That I should open to the listening air
How many worthy princes' bloods were shed
To keep his bed of blackness unlaid ope,
To lop that doubt, he'll fill this land with arms,
And make pretence of wrong that I have done him;
When all, for mine, if I may call offence,
Must feel war's blow, who spares not innocence:
Which love to all,-
of which thyself art one,
Who now reprov'st me for it, –
Per. Drew sleep out of mine eyes, blood from my cheeks,
Musings into my mind, with thousand doubts
How I might stop this tempest ere it came;
And, finding little comfort to relieve them,
I thought it princely charity to grieve them.
Hel. Well, my lord, since you have given me leave to
Freely will I speak. Antiochus you fear,
And justly too, I think, you fear the tyrant,
Who either by public war or private treason
Will take away your life.
Therefore, my lord, go travel for awhile,
Till that his rage and anger be forgot,
Or till the Destinies do cut his thread of life,
Your rule direct to any; if to me,
Day serves not light more faithful than I'll be.
Per. I do not doubt thy faith;
But should he wrong my liberties in my absence?
Hel. We'll mingle our bloods together in the earth,
From whence we had our being and our birth.
Per. Tyre, I now look from thee, then, and to Tharsus Intend my travel, where I'll hear from thee; And by whose letters I'll dispose myself. The care I had and have of subjects' good On thee I lay, whose wisdom's strength can bear it. I'll take thy word for faith, not ask thine oath: Who shuns not to break one will sure crack both: But in our orbs we'll live so round and safe, That time of both this truth shall ne'er convince, Thou show'dst a subject's shine, I a true prince. [Exeunt.
SCENE III.-TYRE. An Ante-chamber in the Palace.
Enter THALIARD. Thal. So, this is Tyre, and this the court. Here must I kill King Pericles; and if I do it not, I am sure to be hanged sat home: 'tis dangerous.—Well, I perceive he was a wise fellow, and had good discretion, that, being bid to ask what he would of the king, desired he might know none of his secrets. Now do I see he had some reason for't: for if a king bid a man be a villain, he is bound by the indenture of his oath to be one.-Hush! here come the lords of Tyre.
Enter HELICANUS, ESCANES, and other Lords.
Hel. You shall not need, my fellow peers of Tyre,
Further to question me of your king's departure:
His seal'd commission, left in trust with me,
Doth speak sufficiently he's gone to travel.
Thal. [aside.] How! the king gone!
Hel. If further yet you will be satisfied,
Why, as it were unlicens'd of your loves,
He would depart, I'll give some light unto you.
Being at Antioch, -
Thal. [aside.] What from Antioch?
Hel. Royal Antiochus,-on what cause I know not, Took some displeasure at him; at least he judg’d so: And doubting lest that he had err'd or sinn'd, To show his sorrow, he'd correct himself;