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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 am 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.
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 breath 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 moved 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.
Hel. (kneeling). I have ground the axe myself;
Do you but strike the blow.
Per. Rise, prythee rise;
Sit down, sit down; thou art no flatterer;
I thank thee for it; and high heaven forbid,
That kings should let their ears hear their faults hid !
Fit councillor, and servant for a prince,
Who by thy wisdom makest a prince thy servant,
What wouldst thou have me do?
Hel. With patience bear
Such griefs as you do lay upon yourself.
Per. Thou speak’st like a physician, Helicanus;
Who 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,
Bring arms to princes, and to subjects joys.
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 smoothe: 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’t 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)
Hel. Alas, Sir!
Per. Drew sleep out of mine eyes, blood from my cheeks,
Musings into my mind, a 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 speak,
Freely I'll 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 a while,
Till that his rage and anger be forgot,
Or 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 absence-
Hel. We'll mingle bloods together in the earth,
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 convincent
Thou show'dst a subject's shine, I a true prince. [Exeunt.
+ In our different spheres.
SCENE III.-Tyre. An Ante-chamber in the Palace.
Enter TAALIARD. Thal. So, this is Tyre, and this is the court. Here must I kill king Pericles; and if I do not, I am sure to be hanged at 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 it: 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 of your king's departure.
His seal'd commission, left in trust with me,
Doth speak sufficiently, he's gone to travel.
Thal. How, the king gone!
Hel. If further yet you will be satisfied,
Why, as it were unlicensed of your loves,
He would depart, I'll give some light unto you.
Being at Antioch-
Thal. What from Antioch?
[Aside. Hel. Royal Antiochus (on what cause I know not) Took some displeasure at him; at least he judged so: And doubting lest that he had err'd or sinn'd, To show his sorrow, would correct himself; So puts himself unto the shipman's toil, With whom each minute threatens life or death. Thal. Well, I perceive
I shall not be hang'd now, although I would;
But since he's gone, the king it sure must please,
He scaped the land, to perish on the seas,
But I'll present me. Peace to the lords of Tyre!
Hel. Lord Thaliard from Antiochus is welcome.
Thal. From him I come
With message unto princely Pericles ;
But, since my landing, as I have understood,
Your lord has took himself to unknown travels,
My message must return from whence it came.
Hel. We have no reason to desire it, since
Commended to our master, not to us :
Yet, ere you shall depart, this we desire,
As friends to Antioch, we may feast in Tyre.
[Exeunt. SCENE IV.-Tharsus. A Room in the Governor's House.
Enter CLEON, DIONYZA, and Attendants.
Cle. My Dionyza, shall we rest us here?
And by relating tales of others' griefs,
See if 'twill teach us to forget our own?
Dio. That were to blow at fire in hope to quench it:
For who digs hills because they do aspire,
Throws down one mountain, to cast up a higher.
O my distressed lord, even such our griefs;
Here they're but felt, and seen with mistful eyes,
But like to groves, being topp'd, they higher rise.
Cle. O Dionyza,
Who wanteth food, and will not say he wants it,
Or can conceal his hunger, till he famish ?
Our tongues and sorrows do sound deep our woes
Into the air; our eyes do weep, till lungs
Fetch breath that may proclaim them louder; that
If heaven slumber, while their creatures wani,
They may awake their helps to comfort them.
I'll then discourse our woes, felt several years,
And wanting breath to speak, help me with tears.
Dio. I'll do my best, Sir.
Cle. This Tharsus, o'er which I have government (A city, on whom plenty held full hand), For riches, strewd herself even in the streets; Whose towers bore heads so high, they kiss'd the clouds, And strangers ne'er beheld, but wonder'd at; Whose men and dames so jetted * and adorn'd, Like one another's glass to trim them by: Their tables were stored full, to glad the sight, And not so much to feed on, as delight; All poverty was scorn'd, and pride so great, The name of help grew odious to repeat.
Dio. O, 'tis too true. Cle. But see what heaven can do! By this our change, These mouths, whom but of late, earth, sea, and air, Were all too little to content and please, Although they gave their creatures in abundance, As houses are defiled for want of use, They are now starved for want of exercise : Those palates, who not yet two summers younger, Must have inventions to delight the taste, Would now be glad of bread, and beg for it; Those mothers who, to nousle I up their babes, Thought nought too curious, are ready now, To eat those little darlings whom they loved. So sharp are Hunger's teeth, that man and wife Draw lots, who first shall die to lengthen life: Here stands a lord, and there a lady weeping;. Here many sink, yet those which see them fall
, Have scarce strength left to give them burial. Is not this true ?
Dio. Our cheeks and hollow eyes do witness it.
Cle. O, let those cities, that of Plenty's cup
And her prosperities so largely taste,
With their superfluous riots, hear these tears !
The misery of Tharsus may be theirs.
Enter a LORD.
Lord. Where's the lord governor ?
Speak out thy sorrows which thou bring'st, in haste,
For comfort is too far for us to expect.
Lord. We have descried, upon our neighbouring shore
A portly sail of ships make hitherward.
Cle. I thought as much.
One sorrow never comes, but brings an heir,
That may succeed as his inheritor;
And so in ours : some neighbouring nation,
Taking advantage of our misery,
Hath stuff'd these hollow vessels with their power,
To beat us down, the which are down already;
And make a conquest of unhappy me,
Whereast no glory's got to overcome.
Lord. That's the least fear: for, by the semblance of their white flags display'd, they bring us peace, And come to us as favourers, not as foes.
Cle. Thou speak’st like him's untutor'd to repeat,
Who makes the fairest show, means most deceit.
But bring they what they will
, wbat need we fear?
The ground 's the low'st, and we are half-way there.
Go tell their general, we attend him here,
To know for what he comes, and whence he comes,
And what he craves.
[Exit. Cle. Welcome is peace, if he on peace consist;# If wars, we are unable to resist.
Enter PERICLES, with Attendants.
Per. Lord governor, for so we hear you are,
Let not our ships and number of our men,
Be, like a beacon fired, to amaze your eyes.
We have heard your miseries as far as Tyre,
And seen the desolation of your streets :
Nor come we to add sorrow to your tears,
But to relieve them of their heavy load;
And these our ships, which haply you may think
Are, like the Trojan horse, war-stuff'd within,
With bloody views, expecting overthrow,
Are stored with corn, to make your
And give them life, who are hunger-starved, half-dead.
All. The gods of Greece protect you !
And we'll pray for you,
Per. Rise, I pray you, rise;
We do not look for reverence, but for love,
And harbourage for ourself, our ships, and men.
Cle. The which when any shall not gratify,
Or pay you with unthankfulness in thought,
Be it our wives, our children, or ourselves,