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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.
Ant. He hath found the meaning, for the which we
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 on us there?
Ant. Thaliard, you're of our chamber, and our mind Partakes her private actions to your secresy; 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?
Lest 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 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: so farewell to your highness. [Exit.
Ant. Thaliard, adieu! till Pericles be dead,
My heart can lend no succour to my head.
SCENE II. TYRE. A Room in the Palace.
Enter PERICLES, HELICANUS, and other Lords. Per. Let none disturb us: Why this charge of thoughts? The sad companion dull-ey'd melancholy,
By me so us'd a guest is, 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 feared, is at Antioch,
Whose arm 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 me 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 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
They have their nourishment?
To take thy life.
Thou know'st I have power
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 high heaven forbid,
That kings should let their ears hear their faults hid!
Fit counsellor, and servant for a prince,
Who by thy wisdom mak'st a prince thy servant,
What wouldst thou have me do?
Sach 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 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'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)-
Per. Drew sleep out of mine eyes, blood from my
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 awhile,
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,
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.
SCENE III. TYRE. An Antechamber in the Palace.
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 hang'd at home: 'tis dangerous.-Well, I per