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And subjects punish'd, that ne'er thought offence :
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, and give experience tongue:
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. I have ground the axe myself ; do but you strike the
blow. PER. Rise, prithee, rise : sit down, thou art no flatterer ; I thank thee for it; and 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 ? HEL.
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, Whereas, 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, 'T is 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 the 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 nine 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 speak, 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 a while,
Per. I do not doubt thy faith;
HEL. We 'll mingle our bloods together in the earth,
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.
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 at home: 't is 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 à 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 of Tyre.
[Aside. HEL. If further yet you will be satisfied,
Why, as it were unlicens'd of your loves,
he'd correct himself;
TAAL. Well, I perceive
HEL. Lord Thaliard from Antiochus is welcome.
THAL. From him I come
HEL. We have no reason to desire it,
Enter CLEON, DIONYZA, and others.
Dio. That were to blow at fire in hope to quench it;
CLE. O Dionyza,
Or can conceal his hunger, till he famish?
Dio. I 'll do my best, sir.
CLE. This Tharsus, over which I have the government, A city, on whom plenty held full hand, For riches strew'd 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 stor'd 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. Oh, 't is 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 defild for want of use, They are now starv'd for want of exercise ; Those palates, who, not us'd to hunger's savour, Must have inventions to delight the taste, Would now be glad of bread, and beg for it; Those mothers who, to nouzle up their babes, Thouglit nought too curious, are ready now, To eat those little darlings whom they lov’d; 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.