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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 flattered, but a spark,
To which that breath gives heat and stronger
Whereas reproof, obedient, and in order,
Fits kings, as they are men, for they may err.
When seignior Sooth here does proclaim a peace,
He flatters you, makes war upon your
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,
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?
Thou know'st I have power
To take thy life.
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?
Hel. With patience bear Such griefs as you do lay upon yourself. Per. Thou speak'st like a physician, Helicanus;
1 i. e. the breath of flattery. The word spark was here accidentally repeated by the compositor in the old copy.
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,
Are arms to princes, and bring 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
Seemed not to strike, but smooth; 2 but thou know'st
'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 seemed 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,3 (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;
1 "From whence I might propagate an issue that are arms," &c. Steevens reads :
"Bring arms to princes, and to subjects joys."
2 To smooth is to soothe, coax, or flatter.
3 The quarto of 1609 reads, "And should he doot," &c.; from which the reading of the text has been formed.
And finding little comfort to relieve them,
I thought it princely charity to grieve them.1
Hel. Well, my lord, since you have given me leave
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,
From whence we had our being and our birth.
Per. Tyre, I now look from thee, then, and to
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 2 we'll live so round and safe,
That time of both this truth shall ne'er convince,3
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
1 That is, to lament their fate. The first quarto reads, "to grieve for them." 3 Overcome.
2 i. e. in our different spheres.
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 sealed 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-
What from Antioch?
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 erred or sinned,
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 hanged now, although I would;
But since he's gone, the king it sure must please,
He scaped the land, to perish on the seas.2—
But I'll present me. Peace to the lords of Tyre!
"But since he's gone the king's seas must please:
He scaped the land, to perish at the sea."
1 Who this wise fellow was, may be known from the following passage in Barnabie Riche's Souldier's Wishe to Briton's Welfare, or Captaine Skill and Captaine Pill, 1604, p. 27:-"I will therefore commende the poet Philipides, who being demaunded by king Lisimachus, what favour he might doe unto him for that he loved him, made this answere to the king-That your majesty would never impart unto me any of your secrets."" 2 The old copy reads:
The emendation is by Dr. Percy.
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, since1
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
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 topped, 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 the gods slumber,3 while their creatures want,
1 The adverb since, which is wanting in the old copy, was supplied by
Steevens for the sake of sense and metre.
2 The old copy reads:
and seen with mischiefs eye.”
The alteration was made by Steevens.
3 The old copy reads, "If heaven slumber," &c. This was probably an alteration of the licenser of the press.