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Navigate this workPericles
Act 1, scene 2
Back in his kingdom of Tyre, Pericles, fearing the power of Antiochus, sets sail once again.Enter Pericles with ⌜an Attendant.⌝
0223 Let none disturb us. (⌜Attendant exits.⌝) Why should
0224 this change of thoughts,
0225 The sad companion dull-eyed Melancholy,
0226 ⌜Be my⌝ so used a guest as not an hour
0227 5 In the day’s glorious walk or peaceful night,
0228 The tomb where grief should sleep, can breed me
0230 Here pleasures court mine eyes, and mine eyes shun
0232 10 And danger, which I feared, is at Antioch,
p. 230233 Whose arm seems far too short to hit me here.
0234 Yet neither pleasure’s art can joy my spirits,
0235 Nor yet the other’s distance comfort me.
0236 Then it is thus: the passions of the mind
0237 15 That have their first conception by misdread
0238 Have after-nourishment and life by care;
0239 And what was first but fear what might be done
0240 Grows elder now, and cares it be not done.
0241 And so with me. The great Antiochus,
0242 20 ’Gainst whom I am too little to contend,
0243 Since he’s so great can make his will his act,
0244 Will think me speaking though I swear to silence;
0245 Nor boots it me to say I honor ⌜him⌝
0246 If he suspect I may dishonor him.
0247 25 And what may make him blush in being known,
0248 He’ll stop the course by which it might be known.
0249 With hostile forces he’ll o’er-spread the land,
0250 And with ⌜th’ ostent⌝ of war will look so huge
0251 Amazement shall drive courage from the state,
0252 30 Our men be vanquished ere they do resist,
0253 And subjects punished that ne’er thought offense;
0254 Which care of them, not pity of myself,
0255 Who ⌜am⌝ no more but as the tops of trees
0256 Which fence the roots they grow by and defend them,
0257 35 Makes both my body pine and soul to languish
0258 And punish that before that he would punish.
Enter ⌜Helicanus and⌝ all the Lords to Pericles.
0259 Joy and all comfort in your sacred breast.
0260 And keep your mind till you return to us
0261 Peaceful and comfortable.
0262 40 Peace, peace, and give experience tongue.
0263 They do abuse the King that flatter him,
p. 250264 For flattery is the bellows blows up sin;
0265 The thing the which is flattered, but a spark
0266 To which that ⌜wind⌝ gives heat and stronger glowing;
0267 45 Whereas reproof, obedient and in order,
0268 Fits kings as they are men, for they may err.
0269 When Signior Sooth here does proclaim peace,
0270 He flatters you, makes war upon your life.
0271 Prince, pardon me, or strike me, if you please.
0272 50 I cannot be much lower than my knees.
0273 All leave us else; but let your cares o’erlook
0274 What shipping and what lading’s in our haven,
0275 And then return to us.⌜The Lords exit.⌝
0277 55 Thou hast moved us. What seest thou in our looks?
HELICANUS 0278 An angry brow, dread lord.
0279 If there be such a dart in princes’ frowns,
0280 How durst thy tongue move anger to our face?
0281 How dares the plants look up to heaven,
0282 60 From whence they have their nourishment?
0283 Thou knowest I have power to take thy life from thee.
HELICANUS 0284 I have ground the ax myself;
0285 Do but you strike the blow.
0286 Rise, prithee rise.⌜Helicanus rises.⌝
0287 65 Sit down. Thou art no flatterer.
0288 I thank thee for ’t; and heaven forbid
0289 That kings should let their ears hear their faults hid.
0290 Fit counselor and servant for a prince,
0291 Who by thy wisdom makes a prince thy servant,
0292 70 What wouldst thou have me do?
HELICANUS 0293 To bear with patience such griefs
0294 As you yourself do lay upon yourself.
0295 Thou speak’st like a physician, Helicanus,
0296 That ministers a potion unto me
0297 75 That thou wouldst tremble to receive thyself.
0298 Attend me, then: I went to Antioch,
0299 Where, as thou know’st, against the face of death
0300 I sought the purchase of a glorious beauty
0301 From whence an issue I might propagate,
0302 80 Are arms to princes and bring joys to subjects.
0303 Her face was to mine eye beyond all wonder,
0304 The rest—hark in thine ear—as black as incest,
0305 Which by my knowledge found, the sinful father
0306 Seemed not to strike, but smooth. But thou know’st
0307 85 this:
0308 ’Tis time to fear when tyrants seems to kiss;
0309 Which fear so grew in me I hither fled
0310 Under the covering of a careful night,
0311 Who seemed my good protector; and, being here,
0312 90 Bethought ⌜me⌝ what was past, what might succeed.
0313 I knew him tyrannous, and tyrants’ ⌜fears⌝
0314 Decrease not but grow faster than the years;
0315 And should he ⌜doubt,⌝ as no doubt he doth,
0316 That I should open to the list’ning air
0317 95 How many worthy princes’ bloods were shed
0318 To keep his bed of blackness unlaid ope,
0319 To lop that doubt he’ll fill this land with arms,
0320 And make pretense of wrong that I have done him;
0321 When all, for mine—if I may ⌜call ’t⌝—offense,
0322 100 Must feel war’s blow, who spares not innocence;
0323 Which love to all—of which thyself art one,
0324 Who now reproved’st me for ’t—
HELICANUS 0325 Alas, sir!
0326 Drew sleep out of mine eyes, blood from my cheeks,
0327 105 Musings into my mind, with thousand doubts
0328 How I might stop this tempest ere it came;
0329 And finding little comfort to relieve them,
p. 290330 I thought it princely charity to grieve for them.
0331 Well, my lord, since you have given me leave to speak,
0332 110 Freely will I speak. Antiochus you fear,
0333 And justly too, I think, you fear the tyrant,
0334 Who either by public war or private treason
0335 Will take away your life.
0336 Therefore, my lord, go travel for a while,
0337 115 Till that his rage and anger be forgot,
0338 Or till the Destinies do cut his thread of life.
0339 Your rule direct to any. If to me,
0340 Day serves not light more faithful than I’ll be.
PERICLES 0341 I do not doubt thy faith.
0342 120 But should he wrong my liberties in my absence?
0343 We’ll mingle our bloods together in the earth,
0344 From whence we had our being and our birth.
0345 Tyre, I now look from thee, then, and to Tarsus
0346 Intend my travel, where I’ll hear from thee,
0347 125 And by whose letters I’ll dispose myself.
0348 The care I had and have of subjects’ good
0349 On thee I lay, whose wisdom’s strength can bear it.
0350 I’ll take thy word for faith, not ask thine oath.
0351 Who shuns not to break one will crack both.
0352 130 But in our orbs ⌜we’ll⌝ live so round and safe
0353 That time of both this truth shall ne’er convince.
0354 Thou showed’st a subject’s shine, I a true prince.