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Navigate this workPericles
Act 2, scene 4
In Tyre, Helicanus recounts the awful deaths of Antiochus and his daughter. He then agrees to accept the crown twelve months hence if Pericles has not returned. Tyrian lords set out to search for Pericles.Enter Helicanus and Escanes.
0901 No, Escanes, know this of me:
0902 Antiochus from incest lived not free,
0903 For which the most high gods not minding longer
0904 To withhold the vengeance that they had in store
0905 5 Due to this heinous capital offense,
0906 Even in the height and pride of all his glory,
0907 When he was seated in a chariot of
0908 An inestimable value, and his daughter with him,
0909 A fire from heaven came and shriveled up
0910 10 Those bodies even to loathing, for they so stunk
0911 That all those eyes adored them, ere their fall,
0912 Scorn now their hand should give them burial.
ESCANES 0913 ’Twas very strange.
0914 And yet but justice; for though this king were great,
0915 15 His greatness was no guard to bar heaven’s shaft,
0916 But sin had his reward.
p. 73ESCANES 0917 ’Tis very true.
Enter two or three Lords.
0918 See, not a man in private conference
0919 Or counsel has respect with him but he.
0920 20 It shall no longer grieve without reproof.
0921 And cursed be he that will not second it.
0922 Follow me, then.—Lord Helicane, a word.
0923 With me? And welcome. Happy day, my lords.
0924 Know that our griefs are risen to the top,
0925 25 And now at length they overflow their banks.
0926 Your griefs? For what? Wrong not your prince you
0928 Wrong not yourself, then, noble Helicane.
0929 But if the Prince do live, let us salute him,
0930 30 Or know what ground’s made happy by his breath.
0931 If in the world he live, we’ll seek him out;
0932 If in his grave he rest, we’ll find him there,
0933 And be resolved he lives to govern us,
0934 Or dead, give ’s cause to mourn his funeral
0935 35 And leave us to our free election.
0936 Whose ⌜death’s⌝ indeed the strongest in our censure;
0937 And knowing this kingdom is without a head—
0938 Like goodly buildings left without a roof
0939 Soon fall to ruin—your noble self,
0940 40 That best know how to rule and how to reign,
0941 We thus submit unto, our sovereign.
p. 75ALL 0942 Live, noble Helicane!
0943 Try honor’s cause; forbear your suffrages.
0944 If that you love Prince Pericles, forbear.
0945 45 Take I your wish, I leap into the seas,
0946 Where’s hourly trouble for a minute’s ease.
0947 A twelve-month longer let me entreat you
0948 To forbear the absence of your king;
0949 If in which time expired, he not return,
0950 50 I shall with agèd patience bear your yoke.
0951 But if I cannot win you to this love,
0952 Go search like nobles, like noble subjects,
0953 And in your search spend your adventurous worth,
0954 Whom if you find and win unto return,
0955 55 You shall like diamonds sit about his crown.
0956 To wisdom he’s a fool that will not yield.
0957 And since Lord Helicane enjoineth us,
0958 We with our travels will endeavor.
0959 Then you love us, we you, and we’ll clasp hands.
0960 60 When peers thus knit, a kingdom ever stands.