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Thal. My lord, if I
Can get him once within my pistol's length,
I'll make him sure: so, farewell to your highness.
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 should this change 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: that 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 thiok me speaking, though I swear to silence; Nor boots it me to say, I honour, 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! 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 blast 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 caonot be much lower than my knees.
Per. All leave us else; but let your cares o'er-look
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 prince's 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 you but strike the blow.
Rise, pr’ythee 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 would'st thou have me do?
To bear with patience
Such griefs as you yourself do lay upon yourself.
Per. Thou speak'st like a physician, Helicanus,
That ministers a potion unto me,
That thou would'st 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 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 ʼll 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 cheeks,
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 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,
Till that his rage and anger be forgot,
Or till the 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 my absence?
Hel. We'll mingle our 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 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.
Tyre. An Ante-chamber in the Palace.
Enter THALIARD. 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 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 be 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,
Farther to question me of your king's departure:
His seal'd commission, left in trust with me,
Doth speak sufficiently, he's gone to travel.
Thal. (Aside.] How! the king gone?
Hel. If farther yet you will be satisfied,
Why, as it were unlicens’d of your loves,
He would depart, I'll give some light unto you.
Being at Antioch
[Aside.] What from Antioch?
Hel. Royal Antiochus (on what cause I know not)
Took some displeasure at him: at least, he judg'd so;
And doubting lest that he had err’d or sinn'd,
To show his sorrow he'd correct himself;
So puts himself unto the shipman's toil,
With whom each minute threatens life or death.
Thal. (Aside.) Well, I perceive
I shall not be hang'd now, although I would;
But since he's gone, the king's seas must please:
He 'scap'd the land, to perish at the sea.
I'll present myself. [To them.] Peace to the lords of Tyre.
Hel. Lord Thaliard from Antiochus is welcome.
Thal. From him I come,
With message unto princely Pericles;
But since my landing I have understood,
Your lord hath betook himself to unknown travels,
My message must return from whence it came.
Hel. We have no reason to desire it,
Commended to our master, not to us:
Yet, ere you shall depart, this we desire,
As friends to Antioch, we may feast in Tyre.