Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Tom Bishop
Not Peer Reviewed

Pericles, Prince of Tyre (Quarto)


Enter Pericles with his Lords.
Pe. Let none disturb vs, why shold this chãge of thoughts
225The sad companion dull eyde melancholie,
By me so vsde a guest, as not an houre
In the dayes glorious walke or peacefull night,
The tombe where griefe stould sleepe can breed me quiet,
Here pleasures court mine eies, and mine eies shun them,
230And daunger which I fearde is at Antioch,
Whose arme seemes farre too short to hit me here,
Yet neither pleasures Art can ioy my spirits,
Nor yet the others distance comfort me,
Then it is thus, the passions of the mind,
235That haue their first conception by misdread,
Haue after nourishment and life, by care
And what was first but feare, what might be done,
Growes elder now, and cares it be not done.
And so with me the great Antiochus,
240Gainst whom I am too little to contend,
Since hee's so great, can make his will his act,
Will thinke me speaking, though I sweare to silence,
Nor bootes it me to say, I honour,
If he suspect I may dishonour him.
245And what may make him blush in being knowne,
Heele stop the course by which it might be knowne,
With hostile forces heele ore-spread the land,
And with the stint of warre will looke so huge,
Amazement shall driue courage from the state,
250Our men be vanquisht ere they doe resist,
And subiects punisht that nere thought offence,
Which care of them, not pittie of my selfe,
Who once no more but as the tops of trees,
Which fence the rootes they grow by and defend them,
255Makes both my bodie pine, and soule to languish,
And punish that before that he would punish.
Enter all the Lords to Pericles.
1.Lord. Ioy and all comfort in your sacred brest.
2.Lord. And keepe your mind till you returne to vs
260peacefull and comfortable.
Hel. Peace, peace, and giue experience tongue,
They doe abuse the King that flatter him,
For flatterie is the bellowes blowes vp sinne,
The thing the which is flattered, but a sparke,
265To which that sparke giues heate, and stronger
Glowing, whereas reproofe obedient and in order,
Fits kings as they are men, for they may erre,
When signior sooth here does proclaime peace,
He flatters you, makes warre vpon your life.
270Prince paadon me, or strike me if you please,
I cannot be much lower then my knees.
Per. All leaue vs else: but let your cares ore-looke,
What shipping, and what ladings in our hauen,
And then returne to vs, Hellicans thou hast
275Mooude vs, what seest thou in our lookes?
Hel. An angrie brow, dread Lord.
Per. If there be such a dart in Princes frownes,
How durst thy tongue moue anger to our face?
Hel. How dares the plants looke vp to heauen,
280From whence they haue their nourishment?
Per. Thou knowest I haue power to take thy life from
Hel. I haue ground the Axe my selfe,
Doe but you strike the blowe.
Per. Rise, prethee rise, sit downe, thou art no flatterer,
285I thanke thee fort, and heaue forbid
That kings should let their eares heare their faults hid.
Fit Counsellor, and seruant for a Prince,
Who by thy wisdome makes a Prince thy seruant,
What wouldst thou haue me doe?
290Hel. To beare with patience such griefes as you your
selfe doe lay vpon your selfe.
Per. Thou speakst like a Physition Hellicanus,
That ministers a potion vnto me:
That thou wouldst tremble to receiue thy selfe,
295Attend me then, I went to Antioch,
Whereas thou knowst against the face of death,
I sought the purchase of a glorious beautie,
From whence an issue I might propogate,
Are armes to Princes, and bring ioies to subiects,
300Her face was to mine eye beyond all wonder,
The rest harke in thine eare, as blacke as incest,
Which by my knowledge found, the sinful father
Seemde not to strike, but smooth, but thou knowst this,
Tis time to feare when tyrants seemes to kisse.
305Which feare so grew in me I hither fled,
Vnder the couering of a carefull night,
Who seemd my good protector, and being here,
Bethought what was past, what might succeed,
I knew him tyrannous, and tyrants feare
310Decrease not, but grow faster then the yeares,
And should he doo't, as no doubt he doth,
That I should open to the listning ayre ,
How many worthie Princes blouds were shed,
To keepe his bed of blacknesse vnlayde ope,
315To lop that doubt, hee'le fill this land with armes,
And make pretence of wrong that I haue done him,
When all for mine, if I may call offence,
Must feel wars blow, who spares not innocence,
Which loue to all of which thy selfe art one,
320Who now reprou'dst me fort.
Hell. Alas sir.
Per. Drew sleep out of mine eies, blood frõmy cheekes,
Musings into my mind, with thousand doubts
How I might stop this tempest ere it came,
325And finding little comfort to relieue them,
I thought it princely charity to griue for them.
Hell. Well my Lord, since you hauegiuen mee leaue to
Freely will I speake, Antiochus you feare,
And iustly too, I thinke you feare the tyrant,
330Who either by publike warre, or priuat treason,
Will take away your life: therfore my Lord, go trauell for
a while, till that his rage and anger be forgot, or till the De-
stinies doe cut his threed of life: your rule direct to anie,
if to me, day serues not light more faithfull then Ile be.
335Per. I doe not doubt thy faith.
But should he wrong my liberties in my absence?
Hel. Weele mingle our bloods togither in the earth,
From whence we had our being, and our birth.
Per. Tyre I now looke from thee then, and to Tharsus
340Intend my trauaile, where Ile heare from thee,
And by whose Letters Ile dispose my selfe.
The care I had and haue ofsubiects good,
On thee I lay, whose wisdomes strength can beare it,
Ile take thy word, for faith not aske thine oath,
345Who shuns not to breake one, will cracke both.
But in our orbs will liue so round, and safe,
That time of both this truth shall nere conuince,
Thou shewdst a subiects shine, I a true Prince.
Exit.