Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Laurence Twine
Editors: Tom Bishop, Andrew Forsberg
Not Peer Reviewed

Twine: The Pattern of Painful Adventures (Modern)


51The Fourth Chapter

52How Apollonius, departing from Tharsus by the persuasion of Stranguilio and Dionisiades his wife, committed shipwreck, and was relieved by Altistrates, King of Pentapolis.

53THUS had not Apollonius abided many days in the city of Tharsus but Stranguilio and Dionisiades, his wife, earnestly exhorted him, as seeming very careful and tender of his welfare, rather to address himself unto Pentapolis or among the Tirenians, as a place most fit for his security, where he might lie and hide himself in greatest assurance and tranquillity. Wherefore hereunto he resolved himself, and with convenient expedition prepared all things necessary for the journey. And when the day of his departure was come, he was brought with great honor by the citizens unto his ships, where, with a courteous farewell on each side given, the mariners weighed anchor, hoisted sails, and away they go, committing themselves to the wind and water.

54Thus sailed they forth along in their course, three days and three nights with prosperous wind and weather, until suddenly the whole face of heaven and sea began to change; for the sky looked black and the northern wind arose and the tempest increased more and more, insomuch that Prince Apollonius and the Tyrians that were with him were much appalled and began to doubt of their lives. But, lo, immediately, the wind blew fiercely from the South-west, and the North came singing on the other side, the rain poured down over their heads and the sea yielded forth waves as it had been mountains of water, that the ships could no longer wrestle with the tempest, and especially the Admiral, wherein the good prince himself fared, but needs must they yield unto the present calamity. There might you have heard the winds whistling, the rain dashing, the sea roaring, the cables cracking, the tacklings breaking, the ship tearing, the men miserable shouting out for their lives. There might you have seen the sea searching the ship, the boards fleeting, the goods swimming, the treasure sinking, the men shifting to save themselves, where, partly through violence of the tempest and partly through darkness of the night which then was come upon them, they were all drowned, only Apollonius excepted, who by the grace of God and the help of a simple board, was driven upon the shore of the Pentapolitans.

55And when he had recovered to land, weary as he was, he stood upon the shore and looked upon the calm sea, saying: "O most false and untrusty sea! I will choose rather to fall into the hands of the most cruel King Antiochus than venture to return again by thee into mine own country. Thou hast showed thy spite upon me and devoured my trusty friends and companions, by means whereof I am now left alone, and it is the providence of Almighty God that I have escaped thy greedy jaws. Where shall I now find comfort? Or who will succor him in a strange place that is not known?" And whilst he spoke these words, he saw a man coming towards him, and he was a rough fisherman with an hood upon his head and a filthy leathern pelt upon his back, unseemly clad and homely to behold. When he drew near, Apollonius, the present necessity constraining him thereto, fell down prostrate at his feet, and, pouring forth a flood of tears, he said unto him: "Whosoever thou art, take pity upon a poor sea-wrecked man, cast up now naked and in simple state yet born of no base degree but sprung forth of noble parentage. And that thou mayst in helping me know whom thou succorest: I am that Apollonius, Prince of Tyrus, whom most part of the world knoweth, and I beseech thee to preserve my life by showing me thy friendly relief."

56When the fisherman beheld the comeliness and beauty of the young gentleman, he was moved with compassion towards him, and lifted him up from the ground and led him into his house and feasted him with such fare as he presently had, and, the more amply to express his great affection towards him, he disrobed himself of his poor and simple cloak, and, dividing it into two parts, gave the one half thereof unto Apollonius, saying: "Take here at my hands such poor entertainment and furniture as I have, and go into the city, where perhaps thou shalt find some of better ability that will rue thine estate. And if thou do not, return then again hither unto me, and thou shalt not want what may be performed by the poverty of a poor fisherman. And in the meantime of this one thing only I put thee in mind, that when thou shalt be restored to thy former dignity, thou do not despise to think on the baseness of the poor piece of garment." To which Apollonius answered: "If I remember not thee and it, I wish nothing else but that I may sustain the like shipwreck." And when he had said so, he departed on the way which was taught him, and came unto the city gates, whereinto he entered.

57And while he was thinking with himself which way to seek succor to sustain his life, he saw a boy running naked through the street, girded only with a towel about his middle, and his head anointed with oil, crying aloud and saying: "Hearken all, as well citizens as strangers and servants, hearken. Whosoever will be washed, let him come to the place of exercise." When Apollonius heard this, he followed the boy, and, coming unto the place, cast off his cloak and stripped himself, and entered into the bath and bathed himself with the liquor. And looking about for some companion with whom he might exercise himself according unto the manner of the place and country, and finding none, suddenly unlooked-for entered in Altistrates, king of the whole land, accompanied with a great troupe of servitors. Anon he began to exercise himself at tennis with his men, which when Apollonius espied he intruded himself amongst them into the king's presence, and struck back the ball to the king, and served him in play with great swiftness. But when the king perceived the great nimbleness and cunning which was in him, surpassing the residue, "Stand aside," quoth he unto his men, "for methinks this young man is more cunning than I." When Apollonius heard himself commended, he stepped forth boldly into the midst of the tennis court, and, taking up a racket in his hand, he tossed the ball skilfully and with wonderful agility. After play, he also washed the king very reverently in the bath, and when all was done, he took his leave dutifully and so departed.

58When Apollonius was gone, the king said unto them that were about him: "I swear unto you of truth as I am a prince, I was never exercised nor washed better than this day, and that by the diligence of a young man I know not what he is." And turning back, "Go," said he unto one of his servants, "and know what that young man is that hath with such duty and diligence taken pains with me." The servant going after Apollonius and seeing him clad in a filthy fisher's cloak, returned again to the king, saying: "If it like your grace, the young man is a sea-wrecked man." "How knowest thou that?" said the king. The servant answered: "Though he told me not so himself, yet his apparel bewraieth his state." Then said the king to his servant: "Go apace after him, and say unto him that the king desireth him to sup with him this night." Then the servant made haste after Apollonius and did the king's message to him, which so soon as he heard, he granted thereto, much thanking the king's majesty, and came back with the servant. When they were come to the gate, the servant went in first unto the king, saying: "The sea-wrecked man, for whom your Grace sent me, is come but is ashamed to come into your presence by reason of his base array." Whom the king commanded immediately to be clothed in seemly apparel and to be brought in to supper, and placed him at the table with him, right over against himself. Immediately the board was furnished with all kind of princely fare, the guests fed apace, every man on that which he liked, only Apollonius sat still and ate nothing, but earnestly beholding the gold, silver, and other kingly furniture, whereof there was great plenty, he could not refrain from tears. Then said one of the guests that sat at the table unto the king: "This young man, I suppose, envieth at your Grace's prosperity." "No, not so," answered the king, "you suppose amiss; but he is sorry to remember that he hath lost more wealth than this is," and looking upon Apollonius with a smiling countenance, "Be merry, young man," quoth he, "and eat thy meat with us and trust in God, who doubtless will send thee better fortune."