Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Twine: The Pattern of Painful Adventures (Modern)


45The Third Chapter

46How Taliarchus, not finding Apollonius at Tyrus, departeth joyfully and Apollonius, arriving at Tharsus, relieveth the city with victual.

47IN the midst of this sorrowful season Taliarchus cometh to Tyrus to execute the cruel commandment of Antiochus; where, finding all things shut up and a general show of mourning, meeting with a boy in the street: "Tell me," said he, "or I will slay thee: for what cause is all this city thus drowned in heaviness?" To whom the child answered: "My friend, dost thou not know the cause, that thou askest it of me? This city mourneth because the prince thereof, Apollonius, returning back from King Antiochus, can nowhere be found or heard of." Now so soon as Taliarchus heard these tidings, he returned joyfully unto his ships and took his journey back to Antiochia, and being landed, he hastened unto the king and fell down on his knees before him, saying: "All hail, most mighty prince, rejoice and be glad; for Apollonius, being in fear of your grace, is departeth no man knoweth whither." Then answered the king: "He may well fly away from me, but he shall never escape my hands." And immediately he made proclamation, that whosoever could take that contemnor of the king, Apollonius, Prince of Tyrus, and bring him alive unto the king's presence, should have an hundred talents of gold for his labor, and whosoever could bring his head should have fifty talents. Which proclamation being published, not only Apollonius' enemies but also his friends made all haste possible to seek him out, allured thereto with covetousness of the money. Thus was this poor Prince sought for about by sea and by land, through woods and wild deserts, but could not be found.

48Then the king commanded a great navy of ships to be prepared to scour the seas abroad, if haply they might meet with him; but, for that every thing requireth a time ere it can be done, in the mean season Apollonius arriveth at Tharsus where, walking along by the seaside, he was espied by one of his own servants named Elinatus, who landed there not long before, and overtook him as he was going; and coming near unto him with dutiful obeisance, said unto him: "God save you Prince Apollonius." But he, being saluted, did even so as noblemen and princes use to do, set light by him. But Elinatus, taking that behaviour unkindly, saluted him again saying: "God save you, Prince Apollonius, salute me again and despise not poverty beautified with honesty. And if you knew that which I know, you would take good heed to yourself." Then answered Apollonius: "If you think good, I pray you tell me." Elinatus answered, "You are by proclamation commanded to be slain." "And who," said Apollonius, "dares command by proclamation, the prince of a country to be slain?" "Antiochus," said Elinatus. "Antiochus! For what cause?" demanded Apollonius. "For that," said Elinatus, "thou wouldst be unto his daughter which he himself is." Then demanded Apollonius, "For what sum of money is my life sold by that proclamation?" Elinatus answered, "Whosoever can bring you alive unto the king shall have an hundred talents of gold in recompense: but whoso bringeth your head shall have fifty talents of gold for his labor, and therefore I advise you my lord, to fly unto some place for your defence." And when he had so said he took his leave and departed. But Apollonius called him again, and said that he would give him an hundred talents of gold: "For," said he, "receive thus much now of my poverty, where nothing is now left unto me but flight, and pining misery. Thou hast deserved the reward, wherefore draw out thy sword and cut off my head, and present it to the king as the most joyful sight in the world. Thus mayst thou win an hundred talents of gold and remain without all blame or note of ingratitude, since I myself have hired thee in the king's behalf to gratify him with so acceptable a present." Then answered Elinatus: "God forbid, my lord, that by any such sinister means I should deserve a reward. In all my life I never consented to any such matter in my heart. And, my lord, if the deed were good, the love of virtue were a sufficient force to allure any man thereunto. But since it respecteth your life, to whom in consideration of the cause no man may do violence without villainy, I commit both you and your matter unto God, who no doubt will be your defender." And when he had thus said, he departed.

49But Apollonius walked forth along upon the shore, where he had gone not far but he descried a man afar off coming towards him with heavy cheer and a sorrowful countenance; and this was Stranguilio, a Tharsian born and of good reputation in the city. To whom said Apollonius, "God save you Stranguilio." And he likewise resaluted him saying, "And you likewise my good lord, Apollonius. I pray you tell me what is the cause that you walk in this place thus troubled within your mind?" Apollonius answered: "Because, being promised to have King Antiochus' daughter to my wife if I told him the true meaning of his question, now that I have so done I am notwithstanding restrained from her. Wherefore I request you it may so be that I may live secretly in your city; for why, I stand moreover in some doubt of the king's farther displeasure." Stranguilio answered: "My lord Apollonius, our city at this present is very poor, and not able to sustain the greatness of your dignity; and even now we suffer great penury and want of victual, insomuch that there remaineth small hope of comfort unto our citizens but that we shall perish by extreme famine; and now certainly there resteth nothing but the fearful image of ghastly death before our eyes." When Apollonius heard these words, he said unto him: "Then give thanks unto God, who in my flight hath brought me a land into your coasts. For I have brought great store of provision with me, and will presently give unto your city an hundred thousand bushels of wheat, if you will only conceal my coming hither." At these words Stranguilio, being struck, as it were, into a sudden amazedness as it happeneth when a man is overjoyed with some glad tidings, fell down prostrate before Prince Apollonius' feet and said: "My lord Apollonius, if you could, and also if it might please of your great goodness, in such sort as you say to succor this afflicted and famished city, we will not only receive you gladly and conceal your abode, but also, if need so require, willingly spend our lives in your quarrel. Which promise of mine, to the intent you may hear to be confirmed by the full consent of the citizens, might please your grace to enter into the city, and I most willingly will attend upon you."

50Apollonius agreed thereto, and, when they came into the city, he mounted up into the place of judgment to the intent he might the better be heard, and, gathering all the people together, thus he spake unto the whole multitude. "Ye citizens of Tharsus, whom penury of victual pincheth at this present, understand ye that I, Apollonius Prince of Tyrus, am determined presently to relieve you. In respect of which benefit I trust ye will be so thankful as to conceal mine arriving hither. And know ye moreover, that not as being driven away through the malice of King Antiochus, but sailing along by the seas I am happily fallen into your haven. Wherefore I mean to utter unto you an hundred thousand bushels of wheat, paying no more than I bought it for in mine own country, that is to say, eight pieces of brass for every bushel." When the citizens heard this, they gave a shout for joy, crying, "God save my Lord Apollonius," promising to live and die in his quarrel, and they gave him wonderful thanks and the whole city was replenished with joy, and they went forthwith unto the ships and bought the corn. But Apollonius, doubting lest by this deed he should seem to put off the dignity of a prince and put on the countenance of a merchant rather than a giver, when he had received the price of the wheat, he restored it back again to the use and commodity of the same city. And when the citizens perceived the great benefits which he had bestowed upon their city, they erected in the market place a monument in the memorial of him, his statue made of brass standing in a chariot, holding corn in his right hand, and spurning it with his left foot, and on the baser foot of the pillar whereon it stood was engraven in great letters this superscription: "Apollonius, Prince of Tyrus, gave a gift unto the city of Tharsus whereby he delivered it from a cruel death."