Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Twine: The Pattern of Painful Adventures (Modern)


189The Twenty-Fourth Chapter

190How Apollonius had a young son and heir by his wife Lucina; likewise of Apollonius' age and how he died, with some other accidents thereunto incident.

191WHILE King Apollonius thus passed forth his time in rewarding his friends which had done him pleasure in his adversity -- the part of a thankful and good natured man -- and also unto his enemies in ministering justice with mercy, which is the duty of a virtuous prince, the queen Lucina in the mean season conceived child, and grew every day bigger-bellied than other. And when the time came that she attended for a good hour, she was delivered of a fair son, whom some of the ladies that were present said he was like Apollonius the father, other some, like King Altistrates the grandfather, and others judged otherwise, according as is the custom of women to do, whenas (God knoweth) there is no more likeness between them, saving that the child hath the general shape and proportion of a man, than is between Jack Fletcher and his bolt. Howbeit the boy was called Altistrates, after the grandfather's name, for whom there was much joy and triumphing, that it had pleased God to send an heir male to govern the land, for whose life and preservation the people daily prayed, that as he was like to succeed his grandfather in place and name, so he might also be successor to his father and grandfather in honor and virtue, which as they are the true goods, so are they the chiefest inheritance of a king, and to be preferred before the greedy seeking for large dominion and riches, which are the foolish scales whereby Fortune entrappeth us.

192But to return again to our story, great was the care and provision for the diligent bringing-up of this young gentleman. Who as he grew up more and more every day to the strength of lusty youth, so his father Apollonius decayed continually through the infirmity of weak old age, who, having passed his life with one lady the fair Lucina, by whom he had two beautiful children, the lady Tharsia and young Altistrates, he lived to the age of fourscore and four years, and obtained the empire of three kingdoms -- to wit, Tyrus, Antiochia and Pentapolis -- whom with the help of his son-in-law, Athanagoras, he governed peaceably and prosperously. Moreover, when he had disposed the affairs of his realms unto such of his nobility as were in credit about him, although at all times he had recourse unto his accustomed studies of humanity, yet then especially he applied his vacant time to his book, and he wrote the whole story and discourse of his own life and adventures at large, the which he caused to be written forth in two large volumes, whereof he sent one to the Temple of Diana at Ephesus, and placed the other in his own library. Of which history this is but a small abstract, promising if ever the whole chance to come into my hands, to set it forth with all fidelity, diligence and expedition.

193But when the fatal time was come that Apollonius' old age could no longer be sustained by the benefit of nature, he fell into certain cold and dry diseases, in which case the knowledge of his physicians could stand him in little stead, either by their cunning or experience. For there is no remedy against old age, which if the noble skill of physic could ever have found out, doubtless it would have obtained the means to have made the state of man immortal. Howbeit, God hath determined otherwise; and as he appointed all worldly things to have an end, so Apollonius had his dying day, wherein, in perfect sense and ready memory, he departed this transitory life in the sweet arms of his loving lady, Lucina, and in the midst of his friends, nobles, allies, kinsfolk, and children, in great honor and love of all men. His kingdom of Tyrus he gave by will unto Athanagoras and his daughter, Tharsia, and to their heirs after them for ever: who lived long time together, and had much issue, both boys and girls. Unto the queen, Lady Lucina, he gave the two kingdoms of Antiochia and Pentapolis for term of her life, to deal or dispose at her pleasure; and after her decease unto his son, lusty young Altistrates, and to his heirs for ever. But Lucina, as she could not then be young, since Apollonius died so old, enjoyed not long her widow's estate, but, pining away with sorrow and wearing with age, forsook this present world also and followed her dear lord into the everlasting kingdom that never shall have end, which so far exceedeth the kingdom which forthwith she left unto her young son Altistrates to inherit, as heavenly joys surmount the earthly and the bright sun surpasseth the smallest star.

FINIS.