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  • Title: The Arcadia (Selection)
  • Editors: Michael Best, Sarah Milligan

  • Copyright Michael Best and Sarah Milligan. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Sir Philip Sidney
    Editors: Michael Best, Sarah Milligan
    Not Peer Reviewed

    The Arcadia (Selection)

    1Book 2, Chapter 10

    [Argument, or summary]

    (1)The pitiful state, and story of the Paphlagonian unkind king, and his kind son,(2)first related by the son,(3)then by the blind father.(4)The three princes assaulted by Plexirtus and his train;(5)assisted by their King of Pontus and his troops.(6)Plexirtus succored and saved by two brothers, that virtuously loved a most vicious man.(7)Besieged by the new king,(8)he submitteth, and is pardoned.(9)The two princes depart to aid the Queen of Lycia.

    1. It was in the Kingdom of Galatia, the season being (as in the depth of winter) very cold, and as then suddenly grown to so extreme and foul a storm that never any winter (I think) brought forth a fouler child, so that the princes were even compelled by the hail that the pride of the wind blew into their faces to seek some shrouding place within a certain hollow rock offering it unto them; they made it their shield against the tempest's fury. And so staying there till the violence thereof was passed, they heard the speech of a couple, who not perceiving them (being hid within that rude canopy) held a strange and pitiful disputation which made them step out, yet in such sort as they might see unseen. There they perceived an aged man and a young, scarcely come to the age of a man, both poorly arrayed, extremely weather-beaten; the old man blind, the young man leading him. and yet, through all those miseries, in both these seemed to appear a kind of nobleness not suitable to that affliction. But the first words they heard were these of the old man. "Well, Leonatus," said he, "since I cannot persuade thee to lead me to that which should end my grief, and thy trouble, let me now entreat thee to leave me. Fear not, my misery cannot be greater than it is, and nothing doth become me but misery. Fear not the danger of my blind steps. I cannot fall worse than I am. And do not, I pray thee, do not obstinately continue to infect thee with my wretchedness. But fly, fly from this region, only worthy of me." "Dear father," answered he, "do not take away from me the only remnant of my happiness. While I have power to do you service I am not wholly miserable." "Ah, my son," said he, and with that he groaned, as if sorrow strove to break his heart, "how evil fits it me to have such a son, and how much doth thy kindness upbraid my wickedness?" These doleful speeches, and some others to like purpose (well showing they had not been born to the fortune they were in), moved the princes to go out unto them, and ask the younger what they were. "Sirs," answered he, with a good grace, and made the more agreeable by a certain noble kind of piteousness, "I see well you are strangers that know not our misery, so well here known that no man dare know but that we must be miserable. Indeed our state is such as, though nothing is so needful unto us as pity, yet nothing is more dangerous unto us than to make ourselves so known as may stir pity. But your presence promiseth that cruelty shall not overrun hate. And if it did, in truth our state is sunk below the degree of fear."

    2. "This old man (whom I lead) was lately rightful prince of this country of Paphlagonia, by the hard-hearted ungratefulness of a son of his deprived, not only of his kingdom (whereof no foreign forces were ever able to spoil him), but of his sight, the riches which Nature grants to the poorest creatures. Whereby, and by other his unnatural dealings, he hath been driven to such grief as even now he would have had me to have led him to the top of this rock, thence to cast himself headlong to death, and so would have made me (who received my life of him) to be the worker of his destruction. But noble gentlemen," said he, "if either of you have a father, and feel what dutiful affection is engrafted in a son's heart, let me entreat you to convey this afflicted prince to some place of rest and security. Amongst your worthy acts it shall be none of the least, that a king, of such might and fame, and so unjustly oppressed, is in any sort by you relieved."

    3. But before they could make him answer, his father began to speak, "Ah my son," said he, "how evil an historian are you, that leave out the chief knot of all the discourse? My wickedness, my wickedness. And if thou doest it to spare my ears (the only sense now left me proper for knowledge), assure thyself thou dost mistake me. And I take witness of that sun which you see," with that he cast up his blind eyes, as if he would hunt for light, "and wish myself in worse case than I do wish myself, which is as evil as may be if I speak untruly, that nothing is so welcome to my thoughts, as the publishing of my shame. Therefore know you gentlemen, to whom from my heart I wish that it may not prove ominous foretoken of misfortune to have met with such a miser as I am, that whatsoever my son (O god, that truth binds me to reproach him with the name of my son) hath said, is true. But besides those truths this also is true, that having had, in lawful manage of a mother fit to bear royal children, this son (such one as partly you see, and better shall know by my short declaration), and so enjoyed the expectations in the world of him till he was grown to justify their expectations (so as I needed envy no father for the chief comfort of mortality, to leave another oneself after me) I was carried by a bastard son of mine (if at least I be bound to believe the words of that base woman, my concubine, his mother) first to mislike, then to hate, lastly to destroy--to do my best to destroy--this son (I think you think) undeserving destruction. What ways he used to bring me to it, if I should tell you I should tediously trouble you with as much poisonous hypocrisy, desperate fraud, smooth malice, hidden ambition, and smiling envy as in any living person could be harbored. But I list it not, no remembrance (no, of naughtiness) delights me but mine own, and methinks the accusing his trains might in some manner excuse my fault, which certainly I loathe to do. But the conclusion is that I gave order to some servants of mine, whom I thought as apt for such charities as my self, to lead him out into a forest, and there to kill him.

    5But those thieves, better natured to my son than myself, spared his life, letting him go to learn to live poorly, which he did, giving himself to be a private soldier in a country here by. But as he was ready to be greatly advanced for some noble pieces of service which he did, he heard news of me, who, drunk in my affection to that unlawful and unnatural son of mine, suffered myself so to be governed by him that all favors and punishments passed by him, all offices and places of importance, distributed to his favorites; so that ere I was aware I had left myself nothing but the name of a king, which he shortly weary of too, with many indignities (if any thing may be called an indignity which was laid upon me) threw me out of my seat and put out my eyes. And then, proud in his tyranny, let me go, neither imprisoning nor killing me, but rather delighting to make me feel my misery; misery indeed, if ever there were any, full of wretchedness, fuller of disgrace, and fullest of guiltiness. And as he came to the crown by so unjust means, as unjustly he kept it by force of stranger soldiers in citadels, the nests of tyranny and murderers of liberty, disarming all his own countrymen that no man durst show himself a well-willer of mine. To say the truth, I think few of them being so,considering my cruel folly to my good son and foolish kindness to my unkind bastard, but if there were any who fell to pity of so great a fall, and had yet any sparks of unstained duty left in them towards me, yet durst they not show it, scarcely with giving me alms at their doors; which yet was the only sustenance of my distressed life, nobody daring to show so much charity as to lend me a hand to guide my dark steps, till this son of mine, god knows, worthy of a more virtuous, and more fortunate father, forgetting my abominable wrongs, not recking danger, and neglecting the present good way he was in doing himself good, came hither to do this kind office you see him perform towards me, to my unspeakable grief; not only because his kindness is a glass, even to my blind eyes, of my naughtiness, but that above all griefs it grieves me he should desperately adventure the loss of his soul-deserving life for mine, that yet owe more to fortune for my deserts, as if he would carry mud in a chest of crystal. For well I know, he that now reigneth, how much soever (and with good reason) he despiseth me of all men despised, yet he will not let slip any advantage to make away him whose just title, ennobled by courage and goodness, may one day shake the seat of a never-secure tyranny. And for this cause I craved of him to lead me to the top of this rock, indeed I must confess, with meaning to free him from so serpentine a companion as I am. But he, finding what I purposed, only therein since he was born showed himself disobedient unto me. And now, gentlemen, you have the true story, which I pray you publish to the world that my mischievous proceedings may be the glory of his filial piety, the only reward now left for so great a merit. And if it may be, let me obtain that of you which my son denies me; for never was there more pity in saving any than in ending me, both because therein my agonies shall end, and so shall you preserve this excellent young man, who else willfully follows his own ruin."

    4. The matter, in itself lamentable, lamentably expressed by the old prince, which needed not take to himself the gestures of pity since his face could not put off the marks thereof, greatly moved the two princes to compassion, which could not stay in such hearts as theirs without seeking remedy. But by and by the occasion was presented, for Plexirtus, so was the bastard called, came thither with forty horse, only of purpose to murder this brother of whose coming he had soon advertisement, and thought no eyes of sufficient credit in such a matter but his own, and therefore came himself to be actor and spectator. And as soon as he came, not regarding the weak, as he thought, guard of but two men, commanded some of his followers to set their hands to his in the killing of Leonatus. But the young prince, though not otherwise armed but with a sword, how falsely soever he was dealt with by others, would not betray himself; but bravely drawing it out, made the death of the first that assaulted him warn his fellows to come more warily after him. But then Pyrocles and Musidorus were quickly become parties, so just a defense deserving as much as old friendship, and so did behave them among that company, more injurious than valiant, that many of them lost their lives for their wicked master.

    5. Yet perhaps had the number of them at last prevailed if the King of Pontus, lately by them made so, had not come unlooked for to their succor. Who, having had a dream which had fixed his imagination vehemently upon some great danger, presently to follow those two princes whom he most dearly loved, was come in all haste, following as well as he could their track with a hundred horses in that country, which he thought, considering who then reigned, a fit place enough to make the stage of any Tragedy.

    6. But then the match had been so ill made for Plexirtus that his ill-led life and worse-gotten honor should have tumbled together to destruction, had there not come in Tydeus and Telenor with forty or fifty in their suit, to the defense of Plexirtus. These two were brothers of the noblest house of that country, brought up from their infancy with Plexirtus; men of such prowess as not to know fear in themselves, and yet to teach it others that should deal with them. For they had often made their lives triumph over most terrible dangers, never dismayed and ever fortunate, and truly no more settled in their valor than disposed to goodness and justice, if either they had lighted on a better friend or could have learned to make friendship a child, and not the father, of virtue. But bringing up, rather than choice, having first knit their minds unto him, indeed crafty enough, either to hide his faults or never to show them but when they might pay home, they willingly held out the course, rather to satisfy him than all the world, and rather to be good friends than good men. So as, though they did not like the evil he did, yet they liked him that did the evil, and though not councilors of the offense, yet protectors of the offender. Now they, having heard of this sudden going out with so small a company in a country full of evil-wishing minds toward him (though they knew not the cause) followed him till they found him in such case as they were to venture their lives, or else he to lose his, which they did with such force of mind and body that truly I may justly say, Pyrocles and Musidorus had never till then found any that could make them so well repeat their hardest lesson in the feats of arms. And briefly so they did, that if they overcame not yet were they not overcome, but carried away that ungrateful master of theirs to a place of security, howsoever the princes labored to the contrary. But this matter being thus far begun, it became not the constancy of the princes so to leave it, but in all haste making forces both in Pontus and Phrygia, they had in few days, left him but only that one strong place where he was. For fear having been the only knot that had fastened his people unto him that once untied by a greater force, they all scattered from him like so many birds whose cage had been broken.

    7. In which season the blind king, having in the chief city of his realm set the crown upon his son Leonatus's head, with many tears both of joy and sorrow, setting forth to the whole people his own fault and his son's virtue, after he had kissed him and forced his son to accept honor of him as of his [new-become subject even in a moment died, as it should seem his heart broken with unkindness and affliction, stretched so far beyond his limits with this excess of comfort as it was able no longer to keep safe his royal spirits. But the new king, having no less lovingly performed all duties to him dead than alive, pursued on the siege of his unnatural brother as much for the revenge of his father as for the establishing of his own quiet; in which siege truly I cannot but acknowledge the prowess of those two brothers, than whom the princes never found in all their travel two men of greater ability to perform, nor of abler skill for conduct.

    108. But Plexirtus finding that, if nothing else, famine would at last bring him to destruction, thought better by humbleness to creep, where by pride he could not march. For certainly so had nature formed him, and the exercise of craft conformed him to all turnings of sleights, that though no man had less goodness in his soul than he, no man could better find the places whence arguments might grow of goodness to another; though no man felt less pity, no man could tell better how to stir pity; no man more impudent to deny, where proofs were not manifest; no man more ready to confess with a repenting manner of aggravating his own evil where denial would but make the fault fouler. Now he took this way, that, having gotten a passport for one that pretended he would put Plexirtus alive into his hands to speak with the King his brother, he himself, though much against the minds of the valiant brothers who rather wished to die in brave defense, with a rope about his neck, barefooted, came to offer himself to the discretion of Leonatus. Where what submission he used, how cunningly in making greater the fault he made the faultiness the less, how artificially he could set out the torments of his own conscience, with the burdensome cumber he had found of his ambitious desires, how finely seeming to desire nothing but death, as ashamed to live, he begged life in the refusing it, I am not cunning enough to be able to express, but so fell out of it that, though at first sight Leonatus saw him with no other eye than as the murderer of his father, and anger already began to paint revenge in many colors, ere long he had not only gotten pity but pardon, and, if not an excuse of the fault past, yet an opinion of a future amendment, while the poor villains, chief ministers of his wickedness, now betrayed by the author thereof, were delivered to many cruel sorts of death. He so handling it that it rather seemed he had rather come into the defense of an unremediable mischief already committed than that they had done it at first by his consent.

    9. In such sort the princes left these reconciled brothers, Plexirtus in all his behavior carrying him in far lower degree of service than the ever-noble nature of Leonatus would suffer him, and taking likewise their leaves of their good friend the King of Pontus, who returned to enjoy their benefit both of his wife and kingdom; they privately went thence, having only with them the two valiant brothers who would needs accompany them through divers places, they four doing acts more dangerous, though less famous, because they were but private chivalries, till hearing of the fair and virtuous Queen Erona of Lycia, besieged by the puissant King of Armenia, they bent themselves to her succor, both because the weaker (and weaker as being a lady) and partly because they heard the King of Armenia had in his company three of the most famous men living, for matters of arms, that were known to be in the world. Whereof one was the Prince Plangus (whose name was sweetened by your breath, peerless lady, when the last day it pleased you to mention him unto me) the other two were two great princes (though holding of him) Barzanes and Evardes, men of giant-like both hugeness and force, in which two especially the trust the king had of victory was reposed. And of them, those two brothers, Tydeus and Telenor, sufficient judges in warlike matters, spake so high commendations that the two young princes had even a youthful longing to have some trial of their virtue. And therefore as soon as they were entered into Lycia they joined themselves with them that faithfully served the poor queen, at that time besieged, and ere long animated in such sort their almost overthrown hearts, that they went by force to relieve the town, though they were deprived of a great part of their strength by the parting of the two brothers who were sent for in all haste to return to their old friend and master, Plexirtus; who, willingly hoodwinking themselves from seeing his faults and binding themselves to believe what he said, often abused the virtue of courage to defend his foul vice of injustice. But now they were sent for to advance a conquest he was about, while Pyrocles and Musidorus pursued the delivery of the Queen Erona.

    Book 2, Chapter 15

    [Argument, or summary]

    (1)Plangus--his parentage.(2)His trick of youth,(3)espied,(4)and turned over by, and to his old father.(5)An inveigling woman's arts.(6)A guilty stepmother's devilish practices against Plangus.(7)Her minister's false informations.(8)Plangus's perplexities.(9)His father's jealousies. The queen's complots(10)to feed the one's suspicion,(11)and work the other's overthrow.(12)Plangus taken;(13)delivered, flieth,(14)is pursued with old hate and new treason,(15)yet must he serve abroad, while a new heir is made at home.

    1. The father of this Prince Plangus as yet lives, and is King of Iberia, a man, if the judgement of Plangus may be accepted, of no wicked nature, nor willingly doing evil, without himself mistake the evil, seeing it disguised under some form of goodness. This prince, being married at the first to a princess, who both from her ancestors and in herself was worthy of him, by her had this son, Plangus. Not long after whose birth, the queen, as though she had performed the message for which she was sent into the world, returned again unto her maker. The king, sealing up all thoughts of love under the image of her memory, remained a widower many years after recompensing the grief of that disjoining from her, in conjoining in himself both a fatherly and a motherly care toward her only child, Plangus, who, being grown to man's age as our own eyes may judge, could not but fertilely requite his father's fatherly education.

    2. This prince, while yet the errors in his nature were excused by the greenness of his youth, which took all the fault upon itself, loved a private man's wife of the principal city of that kingdom; if that may be called love which he rather did take into himself willingly than by which he was taken forcibly. It sufficeth that the young man persuaded himself he loved her, she being a woman beautiful enough, if it be possible that the outside only can justly entitle a beauty. But finding such a chase as only fled to be caught, the young prince brought his affection with her to that point which ought to engrave remorse in her heart, and to paint shame upon her face. And so possessed he his desire without any interruption, he constantly favoring her and she thinking that the enameling of a prince's name might hide the spots of a broken wedlock. But as I have seen one that was sick of a sleeping disease could not be made wake, but with pinching of him so out of his sinful sleep, his mind, unworthy so to be lost, was not to be called to itself but by a sharp accident.

    153. It fell out, that his many-times leaving of the court, in undue times, began to be noted, and, as prince's ears be manifold, from one to another came unto the king, who, careful of his only son, sought, and found by his spies (the necessary evil servants to a king) what it was whereby he was from his better delights so diverted.

    4. Whereupon the king, to give his fault the greater blow, used such means, by disguising himself, that he found them, her husband being absent, in her house together, which he did to make him the more feelingly ashamed of it. And that way he took, laying threatenings upon her, and upon him reproaches. But the poor young prince, deceived with that young opinion that if it be ever lawful to lie it is for one's lover, employed all his wit to bring his father to a better opinion. And because he might bend him from that, as he counted it, crooked conceit of her, he wrested him, as much as he could possibly to the other side, not sticking with prodigal protestations to set forth her chastity, not denying his own attempts, but thereby the more extolling her virtue. His sophistry prevailed, his father believed; and so believed that ere long, though he were already stepped into the winter of his age, he found himself warm in those desires which were in his son far more excusable. To be short, he gave himself over unto it; and, because he would avoid the odious comparison of a young rival, sent away his son with an army to the subduing of a province lately rebelled against him, which he knew could not be a less work than of three or four years. Wherein he behaved him so worthily, as even to this country the fame thereof came long before his own coming; while yet his father had a speedier success, but in a far unnobler conquest. For while Plangus was away, the old man, growing only in age and affection, followed his suit with all means of unhonest servants, large promises, and each thing else that might help to countervail his own unloveliness.

    5. And she, whose husband about that time died, forgetting the absent Plangus, or at least not hoping of him to obtain so aspiring a purpose, left no art unused which might keep the line from breaking whereat the fish was already taken; not drawing him violently, but letting him play himself upon the hook which he had greedily swallowed. For, accompanying her mourning with a doleful countenance, yet neither forgetting handsomeness in her mourning garments nor sweetness in her doleful countenance, her words were ever seasoned with sighs, and any favor she showed bathed in tears, that affection might see cause of pity, and pity might persuade cause of affection. And being grown skillful in his humors, she was no less skillful in applying his humors, never suffering his fear to fall to a despair, nor his hope to hasten to an assurance. She was content he should think that she loved him; and a certain stolen look should sometimes (as though it were against her will) bewray it. But if thereupon he grew bold, he straight was encountered with a mask of virtue. And that which seemeth most impossible unto me, for as near as I can I repeat it as Plangus told it, she could not only sigh when she would as all can do, and weep when she would, as (they say) some can do, but, being most impudent in her heart, she could, when she would, teach her cheeks blushing, and make shamefastness the cloak of shamelessness. In sum, to leave out many particularities which he recited, she did not only use so the spur that his desire ran on, but so the bit that it ran on even in such a career as she would have it; that within a while the king, seeing with no other eyes but such as she gave him, and thinking no other thoughts but such as she taught him, having at the first liberal measure of favors then shortened of them when most his desire was inflamed, he saw no other way but marriage to satisfy his longing and her mind, as he thought, loving, but chastely loving. So that by the time Plangus returned from being notably victorious of the rebels, he found his father not only married, but already a father of a son and a daughter by this woman. Which though Plangus, as he had every way just cause, was grieved at, yet did his grief never bring forth either condemning of her, or repining at his father.

    6. But she, who besides she was grown a mother and a stepmother did read in his eyes her own fault and made his conscience her guiltiness, thought still that his presence carried her condemnation. So much the more as that she, unchastely attempting his wonted fancies, found, for the reverence of his father's bed, a bitter refusal, which breeding rather spite than shame in her, or if it were a shame, a shame not of the fault but of the repulse, she did not only, as hating him, thirst for a revenge, but, as fearing harm from him, endeavored to do harm unto him. Therefore did she try the uttermost of her wicked wit how to overthrow him in the foundation of his strength, which was in the favor of his father; which, because she saw strong both in nature and desert, it required the more cunning how to undermine it. And therefore, shunning the ordinary trade of hireling sycophants, she made her praises of him to be accusations, and her advancing him to be his ruin. For first with words, nearer admiration than liking, she would extoll his excellencies, the goodliness of his shape, the power of his wit, the valiantness of his courage, the fortunateness of his successes, so as the father might find in her a singular love towards him; nay, she shunned not to kindle some few sparks of jealousy in him. Thus having gotten an opinion in his father that she was far from meaning mischief to the son, then fell she to praise him with no less vehemency of affection, but with much more cunning of malice. For then she sets forth the liberty of his mind, the high flying of his thoughts, the fitness in him to bear rule, the singular love the subjects bore him; that it was doubtful, whether his wit were greater in winning their favors, or his courage in employing their favors; that he was not born to live a subject-life, each action of his bearing in it majesty, such a kingly entertainment, such a kingly magnificence, such a kingly heart for enterprises; especially remembering those virtues, which in a successor are no more honored by the subjects than suspected of the princes. Then would she, by putting of objections, bring in objections to her husband's head, already infected with suspicion. "Nay," would she say, "I dare take it upon my death that he is no such son as many of like might have been, who loved greatness so well as to build their greatness upon their father's ruin. Indeed ambition, like love, can abide no lingering, and ever urgeth on his own successes, hating nothing but what may stop them. But the gods forbid we should ever once dream of any such thing in him, who perhaps might be content that you and the world should know what he can do. But the more power he hath to hurt, the more admirable is his praise that he will not hurt." Then ever remembering to strengthen the suspicion of his estate with private jealousy of her love, doing him excessive honor when he was in presence and repeating his pretty speeches and graces in his absence. Besides, causing him to be employed in all such dangerous matters, as either he should perish in them, or if he prevailed they should increase his glory which she made a weapon to wound him, until she found that suspicion began already to speak for itself, and that her husband's ears were grown hungry of rumors, and his eyes prying into every accident.

    7. Then took she help to her of a servant near about her husband, whom she knew to be of a hasty ambition, and such a one who, wanting true sufficiency to raise him, would make a ladder of any mischief. Him she useth to deal more plainly in alleging causes of jealousy, making him know the fittest times when her husband already was stirred that way. And so they two, with divers ways, nourished one humor, like musicians that, singing divers parts, make one music. He sometime with fearful countenance would desire the king to look to himself for that all the court and city were full of whisperings and expectation of some sudden change, upon what ground himself knew not. Another time he would counsel the king to make much of his son and hold his favor, for that it was too late now to keep him under. Now seeming to fear himself because, he said, Plangus loved none of them that were great about his father. Lastly, breaking with him directly, making a sorrowful countenance and an humble gesture bear false witness for his true meaning, that he found not only soldiery, but people weary of his government, and all their affections bent upon Plangus. Both he and the queen concurring in strange dreams and each thing else that in a mind already perplexed might breed astonishment, so that within a while all Plangus's actions began to be translated into the language of suspicion.

    208. Which though Plangus found, yet could he not avoid, even contraries being driven to draw one yoke of argument. If he were magnificent, he spent much with an aspiring intent; if he spared, he heaped much with an aspiring intent; if he spake courteously, he angled the people's hearts; if he were silent, he mused upon some dangerous plot. In sum, if he could have turned himself to as many forms as Proteus, every form should have been made hideous.

    9. But so it fell out that a mere trifle gave the occasion of further proceeding. The king, one morning, going to a vineyard that lay along the hill where his castle stood, he saw a vine-laborer that, finding a bough broken, took a branch of the same bough for want of another thing, and tied it about the place broken. The king asking the fellow what he did, "Marry," said he, "I make the son bind the father." This word, finding the king already superstitious through suspicion, amazed him straight, as a presage of his own fortune. So that, returning, and breaking with his wife how much he misdoubted his estate, she made such gainsaying answers, as while they strove to be overcome. But even while the doubts most boiled she thus nourished them.

    10. She underhand dealt with the principal men of that country, that at the great Parliament which was then to be held they should in the name of all the estates persuade the king, being now stepped deeply into old age, to make Plangus his associate in government with him, assuring them that not only she would join with them, but that the father himself would take it kindly; charging them not to acquaint Plangus withal for that perhaps it might be harmful unto him if the king should find that he were a party. They (who thought they might do it, not only willingly because they loved him, and truly because such indeed was the mind of the people, but safely because she who ruled the king was agreed thereto) accomplished her counsel, she indeed keeping promise of vehement persuading the same, which the more she and they did the more she knew her husband would fear and hate the cause of his fear. Plangus found this, and humbly protested against such desire, or will, to accept. But the more he protested the more his father thought he dissembled, accenting his integrity to be but a cunning face of falsehood, and therefore delaying the desire of his subjects, [he] attended some fit occasion to lay hands upon his son, which his wife thus brought to pass.

    11. She caused that same minister of hers to go unto Plangus and, enabling his words with great show of faith and endearing them with desire of secrecy, to tell him that he found his ruin conspired by his stepmother, with certain of the noble men of that country, the king himself giving his consent, and that few days should pass before the putting it in practice, with all discovering the very truth indeed, with what cunning his stepmother had proceeded. This agreeing with Plangus his own opinion made him give him the better credit, yet not so far as to fly out of his country (according to the naughty fellow's persuasion) but to attend and to see further. Whereupon the fellow, by the direction of his mistress, told him one day that the same night, about one of the clock, the king had appointed to have his wife and those noble men together to deliberate of their manner of proceeding against Plangus; and therefore offered him that if himself would agree, he would bring him into a place where he should hear all that passed, and so have the more reason both to himself and to the world to seek his safety. The poor Plangus, being subject to that only disadvantage of honest hearts, credulity, was persuaded by him, and, arming himself because of his late going, was closely conveyed into the place appointed. In the mean time, his stepmother making all her gestures cunningly counterfeit a miserable affliction, she lay almost groveling on the floor of her chamber, not suffering anybody to comfort her, until they, calling for her husband, and he [held off with long inquiry, at length she told him, even almost crying out every word, that she was weary of her life since she was brought to that plunge either to conceal her husband's murder or accuse her son, who had ever been more dear than a son unto her. Then with many interruptions and exclamations she told him that her son Plangus, soliciting her in the old affection between them, had besought her to put her helping hand to the death of the king, assuring her that though all the laws in the world were against it he would marry her when he were king.

    12. She had not fully said thus much, with many pitiful digressions, when in comes the same fellow that brought Plangus, and running himself out of breath, fell at the king's feet, beseeching him to save himself for that there was a man with sword drawn in the next room. The king, affrighted, went out and called his guard, who, entering the place, found indeed Plangus with his sword in his hand, but not naked, but standing suspiciously enough to one already suspicious. The king, thinking he had put up his sword because of the noise, never took leisure to hear his answer but made him prisoner, meaning the next morning to put him to death in the market place.

    2513. But the day had no sooner opened the eyes and ears of his friends and followers, but that there was a little army of them who came and by force delivered him, although numbers on the other side, abused with the fine framing of their report, took arms for the king. But Plangus, though he might have used the force of his friends to revenge his wrong and get the crown, yet the natural love of his father and hate to make their suspicion seem just, caused him rather to choose a voluntary exile than to make his father's death the purchase of his life. And therefore went he to Tiridates, whose mother was his father's sister, living in his court eleven or twelve years, ever hoping by his intercession and his own desert to recover his father's grace. At the end of which time the war of Erona happened, which my sister, with the cause thereof, discoursed unto you.

    14. But his father had so deeply engraved the suspicion in his heart that he thought his flight rather to proceed of a fearful guiltiness than of an humble faithfulness, and therefore continued his hate, with such vehemency that he did ever hate his nephew Tiridates, and afterwards his niece Artaxia, because in their court he received countenance, leaving no means unattempted of destroying his son; among other, employing that wicked servant of his, who undertook to empoison him. But his cunning disguised him not so well but that the watchful servants of Plangus did discover him. Whereupon the wretch was taken, and, before his well-deserved execution, by torture forced to confess the particularities of this, which in general I have told you.

    15. Which confession authentically set down, though Tiridates with solemn embassage sent it to the king, wrought no effect. For the king, having put the reins of the government into his wife's hand, never did so much as read it but sent it straight by her to be considered. So as they rather heaped more hatred upon Plangus for the death of their servant. And now finding that his absence and their reports had much diminished the wavering people's affection towards Plangus, with advancing fit persons for faction and granting great immunities to the commons, they prevailed so far as to cause the son of the second wife, called Palladius, to be proclaimed successor, and Plangus quite excluded. . . .