Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Tom Bishop
Not Peer Reviewed

Pericles, Prince of Tyre (Quarto)

Pericles Prince of Tyre.
Peri. Great King,
Few loue to heare the sinnes they loue to act,
T'would brayde your selfe too neare for me to tell it:
140Who has a booke of all that Monarches doe,
Hee's more secure to keepe it shut, then showne.
For Vice repeated, is like the wandring Wind,
Blowes dust in others eyes to spread it selfe;
And yet the end of all is bought thus deare,
145The breath is gone, and the sore eyes see cleare:
To stop the Ayre would hurt them, the blind Mole castes
Copt hilles towards heauen, to tell the earth is throng'd
By mans oppression, and the poore Worme doth die for't:
Kinges are earths Gods; in vice, their law's their will:
150And if Ioue stray, who dares say, Ioue doth ill:
It is enough you know, and it is fit;
What being more knowne, growes worse, to smother it.
All loue the Wombe that their first beeing bred,
Then giue my tongue like leaue, to loue my head.
155Ant. Heauen, that I had thy head; he ha's found the mea-(ning:
But I will gloze with him. Young Prince of Tyre,
Though by the tenour of your strict edict,
Your exposition misinterpreting,
We might proceed to counsell of your dayes;
160Yet hope, succeeding from so faire a tree
As your faire selfe, doth tune vs otherwise;
Fourtie dayes longer we doe respite you,
If by which time, our secret be vndone,
This mercy shewes, wee'le ioy in such a Sonne:
165And vntill then, your entertaine shall bee
As doth befit our honour and your worth.
Manet Pericles solus.
Peri. How courtesie would seeme to couer sinne,
When what is done, is like an hipocrite,
170The which is good in nothing but in sight.
If it be true that I interpret false,
Then were it certaine you were not so bad,
As with foule Incest to abuse your soule: