Page images

This body, like to them, to what I must :9
For death remember'd, should be like a mirror,
Who tells us, life's but breath ; to trust it, error.
I'll make my will then ; and as sick men do,
Who know the world, see heaven, but feeling woe,
Gripe not at earthly joys, as erst they did ;
So I bequeath a happy peace to you,
And all good men, as every prince should do ;
My riches to the earth from whence they came ;
But my unspotted fire of love to you.

[To the Daughter of ANTIOCHUS.
Thus ready for the way of life or death,
I wait the sharpest blow, Antiochus,
Scorning advice.

Ant. Read the conclusion then ;
Which read and not expounded, 'tis decreed,
As these before thee thou thyself shalt bleed.

Daugh.In all,save that, may'st thou prove prosperous ! In all, save that, I wish thee happiness !

Per. Like a bold champion, I assume the lists,
Nor ask advice of any other thought
But faithfulness and courage.

[He reads the Riddle.]
I am no viper, yet I feed
On mother's flesh, which did me breed :
I sought a husband, in which labour,
I found that kindness in a father.
He's father, son, and husband mild,
I mother, wife, and yet his child.
How they may be, and yet in two,
As you will live, resolve it you.

Sharp physic is the last : but O you powers !
That give heaven countless eyes to view men's acts,
Why cloud they not their sights perpetually,
If this be true, which makes me pale to read it ?
- Fair glass of light, I lov'd you, and could still,

[Takes hold of the hand of the Princess.
Were not this glorious casket stor’d with ill :
But I must tell you,- now, my thoughts revolt,
For he's no man on whom perfections wait,

[9] That is, -to prepare this body for that state to which I must come.


That knowing sin within, will touch the gate.
You're a fair yiol, and your sense the strings ;
Who, finger'd to make man his lawful music,
Would draw heaven down, and all the gods to hearken;
But, being play'd upon before your time,
Hell only danceth at so harsh a chime :
Good sooth, I care not for you.

Ant. Prince Pericles, touch not, upon thy life,
For that's an article within our law,
As dangerous as the rest. Your time's expir'd ;
Either expound now, or receive your sentence.

Per. Great king,
Few love to hear the sins they love to act ;
'Twould ’braid yourself too near for me to tell it.
Who has a book of all that monarchs do,
He's more secure to keep it shut, than shown ;
For vice repeated, is like the wand'ring wind,'
Blows dust in others' eyes, to spread itself;
And yet the end of all is bought thus dear,
The breath is gone, and the sore eyes see clear :
To stop the air would hurt them. The blind mole casts
Copp'd hills towards heaven, to tell, the earth is wrong'd
By man's oppression ; and the poor worm doth die fort.
Kings are earth's gods : in vice their law's their will ;
And if Jove stray, who dares say, Jove doth ill ?
It is enough you know ; and it is fit,
What being more known grows worse, to smother it.
All love the womb that their first beings bred,
Then give my tongue like leave to love my head.
Ant. Heaven, that I had thy head! he has found the

meaning ; But I will gloze with him. (Aside.] Young prince of Tyre, Though by the tenour of our strict edíct, Your exposition misinterpreting, We might proceed to cancel of your days;

[1] That is, which blows dust, &c. The man who knows of the ill practices of princes, is unwise if he reveals what he knows ; for the publisher of vicious actions resembles the wind, which, while it passes along, blows dust into men's eyes. When the blast is over, the eye that has been

affected by the dust, suffers no farther pain, but can see as clearly as before ; so by the relation of criminal acts, the eyes of mankind (though they are affected, and turn away with horror, are opened, and see clearly what before was not even suspected: but by. exposing the crimes of others the relater suffers himself; as the breeze passes away, so the breath of the informer is gone; he dies for his temerity. Yet, to stop the course or ventilation of the air, would hurt the eyes ; and to prevent informers from divulging the crimes of men would be prejudicial to mankind. Such, I think, is the meaning of this obscure passage.




Yet hope, succeeding from so fair a tree

fair self, doth tune us otherwise :
Forty days longer we do respite you ;
If, by which time our secret be undone,
This mercy shows, we'll joy in such a son :
And, until then, your entertain shall be,
As doth befit our honour, and your worth.

[Exe. ANTIOCHUS, his Daughter, and Attendants,
Per. How courtesy would seem to cover sin !
When what is done is like an hypocrite,
The which is good in nothing but in sight.
If it be true that I interpret

false, Then were it certain, you were not so bad, As with foul incest to abuse your soul ; Where now you're both a father and a son, By your untimely claspings with your child, (Which pleasure fits an husband, not a father ;) And she an eater of her mother's flesh, By the defiling of her parent's bed ; And both like serpents are, who though they feed On sweetest flowers, yet they poison breed. Antioch, farewell ! for wisdom sees, those men Blush not in actions blacker than the night, Will shun no course to keep them from the light.3 One sio, I know, another doth provoke ; Murder's as near to lust, as flame to smoke. Poison and treason are the hands of sin. Ay, and the targets, to put off the shame : Then, lest my life be cropp'd to keep you clear, By flight I'll shun the danger which I fear. [Exit.

Re-enter ANTIOCHUS. Ant. He hath found the meaning, for the which we

mean To have his head. He must not live to trumpet forth my infamy, Nor tell the world, Antiochus doth sin In such a loathed manner : And therefore instantly this prince must die ; For by his fall my honour must keep high. [2] Where in this place has the power of whereas. STEEVENS. [3] The expression is here, as in many other places in this play, eliptical; for wisdom sees, that those who do not blush to commit actions blacker than the night, will not shun any course in order to preserve them from being made public. MALONE.

[ocr errors]

Who attends on us there?

Enter THALIARD. Thal. Doth your highness call ?

Ant. Thaliard, you're of our chamber, and our mind Partakes her private actions to your secresy : And for your faithfulness we will advance you. Thaliard, behold, here's poison, and here's gold ; We hate the prince of Tyre, and thou must kill him ; It fits thee not to ask the reason why, Because we bid it. Say, is it done ?

Thal. My lord, 'Tis done.

Enter a Messenger.
Ant. Enough ;
Lest your breath cool yourself, telling your haste.

Mes. My lord, prince Pericles is fled. [Exit Mes.

Ant. As thou
Wilt live, fly after : and, as an arrow, shot
From a well-experienc'd archer, hits the mark
His eye doth level at, so ne'er return,
Unless thou say, Prince Pericles is dead.

Thal. My lord, if I
Can get him orice within my pistol's length,
I'll make him sure: so farewell to your highness. [Exit.

Ant. Thaliard, adieu ! till Pericles be dead, My heart can lend no succour to my head. [Exit.

SCENE II. Tyre. A Room in the Palace. Enter PERICLES, HELICANUS,

and other Lords. Per. Let none disturb us: Why this charge of thoughts? The sad companion, dull-ey'd melancholy, By me so us'd a guest is, not an hour, In the day's glorious walk, or peaceful night, (The tomb where grief should sleep,)can breed me quiet! Here pleasures court mine eyes, and mine eyes shun

And danger, which I feared, is at Antioch,
Whose arm seems far too short to hit ine here :
Yet neither pleasure's art can joy my spirits,
Nor yet the other's distance comfort me.
Then it is thus : the passions of the mind,



That have their first conception by mis-dread,
Have after-nourishment and life by care ;
And what was first but fear what might be done,
Grows elder now, and cares it be not done.
And so with me ;-the great Antiochus
(Gainst whom I am too little to contend,
Since he's so great, can make his will his act.)
Will think me speaking, though I swear to silence ;
Nor boots it me to say, I honour him,
If he suspect I may dishonour him :
And what may make him blush in being known,
He'll stop the course by which it might be known,
With hostile forces he'll o'erspread the land,
And with the ostent of war will look so huge,
Amazement shall drive courage from the state ;
Our men be vanquish’d, e'er they do resist,
And subjects punish'd, that ne'er thought offence ;
Which care of them, not pity of myself,
(Who am no more but as the tops of trees,
Which fence the roots they grow by, and defend them,
Makes both my body pine, and soul to languish,
And punish that before, that he would punish.

1 Lord. Joy and all comfort in your sacred breast !

2 Lord. And keep your mind, till you return to us, Peaceful and comfortable ! Hel. Peace, peace, my lords, and give experience

tongue. They do abuse the king, that flatter him : For flattery is the bellows blows up sin ; The thing the which is flatter'd, but a spark, To which that breath gives heat and stronger glowing ; Whereas reproof, obedient, and in order, Fits kings, as they are men, for they may err. When signior Sooth here does proclaim a peace, He flatters you, makes war upon your

life : Prince, pardon me, or strike me, if you please ; I cannot be much lower than my knees.

Per. All leave us else ; but let your cares o’erlook What shipping and what lading's in our haven, And then return to us. (Exeunt Lords.] Helicanus, thou Hast moved us : what seest thou in our looks? Hel. An angry brow, dread lord.

Per. If there be such a dart in princes' frowns, How durst thy tongue move anger to our face?

« PreviousContinue »