Page images
[ocr errors]

And with dead cheeks advise thee to desist,
For going on death's net, whom none resist.

Per. Antiochus, I thank thee, who hath taught
My frail mortality to know itself,
And by those fearful objects to prepare .
This body, like to them, to what I must:
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.

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

Daugh. In all, fave 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.

[ocr errors]

[He reads the Riddle.]

I am no viper, yet I feed
On mother's flesh, which did me breed:
I fought a husband, in which labour,
I found that kindness in a futber.


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

(Takes bold of the band 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,
That knowing lin within, will touch the gate.
You're a fair viol, and your sense the strings ;
Who, finger'd to make man his lawful musick,
Would draw heaven down, and all the gods to hearken ;
But, being play'd upon before your time,
Hell only danceth at fo harsh a chime:
Good footh, 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 fins they love to act ;
'Twould 'braid yourself too near for ine 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


в 3



To ftop 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 fay, 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 being 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. Afde.] Young prince of

Though, by the tenour of our strict edíct,
Your exposition misinterpreting,
We might proceed to cancel of your days ;
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 fon :
And until then, your entertain shall be,
As doth befit our honour, and your worth.

[Exeunt ANTIOCHUS, his daughter, and Attend.
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 tsue that I interpret false,
Then were it certain, you were not so bad,
As with foul incest to abuse

your 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 the an eater of her mother's flesh,

foul ;


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 fees, those men
Blush not in actions blacker than the night,
Will shun no course to keep them from the light.
One fin, I know, another doth provoke ;
Murder's as near to lust, as flame to smoke.
Poison and treason are the hands of fin,
Ay, and the targets, to put off the shame :
Then, left my life be cropp'd to keep you clear,
By flight I'll fun the danger which I fear.




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 fin In such a loathed manner : And therefore instantly this prince must die ; For by his fall my honour must keep high. Who attends on us there?



Doth your highness call ? Ant. Thaliard, you're of our chamber, and our mind Partakes her private actions to your secrecy; 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?


B 4

Thal. 'Tis done.

My lord,

Enter a Messenger.

Ant. Enough;
Left your breath cool yourself, telling your hafte.

Mef. My lord, prince Pericles is fled. [Exit Messenger.

As thou Wilt live, fly after : and, as an arrow, shoť From a well-experienc'd archer, hits the mark His

eye doth level at, so thou ne'er return, Unless thou say, Prince Pericles is dead.

Thal. My lord, if I Çan get him once 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 çan lend no succour to my head, [Exit.


Tyre. A Room in the Palace.

Enter PERICLES, HELICANUS, and other Lords.

Per. Let none disturb us: Why this charge of thoughts ? The fad 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 fhun them, And danger, which I feared, is at Antioch, Whofe arm seems far too short to hit me here : Yet neither pleasure's art can joy my spirits,


« PreviousContinue »