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This mercy shows we'll joy in such a son:
[Exeunt ANT., his Daughter, and Attendants.
Per. How courtesy would seem to cover sin,
Then were it certain you were not so bad
And both like serpents are, who, though they feed
Ay, and the targets to put off the shame:
Then, lest my life be cropp'd to keep you clear,
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;
Doth your highness call?
Ant. Thaliard, you're of our chamber, and our mind
And for your faithfulness we will advance you.
We hate the Prince of Tyre, and thou must kill him:
Because we bid it. Say, is it done?
Enter a Messenger.
Let your breath cool yourself, telling your haste.
Wilt live, fly after: and as an arrow shot
If I can get him once within my pistol's length
I'll make him sure enough: so, farewell to your highness. Ant. Thaliard, adieu! [Exit THAL.] Till Pericles be dead My heart can lend no succour to my head.
SCENE II.-TYRE. A Room in the Palace.
Per. [to those without.] Let none disturb us. --Why should this change of thoughts,
The sad companion, dull-ey'd melancholy,
Be my so us'd a guest as 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 them, And danger, which I fear'd, is at Antioch,
Whose aim seems far too short to hit me 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,
And what was first but fear what might be done,
Since he's so great, can make his will his act,-
If he suspect I may dishonour him:
And what may make him blush in being known,
With hostile forces he'll o'erspread the land,
Who once 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.
Enter HELICANUS and other Lords.
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 blast gives heat and stronger glowing;
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?
Hel. How dare the plants look up to heaven, from whence They have their nourishment?
To take thy life from thee.
Thou know'st I have power
Hel. [kneeling.] I have ground the axe myself;
Do you but strike the blow.
Rise, pr'ythee, rise.
Sit down, sit down: thou art no flatterer:
I thank thee for it; and heaven forbid
That kings should let their ears hear their faults chid!
Fit counsellor and servant for a prince,
Who by thy wisdom mak'st a prince thy servant,
To bear with patience
That thou wouldst tremble to receive thyself.
Where, as thou know'st, against the face of death,
Seem'd not to strike, but smooth: but thou know'st this,
Who seem'd my good protector; and, being here,
How many worthy princes' bloods were shed
To keep his bed of blackness unlaid ope,
To lop that doubt, he'll fill this land with arms,
And make pretence of wrong that I have done him;
When all, for mine, if I may call offence,
Must feel war's blow, who spares not innocence:
Which love to all,-of which thyself art one,
Who now reprov'st me for it,—
Per. Drew sleep out of mine eyes, blood from my cheeks, Musings into my mind, with thousand doubts
How I might stop this tempest ere it came;
I thought it princely charity to grieve them.
Hel. Well, my lord, since you have given me leave to speak,
Freely will I speak. Antiochus you fear,
And justly too, I think, you fear the tyrant,
Therefore, my lord, go travel for awhile,
Or till the Destinies do cut his thread of life,
Your rule direct to any; if to me,
Day serves not light more faithful than I'll be.
But should he wrong my liberties in my absence?
Per. Tyre, I now look from thee, then, and to Tharsus
The care I had and have of subjects' good
On thee I lay, whose wisdom's strength can bear it.
Thou show'dst a subject's shine, I a true prince. [Exeunt.
SCENE III.-TYRE. An Ante-chamber in the Palace.
Thal. So, this is Tyre, and this the court. Here must I kill King Pericles; and if I do it not, I am sure to be hanged sat home: 'tis dangerous.-Well, I perceive he was a wise fellow, and had good discretion, that, being bid to ask what he would of the king, desired he might know none of his secrets. Now do I see he had some reason for't: for if a king bid a man be a villain, he is bound by the indenture of his oath to be one.-Hush! here come the lords of Tyre.
Enter HELICANUS, ESCANES, and other Lords.
Thal. [aside.] What from Antioch?
Hel. Royal Antiochus,-on what cause I know not,
Took some displeasure at him; at least he judg'd so:
And doubting lest that he had err'd or sinn'd,
To show his sorrow, he'd correct himself;