Act I, Scene 2 Tyre. A room in the palace.

Enter PERICLES

 

PERICLES [To Lords without] Let none disturb us.--Why should
this change of thoughts,
The sad companion, dull-eyed melancholy,
Be my so used 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,
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 ere 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.
  [Enter HELICANUS, with other Lords]
First Lord Joy and all comfort in your sacred breast!
Second Lord And keep your mind, till you return to us,
Peaceful and comfortable!
HELICANUS Peace, peace, and give experience tongue.
They do abuse the king that flatter him:
For flattery is the bellows blows up sin;
The thing which is flatter'd, but a spark,
To which that blast 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.
PERICLES 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?
HELICANUS An angry brow, dread lord.
PERICLES If there be such a dart in princes' frowns,
How durst thy tongue move anger to our face?
HELICANUS How dare the plants look up to heaven, from whence
They have their nourishment?
PERICLES Thou know'st I have power
To take thy life from thee.
HELICANUS [Kneeling]
  I have ground the axe myself;
Do you but strike the blow.
PERICLES Rise, prithee, rise.
Sit down: thou art no flatterer:
I thank thee for it; and heaven forbid
That kings should let their ears hear their
faults hid!
Fit counsellor and servant for a prince,
Who by thy wisdom makest a prince thy servant,
What wouldst thou have me do?
HELICANUS To bear with patience
Such griefs as you yourself do lay upon yourself.
PERICLES Thou speak'st like a physician, Helicanus,
That minister'st a potion unto me
That thou wouldst tremble to receive thyself.
Attend me, then: I went to Antioch,
Where as thou know'st, against the face of death,
I sought the purchase of a glorious beauty.
From whence an issue I might propagate,
Are arms to princes, and bring joys to subjects.
Her face was to mine eye beyond all wonder;
The rest--hark in thine ear--as black as incest:
Which by my knowledge found, the sinful father
Seem'd not to strike, but smooth: but thou
know'st this,
'Tis time to fear when tyrants seem to kiss.
Such fear so grew in me, I hither fled,
Under the covering of a careful night,
Who seem'd my good protector; and, being here,
Bethought me what was past, what might succeed.
I knew him tyrannous; and tyrants' fears
Decrease not, but grow faster than the years:
And should he doubt it, as no doubt he doth,
That I should open to the listening air
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 reprovest me for it,--
HELICANUS Alas, sir!
PERICLES 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;
And finding little comfort to relieve them,
I thought it princely charity to grieve them.
HELICANUS 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,
Who either by public war or private treason
Will take away your life.
Therefore, my lord, go travel for a while,
Till that his rage and anger be forgot,
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.
PERICLES I do not doubt thy faith;
But should he wrong my liberties in my absence?
HELICANUS We'll mingle our bloods together in the earth,
From whence we had our being and our birth.
PERICLES Tyre, I now look from thee then, and to Tarsus
Intend my travel, where I'll hear from thee;
And by whose letters I'll dispose myself.
The care I had and have of subjects' good
On thee I lay whose wisdom's strength can bear it.
I'll take thy word for faith, not ask thine oath:
Who shuns not to break one will sure crack both:
But in our orbs we'll live so round and safe,
That time of both this truth shall ne'er convince,
Thou show'dst a subject's shine, I a true prince.
  [Exeunt]

 

To see other scenes in the show:

Full Text Act III, Scene 1 At sea.
Act I, Scene 1 Antioch. A room in the palace. Act III, Scene 2 Ephesus. A room in Cerimon's house.
Act I, Scene 2 A room in the palace. Act III, Scene 3 Tarsus. A room in Cleon's house./Act III, Scene 4 A room in Cerimon's house.
Act I, Scene 3 An ante-chamber in the palace. Act IV, Scene 1 Tarsus. An open place near the sea=shore.
Act I, Scene 4 A room in the Governor's house Act IV, Scene 2 Mytilene. A room in a brothel.
Act II, Scene 1 Pentapolis.  An open place by the sea-side. Act IV, Scene 3 Tarsus. A room in Cleon's house.
Act II, Scene 2 The same.  A public way or platform leading to the lists.  A pavilion by the side of it for the reception of King, Princess, Lords, etc. Act IV, Scene 4 Chorus dialogue./Act IV, Scene 5 Mytilene. A street before the brothel.
Act II, Scene 3 The same. A hall of state: a banquet prepared. Act IV, Scene 6 The same. A room in the brothel.
Act II, Scene 4 Tyre.  A room in the Governor's house. Act V, Scene 1 On board Pericles' ship, off Mytilene.  A close pavilion on deck with a curtain before it:  Pericles within it, reclined on a couch. A barge lying beside the Tyrian vessel.
Act II, Scene 5 Pentapolis. A room in the palace. Act V, Scene 2 Chorus dialogue./Act V, Scene 3 The temple of Diana at Ephesus: Thaisa standing near the altar, as high priestess: a number of virgins on each side: Cerimon and other inhabitants of Ephesus attending.

 

To view other Pericles sections:

Main Play Page      Play Text     Scene by Scene Synopsis     Character Directory     Commentary  

 

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All's Well the Ends Well Antony & Cleopatra As You Like It Cardenio Comedy of Errors Coriolanus
Cymbeline Edward III Hamlet Henry IV, Part 1 Henry IV, Part 2 Henry V
Henry VI, Part 1 Henry VI, Part 2 Henry VI, Part 3 Henry VIII Julius Caesar King John
King Lear Love's Labours Lost Love's Labours Wonne Macbeth Measure for Measure Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor A Mid Summer Night's Dream  Much Ado About Nothing Othello Pericles Richard II
Richard III Romeo & Juliet Sir Thomas More Taming of the Shrew The Tempest Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus Troilus & Cressida Twelfth Night Two Gentlemen of Verona The Two Noble Kinsman The Winter's Tale

 

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