Tarsus. A room in the Governor's house.
Enter CLEON, the governor of Tarsus, with DIONYZA, and others
1 My Dionyza, shall we rest us here,
2 And by relating tales of others' griefs,
3 See if 'twill teach us to forget our own?
4 That were to quench it;
5 For who digs hills because they do aspire
6 Throws down one mountain to cast up a higher.
7 O my distressed lord, even such our griefs are;
8 Here they're but felt, and seen with mischief's eyes,
9 But like to groves, being topp'd, they higher rise.
10 O Dionyza,
11 Who wanteth food, and will not say he wants it,
12 Or can conceal his hunger till he famish?
13 Our tongues and sorrows do sound deep
14 Our woes into the air; our eyes do weep,
15 Till tongues fetch breath that may proclaim them louder;
16 That, if heaven slumber while their creatures want,
17 They may awake their helps to comfort them.
18 I'll then several years,
19 And wanting breath to speak help me with tears.
20 I'll do my best, sir.
21 This Tarsus, o'er which I have the government,
22 A city on whom plenty held full hand,
23 For riches strew'd herself even in the streets;
24 Whose towers high they kiss'd the clouds,
25 And strangers ne'er beheld but wondered at;
26 Whose men and dames so jetted and adorn'd,
27 Like one another's glass to trim them by:
28 Their sight,
29 And not so much to feed on as delight;
30 All poverty was scorn'd, and pride so great,
31 The name of help grew odious to repeat.
32 O, 'tis too true.
33 But see what heaven can do! By this our change,
34 These mouths, who but of late, earth, sea, and air,
35 Were all too little to content and please,
36 Although they gave their creatures in abundance,
37 As houses are defiled for want of use,
38 They are now starved for want of exercise:
39 Those palates who, not yet two summers younger,
40 Must have inventions to delight the taste,
41 Would now be glad of bread, and beg for it:
42 Those mothers who, to nousle up their babes,
43 Thought nought too curious, are ready now
44 To eat those little darlings whom they loved.
45 So sharp are hunger's teeth, that man and wife
46 Draw lots who first shall die to lengthen life:
47 Here stands a lord, and there a lady weeping;
48 Here many sink, yet those which see them fall
49 Have scarce strength left to give them burial.
50 Is not this true?
51 Our cheeks and hollow eyes do witness it.
52 O, let those cities that of plenty's cup
53 And her prosperities so largely taste,
54 With their superfluous riots, hear these tears!
55 The misery of Tarsus may be theirs.
Enter a Lord
56 Where's the lord governor?
58 Speak out thy sorrows which thou bring'st in haste,
59 For comfort is too expect.
60 We have descried, upon our neighbouring shore,
61 A portly sail of ships make hitherward.
62 I thought as much.
63 One sorrow never comes but brings an heir,
64 That may succeed as his inheritor;
65 And so in ours: some neighbouring nation,
67 Hath power,
68 To beat us down, the which are down already;
69 And make a conquest of unhappy me,
70 Whereas no glory's got to overcome.
71 That's the least fear; for, by the semblance
72 Of their bring us peace,
73 And come to us as favourers, not as foes.
74 Thou speak'st like him's untutor'd to repeat:
75 Who makes the fairest show means most deceit.
76 But bring they what they will and what they can,
77 What need we fear?
78 The ground's the lowest, and we are half way there.
79 Go tell their attend him here,
80 To know for what he comes, and whence he comes,
81 And what he craves.
82 I go, my lord.
83 Welcome is peace, if he on peace consist;
84 If wars, we are unable to resist.
Enter PERICLES with Attendants
85 Lord governor, for so we hear you are,
86 Let not our ships and number of our men
87 Be like a beacon fired to amaze your eyes.
88 We have heard your miseries as far as Tyre,
89 And seen the desolation of your streets:
90 Nor come we to add sorrow to your tears,
91 But to relieve them of their heavy load;
92 And these our ships, you happily may think
93 Are like the stuff'd within
94 With bloody veins, expecting overthrow,
95 Are stored with corn to make your needy bread,
96 And give them life whom hunger starved half dead.
97 The gods of Greece protect you!
98 And we'll pray for you.
99 Arise, I pray you, rise:
100 We do not look for reverence, but to love,
101 And harbourage for ourself, our ships, and men.
102 The which when any shall not gratify,
103 Or thought,
104 Be it our wives, our children, or ourselves,
105 The curse of heaven and men succeed their evils!
106 Till when,--the which I hope shall ne'er be seen,--
107 Your grace is welcome to our town and us.
108 Which welcome we'll accept; feast here awhile,
109 Until our stars that frown lend us a smile.
110 Here have you seen a mighty king
111 His child, I bring;
112 A better prince and benign lord,
113 That will prove awful both in deed and word.
114 Be quiet then as men should be,
115 Till he hath pass'd necessity.
116 I'll show you those in troubles reign,
117 Losing a mite, a mountain gain.
118 The good in conversation,
119 To whom I give my benison,
120 Is still at Tarsus, where each man
121 Thinks all is writ he speken can;
122 And, to remember what he does,
123 Build his statue to make him glorious:
124 But tidings to the contrary
125 Are brought your eyes; what need speak I?
126 DUMB SHOW.
Enter at one door PERICLES talking with CLEON; all the train with them. Enter at another door a Gentleman, with a letter to PERICLES; PERICLES shows the letter to CLEON; gives the Messenger a reward, and knights him. Exit PERICLES at one door, and CLEON at another
127 Good Helicane, that stay'd at home,
128 Not to eat honey like a drone
129 From others' labours; for though he strive
130 To killen bad, keep good alive;
131 And to fulfil his prince' desire,
132 Sends word of all that haps in Tyre:
133 How Thaliard came full bent with sin
134 And had intent to murder him;
135 And that in Tarsus was not best
136 Longer for him to make his rest.
137 He, doing so, put forth to seas,
138 Where when men been, there's seldom ease;
139 For now the wind begins to blow;
140 Thunder above and deeps below
141 Make such unquiet, that the ship
142 Should house him safe is wreck'd and split;
143 And he, good prince, having all lost,
144 By waves from coast to coast is tost:
145 All perishen of man, of pelf,
146 Ne aught escapen but himself;
147 Till fortune, tired with doing bad,
148 Threw him ashore, to give him glad:
149 And here he comes. What shall be next,
150 Pardon old Gower,--this longs the text.