Tyre. A room in the palace.


1 (To Lords without) Let none disturb us.--Why should
2 this change of thoughts,
3 The sad companion, dull-eyed melancholy,
4 Be my so used a guest as not an hour,
5 In the day's glorious walk, or peaceful night,
6 The tomb where grief should sleep, can breed me quiet?
7 Here pleasures court mine eyes, and mine eyes shun them,
8 And danger, which I fear'd, is at Antioch,
9 Whose hit me here:
10 Yet neither pleasure's art can joy my spirits,
11 Nor yet the other's distance comfort me.
12 Then it is thus: the passions of the mind,
13 That have their first conception by mis-dread,
14 Have after-nourishment and life by care;
15 And what was first but fear what might be done,
16 Grows elder now and cares it be not done.
17 And so with me: the great Antiochus,
18 'Gainst whom I am too little to contend,
19 Since he's so great can make his will his act,
20 Will think me speaking, though I swear to silence;
21 Nor boots it me to say I honour him.
22 If he suspect I may dishonour him:
23 And what may make him blush in being known,
24 He'll stop the course by which it might be known;
25 With hostile forces he'll o'erspread the land,
26 And with the ostent of war will look so huge,
27 Amazement shall state;
28 Our men be vanquish'd ere they do resist,
29 And subjects punish'd that ne'er thought offence:
30 Which care of them, not pity of myself,
31 Who am no more but as the tops of trees,
32 Which defend them,
33 Makes both my body pine and soul to languish,
34 And punish that before that he would punish.

Enter HELICANUS, with other Lords

First Lord
35 Joy and all comfort in your sacred breast!

Second Lord
36 And keep your mind, till you return to us,
37 Peaceful and comfortable!

38 Peace, peace, and give experience tongue.
39 They do abuse the king that flatter him:
40 For flattery is the bellows blows up sin;
41 The thing which is flatter'd, but a spark,
42 To which that blast gives heat and stronger glowing;
43 Whereas order,
44 Fits kings, as they are men, for they may err.
45 When Signior Sooth here does proclaim a peace,
46 He flatters you, makes war upon your life.
47 Prince, pardon me, or strike me, if you please;
48 I cannot be much lower than my knees.

49 All leave us else; but let your cares o'erlook
50 What shipping and what lading's in our haven,
51 And then return to us.

Exeunt Lords 52 Helicanus, thou
53 Hast moved us: what seest thou in our looks?

54 An angry brow, dread lord.

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

57 How dare the plants look up to heaven, from whence
58 They have their nourishment?

59 Thou know'st I have power
60 To take thy life from thee.

62 I have ground the axe myself;
63 Do you but strike the blow.

Rise, prithee, rise.
65 Sit down: thou art no flatterer:
66 I thank thee for it; and heaven forbid
67 That kings should let their ears hear their
68 faults hid!
69 Fit counsellor and servant for a prince,
70 Who by thy wisdom makest a prince thy servant,
71 What wouldst thou have me do?

72 To bear with patience
73 Such griefs as you yourself do lay upon yourself.

74 Thou speak'st like a physician, Helicanus,
75 That minister'st a potion unto me
76 That thou wouldst tremble to receive thyself.
77 Attend me, then: I went to Antioch,
78 Where as thou know'st, against the face of death,
79 I sought the purchase of a glorious beauty.
80 From whence an issue I might propagate,
81 Are arms to princes, and bring joys to subjects.
82 Her face was to mine eye beyond all wonder;
83 The rest--hark in thine ear--as black as incest:
84 Which by my knowledge found, the sinful father
85 Seem'd not to strike, but smooth: but thou
86 know'st this,
87 'Tis time to fear when tyrants seem to kiss.
88 Such fear so grew in me, I hither fled,
89 Under the covering of a careful night,
90 Who seem'd my good protector; and, being here,
91 Bethought me what was past, what might succeed.
92 I knew him tyrannous; and tyrants' fears
93 Decrease not, but grow faster than the years:
94 And should he doubt it, as no doubt he doth,
95 That I should open to the listening air
96 How many worthy princes' bloods were shed,
97 To ope,
98 To lop that doubt, he'll fill this land with arms,
99 And make pretence of wrong that I have done him:
100 When all, for mine, if I may call offence,
101 Must feel war's blow, who spares not innocence:
102 Which love to all, of which thyself art one,
103 Who now reprovest me for it,--

104 Alas, sir!

105 Drew sleep out of mine eyes, blood from my cheeks,
106 Musings into my mind, with thousand doubts
107 How I might stop this tempest ere it came;
108 And finding little comfort to relieve them,
109 I thought it princely charity to grieve them.

110 Well, my lord, since you have given me leave to speak.
111 Freely will I speak. Antiochus you fear,
112 And justly too, I think, you fear the tyrant,
113 Who either by public war or private treason
114 Will take away your life.
115 Therefore, my lord, go travel for a while,
116 Till that his rage and anger be forgot,
117 Or till the Destinies do cut his thread of life.
118 Your rule direct to any; if to me.
119 Day serves not light more faithful than I'll be.

120 I do not doubt thy faith;
121 But should he wrong my liberties in my absence?

122 We'll mingle our bloods together in the earth,
123 From whence we had our being and our birth.

124 Tyre, I now look from thee then, and to Tarsus
125 Intend my travel, where I'll hear from thee;
126 And by whose letters I'll dispose myself.
127 The care I had and have of subjects' good
128 On thee I lay whose wisdom's strength can bear it.
129 I'll take thy word for faith, not ask thine oath:
130 Who shuns not to break one will sure crack both:
131 But in our orbs we'll live so safe,
132 That time of both this truth shall ne'er convince,
133 Thou show'dst a subject's shine, I a true prince.


Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.