Per. I have, Antiochus, and with a soul Imboldened with the glory of her praise, Think death no hazard, in this enterprise. [Music.

Ant. Bring in our daughter, clothed like a bride, For the embracements even of Jove himself; At whose conception, (till Lucina reigned, Nature this dowry gave, to glad her presence,)? The senate-house of planets all did sit. To knit in her their best perfections.


Enter the Daughter of ANTIOCHUS.
Per. See, where she comes, apparelled like the

Graces her subjects, and her thoughts the king
Of every virtue gives renown to men! 3
Her face the book of praises, where is read
Nothing but curious pleasures, as from thence
Sorrow were ever rased, and testy wrath
Could never be her mild companion.
Ye gods that made me man, and sway in love,
That have inflamed desire in my breast,
To taste the fruit of yon celestial tree,
Or die in the adventure, be my helps,
As am son and servant to your will,
To compass such a boundless happiness!

Ant. Prince Pericles,
Per. That would be son to great Antiochus.

Ant. Before thee stands this fair Hesperides,
With golden fruit, but dangerous to be touched ;
For death-like dragons here affright thee hard.
Her face, like heaven, enticeth thee to view
Her countless glory, which desert must gain ;

1 In the old copy this line stands :

Music, bring in our daughter clothed like a bride." Malone thinks it a marginal direction inserted in the text by mistake. Mr. Boswell thinks it only an Alexandrine.

2 The words whose and her refer to the daughter of Antiochus.

3 - The Graces are her subjects, and her thoughts the sovereign of every virtue that gives renown to men.”

4 By “ her mild companion” “the companion of her mildness" is meant.

5 Hesperides is here taken for the name of the garden in which the golden apples were kept; as we find it in Love's Labor's Lost, Act iv.

And which, without desert, because thine eye
Presumes to reach, all thy whole heap must die.
Yon sometime famous princes, like thyself

Drawn by report, adventurous by desire,
Tell thee with speechless tongues, and semblance pale,
That without covering, save yon field of stars,
They here stand martyrs, slain in Cupid's wars;
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 remembered, 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 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.

Ant. Scorning advice.-Read the conclusion then, Which read and not expounded, 'tis decreed, As these before thee thou thyself shalt bleed. Daugh. In all, save that, mayst thou prove pros

perous! In all, save that, I wish thee happiness ! 4

1 i. e. "for fear of going," or "lest they should go.” 2 That is, “ to prepare this body for that state to which I must come."

3 “I will act as sick men do; who, having had experience of the pleasures of the world, and only a visionary and distant prospect of heaven, have neglected the latter for the former ; but at length, feeling themselves decaying, grasp no longer at temporal pleasures, but prepare calmly for futurity.' 4 The old copy reads :

Of all said yet, mayst thou prove prosperous ;
Öf all said yet, I wish thee happiness

!" The emendation is Mr. Mason's.

[ocr errors]

Per. Like a bold champion, I assume the lists,
Nor ask advice of any other thought
But faithfulness, and courage.

[He reads the Riddle.]
I am no viper, yet I feed
On mother's flesh which did me breed.
I sought a husband, in which labor,
I found that kindness in a father.
He's father, son, 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 physic is the last. But you powers !
That give heaven countless eyes to view men's acts,
Why cloud they not their sights perpetually,
If this be true, which makes me pale to read it ?
Fair glass of light, I loved you, and could still,

[Takes hold of the hand of the Princess
Were not this glorious casket stored with ill.
But I must tell you,-now, my thoughts revolt;
For he's no man on whom perfections wait,
That knowing sin within, will touch the gate.
You're a fair viol, and your sense the strings;
Who, fingered to make man his lawful music,
Would draw heaven down, and all the gods to hearken;
But, being played upon before your time,
Hell only danceth at so harsh a chime.
Good sooth, 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 expired;
Either expound now, or receive your sentence.

Per. Great king,
Few love to hear the sins they love to act;
"Twould 'braid yourself too near for me to tell it.

1 i. e. the intimation in the last line of the riddle, that his life depends on resolving it. 2 i. e. he is no perfect or honest man that knowing, &c.



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 wandering wind,
Blows dust in others' eyes, to spread itself ;1
And yet the end of all is bought thus dear,
The breath is gone, and the sore eyes see clear
To stop the air would hurt them. The blind mole



[ocr errors]


Copped? hills towards heaven, to tell, the earth is

thronged 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 say, 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 beings 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. [Aside.] Young prince of

Though by the tenor of our strict edict,
Your exposition misinterpreting,
We might proceed to cancel of your days; 4
Yet hope, succeeding from so fair a tree
As your 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 son ;
And until then, your entertain shall be,
As doth befit our honor, and your worth.

[Exeunt Ant., his Daughter, and Attend. Per. How courtesy would seem to cover sin ! When what is done is like a hypocrite, The which is good in nothing but in sight. If it be true that I interpret false, Then were it certain, you were not so bad, As with foul incest to abuse your soul ; Where now you're both a father and a son, By your untimely claspings with your child, Which pleasure fits a husband, not a father;) And she an eater of her mother's flesh, 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 sees, those men Blush not in actions blacker than the night, Will shun? no course to keep them from the light. One sin, I know, another doth provoke ; Murder's as near to lust, as flame to smoke. Poison and treason are the hands of sin, Ay, and the targets, to put off the shame; Then, lest my life be cropped to keep you clear, By flight I'll shun the danger which I fear. [Exit.

1 Pericles means by this similitude to show the danger of revealing the crimes of princes; for as they feel hurt by the publication of their shame, they will of course prevent the repetition of it

, by destroying the person who divulged. He pursues the same idea in the instance of the mole.

2 " Copped hills ire hills rising in a conical form, something of the shape of a sugarloaf. In Anglo-Saxon, cop is a head.

3 Steevens altered thronged to wronged; but apparently without necessity.

4 To the destruction of your life.


Ant. He hath found the meaning, for the which we

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;
For by his fall my honor must keep high.
Who attends on us there?


Doth your highness call ?


1 Where has here the power of whereas. It occurs again in Act ii. Sc. 3. 2 The old copy erroneously reads show. The emendation is Malone's.

« ForrigeFortsett »