Act 1 - Scene 2
Tyre. A room in the palace.
[To Lords without] Let none disturb us.Why should
this change of thoughts,
The sad companion, dull-eyed
Be my so used a guest as not an hour,
In the day's glorious walk, or peaceful night,
where grief should sleep, can breed me quiet?
Here pleasures court mine eyes, and mine eyes shun
And danger, which I fear'd, is at Antioch,
Whose aim seems far too short to hit me here:
pleasure's art can joy my spirits,
Nor yet the other's distance comfort me.
Then it is thus: the passions of
That have their first conception by mis-dread,
Have after-nourishment and life by care;
was first but fear what might be done,
Grows elder now and cares it be not done.
And so with me: the
'Gainst whom I am too little to contend,
Since he's so great can make his will his act,
think me speaking, though I swear to silence;
Nor boots it me to say I honour him.
If he suspect I may
And what may make him blush in being known,
He'll stop the course by which it might be
With hostile forces he'll o'erspread the land,
And with the ostent of war will look so huge,
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,
fence the roots they grow by and defend them,
Makes both my body pine and soul to languish,
that before that he would punish.
Enter HELICANUS, with other Lords
Joy and all comfort in your sacred breast!
And keep your mind, till you return to us,
Peaceful and comfortable!
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
Whereas reproof, obedient and in order,
Fits kings, as they are men, for they may err.
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.
All leave us else; but let your cares o'erlook
What shipping and what lading's in our haven,
And then return
Hast moved us: what seest thou in our looks?
An angry brow, dread lord.
If there be such a dart in princes' frowns,
How durst thy tongue move anger to our face?
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