Act 1 - Scene 4
Tarsus. A room in the Governor's house.
Enter CLEON, the governor of Tarsus, with DIONYZA, and others
My Dionyza, shall we rest us here,
And by relating tales of others' griefs,
See if 'twill teach us to forget our
That were to blow at fire in hope to quench it;
For who digs hills because they do aspire
one mountain to cast up a higher.
O my distressed lord, even such our griefs are;
Here they're but felt,
and seen with mischief's eyes,
But like to groves, being topp'd, they higher rise.
Who wanteth food, and will not say he wants it,
Or can conceal his hunger till he famish?
tongues and sorrows do sound deep
Our woes into the air; our eyes do weep,
Till tongues fetch breath
that may proclaim them louder;
That, if heaven slumber while their creatures want,
They may awake their
helps to comfort them.
I'll then discourse our woes, felt several years,
And wanting breath to speak help
me with tears.
I'll do my best, sir.
This Tarsus, o'er which I have the government,
A city on whom plenty held full hand,
For riches strew'd
herself even in the streets;
Whose towers bore heads so high they kiss'd the clouds,
And strangers ne'er
beheld but wondered at;
Whose men and dames so jetted and adorn'd,
Like one another's glass to trim
Their tables were stored full, to glad the sight,
And not so much to feed on as delight;
was scorn'd, and pride so great,
The name of help grew odious to repeat.
O, 'tis too true.
But see what heaven can do! By this our change,
These mouths, who but of late, earth, sea, and air,
all too little to content and please,
Although they gave their creatures in abundance,
As houses are defiled
for want of use,
They are now starved for want of exercise:
Those palates who, not yet two summers
Must have inventions to delight the taste,
Would now be glad of bread, and beg for it:
mothers who, to nousle up their babes,
Thought nought too curious, are ready now
To eat those little
darlings whom they loved.
So sharp are hunger's teeth, that man and wife
Draw lots who first shall die
to lengthen life:
Here stands a lord, and there a lady weeping;
Here many sink, yet those which see them
Have scarce strength left to give them burial.
Is not this true?
Our cheeks and hollow eyes do witness it.
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