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Shall gild the ev'ning of his various day.
Eup. For this benignity accept my thanks.
They gush in tears, and my heart pours its tribute.
Dio. Perdiccas, ere the morn's revolving light
Unveil the face of things, do thou despatch
A well-oar'd galley to Hamilcar's fleet;
At the north point of yonder promontory,
Let some selected officer instruct him
To moor his ships and issue on the land.
Then may Timoleon tremble: vengeance then
Shall overwhelm his camp, pursue his bands,
With fatal havoc, to the ocean's margin,
And cast their limbs to glut the vulture’s famine,
In mangled heaps upon the naked shore.
Eup. What do I hear? Melanthon, can it be?
If Carthage comes, if her perfidious sons
List in his cause, the dawn of freedom’s gone.
Mel. Woe, bitt’rest woe, impends; thou wouldst
Eup. How 2 speak! unfold.
. Mel. My tongue denies its office. -
Eup. How is my father ? Say, Melanthon—
(I fear to shock thee with the tale of horror 1)
Perhaps he dies this moment.—Since Timoleon
First form'd his lines round this beleaguer'd city,
No nutriment has touch'd Fvander's lips.
In the deep caverns of the rock imprison'd
He pines in bitterest want.
Eup. Well, my heart,
Well do your vital drops forget to flow.
Mel. Despair, alas! is all the sad resource
Our fate allows us now.
Eup. Yet, why despair
Is that the tribute to a father due 2
Blood is his due, Melanthon; yes, the blood,
The vile, black blood, that fills the tyrant's veins,
Would graceful look upon my dagger's point.
Come, vengeance, come, shake off the feeble sex,
Sinew my arm, and guide it to his heart!
And thou, O filial piety, that rul'st
My woman's breast, turn to vindictive rage;
Assume the port of justice: show mankind
Tyrannic guilt hath never dar'd in Syracuse,
Beyond the reach of virtue!
Mel. Moderate your zeal,
Nor let him hear these transports of the soul,
These wild upbraidings.
Eup. Shall Euphrasia's voice
Be hush'd to silence, when a father dies 2
Shall not the monster hear his deeds accurst 2
Shall he not tremble, when a daughter comes,
Wild with her griefs, and terrible with wrongs;
Fierce in despair, all nature in her cause
Alarm'd and rous’d with horror 2
Melanthon, come ; my wrongs will lend me force
The weakness of my sex is gone; this arm
Feels tenfold strength; this arm shall do a deed
For heav'n and earth, for men and gods to wonder at 1
This arm shall vindicate a father's cause.
SCENE Ie A wild romantic Scene amidst overhanging Rocks; a Cavern on one Side. ARCAs, with a Spear in his Hand.
Arcas. The gloom of night sits heavy on the world, And o'er the solemn scene such stillness reigns,
As 'twere a pause of nature; on the beach
No murmuring billow breaks; the Grecian tents
Lie sunk in sleep; no gleaming fires are seen;
All Syracuse is hush'd; no stir abroad,
Save ever and anon the dashing oar,
That beats the sullen wave. And hark —Was that
The groan of anguish from Evander's cell,
Piercing the midnight gloom —It is the sound
Of bustling prows, that cleave the briny deep.
Perhaps at this dead hour Hamilcar's fleet
Rides in the bay.
Enter PHILoTAs, from the Cavern.
Phil. What ho! brave Arcas | ho!
Arcas. Why thus desert thy couch
Phil. Methought the sound
Of distant uproar chas'd affrighted sleep.
Arcas. At intervals the oar's resounding stroke Comes echoing from the main. Save that report, A death-like silence through the wide expanse Broods o'er the dreary coast.
Phil. Do thou retire,
And seek repose; the duty of thy watch
Is now perform'd; I take thy post.
Arcas. How fares
Your royal pris'ner?
Phil. Arcas, shall I own
A secret weakness? My heart inward melts
To see that suffering virtue. On the earth,
The cold, damp earth, the royal victim lies;
And while pale famine drinks his vital spirit,
Be welcomes death, and smiles himself to rest.
Oh! would I could relieve him
Arcas. May no alarm disturb thee. [Eait.
Phil. Some dread event is lab'ring into birth. At close of day the sullen sky held forth Unerring signals. With disastrous glare, The moon's full orb rose crimson'd o'er with blood;
And lo! athwart the gloom a falling star Trails a long tract of fire —What daring step Sounds on the flinty rock 1 Stand there; what, ho! Speak, ere thou dar'st advance. Unfold thy purpose: Who and what art thou? Eup. [Within..] Mine no hostile step; I bring no valour to alarm thy fears : It is a friend approaches. Phil. Ha! what mean Those plaintive notes? Eup. [Within..] Here is no ambush'd Greek, No warrior to surprise thee on the watch. An humble suppliant comes—Alas, my strength Exhausted quite, forsakes this weary frame. Phil. What voice thus piercing thro’ the gloom of night What art thou? what thy errand 2 quickly say, Wherefore alarm'st thou thus our peaceful watch? Eup. [Within..] Let no mistrust affright thee—
Lo! a wretch,
The veriest wretch that ever groan'd in anguish,
Comes here to grovel on the earth before thee!
To tell her sad, sad tale, implore thy aid,
For sure the pow'r is thine; thou canst relieve
My bleeding heart, and soften all my woes.
Phil. Euphrasia! --
Why, princess, thus anticipate the dawn
Still sleep and silence wrap the weary world;
The stars in mid career usurp the pole;
The Grecian bands, the winds, the waves are hush'd;
All things are mute around us; all but you
Rest in oblivious slumber from their cares.
Eup. Yes; all, all rest: the very murd'rer sleeps;
Guilt is at rest: I only wake to misery!
Phil. How didst thou gain the summit of the
Eup. Give me my father; here you hold him fetter'd ; Oh! give him to me If ever The touch of nature throbb’d within your breast, Admit me to Evander In these caves I know he pines in want; let me convey Some charitable succour to a father. Phil. Alas, Euphrasia! would I dare comply Eup. It will be virtue in thee. Thou, like me, Wert born in Greece:—Oh! by our common parent— Nay, stay; thou shalt not fly; Philotas, stay; You have a father too; think, were his lot Hard as Evander's; if by felon bands Chain'd to the earth, with slow-consuming pangs He felt sharp want, and with an asking eye Implor’d relief, yet cruel men denied it, Would'st thou not burst thro’ adamantine gates, Thro' walls and rocks, to save him? Think, Philotas, Of thy own aged sire, and pity mine. Think of the agonies a daughter feels, When thus a parent wants the common food, The bounteous hand of nature meant for all. Phil. Twere best withdraw thee, princess; thy assistance - Evander wants not; it is fruitless all; Thy tears, thy wild entreaties, are in vain. Eup. Ha!—thou hast murder'd him; he is no more; I understand thee;—butchers, you have shed The precious drops of life. Phil. Alas! this frantic grief can nought avail. Retire, and seek the couch of balmy sleep, In this dead hour, this season of repose. Eup. And dost thou then, inhuman that thou arts Advise a wretch like me to know repose 2 This is my last abode:—these caves, these rocks, Shall ring for ever with Euphrasia's wrongs.