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Lys. Clytus, thou'rt right—put up thy sword,
Had passion not eclipsed the light of reason,
Heph. Why has not reason power to conquer love? Why are we thus enslaved 2
Clyt. Because unmanned; Because ye follow Alexander's steps. Heavens ! that a face should thus bewitch his soul, And ruin all that's great and godlike in it! Talk be my bane—yet the old man must talk. Not so he loved, when he at Issus fought, Andjoined in mighty combat with Darius, Whom, from his chariot, flaming all with gems, He hurled to earth, and catch'd th’ imperial crown. ‘Twas not the shaft of love performed that feat; He knew no Cupids then. Now mark the change; A brace of rival queens embroil the court, And, while each hand is thus employ'd in beauty, Where has he room for glory?
Heph. In his heart.
Clyt. Well said, young minion!—I indeed forgot To whom I spoke—But Sysigambis comes: Now is your time, for with her comes an idol, That claims homage—I'll attend the king. [Exit.
Enter SystgaMBls with a Letter, and PARISATIs.
Sys. Why will ye wound me with your fond com-
And urge a suit that I can never grant;
Par. To sooth this god, and charm him into tem- per,
Is there no victim, none but Parisatis?
Must I be doomed to wretchedness and wo,
For sixty rolling years my soul has stood The dread vicissitudes of fate unmoved; I thought them your decrees, and therefore yielded: But this last trial, as it springs from folly, ** Exceeds my sufferance, and I must complain. Lys. When Sysigambis mourns, no common wo Can be the cause—'tis misery indeed! Yet pardon, mighty queen a wretched prince, , Who thus presumes to plead the cause of love, Beyond my life, beyond the world, [Kneeling.] I prize Fair Parisatis-Hear me, I conjure you! As you have authorised Hephestion's vows, Reject not mine-grant me but equal leave, To serve the princess, and let love decide. Heph. A blessing like the beauteous Parisatis Whole years of service, and the world's wide empire, With all the blood that circles in our veins, Can never merit, therefore in my favour" I begg'd the king to interpose his interest, Therefore I begg'd your majesty's assistance; Your word is past, and all my hopes rest on it. . Lys. [Rising.] Perish such hopes for love's agenerous passion, * Which seeks the happiness of her we love, Beyond the enjoyment of our own desires; Nor kings nor parents here have aught to do : Love owns no influence, and disdains control; Let them stand neuter-'tis all I ask.
Heph. Such arrogance, did Alexander woo,
i [Ereunt. * Enter CAssANDER. o Cas. The face of day now blushes scarlet deep,
Now blackens into night; the low'ring sun,
Came to my bed last night, and bellowing o'er me, * Well had it been for Babylon, he cried, * If curst Cassander never had been born.”
Enter THEssaLUs, with a Packet.
How now dear Thessalus? what packet's that 2
Enter Poly PERchoN.
Poly. Still as I pass, fresh murmurs fill my ears; All talk of wrongs, and mutter their complaints. Poor soulless reptiles!—their revenge expires In idle threats—the fortitude of cowards ! Their province is to talk; 'tis mine to act, And show this tyrant, when he dar'd to wrong me, He wrong'd a man, whose attribute is vengeance.
Cas. All nations bow their heads with servile ho
Image, And kiss . feet of this exalted man. The name, the shout, the blast from ev'ry mouth, Is Alexander Alexander stuns The list'ning ear, and drowns the voice of Heaven! The earth's commanders fawn like crouching spaniels; And if this hunter of the barbarous world But wind himself a god, all echo him With universal cry. Poly. I fawn or echo him : Cassander, no; my soul disdains the thought ! Let eastern slaves or prostituted Greeks Crouch at his feet, or tremble if he frown; When Polyperchon can descend so low, False to that honour, which thro' fields of death I still have courted where the fight was fiercest, Be scorn my portion, infamy my lot. Thes. The king may doom me to a thousand tortures, Ply me with fire, and rack me like Philotas, Ere I shall stoop to idolize his pride. Cas. Not Aristander, had he rais'd all hell, Could more have shock'd my soul than thou hast done, By the bare mention of Philotas' murder. Oh Polyperchon how shall I describe it ! Did not your eyes rain blood, to see the hero? Did not your spirits burst with smothered vengeance, To see thy noble fellow-warrior tortur'd, Yet without groaning or a tear, endure The torments of the damn'd? Oh! death to think it! We saw him bruis'd, we saw his bones laid bare, His veins wide lanc'd, and the poor quiv'ring flesh With fiery pincers from his bosom torn, Till all beheld, where the great heart lay panting.