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Cas. All nations bow their heads with servile homage, And kiss the 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.
Poly. Yet all like statues stood!—cold, lifeless statues As if the sight had froze us into marble, When with collected rage we should have flown To instant vengeance on the ruthless cause, And plung'd a thousand daggers in his heart. Cas. At our last banquet, when the bowl had One The giddy round, and wine inflam'd my spirits, I saw Craterus and Hephestion enter In Persian robes; to Alexander's health They largely drank, and falling at his feet With impious adoration, thus address'd Their idol god: ‘Hail, son of thund'ring Jove' Hail, first of kings! young Ammon, live for ever!" Then kiss'd the ground; on which, I laugh'd aloud, And scoffing ask'd them, why they kiss'd no harder? Whereon the tyrant, starting from his throne, Spurn'd me to earth, and stamping on my neck, Learn thou to kiss it, was his fierce reply, While with his foot he press'd me to the earth, Till I lay welt'ring in a foam of blood. Poly. Thus, when I mock'd the Persians that ador'd him, He struck me on the face, swung me round, And bid his guards chastise me like a slave : But, if he 'scape my vengeance, may he live Great as that god whose name he thus profanes, And like a slave may I again be beaten, Scoffd as I pass, and branded for a coward! Cas. There spoke the spirit of Calisthenes. Remember he's a man, his flesh as penetrable As any girl's, and wounded too as soon; To give him death no thunders are required: Struck by a stone young Jupiter has fall'n, A wo o pierc'd him, and the blood has follow u,
Nay, we have seen an hundred common aliments
Enter SysIGAMBIs, STATIRA, and Parisatis. Stat. Oh for a dagger, a draught of poison, flames | Swell heart break, break, thou wretchcd stubborn thing ! Now, by the sacred fire, I'll not be held :— Pray give me leave to walk.
Sys. Is there no reverence to my person due? Trust me, Statira, had thy father liv'd, Darius would have heard me. Stat. Oh, he's false ! This glorious man, this wonder of the world, Is to his love and ev'ry god forsworn Oh! I have heard him breathe such ardent vows Out-weep the morning with his dewy eyes, And sigh and swear the list'ning stars away! Sys. Believe not rumour; 'tis impossible: Thy Alexander is renown'd for truth, Above deceit— Stat. Away, and let me die : Why, Alexander, why would'st thou deceive me! Have I not lov'd thee, cruel as thou art 1 Have I not kiss'd thy wounds with dying fondness, Bath'd them in tears, and bound them with my hair ] Par. If man can thus renounce the solemn ties Of sacred kve, who would regard his vows? Stat. Regard his vows the monster! traitor? Oh! I will forsake the haunts of men, converse No more with aught that's human, dwell with darkness; For since the sight of him is now unwelcome, What has the world to give Statirajoy Yet I must tell thee, perjurd as he is, Not the soft breezes of the genial spring, The fragrant violet, or op'ning rose, Are half so sweet as Alexander's breath. Then he will talk—good gods ! how he will talk 1 He speaks the kindest words, and looks such things, Vows with such passion, and swears with such a grace, That it is heaven to be deluded by him : Sys. Her sorrows must have way. Stat. Roxana then enjoys my perjur'd love,
Roxana clasps Iny monarch in her arms,