페이지 이미지
PDF

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 gift, 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 1 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 . pierc'd him, and the blood has folow u,

Nay, we have seen an hundred common aliments
Bring this immortal to the gates of death.
Poly. Oh let us not delay the glorious business |
Our wrongs are great, and honour calls for ven-
geance.
Cas. This day exulting Babylon receives
The mighty robber—with him comes Roxana,
Fierce haughty fair! On his return from India,
Artful she met him in the height of triumph;
And by a thousand wiles at Susa kept him
In all the luxury of eastern revels.
Poly. How bore Statira his revolted love?
For, if I err not, ere the king espous'd her,
She made him promise to renounce Roxana.
Thes. No words can paint the anguish it occa-
sion'd;
Ev’n Sysigambis wept, while the wrong'd queen,
Struck to the heart, fell lifeless on the ground.
Cas. When the first tumult of her grief was laid,
... I sought to fire her into wild revenge,
And to that end with all the heart I could
Described his passion for the bright Roxana;
But though I could not to my wish inflame her,
Thus far at least her jealousy will help,
She'll give him troubles that perhaps may end him,
And set the court in universal uproar:
But, see, she comes. Our plots begin to ripen;
Now every one disperse,
And with a face of friendship meet the king.
[Ereunt.

* Enter SysIGAMBIs, STATIRA, and PARISAT.1s. 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.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

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 1 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, perjur'd 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,
Dotes on my conqueror, my dear lord, my king!
Oh, 'tis too much by Heav'n I cannot bear it!
I'll die, or rid me of the burning torture :
Hear me, bright god of day ! hear, every god |
Sys. Take heed, Statira; weigh it well, my child,
Ere desperate love enforces you to swear. -
Stat. Oh! fear not that, already have I weigh’d it.
...And in the presence here of Heaven and you,
Renounce all converse with perfidious man.
Farewell, ye cozeners of our easy sex
And thou, the falsest of the faithless kind,
Farewell for ever ! Oh, farewell ! farewell!
If I but mention him, the tears will flow !
How could'st thou, cruel, wrong a heart like mine,
Thus fond, thus doting, ev'n to madness, on thee!
Sys. Clear up thy griefs, thy Alexander comes,
Triumphant in the spoils of conquer'd India.
This day the hero enters Babylon. -
Stat. Why, let him come; all eyes will gaze
with rapture,
All hearts will joy to see the victor pass,
All but the wretched, the forlorn Statira.
Sys. Wilt thou not see him, then 2 z
Stat. I swear, and Heaven be witness to my vow!
- [Kneels.
Never from this sad hour, never to See,
Nor speak, no, nor, if possible, to think
Of Alexander more. This is my vow,
And when I break it—
Sys. Do not ruin all.
Stat. May I again be perjur'd and deluded !
May furies rend my heart! may lightnings blast
o

me . Sys. Recall, my child, the dreadful imprecation. Stat. No, I will publish it through all the court; Then to the bowers of great Semiramis Retire for ever from the treacherous world;

There from man's sight will I conceal my woes,
And seek in solitude a calm repose;
Nor prayers nor tears shall my resolves controul,
Nor love itself, that tyrant of the soul. [Ereunt.

ACT THE SECOND.

scene I.

A Triumphal Arch at the Entrance into Babylon.

A Symphony of warlike Music.

Enter Alexander, in a Triumphal Car drawn by BLAck SLAves; Trophies and Warlike Ensigns in Procession before him: CLYTUs, HEPHEsrion, Lysimachus, CAPTIVEs, GUARDs, and ATTENDANTS.

See the conquering hero comes,
Sound the trumpets, beat the drums;
Sports prepare, the laurel bring,
Sports of triumph to him sing.

See the godlike youth advance,
Breathe the flute, and lead the dance;
Myrtle wreathe, and roses twine,
To deck the hero's brow divine.

« 이전계속 »