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Heph. Hail, son of Jove! great Alexander, hail! Alex. Rise all; and thou, my second self, my friend, Oh, my Hephestion raise thee from the earth: Come to my arms, and hide thee in my heart; Nearer, yet nearer, else thou lov'st me not. Heph. Not love my king ! bear witness, all ye powers, And let your thunder nail me to the centre, If sacred friendship ever burn'd more brightly Immortal bosoms can alone admit A flame more pure, more permanent than mine. Aler. Thou dearer to me than my groves of laurel, I know thou lov'st thy Alexander more Than Clytus does the king. Lys. Now for my fate I see that death awaits me—yet I'll on. Dread sir! I cast me at your royal feet. Aler. Rise, my Lysimachus; thy veins and mine From the same fountain have deriv'd their streams; Rise to my arms, and let thy king embrace thee. Is not that Clytus? Clyt. Your old faithful soldier. Aler. Clytus, thy hand—thy hand, Lysimachus; Thus doubly arm’d, methinks, I stand tremendous as the Lybian god, Who, while the priests and I quaff'd sacred blood, Acknowledg'd me his son; my lightning thou, And thou my mighty thunder. I have seen Thy glitt'ring sword outfly celestial fire: And when I've cried begone and execute, I've seen him run swifter than starting hinds, Norbent the tender grass beneath his feet. Lys. When fame invites, and Alexander leads, Dangers and toils but animate the brave. Clyt. Perish the soldier, inglorious and despis'd, Who starts from either when the king cries—On
Aler. Oh, Clytus ! oh, my noble veteran'
Clyt. To your own deeds that victory you owe ;
Aler. By Heav'n they never did; they never can; And I more glory to have pass'd that stream, Than to have drove a million o'er the plain. Can none remember, yes—I know all must, When glory, like the dazzling eagle, stood Perch'd on my beaver in the Granic flood, When fortune's self my standard trembling bore, And the pale fates stood frighted on the shore; When each immortal on the billows rode, And I myself appear'd the leading god!
Enter ARISTANDER. Arist. Haste, first of Heroes, from this fatal place; Far, far from Babylon enjoy your triumph, Or all the glories which your youth has won Are blasted in their spring. Aler. What mean thy fears? And why that wild distraction on thy brow? Arist. This morn, great king! I view'd the angry sky. And frighted at the direful prodigies, To Orosmades for instruction flew ; But, as I prayed, deep echoing groans I heard, And shrieks as of the damn'd that howl for sin : Shock'd at the omen, while amaz'd I lay In prostrate rev'rence on the trembling floor,
Thus spoke the god;
Per. O horror! horror! dreadful and portentous ! Aler. How now, Perdiccas' whence this exclamation ? Per. As Meleager and myself this morn Led forth the Persian horse to exercise, We heard a noise, as of a rushing wind; When suddenly a flight of baleful birds, Like a thick cloud, obscur'd the face of heaven, On sounding wings from diff'rent parts they flew, Encount'ring met, and battled in the air— Their talons clash'd, their beaks gave mighty blows, And showers of blood fell copious from their wounds ! Alex. Tho' all the curtains of the sky were drawn, And the stars wink, young Ammon shall go on. While my Statira shines, I cannot stray, Love lifts his torch to light me on my way, And her bright eyes create another day. Lys. Vouchsafe, dread sir! to hear my humble suit; A prince entreats it, and, what's more, your kinsImall, Alex. A soldier asks it—that's the noblest claim. Lys. For all the services my sword has done, Humbly I beg the Princess Parisatis. Alex. Lysimachus—no more—it is not well
My word, you know, is to Hephestion given;
Would die a thousand deaths to serve his king,
Enter SysigAMBIs and PARISATIs.
Aler. Oh, thou, the best of women, Sysigambis’ Source of my joy, blest parent of my love .
Sys. In humble duty to the gods and you,
Aler. To meet me thus was generously done :
Clyt. Now who shall dare
Aler. How fares
Heph. I would relate it, but my courage fails me.
Aler. Why stand you all as you were rooted