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What! will none answer? my Hephestion silent
If thou hast any love for Alexander,
If ever I oblig'd thee by my care,
When thro' the field of death my eye has watch'd
Resolve my doubts, and rescue me from madness.
Heph. Your mourning queen has no disease but
Occasion'd by the jealous pangs of love:
She heard, dread sir, (for what can 'scape a lover ?)
That you, regardless of your vows, at Susa
Had to Roxana's charms resign'd your heart,
And revell'd in the joys you once foreswore.
Alex. I own, the subtle sorceress, in my riot,
My reason gone, seduc’d me to her bed,
But, when I wak'd, I shook the Circe off;
Tho' the enchantress held me by the arm;
Nor griev'd I less for that which I had done,
Than when at Thais' suit, enrag'd with wine,
I set the fam'd Persepolis on fire.
Heph. Your queen, Statira, in the rage of grief,
And agony of desperate love, has sworn
Never to see your majesty again.
Aler. Oh, madam' has she 3 has Statira sworn
Never to see her Alexander more ?
Par. With sorrow, sir, I heard the solemn vow;
My mother heard it, and in vain adjur'd her,
By every tender motive to recall it.
Sys. But with that fierceness she resents her
Dwells on your fault, and heightens the offence,
That I could wish your majesty forget her.
Aler. Ha! could you wish me to forget Statira!
The star which brightens Alexander's life,
His guide by day, and goddess of his nights!
I feel her now, she beats in every pulse,
Throbs at my heart, and circles with my blood!
Sys. Have patience, son, and trust to Heaven and
If my authority has any influence,
I will exert it, and she shall be yours.
Aler. Haste, madam, haste, if you would have me
Fly, ere for ever she abjure the world,
And stop the sad procession: [Erit SysigAMBIs.]
Hang thou about her, wash her feet with tears—
Nay haste ; the breath of gods, and eloquence
Of angels go along with you. [Etit PARIs AT1s.
Oh my heart!
Lys. Now let your majesty, who feels the pangs
Of disappointed love, reflect on mine.
Clyt. What are you mad? Is this a time to plead :
Lys. The prop'rest time; he dares not now be partial,
Lest Heav'n, in justice, should avenge my wrongs,
And double ev'ry pang which he feels now.
Aler. Why dost thou tempt me thus to thy un-
Death thou shouldst have, were it not courted so.
But know, to thy confusion, that my word,
Like destiny, admits of no repeal;
Therefore in chains shall thou behold the nuptials
Of my Hephestion. Guards, take him prisoner.
[The GUARDs seize Lysimachus.
Lys. Away, ye slaves! I'll not resign my sword,
Till first I've drench'd it in my rival's blood.
Aler. I charge you, kill him not ; take him
The dignity of kings is now concern'd,
And I will find a way to tame this rebel.
Clyt. Kneel, for I see rage lightning in his eyes
Lys. I neither hope, nor will I sue for pardon.
Had I my sword and liberty again,
Again I would attempt his favourite's heart.
Aler. Hence, from my sight, and bear him to a dungeon. Perdiccas, give this lion to a lion: None speak for him; fly, stop his mouth; away. LIErit Lysimachus, PERDIccAs, and GUARDs. Clyt. This comes of women—the result of love; Yet were I heated now with wine, I doubt I should be preaching in this fool's behalf. Aler. Come hither, Clytus, and my friend, Hephestion; Lend me your arms; for I am sick o'the sudden. I fear, betwixt Statira's cruel vows, And fond Roxana's arts, your king will fall. Clyt. Better the race of women were destroy'd, And Persia sunk in everlasting ruin Hephes. Look up, my lord, and bend not thus your head, As if you purpos'd to forsake the world, Which you have greatly won. Aler. "Would I had not; There is no true joy in such unwieldy fortune. Eternal gazers lasting troubles make; All find my spots, but few observe my brightness. Stand from about me all, and give me air. Yes, I will shake this Cupid from my soul; I'll fright the feeble god with war's alarms, Or drown his pow'r in floods of hostile blood. Grant me, great Mars, once more in arms to shine, And break, like lightning, thro' the embattled line; Thro' fields of death to whirl the rapid car, And blaze amidst the thunder of the war, Resistless as the bolt that rends the grove; Or greatly perish, like the son of Jove. [Ereunt.
A Square before the Palace.
Trumpets sounding a Dead March; Lysimachus led
Prisoner; EumENEs, PERDIccAs, PARISATIs, and
Par. Stay, my Lysimachus! a moment stay!
Oh, whither art thougoing!—hold a moment'
Unkind! Thou know'st my life was wrapt in thine,
Why wouldst thou then to worse than death expose
me? . . .
Lys. Oh, may'st thou live in joys without allay!
Grant it, ye gods! a better fortune waits thee;
Live and enjoy it—'tis my dying wish,
While to the grave the lost Lysimachus
Alone retires, and bids the world adieu.
Par. Even in the grave will Parisatis join thee:
Yes, cruel man nor death itself shall part us;
A mother's pow'r, a sister's soft'ning tears,
With all the fury of a tyrant's frown,
Shall not compel me to outlive thy loss.
Lys. Were I to live till nature's self decay'd,
This wondrous waste of unexampled love
I never could repay—O Parisatis
Thy charms might fire a coward into courage,
How must they act then on a soul like mine 2
Defenceless and unarm'd I'll fight for thee,
And may, perhaps, compel th'astonish'd world,
And force the king to own that I deserve thee.
Eumenes, take the princess to thy charge.
Away, Perdiccas, all my soul's on fire. [Ereunt,
Enter RoxANA and CAssanDER.
Row. Deserted saidst thou? for a girl abandon'd : A puny girl, made up of watry elements! Shall she embrace the god of my desires, And triumph in the heart Roxana claims ? If I forget it, may'st thou, Jove, deprive me Of vengeance, make me the most wretched thi On earth, while living, and when dead, the lowest And blackest of the fiends. Cas. Ch, no!!!y said : Just is the vengeance which inflames your soul; Your wrongs demand it—but let reason govern; This wild rage else may disappoint your aims. Ror. Away, away, and give a whirlwind room! Pride, indignation, fury, and contempt, War in my breast, and torture me to madness! Cus. Oh! think not I would check your boldest flights; No—I approve them, and will aid your vengeance : But, princess, let us choose the safest course; Or we may give our foes new cause of triumph, Should they discover and prevent our purpose.