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Rev. Fear not, Cassander; nothing shall preventit; Roxana dooms him, and her voice is fate. My soul from childhood has aspir'd to empire; In early non-age I was us’d to reign Among my she-companions; I despis'd The trifling arts and little wiles of women, And taught them with an Amazonian spirit To win the steed, to chase the foaming boar, And conquer man, the lawless charter'd savage. Cas. Her words, her looks, her every motion, fires me. Row. But when I heard of Alexander's fame, How with a handful he had conquer'd millions, Spoil'd all the east, and captive led our queens, While, like a god, unconquer'd by their charms, With heavenly pity he assuag'd their woes, Dried up their tears, and sooth'd them into peace, I hung attentive on my father's lips, And wish'd him tell the wond’rous tale again. No longer pleasing were my former sports, Love had its turn, and all the woman reign'd; Involuntary sighs heav'd in my breast, And glowing blushes crimson'd on my cheek; Ev’n in my slumbers I have often mourn’d In plaintive sounds, and murmur'd Alexander. Cas. Curse on his name ! she doats upon him still. Ror. At length this conqueror to Zogdia came, And, cover'd o'er with laurels, storm'd the city: But oh, Cassander where shall I find words To paint th' ecstatic transports of my soul, When midst a circle of unrivall'd beauties I saw myself distinguish'd by the hero ! With artless rapture I receiv'd his vows, The warmest sure that lover ever breath'd, Of fervent love, and everlasting truth. Cas. And need you then be told those times are nasí
Statira now engrosses all his thoughts:
The Persian queen, without a rival, reigns
Sole mistress of his heart nor can thy charms,
The brightest sure that ever woman boasted,
Nor all his vows of everlasting love,
Secure Roxana from disdain and insult.
Roa. Oh, thou hast rous’d the lion in my soul!
Ha! shall the daughter of Darius hold him?
No, 'tis resolv'd ; I will resume my sphere,
Or, falling, spread a general ruin round me.
Roxana, and Statira! they are names
That must for ever jar, like clashing clouds
When they encounter, thunder must ensue.
Cas. Behold she comes in all the pomp of sorrow,
Determined to fulfil her solemn vow. [They retire.
Row. Away, and let us mark th’ important scene.
Enter Sysicamp is and STATIRA.
Sys. Oh, my Statira ! how has passion chang'd thee! Think, in the rage of disappointed love, If treated thus, and hurried to extremes, What Alexander may denounce against us, Against the poor remains of lost Darius! Stat. Oh, fear not that I know he will be kind, For my sake kind, to you and Parisatis. Tell him, I rail'd not at his falsehood to me, But with my parting breath spoke kindly of him; Tell him, I wept at our divided loves, And sighing sent a last forgiveness to him. Sys. No, I can ne'er again"presume to meet him, Never approach the much-wrong'd Alexander, If thou refuse to see him Oh, Statira ! Thy aged mother, and thy weeping country, Claim thy regard, and challenge thy compassion: Hear us, my child, and lift us from despair. Stat. Thus low I cast me at your royal feet,
To bathe them with my tears; or, if you please,
I'll let out life, and wash 'em with my blood.
But I conjure thee not to rack my soul,
Nor hurry my wild thoughts to perfect madness:
Should now Darius' awful ghost appear,
And you, my mother, stand beseeching by,
I would persist to death, and keep my vow.
Ror. This fortitude of soul compels my wonder.
Sys. Hence from my sight! ungrateful wretch,
And hide thee where bright virtue never shone;
For, in the sight of Heaven, I here renounce
And cast thee off, an alien to my blood.
stor. [Comes forward.] Forgive, great queen, the
intrusion of a stranger:
With grief Roxana sees Statira weep :
I’ve heari, and much applaud your fix’d resolve
To quit the work for Alexander's sake;
And yet, I for, so greatly he adores you,
That he will rather close to die of sorrow,
Than live for tie Jeo is , i.oxana's charms.
Stat. Spare, mad...a, spare your counterfeited
You krov your heauty, and have prov’d its power:
Toomoh bumbly born, have you not captive held,
In love's soft chains the conqu'ror of the world !
Away to libertines, and boast thy conquest,
A shameful conquest! In his hour of riot,
When wine prevail'd, and virtue lost its influence
Then, only then, Poxana could surprise
My Alexander's heart.
Ror. Affected girl, to some romantic grove's se-
Thy sickly virtue, would, it seems, retire,
To shun the triumphs of a favour'd rival:
In vain thou fly'st—for there, even there, I'll haunt
Plague thee all day, and torture thee all night:
There thou shalt hear in what ecstatic joys
Roxana revels with the first of men;
And, as thou hear'st the rapt’rous scene recited,
With frantic jealousy thou'lt madly curse
Thy own weak charms, that could not fix the rover.
Stat. How weak is woman' at the storm she
Dreads the drawn sword, and trembles at the
Yet, when strong jealousy inflames her soul,
The sword may glitter, and the tempest roar,
She scorns the danger, and provokes her fate,
Rival, I thank thee—thou hast fir'd my soul,
And rais'd a storm beyond thy pow'r to lay;
Soon shalt thou tremble at the dire effects,
And curse too late the folly that undid thee.
Row. Sure the disdain’d Statira dares not mean it?
Stat. By all my hopes of happiness I dare :
And know, proud woman, what a mother's threats,
A sister's sighs, and Alexander's tears,
Could not effect, thy rival rage has done.
I'll see the king in spite of all I swore,
Though curs'd, that thou Inay'st never see him
Enter ALEXANDER, HEPHESTION, Clytus, Poly-
PERCHON, THESSALUs, and EUMENEs.
Aler. Oh, my Statira !—thou relentless fair!
Turn thine eyes on me—I would talk to them.
What shall I say to work upon thy soul?
What words, what looks, can melt thee to forgive-
Stat. Talk of Roxana and the conquer'd Indies,
Thy great adventures and successful love, o
And I will listen to the rapt’rous tale;
But rather shun me, shun a desp'rate wretch,
Resign'd to sorrow and eternal wo.
Aler. Oh, I could die, with transport die before
Wouldst thou but, as I lay convuls'd in death,
Cast a kind look, or drop a tender tear:
Say but 'twas pity, one so fam'd in arms,
One who has scap'd a thousand deaths in battle,
For the first fault, should fall a wretched victim
To jealous anger and offended love.
Row. Am I then fall'n so low in thy esteem,
That, for another, thou wouldst rather die
Than live for me 2—How am I alter'd, tell me,
Since last at Susa, with repeated oaths,
You swore the conquest of the world afforded
Less joy, less glory, than Roxana's love?
Aler. Take, take that conquer'd world, dispose of
And canton out the empires of the globe
But leave me, madam, with repentant tears,
And undissembled sorrows, to atone
The wrongs I’ve offer'd to this injur'd excellence
Ror. Yes, I will go, ungrateful as thou art!
Bane to my life, and murd’rer of my peace,
I will be gone; this last disdain has cur'd me.
But have a care—I warn you not to trust me;
Or, by the gods, that witness to thy perjuries,
I'll raise a fire that shall consume you both,
Though I partake the ruin. [Erit.
Stat. Alexander!—Oh, is it possible! Immortal gods ! can guilt appear so lovely Yet, yet I pardon, I forgive thee all. Aler. Forgive me all ! oh, catch the heavenly sounds ! Catch them, ye winds! and, as ye fly, disperse