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I, that have lov'd him with that eager fondness,
Shall I consent to have him basely murder'd,
And see him clasp'd in the cold arms of death 2
Worlds should not tempt me to the deed of horror.
Poly. The weak fond scruples of your love might
Were not the empire of the world concern'd.
But, madam, think, when time shall teach his
How will the glorious infant, which you bear,
Arraign his partial mother, for refusing
To fix him on the throne, which here we offer.
Cas. If Alexander lives, you cannot reign,
Nor will your child: Old Sysigambis plans
Your sure destruction; boldly then prevent her:
Give but the word, and Alexander dies.
Poly. Not he alone, the Persian race shall bleed:
At your command, one universal ruin
Shall, like a deluge, whelm the castern world,
Till gloriously we raise you to the throne.
Row. But till this mighty ruin be accomplish'd,
Where can Roxana fly th’ avenging wrath
Of those, who must succeed this godlike man f
Cas. Would you vouchsafe in these expanded
To seek a refuge, what could hurt you here
There you might reign with undiminish'd lustre,
Queen of the east, and empress of my soul.
Ror. Disgrac'd Roxana' whither art thou fall'n?
Till this curs'd hour I never was unhappy!
There's not one mark of former majesty
To awe the slave that offers at my honour.
Cas. Impute not, madam, my unbounded passion
To want of rev'rence I have lov'd you long.
Ror. Peace, villain, peace, and let me hear no
Think'st thou I'd leave the bosom of a god,
And stoop to thee, thou moving piece of earth?
Hence from my sight, and never more presume
To meet my eyes; for, mark me, if thou dar'st,
To Alexander I'll unfold thy treason,
Whose life, in spite of all his wrongs to me,
Shall still be sacred, and above thy malice.
Cas. By your own life, the greatest oath, I swear
Cassander's passion from this hour is dumb ;
And as the best atonement I can make
Statira dies, the victim of your vengeance.
Ror. Cassander rise; 'tis ample expiation.
Yes, rival, yes—this night shall be thy last;
This night I know is destined for thy triumph
And gives my Alexander to thy arms.
Oh, murd’rous thought !
Poly. The bow'rs of great Semiramis are made
The scene of love; Perdiccas holds the guard.
Cas. Now is your time, while Alexander revels,
And the whole court re-echoes with his riot,
To end her, and with her to end your fears.
Give me but half the Zogdian slaves that wait you,
And deem her dead; nor shall a soul escape,
That serves your rival, to disperse the news.
Ror. By me they die, Perdiccas and Statira;
Hence with thy aid, I neither ask nor want it,
But will myself conduct the slaves to battle.
Were she to fall by any arm but mine,
Well might she murmur, and arraign her stars.
Rival, rejoice, and pleased resign thy breath;
Roxana's vengeance grants thee noble death. [Erit.
Cas. All but her Jove, this, Semele disdains.
We must be quick—she may perhaps betray
The great design, and frustrate our revenge.
Poly. Has Philip got instructions how to act
Cas. He has, my friend, and, faithful to our
Resolves to execute the fatal order.
Bear him this vial—it contains a poison
Of that exalted force, that deadly nature,
Should AEsculapius drink it, in five hours
(For then it works) the god himself were mortal:
I drew it from Nonacris' horrid spring ;
Mixed with his wine a single drop gives death,
And sends him howling to the shades below.
Poly. I know its power, for I have seen it tried;
Pains of all sorts thro’ ev’ry nerve and art'ry,
At once it scatters—burns at once, and freezes;
Till, by extremity of torture forc'd,
The soul consent to leave her joyless home,
And seek for ease in worlds unknown to this.
Cas. Now let us part: with Thessalus and Philip Haste to the banquet; at his second call, Let this be given him; and it crowns our hopes.
- [Exit PolyPERchoN.
Now, Alexander, now, we'll soon be quits;
Death for a blow is interest indeed. [Exit.
ALEXANDER, CAssanDER, PolyperchoN, EUMENEs, discovered at a Banquet, &c.—A Flourish of Trumpets.
Aler. To our immortal health and our fair queen's: All drink it deep; and while the bowl goes round, Mars and Bellona join to make us music ; A hundred bulls be offered to the sun, White as his beams; speak the big voice of war; Beat all our drums, and Sound our silver trumpets;
Provoke the gods to follow our example,
In bowls of nectar, and replying thunder.
Enter CLYTUs, HEPHESTION, and Lysimachus, - bloody
Clyt. Long live the king! long live great Alex- ander | And conquest crown his arms with deathless laurels, Propitious to his friends, and all he favours. Alex. Did I not give command vou should preserve Lysimachus 2 Heph. Dread sir, you did. Aler. What then Portend these bloody marks 2 Heph. Ere we arrived Perdiccas had already placed the prince In a lone court, all but his hands unarmed. Clyt. On them were gauntlets; such was his deSire, In death to show the difference betwixt The blood of Æacus and common men. Heph. With unconcern the gallant prince advanced Now, Parisatis, be the glory thine, But mine the danger, were his only words; For, as he spoke, the furious beast descried him And rushed outrageous to devour his prey. Clyt. Agile and vigorous, he avoids the shock, With a slight wound, and as the lion turn'd, Thrust gauntlet, arm and all into his throat, And, with Herculean strength, tears forth the tongue: Foaming and bloody, the disabled savage Sunk to the earth, and ploughed it with his teeth; While with an active bound your conquering soldier Leaped on his back, and dashed his skull in pieces. Alex. By all my laurels 'twas a godlike act!
And 'tis my glory, as it shall be thine,
That Alexander could not pardon thee.
Oh, my brave soldier! think not all the prayers
And tears of the lamenting queens could move me
Like what thou hast performed: grow to my breast.
Lys. Thus, self-condemned, and conscious of my
How so I stand such unexampled goodness?
Oh, pardon, sir, the transports of despair, *
The frantic outrage of ungoverned love!
Even when I showed the greatest want of reverence,
I could have died with rapture in your service.
Alex. Lysimachus, we both have been trans-
But from this hour be certain of my heart.
A lion be the impress of thy shield;
And that gold armour we from Porus won,
Thy king presents thee—But thy wounds ask .
rest. - -
Lys. I have no wounds, dread sir! or, if I had,
Were they all mortal, they should stream unminded,
When Alexander was the glorious health.
Aler. Thy hand, Hephestion: clasp him to thy
And wear him ever near thee. Parisatis
Shall now be his who serves me best in war.
Neither reply, but mark the charge I give;
Live, live as friends—you will, you must, you
'Tis a god gives you life.
Clyt. Oh, monstrous vanity!
Aler. Ha! what says Clytus? who am I?
Clyt. The son of good King Philip.
Alex. By my kindred gods,
'Tis false. Great Ammon gave me birth.
Clyt. I've done.
Aler. Clytus, what means that dress? Give his
robe there; -