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I will remain; but to assure my safety,
You must, Lysander, to the troops return.
Lysan. And leave my prince alone amidst his
Revoke the hard command! if you're resolved
To brave the peril, then my place I claim
Next to your person; by your side I stand;
Perhaps some noble service I may render,
Receive the mortal wound aim'd at my prince,
And with my life redeem the life of Agis.
4gis. Your great imagination's up in arms;
But hear me, and let calmer reason judge.
I am determin'd not to quit the city.
The guilt of civil war shall not be mine.
Lysander's presence here without the troops,
Would but embolden and excite my foes,
Who may be tempted by this fair occasion,
This mighty vantage, to surprise us both.
Without delay, once more, Lysander, arm,
And ostentatiously pass through the gate.
This victory, and the approaching host
Will hush the threaten'd storm.
Lysan. So may it prove. But there is something in my heart rebels Against this counsel! Oh! I cannot leave you—
Nor ought I now to stay. Let never man
Say in the morning that the day's his own:
Things past belong to memory alone;
Things future are the property of hope.
The narrow line, the isthmus of these seas,
The instant scarce divisible, is all
That mortals have to stand on. O, my prince!
Lysander leaves you with a heavy heart.
Agis. Farewell, thou Spartan of the ancient
mould, Dear as the brother of his blood to Agis!—
[They embrace and part. Lysander!
Lysan. Ha ! may heaven your purpose change!
Agis. My will is fix'd. But though my judgment too
Confirms the secret counsel of my heart,
Yet I may be deceived; perhaps, my friend,
We part this moment ne'er to meet again.
Lysan. Let us not part at all. 'Tis inspiration,
The guardian god, the demon of the mind,
Thus often presses on the human breast.
Agis. Mistake me not, I feel no new impression, Nor, if I did, should I by that be alter'd;
Vol. I. P
For such presages, be they sad or joyful,
I deem them but the meteors of the mind,
Bred by the inward elemental strife,
When great events perplex and shake the soul.
My thoughts regard the state. If I should fall,
To thee, Lysander, I commit my son,
The only pledge of my Deidamia's love.
Train up the boy to walk in the same path
Which we have trod together, the straight path
Of virtue and true glory. If he proves
Of noble nature, and I hope no less,
He will not shun the lofty path of honour,
Though fate should mark it with his father's blood.
Lysan. Hear this, immortal Gods, who rule the
And guard a prince the image of yourselves!
O never, never may his royal race
Lysander's aid require. [Exit Lysandeb.
Affection choaks his words.
His generous heart bursts at this solemn parting.
In times like these of a declining state,
Baseness infects the general race of men;
But yet these trying times rear up a few
More excellent, refined and conscious spirits,
More principled, and fit for all events,
Than any in the good, but equal mass
Of a far better age. Such is Lysander.
The hour draws near.
Sen. Assembled Sparta waits.
Agis. I come, my friends! I will address the
Proclaim aloud mine actions, which upbraid,
And soon shall silence, my despiteful foes.
My heart shall speak. This sceptre of my fathers,
By long descent hereditary mine,
I would disdain to hold, did I not hope,
That by its sway I might recal those days
When Lacedaemon was the pride of Greece,
The gaze and terror of the wond'ring world •]
For there, as in a chosen temple, dwelt
Valour and virtue, whilst attending fame
And glory on the land of heroes shone.
1 Sen. O Gods above ! how happy were our sires, In those bright days of ancient glory born.
Agis. Those days shall yet return, Olympian Jove!
Or low in dust shall Spartan Agis lie.
[Sound of musical instruments.
1 Sen. What means this music?
Agis. To the Gods of Greece And Sparta's guardian deities it sounds. Let us begone, nor stop the holy train. [Exeunt.
Enter a Procession.
Agesistrata, Euanthe, Priests of Jupiter and Hercules.
Chorus of Matrons and Virgins.
Woes approach till now unknown;
Discord shakes the Spartan throne.
Heaven avert the ills we fear!
Jove, from high Olympus, hear!
Priests of Jupiter.
This day our foes embattled came,
And vow'd to end the Spartan name:
Embattled near our gates they fought;
But Jove for us deliverance wrought.
He smote Achaia's host with fear,
He thunder'd in their trembling rear;
Jove's lightning flamed from Sparta's spear.