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Shall be no more a nation! O my country,
How irretrievable is thy condition!
The Macedonian vulture hovers o'er thee,
Soon to descend, and on thy vitals prey.

Amph. Thou may'st delay, perhaps avoid, thy

death.

Send forth thy mandate to the royal band
To halt till further orders.

Agis. Ha! No more

I trust thee, traitor. Would I had ever been
Thus deaf to thee! No, let the royal band
Revenge their gallant leader and their king.

1 Epho. Thou tempt'st thy fate.

Agis. I scorn it. Since my hope
Of Sparta's lost, and my beloved friend
Has perish'd in my cause, why should I live?
In any period of my former days
I rather would have chose to die attempting
The glorious design, which you have ruin'd,
Than live the prince of a degenerate people,
The tame spectator of a falling empire.

1 Epho. To reason hearken.

Agis. Reason bids me die,
As I have lived, unalter'd in my love
To Sparta, and unconquer'd in my purpose.
You mean to take advantage of my state,
Without spectator, counsellor, or friend:
You think I dread the stern approach of death,
Because the blooming season of my life
Still promises a long extent of years:
But my forefathers' blood is in my veins,
The blood of heroes, and of Spartan kings,
Less only than the gods. I dare your worst,
And with my dying breath acquit my people.
The people rose; they hearken'd to the voice
Of Liberty, and blest the name of Agis.
But you, the nobles, an inglorious race,
Base as the dastard and unarmed Helots,
With foreign arms and mercenary aid,
Bore down the people and opprest your prince,
Whom death delivers. Agis shall not see
The last convulsions of expiring Freedom;
For in the first he dies.

Amph. We'll hear no more
Of these invectives.—Bear him to the place
Of execution. Officers, advance
And do your duty.

Off. This is not our duty.

Amph. What!

Off. Murder of a king is not our duty.

Amph. Mutinous slaves! for you I'll find a time. —Sir. [To Agis.

Agis. Touch me not, for uncompell'd I go To meet my destiny. Weep not for me.

[To an Officer.

0! thou whose nature suits not thy employment, Weep not for me! I would not change conditions With these bad men. I shall not feel the woes That thou and all must feel, the woes of Sparta! O ! might my death avail my much-loved country, I'd die as joyful then, as fearless now.

[Exit Agis, guarded.

Amph. Atone your insolence by prompt obedience,

Or death's your portion. [To an Officer.

[Exeunt with Agis.

Manent Amphakes, &p.

Amph. Magistrates of Sparta!
This painful work of necessary justice
Will quickly end the troubles of the state.
Leonidas, who owes his crown to you, .
Your faithful zeal and service will reward.

[Exeunt Ephori.

Manent Amphares and the Spartan who entered with Agis.

Amph. Haste to the Thracian captain, and

require him To send his prisoner Lysander hither.

[Exit Spartan.

Agis removed, and turbulent Lysander,
Like snow along the shore, their army melts.

Enter Messenger from the Dungeon.

Mess. The executioners refuse their office:
Sacred they hold the person of a king,—
A Spartan king descended from the gods.

Amph. Again those fables of the villain priests
Rise up to thwart me. Now, my trusty servant,
Approve thy faith, and win my lasting favour.
Each instant of delay is big with peril
Whilst Agis lives. Let thy good sword fulfil
The sentence of the law, and thy own tongue
Shall name the recompense.

Mess. Shall it, my lord?
I am your instrument, and bind myself
By this bold deed still faster to your fortunes.

[Exit.

Amph. Ye sons of bold ambition, learn of me: Trust not the survey of another's eye: Your dangerous voyage needs a pilot's care, Who never quits the helm.

Enter Spartan.

Spar. We are betray'd. Lysander

Amph. What of him? Speak—faulter not.

Spar. Is fled.

Amph. Whither? With whom?—Eternal Gods!

Spar. The guards have set him free; the open

gates I saw, and entering search'd the empty tower.

Amph. That traitor Euxus !—Now let me resolve, And quickly too.

Spar. The people are alarm'd,
And gather to their tribes!

Amph. Curst be their tribes!
The deed is done already. Yet I have
One pledge of value.

Spar. Agesistrata

Amph. This hour she dies. I've sent a trusty slave

Vol. i. s

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