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WTien Sparta's glory was the price of peril.
O! son of Jove, great author of our race,
Sustain my soul. For he who was my stay,
My comfort and my strength, is now no more.
Yet in the path his generous spirit chose,
He fell; and conscious virtue crown'd his fall.
Lysan. So fell not false Amphares.
Euxus. And Sandane,
Lysan. Sandane dead! -,
Euxus. And dreadful was her death.
She fled, for refuge from the people's rage,
To the same turret where Amphares' troops
Guarded the queen, whose mantle on the ground
She spied, and wrapt it round her wretched head;
When suddenly a stern assassin came
And stabb'd her, as that queen whose robe she
Arriving then, I heard her shriek for help,
Implore her country's gods with bitter cries,
And, in her agony, divulge her crimes.
It was no wonder that she fear'd to die.
Ages. O guilt! thou'rt worst of all; he knew
For whom I mourn. Untimely was his fate;
Yet full of high and pleasing thoughts he fell.
Great-hearted Virtue, in its swelling hour,
Scarce feels the blow that strikes at brittle life.
The painful part is mine, in grief to live.
Would I had died for thee, my son, my son!
Euan. Euanthe's tears shall ever flow with yours,
For her protector and her gentle friend.
Mysterious are the counsels of the gods;
Together Agis and Amphares fall.
Lysan. The son of Agis lives, his infant years Require a mother's care. Without delay Proclaim the son of Agis king of Sparta. To him, the offspring of my prince adored, Descend the love and faith I bore to Agis. Ye generous Thracians, who this day have shewn The matchless worth and honour of your minds, Henceforth be Spartans. And, ye Spartan youths, Whom Agis loved, and for whose rights he died, Display the spirit of your dear bought freedom; With grateful valour guard the hero's son, And prove that Agis perish'd not in vain.
Ages. Conduct me, Spartans, to his dear remains.
Lysan. Forbear a while yon dismal vault.—
Mess. My lord, . v -.'.-. ,.':••..
The people, headed by the priests of Jove
And Hercules, in long procession come,
Hearing the body of their royal lord,
From that base dungeon to the sculptured tomb,
Which guards the sacred dust of Sparta's kings.
Enter the Procession with ttie body of Agis.
Lysan. O Destiny supreme!
Euan. O sad remains of youth and majesty!
Ages. My son, ffiy son! ••;-. >\ * , ,•
Nature is thwarted here ; thou should'st have borne
Thy aged parent to the silent tomb.
Chorus. , .
Mourn, ye sons of Sparta,
Pour the sad lamenting strain.
Wretched people! Land forlorn!
Mourn the best of princes slain.
Priest of Jupiter.
j . ., .
He fell not as the warrior falls,
Whose breast defends his native walls.
To treason Agis bow'd his head, And by his guilty subjects bled: Betray'd by those his mercy spared; Ingratitude was his reward.
Shame is mix'd with Sparta's woe,
Blood of kings the city stains,
Ever let our sorrows flow,
Shame indelible remains.
Priests of Jupiter. .
Yet Agis triumph'd in his fall;
For Virtue triumphs over all!
Great, superior to his fate,
He only grieved for Sparta's state.
When Jove decrees a nation's doom,
He calls their heroes to the tomb.
Fearless they fall, immortal rise,
And claim the freedom of the skies.
Agis triumph'd in his fall,
Virtue triumphs over all!
Such a king shall ne'er return:
Our country and ourselves we mourn.
Priests of Hercules.
Agis fell, by fraud o'ercome;
Alike was great Alcides' doom:
Yet then most worthy of his sire,
The son of Jove, when wrapt in fire,
Victorious crown'd his labours past:
His noblest labour was the last.
Chorus of all.
Now in peace our hero lies.
Ceased his toil, his race is run;
Freedom is the glorious prize
Agis for his people won.