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[Peeping In at the Stage Door.
Htp! music! music!—Have you more to play?
I drive a trade; have authors in my pay,
I've treated for this play; can buy it too, If 1 could learn what you intend to do. If, for nine nights, you'll hear this tragic stuff; I have a ncwspHper, and there can puffi
A newspaper does wonders! none can be In debt, in love, dependent, or quite free; Ugly, or handsome, well, or ill in bed; Single, or married, or olive, or dead, But wc give life, death, virtue, vice, with ease; In short, a newspaper does what we please. There jealous authors at each other bark; -\ Till truth leaves not one glimpse, no, not f
one spark; f
But lies meet lies, and jostle in the dark. )
Enter Melastho* tad PHTLOTAS.
Melon. Yet, a moment; bear, Philotas, bear me.
PkiL No more; it most not be.
Melon. Obdurate man!
Phil. Urge thv suit no further;
Melon. Thou can'st not mean it: his to give
Phil. Melanthon, yes: full clearly I remember The splendid day, when all rejoicing Sicily Hailed her deliverer.
Melan. Shall the tyrant's son Deduce a title from the father's guilt? Philotas, thou wert once the friend of goodness; Thou art a Greek; fair Corinth gave thee birth; I marked thy growing youth: I need not tell, With what an equal sway Evandcr reigned, How just, how upright, generous, and good! Prom every region bards and sages came; Whatc'er of science Egypt stored, All that the east had treasured, all that Greece Of moral wisdom taught, and Plato's voice, Was heard in Sicily. Shall Dionysius Extinguish every virtue from the land, Bow to his yoke the necks of freeborn men, And here perpetuate a tyrant's reign?
Phil. Whnte'er his right, to him, in Syracuse, All bend the knee; his the supreme dominion, And death and torment wait his sovereign nod. Melan. But soon that power shall cease: be* hold his walls Now close encircled by the Grecian bands; Timolcon leads them on; indignant Corinth Sends her avenger forth, arrayed in terror,
To hurl ambition from a throne usurped,
Phil. Thou wert a statesman ooce, MeJaatocr,
Grown dim with age, thy eye pervades no more The deep-laid scheme* which Diooyatus plans. Know then, a fleet from Carthage even now Stems the rough billow; and, ere yonder sue, That, now declining, seeks the western wave, Shall to the shades of night re-sign the world, Tbou'lt see the Punk sails in yonder bay, Whose waters wash the walls of Syracuse.
Melan. Art thou a stranger to Timokoa'i name? Intent to plan, and circumspect to see All possible events, he rushes on Resistless in bis course! Your boasted master Scarce stands at bay; each hour the strong blockade Hems him in closer, and, ere loaf, thoult vww Oppression's iron rod to fragments shivered The good Evander then
Phtl. Alas! Evander Will ne'er behold the golden time jroo look fcr!
Melon, How! not behold it! Say, Pnoott, speak; Has the fell tyrant, have his felon murderer?—
PkiL As yet, my friend, Evander lives.
Melan. And yet, Thy dark half-hinted purpose—lead me to bin; If thou hast murdered him
Phtl. By Heaven, he lives!
Melan. Then bless me with one tender interview! Thrice has the sun gone down, since last toes*
eyes Have seen the good old king; say, why is this? Wherefore debarred his presence ? Thee, Phflotas, The troops obey, that guard the royal prisoner, Each avenue to thee is open; thou Can'st grant admittance; let me, let me see bin'
I'in i. Entreat no more; the soul of Dtonystt Is ever wakeful; rent with all the pangs That wait on conscious guilt.
Melan. But when dun night
Phil. Alas! it cannot'be: but mark my words. Let Greece urge on her general assault. Dispatch some friend, who may o'erleap tie
Melan, If any spark of virtue dwells »te-. thee, Lead me, Philotas, lead me to bis prison.
Phil. The tyrant's jealous care hath moua him thence.
Melan, Ha! moved him, sa/st tbou?
Phil. At the midnight hour, Silent conveyed him up the steep ascent, To where the elder Dionysius formed, On the sham summit of the pointed rock, Which overhangs the deep, a dungeon drear: Cell within cell, a labyrinth of horror, Deep caverned in the cliff, where many a wretch, Unseen by mortal eye, has groaned in anguish, And died obscure, unpitied, and unknown.
Melon. Clandestine murderer! Yes, there's the scene Of horrid massacre. Full oft J've walked, When all things lay in sleep and darkness hush'd, Yes, oft I've walked the lonely sullen beach, And heard the mournful sound of many a corse Plunged from the rock into the wave beneath, That murmurs on the shore. And means he thus To end a monarch's life? Oh ! grant my prayer; My timely succour may protect his days; The guard is yours—
Pkil. Forbear; thou plead'st in vain; And though I feel soft pity throbbing here, Though each emotion prompts the generous deed, I must not yield; it were assured destruction. Farewell! dispatch a message to the Greeks; I'll to my station; now thou know'st the worst.
Melon. Oh, lost Evander! Lost Euphrasia too! How will her gentle nature bear the shock Of a dear father, thus in lingering pangs A prey to famine, like the veriest wretch, Whom the hard hand of misery hath griped! In vain she'll rave with impotence of sorrow; Perhaps provoke her fate: Greece arms in vain; All's lost; Evander dies!
Col. Where is the king?
Melon. To the citadel
Cat. Do thou call forth
Melon. Now, ye just gods ! now look propitious down; Now give the Grecian sabre tenfold edge, And save a virtuous king! [ Warlike music.
Euph. War on, ye heroes, Ye great assertors of a monarch's cause! Let the wild tempest rage. Melanthon, ha! Did'st thou not hear the vast tremendous roar? Down tumbling from its base, the eastern tower Burst on the tyrant's ranks, and on the plain Lies an extended rain.
Melon. Still new horrors Increase each hour, and gather round our heads.
Euph. The glorious tumult lifts my towering
Melon. Alas! that hour
Euph. And still, Melanthon, still does pale
Milan. Still my fears Forebode for thee. Would thou had'st left this
place, When hence your husband, the brave Phocion,
fled, Fled with your infant son!
Euph. In duty fixed, Here I remained, while my brave generous
Melon. Deem not, Euphrasia,
Euph. Melanthon, how I loved! the gods, wh«
Melon. The pious act, whate'er the fates intend, Shall merit heart-felt praise.
Euph. Yes, Phocion, go; Go with my child, torn from this matron breast. This breast that still should yield its nurture to
him, Fly with my infant to some happier shore. If he be safe, Euphrasia dies content. Till that sad close of all, the task be mine To tend a father with delighted care, To smooth the pillow of declining age, See him sink gradual into mere decay, On the last verge of life watch every look, Explore each fond unutterable wish, Catch his last breath, and close his eyes in peace.
Melon. I would not add to thy afflictions; yet My heart misgives; Evander's fatal period
Euph. Still is far off; the cods have sent relief, And once again I shall behold him king.
Melon. Alas! those glittering hopes but lend a ray To giW tl>e clouds, that hover o'er jour head, Soon to rain sorrow down, and plunge you deeper In black despair.
Euph. The spirit-stirring virtue, That glows within me, ne^r shall know despair. No, I will trust the gods. Desponding man! Hast thou not heard with what resistless ardour Timoleon drives the ttmmlt of the war? Hast thou not heard him thundering at our
gates? The tyrant's pent up in his last retreat; Anon thou'lt see his battlements in dust, His walls, his ramparts, and his towers in ruin; Destruction pouring in on every side; Pride and oppression at their utmost need; And nought to save him in his hopeless hour.
[jl Jiourtsh of trumpets. Melon. Ha! the fell tyrant comes—Beguile his rage, And o'er your sorrows cast a dawn of gladness.
Enter Dionysius, CALIPPUS, Officers, d/c.
Dion. The vain, presumptuous Greek! his hopes of conquest, Like a gay dream, are vanished into air. Proudly elate, and (lushed with easy triumph O'er vulgar warriors, to the gates of Syracuse He urged the war, till Dionysius' arm Let slaughter loose, and taught his dastard train To seek their safety by inglorious flight.
Euph. O Dionysius, if distracting fears Alarm this throbbing bosom, you will pardon A frail and tender sex. Should ruthless war Roam through our streets, and riot here in blood, Where shall the lost Euphrasia find a shelter? In vain she'll kneel, and clasp the sacred altar.
0 let me, then, in mercy, let me seek
The gloomy mansion, where my father dwells;
1 die content, if in his arms I perish.
Dion. Thou lovely trembler, hush thy fears to rest. The Greek recoils; like the impetuous surge That dashes on the rock, there breaks and loams, And backward rolls into the sea again. All shall be well in-Syracuse: a.flect Appears in view, and brings the chosen sons Of Carthage. From the hill that fronts the main, I saw their canvass swelling with the wind, While on the purple wave the western sun Glanced the remains of day.
Euph. Yet till the fury Of war subside, the wild, the horrid interval, In safety let me sooth to dear delight In a loved father's presence: from his sight, For three long days, with specious feigned excuse Your guards debarred me. Oh! while yet he
lives, JndnlgE a daughter's love: worn 6ut with age, Soon must he seal his eyes in endless night, And with his converse tharin my car no more. >
Lun. Y\ liv thus anticipate misfortune? Still
Evandcr mocks the injuries of time.
Euph. For this benignity, accept my thanks.
. f£xirDlO.\TSR^. Euph. What do I hear? Melanthon, can ibei If Carthage comes, if her perfidious sons List in his cause, the dawn of freedom's gooe. Me tan. Woe, bitterest woe impends; taw
would'st not think— Euph. How ?—Speak! unfold! Melon, My tongue denies its office. Euph. How is my father.' Say, MelinthonAlttan. He,— I fear to shock thee with the tale of horror' Perhaps he dies this moment. Since TimoleM First formed his lines round this beleegooal
Euph. To that abode
Mttan. There sequestered,
Euph. Well, my heart, Well do your vital drops forget to flow! Melan. Enough his sword has reeked <rt" public slaughter; Now, dark insidious deeds must thm mankind. Euph. Oh! night, that oft has heard my »*• cing shrieks Disturb thy awful silence; oft has heard Each stroke these hands, in frantic sorrow, pw> From this sad breast resounding; now now* I mean to vent complaints; I mean not no» With busy memory to retrace the wrongs The tyrant heaped on our devoted nee, I bear it all; with calmest patience bear it, Resigned and wretched, desperate and lost.
Melun. Despair, alas! is all the sad reS*^' Our fate allows as now.
Euph. Yet, why despair?
Melon. Yet beware;
Euph. Shall Euphrasia's voice
Shall not the monster hear his deeds accurst?
SCENE I.—A wild romantic scene amidtt ovtrhunging rocks; a cavern on one tide.
A Was. [Wit A a tpeurin his hand.]
The gloom of night sits heavy on the world;
Enlrr Philotas,/»w« the cavern.
Phil. What ho! brave Areas! ho!
Arc. Why thus desert thy couch?
Phil. Methought the sound
Arc. At intervals the oars resounding stroke Comes echoing from the main. Save that report, A death-like silence through the wide expanse Broods o'er the dreary coast.
Phil. Do thou retire,
Arc. How fares
Phil. Areas, shall I own A secret weakness? My heart inward melts To see that suffering virtue. On the earth, The cold, damp earth, the royal victim lies; And while pale famine drinks his vital spirit, He welcomes death, and smiles himself to rest.
Oh ! would I could relieve him! Thou withdraw; Thy wearied nature claims repose; and now The watch is mine.
Arc. May no alarm disturb thee. [Exit.
Phil. Some dread event is labouring into birth. At close of day the sullen sky held forth Unerring signals. With disastrous glare The moon's full orb rose crimsoned o'er with
blood; And lo! athwart the gloom a falling star Trails a long tract of fire.—What daring step Sounds on the flinty rock? Stand there! what ho! Speak, ere thou dar'st advance! Unfold thy purpose: Who and what art thou?
Enter Euphrasia, bearing a light in her hand.
Euph. Mine no hostile step;
Phil. Ha! what mean
Euph. Here is no ambushed Greek, No warrior to surprise thee on the watch. An humb'e suppliant comes: Alas! my strength, Exhausted, quite forsakes this weary frame.
Phil. What voice thus piercing through the gloom of night— What art thou? what thy errand ? quickly say What wretch, with what intent, at tlusdeadhour— Wherefore alann'st thou thus our peaceful watch >
Euph. Let no mistrust affright thee—Lo! a wretch, The veriest wretch that ever groaned in anguish, Comes here to grovel on the earth before thee, To tell her sad, sad tale, implore thy aid— For sure the power is thine, thou canst relieve My bleeding heart, and soften all my woes.
PAi/. Ha! sure those accents—
[Takes the light from her.