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Enter Agis.

Lysan. Regard, O king, the warnings of a friend

i

Instructed in the counsels of thy foes.
Behold the stedfast faith of Celimene.

[Gives the Letter.

Agis. I cannot think so basely of the people. For them I have unplumed the regal power, And deck'd their freedom with the spoils of kings. If they betray me; of all creatures, man Is most ungrateful to his benefactor. The generous courser and the faithful dog With true affection love their gentle master; Nay, even the heavy ox, the stubborn mule, Dullest of beasts, they know the hand that feeds them.

Lysan. Humanity lives in thy breast, O king! And dictates confidence unlimited; Virtue approves the generous extreme, And magnanimity this error loves. Let private men indulge the glorious fault, And set their lives and fortunes on the faith And gratitude of those they have obliged;

But let severer prudence guard the heart
Of him whose brows are circled with a crown.

Enter an Officer.

Off. O king! the captain of Amycla's gate
Informs you that he has this hour descried
A band of men who halted near his post;
A thousand Thracians, they report themselves,
Hired by Amphares for Seleucus' service.

Agis. A thousand Thracians!

Off. On their march to Sardis.

Lysan. By whose permission do they march this way?

Off. Before the troops arrived, a herald came, Who to the Ephori a message bore.

Agis. Your diligence in duty I commend.

[Exit Officer.

Lysan. The veil's withdrawn, and treason stands

reveal'd.

"Ne'er shall Amphares need again forgiveness."
With what a double tongue the traitor spoke!
All-seeing Gods! how little do we know
The greatness of those blessings you confer.
Had we not fought to-day, had we not conquer'd,
Agis and Sparta had been lost for ever.

Agts. This victory came like the bolt of Jove, And levell'd their designs. s

Lfl/san. Yet, if they dare The worst of crimes, their treason may succeed. Your troops, your conquering troops, are not arrived;

The assembly meets; unguarded there you stand; What keeps the traitors from your noble life?

Agts. My life, Lysander! No, I fear not that. The ancient annals of this land record, That barbarous foes revere the race divine, And turn in battle from a Spartan king.

Lysan. The multitude may still revere their

lord,

Who from the blood of great Alcides springs; And yet, some impious hand may strike the prince, Although of virtue as of race divine.

Agis. I'll change the guards, and place at every

gate Some men of trust.

Lysan. Mount your Thessalian steed, And meet the troops that hasten to your aid. With eager steps the royal band advance, And wish for nothing but their king to lead them. Then if the furies in their wrath provoke

Your foes to rise in arms, let arms decide.
Ne'er were the good and bad winnow'd so well,
And sever'd from each other. Such the hosts,
And such will be their fate, as when the rage
Of earth-born giants dared the sons of heaven.
Agis. Thou reason'st like an anxious friend,

Lysander.
Thy fears are all for me, mine for my people.

Enter Rhesus.

Hail, gallant Rhesus! know'st thou aught of those Thy countrymen, who thus unlook'd-for come, And in a doubtful hour perplex our councils?

Rhe. The Thracians are a thousand men complete.

From snowy Hemus and the northern hills
Of wild Odrysus the fierce warriors come.
Rhinalces leads them, of illustrious birth;
But stern, imperious, and grown old in arms,
He knows no umpire but the sword, no law
Except obedience to the prince he serves.

Agis. Such oft are those that quit a needy home To serve as hirelings in a tyrant's host.

Rhe. Next in command, my brother Euxus stands,

A youth to Mars devoted; for he loves
Danger itself, not danger's rich reward.

Lysan. Hast thou yet seen him?

Rhe. No.

Lysan. Has he yet heard That thou art here in Sparta?

Rhe. He believes

That I am still in Athens. From the herald
I kept my name and quality conceal'd;
For I suspected that these Thracian troops,
Though hired for Asia, were for Sparta meant.
If it prove so, I may be useful here:
My valiant brother bears a generous mind,
And, though of arms enamour'd, justice loves.

Agis. Haste to your valiant brother, and explain,

With an impartial tongue, the state of Sparta.
Shew him where justice, and where honour stand.
If these are sacred, as thou say'st they are,
To gallant Euxus, he may prove a friend.

Lysan. Exert the strong persuasion of a brother;
And tell him, Rhesus, if he loves bright arms,
And that immortal glory valour gains,
No more to wield a mercenary sword,

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