페이지 이미지

First brought me hither; and the same obedience I went to see the mournful interview,

Detains me here, till Pyrrhus drive me hence,
Or my offended father shall recall me.
Tell this proud king that Menelaus scorns
To match his daughter with a foe of Greece:
Bid him resign Astyanax or me.
If he persists to guard the hostile boy,
Hermione embarks with you for Sparta.

[Exeunt Hermione and Cleone.
Ores. Then is Orestes blest! my griefs are fled!
Fled like a dream! - Methinks I tread in air!
Pyrrhus, enamour'd of his captive queen,
Will thank me, if I take her rival hence.
He looks not on the princess with my eyes.
Surprising happiness! unlook'd-for joy!
Never let love despair. The prize is mine!
Be smooth, ye seas, and ye propitious winds,
Breathe from Epirus to the Spartan coasts!
I long to view the sails unfurl'd!-But see!
Pyrrhus approaches in a happy hour.

Pyr. I was in pain to find you, prince.
My warm,

Ungovern'd temper would not let me weigh
The importance of your embassy, and hear
You argue for my good. I was to blame.
I since have pois'd your reasons: and I thank
My good allies: their care deserves my thanks.
You have convinc'd me, that the weal of Greece,
My father's honour, and my own repose,
Demand that Hector's race should be destroy'd.
I shall deliver up Astyanax,

And found her bath'd in tears and lost in passion.
Wild with distress, a thousand times she call'd
On Hector's name: and when I spoke in comfort,
And promis'd my protection to her son,
She kiss'd the boy, and call'd again on Hector.
Does she then think that I preserve the boy,
To sooth and keep alive her flame for Hector?
Phoe. No doubt she does; and thinks you fa-
vour'd in it;

But let her go, for an ungrateful woman!
Pyr. I know the thoughts of her proud
stubborn heart:

Vain of her charms, and insolent in beauty,
She mocks my rage; and when it threatens

Expects 'twill soon be humbled into love.
But we shall change our parts, and she shall find
I can be deaf like her, and steel my heart.
She's Hector's widow; I, Achilles' son!
Pyrrhus is born to hate Andromache.
Phoe. My royal master, talk of her no more;
I do not like this anger. Your Hermione
Should now engross your thoughts. 'Tis time
to see her;
'Tis time you should prepare
the nuptial rites,
And not rely upon a rival's care:
It may be dangerous.

Pyr. But tell me, Phoenix,
Dost thou not think the proud Andromache
Will be enrag'd, when I shall wed the princess?
Phoe. Why does Andromache still haunt
your thoughts?

And you yourself shall bear the victim hence. What is't to you, be she enrag'd or pleas'd?
Ores. If you approve it, sir, and are content Let her name perish-think of her no more.
To spill the blood of a defenceless child, Pyr. No, Phoenix, I have been too gentle
The offended Greeks, no doubt, will be appeas'd.
with her;

Pyr. Closer to strain the knot of our alliance, I have check'd my wrath, and stifled my re


She knows not yet to what degree I hate her.
Let us return. I'll brave her to her face:
lil give my anger its free course against her.
Thou shalt see, Phoenix, how I'll break her pride.
Phoe. Oh, go not, sir! There's ruin in her

I have determin'd to espouse Hermione.
You come in time to grace our nuptial rites:
In you the kings of Greece will all be present,
And you have right to personate her father,
As his ambassador and brother's son.
Go, prince, renew your visit; tell Hermione,
To-morrow I receive her from your hands.
Ores. Oh, change of fortune! Oh, undone
Orestes! [Aside, and exit.
Pyr. Well, Phoenix! am I still a slave to love? Adore her beauty, and revive her scorn.
What think'st thou now? Am I myself again? Pyr. That were indeed a most unmanly
Phoe. 'Tis as it should be; this discovers


Shows all the hero: now you are yourself-
The son, the rival of the great Achilles !
Greece will applaud you, and the world confess
Pyrrhus has conquer'd Troy a second time!
Pyr. Nay, Phoenix, now I but begin to
triumph ;

I never was a conqueror till now.
Believe me, a whole host, a war of foes,
May sooner be subdu'd than love. Oh, Phoenix!
What ruin have I shunn'd? The Greeks, enrag'd,
Hung o'er me like a gathering storm, and soon
Hlad burst in thunder on my head; while I
Abandon'd duty, empire, honour, all,
To please a thankless woman!- One kind look
Had quite undone me!

Phoe. O, my royal master!

The gods, in favour to you, made her cruel.
Pyr. Thou saw'st with how much scorn she

treated me!

When I permitted her to see her son,

I hop'd it might have work'd her to my wishes;

[ocr errors]

You do not know your strength. You'll fall before her,

Thou dost not know me, Phoenix.
Phoe. Ah, my prince!

You are still struggling in the toils of love.
Canst thou then think I love this
woman still?
One who repays my passion with disdain!
A stranger, captive, friendless and forlorn;
She and her my

Her life a forfeit to the Greeks: yet

Preserve her son, would take her to my throne,
Would fight her battles, and avenge her wrongs;
And all this while she treats me as her foe!
Phoe. You have it in your power to be


Pyr. Yes, and I'll show my power! I'll give
her cause

To hate me! her Astyanax shall die.
What tears will then be shed! How will she then
In bitterness of heart reproach my name!
Then, to complete her woes, will I espouse
Hermione-'twill stab her to the heart!

Phoe. Alas, you threaten like a lover still!

Pyr. Phoenix, excuse this struggle of my soul; 'Tis the last effort of expiring love.

Phoe. Then hasten, sir, to see the Spartan princess,

And turn the bent of your desires on her.
Pyr. Oh! 'tis a heavy task to conquer love,
And wean the soul from her accustom'd fondness.
But come a long farewell to Hector's widow.
Tis with a secret pleasure I look back,
And see the many dangers I have pass'd.
The merchant thus, in dreadful tempests tost,
Thrown by the waves on some unlook'd-for coast,
Oft turns, and sees, with a delighted eye,
Midst rocks and shelves the broken billows fly!
And, while the outrageous winds the deep deform,
Smiles on the tumult, and enjoys the storm.


Enter PYLADES and ORESTES. Pyl. For heaven's sake, sir, compose your ruffled mind,

And moderate your rage!

Úres. No, Pylades,

This is no time for counsel. I am deaf.
Talk not of reason. I have been too patient.
Life is not worth my care. My soul grows

I'll bear her off, or perish in th' attempt.
I'll force her from his arms-by heaven, I will!
Pyl. Well, 'tis agreed, my friend- we'll
force her hence:

But still consider we are in Epirus.
The court, the guards, Hermione herself,
The very air we breathe, belongs to Pyrrhus.
Good gods! what tempted you to seek her here?
Ores. Lost to myself, I knew not what I did;
My purposes were wild. Perhaps I came
To menace Pyrrhus, and upbraid the woman.
Pyl. This violence of temper may prove fatal.
Ores. It must be more than man to bear
these shocks,

These outrages of fate, with temper.
He tells me that he weds Hermione,
And will to-morrow take her from my hand!
My band shall sooner tear the tyrant's heart.
Pyl. Your passion blinds you, sir; he's not
to blame.

Could you but look into the soul of Pyrrhus,
Perhaps you'll find it tortur'd like your own.
Ores. No, Pylades! 'tis all design. His pride,
To triumph over me, has chang'd his love.
The fair Hermione, before I came,

Pyl. Will then Orestes turn a ravisher, And blot his embassy?

Ores. O, Pylades!

My grief weighs heavy on me-'twill distract me!
The gods have set me as their mark, to empty
Their quivers on me. Leave me to myself.
Mine be the danger, mine the enterprize.
All I request of thee, is to return,
And in my place convey Astyanax
(As Pyrrhus has consented) into Greece.
Go, Pylades

Pyl. Lead on, my friend, lead on!
Let us bear off Hermione! No toil,
No danger can deter a friend. Lead on!
Draw up the Greeks, summon your num'rous
The ships are ready, and the wind sits fair:
There eastward lies the sea; the rolling waves
Break on those palace-stairs. I know each pass,
Each avenue and outlet of the court.
This very night we'll carry her on board.
Ores. Thou art too good! I trespass on thy

But, oh! excuse a wretch, whom no man pities,
Except thyself: one, just about to lose
The treasure of his soul: whom all mankind
Conspire to hate, and one who hates himself.
When will my friendship be of use to thee?
Pyl. The question is unkind.
But now,


[blocks in formation]

And, further, I am inform'd, that you, Orestes,
Are to dispose me for the intended marriage.
Ores. And are you, madam, willing to comply?
Her. What can I do? alas! my faith is

Can I refuse what is not mine to give?
A princess is not at her choice to love;
All we have left us is a blind obedience:
And yet you see how far I had comply'd,
And made my duty yield to your entreaties.
Ores. Ah, cruel maid! you knew-but I

have done.

In all her bloom of beauty, was neglected.
Ah, cruel gods! I thought her all my own!
She was consenting to return to Sparta:
Her heart, divided betwixt rage and love,
Was on the wing to take its leave of Pyrrhus.
She heard my sighs, she pitied my complaints, But, madam, I shall spare you further pain
She prais'd my constancy. The least indifference On this uneasy theme, and take my leave.
From this proud king, had made Orestes happy!
Pyl. So your fond heart believes!
Think not to force her hence;

All have a right to please themselves in love.
I blame you not. 'Tis true, I hop'd-but you
Are mistress of your heart, and I'm content.
Tis fortune is my enemy, not you.

But fly yourself from her destructive charms.
Ores. Talk no more!

I cannot bear the thought! She must be mine!
Did Pyrrhus carry thunder in his hand,
I'd stand the bolt, and challenge all his fury,
Ere I resign Hermione. By force

I'll snatch her hence, and bear her to my ships.
Have we forgot her mother Helen's rape?

[Exit. Her. Cleone, couldst thou think he'd be so


Cle. Madam, his silent grief sits heavy on him. He is to be pitied. His too eager love Has made him busy to his own destruction. His threats have wrought this change of mind in Pyrrhus.

Her. Dost thou think Pyrrhus capable of fear? Whom should the intrepid Pyrrhus fear? The


Did he not lead their harass'd troops to conquest,
When they despair'd, when they retir'd from

And sought for shelter in their burning fleets?
Did he not then supply his father's place?
No, my Cleone, he is above constraint;
He acts unforc'd; and where he weds, he loves.
Cle. Oh, that Orestes had remain'd in Greece!
I fear to-morrow will prove fatal to him.
Her. Wilt thou discourse of nothing but

Pyrrhus is mine again! Is mine for ever!
Oh, my Cleone, I am wild with joy!
Pyrrhus, the bold, the brave, the godlike Pyrrhus!
Oh, I could tell thee numberless exploits,
And tire thee with his battles.' Oh, Cleone—
Cle. Madam, conceal your joy-I see An-

She weeps, and comes to speak her sorrows
to you.

Her. I would indulge the gladness of my


Let us retire-Her grief is out of season.

Enter ANDROMACHE and Cephisa. Andro. Ah, madam! whither, whither do you fly?

Where can your eyes behold a sight more pleasing

[blocks in formation]

my son, oh, give up me!
many times have sworn me

Oh, heavens! will you not look with pity on me?
Is there no hope? Is there no room for pardon?
Pyr. Phoenix will answer you

[ocr errors]

iny word is pass'd. Andro. You, who would brave so many dangers for me.

Pyr. I was your lover then, I now am free. favour you, I might have spar'd his life; But you would ne'er vouchsafe to ask it of me. Now 'tis too late.

Andro. Oh, sir, excuse

The pride of royal blood, that checks my soul,
And knows not how to be importunate.
You know, alas! I was not born to kneel,
To sue for pity, and to own a master.

Pyr. No, in your heart you curse me! you

My gen'rous flame, and scorn to be oblig'd.
But I shall leave you to your great resentments.
Let us go, Phoenix, and appease the Greeks.
Andro. Then let me die, and let me go

Than Hector's widow, suppliant and in tears?
I come not an alarm'd, a jealous foe,
To envy you the heart your charms have won-To
The only man I sought to please, is gone;
Kill'd in my sight, by an inhuman hand.
Hector first taught me love; which my fond heart
Shall ever cherish, till we meet in death.
But, oh, I have a son! And you, one day,
Will be no stranger to a mother's fondness:
But heaven forbid that you should ever know
A mother's sorrow for an only son,
Her joy, her bliss, her last surviving comfort!
When every hour she trembles for his life!
Your power o'er Pyrrhus may relieve my fears.
Alas, what danger is there in a child,
Sav'd from the wreck of a whole ruin'd empire?
Let me go hide him in some desert isle:
You may rely upon my tender care
To keep him far from perils of ambition:
All he can learn of me will be to weep!
Her. Madam, 'tis easy to conceive your grief;
But it would ill become me to solicit
In contradiction to my father's will:
'Tis he who urges to destroy your son.
Madam, if Pyrrhus must be wrought to pity,
No woman does it better than yourself.
If you gain him, I shall comply of course.
[Exit with Cleone.
Andro. Didst thou not mind with what
disdain she spoke?

Youth and prosperity have made her vain;
She has not seen the fickle turns of life.
Ceph. Madam, were I as you I'd take her



Ceph. But, madam-
Andro. What can I do more? The tyrant
Sees my distraction, and insults my tears.

[To Cephisa

Behold, how low you have reduc'd a queen!
These eyes have seen my country laid in ashes,
My kindred fall in war, my father slain,
My husband dragg'd in his own blood, my son
Condemn'd to bondage, and myself a slave;
Yet, in the midst of these unheard-of woes,
"Twas some relief to find myself your captive;
And that my son, deriv'd from ancient kings,
Since he must serve, had Pyrrhus for his master.
When Priam kneel'd, the great Achilles wept:
I hop'd I should not find his son less noble.
I thought the brave were still the more com-

I'll speak my own distress: one look from you Oh, do not, sir, divide me from my
Will vanquish Pyrrhus, and confound the If he must die


[blocks in formation]


Pyr. Phoenix, withdraw awhile.
[Exit Phoenix.
Rise, madam. Yet you may preserve your son.
I find, whenever I provoke your tears,
I furnish you with arms against myself.
I thought my hatred fix'd before I saw you.
Oh, turn your eyes upon me while I speak!

And see if you discover in my looks
An angry judge, or an obdurate foe.
Why will you force me to desert your cause?
In son's name I beg we may be friends!
Think, oh think,



Oh, my dead lord! Oh, Priam's royal house!
Oh, my Astyanax! at what a price'
Thy mother buys thee!-Let us go.
Ceph. But whither?

And what does your unsettled heart resolve?
(Tis the last time) you both may yet be happy! Andro. Come, my Cephisa, let us go together
I know the ties I break, the foes I arm; To the sad monument which I have rais'd
Hermione; I send her hence; To Hector's shade; where, in their sacred urn,
And with her diadem I bind your brows. The ashes of my hero lie enclos'd,
Consider well; for 'tis of moment to you. The dear remains which I have sav'd from Troy;
Choose to be wretched, madam, or a queen. There let me weep, there summon to my aid,
I leave you to your thoughts. When I return, With pious rites, my Hector's awful shade;
We'll to the temple. There you'll find your son; Let him be witness to my doubts, my fears;
And there be crown'd, or give him up for ever. My agonizing heart, my flowing tears:
[Exit. Oh! may he rise in pity from his tomb,
Ceph. I told you, madam, that, in spite of And fix his wretched son's uncertain_doom.


You would o'errule the malice of your fortune.
Andro. Alas, Cephisa, what have I obtain❜d?
Only a poor short respite for my son.

Ceph. You have enough approv'd your faith
to Hector;

To be reluctant still would be a crime.
He would himself persuade you to comply

Scene 1.



Cle. This unexpected silence, this reserve, This outward calm, this settled frame of mind, After such wrongs and insults, much surprise me!

Andro. How! wouldst thou give me Pyr-You, who before could not command your rage,

rhus for a husband?

Ceph. Think you 'twill please the ghost of
your dead husband,
That you should sacrifice his son? Consider,
Pyrrhus once more invites you to a throne;
Turns all his power against the foes of Troy,
Remembers not Achilles was his father,
Retracts his conquests, and forgets his hatred.
Andro. But how can I forget it? how can I
Forget my Hector, treated with dishonour,
Depriv'd of funeral rites, and vilely dragg'd,
A bloody corpse, about the walls of Troy?
Can I forget the good old king, his father,
Slain in my presence-at the altar slain;
Which vainly for protection he embrac'd?
Hast thou forgot that dreadful night, Cephisa,
When a whole people fell? Methinks I see
Pyrrhus, enrag'd and breathing vengeance, enter
Amidst the glare of burning palaces:

When Pyrrhus look'd but kindly on his captive;
How can you bear unmov'd, that he should
wed her,

And seat her on a throne which you should fill?
I fear this dreadful stillness in your soul!
Twere better, madam—

Her. Have you call'd Orestes?

Cle. Madam, I have; his love is too impatient Not to obey with speed the welcome summons. His love-sick heart o'erlooks his unkind usage: His ardour's still the same.-Madam, he's here.

Enter OREStes.

Ores. Ah, madam, is it true? does then Orestes
At length attend you by your own commands?
What can I do?

Her. Orestes, do you love me?
Ores. What means that question, princess?
Do I love you?

I see him hew his passage through my brothers, My oaths, my perjuries, my hopes, my fears,
And, bath'd in blood, lay all my kindred waste. My farewell, my return-all speak my love.
Think, in this scene of horror, what I suffer'd! Her. Avenge my wrongs, and I'll believe
This is the courtship I receiv'd from Pyrrhus;
them all.
And this the husband thou wouldst give me! No,
We both will perish first! I'll ne'er consent.
Ceph. Since you resolve Astyanax shall die,
Haste to the temple, bid your son farewell.
Why do you tremble, madam?

Andro. O Cephisa!

Thou hast awaken'd all the mother in me.
How can I bid farewell to the dear child,
The pledge, the image of my much-lov'd lord!
But, oh! while I deliberate, he dies.
No, no, thou must not die, while I can save thee:
Oh! let me find out Pyrrhus-Oh, Cephisa!
Do you go find him.

Ceph. What must I say to him?
Andro. Tell him I love my son to such

[blocks in formation]


Ores. It shall be done. My soul has caught
th' alarm.

We'll spirit up the Greeks; I'll lead them on:
Your cause shall animate our fleets and armies.
Let us return; let us not lose a moment,
But urge the fate of this devoted land:
Let us depart.

Her. No, prince, let us stay here!
will have vengeance here; I will not carry
This load of infamy to Greece, not trust
The chance of war to vindicate my wrongs.
Ere I depart, I'll make Epirus mourn.
If you avenge me, let it be this instant;
My rage brooks no delay; haste to the temple,
Haste, prince, and sacrifice him.

Ores. Whom?

Her. Why, Pyrrhus.

Ores. Pyrrhus! Did you say Pyrrhus?
Her. You demur.-

Oh, fly! be gone! give me not time to think.
Talk not of laws-he tramples on all laws.
Let me not hear him justified-away!


Ores. You cannot think I'll justify my Madam, your love has made him criminal.


You shall have vengeance; I'll have vengeance Charge him to say, Hermione's resentments,
Not those of Greece, have sentenc'd him to death.
Haste, my Cleone! My revenge is lost,
If Pyrrhus knows not that he dies by me!
Cle. I shall obey your orders.-But I see
The king approach.-Who could expect him

But let our hatred be profess'd and open:
Let us alarm all Greece, denounce a war;
Let us attack him in his strength, and hunt
him down

By conquest. Should I turn base assassin,
Twould sully all the kings I represent.


Her. O fly, Cleone, fly! and bid Orestes Her.Have not I been dishonour'd, set at nought, Not to proceed a step before I see him.

Expos'd to public scorn?-And will you suffer
The tyrant, who dares use me thus, to live?
Know, prince, I hate him more than once I lov'd


[Exit Cleone.


Pyr. Madam, I ought to shun an injur'd


The gods alone can tell how once I lov'd him.
Yes, the false, perjur'd man, I once did love him; Your distant looks reproach me; and I come
And, spite of all his crimes and broken vows, Not to defend, but to avow my guilt.

If he should live, I may relapse-who knows
But I to-morrow may forgive his wrongs?
Ores. First let me tear him piecemeal. He

shall die.

But, madam, give me leisure to contrive
The place, the time, the manner of his death:
Yet I'm a stranger in the court of Pyrrhus;
Scarce have I set my foot within Epirus,
When you enjoin me to destroy the prince.
It shall be done this very night.

Her. But now,

This very hour, he weds Andromache;
The temple shines with pomp, the golden throne
Is now prepar'd, the joyful rites begin;
My shame is public-Oh, be speedy, prince!
My wrath's impatient-Pyrrhus lives too long!
Intent on love, and heedless of his person,
He covers with his guards the Trojan boy.
Now is the time; assemble all your Greeks;
Mine shall assist them; let their fury loose:
Already they regard him as a foe.

Be gone, Orestes! kill the faithless tyrant;
My love shall recompense the glorious deed.
Ores. Consider, madam -

Her. You but mock my rage!

Pyrrhus will ne'er approve his own injustice,
Nor form excuses while his heart condemns him.
Discharge your anger on this perjur'd man!
For I abhor my crime, and should be pleas'd
To hear you speak your wrongs aloud: no terms,
No bitterness of wrath, nor keen reproach,
Will equal half the upbraidings of my heart.

Her. I find, sir, you can be sincere: you scorn
To act your crimes with fear, like other men.
A hero should be bold, above all laws;
Be bravely false, and laugh at solemn ties.
To be perfidious shows a daring mind!
And you have nobly triumph'd o'er a maid!
To court me-to reject me-to return-
Then to forsake me for a Phrygian slave-
To lay proud Troy in ashes; then to raise
The son of Hector, and renounce the Greeks,
Are actions worthy the great soul of Pyrrhus!
Pyr. Madam, go on! Give your resentment


And pour forth all your indignation on me.
Her. 'Twould please your queen, should I
upbraid your falsehood;
Call you perfidious, traitor, all the names
That injur'd virgins lavish on your sex;
I should o'erflow with tears, and die with grief,
And furnish out a tale to sooth her pride;
But, sir, I would not overcharge her joys.
If you would charm Andromache, recount
Your bloody battles, your exploits, your

I was contriving how to make you happy.
Think you to merit by your idle sighs,
And not attest your love by one brave action?
Go, with your boasted constancy! and leave
Hermione to execute her own revenge.
I blush to think how my too easy faith
Has twice been baffled in one shameful hour! Your great achievements in her father's palace.
Ores. Hear me but speak! - You know I'll She needs must love the man, who fought so

die to serve you!


Her. I'll go myself; I'll stab him at the altar; And in her sight slew half her royal kindred! Then drive the poniard, reeking with his blood, Pyr. With horror I look back on my past Through my own heart. In death we shall unite. deeds! Better to die with him, than live with you! Ores. That were to make him blest, and me more wretched.

Madam, he dies by me. Have you a foe,
And shall I let him live? My rival too!
Ere meridian sun declines, he dies;
And you shall say that I deserve your love.
Her. Go, prince; strike home! and leave the

rest to me.

Let all your ships stand ready for our flight.
[Exit Orestes.
Cle. Madam, you'll perish in this bold attempt.
Her. Give me my vengeance, I'm content
to perish.

I was to blame to trust it with another:
In my own hands it had been more secure.
Orestes hates not Pyrrhus as I hate him.
Oh, would Orestes, when he gives the blow,
Tell him he dies my victim!-Haste, Cleone,

I punish'd Helen's wrongs too far; I shed
Too much of blood: but, madam, Helen's

Should not object those ills the mother caus'd.
However, I'm pleas'd to find you hate me;
I was too forward to accuse myself;
The man who ne'er was lov'd, can ne'er be false.
Obedience to a father brought you hither;
And I stood bound by promise to receive you:
But our desires were different ways inclin'd;
And you, I own, were not oblig'd to love me,

Her.Have I not lov'd you then! perfidious man?
For you I slighted all the Grecian princes;
Forsook my father's house; conceal'd my wrongs,
When most provok'd; would not return to

In hopes that time might fix your wavering heart.
I lov'd you when inconstant; and even now,
Inhuman king! that you pronounce my death

[ocr errors]
« 이전계속 »