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Amph. Yet they who mean To gratify these passions must conceal them. This day decides my fate. So let it be, Such brief conclusion have I ever loved.— Assist me, Hermes, god of stratagems, With artful words, to sooth the mind of Agis, And turn him ftom the track my purpose holds!

Enter Agis and Agesistrata.

Ages. Alas ! my son ! that bold bad man I dread! Agis. He seems to wait us.—At this hour, Am

phares, I think that thou of all men shouldst have shunn'd

me.

Amph. My motive in attending here your presence Merits a less injurious salutation.

Agis. I know thy merits, and I will reward

them.—

Art thou not author of the woes of Sparta,
Prime mover and inflamer of sedition?
Hast thou not bent the power of thy high office
To the subversion of the state thou servest?
At thee this day my indignation burns
I am dishonour'd

Amph. What has dishonour'd thee?

Agis. Thou and thy practices: They have com

pell'd me

To leave the noblest station of a prince.
In time of war where should a king be found
But at his army's head? There Agis stood,
When you and your presumptuous Ephori
Required my presence here. Ungrateful Spartans!
Had you allow'd me but one other day,
Then had I fought this battle for my country,
And died or conquer'd with her bravest sons.

Ages. Peril, my son ! dwells not in camps alone:
In cities, palaces, and courts of justice,
With treachery and treason she inhabits.
Peril attended thus thou must encounter,
More hideous sure than in the ranks of war.

Amph. I know my actions have incensed the

king;

But I imagined not that such suspicions
Found entertainment in your royal breast.

Agis. Hast thou not join'd the enemies of Agis? Thou who wast once his friend, inconstant man!

Amph. I have opposed the counsel of a foe, Whose arts deprived me of my prince's favour.

Agis. Thou hast opposed Lycurgus and the laws, Which raised the name of Sparta to the skies. The Delphic God inspired the deep design: For more than human was that power of thought Which join'd the public to the private good, With such perfection, that each selfish passion Flow'd in the channel of the common welfare, And, like one family of sons and sires, And dearest brothers, a great people lived: In peace they lived, without or strife or scorn; In war they fought to conquer, or to die. Equal and free, our happy fathers knew No interest but the interest of the state; No gain but Sparta's glory; proud they bore That palm aloft, and shared the high respect, The admiration, which consenting Greece Paid to th' imperial virtue of their country.

Amph. Revolving time that system overthrew, And changed the manners and the laws of Sparta.

Agis. The laws have been neglected, not annulTd, And corrupt rulers have corrupted manners. Authority will soon revive the laws, And great example yet restore the manners, In spite of those who have oppress'd their country,

*

Deprived the people of their ancient rights,
And, while the nation sunk beneath their sway,
Still strove for power in a declining kingdom,
Still sought for wealth in an impoverish'd land.
Even at this hour rapacious they persist,
And, like some wretches in a stranded vessel,
Plunder and riot in the midst of ruin.

Amph. Moved by the present perils of the state,
This signal hour I chose, unknown as yet
The fortune of the field, to change my conduct,
And make an offer of my aid to Agis.

Agis. If I should judge the future by the past, Thou mtist forgive me, though I doubt thy faith.

Ages. Yet hear him, Agis: in an hour like this, He who assistance offers is a friend.

Agis. This hour may yet deceive their country's

foes.

I know the base foundation of that hope
Which makes my baffled enemies presume.
Lysander's army in its ranks contains
The best and bravest of Laconia's sons;
The faction wish and hope defeat to them,
That Sparta's generous youth may ne'er return
To guard that freedom which has made them brave.

Amph. The boldness of their hopes their deeds

will prove In the assembly, if Achaia conquer.

Ages. Amphares, say, what is their utmost aim?

Amph. The old dependants of the exiled king, And all the venal members of the state, Won by Sandane's arts and foreign gold, Aim to restore Leonidas, who comes With hostile armies to enslave his country: Therefore Sandane's proffers I rejected, Have warn'd the king, and would have served him

too:

But since resentment and distrust prevent me, Neutral I stand, and will not seek that welcome Which his more artful enemies would give.

Agis. Thou speak'st more boldly than becomes

Amphares.

Add that to the offences I forgive.
It is the sacred maxim of my reign,
That in a prince's consecrated breast
Revenge and anger should not long remain.
These passions in a king afflict the state,
By driving rash offenders to despair.
This day decides your character with me.
Now let your actions prove your words sincere.

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