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Silent convey'd him up the steep ascent,
To where the elder Dionysius form’d,
On the sharp summit of the pointed rock,
Which overhangs the deep, a dungeon drear :
Cell within cell, a labyrinth of horror,
Deep cavern'd in the cliff, where many a wretch,
Unseen by mortal eye, has groan'd in anguish,
And died obscure, unpitied, and unknown.
Mel. Clandestine murderer! Yes, there's the scene
Of horrid massacre. Full oft I've walk'd
When all things lay in sleep and darkness hush'd.
Yes, oft I've walk'd the lonely sullen beach,
And heard the mournful sound of many a corse
Plung'd 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 pray'rl
My timely succour may protract his days;
The guard is yours—
Phil. Forbear; thou plead'st in vain;
And though I feel soft pity throbbing here;
Though each emotion prompts the gen’rous deed,
I must not yield; it were assur’d destruction.
Farewell, despatch a message to the Greeks;
I’ll to my station; now thou know'st the worst.
Mel. Oh, lost Evander! Lost Euphrasia too!
How will her gentle nature bear the shock
Of a dear father, thus, in ling'ring pangs,
A prey to famine, like the veriest wretch
Whom the hard hand of misery hath grip'd'
In vain she'll rave, with impotence of sorrow ;
Perhaps, provoke her fate: Greece arms in vain;
All's lost Evander dies :
Cal. Where is the king?
Qur troops, that sallied to attack the foe,
Retire disordered; to the eastern gate
The Greeks pursue: Timoleon rides in blood!
Arm, arm, and meet their fury!
Mel. To the citadel
Direct thy footsteps; Dionysius there
Marshals a chosen band.
Cal. Do thou call forth
Thy hardy veterans; haste, or all is lost! [Erit.
[Warlike Music. Mel. Now, ye just gods, now look propitious
down; Now give the Grecian sabre tenfold edge, And save a virtuous king? [Warlike Music.
Eup. War on, ye heroes,
Ye great assertors of a monarch's cause !
Let the wild tempest rage. Melanthon, ha!
Didst thou not hear the vast tremendous roar 2
Down tumbling from its base the eastern tow'r,
Burst on the tyrant's ranks, and on the plain
Lies an extended ruin.
Mel. Still new horrors
Increase each hour, and gather round our heads.
Eup. The glorious tumult lifts my tow’ring soul!
Once more, Melanthon, once again, my father
Shall mount Sicilia's throne.
Mel. Alas ! that hour
Would come with joy to ev'ry honest heart, .
Would shed divinest blessings from its wing !
But no such hour in all the round of time,
I fear, the fates averse will e'er lead on.
Eup. And still, Melanthon, still does pale despair
Depress thy spirit? Lo! Timoleon comes
Arm'd with the pow'r of Greece; the brave, the just,
God-like Timoleon l ardent to redress,
He guides the war, and gains upon his prey.
A little interval shall set the victor
Within our gates triumphant.
Mel. Still my fears
Forbode for thee! Would thou hadst left this place,
When hence your husband, the brave Phocion, fled,
Fled with your infant son 1
. Eup. In duty fix’d,
Here I remain'd, while my brave gen’rous Phocion
Fled with my child, and from his mother's arms
Bore my sweet little one. Full well thou know'st
The pangs I suffer'd in that trying moment.
Did I not weep? Did I not rave and shriek,
And by the roots tear my dishevell'd hair?
Did I not follow to the sea-beat shore,
Resolv'd with him, and with my blooming boy,
To trust the winds and waves?
Mel. Deem not, Euphrasia,
I e'er can doubt thy constancy and love.
Eup. Melanthon, how I loved, the gods who saw
Each secret image that my fancy form'd,
The gods can witness how I lov'd my Phocion!
And yet I went not with him. Could I do it?
Could I desert my father? Could I leave
The venerable man, who gave me being,
A victim here in Syracuse, nor stay
To watch his fate, to visit his affliction,
To cheer his prison hours, and with the tear
Offilial virtue bid ev'n bondage smile
Mel. The pious act, whate'er the fates intend,
Shall merit heartfelt praise.
Eup. 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 ev’ry look,
Explore each fond unutterable wish,
Catch his last breath, and close his eyes in peace.
Mel. I would not add to thy afflictions; yet
My heart misgives: Evander's fatal period
Eup. Still is far off; the gods have sent relief, And once again I shall behold him king.
Mel. Alas! those glitt'ring hopes but lend a ray To gild the clouds, that hover o'er your head, Soon to rain sorrow down, and plunge you deeper In black despair.
Eup. The spirit-stirring virtue, That glows within me, ne'er shall know despair. No, I will trust the gods. Desponding man! Hast thou not heard with what resistless ardour Timoleon drives the tumult of the war : Hast thou not heard him thund'ring at our gates? The tyrant's pent up in his last retreat; Anon thoul't see his battlements in dust, His walls, his ramparts, and his tow’rs in ruin; Destruction pouring in on every side, Pride and oppression at their utmost need, And nought to save him in his hopeless hour,
- [A flourish of Trumpets.
Mel. Ha! the fell tyrant comes.—Beguile his rage, And o'er your sorrows cast a dawn of gladness.
Enter D10NYSIUs, CALIPPUs, Officers, &c.
Dio. The vain presumptuous Greek! His hopes of conquest, Like a gay dream, are vanish’d into air, Proudly elate, and flush'd with easy triumph O'er vulgar warriors, to the gates of Syracuse He urg'd the war, till Dionysius' arm Let slaughter loose, and taught his dastard train To seek their safety by inglorious flight! C
Eup. 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. O let me them, in mercy, let me seek The gloomy mansion, where my father dwells; I die content, if in his arms I perish. Dio. Thou lovely trembler, hush thy fears to rest. The Greek recoils; like the impetuous surge That dashes on the rock, there breaks, and foams, And backward rolls into the sea again. All shall be well in Syracuse: a fleet Appears in view, and brings the chosen sons Of Carthage. From the hill that fronts the main, I saw their canvas swelling with the wind, While on the purple wave the western sun Glanc'd the remains of day. Eup. Yet till the fury Of war subside, the wild, the horrid interval In safety let me soothe to dear delight In a lov’d father's presence 1 from his sight, For three long days, with specious feign'd excuse Your guards debarr'd me. Oh while yet he lives, Indulge a daughter's love; worn out with age Soon must he seal his eyes in endless night, And with his converse charm my ear no more, Dio. Why thus anticipate misfortune? Still Evander mocks the injuries of time. Calippus, thou survey the city round; Station the centinels, that no surprise Invade the unguarded works, while drowsy night Weighs down the soldier's eye. Afflicted fair, Thy couch invites thee. When the tumult's o'er, Thou'lt see Evander with redoubled joy. Though now, unequal to the cares of empire, His age sequester him, yet honours high