ePub 版

Sal. Nay-then all, is lost again,

Sard. That is too much, If that this moment is not gain'd.

And beyond nature -- 'tis nor mutual, Zarina. My brain turns

Nor possible. You cannot pity her, My eyes fail – where is he? [She faints. Nor she aught but

Sard. (advancing) No-set her down- Myrrha. Despise the favorite slave ? She's dead -- and you have slain her. Not more than I have ever scorn'd myself. Sal. Tis the inere

Sard. Scorn'd! what, to be the envy of Faintness of o'er-wrought passion: in the air

your sex, She will recover. Pray, keep back.-[Aside.] And lord it o'er the heart of the world's lord? I must

Myrrha. Were you the lord of twice ten Avail myself of this sole moment to

thousand worldsBear her to where her children are embark’d, As you are like to lose the one you sway'd l' the royal galley on the river.

I did abase myself as much in being [Salemenes bears her off. Your paramour, as though you were a Sard. (solus) This, too

peasant-And this too must I suffer-I, who never Nay, more, if that the peasant were a Greek. Inflicted purposely on human hearts

Šard. You talk it wellA voluntary pang! But that is false

Myrrha. And truly. She loved me, and I loved her. Fatal Sard. In the hour passion!

Of man's adversity all things grow daring Why dost thou not expire at once in hearts Against the falling; but as I am not Which thou hast lighted up at once? Zarina! Quite fallen, nor now disposed to bear I must pay dearly for the desolation

.reproaches, Now brought upon thee. Had I never loved Perhaps because I merit them too often, But thee, I should have been an unopposed Let us then part while peace is still beMonarch of honouring nations. To what

tween us. gulfs

Myrrha Part ! A single deviation from the track

Sard. Have not all past human beings Of human duties leads even those who claim

parted, The homage of mankind as their born duc, And must not all the present one day part? And find it, till they forfeit it themselves ! Myrrha. Why?

Sard. For your safety, which I will Enter MYRRHA.

have look'd to, Sard. You here! Who call'd you ? With a strong escort to your native land; Myrrha. No one - but I heard

And such gifts, as, if you have not been all Far off a voice of wail and lamentation, A queen, shall make your dowry worth a And thought

kingdom. Sard. It forms no portion of your duties Myrrha. I pray you talk not thus. To enter here till sought for.

Sard. The queen is gone: Myrrha. Though I might,

You need not shame to follow. I would fall Perhaps, recal some softer words of yours Alone- I seek no partners but in pleasure. (Although they too were chiding), which Myrrha. And I no pleasure but in partreproved me,

ing not. Because I ever dreaded to intrude; You shall not force me from you. Resisting my own wish and your injunction Sard. Think well of itTo heed no time nor presence, but approach It soon may be too late. you

Myrrha. So let it be; Uncall'd for: I retire.

For then you cannot separate me from you. Sard. Yet, stay--being here.

Sard. Ind will not; but I thought you I pray you pardon me: events have sour'd me wish'd it. Till I wax peevish-heed it not: I shall Myrrha. !! Soon be myself again.

Sard. You spoke of your abasement, Myrrha. I wait with patience,

Myrrha. And I feel it What I shall see with pleasure.

Deeply - more deeply than all things but Sard. Scarce a moment

love. Before your entrance in this hall, Zarina, Sard. Then fly from it. Queen of Assyria, departed hence.

Myrrha. Twill not recal the past. Myrrha. Åh!

'Twill not restore my honour, nor my heart: Sard. Wherefore do you start ?

No - here I stand or fall. If that you conquer, Myrrha. Did I do so ?

I live to joy in your great triumph ; should Sard. 'Twas well you enter'd by another Your lot be different, I'll not weep, but portal,

share it. Else you had met. That pang at least is You did not doubt me a few hours ago. spared her!

Sard. Your courage never

nor your Myrrha. I know to feel for her.

love till now;


And none could make me doubt it save! Sard. Would I felt no more yourself.

Than she has said. Those words

Sal. Tis now too late to feel ! Myrrha. Were words. I pray you, let Your feelings cannot cancel a sole pang; the proofs

To change them, my advices bring sure Be in the past acts you were pleased to praise tidings This very night, and in my further bearing, That the rebellious Medes and Chaldees, Beside, wherever you are borne by fate.

marshallid Sard. I am content; and, trusting in By their two leaders, are already up my cause,

In arms again; and, serrying their ranks, Think we may yet be victors, and return Prepare to attack: they have apparently To peace - the only victory I covet. Been join'd by other satraps. To me war is no glory-conquest no Sard. What! more rebels ? Renown. To be forced thus to uphold Let us be first, then. my right,

Sal. That were hardly prudent Sits heavier on my heart than all the wrongs Now, though it was our first intention. If These men would bow me down with. By noon to-morrow we are join'd by those Never, never

I've sent for by sure messengers, we shall be Can I forget this night, even should I live in strength enough to venture an attack, To add it to the memory of others. Ay,and pursuit too; but till then, my voice I thought to have made mine inoffensive rule Is to await the onset. An era of sweet peace 'midst bloody annals, Sard. I detest A green spot amidst desert centuries, That waiting; though it seems so safe to On which the future would turn back and fight smile,

Behind high walls, and hurl down foes into And cultivate, or sigh when it could not Deep fosses, or behold them sprawl on Recal Sardanapalus' golden reign.

spikes I thought to have made my realm a paradise, Strew'd to receive them, still I like it notAnd every moon an epoch of new pleasures. My soul seems lukewarm ; but when I set I took the rabble's shouts for love_the breath

on them, of friends for truth-the lips of woman for | Though they were piled on mountains, I My only guerdon- so they are, my Myrrha:

would have

[He kisses her. A pluck at them, or perish in hot blood! Kiss me.

Now let them take my realm Let me then charge! and life!

Sal. You talk like a young soldier. They shall have both, but never thee! Sard. I am no soldier,bnt a man : speak not Myrrha. No, never !

Of soldiership, I loathe the word, and those Man may despoil his brother man of all Who pride themselves upon it; but direct me That's great or glittering: kingdoms fall- Where I may pour upon them. hosts yield

Sal. You must spare Friends fail-slaves fly-and all betray- To expose your life too hastily; 'tis not and, more

Like mine or any other subject's breath: Than all, the most indebted - but a heart | The whole war turns upon it-with it; this That loves without self-love! Tis here- Alone creates it,kindles,and may quench it now prove it.

Prolong it-end it.

Sard. Then let us end both!

'Twere better thus, perhaps, than prolong Sal. I sought you.- How! she here again? either; Sard. Return not

I'm sick of one, perchance of both. Now to reproof: methinks your aspect speaks

[A trumpet sounds without. Of higher matter than a woman's presence.

Sal. Hark! Sal. The only woman whom it much

Sard. Let us
imports me

Reply, not listen.
At such a moment now is safe in absence- Sal. And your wound?
The queen's embark’d.

Sard. 'Tis bound
Sard. And well? say that much. 'Tis heal'd- I had forgotten it. Away!
Sal. Yes.

A leech's lancet would have scratch'd me Hertransient weakness has past o'er; at least,

deeper; It settled into tearless silence: her The slave that gave it might be well Pale face and glittering eye, after a glance

ashamed Upon her sleeping children, were still fix'd To have strack so weakly. Upon the palace-towers as the swift galley Sal. Now, may none this hour Stole down the hurrying stream beneath Strike with a better aim ! the starlight;

Sard. Ay, if we conquer ; But she said nothing.

But if not, they will only leave to ine

A task they might have spared their king. Those eyes, which never may bebold it more, Upon them!

For having looked upon it oft, too oft, [Trumpet sounds again. Without the reverence and the rapture due Sal. I am with you.

To that which keeps all earth from being Sard. Ho, my arms ! again, my arms! as fragile

(Ereunt. As I am in this form. Come, look upon it,

The Chaldee's god, which, when I gaze npon,


grow almost a convert to your Baal.
Balea. As now he reigns in heaven, 80

once on earth SCENE I.- The same Hall of the Palace.

He sway'd.

Myrrha. He sways it now far more,

then; never Myrrha (at a window). The day at Had earthly monarch half the peace and last has broken. What a night

glory Hath usher'd it! How beautiful in heaven! Which centres in a single ray of his. Though varied with a transitory storm, Balea. Surely he is a god! More beautiful in that variety!

Myrrha. So we Greeks deem too; How hideous upon earth! where peace and And yet I sometimes think that gorgeous orb hope,

Must rather be the abode of gods than one And love and revel, in an hour were of the immortal sovereigns. Now he breaks trampled

Through all the clouds, and fills my eyes By human passions to a human chaos,

with light Not yet resolved to separate elements.

That shuts the world out. I can look no more. "Tis warring still! And can the sun so rise, Balea. Hark! heard you not a sound ? So bright, so rolling back the clouds into Myrrha. No, 'twas mere fancy; Vapours more lovely than the unclouded sky, They battle it beyond the wall, and not With golden pinnacles, and snowy moun- As in late midnight-confict in the very tains,

Chambers: the palace has become a fortress And billows purpler than the ocean's,making Since that insidious hour; and here within In heaven a glorious mockery of the earth, The very centre, girded by vast courts So like, we almost deem it permanent, And regal halls of pyramid proportions, So fleeting, we can scarcely call it aught Which must be carried one by one before Beyond a vision, 'tis so transiently They penetrate to where they then arrived, Scatter'd along the eternal vault: and yet we are as much shut in even from the sound It dwells upon the soul, and soothes the soul, Of peril as from glory. And blends itself into the soul, until Balea. But they reach'd Sunrise and sunset form the haunted epoch Thus far before. of sorrow and of love; which they who Myrrha. Yes, by surprise, and were mark not,

Beat back by valour; now at once we have Know not the realms where those twin-genii Courage and vigilance to guard us. (Who chasten and who purify our hearts, Balea. May they So that we would not change their sweet Prosper ! rebukes

Myrrha. That is the prayer of many, and For all the boisterous joys that ever shook The dread of more: it is an anxious hour; The air with clamour) build the palaces I strive to keep it from my thoughts. Alas! Where their fond votaries repose and How vainly! breathe

Balca. It is said the king's demeanour Briefly ;-but in that brief cool calm inhale In the late action scarcely more appallid Enough of heaven to enable them to bear | The rebels than astonish'd his true subjects. The rest of common, heavy, human hours, Myrrha. 'Tis easy to astonish or appal And dream them through in placid suffer- The vulgar mass which moulds a horde ance;

of slaves : Though seemingly employed like all the But he did bravely. rest

Balea. Slew he not Beleses ? Or toiling breathers in allotted tasks I heard the soldiers say he struck him down. Of pain or pleasure, two names for one feeling, Myrrha. The wretch was overthrown, Which our internal, restless agony

but rescued to Would vary in the sound, although the sense Triumph, perhaps, o'er one who vanquish'd Escapes our highest efforts to be happy.

him Balea. You muse right calmly; and can In fight, as he had spared him in his peril, you so watch

And by that heedless pity risk'd a crown. The sunrise which may be our last ? Balea. Hark! Myrrha. It is

Myrrha. You are right; some steps Therefore that I so watch it, and reproach approach, but slowly.



[ocr errors]

Enter Soldiers, bearing in SALEMENES wound- Sal. Gentle Myrrha, 'tis

ed, with a broken Javelin in his Side; The end I would have chosen, had I saved they scat him upon one of the Couches The monarch or the monarchy by this, which furnish the Apartment.

As 'tis, I have not outlived them. Myrrha. Oh, Jove!

Myrrha. You wax paler. i Balca. Then all is over.

Sai. Your hand; this broken weapon Sal. That is false.

but prolongs Hew down the slave who says so, if a soldier. My pangs, without sustaining life enongh Myrrha. Spare him-he's none: a inere To make me useful: I would draw it forth court-butterfly,

And my life with it, could I but hear hov That flutters in the pageant of a monarch. The fight goes. Sal. Let him live on, then.

Enter SARDANAPALUS and Soldiers. Myrrha. So wilt thou, I trust. Sal. I fain would live this hour out, Sard. My best brother! and the event,

Sal. And the battle But doubt it. Wherefore did ye bear me here? Is lost? Soldier. By the king's order. When the Sard. (despondingly) You see me herc. javelin struck you,

Sal. I'd rather see you thus ! You fell and fainted; 'twas his strict

[He draws out the weapon from the command

wound, and, dies. To bear you to this hall.

Sard. And thus I will be seen ; unless Sal. Twas not ill done:

the succour, For, seeming slain in that cold dizzy trance, The last frail reed of our beleaguer'd hopes, The sight might shake our soldiers - but -- Arrive with Ofratanes. 'tis vain.

Myrrha. Did you not I feel it ebbing!

Receive a token from your dying brother, Myrrha. Let me see the wound; Appointing Zames chief ? I am not quite skilless : in my native land Sard. I did. 'Tis part of our instruction. War being Myrrha. Where's Zames ? constant,

Sard. Dead.
We are nerved to look on such things. Myrrha. And Altada?
Soldier. Best extract

Sard. Dying.
The javelin.

Myrrha. Pania? Sfero? Myrrha Hold! no, no, it cannot be. Sard. Pania yet lives; but Sfero's fied, Sal. I am sped, then!

or captive. Myrrha. With the blood that fast must I am alone. follow

Myrrha. And is all lost ? The extracted weapon, I do fear thy life. Sard. Our walls, Sal. And I not death. Where was the Though thinly mann'd, may still hold out king when you

against Convey'd me from the spot where I was Their present force,or aught save treachery: stricken?

But i' the field Soldier. Upon the same ground, and Myrrha. I thought 'twas the intent encouraging

Of Salemenes not to risk a sally With voice and gesture the dispirited troops | "Till ye were strengthen’d by the expected Who had seen you fall, and falter'd back. Sal. Whom heard ye

Sard. I over-ruled him. Named next to the command ?

Myrrha. Well, the fault's a brave one. Soldier. I did not hear.

Sard. But fatal. Oh, my brother! I would Sal. Fly, then, and tell him, 'twas my give last reqnest

These realms, of which thou wert the ornaThat Zames take my post until the junction,

ment, So hoped-for, yet delay'd, of Ofratanes, The sword and shield, the sole-redeeming Satrap of Susa. Leave me here: our troops honour, Arenotso numerous as to spare your absence. To call back--But I will not weep for thee; Soldier. But, prince

Thou shalt be monrn'd for as thou wouldst Sal. Hence, I say! Here's a courtier and

be mourn'd. A woman, the best chamber-company. It grieves me most that thou couldst quit As you would not permit me to expire

this life Upon the field, I'll have no idle soldiers Believing that I could survive what thou About my sick-couch. Hence! and do my Hast died for-hour long royalty of race.

bidding! [Excunt the Soldiers. If I redeem it, I will give thee blood Myrrha. Gallant and glorious spirit! Of thousands tears of millions, for atonement must the varth

(The tears of all the good are thine already), So soon resign thee?

If not, we meet again soon, if the spirit

succoli rs.


Within us lives beyond:—thou readest mine, Pania. That's a black augury! It has And dost me justice now. Let me once clasp

been said That yet warm hand, and fold that throb- For ages, “That the city ne'er should yield

less heart (Embraces the body. To man, until the river grew its foe. To this which beats so bitterly. Now, bear Sard. I can forgive the omen, not the The body hence.

ravage. Soldier. Where?

How much is swept down of the wall? Sard. To my proper chamber.

Officer. About
Place it beneath my canopy, as though Some twenty stadii.
The king lay there: when this is done, we will Sard. And all this is left
Speak further of the rites due to such ashes. Pervious to the assailants ?

[Freunt Soldiers with the body of Officer. For the present

The river's fury must impede the assanlt;

But when he shrinks into his wonted channel, Enter Pania.

And may be cross’d by the accustom d Sard. Well, Pania ! have you placed the barks, guards, and issued

The palace is their own. The orders fix'd on?

Sard. That shall be never, Pania. Sire, I have obey'd,

Though men, and gods, and elements, and Sard. And do the soldiers keep their

omens, hearts up?

Have risen up 'gainst one who ne'er proPania. Sire ?

voked them, Sard. I'm answer'd! When a king asks My fathers' house shall never be a cave twice, and has

For wolves to horde and howl in. A question as an answer to his question, Pania. With your sanction It is a portent. What, they are dishearten’d? I will proceed to the spot, and take such Pania. The death of Salemenes, and the shonts

For the assurance of the vacant space Of the exulting rebels on his fall, As time and means permit. Have made them

Sard. About it straight, Sard. Rage-Bot droop-it should have and bring mc back, as speedily as full been.

And fair investigation may perinit, We'll find the means to rouse them. Report of the true state of this irruption Pania. Such a loss

Of waters. Might sadden even a victory.

[Ercunt Pania and the Officer. . Alas!

Myrrha. Thus the very waves rise up Though coop'd within these walls, they are Sard. They are not my subjects, girl, strong, and we

And may be pardon'd, since they can't be Have those without will break their way punish'd through hosts,

Myrrha. I joy to see this portent shakes To make their sovereign's dwelling what it was,

Sard. I am past the fear of portents : A pulace; not a prison nor a fortress.

they can tell me

Nothing I have not told myself since midEnter an Officer, hastily.

night: Sard. Thy face seems ominous. Speak! Despair anticipates such things. Officer, I dare not.

Myrrha. Despair ! Sard. Dare not?

Sard. No; not despair precisely. When While millions dare revolt with sword in

we know hand!

All that can come, and how to meet it, our That's strange. I pray thee break that Resolves, if firm, may merit a more noble loyal silence

Word than this is to give it utterance. Which loathes to shock its sovereign ; we But what are words to us ? we have well can hear

nigh done Worse than thou hast to tell.

With them and all things. Pania. Proceed, thou hearest.

Myrrha. Save one deed—the last Officer. The wall which skirted near And greatest to all mortals; crowning-act the river's brink

Of all that was-or in-or is to bom Is thrown down by the sudden inundation The only thing common to all mankind, of the Euphrates, which now rolling, swoln So different in their births, tongues, sexes, From the enormous mountains where it rises,

natures, By the late rains of that tempestuous region, Hues, features, climes, times, feelinge, O'ersloods its banks, and hath destroy'd the intellects, bulwark.

Without one point of union save in this,

wlardan so feel it as I feel ? but yet, Against you.

you not.

« 上一頁繼續 »