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Your paramour, as though you were a peasant—
Sar. You talk it well
In the hour
Of man's adversity all things grow daring
Sar. For your safety, which I will have look'd to,
A queen, shall make your dowry worth a kingdom. Myr. I pray you talk not thus.
Sur. The queen is gone: You need not shame to follow. I would fall Alone I seek no partners but in pleasure. Myr. And I no pleasure but in parting not. You shall not force me from you.
Think well of it
It soon may be too late.
Sur. And will not; but I thought you wish'd it.
Sar. You spoke of your abasement.
Myr. And I feel it Deeply - more deeply than all things but love. Sar. Then fly from it. Myr. 'T will not recall the past 'T will not restore my honour, nor my heart. No-here I stand or fall. If that you conquer, I live to joy in your great triumph: should Your lot be different, I'll not weep, but share it. You did not doubt me a few hours ago.
Sar. Your courage never—nor your love till now; And none could make me doubt it save yourself. Those words
Myr. Were words. I pray you, let the proofs Be in the past acts you were pleased to praise This very night, and in my further bearing, Beside, wherever you are borne by fate.
Sar. I am content; and, trusting in my cause,
I thought to have made mine inoffensive rule
I thought to have made my realm a paradise,
Ho, my arms again, my arms! [Exeunt.
The same Hall in the Palace.
MYRRHA and BALEA.
Myr. (at a window). The day at last has broken.
Hath usher'd it! How beautiful in heaven!
How hideous upon earth! where peace and hope,
["A leech's lancet would have done as much."- MS.]
2 [This description of the sun rolling back the vapours is apparently imitated from a magnificent scene in the second book of Wordsworth's Excursion :
"Round them and above, Glitter. with dark recesses interposed, Casement, and cottage-roof, and stems of trees
And dream them through in placid sufferance;
Of pain or pleasure, two names for one feeling,
Would vary in the sound, although the sense
Bal. You muse right calmly: and can you so watch The sunrise which may be our last?
To that which keeps all earth from being as fragile
Bal. As now he reigns in heaven, so once on earth He sway'd.
Myr. He sways it now far more, then; never Had earthly monarch half the power and glory Which centres in a single ray of his.
Bal. Surely he is a god! Myr. So we Greeks deem too; And yet I sometimes think that gorgeous orb Must rather be the abode of gods than one Of the immortal sovereigns. Now he breaks Through all the clouds, and fills my eyes with light That shuts the world out. I can look no more. Bal. Hark! heard you not a sound? Myr. No, 't was mere fancy; They battle it beyond the wall, and not As in late midnight conflict in the very Chambers: the palace has become a fortress Since that insidious hour; and here, within The very centre, girded by vast courts And regal halls of pyramid proportions, Which must be carried one by one before They penetrate to where they then arrived, We are as much shut in even from the sound Of peril as from glory.
But they reach'd
Thus far before.
Myr. That is the prayer of many, and
Bal. It is said the king's demeanour In the late action scarcely more appall'd The rebels than astonish'd his true subjects.
Myr. The wretch was overthrown, but rescued to Triumph, perhaps, o'er one who vanquish'd him In fight, as he had spared him in his peril; And by that heedless pity risk'd a crown.
[slowly. Myr. You are right: some steps approach, but Enter Soldiers, bearing in SALEMENES wounded, with a broken Javelin in his Side: they seat him upon one of the Couches which furnish the Apartment. Myr. Oh, Jove!
Then all is over.
That flutters in the pageant of a monarch.
Sol. By the king's order. When the javelin struck
you, You fell and fainted: 'twas his strict command To bear you to this hall.
Sul. 'T was not ill done : For seeming slain in that cold dizzy trance, The sight might shake our soldiers - but — 't is vain, I feel it ebbing!
Let me see the wound; I am not quite skilless in my native land
'T is part of our instruction. War being constant,
We are nerved to look on such things. I
Hold! no, no, it cannot be. Sal. I am sped, then! Myr. With the blood that fast must follow The extracted weapon, I do fear thy life.
Where was the king
Sal. And I not death.
Whom heard ye
Named next to the command?
I did not hear.
Sal. Fly, then, and tell him, 't was my last request
["We are used to such inflictions."— MS.]
Of thousands, tears of millions, for atonement,
Pan. Proceed, thou hearest. Off. The wall which skirted near the river's brink Is thrown down by the sudden inundation Of the Euphrates, which now rolling, swoln From the enormous mountains where it rises, By the late rains of that tempestuous region, O'erfloods its banks, and hath destroyed the bulwark. Pan. That's a black augury! it has been said For ages, "That the city ne'er should yield To man, until the river grew its foe."
Sar. I can forgive the omen, not the ravage. How much is swept down of the wall?
Some twenty stadii. 1
Sar. And all this is left Pervious to the assailants?
For the present The river's fury must impede the assault; But when he shrinks into his wonted channel, And may be cross'd by the accustom'd barks, The palace is their own.
Report of the true state of this irruption
Sar. No; not despair precisely. When we know All that can come, and how to meet it, our Resolves, if firm, may merit a more noble Word than this is to give it utterance.
But what are words to us? we have well nigh done With them and all things.
Save one deed the last And greatest to all mortals; crowning act Of all that was-or is-or is to be
[Exeunt PANIA and the Officer. Thus the very waves rise up
The only thing common to all mankind,
To which we tend, for which we're born, and thread
Sur. Our clew being well nigh wound out, let's be They who have nothing more to fear may well Indulge a smile at that which once appall'd; As children at discover'd bugbears.
Sar. You have done your duty faithfully, and as My worthy Pania! further ties between us
Draw near a close. I pray you take this key: い Gives a key.
It opens to a secret chamber, placed
Behind the couch in my own chamber. (Now
Press'd by a nobler weight than e'er it bore-
The secret covert to which this will lead you;
I ever disobey'd: but now
So all men Dare beard me now, and Insolence within Apes Treason from without. Question no further; "Tis my command, my last command. Wilt thou Oppose it ? thou!
But yet not yet.
Sar. Well, then, Swear that you will obey when I shall give The signal.
With a heavy but true heart,
Now order here Faggots, pine-nuts, and wither'd leaves, and such Things as catch fire and blaze with one sole spark ; Bring cedar, too, and precious drugs, and spices, And mighty planks, to nourish a tall pile; Bring frankincense and myrrh, too, for it is For a great sacrifice I build the pyre! And heap them round yon throne.
"Tis the first time
And could keep my faith
Without a vow.
What mean you?
Let his head be thrown from our walls within The rebels' lines, his carcass down the river. Away with him!
[PANIA and the Guards seizing him. Pan. I never yet obey'd Your orders with more pleasure than the present. Hence with him, soldiers! do not soil this hall Of royalty with treasonable gore; Put him to rest without.
A single word:
Her. My life waits your breath. Yours (I speak humbly) — but it may be-yours May also be in danger scarce less imminent: Would it then suit the last hours of a line Such as is that of Nimrod, to destroy A peaceful herald, unarm'd, in his office; And violate not only all that man Holds sacred between man and man-but that More holy tie which links us with the gods? [act Sar. He's right. Let him go free. My life's last Shall not be one of wrath. Here, fellow, take [Gives him a golden cup from a table near. This golden goblet, let it hold your wine, And think of me; or melt it into ingots, And think of nothing but their weight and value. Her. I thank you doubly for my life, and this Most gorgeous gift, which renders it more precious. But must I bear no answer?
Yes, -I ask
An hour's truce to consider.
But an hour's?
I shall not forget it,
Her. Sar. At Babylon. At least from thence he will depart to meet me. Her. I shall obey you to the letter. [Exit Herald. Sar. Pania! Now, my good Pania!— quick! with what I order'd. Pan. My lord, the soldiers are already charged. And, see they enter.
[Soldiers enter, and form a Pile about the Throne, &c.
Sar. Higher, my good soldiers, And thicker yet; and see that the foundation Be such as will not speedily exhaust
Its own too subtle flame; nor yet be quench'd