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What folly, or what rage, your duty blinds,
Dam. Mercy, bright spirit! I already feel
Amar. If e'er again thou on this place art found,
Dam. O pardon, pardon this accursed deed,
But thou, sweet saint, henceforth disturb no more
[To S. CATH. With dreams not thine, thy thoughts to heaven re
store. (The Angel ascends, and the scene shuts. Nig. Some holy being does invade this place, And from their duty does my spirits chase. I dare no longer near it make abode : No charms prevail against the Christians' God.
Plac. How doubtfully these spectres fate foretell! In double sense, and twilight truth they dwell : Like fawning courtiers for success they wait, And then come smiling, and declare for fate. Enter Maximin and PORPHYRIUS, attended by
VALERIUS and guards. But see, the tyrant and my rival come : I, like the fiends, will flatter in his doom : None but a fool distasteful truth will tell, So it be new and please, 'tis full as well. [Plac. whispers with the Emperor, who seems pleased. Max. You charm me with your news, which I'll
reward ; By hopes we are for coming joys prepared : Possess her love, or from that love be free Heaven speaks me fair : If she as kind can prove, I shall possess, but never quit my love. Go, tell me when she wakes.
[Exit Plac. [PORPHYRIUS seems to beg something of him. Porphyrius, no; She has refused, and I will keep my vow.
Por. For your own sake your cruel vow defer; The time's unsafe, your enemies are near, And to displease your men when they should fight
Mar. My looks alone my enemies will fright; And o'er my men I'll set my careful spies, To watch rebellion in their very eyes.
No more, I cannot bear the least reply.
[To VAL. But my commands your presence does prevent, This is the hour, wherein the priest shall join Your holy loves, and make Porphyrius mine.
Val. Now hold, my heart ! and Venus I implore, Be judge if she he loves deserves him more. [Aside. Por. Past hope! and all in vain I would
preserve My life, not for myself, but her I serve. Aside. Val. I come, great sir, your justice to demand.
[To the Emperor. Mar. You cannot doubt it from a father's hand.
Por. Sir, I confess, before her suit be known; And by myself condemned, my crime I own. I have refused.
Val. Peace, peace, while I confess I have refused thee for unworthiness.
Por. I am amazed.
Mar. What riddles do you use?
Val. Yes, I dare own, howe'er 'twas wisely done
it fit. Val. I had not then enough considered it.
Mar. And you have now considered it too much: Secrets of empire are not safe to touch,
Por. Let not your mighty anger rise too high; "Tis not Valeria merits it, but I: My own unworthiness so well I knew, That from her love I consciously withdrew.
Val. Thus rather than endure the little shame To be refused, you blast a virgin's name. You to refuse, and I to be denied ! Learn more discretion, or be taught less pride.
Por. O heaven, in what a labyrinth am I led !
I'll punish both, if either disobey.
Val. Since all the fault was mine, I am content, Porphyrius should not share the punishment.
Por. Blind that I was till now, that could not
”Twas all the effect of generosity! She loves me, even to suffer for my sake; And on herself would my refusal take. [Aside.
Mar. Children to serve their parents intrest live; Take heed what doom against yourself you give.
Por. Since she must sufler, if I do not speak, 'Tis time the laws of decency to break. She told me, sir, that she your choice approved, And (though I blush to own it) said she loved ; Loved me desertless, who, with shame, confest Another flame had seized upon my breast; Which when, too late, the generous princess knew, And feared your justice would my crime pursue, l'pon herself she makes the tempest fall
, And my refusal her contempt would call..
Val. He raves, sir, and, to cover my disdain, Unhandsomely would his denial feign;
And, all means failing him, at last would try
usurp the credit of a scorn, and die.
Max. You both obnoxious to my justice are ;
Max. I'll not hear you speak, her crime is plain;
bound. Max. I'll find that power o'er wills, which hea
ven ne'er found. Free-will's a cheat in any one but me; In all but kings, 'tis willing slavery; An unseen fate which forces the desire; The will of puppets danced upon a wire. A monarch is The spirit of the world in 'every mind; He may match wolves to lambs, and make it kind. Mine is the business of your little fates ; And though you war, like petty wrangling states, You're in my hand; and, when I bid you cease, You shall be crushed together into peace. Val. Thus by the world my courage will be prized;
(Aside. Seeming to scorn, who am, alas, despised : Dying for love's, fulfilling honour's laws; A secret martyr, while I own no cause. [Exit VAL. Max. Porphyrius, stay; there's something I would
hear : You said you loved, and you must tell me where.