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I see her dying eye let fall a tear
Ant. Mourn not the guilty. . . . . . In favour of Demetrius. Shall I stab
King. No, he's innocent: Her lovely image, stampt on every feature? Death pays his debt to justice, and that done, Dym. His soul escaped it, sir.
I grant him still my son ; as such I love him: King. Thou liest ; begone.
Yes, and will clasp him to my breast, while yet PERSEUS and DYMAS in great confusion- His clay is warm, nor moulders at my touch. PERSEUS whispers DYMAS.
Per. A curse on that embrace! (Aside. Dym. True; that, or nought, will touch him. | Dym. Nay, worse; he weeps.
(Aside to PERSEUS. King. Poor boy, be not deceived by my comIf, sir, your mercy
[To the king.
passion; Per. O speak on of mercy!
My tears are cruel, and I groan thy death. Mercy, the darling attribute of Heaven !
Dem. And am I then to die? If death's deDym. If you should spare him
creed, King. What if I should spare him?
Stab me yourself, nor give me to the knife Dym. I dare not say- Your wrath again Of midnight ruffians, that have forged my crimes. might rise.
For you I beg, for you I pour my tears; King. Yes, if thou’rt silent—What if I should You are deceived, dishonoured; I am only slain. spare him?
Oh, father! Dym. Why, if you would, proud Rome would King. Father ! there's no father here. thank you for it.
Forbear to wound me with that tender name, King. Rome! Her applause more shocks me Nor raise all nature up in arms against me! than his death.
Dem. My father! guardian! friend ! nay, deity! O, thou, Death's orator! Dread advocate What less than gods give being, life, and death? For bowelless severity ! assist
My dying motherMy trembling hand, as thou hast steeled my King. Hold thy peace, I charge thee. heart;
Dem. Pressing your hand, and bathing it with And, if it is guilt in me, share the guilt. :
tears, He's dead. (Signs.] And if I blot it with one tear, Bequeathed your tenderness for her to me; Perseus, though less affected, will forgive me. And low on earth my legacy I claim, Per. Forgive! Sir, I applaud, and wish my sor- Clasping your knees, though banished from your row
breast. Were mild enough to weep.
| King. My knees ! Would that were all ! he [The King, going out, meets DEMETRIUS in
grasps my heart! mourning, introduced by ANTIGONUS. He Perseus, canst thou stand by, and see me ruined? starts back, and drops on DYMAS. Reco
[Reaching his hand to PERSÈUS. Dering, speaks.]
Per, Loose, loose thy hold. It is my father King. This, Fate, is thy tenth wave, and quite
too. o'erwhelms me:
King. Yes, Macedon, and thine, and I'll preIt less had shocked me, had I met his ghost.
serve thee. This is a plot to sentence me to death.
Dem. Who once before preserved it from the What hast thou done, my mortal foe! thrown
(TO ANTIGONUS. And who, at Thrasymene, turned the lifted bolt Athwart my glory? But thy scheme shall fail. From Philip's hoary brow? As rushing torrents sweep the obstructed mound, | King. I'll hear no more. So Philip meets this mountain in his way, O Perseus! Dymas ! Pericles ! assist me, Yet keeps his purpose still.
Unbind me, disenchant me, break this charm PERSEUS and PERICLES whisper aside. Of nature, that accomplice with my foes; Peri. I can't but fear it.
Rend me, O rend me, from the friend of Rome ! Per. I grant the danger great, yet don't de Per. Nay, then, howe'er reluctant, aid I must. spair.
The friend of Rome! That severs you for ever, Jove is against thee, Perseus on thy side.
Though most incorporate and strongly knit, Ant. The prince, dread sir, low on his bended As lightning rends the knotted oak asunder. knee
Dem. In spite of lightning I renew the tie; King. This way, Antigonus. Dost mark his | And stubborn is the grasp of dying men.
| Who's he that shall divide me from myself? Grace in his aspect, grandeur in his mien! . (DEMETRIUS is forced from the king's knees, Ant. I do.
on which, starting up, he flings his arms King. 'Tis false; take a king's word. He's round his father.] dead.
Still of a piece with him, from whom I grew, That darling of my soul would stab me sleeping. I'll bleed on my asylum, dart my soul How dar st thou start ? Art thou the traitor's In this embrace, and thus my treason crown. father?
King. Who love yourselves, or Macedon, or If thou art pale, what is enough for me?
me, How his grave yawns! Oh, that it were my own! From the cursed eagle's talons wrench my crown,
And this barbed arrow from my breast.- 'Tis | At horrid parricide, and hagrant treason, done,
[Forced asunder. Though through a bosom dearer than his own. And the blood gushes after it. "I faint ! Think'st thou my tender heart can hate a broDym. Support the king !
ther? Per. While treason licks the dust.
The gods and Perseus war with nought but guilt. [Pointing at DEMETRIUS, fallen in the struggle. But I must go. What, sir, your last commands Dym. A field well fought.
To your Erixene? She chides my stay. (Erit. Per. And justice has prevailed.
Dem. Without that token of a brother's love King. O, that the traitor could conceal the He could not part; my death was not enough. son !
I came for mercy, and I find it here; Farewell, once best beloved ! still more deplo And death is mercy, since my love is lost. red!
Alas! my father too! my heart aches for him. He, he, who dooms thee, bleeds upon thy tomb. And Perseus—fain would I forgive even thee:
[Exit. But Philip's sufferings cry too loud against it. Dem. Prostrate on thee, my mother earth, be Blind author, and sure mourner of my death! thou
Father most dear !-What pangs hast thou to Kinder than brother, or than father; open,
come? And save me in thy bosom from my friends; Like that poor wretch is thy unhappy doom, Friends, sworn to wash their hands in guiltless Who, while in sleep his fevered fancy glows, tears,
Draws his keen sword, and sheaths it in his foes; And quench infernal thirst in kindred blood; But, waking, starts upright, in wild surprise, As if relation severed human hearts,
To feel warm blood glide round him as he lies; Or that destruction were the child of love! To see his reeking hands in crimson dyed, Per. Farewell, young traitor: if they ask be And a pale corse extended by his side : low,
He views with horror what mad dreams have Who sent thee beardless down, say, honest Per
And sinks, heart-broken, on a murdered son. Whom reason sways, not instinct; who can strike |
| Cloud and torment my reason. SCENE I.
Ant, Sir, recall,
And re-examine those you sent to Rome:
You took their evidence in haste and anger.
me. (Ereunt King and ANTIGONUS. To strangers, who has murdered his own son, King. 'Tis false.
Enter ERIXENE and Delia, meeting.
Del. Madam, the prince, who fled from If he refused not yesterday thy crown,
threatened death, Though life and love both bribed him to comply. | Attempting his escape to foreign realms, King. See there!
[Gives the letter. Was lately taken at the city gates, Post. 'Tis not the consul's hand or seal. So strongly guarded by his father's powers; King. You're his accomplices.
And now, confined, expects his final doom. Post. We're his avengers.
Erix. Imprisoned, and to die! And let him 'Tis war. King. Eternal war.
Bid Dymas' daughter weep. I half forgot Post. Next time we meet
His perjured insolence; I'll go and glut King. Is in the capitol. Haste, fly my king My vengeance, Oh, how just a traitor's death!
And blacker still, a traitor to my love. Post. No longer thine.
(Exeunt ERIXENE and DELIA. King, Yes, and proud Rome a province. (Ereunt PosTHUMIUS, &c.
Scene draws, and shews DEMETRIUS in prison. They brave, they make, they tyrannize o'er kings. Dem. Thou subterranean sepulchre of peace ! The name of king the prostrate world adored, Thou home of horror! hideous nest of crimes ! Ere Romulus had called his thieves together. Guilt's first sad stage in her dark road to hell ! But let me pause-Not Quintius' hand or seal? | Ye thick-barred sunless passages for air, Doubt and impatience, like thick smoke and fire, To keep alive the wretch that longs to die!
Ye low-browed arches, through whose sullen
Enter ANTIGONUS, with Attendants
Ant. How distant virtue dwells from mortal From pompous courts, from shouting victories, Carousing festivals, harmonious bowers,
Was't not that each man calls for others' virtue, And the soft chains of heart-dissolving love. Her very name on earth would be forgot, Oh, how unlike to these! Heart-breaking load And leave the tongue, as it has left the heart ! Of shame eternal, ne'er to be knocked off! Was ever such a laboured plan of guilt ? Oh welcome death !--no, never but by thee! Take the king's mandate, to the prison fly, Nor has a foe done this. A friend ! a father! - Throw wide the gates, and let Demetrius know Oh, that I could have died without their guilt! The full detail ! Enter ERIXENE, DEMETRIUS gazing at her.
Enter ERIXENE So looked in chaos the first beam of light: The princess! ha! begone ! [To the Attendants. How drives the strong enchantment of her eye While I stir up an equal transport here. Al horror hence !-How die the thoughts of Princess, I see your griefs, and judge the cause; death!
But I bring news might raise you from your Erix. I knew not my own heart. I cannot
grave, bear it.
Or call you down from Heaven to hear with joy! Shame chides me back ; for, to insult his woes Just gods! the virtuous will at last prevail. Is too severe; and to condole, too kind. [Going. On motives, here too tedious to relate,
Dem. Thus I arrest you in the name of mercy, I begged the king to re-examine those, And dare compel your stay. Is then one look, Who came from Rome. The king approved my One word, one moment, a last moment too,
counsel. When I stand tottering on the brink of death, Surprised, and conscious, in their charge they A cruel ignominious death, too much
faultered, For one, that loves like me? A length of years And threatened tortures soon discovered all : You may devote to my blest rival's arms; That Perseus bribed them to their perjuries; I ask but one short moment. O permit,
That Quintius' letter was a forgery; Permit the dying to lay claim to thee !
That prince Demetrius' intercourse with Rome To thee, thou dear equivalent for life,
Was innocent of treason to the state. Cruel, relentless, marble-hearted maid!
Erir. Oh, my swoln heart! What will the Erir. Demetrius, you persist to do me wrong;
gods do with me? For, know, though I behold thee as thou art, Ant. And to confirm this most surprising news, Doubly a traitor, to the state and me,
Dymas, who, striving to suppress a tumult, Thy sorrow, thy distress, have touched my bo The rumour of Demetrius' flight had raised, som:
Was wounded sore, with his last breath confessed, I owe it is a fault-I pity thee.
The prince refused his daughter; which affront
Inflamed the statesman to his prince's ruin.
(Swoons. Of My lord, your time is short, and death Ant. Quite o'ercome with joy, waits for you.
Transported out of life. The gods restore her! Eris. Death I forgive thee from my inmost | Erir. Ah! why recall me? This is a new kind soul.
Of murder, most severe, that dooms to life! Dem. Forgive me? Oh! thou need'st not to Ant. Fair princess, you confound me! forgive,
Erix, Am 'I fair?" If imposition had not struck thee blind.
Am I a princess? Love and empire mine? Truth lies in ambush yet, but will start up, Gay, gorgeous visions dancing in my sight! And seize thy trembling soul, when mine is fled. | No, here I stand a naked, shipwrecked wretch, O, I've a thousand, thousand things to say ! Cold, trembling, pale, spent, helpless, hopeless, Erir. And I am come a secret to disclose,
maid; That might awake thee, wert thou dead already! | Cast on a shore as cruel as the waves, Off. My lord, your final moment is expired. O’erhung with rugged rocks, too steep to climb; Dem. and Erir. One, one short moment more! The mountain billows loud, come foaming in Dem. No; death lets fall
Tremendous, and confound, ere they devour! The curtain, and divides our love for ever!
Ant. Madam, the king absolves you from your (DEMETRIUS is forced out.
vow. Erir. Oh, I've a darker dungeon in my soul, Erir. For me it matters not; but, oh! the Nor want an executioner to kill me.
princeWhat revolutions in the human heart
When he had shot the gulph of his despair, Will pity cause! What borrid deeds revenge! Emerging into all the light of Heaven;'
Erit. His heart high-beating with well-grounded hope;
| Then to make shipwreck of his happiness,
Like a poor wretch that has escaped the storm, | I tremble on the brink ; yet must plunge in!
And trembles at the perils of a bliss.
To hope, how bold ! how daring to be fond, Ant. What dreadful secret's this ?-But I'll When, what our fondness grasps, is not immortal! obey,
I will presume on thy known; steady virtue, Invoke the gods, and leave the rest to fate. And treat thee like a man; I will, Demetrius,
(Erit. | Nor longer in my bosom hide a brand, · Erix. How terribly triumphant comes the That burns unseen, and drinks my vital blood.
Dem. What mystery? He comes, like flowers ambrosial, early born, Erir. The blackest! To meet the blast, and perish in the storm!
Dem. How every terror doubles in the dark !
Why muffled up in silence stands my fate?
This horrid spectre let me see at once,
Dem. It calls for me then; love has niade me Or a bright goddess, through the shades of night,
more. Dropt from the stars to these blest arms again? Erix. Oh, fortify thy soul with more than How exquisite is pleasure after pain!
love Why throbs my heart so turbulently strong, To hear, what, heard, thou'lt curse the tongue Pained at thy presence, through redundant joy,
that tells thee! Like a poor miser, beggared by his store?
Dem. Curse whom? Curse thee! · Erir. Demetrius, joy and sorrow dwell too' Erir. Yes, from thy inmost soul. near.
Why dost thou lift thy eyes and hands to heaven? Dem. Talk not of sorrow, lest the gods resent, The powers, most conscious of this deed, reside As underprized, so loud a call to joy.
In darkness, howl below in raging fires, I live, I love, am loved, I have her here!
Where pangs, like mine, corrode them. Thence Rapture in present, and, in prospect, more!
arise, No rival, no destroyer, no despair!
Black gods of execration and despair! For jealousies, for partings, groans, and death, | Through 'dreadful earthquakes cleave your upA train of joys, the gods alone can name!
ward way, When Heaven descends in blessings so profuse, While nature shakes, and vapours blot the sun; So sudden, so surpassing hope's extreme,
Then, through these horrors, in loud groans, proLike the sun bursting from the midnight gloom, 'Tis impious to be niggards in delight;
That I am Joy becomes duty; Heaven calls for some ex Dem. What?-I'll have it, though it blast me! cess,
Erix. Thus, then, in thunder- I am Perseus' And transport flames as incense to the skies.
wife! Erir. Transport how dreadful !
[DEMETRIUS staggers--And falls after a · Dem. Turns Erixene?
pauseCan she not bear the sunshine of our fate?
Dem. In thunder!-No; that had not struck Meridian happiness is poured around us;
so deep! The laughing loves descend in swarms upon us; What tempest e'er discharged so fierce a fire? And where we tread is an eternal spring! Calm and deliberate anguish feeds upon me; By heaven, I almost pity guilty Perseus
Each thought sent out for help brings in new For such a loss.
woe! Erir. That stabs me through and through! Where shall I turn? Where fly? To whom but Dem. What stabs thee?--Speak ! Have I then
[Kneeling. lost thy love?
Tremendous Jove! whom mortals will not know Erix. To my confusion, be it spoke-'tis thine. From blessing, but compel to be severe !
Dem. To thy confusion! Is it then a crime? I feel thy vengeance, and adore thy power; You heard how dying Dymas cleared my fame. I see my failings, and absolve thy rage. Erix. I heard, and trembled! heard, and ran But, oh! I must perceive the load that's on me; distracted!
I can't but tremble underneath the stroke. Dem. Astonishment !
Aid me to bear!--But since it can't be borne, Erir. I've nothing else to give thee.
Oh, let thy mercy burst in flames upon me! [He steps back in astonishment; she in Thy triple bolt is healing balm to this;
agony; and both are silent for some | This pain unfelt, unfancied by the wretch,
The groaning wretch, that on the wheel expires! He is struck dumb;-nor can I speak-yet Erir. Why did I tell thee? must I.
Dem. Why commit a deed,
Too shocking to be told ? What fumes of belli Dem. How say'st? Is Perseus here? Flew to thy brain? What fiend the crime in- Fly, fly! away! 'tis death! 'tis incest! spired!
[Starting wide, and looking round him. Erir. Perseus, last night, as soon as thou wast Dar'st thou to touch Demetrius? Dar’st thou.
touch him, At that dead hour, when good men are at rest, Ev’n with thine eye? When every crime and horror is abroad,
[As he is going, she lays hold of his robe. Graves yawn, fiends yell, wolves howl, and ravens Erir. I dare-and more, dare seize, scream;
And fix him here; no doubt, to thy surprise : Than ravens, wolves, or fiends, more fatal far, I'm blemished, not abandoned; honour still To me he came, and threw him at my feet, Is sacred in my sight. Thou call'st it incest : And wept, and swore unless I gave consent 'Tis innocence, 'tis virtue; if there's virtue To call a priest that moment, all was ruined; In fixed, inviolable strength of love. That the next day Demetrius and his powers For know, the moment the dark deed was done, Might conquer, he lose me, and I my crown, | The moment madness made me Perseus' wife, Conferred by Philip but on Perseus' wife. I seized this friend, and lodged him in my bosom, I started, trembled, fainted: he invades
(Shewing a dagger. My half-recovered strength, bribed priests con
Firmly resolved I never would be more: spire,
And now I fling me at thy feet, imploring All urge my vow, all seize my ravished hand, Thy steadier hand to guide him to my heart. Invoke the gods, run o'er the hasty rite, Who wed in vengeance, wed not but to die. While each ill omen of the sky flew o'er us, Dem. Has Perseus, then, an hymeneal claim? And furies howled our nuptial song below. And no divorce, but death ?-And death from me, Canst thou forgive?
Who should defend thee from the world in arms! Dem. By all the flames of love,
O thou still excellent! still most beloved! And torments of despair, I never can!
Erix. Life is the foe, that parts us; death, a The furies toss their torches from thy hand,
friend, And all their adders hiss around thy head ! All knots dissolving, joins us ; and for ever. I'll see thy face no more.
(Going Why so disordered? wherefore shakes thy frame? Erir. Thy rage is just.
Look on me; do I tremble ? am I pale? Yet stay and hear me!
When I let loose a sigh, I'll pardon thine. [She kneels, and holds him. Take my example, and be bravely wretched, Dem. I have heard too much.
True grandeur rises from surmounted ills ; '. Erir. Till thou hast heard the whole, 0 do The wretched only can be truly great. not curse me!
If not in kindness, yet, in vengeance, strike! . Dem. Where can I find a curse to reach thy 'Tis not Erixene, 'tis Perseus' wife. crime?
Thou’lt not resign me? Erir. Mercy!
(Weeping. Dem. Not to Jove. Dem. (Aside.) Her tears, like drops of molten Erir. Then strike! lead,
Dem. How can I strike? With torment burn their passage to my heart!
(Gazing on her with astonishment. And yet such violation of her vows
Stab at the face of Heaven? Erix. Mercy!
How can I strike? Yet how can I forbear? Dem. Perseus!
[Stamping. I feel a thousand deaths debating one. Erir. Stamp till the centre shakes,
A deity stands guard on every charm,
He's now in arms, and may be here this hour, And, oh! Demetrius his eternal hate!
Nothing so cruel as too soft a soul; Dem. Eternal !. Yes, eternal and eternal; This is strange tenderness, that breaks my heart; As deep and everlasting as my pain!
Strange tenderness, that dooms to double deathErir. Some god descend, and sooth his soul | To Perseus. to peace!
Dem. True-but how to shun that horror! Dem. Talk'st thou of peace ? what peace hast By wounding thee, whom savage pards would
thou bestowed? A brain distracted, and a broken heart.
My heart's inhabitant, my soul's ambition ! Talk'st thou of peace ? Hark, hark, thy husband By wounding thee, and bathing in thy blood, calls,
That blood illustrious, through a radiant race His father's rebel! Brother's murderer! Of kings and heroes, rolling down from gods ! Nature's abhorrence, and thy lawful lord ! Erix. Heroes, and kings, and gods themselves, Fly, my kind patroness, and in his bosom
must yield Consult my peace.
To dire necessity. . Erir. I never shall be there.
Dem. Since that absolves me, My lord! my life!
Stand firm and fair !