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Discord may light her ever-burning torch : | Your sound allegiance. ..
Should pierce my heart to drive the rebel out. When ruffled with an unexpected woe,
Your strict command with pleasure I obey ; To speak what settled prudence would conceal : For at the sight of Salome, my breast As the vexed ocean, working in a storm,
Shivers with chilling horror, and revolves Oft brings to light the wrecks, which long lay The destiny which a Chaldæan seer
Of late foretold. The pious sage had pass'd In the dark bosom of the secret deep.
Full sixty winters in a private cell: From such reproach, his promised joy may change His locks were silvered o'er with reverend white; To coldness and distrust, perhaps to hate; And on his cheeks appeared the pale effect . And their high souls, that now, like friendly stars, Of studious abstinence: his custom was . Mingling their beams, in mutual ardour shine, In his small hermitage to outwatch the moon, In fiercest opposition then will thwart
To marshal in his schemes the host of heaven; Each other's influence, and divide the court: And from their ruling influence at the birth, : , Then, mischief, to thy work!
Formed his predictions. As the princess pass'd, Sal. In me you'll find
I asked him if his foresight could discern A sure assistant. Shall Pheroras join?
The colour of her fate: he answered, black ! Soh. I'd fly him at the quarry, but I fear 'Tis black chequered with blood! deep in her He'd check, if other game should cross the flight :
breast He scorns dissimulation, nor perceives
I see the dagger, doomed by heaven's decree That nature never meant simplicity
To cut her half-spun thread.
Urged you to hear a vain diviner tell
His waking dreams? Perhaps you went to know Sal. Let himn enjoy
What happy star presided o'er the love,
If so, I'll be your oracle; forbear
To enquire the doubtful omens of the sky, To bless the world with a long progeny
And fix your faith on this unerring truth: Of future heroes; and renew the strain . If your ill-judging choice mislead your heart, Of valour, which the softness of your sex
To meet his passion with an equal flame, Unspirited at first ! So great a soul
Henceforth forever banished from my sight, Deserves, and sure is destined to a throne ! In exile you shall end an odious life; But hark !
Attended only in that friendless state Sal. The queen's approaching : she repairs By black remorse, which step by step pursues To sacrifice.
The ungrateful and the false. Soh. 'Tis best we both retire. [Ereunt. Arsi. I long have felt
The afflicting hard of heaven, without the guilt SCENE IV.
Of murmur or complaint: but to be thought
False and ungrateful, is too much to bear.
Chase that suspicion from your royal mind; Mar. The princess and her friend were un
Nor cast my blameless innocence a prey prepared
To those who envy your distinguished grace, To pay the decencies the day requirez:
With which I've long been honoured. The most unpractis'd in the courtier's art,
Mar. To receive And they who hate us most, might sure vouchsafe Private addresses from my deadliest foe; A smooth unmeaning compliment at least. A wretch, whose dark infernal arts have wrought But night-born treason is too tender-ey'd, The ruin of my race, but ill repays To bear the blaze of dazzling majesty,
My condescending favour, which vouchsafed And seeks the guilty shade.
To lose the style of subject and of queen, Arsi. They're both deprived
In friendship's softer hame. Or your propitious smile; so dire a loss
drsi. While thus I kneel, Would cloud the most serene.
Imploring heaven to attest my spotless faith, Mar. That sullen gloom
May I be fixed a dreadful monument Proceeds not from a conscience of their crimes Of perjured guilt, if e'er my bosom gave Which sues by penitence for royal grace; Reception to his suit. Were he possessed But argues high contempt; their brows display Of all the sun surveys, and formed to please A banner of defiance, and avow
With every grace that captivates the soul; Their trait'rous combination : but I'll quell And your command, concurrent with his love, The towering crest of their presumptuous hate, Should urge me to comply; that hard command, Or perish in the attempt. Henceforth forbear And that alone I dare to disobey All commerce with the princess, and her train, | No, my dear Roman! nothing can desace For fear the infection of example taint
Thy image from thy virgin-widow's breast ;
The inviolable band of strong desire
Of Antony engaged my father's sword;
Thither I fled, and was received with grace
The sad remembrance of my murdered lord, Arsi. When Antory and Cæsar found the globe I begged to be dismissed. You then received Too narrow, to suffice the boundless views The fugitive, whom fortune's rage hath made Of two such mighty spirits, my virgin-vow Wretched indeed, but hath not power to make Was plighted to a brave patrician youth,
False or ungrateful.
Mur. Poor Arsinoe!
of past afflictions. On a soul secure Was doom'd to slaughter; whilst with nuptial | In native innocence, or grief or joy joy
Should make no deeper prints than air retains ; His palace rung, crowded with friends who came Where fleet alike the vulture and the dove, To attend the bride's arrival, through the gates And leave no trace. Blind fortune, that bestows A troop of cut-throats rushing in, surpris'd The perishable toys of wealth and power, And dragged him to his fate!
At random oft resumes them, pleased to make Mar. In that distress
A hurricane of life : but, the firm mind What could you do, and whither did you fly? Safe on exalted virtue reigns sedate,
Arsi. At Alexandria then the fatal cause Superior to the giddy whirls of fate. (Ereunt.
Would soon interpret love; but softly sighed, SCENE I.
And slipt it in his bosom. Strait her cheeks
Glowed with an angry blush, which faded soon, Enter NARBAL and FLAMINIUS.
And left them lily pale. Breathless and faint Nar. The queen will see you, sir; a just regard | She then reclined her head, and from his breast To Cæsar's friendship is so sacred here,
Snatch'd what she fear'd might lie too near his That though on this high jubilee the court
heart: Suspends all state affairs, the queen vouchsafes With amorous reluctance while he strove To admit your message to her royal ear.
To gain the ravish'd prize, she let it fall Fla. Th' ambassadors of Rome never demand (More by design than chance) into the Nile : Admission more than once : your king defers He springing up to catch it, half-o'er-set His entry till the queen shall execute
The gilded barge ; and with a sterner brow, What Cæsar's will requires.
And haughtier tone, than e'er she knew before, Nar. That cause alone
He cried, your river is too well repaid, Would urge our prompt compliance; for the For all the wealth you owed. king
[A messenger enters to NAR. Makes love the impatient register of time:
Mess. Pheroras, sir,
Enter SOHEMUS and the High-Priest, Nar. What! the friend
Soh. But the human mind, Of Antony?
When 'tis divorced from matter, cannot pierce Fla. His qualities disgrace
The distant cloud of dark futurity. The name of friend; but in his softer hours You sleep not sound, my lord! Old age deHe liked him for his elegance of taste In luxury and love. I heard him tell,
With melancholy damps, oft dwindles down How once when Antony in amorous pomp To second infancy, and then renews With Cleopatra sailed along the Nile,
Its cradle dreams; which superstitious fear To grieve the proud Egyptian, he produced Makes sacred with the venerable names A miniature of Mariamne's face.
Of vision, or of prophecy; devis'd Nar. And what said Antony ?
To cheat the vulgar, and too oft employed Fla. With vast surprise
To cover disaffection to the state. He viewed each lineament, but yet forbore
High-Pr. I have, my lord, no craving appetites To praise or blame it, which he knew the queen | To glut with gain or titles; I've attained
The highest name my order can receive.
SALOME enters to SOHEMUS.
Sal. How now, my lord ! To be my herald; yet a modest man,
What means this pale confusion in your face? To oppose the darts of calumny, may wear What makes your hair stand bristling, and your His innocence in sight; a safer shield
eyes Than adamant, or gold!
With gloomy horror glare ? Soh. Your innocence!
Soh. We cheat the world Did you not talk of omens, which forebode With florid outside, till we meet surprise ; The impending wrath of heaven to blast the day Then conscience, working inward like a mole, Which reinstates our monarch on his throne? Crumbles the surface, and reveals the dirt
High-Pr. I did, my lord, and will affirm I saw From which our actions spring. Laugh when you've heard me out.
Sal. My lord, recall Sok. Well, pray proceed!
Your wandering reason. High-Pr. I walk'd this morning in my palmy Soh. 'Tis in vain to boast grove,
That reason o'er the passions holds the rein, Where oft to contemplation I devote
When, quite unmann'd with such a tale
I met th' high-priest, hath he unfolded aught My spirits ran as brisk careers of life,
That strikes with this amazement?
Soh. He reports
By lineal right the crown which Herod wears;
I plung'd him 'till the stiffing elemen: Sok. Aristobulus
Had quench'd the lamp of life. and charg'd the High-Pr. The same, I knew him well,
crime. Sok. Ha ! What? ---What more ?
On faultless destiny.--What makes you smile? Why, he was drowned, you know C ould I Sal. To see a dotard's fiction, or his dream, prevent
A legend, such as nurseries amuse What heaven fore-doom'd ? My good lord, did A froward child with, have as strong effect he say
As plain authentic truth! I've heard you prove, That I was accessary? Why to me
By clearest reason, that when death resolvez This message from the unapparent shades? To its first principles the human frame, Speak- speak- i'll hear it.
That subtle vapour then, the boasted soul, High-Pr. In his hand he wav'd
Mingles with common air. An airy streamer, like a sable shroud,
Sok. 'Tis not the faith And thus went on: If dire designs prevail,
Of such fantastic forms that quells me thus ; Before yon east displays another dawn,
Sudden remorse for murder'd innocence
Sal. But revenge
Reviving warmth and spirit will infuse, Cut off by bloody hands! with her will end And make the drooping branches flourish fair, The glories of our Asmonaan line !
Renew'd in second spring. Here Sameas comes, Tell what I say to Sohemus alone,
Whom art and nature exquisitely form Bid him desist.
For glorious mischief; him we must secure.
SALOME, SOHEMUS, and SAMEAS,
Sal, Sameas, I'm pleas’d your merits are prea They argue perturbation in the brain,
Sam. If to her grace I ow'd this vital air, High-Pr. Whate'er they prove,
| I'd choak myself with generous disdain, . I feel my bosom lighter. (Exit High-Pr. Rather than breathe it: from Pheroras' suit Soh. Thou hast laid
I date my fortunes, and to him devote A galling weight on mine,
Life, conscience, honour.
Soh. Gratitude is rare !
In points of nicest moment, have recourse The dearest pledge to firm his royal faith.
cludes But such a pure, resign'd, implicit zeal,
A mother's interest in the babe she bore ! Excites my wonder, and transcends my praise. Kings to their country owe their dearest care
Sam. Pheroras said, my lord, he'd recommend | In council or in arms; let that suffice: To you my poor affairs.
The choicest blessings of indulgent heav'n, Soh. Doubt not my care;
Their children, are reserv'd a private right, Read, hear thy lot. [Pulls out his tablets. To soften and support their public toils. Sam. Make Sameas chamberlain
But, send the prince to Rome! which still ferHow can I e'er discharge so vast a debt
ments Of gratitude!
With fierce intestine factions, ever known Soh. How? Should affairs require
To sheath, but not to lay the sword aside, Thy hand, it would not shrink to cut a throat ? I cannot bear it!- Now, the ball of power,
Sum. I've such a strong antipathy to blood Which has been bandy'd long from side to side, I ne'er could sacrifice: but my revenge
Is grasp'd by Cæsar: soon, superior force . Works a more secret, and a safer way.
May wrest it from his hand : who'll then adhere No poisonous herbs, which various climes produce, To Cæsar's cause? Will Herod ?- He, bę No venom of the mine, nor reptile, 'scapes
sure, My curious observation : I extract
Would plan new measures to preserve the crown; Their several essences, and know their pow'rs And his desertion, doubtless, would provoke And times of operatior..
Cæsar to punish, in extreme revenge, Soh. To what use?
Th' offending father in the guiltless son. Had I a dog to be dispatch'd .
Nar. The blood of Julius is aton'd; and Rome, Sam. My art
Like a tir'd lioness, which long has stood Delights in nobler quarry.
The hunter's spear, lies quiet in her den Soh. Is it staunch ?
To heal her wounds: Cæsar himself aspires, Sam. Point out the game, my lord, you'll find With all his conquests, only to be styl'd I dare
His country's father; and the senate bears Do more, than most dare think.
The same pacific temper. But, suppose Soh. Then swear
Another Brutus rouse another war, Şal. Defer
And Tyber shine again with civil arms : T'impart your orders till the king's arriv'd; Though Herod then should draw the sword, and And ineet before the banquet.
turn Sum. What your will
The point on Cæsar; yet the sacred laws Enjoins, my duty binds me to perform.
Of empires would preserve the prince's life Soh. Proud queen! the last decisive hour Inviolably safe. draws on,
Mar. But, were revenge Destin'd to crown our hope, and end our care: Employ'd (as sure it would) to expound those Aided by this brave friend, whose soul is steel'd
laws; With dauntless resolution, though the ghosts | Then, wliat bold casuist would appear, to oppose Of all her race rise grinning from the tomb, The sense of Cæsar's legions? Wrong and right And in their cause auxiliar furies join,
In this bad age are measur'd by success : Intrepid we'll pursue our bold career,
| The blackest crime from fortune's golden light Pitch the sure toils, and rouse the fated deer. Receives a beauteous gloss-Bat grant him safe,
(Exeunt. As in the circle of his mother's arms :
Rome may pervert his infant age to kneel
Before her idol-shrines, and from our law
Apostatize to worship fabled gods :
| And though I hold bis life and safety dear, Mar. His offspring mortgag'd to redeem his Far dearer than my own, I'd see him cast crown!-
Amidst her amphitheatre a prey, The wild Arabians, who delight in blood,
Mangl’d, and quiv'ring in the famish'd jaws
His body at her heathen altars bow':,
Nar. Leave th' event
If you contest the terms, to which his crown Nar. In the sons of kings
And honour stand engag'd, the vain attempt The country claims a right; and to preserve Might only serve to lessen that excess The quiet, and the glory of your realm,
Of dear affection, which he bears you now. " The king complies with Cæsar, and will send | Then Sohemus, our prime state engineer
Might see his arts succeed beyond his hope, Have I been fond of fortune's faithless smile, To achieve your fall, and make this beauteous Cruel, disdainful, to deserve this doom? pile
Did e'er I suffer pride to bar my ear A beap of mighty ruins !
Against the widow's cry? Did e'er I view Mar. Could you feel
The weeping orphan's anguish, and withhold The strong emotions of a mother's woe,
The hand of liberal mercy from their woes? When ravish'd from her lov'd one, who hath Or did I, with uncharitable scorn,
Ever upbraid the childless womb; or wish Most in her sight, and ever in her soul;
The wrathful blast of heav'n to attaint the fruit Not all the wounds which fortune is impower'd Of my most deadly foe?- Whence then to me To inflict, nor instant death, would move your | This undeserv'd distress? Why must I bear mind
So deep a wound in such a tender part? Amid his dangers to regard your own.
More wretched than the meanest of my sex, Ev'n life, that dear ennobling gift of heav'n, Who call me queen ! they lose the cares of life, Which, in the order of creation, ranks
Amid the blessings of a dear increase; The palest glowworm's animated ray
A bliss deny'd to me! Above the brightest star, with me will lose
Nar. When foreign foes Its boasted value, when I lose my child :
Are quell'd by Cæsar, and the provinces With him I truly liv'd; his presence crown'd Avow their homage to the laws of Rome, The day with pleasure, and the night with peace. And with consummate peace his arms are crown'd, Then, breath consum'd in sighs will not deserve The prince will be restor'd; and in exchange The name of life! These roofs shall only sound Some of our noblest youth will be receiv'd With moanful accents, sad as murm'ring winds, For hostages of friendship, Which through the clefts of ruin'd cloisters roar. | Mar. That exchange Such music best will please the mother's ear, | Will come too late to bless my longing eyes : If, in a distant land, her tender son
They'll first be clos'd in death! a thousand ills Must weep the rigour of a foreign lord,
Rise in black view to my divining soul ! With no kind friend to pity or revenge
(ARSINOE enters with the prince. The wrong he there sustains !
And must I lose thee !-Oh ! thou sweetest Nar. I'll wait the prince,
pledge To guard his helpless age, and share his fate : Of heaven's indulgence to a mother's pray'r ! And for a pledge of constant faith, receive Must the sole comfort of my cares become i (Though much unequal, yet of dearest price The cause of endless grief? alas ! no more To him who gives it !) for a pledge receive Must I with tender transport clasp thee thus ! Those precious legacies which that bright saint, No more must these desiring eyes be fix'd My dying wife, bequeath'd me!- If the prince in silent joy, with gazing on thy charms ! Shall feel th' effects of violence or fraud ; Arsinoe, oh! support me--I've a son Ife'er I cease with duteous care to shield
To think on only, and to pay a tear From guilt his manners, from reproach his fame; | For every wounding thought! 0 Narbal ! Or fail to banish from his pensive breast
now Each anxious thought, and cherish gentle joys; Obey the king, by whom the dearer names Slay both my sons !
Of husband and of father are forgot! Mar. Then go, Arsinoe, go
Obey the king, let the rųde hand of pow'r Hither conduct the prince.
[Erit AR. Tear from my breast the blossom of my joys
Yet, let me bless him- All thy wants of me SCENE VI.
May pitying angels with their aid supply!
Waft all thy pray’rs to heav'n! which heaven anMARIAMNĘ and NARBAL.
prove, Mar. Oh happiness!
And crown with blessings of eternal love ! Thou gaudy bubble, which delud'st the grasp,
[Excunt, Whene'er we strive to keep thee most secure,
The secret anguish of her wounded soul,
So moving were the plaints, they would have
sooth'd Enter FLAMINIUS and NARBAL.
The stooping falcon to suspend his flight, Fla. Unhappy queen! 'till now I never griev'd And spare his morning prey : thus nature soon To obey my emperor.
Exhausted, spiritless, had need of art Nar. Awhile she stood
To respite, or assuage her troubled thoughts : Transform'd by grief to marble, and appear'd Then her physicians with the opiate charm Herown pale monument: but, when she breath'd | Of gentle sleep, lier fainting senses bound,