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Blest be the powers who barr'd my way to Greece, And kept me here! e'er since the unhappy day When warring winds (Epirus full in view) Sunder'd our barks on the loud, stormy main.

Orest. It was, indeed, a morning full of horror!

Pyl. A thousand boding cares have rack'd my soul In your

behalf. Often, with tears, I mourn'd The fatal ills, in which your life's involvid; And grudg'd you dangers which I could not share. I fear'd to what extremities the black despair That prey'd upon your mind, might have betray'd

you,
And lest the gods, in pity to your woes,
Should hear your pray’rs, and take the life you loath'd.
But now with joy I see you ! -The retinue,
And numerous followers that surround you here,
Speak better fortunes, and a mind dispos’d
To relish life.

Orest. Alas! my friend, who knows
The destiny to which I stand reserv'd!
I come in search of an inhuman fair ;
And live or die, as she decrees my fate.

Pyl. You much surprise me, prince I thought

you cur'd

Of your unpity'd, unsuccessful passion.
Why, in Epirus, should you hope to find
Hermione less cruel, than at Sparta ?
I thought her pride, and the disdainful manner
In which she treated all your constant suff'rings,
Had broke your fetters, and assur'd your freedom :

Asham'd of your repulse, and slighted vows,
You hated her; you talk'd of her no more :
Prince, you deceiv'd me.

Orest. I deceiv'd myself.
Do not upbraid the unhappy man, that loves thee.
Thou know'st I never hid my passion from thee;
Thou saw'st it in its birth and in its

progress; And when at last the hoary king, her father, Great Menelaus, gave away his daughter, His lovely daughter, to the happy Pyrrhus, Th’avenger of his wrongs, thou saw'st my grief, My torture, my despair; “ and how I dragg’d, “ From sea to sea, a heavy chain of woes." O Pylades! my heart has bled within me, To see thee, prest with sorrows not thy own, Still wand'ring with me like a banish'd man! Watchful, and anxious for thy wretched friend, To temper the wild transports of my mind, And save me from myself.

Pyl. Why thus unkind ? Why will you envy me the pleasing task Of generous love, and sympathizing friendship?

Orest. Thou miracle of truth but hear me on, When in the midst of my disastrous fate, I thought how the divine Hermione, Deaf to my vows, regardless of my plaints, Gave up herself, in all her charms, to Pyrrhus; Thou may'st remember, I abhorr'd her name, Strove to forget her and repay

her scorn. I made my friends, and even myself, believe

My soul was freed.

Alas! I did not see, That all the malice of my heart was love. Triumphing thus, and yet a captive still, In Greece I landed : and in Greece I found The assembled princes all alarm’d with fears, In which their common safety seem'd concern'd. I join'd them: for I hop'd that war and glory Might fill my mind, and take up all my thoughts: And, that my shatter'd soul, impair'd with grief, Once more would reassume its wonted vigour, And ev'ry idle passion quit my breast.

Pyl. The thought was worthy Agamemnon's son.

Orest. But see the strange perverseness of my stars, Which throws me on the rock I strove to shun ! The jealous chiefs, and all the states of Greece, With one united voice complain of Pyrrhus ; That now forgetful of the promise giv’n, And mindless of his godlike father's fate, Astyanax, he nurses in his court; Astyanax, the young, surviving hope Of ruin’d Troy; Astyanax, descended From a long race of kings; great Hector's son.

Pyl. A name still dreadful in the ears of Greece! But, prince, you'll cease to wonder why the child Lives thus protected in the court of Pyrrhus, When

you shall hear, the bright Andromache, His lovely captive, charms him from his purpose: The mother's beauty guards the helpless son. Orest. Your tale confirms what I have heard ; and

hence

Spring all my hopes. Since my proud rival wooes
Another partner to his throne and bed,
Hermione may still be mine. Her father,
The injur'd Menelaus, thinks already
His daughter slighted, and th’intended nuptials
Too long delay'd. I heard his loud complaints
With secret pleasure; and was glad to find
Th’ungrateful maid neglected in her turn,
And all my wrongs aveng'd in her disgrace.
Pyl. Oh, may you keep your just resentments

warm! Orest. Resentments! Oh, my friend, too soon I

found
They grew not out of hatred I I'm betray'd:
I practice on myself; and fondly plot
My own undoing. Goaded on by love,
I canvass'd all the suffrages of Greece :
And here I come their sworn ambassador,
To speak their jealousies, and claim this boy.

Pyl. Pyrrhus will treat your embassy with scorn,
Full of Achilles, his redoubted sire,
Pyrrhus is proud, impetuous, headstrong, fierce ;
Made up of passions: Will he then be sway'd,
And give to death the son of her he loves?

Orest. Oh, would he render up Hermione,
And keep Astyanax, I should be blest!
He must; he shall. Hermione is my life,
My soul, my rapture lI'll no longer curb
The strong desire that hurries me to madness :
I'll give a loose to love ; I'll bear her hence ;

I'll tear her from his arms; I'll—O, ye gods!
Give me Hermione, or let me die'!--
But tell me, Pylades ; how stand my hopes ?
Is Pyrrhus still enamour'd with her charms ?
Or dost thou think he'll yield me up the prize,
The dear, dear prize, which he has ravish'd from me?

Pyl. I dare not flatter your fond hopes so far;
The king, indeed, cold to the Spartan Princess,
Turns all his passion to Andromache,
Hector's afflicted widow. But in vain,
With interwoven love and rage, he sues
The charming captive, obstinately cruel.
Oft he alarms her for her child confin'd
Apart; and when her tears begin to flow,
As soon he stops them, and recalls his threats.
Hermione a thousand times has seen
His ill-requited vows return to her ;
And takes his indignation all for love.
What can be gather'd from a man so various ?
He may, in the disorder of his soul,
Wed her he hates; and punish her he loves.

Orest. But tell me how the wrong'd Hermione Brooks her slow nuptials, and dishonour'd charms?

Pyl. Hermione would fain be thought to scorn
Her wavering lover, and disdain his falshood;
But, spite of all her pride and conscious beauty,
She mourns in secret her neglected charms;
And oft has made me privy to her tears :
Still threatens to be gone; yet still she stays;
And sometimes sighs, and wishes for Orestes.

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