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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
Orest. Alas! my friend, who knows
Pyl. You much surprise me, prince I thought
Of your unpity'd, unsuccessful passion.
Asham'd of your repulse, and slighted vows,
Orest. I deceiv'd myself.
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
Spring all my hopes. Since my proud rival wooes
warm! Orest. Resentments! Oh, my friend, too soon I
Pyl. Pyrrhus will treat your embassy with scorn,
Orest. Oh, would he render up Hermione,
I'll tear her from his arms; I'll—O, ye gods!
Pyl. I dare not flatter your fond hopes so far;
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