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Tho'humbly born, have you not captive held
In love's soft chains the conqueror of the world!
Away to libertines and boast thy conquest,
A shameful conquest ! In his hour of riot
Then, only then, Roxana could surprise
My Alexander's heart.
Rox. To some romantic grove's sequester'd gloom
Thy sickly virtue would it seems retire
To shun the triumphs of a favour'd rival:
In vain thou fly'st-for there, even there, I 'll haunt
thee, Plague thee all day, and torture thee all night: There thou shalt hear in what ecstatic joys Roxana revels with the first of men ; And as thou hear'st the rapt'rous scene recited, With frantic jealousy thou 'lt madly curse Thy own weak charms that could not fix the rover.
Stat, How weak is woman! at the storm she shrinks, Dreads the drawil sword and trembles at the thunder; Yet when strong jealousy inflames her soul The sword may glitter and the tempest roar; She scorns the danger and provokes her fate. Rival, I thank thee-thou hast fir'd my soul, And rais'd a storm beyond thy power to lay ; Soon shalt thou tremble at the dire effects, And curse too late the folly that undid thee.
Rox. Sure the disdain'd Statira dares not mean it.
Stat. By all my hopes of happiness I dare: And know, proud woman, what a mother's threats, A sister's sighs, and Alexander's tears,
Could not effect, thy rival rage
has done. My soul, that starts at breach of oaths begun, Shall to thy ruin violated run : I'll see the king in spite of all I swore; Tho' curs'd, that thou may'st never see him more.
Enter ALEXANDER, Herhestion, CLYTUS, &c.
Alex. Oh, my Statira!-thou relentless fair!
Turn thine eyes on me. I would talk to them.
What shall I say to work upon thy souli
What words, what looks, can melt thee to forgiveness?
Stat. Talk of Roxana and the conquer'd Indies,
Thy great adventures and successful love,
And I will listen to the rapt'rous tale ;
But rather shun me, shun a desp'rate wretch
Resign'd to sorrow and eternal woe.
Alex. Oh, I could die, with transport die before
Would'st thou but as I lay convuls’d in death,
Cast a kind look or drop a tender tear:
Say but 't was pity one so fam'd in arms,
One who has 'scap'd a thousand deaths in battle;
For the first fault should fall a wretched victim
To jealous anger and offended love.
Rox. Am I then fallen so low in thy esteem,
That for another thou would'st rather die
Than live for me?-How am I alter'd, tell me,
Since last at Susa with repeated oaths
You swore the conquest of the world afforded
Less joy, less glory, than Roxana's love ?
Alex. Take, take that conquer'd world, dispose of
And canton out the empires of the globe !
But leave me, madam, with repentant tears
And undissembled sorrows to atone
The wrongs I've offer'd to this injur'd excellence.
Rox. Yes, I will go, ungrateful as thou art!
Bane to my life, and murd'rer of ny peace.
I will be gone; this last disdain has cur'd me.
But have a care-I warn you not to trust me ;
Or by the gods, that witness to thy perjuries,
I'll raise a fire that shall consume you both,
Tho' I partake the ruin.
Star. Alexander! -Oh, is it possible!
Immortal gods! can guilt appear so lovely?
Yet, yet I pardon, I forgive thee all.
Alex. Forgive me all! oh catch the heavenly sounds!
Catch them, ye winds 1 and as ye fly disperse
The rapt'rous tidings thro' th’ extended world,
That all may share in Alexander's joy!
Stat. Yes, dear deceiver! I forgive thee all,
But longer dare not hear thy charming tongue,
For while I hear thee my resolves give way ;
Be therefore quick, and take thy last farewell :
Farewell, my love-eternally farewelll
dlex. Oh, my Hephestion; bear me or I sink.
Why, why Statira, will you use me thus?
I know the cause, my working brain divides it;
You say you've pardon'd, but with this reserve,
Never again to bless me with your love.
Stat. Allseeing Heaven support me!
Alex. Speak to me, love; tho' banishment and
Hang on thy lips, yet while thy tongue pronounces
The music will a while suspend my pains,
And mitigate the horrors of despair.
Oh, could I see you thus ?
Stat. His sorrows wound my heart,
Soft pity pleads, and I again must love him;
But I have sworn, and therefore cannot yield.
Alex. Go then, inhuman! triumph in my pains,
Feed on the pangs that rend this wretched heart,
For now 'tis plain you never lov’d. Statira !
Oh, I could sound that charming cruel name
'Till the tir'd echo faint with repetition ;
'Till all the breathless groves and quiet myrtles
Shook with my sighs, as if a tempest bow'd 'em .
My tongue could dwell for ever on that name.
Statiral oh, Statira !
Stat. Such was his looks, so melting was his voice,
Such his soft sighs, and his deluding tears,
When with that pleasidg perjur'd breath avowing
His whispers trembled thro' my credulous ears,
And told the story of my utter ruin.
Gods! if I stay I shall again believe:
Farewell, thou greatest pleasure, greatest pain!
Alex. I charge ye, stay her ;
Oh, turn thee, thou bewitching brightness, turn,
THE RIVAL QUEENS.
да ІІІ. Hear my last words, and see my dying pangs ! Lol at your feet behold a monarch falls, A prince who gave the conqırer'd world to thee, And thought thy love bought cheaply with the gift; Whose glories, laurels, bloom but in thy smiles, Now shrunk and blasted by thy cruel hate, Untimely falls. Yei oh I when thou shalt die May death be mild, as thou art cruel now, And may thy beauties gently sink to earth, While circling angels waft thee to repose !
Sys. Art thou turn'd savage ? is thy heart of marble? But if this posture move thee not to pity I never will speak more.
Alex. Oh, my Statira !
I swear, my queen, l’ll not outlive our parting.
My soul grows still as death. Say, wilt thou pardon?
'Tis all I ask. Wilt thou forgive the transports
Of a deep wounded heart, and all is well ?
Slat. Rise, and may heaven forgive you like Statirat
Alex. You are too gracious—Clytus, bear me
When I am laid i'th'earth yield her the world.
There's something here that heaves as cold as ice,
That stops my breath. Farewell, farewell for ever!
Stat. Hold off, and let me run into his arms.
My life, my love, my lord, my Alexander !
If thy Statira's love can give thee joy
Revive, and be immortal as the gods.
Alex. My flutt'ring heart, tumultuous with its bliss, Would leap into thy bosom: 't is too much.