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Poly. The weak fond scruples of your love might
Was not the empire of the world concern'd;
But, madam, think when time shall teach his tongue,
How will the glorious infant which you bear
Arraign his partial mother for refusing
To fix him on the throne which here we offer ?
Cas. If Alexander lives you cannot reign,
Nor will your child : old Sysigambis plans
Your sure destruction; boldly then prevent her:
Give but the word and Alexander dies.
Poly. Not he alone, the Persian race shall bleed :
At your command one universal ruin
Shall like a deluge whelm the eastern world,
'Till gloriously we raise you to the throne.
Rox. But 'till this mighty ruin be accomplish'd
Where can Roxana Ay the avenging arms
Of those who must succeed this godlike man?
Cas. Would you vouchsafe in these expanded arms
To seek a refuge, what could hurt you here i
There you might reign with undiminish'd lustre
Queen of the east, and empress of my soul.
Rox. Disgrac'd Roxana! whither art thou fall’n? 'Till this curs'd hour I never was unhappy: There's not one mark of former majesty To awe the slave that offers at iny honour.
Cas. Impute not, madam, my unbounded passion To want of rev'rence -I have lov'd you long.
Rox. Peace, villain' peace, and let me hear no more. TI hou I'd leave the bosom of a god
And stoop to thee, thou moving piece of earth!
Hence from my sight, and never more presume
To meet my eyes ; for mark me, if thou dar’st,
To Alexander l’ll unfold thy treason,
Whose life, in spite of all his wrongs to me,
Shall still be sacred, and above thy malice.
Cas. By your own life, the greatest oath, I swear
Cassander's passion from this hour is dumb;
And as the best atonement I can make
Statira dies, the victim of your vengeance.
Rox. Cassander rise ; 't is ample expiation.
Yes, rival, yes-this night shall be thy last ;
This night I know is destin'd for thy triumph,
And gives my Alexander to thy arms.
Oh, murderous thought!
Poly. The bow'rs of great Semiramis are made The scene of love ; Perdiccas holds the guard.
Cas. Now is your time, while Alexander revels,
And the whole court re-echoes with his riot,
To end her, and with her to end your fears.
Give me but half the Zogdian slaves that wait you
And deem her dead ; nor shall a soul escape
That serves your rival to disperse the news.
Rox. By me they die, Perdiccas and Statira ;
Hence with thy aid, I neither ask nor want it,
But will myself conduct the slaves to battle.
Were she to fall by any arm but mine,
Well might she murmur and arraign her stars;
*Tis life well lost to die by my command.
Rival, rejoice, and pleas'd resign thy breath; Roxana's vengeance grants thee noble death. [Exit.
Cas. All but her Jove this Semele disdains. We must be quick-she may perhaps betray The great design, aud frustrate our revenge.
Poly. Has Philip got instructions how to act ?
Cas. He has, my friend, and, faithful to our cause,
Resolves to execute the fatal order.
Bear him this vialit contains a poison
Of that exalted force, that deadly nature,
Should Æsculapius drink it, in five hours
(For then it works) the god himself were mortal :
I drew it from Nonacris' horrid spring;
Mix'd with his wine a single drop gives death,
And sends him howling to the shades below.
Poly. I know its power, for I have seen it try'd;
Pains of all sorts thro' ev'ry nerve and art'ry
At once it scatters-burns at once, and freezes,
Till by extremity of torture forc'd
The soul consents to leave her joyless home,
And seeks for ease in worlds unknown to this.
Cas. Now let us part: with Thessalus and Philip
Haste to the banquet At his second call
Let this be given him, and it crowns our hopes.
Now, Alexander, now, we'll soon be quits ;
Death for a blow is interest indeed.
The Palace. ALEXANDER, PERDICCAS, CASSAN
DER, POLYPERCHON, EUMEnes, discovered at a
[4 flourish of Trumpets,
Alex. To our immortal health and our fair queen's:
All drink it deep; and while the bowl goes round
Mars and Bellona join to make us music;
A thousand bulls be offer'd to the sun,
White as his beams; speak the big voice of war;
Beat a I our drums, and sound our silver trumpets ;
Provoke the gods to follow our example
In bowls of nectar and replying thunder.
[Flourish of Trumpets.
Enter CLYTUS, HEPHESTion, and LYSIMACHUS
Clyt. Long live the king I long live great Alexander!
And conquest crown his arms with deathless laurels,
Propitious to his friends, and all he favours.
Alex. Did I not give command you should preserve Lysimachus ?
Heph. Dread sirl you did.
Alex. What then
Portend these bloody marks?
Heph. Ere we arriv'd
Perdiccas had already plac'd the prince
In a lone court, all but his hands unarm’d.
Clyt. On them were gauntlets; such was his desire,
In death to show the difference betwixt
The blood of Æacus and common men.
Forth issuing from his den amaz'd we saw
The horrid savage, with whose hideous roar
The palace shook : his angry eye-balls glaring
With triple fury menac'd death and ruin.
Hiph. With unconcern the gallant prince advanc'd
Now, Parisaris, be the glory thine,
But mine the danger, were his only words;
For as he spoke the furious beast descry'd him,
And rus’d outrageous to devour his prey.
Clyt. Agile and vigorous, he avoids the shock
With a slight wound, and as the lion turn'd
Thrust gauntlet, arm and all into his throat,
And with Herculean strength tears forth the tongue:
Foaming and bloody, the disabled savage
Sunk to the earıh, and plough'd it with his teeth;
While with an active bound your conq'ring soldier
Lcap'd on his back, and dash'd his scull in pieces.
Alex By all my laurels 't was a godlike act !
And 'uis my glory as it shall be thine,
That Alexander could not pardon thee.
Oh, my brave soldier! think not all the prayers
And tears of the lan.enting queens could move me
Like what thou hast perform’d: grow to my breast.
Lys. Thus, self condemn'd, and conscious of my
How shall I stand such unexampled goodness ?
Oh, pardon, sir, the transports of despair,
The irantic outrage of ungovern'd lovel