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O never better!
You say, you swear, you love me more than ever ; Athen. I doubt thee, dear Varanes;
Yet I must see you married to another : Yet, if thou dy'st, I shall not long be from thee. Can there be any plague or hell like this ! Once more farewell, and take these last embraces. O Athenais ! whither shall I turn me? Oh! I could crush him to my heart! Farewell ; You've brought me back to life; but, oh! what life? And as a dying pledge of my last love,
To a life more terrible than a thousand deaths. Take this, which all thy prayers could never
Like one that had been buried in a trance, charm.
[Embraces him. With racking starts he wakes, and gazes round, What have I done? Oh lead me, lead me, Delia ! Forc'd by despair his whirling limbs to wound, Ah, prịnce, farewell ! angels protect and guard thee. And bellow like a spirit under ground;
Vara. Turn back, O Athenais, and behold me! Still urg'd by fate, to turn, to toss and rave, Hear my last words, and then farewell for ever! Tormented, dash’d, and brokeņ in the grave. Thou hast undone me more by this confession :
I gave thee.
Why should the heavenly powers persuade SCENE I.
Poor mortals to believe ATHENAIS, dressed in imperial Robes, and crown
That they guard us here,
And reward us there, ed; DELIA. A Table with a Bowl of Poison.
Yel all our joys deceive : Athen. A midnight marriage ! Must I to the temple
Her poignard then she took, Thus, at the murderer's hour? 'Tis wond'rous
And held it in her hand;
And with a dying look,
Philander, ah, my love, I come, Delia. The emp'ror, in compassion to the To meet thy shade below, prince,
Ah, I come ! she cry’d,
With a wound so wide,
In purple waves her blood
(Erit Del. Ran streaming down the floor ; So, now I am alone; yet my soul shakes;
Unmov'd she saw the flood, For where this dreadful draught may carry me
And blest her dying hour : The heavens can only tell; yet I am resolv'd
Philander ! Ah, Philander! still
The bleeding Phillis cry'd ;
And forc'd a smile,
Then clos'd her eyes and died.
Pulch. How fares my dear Eudosia? Ha! thou To mount and dare as never woman dar'd.
look'st, 'Tis done-haste, Delia, haste !-come bring thy or else the tapers cheat my sight, like one lute,
[Drinks. That's fitter for thy tomb than Cæsar's bed: And sing my waftage to immortal joys.
A fatal sorrow dims thy shaded eyes, Methinks I can but smile at my own bravery! And, in despite of all thy ornaments, Thus from my lowest fortune rais’d to empire,
Thou seem'st to me the ghost of Athenais. Crown'd and adorn’d, worship'd by half the earth,
Athen. And what's the punishment, my dear While a young monarch dies for my embraces;
Pulcheria, Yet now to wave the glories of the world- What torments are allotted those sad spirits, O, my Varanes! though my birth’s unequal,
Who, groaning with the burden of despair, My virtue sure has richly recompenc'd,
No longer will endure the cares of life, And quite outgone example!
But boldly set themselves at liberty,
Through the dark caves of death to wander o:), SONG.
Like wilder'd travellers, without a guide,
Éternal rovers in the gloomy maze,
Where scarce the twilight of an infant moon,
By a faint glimmer checquering through the trees, Alas !'tis all too late,
Reflects to dismal view the walking ghosts, Philander to restore?
And never hope to reach the blessed fields ?
Pulch. No more of that; Atticus shall resolve | Through the vast shades where I am doom'd to
go; But see, he waits thee from the emperor ;
Nor shall I need a violence to wound, Thy father too attends.
The storm is here that drives me on the ground;
Sure means to make the soul and body part, Enter LEONTINE, ATTICUS, &c.
A burning fever, and a broken heart, Leont. Come, Athenais---Ha! what now! in What, hoa, Aranthes!
tears? O fall of honour! but no more, I charge thee,
Aran. You did, my lord ; but, oh!
Of this bad world, and now am past all fear, And lie within his arms.
O ye avenging gods! is there a plague Athen. Yes, sir, I'll go;
Among your hoarded bolts and heaps of vengeance Let me but dry my eyes, and I will go:
Beyond the mighty loss of Athenais ? Eudosia, this unhappy bride, shall go :
'Tis contradiction--Speak, then speak, Aranthes; Thus like a victim crown's and doom'd to bleed, For all misfortunés, if compar'd with that, I'll wait you to the altar, wed the emp’ror, Will make Varanes smile. And, if he pleases, lie within his arms.
Aran. My lord, the empress, Leont. Thou art my child again.
Crown’d and adorn’d with the imperial robes, Athen. But do not, sir, imagine that any charms At this dead time of night, with silent pomp, Or threat’nings shall compel me
As they design'd from all to keep it secret, Never to think of poor Varanes more:
But chiefly sure from you; I say, the empress No, my Varanes ! no
Is now conducted by the general, While I have breath, I will remember thee; Atticus, and her father, to the temple, To thee alone I will my thoughts confine,
There to espouse
the And all my meditations shall be thine :
Vara. Say'st thou? Is't certain ? ha! The image of thy woes my soul shall fill,
Aran. Most certain, sir. I saw 'em in proces. Fate and my end, and thy remembrance still,
sion. As in some pop'lar shade the nightingale,
Vara. Give me thy sword. Malicious fate! 0 With piercing moans, does her lost young bewail,
fortune! Which the rough hind, observing as they lay O giddy chance ! O turn of love and greatness! Warm in their downy nest, had stolen away; Married-she has kept her promise now indeed; But she in mournful sounds does still complain, And, oh! her pointed fame and nice revenge Sings all the night, though all her songs are vain, Have reach'd their end. No, Aranthes, no; And still renews her miserable strain :
I will not stay the lazy execution So, my Varanes, 'till my death comes on, Of a slow fever. Give me thy hand, and swear Shall sad Eudosia thy dear loss bemoan. By all the love and duty that thou ow'st nie,
[Ereunt. To observe the last commands that I shall give
thee; SCENE II.
Stir not against my purpose, as thou fear'st
My anger and disdain ; nor dare t'oppose me Enter VARANES.
With troublesome unnecessary formal reasons; Vara. 'Tis night, dead night, and weary Na- For what my thought has doom'd, my hand shall ture lies
seal. So fast, as if she never were to rise;
I charge thee hold it stedfast to my heart, No breath of wind now whispers through the Fix'd as the fate that throws me on the point
Though I have liv'd a Persian, I will fall
Aran. What you command is terrible but sås Nor bay the ghosts that glide with horror by,
cred; To view the caverns where their bodies lie; And to atone for this too cruel duty, The ravens perch, and no presages give,
My lord, I'll follow you. Nor to the windows of the dying cleave ;
Vara. I charge thee, not; The owls forget to scream; no midnight sound But when I am dead, take the attending slaves, Calls drowsy Echo from the hollow ground; And bear me, with my blood distilling down, In vaults the walking fires extinguish'd lie; Straight to the temple; lay me, 0 Aranthes! The stars, heav'n's sentries, wink and seem to die: Lay my cold corse at Athenais' feet, Such universal silence spreads below,
And say,-0 why! why, do my eyes rup o'er:
Say with my latest gasp I groan’d for pardon. I say I lov'd you, and I love you still,
That makes me talk without the fear of death, Prepare my place; for dauntless, lo, I come. And drives my daring soul to acts of honour, The force of love thus makes the mortal wound, Flames in your eyes ; our thoughts too are akin, And Athenais sends me to the ground.
Ambitious, fierce, and burn alike for glory. (Kills himself. Now, by the gods, I lov'd you in your fury,
In all the thunder that quite riv'd my hopes; SCENE III.- The outward part of the Temple. I lov'd you most, ev'n when you did destroy me.
Madam, I've spoke my heart, and could say more, Enter PULCHERIA and JULIA at one Door,
But that I see it grieves you; your high blood MARCIAN and LUCIUS at another.
Frets at the arrogance and saucy pride Pulch. Look, Julia, see the pensive Marcian Ofthis bold vagabond-May the gods forgivemecomes ;
Farewell--a worthier general may s'cceed me; Tis to my wish; I must no longer lose him, But none more faithful to the emperor's interest Lest be should leave the court indeed : he looks Than him you are pleas’d to call the traitor As if some mighty secret work'd within him,
Marcian. And labour'd for a vent.-Inspire me, woman! Pulch. Come back ; you've subtly play'd your That what my soul desires above the world,
part indeed; May seem impos'd and forc'd on my affections. For first the emperor, whom you lately school'd, Luc. I say she loves you, and she stays to Restores you your commission ; next commands hear it
you, From your own mouth—Now, in the name of all As you're a subject, not to leave the court; The gods at once, my lord, why are you silent? Next,—but, oh heav'n! which way shall I express Take heed, sir, mark your opportunity;
His cruel pleasure, he that is so mild For if the woman lays it in your way,
In all things else, yet obstinate in this And you o'ersee it, she is lost for ever.
Spite of my tears, my birth, and my disdain, Marc. Madam, I. come to take my eternal Commands me, as I dread his high displeasure, leave;
O Marcian! to receive you as my husband. Your doom has banish'd me, and I obey :
Marc. Ha, Lucius! what, what does my fate The court and I shake hands, and now we part,
intend? Never to see each other more; the court
Luc. Pursue her, sir; 'tis as I said; she yields, Where I was born and bred a gentleman, And rages that you follow her no faster. No more, till your illustrious bounty rais'd me, Pulch, Is then at last my great authority And drew the earth-born vapour to the clouds : And my intrusted pow'r declin'd to this? But, as the gods ordain’d it, I have lost, Yet, oh my fate! what way can I avoid it? I know not how, through ignorance, your grace; He charg’d me straight to wait him to the temple, And now the exhalation of my glory
And there resolve, oh Marcian! on this marriage. Is quite consum’d and vanish'd into air. Now, generous soldier, as you're truly noble, Pulch. Proceed, sir.
O help me forth, lost in this labyrinth ; Marc. Yet let those gods, that doom'd me to Help me to loose this more than gordian-knot displease you,
And make me and yourself for ever happy! Be witnesses how much I honour you
Marc. Madam, I'll speak as briefly as I can, Thus, worshipping, I swear by your bright self, And as a soldier ought: the only way I leave this infamous court with more content To help this knot is yet to tie it faster. Than fools and flatt'rers seek it ; but, oh heaven! Since then the emperor has resolv'd you mine, I cannot go, if still your hate pursues me! For which I will for ever thank the gods, Yes, I declare it is impossible
And make this holiday throughout my life, To go to banishment without your pardon. I take him at his word, and claim his promise; Fulch. You have it, Marcian; is there aught The empire of the world shall not redeem you, beside
Nay, weep not, madam ; though my outside's That you would speak, for I am free to hear?
rough, Marc. Since I shall never see you more, what Yet, by those eyes, your soldier has a heart hinders
Compassionate and tender as a virgin’s ; But my last words should here protest the truth Ev'n now it bleeds to see those falling sorrows, Know then, imperial princess, matchless woman! Perhaps this grief may move the emperor Since first you cast
your eyes upon my meanness, To a repentance ; come then to the trial; Ev'n till you rais’d me to my envy'd height, For by my arms, my life, and dearer honour, I have in secret lov'd you
If you go back, when given me by his hand,
In distant wars my fate I will deplore,
Are these our nuptials? These my promis'd jors? SCENE IV. The Temple.
Athen. Forgive me, sir, this last respect I par
These sad remains—And oh, thou mighty spint! THEODOSIUS, ATHENAIS; Atticus joining their If yet thou art not mingled with the stars,
hands- MARCIAN, PULCHERIA, LUCIUS, JU- Look down and hear the wretched Athenais ! LIA, DELIA, and LEONTINE.
When thou shalt know, before I gave consent Attic. The more than gordian-knot is ty'd, To this indecent marriage, I had taken
Which Death's strong arm shall ne'er divide ; Into my veins a cold and deadly draught,
Which soon would render me, alas ! unfit
For the warm joys of an imperial lover,
And make me ever thine, yet keep my word But love alone can fate defy.
With Theodosius, wilt thou not forgive me?
Theo. Poison'd to free thee from the emperor! Enter ARANTHES with the Body of VARANES. Oh, Athenais ! thou hast done a deed Arant. Where is the empress? Where shall That tears my heart! What have I done against I find Eudosia?
thee, By fate I'm sent to tell that cruel beauty, That thou should'st brand me thus with infamy She has robb’d the world of fame; her eyes have And everlastingshame? Thou might'st have made given
Thy choice without this cruel act of death; A blast to the big blossom of the war.
I left thee to thy will, and in requital
And beg, my lord, with my last sighs intreat you, Canker'd and kill'd by Athenais' scorn.
To impute the fault, if 'tis a fault, to love, Athen. Dead, dead, Varanes !
And the ingratitude of Athenais, Theo. O ye eternal pow'rs
To her too cruel stars. Remember, too, That guide the world! why do you shock our I beg'd you would not let me see the prince,
Presaging what has happen'd; yet my word, With acts like these, that lay our thoughts in As to our nuptials, was inviolable. dust?
Theo. Ha! she is going see her languishing Forgive me, heaven, this start, or elevate Imagination more, and make it nothing.
Draw in their beams; the sleep of death is on Alas! alas, Varanes! But speak, Aranthes,
her. The manner of his fate-Groans choke my words, Athen. Farewell, my lord! Alas, alas, Varanes! But speak, and we will answer thee with tears. To embrace thee now is not immodesty; Aran. His fever would, no doubt, by this have Or, if it were, I think my bleeding heart done
Would make me criminal in death to clasp thee, What some few minutes past his sword perform’d. Break all the tender niceties of honour, He heard from me your progress to the temple, To fold thee thus, and warm thee into life; How you design’d at midnight to deceive him, For oh what man, like him, could woman move! By a clandestine marriage: But, my lord, O prince belov'd ! O spirit most divine! Had you beheld his racks at my relation; Thus, by my death, I give thee all my love, Or had your empress seen him in those torments, And seal my soul and body ever thine.- (Dies
. When from his dying eyes, swol'n to the brim, Theo. O Marcian! O Pulcheria ! did not the The big round drops rolld down his manly face;
power When from his hallowed breast a murmuring Whom we adore, plant all his thunderbolts crowd
Against self-murderers, I would perish too; Of groans rush'd forth, and echo'd all is well: But as I am, I swear to leave the empire. Then had you seen him, O ye cruel gods ! To thec, my sister, I bequeath the world, Rush on the sword I held against his breast, And, yet a gift more great, the gallant Marcian. And dye it to the hilt, with these last words- On then, my friend, now shew thy Roman spirit! Bear me to Athenais
As to her sex fair Athenais was, Athen. Give me way, my lord;.
Be thou to thine a pattern of true honour; I have most strictly kept my promise with you: Thus we'll atone for all the present crimes, I am your bride, and you can ask no more, That yet it may be said in after-times, Or, if you did, I'm past the power to give;
No age with such examples could compare, But here! O here! on his cold bloody breast, So great, so good, so virtuous, and so fair! Thus let me breathe my last.
[Exeunt omnes Theo. O, empress! what, what can this trans
ALL FOR LOVE;
THE WORLD WELL LOST.
WHAT flocks of critics hover here to-day,
Like Hectors, in at every party-fray.
bowls, And snatch the homely rasher from the coals ; So you, retiring from much better cheer, For once, may venture to do penance here. And since that plenteous autumn now is past, Whose grapes and peaches have indulg'd your
taste, Take in good part, from our poor poet's board, Such rivelled fruits as winter can afford.