The Project Gutenberg EBook of Dryden's Works (8 of 18): Amphitryon; King
Arthur; Cleomenes; Love Triumphant, by John Dryden

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Title: Dryden's Works (8 of 18): Amphitryon; King Arthur; Cleomenes; Love Triumphant

Author: John Dryden

Editor: Walter Scott

Release Date: December 16, 2014 [EBook #47679]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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Amphitryon, or the Two Sosias, a Comedy,1
Epistle Dedicatory to Sir William Leveson Gower, Bart.7
King Arthur, or the British Worthy, a Dramatic Opera,107
Epistle Dedicatory to the Marquis of Halifax,113
Cleomenes, the Spartan Hero, a Tragedy,181
Epistle Dedicatory to the Earl of Rochester,191
The Life of Cleomenes, translated from Plutarch by Mr Thomas Creech,207
Love Triumphant, or Nature will prevail, a Tragi-comedy,331
Epistle Dedicatory to the Earl of Salisbury,337
Prologue, Song, Secular Masque, and Epilogue,
written for the Pilgrim, revived for Dryden's benefit in 1700,437


Egregiam verò laudem, et spolia ampla refertis,
Una dolo Divûm si fæmina victa duorum est.     Virg.


Plautus, the venerable father of Roman comedy, who flourished during the second Punic war, left us a play on the subject of Amphitryon, which has had the honour to be deemed worthy of imitation by Moliere and Dryden. It cannot be expected, that the plain, blunt, and inartificial stile of so rude an age should bear any comparison with that of authors who enjoyed the highest advantages of the polished times, to which they were an ornament. But the merit of having devised and embodied most of the comic distresses, which have excited laughter throughout so many ages, is to be attributed to the ancient bard, upon whose original conception of the plot his successors have made few and inconsiderable improvements. It is true, that, instead of a formal Prologus, who stepped forth, in the character of Mercury, and gravely detailed to the audience the plot of the play, Moliere and Dryden have introduced it in the modern more artificial method, by the dialogue of the actors in the first scene. It is true, also, that with great contempt of one of the unities, afterwards deemed so indispensible by the ancients, Plautus introduces the birth of Hercules into a play, founded upon the intrigue which occasioned that event. Yet with all these disadvantages, and that of the rude flatness of his dialogue,—resting frequently, for wit, upon the most miserable puns,—the comic device of the two Sosias; the errors into which the malice of Mercury plunges his unlucky original; the quarrel of Alcmena with her real husband, and her reconciliation with Jupiter in his stead; the final confronting of the two Amphitryos; and the astonishment of the unfortunate general, at finding every proof of his identity exhibited by his rival,—are all, however rudely sketched, the inventions of the Roman poet. In one respect it would seem, that the jeu de theatre, necessary to render the piece probable upon the stage, was better managed in the time of Plautus than in that of Dryden and Moliere. Upon a modern stage it is evidently difficult to introduce two pair of characters, so extremely[4] alike as to make it at all probable, or even possible, that the mistakes, depending upon their extreme resemblance, could take place. But, favoured by the masks and costume of the ancient theatre, Plautus contrived to render Jupiter and Mercury so exactly like Amphitryon and Sosia, that they were obliged to retain certain marks, supposed to be invisible to the other persons of the drama, by which the audience themselves might be enabled to distinguish the gods from the mortals, whose forms they had assumed[1].

The modern poets have treated the subject, which they had from Plautus, each according to the fashion of his country; and so far did the correctness of the French stage exceed ours at that period, that the palm of the comic writing must be, at once, awarded to Moliere. For, though Dryden had the advantage of the French author's labours, from which, and from Plautus, he has translated liberally, the wretched taste of the age has induced him to lard the piece with gratuitous indelicacy. He is, in general, coarse and vulgar, where Moliere is witty; and where the Frenchman ventures upon a double meaning, the Englishman always contrives to make it a single one. Yet although inferior to Moliere, and accommodated to the gross taste of the seventeenth century, "Amphitryon" is one of the happiest effusions of Dryden's comic muse. He has enriched the plot by the intrigue of Mercury and Phædra; and the petulant interested "Queen of Gipsies," as her lover terms her, is no bad paramour for the God of Thieves.

In the scenes of a higher cast, Dryden far outstrips both the French and Roman poet. The sensation to be expressed is not that of sentimental affection, which the good father of Olympus was not capable of feeling; but love, of that grosser and subordinate kind which prompted Jupiter in his intrigues, has been by none of the ancient poets expressed in more beautiful verse than that in which Dryden has clothed it, in the scenes between Jupiter and Alcmena. Even Milbourne, who afterwards attacked our author with such malignant asperity, was so sensible of the merit of "Amphitryon," that he addressed to the publisher the following letter and copy of verses, which Mr Malone's industry recovered from among Mr Tonson's papers.


"Mr Tonson, Yarmouth, Novemb. 24.—90.

"You'l wonder perhaps at this from a stranger; but ye reason of it may perhaps abate somewhat of ye miracle, and it's this. On Thursday the twentyth instant, I receiv'd Mr Drydens Amphytrio: I leave out the Greeke termination, as not so proper in my opinion, in English. But to passe that; I liked the play, and read it over with as much of criticisme and ill nature as ye time (being about one in ye morning, and in bed,) would permit. Going to sleep very well pleasd, I could not leave my bed in ye morning without this sacrifice to the authours genius: it was too sudden to be correct, but it was very honestly meant, and is submitted to yours and Mr Ds. disposall.

"Hail, Prince of Witts! thy fumbling Age is past,
Thy youth and witt and art's renewed at last.
So on some rock the Joviall bird assays
Her ore-grown beake, that marke of age, to rayse;
That done, through yield'ing air she cutts her way,
And strongly stoops againe, and breaks the trembling prey.
What though prodigious thunder stripp'd thy brows
Of envy'd bays, and the dull world allows
Shadwell should wear them,—wee'll applaud the change;
Where nations feel it, who can think it strange!
So have I seen the long-ear'd brute aspire
To drest commode with every smallest wire;
With nightrail hung on shoulders, gravely stalke,
Like bawd attendant on Aurelias walke.
Hang't! give the fop ingratefull world its will;
He wears the laurel,—thou deservs't it still.
Still smooth, as when, adorn'd with youthful pride,
For thy dear sake the blushing virgins dyed;
When the kind gods of witt and love combined,
And with large gifts thy yielding soul refined.
"Not Phœbus could with gentler words pursue
His flying Daphne, not the morning dew
Falls softer than the words of amorous Jove,
When melting, dying, for Alcmene's love.
"Yet briske and airy too, thou fill'st the stage,
Unbroke by fortune, undecayed by age.
French wordy witt by thine was long surpast;
Now Rome's thy captive, and by thee wee taste
Of their rich dayntyes; but so finely drest,
Theirs was a country meal, thine a triumphant feast.
"If this to thy necessityes wee ow,
O, may they greater still and greater grow!
Nor blame the wish; Plautus could write in chaines,
Wee'll blesse thy wants, while wee enjoy thy pains.
Wealth makes the poet lazy, nor can fame,
That gay attendant of a spritely flame,
A Dorset or a Wycherly invite,
Because they feel no pinching wants, to write.
"Go on! endenizon the Romane slave;
Let an eternal spring adorne his grave;
His ghost would gladly all his fame submitt
To thy strong judgment and thy piercing witt.
Purged by thy hand, he speaks immortall sense,
And pleases all with modish excellence.
Nor would we have thee live on empty praise
The while, for, though we cann't restore the bays,
While thou writ'st thus,—to pay thy merites due,
Wee'll give the claret and the pension too."

Milbourne concludes, by desiring to be supplied with such of our author's writings, as he had not already, to be sent to Yarmouth in Norfolk, where he probably had then a living.

"Amphitryon" was produced in the same year with "Don Sebastian;" and although it cannot be called altogether an original performance, yet it contains so much original writing as to shew, that our author's vein of poetry was, in his advanced age, distinguished by the same rapid fluency, as when he first began to write for the stage.

This comedy was acted and printed in 1690. It was very favourably received; and continued long to be what is called a stock-play.



There is one kind of virtue which is inborn in the nobility, and indeed in most of the ancient families of this nation; they are not apt to insult on the misfortunes of their countrymen. But you, sir, I may tell it without flattery, have grafted on this natural commiseration, and raised it to a nobler virtue. As you have been pleased to honour me, for a long time, with some part of your esteem, and[8] your good will; so, in particular, since the late Revolution, you have increased the proofs of your kindness to me; and not suffered the difference of opinions, which produce such hatred and enmity in the brutal part of human kind, to remove you from the settled basis of your good nature, and good sense. This nobleness of yours, had it been exercised on an enemy, had certainly been a point of honour, and as such I might have justly recommended it to the world; but that of constancy to your former choice, and the pursuance of your first favours, are virtues not over-common amongst Englishmen. All things of honour have, at best, somewhat of ostentation in them, and self-love; there is a pride of doing more than is expected from us, and more than others would have done. But to proceed in the same track of goodness, favour, and protection, is to shew that a man is acted by a thorough principle: it carries somewhat of tenderness in it, which is humanity in a heroical degree; it is a kind of unmoveable good-nature; a word which is commonly despised, because it is so seldom practised. But, after all, it is the most generous virtue, opposed to the most degenerate vice, which is that of ruggedness and harshness to our fellow-creatures.

It is upon this knowledge of you, sir, that I have chosen you, with your permission, to be the patron of this poem. And as, since this wonderful Revolution, I have begun with the best pattern of humanity, the Earl of Leicester, I shall continue to follow the same method, in all to whom I shall address; and endeavour to pitch on such only, as have been pleased to own me, in this ruin of my small fortune; who, though they are of a contrary opinion themselves, yet blame not me for adhering to a lost cause; and judging for myself, what I cannot chuse but judge, so long as I am a patient sufferer,[9] and no disturber of the government. Which, if it be a severe penance, as a great wit has told the world, it is at least enjoined me by myself: and Sancho Pança, as much fool as I, was observed to discipline his body no farther than he found he could endure the smart.

You see, sir, I am not entertaining you like Ovid, with a lamentable epistle from Pontus: I suffer no more than I can easily undergo; and so long as I enjoy my liberty, which is the birth-right of an Englishman, the rest shall never go near my heart. The merry philosopher is more to my humour than the melancholic; and I find no disposition in myself to cry, while the mad world is daily supplying me with such occasions of laughter. The more reasonable sort of my countrymen have shewn so much favour to this piece, that they give me no doubt of their protection for the future.

As you, sir, have been pleased to follow the example of their goodness, in favouring me; so give me leave to say that I follow yours, in this dedication to a person of a different persuasion. Though I must confess withal, that I have had a former encouragement from you for this address; and the warm remembrance of your noble hospitality to me, at Trentham[3], when some years ago I visited my friends and relations in your country, has ever since given me a violent temptation to this boldness.

It is true, were this comedy wholly mine, I should call it a trifle, and perhaps not think it worth your patronage; but, when the names of Plautus and Moliere are joined in it, that is, the two greatest names of ancient and modern comedy, I must not[10] presume so far on their reputation, to think their best and most unquestioned productions can be termed little. I will not give you the trouble of acquainting you what I have added, or altered, in either of them, so much, it may be, for the worse; but only, that the difference of our stage, from the Roman and the French, did so require it. But I am afraid, for my own interest, the world will too easily discover, that more than half of it is mine; and that the rest is rather a lame imitation of their excellencies, than a just translation. It is enough, that the reader know by you, that I neither deserve nor desire any applause from it: if I have performed any thing, it is the genius of my authors that inspired me; and, if it pleased in representation let the actors share the praise amongst themselves. As for Plautus and Moliere, they are dangerous people; and I am too weak a gamester to put myself into their form of play. But what has been wanting on my part, has been abundantly supplied by the excellent composition of Mr Purcell; in whose person we have at length found an Englishman, equal with the best abroad. At least, my opinion of him has been such, since his happy and judicious performances in the late opera[4], and the experience I have had of him, in the setting my[11] three songs for this "Amphitryon:" to all which, and particularly to the composition of the pastoral dialogue, the numerous choir of fair ladies gave so just an applause on the third day. I am only sorry, for my own sake, that there was one star wanting, as beautiful as any in our hemisphere; that young Berenice[5], who is misemploying all her charms on stupid country souls, that can never know the value of them; and losing the triumphs, which are ready prepared for her, in the court and town. And yet I know not whether I am so much a loser by her absence; for I have reason to apprehend the sharpness of her judgment, if it were not allayed with the sweetness of her nature; and, after all, I fear she may come time enough to discover a thousand imperfections in my play, which might have passed on vulgar understandings. Be pleased to use the authority of a father over her, on my behalf: enjoin her to keep her own thoughts of "Amphitryon" to herself; or at least not to compare him too strictly with Moliere's. It is true, I have an interest in this partiality of hers: but withal, I plead some sort of merit for it, in being so particularly, as I am,


Your most obedient,

Humble servant,


October 24th, 1690.



The labouring bee, when his sharp sting is gone,
Forgets his golden work, and turns a drone:
Such is a satire, when you take away
That rage, in which his noble vigour lay.
What gain you, by not suffering him to teaze ye?
He neither can offend you now, nor please ye.
{  The honey-bag, and venom, lay so near,
{  That both together you resolved to tear;
{  And lost your pleasure, to secure your fear.
How can he show his manhood, if you bind him
To box, like boys, with one hand tied behind him?
This is plain levelling of wit; in which
The poor has all the advantage, not the rich.
The blockhead stands excused, for wanting sense;
And wits turn blockheads in their own defence.
Yet, though the stage's traffic is undone,
Still Julian's[6] interloping trade goes on:
Though satire on the theatre you smother,
Yet, in lampoons, you libel one another.
The first produces, still, a second jig;
You whip them out, like school-boys, till they gig;
And with the same success, our readers guess,
For every one still dwindles to a less[7];
And much good malice is so meanly drest,
That we would laugh, but cannot find the jest.
If no advice your rhyming rage can stay,
Let not the ladies suffer in the fray:
Their tender sex is privileged from war;
'Tis not like knights, to draw upon the fair.
What fame expect you from so mean a prize?
We wear no murdering weapons, but our eyes.
{  Our sex, you know, was after yours designed;
{  The last perfection of the Maker's mind:
{  Heaven drew out all the gold for us, and left your dross behind.
Beauty, for valour's best reward, he chose;
Peace, after war; and, after toil, repose.
{  Hence, ye profane, excluded from our sights;
{  And, charmed by day with honour's vain delights,
{  Go, make your best of solitary nights.
Recant betimes, 'tis prudence to submit;
Our sex is still your over-match in wit:
We never fail, with new, successful arts,
To make fine fools of you, and all your parts.



Amphitryon, the Theban General.
Sosia, his Slave.
Gripus, a Theban Judge.
Polidas,  } Officers of the Theban Army.
Tranio,   }

Alcmena, Wife to Amphitryon.
Phædra,  } Her Slaves.
Bromia,   }





Mercury and Phœbus descend in two Machines.

Phœ. Know you the reason of this present summons?
'Tis neither council day, nor is this heaven.
What business has our Jupiter on earth?
Why more at Thebes than any other place?
And why we two, of all the herd of gods,
Are chosen out to meet him in consult?
They call me God of Wisdom;
But Mars and Vulcan, the two fools of heaven,
Whose wit lies in their anvil and their sword,
Know full as much as I.
Merc. And Venus may know more than both of us;
For 'tis some petticoat affair, I guess.


I have discharged my duty, which was, to summon you, Phœbus: we shall know more anon, when the Thunderer comes down. 'Tis our part to obey our father; for, to confess the truth, we two are little better than sons of harlots; and, if Jupiter had not been pleased to take a little pains with our mothers, instead of being gods, we might have been a couple of link-boys.

Phœ. But know you nothing farther, Hermes? What news in court?

Merc. There has been a devilish quarrel, I can tell you, between Jupiter and Juno. She threatened to sue him in the spiritual court for some matrimonial omissions; and he stood upon his prerogative: then she hit him in the teeth of all his bastards; and your name and mine were used with less reverence than became our godships. They were both in their cups; and at last the matter grew so high, that they were ready to have thrown stars at one another's heads.

Phœ. 'Twas happy for me that I was at my vocation, driving day-light about the world. But I had rather stand my father's thunderbolts, than my stepmother's railing.

Merc. When the tongue-battle was over, and the championess had harnessed her peacocks to go for Samos, and hear the prayers that were made to her—

Phœ. By the way, her worshippers had a bad time on't; she was in a damnable humour for receiving petitions.

Merc. Jupiter immediately beckons me aside, and charges me, that, as soon as ever you had set up your horses, you and I should meet him here at Thebes: Now, putting the premises together, as dark as it is, methinks I begin to see day-light.

Phœ. As plain as one of my own beams; she has made him uneasy at home, and he is going to seek[17] his diversion abroad. I see heaven itself is no privileged place for happiness, if a man must carry his wife along with him.

Merc. 'Tis neither better nor worse, upon my conscience. He is weary of hunting in the spacious forest of a wife, and is following his game incognito in some little purlieu here at Thebes: that's many an honest man's case on earth too, Jove help them! as indeed he does, to make them cuckolds.

Phœ. But, if so, Mercury, then I, who am a poet, must indite his love-letter; and you, who are by trade a porter, must convey it.

Merc. No more; he's coming down souse upon us, and hears as far as he can see too. He's plaguy hot upon the business, I know it by his hard driving.

Jupiter descends.

Jup. What, you are descanting upon my actions!
Much good may do you with your politics:
All subjects will be censuring their kings.
Well, I confess I am in love; what then?
Phœ. Some mortal, we presume, of Cadmus' blood;
Some Theban beauty; some new Semele;
Or some Europa.

Merc. I'll say that for my father, he's constant to a handsome family; he knows when they have a good smack with them, and snuff's up incense so savourily when 'tis offered by a fair hand,——

Jup. Well, my familiar sons, this saucy carriage
I have deserved; for he, who trusts a secret,
Makes his own man his master.
I read your thoughts;
Therefore you may as safely speak as think.

Merc. Mine was a very homely thought.—I was considering into what form your almightyship would be pleased to transform yourself to-night: whether you would fornicate in the shape of a bull, or a ram,[18] or an eagle, or a swan; what bird or beast you would please to honour, by transgressing your own laws in his likeness; or, in short, whether you would recreate yourself in feathers, or in leather?

Phœ. Any disguise to hide the king of gods.

Jup. I know your malice, Phœbus; you would say,
That, when a monarch sins, it should be secret,
To keep exterior shew of sanctity,
Maintain respect, and cover bad example:
For kings and priests are in a manner bound,
For reverence sake, to be close hypocrites.
Phœ. But what necessitates you to this love,
Which you confess a crime, and yet commit?
For, to be secret makes not sin the less;
'Tis only hidden from the vulgar view;
Maintains, indeed, the reverence due to princes,
But not absolves the conscience from the crime.
Jup. I love, because 'twas in the fates I should.
Phœ. With reverence be it spoke, a bad excuse:
Thus every wicked act, in heaven or earth,
May make the same defence. But what is fate?
Is it a blind contingence of events,
Or sure necessity of causes linked,
That must produce effects? Or is't a power,
That orders all things by superior will,
Foresees his work, and works in that foresight?
Jup. Fate is, what I,
By virtue of omnipotence, have made it;
And power omnipotent can do no wrong:
Not to myself, because I will it so;
Nor yet to men, for what they are is mine.—
This night I will enjoy Amphitryon's wife;
For, when I made her, I decreed her such
As I should please to love. I wrong not him
Whose wife she is; for I reserved my right,
To have her while she pleased me; that once past,
She shall be his again.

Merc. Here's omnipotence with a vengeance! to make a man a cuckold, and yet not to do him wrong! Then I find, father Jupiter, that when you made fate, you had the wit to contrive a holiday for yourself now and then; for you kings never enact a law, but you have a kind of an eye to your own prerogative.

Phœ. If there be no such thing as right and wrong
Of an eternal being, I have done;
But if there be,——
Jup. Peace, thou disputing fool!—
Learn this; If thou could'st comprehend my ways,
Then thou wert Jove, not I; yet thus far know,
That, for the good of human kind, this night
I shall beget a future Hercules,
Who shall redress the wrongs of injured mortals,
Shall conquer monsters, and reform the world.

Merc. Ay, brother Phœbus; and our father made all those monsters for Hercules to conquer, and contrived all those vices on purpose for him to reform too, there's the jest on't.

Phœ. Since arbitrary power will hear no reason,
'Tis wisdom to be silent.

Merc. Why that's the point; this same arbitrary power is a knock-down argument; 'tis but a word and a blow. Now methinks, our father speaks out like an honest bare-faced god, as he is; he lays the stress in the right place, upon absolute dominion: I confess, if he had been a man, he might have been a tyrant, if his subjects durst have called him to account. But you, brother Phœbus, are but a mere country gentleman, that never comes to court; that are abroad all day on horseback, making visits about the world; are drinking all night; and, in your cups[20] are still railing at the government. O, these patriots, these bumpkin patriots, are a very silly sort of animal!

Jup. My present purpose and design you heard,
To enjoy Amphitryon's wife, the fair Alcmena:
You two must be subservient to my love.

Merc. [To Phœbus.] No more of your grumbletonian morals, brother; there's preferment coming; be advised, and pimp dutifully.

Jup. Amphitryon, the brave Theban general,
Has overcome his country's foes in fight,
And, in a single duel, slain their king:
His conquering troops are eager on their march
Returning home; while their young general,
More eager to review his beauteous wife,
Posts on before, winged with impetuous love,
And, by to-morrow's dawn, will reach this town.

Merc. That's but short warning, father Jupiter; having made no former advances of courtship to her, you have need of your omnipotence, and all your godship, if you mean to be beforehand with him.

Phœ. Then how are we to be employed this evening?
Time's precious, and these summer nights are short;
I must be early up to light the world.
Jup. You shall not rise; there shall be no to-morrow.
Merc. Then the world's to be at an end, I find.
Phœ. Or else a gap in nature of a day.
Jup. A day will be well lost to busy man;
Night shall continue sleep, and care shall cease.
So, many men shall live, and live in peace,
Whom sunshine had betrayed to envious sight,
And sight to sudden rage, and rage to death.
Now, I will have a night for love and me;
A long luxurious night, fit for a god
To quench and empty his immortal heat.

Merc. I'll lay on the woman's side for all that, that she shall love longest to-night, in spite of your omnipotence.

Phœ. I shall be cursed by all the labouring trades,
That early rise; but you must be obeyed.
Jup. No matter for the cheating part of man,
They have a day's sin less to answer for.
Phœ. When would you have me wake?
Jup. Why, when Jove goes to sleep; when I have finished,
Your brother Mercury shall bring you word.—
[Exit Phœbus in his chariot.
Now, Hermes, I must take Amphitryon's form,
To enjoy his wife:
Thou must be Sosia, this Amphitryon's slave;
Who, all this night, is travelling to Thebes,
To tell Alcmena of her lord's approach,
And bring her joyful news of victory.
Merc. But why must I be Sosia?
Jup. Dull god of wit, thou statue of thyself!
Thou must be Sosia, to keep out Sosia;
Who, by his entrance, might discover Jove,
Disturb my pleasures, raise unruly noise,
And so distract Alcmena's tender soul,
She would not meet my warmth, when I dissolve
Into her lap, nor give down half her love.
Merc. Let me alone, I'll cudgel him away;
But I abhor so villainous a shape.
Jup. Take it, I charge thee on thy duty, take it;
Nor dare to lay it down, till I command.
I cannot bear a moment's loss of joy.—
Night appears above in a chariot.
Look up, the Night is in her silent chariot,
And rolling just o'er Thebes: Bid her drive slowly,
Or make a double turn about the world;
While I drop Jove, and take Amphitryon's dress,
To be the greater, while I seem the less.
[Exit Jupiter.

Merc. [To Night.] Madam Night, a good even to you! Fair and softly, I beseech you, madam; I have a word or two to you from no less a god than Jupiter.

Night. O my nimble-fingered god of theft, what makes you here on earth at this unseasonable hour? What banker's shop is to be broke open to-night? or what clippers, and coiners, and conspirators, have been invoking your deity for their assistance?

Merc. Faith, none of those enormities, and yet I am still in my vocation; for you know I am a jack of all trades. At a word, Jupiter is indulging his genius to-night with a certain noble sort of recreation; called wenching; the truth on't is, adultery is its proper name.

Night. Jupiter would do well to stick to his wife, Juno.

Merc. He has been married to her above these hundred years; and that's long enough, in conscience, to stick to one woman.

Night. She's his sister too, as well as his wife; that's a double tie of affection to her.

Merc. Nay, if he made bold with his own flesh and blood, 'tis likely he will not spare his neighbours.

Night. If I were his wife, I would raise a rebellion against him, for the violation of my bed.

Merc. Thou art mistaken, old Night; his wife could raise no faction. All the deities in heaven would take the part of the cuckold-making god, for they are all given to the flesh most damnably. Nay, the very goddesses would stickle in the cause of love; 'tis the way to be popular, to whore and love. For what dost thou think old Saturn was deposed,[23] but that he was cold and impotent, and made no court to the fair ladies? Pallas and Juno themselves, as chaste as they are, cried, Shame on him!—I say unto thee, old Night, woe be to the monarch that has not the women on his side!

Night. Then, by your rule, Mercury, a king who would live happily, must debauch his whole nation of women.

Merc. As far as his ready money will go, I mean; for Jupiter himself can't please all of them.—But this is beside my present commission: He has sent me to will and require you to make a swinging long night for him, for he hates to be stinted in his pleasures.

Night. Tell him plainly, I'll rather lay down my commission. What, would he make a bawd of me?

Merc. Poor ignorant! why he meant thee for a bawd, when he first made thee. What art thou good for, but to be a bawd? Is not day-light better for mankind, I mean as to any other use, but only for love and fornication? Thou hast been a bawd too, a reverend, primitive, original bawd, from the first hour of thy creation; and all the laudable actions of love have been committed under thy mantle. Pr'ythee, for what dost thou think that thou art worshipped?

Night. Why, for my stars and moonshine.

Merc. That is, for holding a candle to iniquity. But if they were put out, thou would'st be doubly worshipped by the willing bashful virgins.

Night. Then, for my quiet, and the sweetness of my sleep.

Merc. No:—For thy sweet waking all the night; for sleep comes not upon lovers, till thou art vanished.

Night. But it will be against nature, to make a long winter's night at midsummer.


Merc. Trouble not yourself for that: Phœbus is ordered to make a short summer's day to-morrow; so, in four-and-twenty hours, all will be at rights again.

Night. Well, I am edified by your discourse; and my comfort is, that, whatever work is made, I see nothing.

Merc. About your business then. Put a spoke into your chariot-wheels, and order the seven stars to halt, while I put myself into the habit of a serving-man, and dress up a false Sosia, to wait upon a false Amphitryon.—Good night, Night.

Night. My service to Jupiter.—Farewell, Mercury.

[Night goes backward. Exit Mercury.

SCENE II.—Amphitryon's Palace.

Enter Alcmena.

Alc. Why was I married to the man I love!
For, had he been indifferent to my choice,
Or had been hated, absence had been pleasure;
But now I fear for my Amphitryon's life:
At home, in private, and secure from war,
I am amidst an host of armed foes,
Sustaining all his cares, pierced with his wounds;
And, if he falls,—which, O ye gods avert!—
Am in Amphitryon slain! Would I were there,
And he were here; so might we change our fates;
That he might grieve for me, and I might die for him.

Enter Phædra, running.

Phæd. Good news, good news, madam; O such admirable news, that, if I kept it in a moment, I should burst with it.

Alc. Is it from the army?

Phæd. No matter.


Alc. From Amphitryon?

Phæd. No matter, neither.

Alc. Answer me, I charge thee, if thy good news be any thing relating to my lord; if it be, assure thyself of a reward.

Phæd. Ay, madam, now you say something to the matter: You know the business of a poor waiting-woman, here upon earth, is to be scraping up something against a rainy day, called the day of marriage; every one in our own vocation:—But what matter is it to me if my lord has routed the enemy, if I get nothing of their spoils?

Alc. Say, is my lord victorious?

Phæd. Why, he is victorious: indeed I prayed devoutly to Jupiter for a victory; by the same token, that you should give me ten pieces of gold if I brought you news of it.

Alc. They are thine, supposing he be safe too.

Phæd. Nay, that's a new bargain, for I vowed to Jupiter, that then you should give me ten pieces more; but I do undertake for my lord's safety, if you will please to discharge his godship Jupiter of the debt, and take it upon you to pay.

Alc. When he returns in safety, Jupiter and I will pay your vow.

Phæd. And I am sure I articled with Jupiter, that, if I brought you news that my lord was upon return, you should grant me one small favour more, that will cost you nothing.

Alc. Make haste, thou torturer; is my Amphitryon upon return?

Phæd. Promise me, that I shall be your bedfellow to-night, as I have been ever since my lord's absence; unless I shall be pleased to release you of your word.

Alc. That's a small request; 'tis granted.

Phæd. But swear by Jupiter.


Alc. But why by Jupiter?

Phæd. Because he's the greatest: I hate to deal with one of your little baffling gods, that can do nothing but by permission; but Jupiter can swinge you off, if you swear by him, and are forsworn.

Alc. I swear by Jupiter.

Phæd. Then—I believe he is victorious, and I know he is safe; for I looked through the key-hole, and saw him knocking at the gate; and I had the conscience to let him cool his heels there.

Alc. And would'st thou not open to him? Oh, thou traitress!

Phæd. No, I was a little wiser: I left Sosia's wife to let him in; for I was resolved to bring the news, and make my pennyworths out of him, as time shall show.

Enter Jupiter, in the shape of Amphitryon, with Sosia's wife, Bromia. He kisses and embraces Alcmena.

Jup. O let me live for ever on those lips!
The nectar of the gods to these is tasteless.
I swear, that, were I Jupiter, this night
I would renounce my heaven, to be Amphitryon.
Alc. Then, not to swear beneath Amphitryon's oath,
(Forgive me, Juno, if I am profane,)
I swear, I would be what I am this night,
And be Alcmena, rather than be Juno.

Brom. Good my lord, what is become of my poor bedfellow, your man Sosia? you keep such a billing and cooing here, to set one's mouth a watering—what I say, though I am a poor woman, I have a husband as well as my lady; and should be as glad as she, of a little honest recreation.

Phæd. And what have you done with your old friend, and my old sweetheart, Judge Gripus? has[27] he brought me home a crammed purse, that swells with bribes? if he be rich, I will make him welcome like an honourable magistrate; but if he has not had the wit to sell justice, he judges no causes in my court, I warrant him.

Alc. My lord, you tell me nothing of the battle?
Is Thebes victorious, are our foes destroyed?
For, now I find you safe, I should be glad
To hear you were in danger.

Jup. [Aside.] A man had need be a god, to stand the fury of three talking women! I think, in my conscience, I made their tongues of thunder.

Brom. [Pulling him on one side.] I asked the first question; answer me, my lord.

Phæd. [Pulling him on the other side.] Peace! mine is a lover, and yours but a husband; and my judge is my lord too; the title shall take place, and I will be answered.

Jup. Sosia is safe; Gripus is rich; both coming;
I rode before them, with a lover's haste.——
Was e'er poor god so worried? but for my love,
I wish I were in heaven again with Juno. [Aside.
Alc. Then I, it seems, am last to be regarded?
Jup. Not so, my love; but these obstreperous tongues
Have snatched their answers first; they will be heard;
And surely Jove would never answer prayer
That woman made, but only to be freed
From their eternal noise. Make haste to bed;
There let me tell my story, in thy arms;
There, in the gentle pauses of our love,
Betwixt our dyings, ere we live again,
Thou shalt be told the battle, and success;
Which I shall oft begin, and then break off;
For love will often interrupt my tale,
And make so sweet confusion in our talk,
That thou shalt ask, and I shall answer things,
That are not of a piece; but patched with kisses,
And sighs, and murmurs, and imperfect speech;
And nonsense shall be eloquent, in love.

Brom. [To Phædha.] My lord is very hot upon it: this absence is a great friend to us poor neglected wives; it makes us new again.

Alc. I am the fool of love; and find within me
The fondness of a bride, without the fear.
My whole desires and wishes are in you.

Phæd. [Aside.] My lady's eyes are pinking to bed-ward too: now is she to look very sleepy, counterfeiting yawning,—but she shall ask me leave first.

Alc. Great Juno, thou, whose holy care presides
Over the nuptial bed, pour all thy blessings
On this auspicious night!
Jup. Juno may grudge; for she may fear a rival
In those bright eyes; but Jupiter will grant,
And doubly bless this night.
Phæd. [Aside.] But Jupiter should ask my leave
first, were he here in person.
Alc. Bromia, prepare the bed:
The tedious journey has disposed my lord
To seek his needful rest. [Exit Bromia.

Phæd. 'Tis very true, madam; the poor gentleman must needs be weary; and, therefore, it was not ill contrived, that he must lie alone to-night, to recruit himself with sleep, and lay in enough for to-morrow night, when you may keep him waking.

Alc. [To Jupiter.] I must confess, I made a kind of promise.——

Phæd. [Almost crying.] A kind of promise, do you call it? I see you would fain be coming off. I am sure you swore to me, by Jupiter, that I should be your bedfellow; and I'll accuse you to him, too, the first prayers I make; and I'll pray o' purpose, too, that I will, though I have not prayed to him this seven years.


Jup. O, the malicious hilding!

Alc. I did swear, indeed, my lord.

Jup. Forswear thyself; for Jupiter but laughs
At lovers' perjuries.

Phæd. The more shame for him, if he does: there would be a fine god, indeed, for us women to worship, if he laughs when our sweethearts cheat us of our maidenheads. No, no, Jupiter is an honester gentleman than you make of him.

Jup. I'm all on fire; and would not lose this night,
To be the master of the universe.

Phæd. Ay, my lord, I see you are on fire; but the devil a bucket shall be brought to quench it, without my leave. You may go to bed, madam; but you shall see how heaven will bless your night's work, if you forswear yourself:—Some fool, some mere elder-brother, or some blockheadly hero, Jove, I beseech thee, send her!

Jup. [Aside.] Now I could call my thunder to revenge me,
But that were to confess myself a god,
And then I lost my love!——Alcmena, come;
By heaven I have a bridegroom's fervour for thee,
As I had ne'er enjoyed.
Alc. She has my oath; [Sighing.
And sure she may release it, if she pleases.

Phæd. Why truly, madam, I am not cruel in my nature, to poor distressed lovers; for it may be my own case another day: and therefore, if my lord pleases to consider me——

Jup. Any thing, any thing! but name thy wish, and have it.

Phæd. Ay, now you say, any thing, any thing; but you would tell me another story to-morrow morning. Look you, my lord, here is a hand open to receive; you know the meaning of it; I am for nothing but the ready——


Jup. Thou shalt have all the treasury of heaven.

Phæd. Yes, when you are Jupiter, to dispose of it.

Jup. [Aside.] I had forgot, and shewed myself a god:
This love can make a fool of Jupiter.

Phæd. You have forgot some part of the enemies' spoil, I warrant you. I see a little trifling diamond upon your finger; and I am proud enough to think it would become mine too.

Jup. Here take it.—[Taking a Ring off his Finger, and giving it.
This is a very woman;
Her sex is avarice, and she, in one,
Is all her sex.

Phæd. Ay, ay, 'tis no matter what you say of us. What, would you have your money out of the treasury, without paying the officers their fees? Go, get you together, you naughty couple, till you are both weary of worrying one another; and then to-morrow morning I shall have another fee for parting you.

[Phædra goes out before Alcmena with a light.

Jup. Why now, I am indeed the lord of all;
For what's to be a god, but to enjoy?
Let human kind their sovereign's leisure wait;
Love is, this night, my great affair of state:
Let this one night of providence be void;
All Jove, for once, is on himself employ'd.
Let unregarded altars smoke in vain;
And let my subjects praise me, or complain:
Yet if, betwixt my intervals of bliss,
Some amorous youth his orisons address,
His prayer is in a happy hour preferred;
And when Jove loves, a lover shall be heard. [Exit.


SCENE I.—A Night Scene of a Palace.

Sosia, with a Dark-Lanthorn; Mercury, in Sosia's shape,
with a Dark-Lanthorn also.

Sos. Was not the devil in my master, to send me out this dreadful dark night, to bring the news of his victory to my lady? and was not I possessed with ten devils, for going on his errand, without a convoy for the safeguard of my person? Lord, how am I melted into sweat with fear! I am diminished of my natural weight, above two stone: I shall not bring half myself home again, to my poor wife and family; I have been in an ague fit, ever since shut of evening; what with the fright of trees by the highway, which looked maliciously, like thieves, by moonshine; and what with bulrushes by the river-side, that shaked like spears and lances at me. Well, the greatest plague of a serving-man, is to be hired to some great lord! They care not what drudgery they put upon us, while they lie lolling at their ease a-bed, and stretch their lazy limbs, in expectation of the whore which we are fetching for them.

Merc. [Aside.] He is but a poor mortal, that suffers this; but I, who am a god, am degraded to a foot-pimp; a waiter without doors! a very civil employment for a deity!

Sos. The better sort of them will say, "Upon my honour," at every word; yet ask them for our wages, and they plead the privilege of their honour, and will not pay us; nor let us take our privilege of the law upon them. These are a very hopeful sort of patriots, to stand up, as they do, for[32] liberty and property of the subject: There's conscience for you!

Merc. [Aside.] This fellow has something of the republican spirit in him.

Sos. [Looking about him.] Stay; this, methinks, should be our house; and I should thank the gods now for bringing me safe home: but, I think, I had as good let my devotions alone, till I have got the reward for my good news, and then thank them once for all; for, if I praise them before I am safe within doors, some damned mastiff dog may come out and worry me; and then my thanks are thrown away upon them.

Merc. [Aside.] Thou art a wicked rogue, and wilt have thy bargain beforehand; therefore thou get'st not into the house this night; and thank me accordingly as I use thee.

Sos. Now am I to give my lady an account of my lord's victory; 'tis good to exercise my parts beforehand, and file my tongue into eloquent expressions, to tickle her ladyship's imagination.

Merc. [Aside.] Good! and here's the god of eloquence to judge of thy oration.

Sos. [Setting down his Lanthorn.] This lanthorn, for once, shall be my lady; because she is the lamp of all beauty and perfection.

Merc. [Aside.] No, rogue! 'tis thy lord is the lanthorn by this time, or Jupiter is turned fumbler.

Sos. Then thus I make my addresses to her:—[Bows.] Madam, my lord has chosen me out, as the most faithful, though the most unworthy, of his followers, to bring your ladyship this following account of our glorious expedition. Then she,—O my poor Sosia, [In a shrill tone.] how am I overjoyed to see thee! She can say no less.—Madam, you do me too much honour, and the world will envy me this glory:—Well answered on my side.[33] And how does my lord Amphitryon?—Madam, he always does like a man of courage, when he is called by honour.—There I think I nicked it.—But when will he return?—As soon as possibly he can; but not so soon as his impatient heart could wish him with your ladyship.

Merc. [Aside.] When Thebes is an university, thou deservest to be their orator.

Sos. But what does he do, and what does he say? Pr'ythee tell me something more of him.—He always says less than he does, madam; and his enemies have found it to their cost.—Where the devil did I learn these elegancies and gallantries!

Merc. So, he has all the natural endowments of a fop, and only wants the education.

Sos. [Staring up to the sky.] What, is the devil in the night! She's as long as two nights. The seven stars are just where they were seven hours ago! high day—high night, I mean, by my favour. What, has Phœbus been playing the good fellow, and overslept himself, that he forgets his duty to us mortals!

Merc. How familiarly the rascal treats us gods! but I shall make him alter his tone immediately.

[Mercury comes nearer, and stands just before him.

Sos. [Seeing him, and starting back, aside.] How now? what, do my eyes dazzle, or is my dark lanthorn false to me! is not that a giant before our door? or a ghost of somebody slain in the late battle? If he be, 'tis unconscionably done, to fright an honest man thus, who never drew weapon wrathfully in all my life. Whatever wight he be, I am devilishly afraid, that's certain; but, 'tis discretion[34] to keep my own counsel; I'll sing, that I may seem valiant.

[Sosia sings; and, as Mercury speaks,
by little and little drops his voice.

Merc. What saucy companion is this, that deafens us with his hoarse voice? What midnight ballad-singer have we here? I shall teach the villain to leave off catterwauling.

Sos. I would I had courage, for his sake, that I might teach him to call my singing catterwauling! an illiterate rogue! an enemy to the muses, and to music.

Merc. There is an ill savour that offends my nostrils and it wafteth this way.

Sos. He has smelt me out; my fear has betrayed me into this savour. I am a dead man: the bloody villain is at his fee, fa, fum, already.

Merc. Stand, who goes there?

Sos. A friend.

Merc. What friend?

Sos. Why, a friend to all the world, that will give me leave to live peaceably.

Merc. I defy peace and all its works; my arms are out of exercise, they have mauled nobody these three days: I long for an honourable occasion to pound a man, and lay him asleep at the first buffet.

Sos. [Aside.] That would almost do me a kindness; for I have been kept waking, without tipping one wink of sleep, these three nights.

Merc. Of what quality are you, fellow?

Sos. Why, I am a man, fellow.—Courage, Sosia!

Merc. What kind of man?

Sos. Why, a two-legged man; what man should I be? [Aside.] I must bear up to him, he may prove as arrant a milksop as myself.


Merc. Thou art a coward, I warrant thee; do not I hear thy teeth chatter in thy head?

Sos. Ay, ay; that's only a sign they would be snapping at thy nose. [Aside.] Bless me, what an arm and fist he has, with great thumbs too; and golls and knuckle-bones of a very butcher!

Merc. Sirrah, from whence came you, and whither go you; answer me directly, upon pain of assassination.

Sos. I am coming from whence I came, and am going whither I go,—that's directly home; though this is somewhat an uncivil manner of proceeding, at the first sight of a man, let me tell you.

Merc. Then, to begin our better acquaintance, let me first make you a small present of this box o' the ear—— [Strikes him.

Sos. If I were as choleric a fool as you are now, here would be fine work betwixt us two; but I am a little better bred, than to disturb the sleeping neighbourhood; and so good-night, friend—— [Is going.

Merc. [Stopping him.] Hold, sir; you and I must not part so easily; once more, whither are you going?

Sos. Why I am going as fast as I can, to get out of the reach of your clutches. Let me but only knock at the door there.

Merc. What business have you at that door, sirrah?

Sos. This is our house; and, when I am got in, I will tell you more.

Merc. Whose house is this, sauciness, that you are so familiar with, to call it ours?

Sos. 'Tis mine, in the first place; and next, my master's; for I lie in the garret, and he lies under me.


Merc. Have your master and you no names, sirrah?

Sos. His name is Amphitryon; hear that, and tremble.

Merc. What, my lord general?

Sos. O, has his name mollified you! I have brought you down a peg lower already, friend.

Merc. And your name is——

Sos. Lord, friend, you are so very troublesome—what should my name be, but Sosia?

Merc. How, Sosia, say you? how long have you taken up that name, sirrah?

Sos. Here's a fine question! Why I never took it up, friend; it was born with me.

Merc. What, was your name born Sosia? take this remembrance for that lie. [Beats him.

Sos. Hold, friend! you are so very flippant with your hands, you won't hear reason: What offence has my name done you, that you should beat me for it? S. O. S. I. A. they are as civil, honest, harmless letters, as any are in the whole alphabet.

Merc. I have no quarrel to the name; but that 'tis e'en too good for you, and 'tis none of yours.

Sos. What, am not I Sosia, say you?

Merc. No.

Sos. I should think you are somewhat merrily disposed, if you had not beaten me in such sober sadness. You would persuade me out of my heathen name, would you?

Merc. Say you are Sosia again, at your peril, sirrah.

Sos. I dare say nothing, but thought is free; but whatever I am called, I am Amphitryon's man, and the first letter of my name is S. too. You had best tell me that my master did not send me home to my lady, with news of his victory?

Merc. I say, he did not.


Sos. Lord, Lord, friend, one of us two is horribly given to lying; but I do not say which of us, to avoid contention.

Merc. I say my name is Sosia, and yours is not.

Sos. I would you could make good your words; for then I should not be beaten, and you should.

Merc. I find you would be Sosia, if you durst; but if I catch you thinking so——

Sos. I hope I may think I was Sosia; and I can find no difference between my former self, and my present self, but that I was plain Sosia before, and now I am laced Sosia.

Merc. Take this, for being so impudent to think so. [Beats him.

Sos. [Kneeling.] Truce a little, I beseech thee! I would be a stock or a stone now by my good will, and would not think at all, for self-preservation. But will you give me leave to argue the matter fairly with you, and promise me to depose that cudgel, if I can prove myself to be that man that I was before I was beaten?

Merc. Well, proceed in safety; I promise you I will not beat you.

Sos. In the first place, then, is not this town called Thebes?

Merc. Undoubtedly.

Sos. And is not this house Amphitryon's?

Merc. Who denies it?

Sos. I thought you would have denied that too; for all hang upon a string. Remember then, that those two preliminary articles are already granted. In the next place, did not the aforesaid Amphitryon beat the Teleboans, kill their king Pterelas, and send a certain servant, meaning somebody, that for sake-sake shall be nameless, to bring a present to his wife, with news of his victory, and of his resolution to return to-morrow?


Merc. This is all true, to a very tittle; but who is that certain servant? there's all the question.

Sos. Is it peace or war betwixt us?

Merc. Peace.

Sos. I dare not wholly trust that abominable cudgel; but 'tis a certain friend of yours and mine, that had a certain name before he was beaten out of it; but if you are a man that depend not altogether upon force and brutality, but somewhat also upon reason, now do you bring better proofs, that you are that same certain man; and, in order to it, answer me to certain questions.

Merc. I say I am Sosia, Amphitryon's man; what reason have you to urge against it?

Sos. What was your father's name?

Merc. Davus; who was an honest husbandman, whose sister's name was Harpage, that was married, and died in a foreign country.

Sos. So far you are right, I must confess; and your wife's name is——

Merc. Bromia, a devilish shrew of her tongue, and a vixen of her hands, that leads me a miserable life; keeps me to hard duty a-bed; and beats me every morning when I have risen from her side, without having first——

Sos. I understand you, by many a sorrowful token;—this must be I. [Aside.

Merc. I was once taken upon suspicion of burglary, and was whipt through Thebes, and branded for my pains.

Sos. Right, me again; but if you are I, as I begin to suspect, that whipping and branding might have been past over in silence, for both our credits. And yet now I think on't, if I am I, (as I am I) he cannot be I. All these circumstances he might have heard; but I will now interrogate him upon some private passages.—What was the present that Amphitryon[39] sent by you or me, no matter which of us, to his wife Alcmena?

Merc. A buckle of diamonds, consisting of five large stones.

Sos. And where are they now?

Merc. In a case, sealed with my master's coat of arms.

Sos. This is prodigious, I confess; but yet 'tis nothing, now I think on't; for some false brother may have revealed it to him. [Aside.] But I have another question to ask you, of somewhat that passed only betwixt myself and me;—if you are Sosia, what were you doing in the heat of battle?

Merc. What a wise man should, that has respect for his own person. I ran into our tent, and hid myself amongst the baggage.

Sos. [Aside.] Such another cutting answer; and I must provide myself of another name.—[To him.] And how did you pass your time in that same tent? You need not answer to every circumstance so exactly now; you must lie a little, that I may think you the more me.

Merc. That cunning shall not serve your turn, to circumvent me out of my name: I am for plain naked truth. There stood a hogshead of old wine, which my lord reserved for his own drinking——

Sos. [Aside.] O the devil! as sure as death, he must have hid himself in that hogshead, or he could never have known that!

Merc. And by that hogshead, upon the ground, there lay the kind inviter and provoker of good drinking——

Sos. Nay, now I have caught you; there was neither inviter, nor provoker, for I was all alone.

Merc. A lusty gammon of——

Sos. [Sighing.] Bacon!—that word has quite[40] made an end of me.—Let me see—this must be I, in spite of me; but let me view him nearer.

[Walks about Mercury with his Dark Lanthorn.

Merc. What are you walking about me for, with your dark lanthorn?

Sos. No harm, friend; I am only surveying a parcel of earth here, that I find we two are about to bargain for:—He's damnable like me, that's certain. Imprimis, there's the patch upon my nose, with a pox to him. Item, A very foolish face, with a long chin at end on't. Item, One pair of shambling legs, with two splay feet belonging to them; and, summa totallis, from head to foot all my bodily apparel. [To Mercury.] Well, you are Sosia; there's no denying it:—but what am I then? for my mind gives me, I am somebody still, if I knew but who I were.

Merc. When I have a mind to be Sosia no more, then thou may'st be Sosia again.

Sos. I have but one request more to thee; that, though not as Sosia, yet as a stranger, I may go into that house, and carry a civil message to my lady.

Merc. No, sirrah; not being Sosia, you have no message to deliver, nor no lady in this house.

Sos. Thou canst not be so barbarous, to let me lie in the streets all night, after such a journey, and such a beating; and therefore I am resolved to knock at the door, in my own defence.

Merc. If you come near the door, I recal my word, and break off the truce, and then expect—— [Holds up his Cudgel.

Sos. No, the devil take me if I do expect; I have felt too well what sour fruit that crab-tree bears: I'll rather beat it back upon the hoof to my lord Amphitryon, to see if he will acknowledge me for Sosia; if he does not, then I am no longer his[41] slave; there's my freedom dearly purchased with a sore drubbing: if he does acknowledge me, then I am Sosia again. So far 'tis tolerably well: but then I shall have a second drubbing for an unfortunate ambassador, as I am; and that's intolerable. [Exit Sosia.

Merc. [Alone.] I have fobbed off his excellency pretty well. Now let him return, and make the best of his credentials. I think, too, I have given Jupiter sufficient time for his consummation.—Oh, he has taken his cue; and here he comes as leisurely, and as lank, as if he had emptied himself of the best part of his almightyship.


Enter Jupiter, leading Alcmena, followed by Phædra.
Pages with Torches before them.

Jup. [To the Pages.] Those torches are offensive; stand aloof;
For, though they bless me with thy heavenly sight, [To her.
They may disclose the secret I would hide.
The Thebans must not know I have been here;
Detracting crowds would blame me, that I robbed
These happy moments from my public charge,
To consecrate to thy desired embrace;
And I could wish no witness but thyself,
For thou thyself art all I wish to please.
Alcm. So long an absence, and so short a stay!
What, but one night! one night of joy and love
Could only pay one night of cares and fears,
And all the rest are an uncancelled sum!—
Curse on this honour, and this public fame;
Would you had less of both, and more of love!
Jup. Alcmena, I must go.
Alcm. Not yet, my lord.
Jup. Indeed I must.
Alcm. Indeed you shall not go.
Jup. Behold the ruddy streaks o'er yonder hill;
Those are the blushes of the breaking morn,
That kindle day-light to this nether world.
Alcm. No matter for the day; it was but made
To number out the hours of busy men.
Let them be busy still, and still be wretched,
And take their fill of anxious drudging day;
But you and I will draw our curtains close,
Extinguish day-light, and put out the sun.
Come back, my lord; in faith you shall retire;
You have not yet lain long enough in bed,
To warm your widowed side.

Phæd. [Aside.] I find my lord is an excellent school-master, my lady is so willing to repeat her lesson.

Merc. [Aside.] That's a plaguy little devil; what a roguish eye she has! I begin to like her strangely. She's the perquisite of my place too; for my lady's waiting-woman is the proper fees of my lord's chief gentleman. I have the privilege of a god too; I can view her naked through all her clothes. Let me see, let me see;—I have discovered something, that pleases me already.

Jup. Let me not live, but thou art all enjoyment!
So charming and so sweet,
That not a night, but whole eternity,
Were well employed,
To love thy each perfection as it ought.
Alcm. [Kissing him.] I'll bribe you with this kiss, to stay a while.
Jup. [Kissing her.] A bribe indeed that soon will bring me back;
But, to be just, I must restore your bribe.
How I could dwell for ever on those lips!
O, I could kiss them pale with eagerness!
So soft, by heaven! and such a juicy sweet,
That ripened peaches have not half the flavour.
Alcm. Ye niggard gods! you make our lives too long;
You fill them with diseases, wants, and woes,
And only dash them with a little love,
Sprinkled by fits, and with a sparing hand:
Count all our joys, from childhood even to age,
They would but make a day of every year.
Take back your seventy years, the stint of life,
Or else be kind, and cram the quintessence
Of seventy years into sweet seventy days;
For all the rest is flat, insipid being.
Jup. But yet one scruple pains me at my parting:
I love so nicely, that I cannot bear
To owe the sweets of love, which I have tasted,
To the submissive duty of a wife.
Tell me, and sooth my passion ere I go,
That, in the kindest moments of the night,
When you gave up yourself to love and me,
You thought not of a husband, but a lover?
Alcm. But tell me first, why you would raise a blush
Upon my cheeks, by asking such a question?
Jup. I would owe nothing to a name so dull
As husband is, but to a lover all.
Alcm. You should have asked me then, when love and night,
And privacy, had favoured your demand.
Jup. I ask it now, because my tenderness
Surpasses that of husbands for their wives.
O that you loved like me! then you would find
A thousand, thousand niceties in love.
The common love of sex to sex is brutal;
But love refined will fancy to itself
Millions of gentle cares, and sweet disquiets;
The being happy is not half the joy;
The manner of their happiness is all.
In me, my charming mistress, you behold
A lover that disdains a lawful title,
Such as of monarchs to successive thrones;
The generous lover holds by force of arms,
And claims his crown by conquest.
Alcm. Methinks you should be pleased; I give you all
A virtuous and modest wife can give.
Jup. No, no; that very name of wife and marriage
Is poison to the dearest sweets of love;
To please my niceness, you must separate
The lover from his mortal foe—the husband.
Give to the yawning husband your cold virtue;
But all your vigorous warmth, your melting sighs,
Your amorous murmurs, be your lover's part.
Alcm. I comprehend not what you mean, my lord;
But only love me still, and love me thus,
And think me such as best may please your thought.
Jup. There's mystery of love in all I say.—
Farewell; and when you see your husband next,
Think of your lover then.

[Exeunt Jup. and Alcm. severally; Phæd. follows her.

Merc. [Alone.] Now I should follow him; but love has laid a lime-twig for me, and made a lame god of me. Yet why should I love this Phædra? She's interested, and a jilt into the bargain. Three thousand years hence, there will be a whole nation of such women, in a certain country, that will be called France; and there's a neighbour island, too, where the men of that country will be all interest. O what a precious generation will that be, which the men of the island shall propagate out of the women of the continent!—


Phædra re-enters.

And so much for prophecy; for she's here again, and I must love her, in spite of me. And since I must, I have this comfort, that the greatest wits are commonly the greatest cullies; because neither of the sexes can be wiser than some certain parts about them will give them leave.

Phæd. Well, Sosia, and how go matters?

Merc. Our army is victorious.

Phæd. And my servant, judge Gripus?

Merc. A voluptuous gormand.

Phæd. But has he gotten wherewithal to be voluptuous; is he wealthy?

Merc. He sells justice as he uses; fleeces the rich rebels, and hangs up the poor.

Phæd. Then, while he has money, he may make love to me. Has he sent me no token?

Merc. Yes, a kiss; and by the same token I am to give it you, as a remembrance from him.

Phæd. How now, impudence! A beggarly serving-man presume to kiss me?

Merc. Suppose I were a god, and should make love to you?

Phæd. I would first be satisfied, whether you were a poor god, or a rich god.

Merc. Suppose I were Mercury, the god of merchandise?

Phæd. What! the god of small wares, and fripperies, of pedlers and pilferers?

Merc. How the gipsy despises me! [Aside.

Phæd. I had rather you were Plutus, the god of money; or Jupiter, in a golden shower: there was a god for us women! he had the art of making love. Dost thou think that kings, or gods either, get mistresses by their good faces? no, it is the gold, and[46] the presents they can make; there is the prerogative they have over their fair subjects.

Merc. All this notwithstanding, I must tell you, pretty Phædra, I am desperately in love with you.

Phæd. And I must tell thee, ugly Sosia, thou hast not wherewithal to be in love.

Merc. Yes, a poor man may be in love, I hope.

Phæd. I grant a poor rogue may be in love, but he can never make love. Alas, Sosia, thou hast neither face to invite me, nor youth to please me, nor gold to bribe me; and, besides all this, thou hast a wife, poor miserable Sosia!—What, ho, Bromia!

Merc. O thou merciless creature, why dost thou conjure up that sprite of a wife?

Phæd. To rid myself of that devil of a poor lover. Since you are so lovingly disposed, I'll put you together to exercise your fury upon your own wedlock.—What, Bromia, I say, make haste; here is a vessel of yours, full freighted, that is going off without paying duties.

Merc. Since thou wilt not let me steal custom, she shall have all the cargo I have gotten in the wars; but thou mightst have lent me a little creek, to smuggle in.

Phæd. Why, what have you gotten, good gentleman soldier, besides a legion of—— [Snaps her fingers.

Merc. When the enemy was routed, I had the plundering of a tent.

Phæd. That is to say, a house of canvas, with moveables of straw.—Make haste, Bromia!——

Merc. But it was the general's own tent.

Phæd. You durst not fight, I am certain; and therefore came last in, when the rich plunder was gone beforehand.—Will you come, Bromia?

Merc. Pr'ythee, do not call so loud:—A great goblet, that holds a gallon.


Phæd. Of what was that goblet made? answer quickly, for I am just calling very loud——Bro—

Merc. Of beaten gold. Now, call aloud, if thou dost not like the metal.

Phæd. Bromia. [Very softly.

Merc. That struts in this fashion, with his arms a-kimbo, like a city magistrate; and a great bouncing belly, like a hostess with child of a kilderkin of wine. Now, what say you to that present, Phædra?

Phæd. Why, I am considering——

Merc. What, I pr'ythee?

Phæd. Why, how to divide the business equally; to take the gift, and refuse the giver, thou art so damnably ugly, and so old.

Merc. Now the devil take Jupiter, for confining me to this ungodly shape to-day! [Aside.] but Gripus is as old and as ugly too.

Phæd. But Gripus is a person of quality, and my lady's uncle; and if he marries me, I shall take place of my lady.—Hark, your wife! she has sent her tongue before her. I hear the thunderclap already; there is a storm approaching.

Merc. Yes, of thy brewing; I thank thee for it. O how I should hate thee now, if I could leave loving thee!

Phæd. Not a word of the dear golden goblet, as you hope for—you know what, Sosia.

Merc. You give me hope, then——

Phæd. Not absolutely hope neither; but gold is a great cordial in love matters; and the more you apply of it, the better.—[Aside.] I am honest, that is certain; but when I weigh my honesty against the goblet, I am not quite resolved on which side the scale will turn. [Exit Phæd.

Merc. [Aloud.] Farewell, Phædra; remember me to my wife, and tell her——


Enter Bromia.

Brom. Tell her what, traitor? that you are going away without seeing her?

Merc. That I am doing my duty, and following my master.

Brom. 'Umph!—so brisk, too! your master did his duty to my lady before he parted: He could leave his army in the lurch, and come galloping home at midnight to have a lick at the honey-pot; and steal to-bed as quietly as any mouse, I warrant you. My master knew what belonged to a married life; but you, sirrah—you trencher-carrying rascal—you worse than dunghill-cock; that stood clapping your wings, and crowing without doors, when you should have been at roost, you villain—

Merc. Hold your peace, dame Partlet, and leave your cackling; my master charged me to stand centry without doors.

Brom. My master! I dare swear thou beliest him; my master is more a gentleman than to lay such an unreasonable command upon a poor distressed married couple, and after such an absence too. No, there is no comparison between my master and thee, thou sneaksby.

Merc. No more than there is betwixt my lady and you, Bromia. You and I have had our time in a civil way, spouse, and much good love has been betwixt us; but we have been married fifteen years, I take it; and that hoighty toighty business ought, in conscience, to be over.

Brom. Marry come up, my saucy companion! I am neither old nor ugly enough to have that said to me.

Merc. But will you hear reason, Bromia? my lord and my lady are yet in a manner bride and bridegroom; they are in honey-moon still: do but[49] think, in decency, what a jest it would be to the family, to see two venerable old married people lying snug in a bed together, and sighing out fine tender things to one another!

Brom. How now, traitor, darest thou maintain that I am past the age of having fine things said to me?

Merc. Not so, my dear; but certainly I am past the age of saying them.

Brom. Thou deservest not to be yoked with a woman of honour, as I am, thou perjured villain.

Merc. Ay, you are too much a woman of honour, to my sorrow; many a poor husband would be glad to compound for less honour in his wife, and more quiet. Pr'ythee, be but honest and continent in thy tongue, and do thy worst with every thing else about thee.

Brom. Thou wouldst have a woman of the town, wouldst thou! to be always speaking my husband fair, to make him digest his cuckoldom more easily! wouldst thou be a wittol, with a vengeance to thee? I am resolved I'll scour thy hide for that word. [Holds up her ladle at him.

Merc. Thou wilt not strike thy lord and husband, wilt thou?

Brom. Since thou wilt none of the meat, 'tis but justice to give thee the bastings of the ladle. [She courses him about.

Merc. [Running about.] Was ever poor deity so hen-pecked as I am! nay, then 'tis time to charm her asleep with my enchanted rod, before I am disgraced or ravished. [Plucks out his Caduceus, and strikes her upon the shoulder with it.

Brom. What, art thou rebelling against thy anointed wife! I'll make thee—how now—What, has the rogue bewitched me! I grow dull and stupid[50] on the sudden—I can neither stir hand nor foot—I am just like him—I have lost the use of all my—members—[Yawning.]—I can't so much as wag my tongue—neither, and that's the last liv—ing part about a—woman— [Falls down.

Mercury alone.

Lord, what have I suffered for being but a counterfeit married man one day! If ever I come to this house as a husband again—then—and yet that then was a lie too; for, while I am in love with this young gipsy, Phædra, I must return. But lie thou there, thou type of Juno; thou that wantest nothing of her tongue, but the immortality. If Jupiter ever let thee set foot in heaven, Juno will have a rattling second of thee; and there will never be a fair day in heaven or earth after it:

For two such tongues will break the poles asunder;
And, hourly scolding, make perpetual thunder. [Exit Mercury.

SCENE I.Before Amphitryon's Palace.

Amphitryon and Sosia.

Amph. Now, sirrah, follow me into the house; thou shalt be convinced at thy own cost, villain! What horrible lies hast thou told me! such improbabilities, such stuff, such nonsense!—that the monster, with two long horns, that frighted the great king, and the devil at the stone-cutter's, are truths to these.[8]


Sos. I am but a slave, and you are master; and a poor man is always to lie when a rich man is pleased to contradict him: but, as sure as this is our house—

Amph. So sure 'tis thy place of execution.—Thou art not made for lying neither.

Sos. That's certain; for all my neighbours say I have an honest face; or else they would never call me cuckold, as they do.

Amph. I mean thou hast not wit enough to make a lie that will hang together: thou hast set up a trade that thou hast not stock enough to manage. O that I had but a crab-tree cudgel for thy sake!

Sos. How, a cudgel, said you! the devil take Jupiter for inventing that hard-hearted, merciless, knobby wood.

Amph. The bitterness is yet to come: thou hast had but a half dose of it.

Sos. I was never good at swallowing physic; and my stomach wambles at the very thought of it. But, if I must have a second beating, in conscience let me strip first, that I may show you the black and blue streaks upon my sides and shoulders. I am sure I suffered them in your service.

Amph. To what purpose wouldst thou show them?

Sos. Why, to the purpose that you may not strike me upon the sore places; and that, as he beat me the last night cross-ways, so you would please to beat me long-ways, to make clean work on't, that at least my skin may look like chequer-work.

Amph. This request is too reasonable to be refused. But, that all things may be done in order, tell me over again the same story, with all the circumstances of thy commission, that a blow may follow in due form for every lie. To repetition, rogue; to repetition.

Sos. No; it shall be all a lie, if you please; and I'll eat my words, to save my shoulders.


Amph. Ay, sirrah, now you find you are to be disproved; but 'tis too late. To repetition, rogue; to repetition.

Sos. With all my heart, to any repetition but the cudgel. But would you be pleased to answer me one civil question? Am I to use complaisance to you, as to a great person that will have all things said your own way? or am I to tell you the naked truth alone, without the ceremony of a farther beating?

Amph. Nothing but the truth, and the whole truth; so help thee, cudgel!

Sos. That's a damned conclusion of a sentence: but, since it must be so—back and sides, at your own peril!—I set out from the port in an unlucky hour; the dusky canopy of night enveloping the hemisphere.—

Amph. [Strikes him.] Imprimis, for fustian:—now proceed.

Sos. I stand corrected: In plain prose then,—I went darkling, and whistling to keep myself from being afraid; mumbling curses betwixt my teeth, for being sent at such an unnatural time of night.

Amph. How, sirrah, cursing and swearing against your lord and master! take— [Going to strike.

Sos. Hold, sir—pray, consider if this be not unreasonable to strike me for telling the whole truth, when you commanded me: I'll fall into my old dog-trot of lying again, if this must come of plain dealing.

Amph. To avoid impertinences make an end of your journey, and come to the house;—what found you there, a god's name?

Sos. I came thither in no god's name at all, but in the devil's name; I found before the door a swinging fellow, with all my shapes and features, and accoutred also in my habit.


Amph. Who was that fellow?

Sos. Who should it be, but another Sosia! a certain kind of other me: who knew all my unfortunate commission, precisely to a word, as well as I Sosia; as being sent by yourself from the port upon the same errand to Alcmena.

Amph. What gross absurdities are these?

Sos. O Lord, O Lord, what absurdities!—as plain as any packstaff. That other me had posted himself there before me, me.—You won't give a man leave to speak poetically now; or else I would say, that I was arrived at the door just before I came thither.

Amph. This must either be a dream or drunkenness, or madness in thee. Leave your buffooning and lying; I am not in humour to bear it, sirrah.

Sos. I would you should know I scorn a lie, and am a man of honour in every thing but just fighting. I tell you once again, in plain sincerity and simplicity of heart, that, before last night, I never took myself but for one single individual Sosia; but, coming to our door, I found myself, I know not how, divided, and, as it were, split into two Sosias.

Amph. Leave buffooning: I see you would make me laugh, but you play the fool scurvily.

Sos. That may be; but, if I am a fool, I am not the only fool in this company.

Amph. How now, impudence! I shall——

Sos. Be not in wrath, sir; I meant not you: I cannot possibly be the only fool; for, if I am one fool, I must certainly be two fools; because, as I told you, I am double.

Amph. That one should be two, is very probable!

Sos. Have you not seen a six-pence split into two halves, by some ingenious school-boy, which bore on either side the impression of the monarch's face?[54] Now, as those moieties were two three-pences, and yet in effect but one six-pence——

Amph. No more of your villainous tropes and figures.

Sos. Nay, if an orator must be disarmed of his similitudes——

Amph. A man had need of patience, to endure this gibberish! be brief, and come to a conclusion.

Sos. What would you have, sir? I came thither, but the t'other I was before me; for that there was two I's, is as certain, as that I have two eyes in this head of mine. This I, that am here, was weary: the t'other I was fresh; this I was peaceable, and t'other I was a hectoring bully I.

Amph. And thou expect'st I should believe thee?

Sos. No; I am not so unreasonable; for I could never have believed it myself, if I had not been well beaten into it: but a cudgel, you know, is a convincing argument in a brawny fist. What shall I say, but that I was compelled, at last, to acknowledge myself! I found that he was very I, without fraud, cozen, or deceit. Besides, I viewed myself, as in a mirror, from head to foot; he was handsome of a noble presence, a charming air, loose and free in all his motions; and saw he was so much I, that I should have reason to be better satisfied with my own person, if his hands had not been a little of the heaviest.

Amph. Once again, to a conclusion: Say you passed by him, and entered into the house.

Sos. I am a friend to truth, and say no such thing; he defended the door, and I could not enter.

Amph. How, not enter?

Sos. Why, how should I enter? unless I were a spirit, to glide by him, and shoot myself through locks, and bolts, and two-inch boards.


Amph. O coward! Didst thou not attempt to pass?

Sos. Yes, and was repulsed and beaten for my pains.

Amph. Who beat thee?

Sos. I beat me.

Amph. Didst thou beat thyself?

Sos. I don't mean I, here: but the absent Me beat me here present.

Amph. There's no end of this intricate piece of nonsense.

Sos. 'Tis only nonsense, because I speak it, who am a poor fellow; but it would be sense, and substantial sense, if a great man said it, that was backed with a title, and the eloquence of ten thousand pounds a-year.

Amph. No more; but let us enter:—Hold! my Alcmena is coming out, and has prevented me: how strangely will she be surprised to see me here so unexpectedly!

Enter Alcmena and Phædra.

Alcm. [To Phæd.] Make haste after me to the temple; that we may thank the gods for this glorious success, which Amphitryon has had against the rebels—O heaven! [Seeing him.

Amph. Those heavens, and all the blessed inhabitants, [Saluting her.
Grant, that the sweet rewarder of my pains
May still be kind, as on our nuptial night!
Alcm. So soon returned!
Amph. So soon returned! Is this thy welcome home? [Stepping back.
So soon returned, says I am come unwished.
This is no language of desiring love:
Love reckons hours for months, and days for years;
And every little absence is an age.
Alcm. What says my lord?
Amph. No, my Alcmena, no:
True love by its impatience measures time,
And the dear object never comes too soon.
Alcm. Nor ever came you so, nor ever shall;
But you yourself are changed from what you were,
Palled in desires, and surfeited of bliss.
Not so I met you at your last return;
When yesternight I flew into your arms,
And melted in your warm embrace.
Amph. How's this?
Alcm. Did not my soul even sparkle at my eyes,
And shoot itself into your much-loved bosom?
Did I not tremble with excess of joy?
Nay agonize with pleasure at your sight,
With such inimitable proofs of passion,
As no false love could feign?
Amph. What's this you tell me?
Alcm. Far short of truth, by heaven!
And you returned those proofs with usury;
And left me, with a sigh, at break of day.
Have you forgot?
Amph. Or have you dreamt, Alcmena?
Perhaps some kind, revealing deity
Has whispered, in your sleep, the pleasing news
Of my return, and you believed it real;
Perhaps too, in your dream, you used me kindly;
And my preventing image reaped the joys
You meant, awake, to me.
Alcm. Some melancholy vapour, sure, has seized
Your brain, Amphitryon, and disturbed your sense;
Or yesternight is not so long a time,
But yet you might remember; and not force
An honest blush into my glowing cheeks,
For that which lawful marriage makes no crime.
Amph. I thank you for my melancholy vapour.


Alcm. 'Tis but a just requital for my dream.

Phæd. I find my master took too much of the creature last night, [Aside.] and now is angling for a quarrel, that no more may be expected from him to-night, when he has no assets.

[In the mean time, Amph. and Alc. walk by
themselves, and frown at each other as they meet.

Amph. You dare not justify it to my face.

Alcm. Not what?

Amph. That I returned before this hour.

Alcm. You dare not, sure, deny you came last night,
And staid till break of day?

Amph. O impudence!—Why Sosia!

Sos. Nay, I say nothing; for all things here may go by enchantment, as they did with me, for aught I know.

Alcm. Speak, Phædra,—was he here?

Phæd. You know, madam, I am but a chamber-maid; and, by my place, I am to forget all that was done over night in love-matters,—unless my master please to rub up my memory with another diamond.

Amph. Now, in the name of all the gods, Alcmena,
A little recollect your scattered thoughts,
And weigh what you have said.
Alcm. I weighed it well, Amphitryon, ere I spoke:
And she, and Bromia, all the slaves and servants,
Can witness they beheld you, when you came.
If other proof were wanting, tell me how
I came to know your fight, your victory,
The death of Pterelas in single combat?
And farther, from whose hands I had a jewel,
The spoils of him you slew?
Amph. This is amazing!
Have I already given you those diamonds,
The present I reserved?
Alcm. 'Tis an odd question:
You see I wear them; look.

Amph. Now answer, Sosia.

Sos. Yes, now I can answer with a safe conscience, as to that point; all the rest may be art magic, but, as for the diamonds, here they are, under safe custody.

Alcm. Then what are these upon my arm? [To Sosia.

Sos. Flints, or pebbles, or some such trumpery of enchanted stones.

Phæd. They say, the proof of a true diamond is to glitter in the dark: I think my master had best take my lady into some by-corner, and try whose diamond will sparkle best.

Sos. Yet, now I think on't, madam, did not a certain friend of mine present them to you?

Alcm. What friend?

Sos. Why another Sosia, one that made himself Sosia in my despite, and also unsosiated me.

Amph. Sirrah, leave your nauseous nonsense; break open the seal, and take out the diamonds.

Sos. More words than one to a bargain, sir. I I thank you,—that's no part of prudence for me to commit burglary upon the seals: Do you look first upon the signet, and tell me, in your conscience, whether the seals be not as firm as when you clapt the wax upon them.

Amph. The signature is firm. [Looking.

Sos. Then take the signature into your own custody, and open it; for I will have nothing done at my proper peril. [Giving him the Casket.

Amph. O heavens! here's nothing but an empty space, the nest where they were laid. [Breaking open the Seal.

Sos. Then, if the birds are flown, the fault's not mine. Here has been fine conjuring work; or else[59] the jewel, knowing to whom it should be given, took occasion to steal out, by a natural instinct, and tied itself to that pretty arm.

Amph. Can this be possible?

Sos. Yes, very possible: You, my lord Amphitryon, may have brought forth another. You my lord Amphitryon, as well as I, Sosia, have brought forth another Me, Sosia; and our diamonds may have procreated these diamonds, and so we are all three double.

Phæd. If this be true, I hope my goblet has gigged another golden goblet; and then they may carry double upon all four. [Aside.

Alcm. My lord, I have stood silent, out of wonder
What you could wonder at.
Amph. A chilling sweat, a damp of jealousy,
Hangs on my brows, and clams upon my limbs.
I fear, and yet I must be satisfied;
And, to be satisfied, I must dissemble. [Aside.
Alcm. Why muse you so, and murmur to yourself?
If you repent your bounty, take it back.
Amph. Not so; but, if you please, relate what past
At our last interview.
Alcm. That question would infer you were not here.
Amph. I say not so;
I only would refresh my memory,
And have my reasons to desire the story.

Phæd. So, this is as good sport for me, as an examination of a great belly before a magistrate.

Alcm. The story is not long: you know I met you,
Kissed you, and pressed you close within my arms,
With all the tenderness of wifely love.
Amph. I could have spared that kindness.— [Aside.
And what did I?
Alcm. You strained me with a masculine embrace,
As you would squeeze my soul out.
Amph. Did I so?
Alcm. You did.
Amph. Confound those arms that were so kind!— [Aside.
Proceed, proceed—— [To her.

Alcm. You would not stay to sup; but much complaining of your drowsiness, and want of natural rest——

Amph. Made haste to bed: Ha, was't not so?
Go on—
[Aside.] And stab me with each syllable thou speak'st.
Phæd. So, now 'tis coming, now 'tis coming.
Alcm. I have no more to say.
Amph. Why, went we not to bed?
Alcm. Why not?
Is it a crime for husband and for wife
To go to bed, my lord?
Amph. Perfidious woman!
Alcm. Ungrateful man!
Amph. She justifies it too!
Alcm. I need not justify: Of what am I accused?
Amph. Of all that prodigality of kindness
Given to another, and usurped from me.
So bless me, Heaven, if, since my first departure,
I ever set my foot upon this threshold!
So am I innocent of all those joys,
And dry of those embraces.
Alcm. Then I, it seems, am false!
Amph. As surely false, as what thou say'st is true.
Alcm. I have betrayed my honour, and my love,
And am a foul adultress?
Amph. What thou art,
Thou stand'st condemned to be, by thy relation.
Alcm. Go, thou unworthy man! for ever go:
No more my husband: go, thou base impostor!
Who tak'st a vile pretence to taint my fame,
And, not content to leave, wouldst ruin me.
Enjoy thy wished divorce: I will not plead
My innocence of this pretended crime;
I need not. Spit thy venom; do thy worst;
But know, the more thou wouldst expose my virtue,
Like purest linen laid in open air,
'Twill bleach the more, and whiten to the view.
Amph. 'Tis well thou art prepared for thy divorce:
For, know thou too, that, after this affront,
This foul indignity done to my honour,
Divorcement is but petty reparation.
But, since thou hast, with impudence, affirmed
My false return, and bribed my slaves to vouch it,
The truth shall, in the face of Thebes, be cleared:
Thy uncle, the companion of my voyage,
And all the crew of seamen shall be brought,
Who were embarked, and came with me to land,
Nor parted, till I reached this cursed door:
So shall this vision of my late return
Stand a detected lie; and woe to those,
Who thus betrayed my honour!
Sos. Sir, shall I wait on you?
Amph. No, I will go alone. Expect me here. [Exit Amphitryon.
Phæd. Please you, that I—— [To Alcmena.
Alcm. Oh! nothing now can please me:
Darkness, and solitude, and sighs, and tears,
And all the inseparable train of grief,
Attend my steps for ever.—— [Exit Alcmena.

Sos. What if I should lie now, and say we have been here before? I never saw any good that came of telling truth. [Aside.

Phæd. He makes no more advances to me: I begin a little to suspect, that my gold goblet will prove but copper. [Aside.

Sos. Yes, 'tis resolved, I will lie abominably, against the light of my own conscience. For, suppose the other Sosia has been here, perhaps that[62] strong dog has not only beaten me, but also has been predominant upon my wife, and most carnally misused her! Now, by asking certain questions of her, with a side-wind, I may come to understand how squares go, and whether my nuptial bed be violated. [Aside.

Phæd. Most certainly he has learned impudence of his master, and will deny his being here; but that shall not serve his turn, to cheat me of my present. [Aside.]—Why, Sosia! What, in a brown study?

Sos. A little cogitabund, or so, concerning this dismal revolution in our family.

Phæd. But that should not make you neglect your duty to me, your mistress.

Sos. Pretty soul! I would thou wert, upon condition that old Bromia were six foot under ground.

Phæd. What! is all your hot courtship to me dwindled into a poor unprofitable wish? You may remember, I did not bid you absolutely despair.

Sos. No, for all things yet may be accommodated, in an amicable manner, betwixt my master and my lady.

Phæd. I mean, to the business betwixt you and me—

Sos. Why, I hope we two never quarrelled?

Phæd. Must I remember you of a certain promise, that you made me at our last parting?

Sos. Oh, when I went to the army: that I should still be praising thy beauty to judge Gripus, and keep up his affections to thee?

Phæd. No, I mean the business betwixt you and me this morning—that you promised me——

Sos. That I promised thee—I find it now. That strong dog, my brother Sosia, has been here before me, and made love to her. [Aside.


Phæd. You are considering, whether or no you should keep your promise—

Sos. That I should keep my promise.—The truth on't is, she's another-guess morsel than old Bromia. [Aside.

Phæd. And I had rather you should break it, in a manner, and as it were, and in some sense——

Sos. In a manner, and as it were, and in some sense, thou say'st?—I find, the strong dog has only tickled up her imagination, and not enjoyed her; so that, with my own limbs, I may perform the sweetness of his function with her. [Aside.]—No, sweet creature, the promise shall not be broken; but what I have undertaken, I will perform like a man of honour.

Phæd. Then you remember the preliminaries of the present——

Sos. Yes, yes, in gross I do remember something; but this disturbance of the family has somewhat stupified my memory. Some pretty quelque chose, I warrant thee; some acceptable toy, of small value.

Phæd. You may call a gold goblet a toy; but I put a greater value upon your presents.

Sos. A gold goblet, say'st thou! Yes, now I think on't, it was a kind of a gold goblet, as a gratuity after consummation.

Phæd. No, no; I had rather make sure of one bribe beforehand, than be promised ten gratuities.

Sos. Yes, now I remember, it was, in some sense, a gold goblet, by way of earnest; and it contained—

Phæd. One large—

Sos. How, one large—

Phæd. Gallon.

Sos. No; that was somewhat too large, in conscience: It was not a whole gallon; but it may contain, reasonably speaking, one large—thimble-full;[64] but gallons and thimble-fulls are so like, that, in speaking, I might easily mistake them.

Phæd. Is it come to this?—Out, traitor!

Sos. I had been a traitor, indeed, to have betrayed thee to the swallowing of a gallon; but a thimble-full of cordial water is easily sipt off: and then, this same goblet is so very light too, that it will be no burden to carry it about with thee in thy pocket.

Phæd. O apostate to thy love! O perjured villain!—

Enter Bromia.

What, are you here, Bromia? I was telling him his own: I was giving him a rattle for his treacheries to you, his love: You see I can be a friend, upon occasion.

Brom. Ay, chicken, I never doubted of thy kindness; but, for this fugitive—this rebel—this miscreant——

Sos. A kind welcome, to an absent lover, as I have been.

Brom. Ay; and a kind greeting you gave me, at your return; when you used me so barbarously this morning.

Sos. The t'other Sosia has been with her too; and has used her barbarously: barbarously,—that is to say, uncivilly: and uncivilly,—I am afraid that means too civilly. [Aside.

Phæd. You had best deny you were here this morning! And by the same token——

Sos. Nay, no more tokens, for Heaven's sake, dear Phædra.—Now must I ponder with myself a little, whether it be better for me to have been here, or not to have been here, this morning. [Aside.


Enter a Servant.

Serv. Phædra, my lord's without; and will not enter till he has first spoken with you. [Exit Serv.

Phæd. [To him in private.] Oh, that I could stay to help worry thee for this abuse; but the best on't is, I leave thee in good hands.——Farewell, Thimble——To him, Bromia. [Exit Phædra.

Brom. No; you did not beat me, and put me into a swoon, and deprive me of the natural use of my tongue for a long half hour: you did not beat me down with your little wand:—but I shall teach you to use your rod another time——I shall.

Sos. Put her into a swoon, with my little wand, and so forth! That's more than ever I could do. These are terrible circumstances, that some Sosia or other has been here. Now, if he has literally beaten her, gramercy, brother Sosia! he has but done what I would have done, if I had durst. But I am afraid it was only a damned love-figure; and that the wand, that laid her asleep, might signify the peace-maker. [Aside.

Brom. Now you are snuffling up on a cold scent, for some pitiful excuse. I know you; twenty to one, but you will plead a drunkenness; you are used to be pot-valiant.

Sos. I was pumping, and I thank her, she has invented for me.—Yes, Bromia, I must confess I was exalted; and, possibly, I might scour upon thee, or perhaps be a little more familiar with thy person, by the way of kindness, than if I had been sober: but, pr'ythee, inform me what I did, that I may consider what satisfaction I am to make thee.

Brom. Are you there at your dog-tricks! You would be forgetting, would you? like a drunken bully that affronts over night, and, when he is called[66] to account the next morning, remembers nothing of the quarrel; and asks pardon, to avoid fighting.

Sos. By Bacchus, I was overtaken; but I should be loth that I committed any folly with thee.

Brom. I am sure, I kept myself awake all night, that I did, in expectation of your coming. [Crying.

Sos. But what amends did I make thee, when I came?

Brom. You know well enough, to my sorrow, but that you play the hypocrite.

Sos. I warrant, I was monstrous kind to thee.

Brom. Yes, monstrous kind indeed: You never said a truer word; for, when I came to kiss you, you pulled away your mouth, and turned your cheek to me.

Sos. Good.

Brom. How, good! Here's fine impudence! He justifies!

Sos. Yes, I do justify, that I turned my cheek, like a prudent person, that my breath might not offend thee; for, now I remember, I had eaten garlick.

Brom. Ay, you remember, and forget, just as it makes for you, or against you; but, to mend the matter, you never spoke one civil word to me; but stood like a stock, without sense or motion.

Sos. Yet better. [Aside.

Brom. After which, I lovingly invited you to take your place in your nuptial bed, as the laws of matrimony oblige you; and you inhumanly refused me.

Sos. Ay, there's the main point of the business! Art thou morally certain, that I refused thee? Look me now in the face, and say I did not commit matrimony with thee!

Brom. I wonder how thou canst look me in the face, after that refusal!


Sos. Say it once again, that I did not feloniously come to bed to thee!

Brom. No, thou cold traitor, thou know'st thou didst not.

Sos. Best of all!—'twas discreetly done of me to abstain.

Brom. What, do you insult upon me too?

Sos. No, I do not insult upon you——but—

Brom. But what? How was it discreetly done then? ha!

Sos. Because it is the received opinion of physicians, that nothing but puling chits, and booby-fools are procreated in drunkenness.

Brom. A received opinion, snivel-guts! I'll be judged by all the married women of this town, if any one of them has received it. The devil take the physicians for meddling in our matters! If a husband will be ruled by them, there are five weeks of abstinence in dog-days too; for fear a child, that was got in August, should be born just nine months after, and be blear-eyed, like a May kitten.

Sos. Let the physicians alone; they are honest men, whatever the world says of them. But, for a certain reason, that I best know, I am glad that matter ended so fairly and peaceably betwixt us.

Brom. Yes, 'twas very fair and peaceably; to strike a woman down, and beat her most outrageously.

Sos. Is't possible that I drubbed thee?

Brom. I find your drift; you would fain be provoking me to a new trial now: but, i'faith, you shall bring me to no more handy-blows; I shall make bold to trust to my tongue hereafter. You never durst have offered to hold up a finger against me, till you went a trooping.

Sos. Then I am a conqueror; and I laud my own[68] courage: this renown I have atchieved by soldier-ship and stratagem. Know your duty, spouse, hence-forward, to your supreme commander. [Strutting.

Enter Jupiter and Phædra,
attended by Musicians and Dancers.

Phæd. Indeed I wondered at your quick return.

Jup. Even so almighty love will have it, Phædra;
And the stern goddess of sweet-bitter cares,
Who bows our necks beneath her brazen yoke.
I would have manned my heart, and held it out;
But, when I thought of what I had possessed,
Those joys, that never end, but to begin,
O, I am all on fire to make my peace;
And die, Jove knows, as much as I can die,
Till I am reconciled.
Phæd. I fear 'twill be in vain.
Jup. 'Tis difficult:
But nothing is impossible to love;
To love like mine; for I have proved his force,
And my Alcmena too has felt his dart.
If I submit, there's hope.

Phæd. 'Tis possible I may solicit for you.

Jup. But wilt thou promise me to do thy best?

Phæd. Nay, I promise nothing—unless you begin to promise first. [Curtsying.

Jup. I will not be ungrateful.

Phæd. Well; I'll try to bring her to the window; you shall have a fair shot at her; if you can bring her down, you are a good marksman.

Jup. That's all I ask;
And I will so reward thee, gentle Phædra—

Phæd. What, with catsguts and rosin! This Solla is but a lamentable empty sound.

Jup. Then, there's a sound will please thee better. [Throwing her a purse.

Phæd. Ay, there's something of melody in this[69] sound. I could dance all day to the music of Chink, Chink.

Jup. Go, Sosia, round our Thebes,
To Polidas, to Tranio, and to Gripus,
Companions of our war; invite them all
To join their prayers to smooth Alcmena's brow,
And, with a solemn feast, to crown the day.

Sos. [Taking Jupiter about the knees.] Let me embrace you, sir. [Jupiter pushes him away.] Nay, you must give me leave to express my gratitude; I have not eaten, to say eating, nor drunk, to say drinking, never since our villainous encamping so near the enemy. It is true, I escaped the bloody-flux, because I had so little in my bowels to come out; and I durst let nothing go, in conscience, because I had nothing to swallow in the room on't.

Jup. You, Bromia, see that all things be prepared, With that magnificence, as if some god Were guest or master here.

Sos. Or rather, as much as if twenty gods were to be guests or masters here.

Brom. That you may eat for to-day and to-morrow.

Sos. Or, rather again, for to-day and yesterday, and as many months backward, as I am indebted to my own belly.

Jup. Away, both of you.—
[Exeunt Sosia and Bromia severally.
Now I have packed him hence, thou other Sosia,
(Who, though thou art not present, hear'st my voice)
Be ready to attend me at my call,
And to supply his place.

Enter Mercury to Jupiter; Alcmena and Phædra appear above.

See, she appears: [Seeing Alcmena.
This is my bribe to Phædra; when I made
This gold, I made a greater God than Jove,
And gave my own omnipotence away.

Jupiter signs to the Musicians. Song and Dance:
After which, Alcmena withdraws, frowning.



Celia, that I once was blest
Is now the torment of my breast;
Since, to curse me, you bereave me
Of the pleasures I possest:
Cruel creature, to deceive me!
First to love, and then to leave me!


Had you the bliss refused to grant,
Then I had never known the want:
But possessing once the blessing,
Is the cause of my complaint;
Once possessing is but tasting;
'Tis no bliss that is not lasting.


Celia now is mine no more;
But I am her's, and must adore,
Nor to leave her will endeavour;
Charms, that captived me before,
No unkindness can dissever;
Love, that's true, is love for ever.
Jup. O stay.
Merc. She's gone; and seemed to frown at parting.
Jup. Follow, and thou shalt see her soon appeased;
For I, who made her, know her inward state;
No woman, once well-pleased, can throughly hate.
I gave them beauty to subdue the strong,—
A mighty empire, but it lasts not long.
I gave them pride, to make mankind their slave;
But, in exchange, to men I flattery gave.
The offending lover, when he lowest lies,
Submits, to conquer; and but kneels, to rise.


Jupiter following Alcmena; Mercury and Phædra.

Jup. O stay, my dear Alcmena; hear me speak!
Alcm. No, I would fly thee to the ridge of earth,
And leap the precipice, to 'scape thy sight.
Jup. For pity——
Alcm. Leave me, thou ungrateful man.
Jup. I cannot leave you; no, but like a ghost,
Whom your unkindness murdered, will I haunt you.
Alcm. Once more, be gone; I'm odious to myself,
For having loved thee once.
Jup. Hate not, the best and fairest of your kind!
Nor can you hate your lover, though you would:
Your tears, that fall so gently, are but grief:
There may be anger; but there must be love.
The dove, that murmurs at her mate's neglect,
But counterfeits a coyness, to be courted.
Alcm. Courtship from thee, and after such affronts!
Jup. Is this that everlasting love you vowed
Last night, when I was circled in your arms?
Remember what you swore.
Alcm. Think what thou wert, and who could swear too much?
Think what thou art, and that unswears it all.
Jup. Can you forsake me, for so small a fault?
'Twas but a jest, perhaps too far pursued;
'Twas but, at most, a trial of your faith,
How you could bear unkindness;
'Twas but to get a reconciling kiss,
A wanton stratagem of love.
Alcm. See how he doubles, like a hunted hare:
A jest, and then a trial, and a bait;
All stuff, and daubing!
Jup. Think me jealous, then.
Alcm. O that I could! for that's a noble crime,
And which a lover can with ease forgive;
'Tis the high pulse of passion in a fever;
A sickly draught, but shews a burning thirst:
Thine was a surfeit, not a jealousy;
And in that loathing of thy full-gorged love,
Thou saw'st the nauseous object with disdain.
Jup. O think not that! for you are ever new:
Your fruits of love are like eternal spring,
In happy climes, where some are in the bud,
Some green, and ripening some, while others fall.
Alcm. Ay, now you tell me this,
When roused desires, and fresh recruits of force,
Enable languished love to take the field:
But never hope to be received again;
You would again deny you were received,
And brand my spotless fame.
Jup. I will not dare to justify my crime,
But only point you where to lay the blame;
Impute it to the husband, not the lover.
Alcm. How vainly would the sophister divide,
And make the husband and the lover two!
Jup. Yes, 'tis the husband is the guilty wretch;
His insolence forgot the sweets of love,
And, deeming them his due, despised the feast.
Not so the famished lover could forget;
He knew he had been there, and had been blest
With all that hope could wish, or sense can bear.
Alcm. Husband and lover, both alike I hate.
Jup. And I confess I have deserved that hate.
Too charming fair, I kneel for your forgiveness: [Kneeling.
I beg, by those fair eyes
Which gave me wounds, that time can never cure,
Receive my sorrows, and restore my joys.
Alcm. Unkind, and cruel! I can speak no more.
Jup. O give it vent, Alcmena, give it vent;
I merit your reproach, I would be cursed;
Let your tongue curse me, while your heart forgives.
Alcm. Can I forget such usage?
Jup. Can you hate me?
Alcm. I'll do my best; for sure I ought to hate you.
Jup. That word was only hatched upon your tongue,
It came not from your heart. But try again,
And if, once more, you can but say,—I hate you,
My sword shall do you justice.
Alcm. Then—I hate you.
Jup. Then you pronounce the sentence of my death.
Alcm. I hate you much, but yet—I love you more.
Jup. To prove that love, then say, that you forgive me;
For there remains but this alternative,—
Resolve to pardon, or to punish me.
Alcm. Alas! what I resolve appears too plain;
In saying that I cannot hate, I pardon.
Jup. But what's a pardon worth without a seal?
Permit me, in this transport of my joy—— [Kisses her hand.
Alcm. Forbear; I am offended with myself,
[Putting him gently away with her hand.
That I have shewn this weakness.—Let me go,
Where I may blush alone;— [Going, and looking back on him.
But come not you,
Lest I should spoil you with excess of fondness,
And let you love again. [Exit Alcmena.
Jup. Forbidding me to follow, she invites me:—
This is the mould of which I made the sex:
I gave them but one tongue, to say us nay;
And two kind eyes to grant.—Be sure that none
Approach, to interrupt our privacy. [To Merc.
[Exit Jupiter after Alcmena.
Mercury and Phædra remain.

Merc. Your lady has made the challenge of reconciliation to my lord: here's a fair example for us two, Phædra.

Phæd. No example at all, Sosia; for my lady had the diamonds beforehand, and I have none of the gold goblet.

Merc. The goblet shall be forthcoming, if thou wilt give me weight for weight.

Phæd. Yes, and measure for measure too, Sosia; that is, for a thimble-full of gold, a thimble-full of love.

Merc. What think you now, Phædra? Here's a weighty argument of love for you.

[Pulling out the Goblet in a case from under his Cloak.

Phæd. Now Jupiter, of his mercy, let me kiss thee, O thou dear metal!

[Taking it in both hands.

Merc. And Venus, of her mercy, let me kiss thee, dear, dear Phædra!

Phæd. Not so fast, Sosia; there's a damned proverb in your way,—"Many things happen betwixt the cup and the lip," you know.

Merc. Why, thou wilt not cheat me of my goblet?

Phæd. Yes, as sure as you would cheat me of my maidenhead: I am yet but just even with you,[75] for the last trick you played me. And, besides, this is but a bare retaining fee; you must give me another before the cause is opened.

Merc. Shall I not come to your bed-side to-night?

Phæd. No, nor to-morrow night neither; but this shall be my sweetheart in your place: 'tis a better bedfellow, and will keep me warmer in cold weather. [Exit Phædra.

Mercury alone.

Merc. Now, what's the god of wit in a woman's hand? This very goblet I stole from Gripus; and he got it out of bribes, too. But this is the common fate of ill-gotten goods, that, as they came in by covetousness, they go out by whoring.—

Enter Amphitryon.

Oh, here's Amphitryon again; but I'll manage him above in the balcony [Exit Mercury.

Amph. Not one of those, I looked for, to be found,
As some enchantment hid them from my sight!
Perhaps, as Sosia says, 'tis witchcraft all.
Seals may be opened, diamonds may be stolen;
But how I came, in person, yesterday,
And gave that present to Alcmena's hands,
That which I never gave, nor ever came,—
O there's the rock on which my reason splits!
Would that were all! I fear my honour, too.
I'll try her once again;—she may be mad;—
A wretched remedy; but all I have,
To keep me from despair.

Merc. [From the Balcony, aside.] This is no very charitable action of a god, to use him ill, who has never offended me; but my planet disposes me to malice; and when we great persons do but a little mischief, the world has a good bargain of us.


Amph. How now, what means the locking up of my doors at this time of day? [Knocks.

Merc. Softly, friend, softly; you knock as loud, and as saucily, as a lord's footman, that was sent before him to warn the family of his honour's visit. Sure you think the doors have no feeling! What the devil are you, that rap with such authority?

Amph. Look out, and see; 'tis I.

Merc. You! what you?

Amph. No more, I say, but open.

Merc. I'll know to whom first.

Amph. I am one, that can command the doors open.

Merc. Then you had best command them, and try whether they will obey you.

Amph. Dost thou not know me?

Merc. Pr'ythee, how should I know thee? Dost thou take me for a conjurer?

Amph. What's this? midsummer-moon! Is all the world gone a madding?—Why, Sosia!

Merc. That's my name, indeed; didst thou think I had forgot it?

Amph. Dost thou see me?

Merc. Why, dost thou pretend to go invisible? If thou hast any business here, dispatch it quickly; I have no leisure to throw away upon such prattling companions.

Amph. Thy companion, slave! How darest thou use this insolent language to thy master?

Merc. How! Thou my master? By what title? I never had any other master but Amphitryon.

Amph. Well; and for whom dost thou take me?

Merc. For some rogue or other; but what rogue I know not.

Amph. Dost thou not know me for Amphitryon, slave!


Merc. How should I know thee, when I see thou dost not know thyself? Thou Amphitryon! In what tavern hast thou been? and how many bottles did thy business, to metamorphose thee into my lord?

Amph. I will so drub thee for this insolence!

Merc. How now, impudence, are you threatening your betters? I should bring you to condign punishment, but that I have a great respect for the good wine, though I find it in a fool's noddle.

Amph. What, none to let me in? Why, Phædra! Bromia!——

Merc. Peace, fellow; if my wife hears thee, we are both undone. At a word, Phædra and Bromia are very busy; one in making a caudle for my lady, and the other in heating napkins, to rub down my lord when he rises from bed.

Amph. Amazement seizes me!

Merc. At what art thou amazed? My master and my lady had a falling out, and are retired, without seconds, to decide the quarrel. If thou wert not a meddlesome fool, thou wouldst not be thrusting thy nose into other people's matters. Get thee about thy business, if thou hast any; for I'll hear no more of thee.

[Exit Mercury from above.

Amph. Braved by my slave, dishonoured by my wife!
To what a desperate plunge am I reduced,
If this be true the villain says?—But why
That feeble if! It must be true; she owns it.
Now, whether to conceal, or blaze the affront?
One way, I spread my infamy abroad;
And t'other, hide a burning coal within,
That preys upon my vitals: I can fix
On nothing, but on vengeance.


Enter Sosia, Polidas, Gripus, and Tranio.

Grip. Yonder he is, walking hastily to and fro before his door, like a citizen clapping his sides before his shop in a frosty morning; 'tis to catch a stomach, I believe.

Sos. I begin to be afraid, that he has more stomach to my sides and shoulders, than to his own victuals. How he shakes his head, and stamps, and what strides he fetches! He's in one of his damned moods again; I don't like the looks of him.

Amph. Oh, my mannerly, fair-spoken, obedient slave, are you there! I can reach you now without climbing: Now we shall try who's drunk, and who's sober.

Sos. Why this is as it should be: I was somewhat suspicious that you were in a pestilent humour. Yes, we will have a crash at the bottle, when your lordship pleases; I have summoned them, you see, and they are notable topers, especially judge Gripus.

Grip. Yes, faith; I never refuse my glass in a good quarrel.

Amph. [To Sos.] Why, thou insolent villain! I'll teach a slave how to use his master thus.

Sos. Here's a fine business towards! I am sure I ran as fast as ever my legs could carry me, to call them; nay, you may trust my diligence in all affairs belonging to the belly.

Grip. He has been very faithful to his commission. I'll bear him witness.

Amph. How can you be witness, where you were not present?—The balcony, sirrah! the balcony!

Sos. Why, to my best remembrance, you never invited the balcony.

Amph. What nonsense dost thou plead, for an excuse of thy foul language, and thy base replies!


Sos. You fright a man out of his senses first, and blame him afterwards for talking nonsense! But it is better for me to talk nonsense, than for some to do nonsense; I will say that, whate'er comes on't. Pray, sir, let all things be done decently: what, I hope, when a man is to be hanged, he is not trussed upon the gallows, like a dumb dog, without telling him wherefore.

Amph. By your pardon, gentlemen; I have no longer patience to forbear him.

Sos. Justice, justice!—My Lord Gripus, as you are a true magistrate, protect me. Here's a process of beating going forward, without sentence given.

Grip. My Lord Amphitryon, this must not be; let me first understand the demerits of the criminal.

Sos. Hold you to that point, I beseech your honour, as you commiserate the case of a poor, innocent malefactor.

Amph. To shut the door against me in my very face, to deny me entrance, to brave me from the balcony, to laugh at me, to threaten me! what proofs of innocence call you these? but if I punish not this insolence——

[Is going to beat him, and is held by Polidas and Tranio.

I beg you, let me go.

Sos. I charge you, in the king's name, hold him fast; for you see he's bloodily disposed.

Grip. Now, what hast thou to say for thyself, Sosia?

Sos. I say, in the first place, be sure you hold him, gentlemen; for I shall never plead worth one farthing, while I am bodily afraid.

Pol. Speak boldly; I warrant thee.

Sos. Then if I may speak boldly, under my lord's[80] favour, I do not say he lies neither: no, I am too well bred for that; but his lordship fibs most abominably.

Amph. Do you hear his impudence? yet will you let me go?

Sos. No impudence at all, my lord; for how could I, naturally speaking, be in the balcony, and affronting you, when at the same time I was in every street of Thebes, inviting these gentlemen to dinner?

Grip. Hold a little:—How long since was it that he spoke to you from the said balcony?

Amph. Just now; not a minute before he brought you hither.

Sos. Now speak, my witnesses.

Grip. I can answer for him for this last half hour.

Pol. And I.

Tran. And I.

Sos. Now judge equitably, gentlemen, whether I was not a civil well-bred person, to tell my lord he fibs only?

Amph. Who gave you that order, to invite them?

Sos. He that best might,—yourself: By the same token, you bid old Bromia provide an' 'twere for a god, and I put in for a brace, or a leash;—no, now I think on't, it was for ten couple of gods, to make sure of plenty.

Amph. When did I give thee this pretended commission?

Sos. Why, you gave me this pretended commission, when you were just ready to give my lady the fiddles, and a dance; in order, as I suppose, to your second bedding.

Amph. Where, in what place, did I give this order?

Sos. Here, in this place, in the presence of this[81] very door, and of that balcony; and, if they could speak, they would both justify it.

Amph. O, heaven! These accidents are so surprising, the more I think of them, the more I am lost in my imagination.

Grip. Nay, he has told us some passages, as he came along, that seem to surpass the power of nature.

Sos. What think you now, my lord, of a certain twin-brother of mine, called Sosia? 'Tis a sly youth: pray heaven, you have not just such another relation within doors, called Amphitryon. It may be it was he that put upon me, in your likeness; and perhaps he may have put something upon your lordship too, that may weigh heavy upon the forehead.

Amph. [To those who hold him.] Let me go; Sosia may be innocent, and I will not hurt him. Open the door, I'll resolve my doubts immediately.

Sos. The door is peremptory, that it will not be opened without keys; and my brother on the inside is in possession, and will not part with them.

Amph. Then 'tis manifest that I am affronted.—Break open the door there.

Grip. Stir not a man of you to his assistance.

Amph. Dost thou take part with my adulteress too, because she is thy niece?

Grip. I take part with nothing, but the law; and, to break the doors open, is to break the law.

Amph. Do thou command them then.

Grip. I command nothing without my warrant; and my clerk is not here to take his fees for drawing it.

Amph. [Aside.] The devil take all justice-brokers! I curse him too, when I have been hunting him all over the town, to be my witness! But I'll[82] bring soldiers, to force open the doors, by my own commission. [Exit Amph.

Sos. Pox o' these forms of law, to defeat a man of a dinner, when he's sharp set! 'Tis against the privilege of a free-born stomach; and is no less than subversion of fundamentals. [Jupiter above in the Balcony.

Jup. Oh, my friends, I am sorry I have made you wait so long: you are welcome; and the door shall be opened to you immediately. [Exit Jupiter.

Grip. Was not that Amphitryon?

Sos. Why, who should it be else?

Grip. In all appearance it was he; but how got be thither?

Pol. In such a trice too!

Tran. And after he had just left us!

Grip. And so much altered, for the better, in his humour!

Sos. Here's such a company of foolish questions, when a man's hungry! You had best stay dinner, till he has proved himself to be Amphitryon in form of law: but I'll make short work of that business; for I'll take mine oath 'tis he.

Grip. I should be glad it were.

Sos. How! glad it were? with your damned interrogatories, when you ought to be thankful, that so it is.

Grip. [Aside.] That I may see my mistress Phædra, and present her with my great gold goblet.

Sos. If this be not the true Amphitryon, I wish I may be kept without doors, fasting, and biting my own fingers, for want of victuals; and that's a dreadful imprecation! I am for the inviting, and eating, and treating Amphitryon; I am sure 'tis he that is my lawfully begotten lord; and, if you had an ounce of true justice in you, you ought to have laid hold on[83] the other Amphitryon, and committed him for a rogue, and an impostor, and a vagabond. [The Door is opened.

Merc. [From within.] Enter quickly, masters: The passage, on the right hand, leads to the gallery, where my lord expects you; for I am called another way.

[Gripus, Tranio, and Polidas, go into the House.

Sos. I should know that voice by a secret instinct; 'tis a tongue of my family, and belongs to my brother Sosia: it must be so; for it carries a cudgelling kind of sound in it.—But put the worst: Let me weigh this matter wisely: Here's a beating, and a belly-full, against no beating, and no belly-full. The beating is bad; but the dinner is good. Now, not to be beaten, is but negatively good; but, not to fill my belly, is positively bad. Upon the whole matter, my final resolution is, to take the good and the bad as they come together.

[Is entering: Mercury meets him at the Door.

Merc. Whither now, ye kitchen-scum? From whence this impudence, to enter here without permission?

Sos. Most illustrious sir, my ticket is my hunger: Show the full bowels of your compassion to the empty bowels of my famine.

Merc. Were you not charged to return no more? I'll cut you into quarters, and hang you upon the shambles.

Sos. You'll get but little credit by me. Alas, sir, I am but mere carrion! Brave Sosia, compassionate coward Sosia; and beat not thyself, in beating me.

Merc. Who gave you that privilege, sirrah, to assume my name? have you not been sufficiently warned of it, and received part of punishment already?


Sos. May it please you, sir, the name is big enough for both of us; and we may use it in common, like a strumpet. Witness heaven, that I would have obeyed you, and quitted my title to the name; but, wherever I come, the malicious world will call me Sosia, in spite of me. I am sensible there are two Amphitryons; and why may there not be two Sosias? Let those two cut one another's throats at their own pleasure; but you and I will be wiser, by my consent, and hold good intelligence together.

Merc. No, no; two Sosias would but make two fools.

Sos. Then let me be the fool, and be you the prudent person; and chuse for yourself some wiser name: Or you shall be the eldest brother; and I'll be content to be the younger, though I lose my inheritance.

Merc. I tell thee, I am the only son of our family.

Sos. Ah! Then let me be your bastard brother, and the son of a whore; I hope that's but reasonable.

Merc. No, thou shall not disgrace my father; for there are few bastards now-a-days worth owning.

Sos. Ah, poor Sosia! what will become of thee?

Merc. Yet again profanely using my proper name?

Sos. I did not mean myself; I was thinking of another Sosia, a poor fellow, that was once of my acquaintance, unfortunately banished out of doors, when dinner was just coming upon the table.

Enter Phædra.

Phæd. Sosia, you and I must—Bless me! what have we here? a couple of you? or do I see double?


Sos. I would fain bring it about, that I might make one of them; but he's unreasonable, and will needs incorporate me, and swallow me whole into himself. If he would be content to be but one-and-a-half, 'twould never grieve me.

Merc. 'Tis a perverse rascal: I kick him, and cudgel him, to no purpose; for still he's obstinate to stick to me; and I can never beat him out of my resemblance.

Phæd. Which of you two is Sosia? for t'other must be the devil.

Sos. You had best ask him, that has played the devil with my back and sides.

Merc. You had best ask him,—who gave you the gold goblet?

Phæd. No, that's already given; but he shall be my Sosia, that will give me such another.

Merc. I find you have been interloping, sirrah.

Sos. No, indeed, sir; I only promised her a gold thimble, which was as much as comes to my proportion of being Sosia.

Phæd. This is no Sosia for my money; beat him away, t'other Sosia; he grows insufferable.

Sos. [Aside.] Would I were valiant, that I might beat him away; and succeed him at the dinner, for a pragmatical son of a whore, as he is!

Merc. What's that you are muttering betwixt your teeth, of a son of a whore, sirrah?

Sos. I am sure, I meant you no offence; for, if I am not Sosia, I am the son of a whore, for aught I know; and, if you are Sosia, you may be the son of a whore, for aught you know.

Merc. Whatever I am, I will be Sosia, as long as I please; and whenever you visit me, you shall be sure of the civility of the cudgel.

Sos. If you will promise to beat me into the house, you may begin when you please with me;[86] but to be beaten out of the house, at dinner-time, flesh and blood can never bear it.

[Mercury beats him about, and Sosia is still making towards the Door; but Mercury gets betwixt, and at length drives him off the Stage.

Phæd. In the name of wonder, what are you, that are Sosia, and are not Sosia?

Merc. If thou would'st know more of me, my person is freely at thy disposing.

Phæd. Then I dispose of it to you again; for 'tis so ugly, 'tis not for my use.

Merc. I can be ugly, or handsome, as I please; go to bed old, and rise young. I have so many suits of persons by me, I can shift them when I will.

Phæd. You are a fool, then, to put on your worst clothes, when you come a-wooing.

Merc. Go to; ask no more questions. I am for thy turn; for I know thy heart, and see all thou hast about thee.

Phæd. Then you can see my backside too; there's a bargain for you.

Merc. In thy right pocket:—let me see; three love letters from judge Gripus, written to the bottom, on three sides; full of fustian passion, and hearty nonsense: as also, in the same pocket, a letter of thine intended to him, consisting of nine lines and a half, scrawled and false spelled, to show thou art a woman; and full of fraudulence, and equivocations, and shoeing-horns of love to him; to promise much, and mean nothing; to show, over and above, that thou art a mere woman.

Phæd. Is the devil in you, to see all this? Now, for heaven's sake, do not look in t'other pocket.

Merc. Nay, there's nothing there, but a little godly prayer-book, and a bawdy lampoon, and——


Phæd. [Giving a great frisk.] Look no farther, I beseech you.

Merc. And a silver spoon——

Phæd. [Shrieking.] Ah!——

Merc. Which you purloined last night from Bromia.

Phæd. Keep my counsel, or I am undone for ever. [Holding up her hands to him.

Merc. No; I'll mortify thee, now I have an handle to thy iniquity, if thou wilt not love me.

Phæd. Well, if you'll promise me to be secret, I will love you; because indeed I dare do no other.

Merc. 'Tis a good girl; I will be secret: and, further, I will be assisting to thee in thy filching; for thou and I were born under the same planet.

Phæd. And we shall come to the same end too, I'm afraid.

Merc. No, no; since thou hast wit enough already to cozen a judge, thou needst never fear hanging.

Phæd. And will you make yourself a younger man, and be handsome too, and rich? for you, that know hearts, must needs know, that I shall never be constant to such an ugly old Sosia.

Merc. Thou shalt know more of that another time; in the mean while, here is a cast of my office for thee.

[He stamps upon the ground: some Dancers come from under-ground; and others from the sides of the Stage: a Song, and a fantastic Dance.


Fair Iris, I love, and hourly I die,
But not for a lip, nor a languishing eye:
She's fickle and false, and there we agree;
For I am as false and as fickle as she.
We neither believe, what either can say;
And, neither believing, we neither betray;
'Tis civil to swear, and say things of course;
We mean not the taking for better for worse.
When present, we love; when absent, agree:
I think not of Iris, nor Iris of me:
The legend of love no couple can find,
So easy to part, or so equally joined.
After, the Dance.

Phæd. This power of yours makes me suspect you for little better than a god; but if you are one, for more certainty, tell me what I am just now thinking.

Merc. Why, thou art thinking,—let me see; for thou art a woman, and your minds are so variable, that it is very hard, even for a god, to know them,—but, to satisfy thee, thou art wishing, now, for the same power I have exercised, that thou might'st stamp like me, and have more singers come up for another song.

Phæd. Gad, I think the devil's in you. Then I do stamp in somebody's name, but I know not whose: [Stamps.] Come up, gentle-folks from below, and sing me a pastoral dialogue, where the woman may have the better of the man; as we always have in love-matters.

[New Singers come up, and sing a Song.


Thyrsis. Fair Iris and her swain
Were in a shady bower;
Where Thyrsis long in vain
Had sought the shepherd's hour:
At length his hand advancing upon her snowy breast;
He said, O kiss me longer,
And longer yet, and longer,
If you will make me blest
Iris. An easy yielding maid,
By trusting, is undone;
Our sex is oft betray'd,
By granting love too soon.
If you desire to gain me, your sufferings to redress,
Prepare to love me longer,
And longer yet, and longer,
Before you shall possess.
Thyrsis. The little care you show
Of all my sorrows past,
Makes death appear too slow,
And life too long to last.
Fair Iris kiss me kindly, in pity of my fate;
And kindly still, and kindly,
Before it be too late.
Iris. You fondly court your bliss,
And no advances make;
'Tis not for maids to kiss,
But 'tis for men to take.
So you may kiss me kindly, and I will not rebel;
And kindly still, and kindly,
But kiss me not and tell.


Chorus. Thus at the height we love and live,
And fear not to be poor;
We give, and give, and give, and give,
'Till we can give no more,
But what to-day will take away,
To-morrow will restore:
Thus at the height we love, and live,
And fear not to be poor.

Phæd. Adieu, I leave you to pay the music. Hope well, Mr. Planet; there is a better heaven in store for you: I say no more, but you can guess.

Merc. [alone.] Such bargain-loves, as I with Phædra treat,
Are all the leagues and friendships of the great;
All seek their ends, and each would other cheat.
They only seem to hate, and seem to love;
But interest is the point on which they move.
Their friends are foes, and foes are friends again,
And, in their turns, are knaves, and honest men.
Our iron age is grown an age of gold:
'Tis who bids most; for all men will be sold. [Exit.


Enter Gripus and Phædra. Gripus has the Goblet in his hand.

Phæd. You will not be so base to take it from me?

Grip. 'Tis my proper chattel; and I'll seize my own, in whatever hands I find it.

Phæd. You know I only showed it you, to provoke your generosity, that you might out-bid your rival with a better present.

Grip. My rival is a thief; and I'll indite you for a receiver of stolen goods.

Phæd. Thou hide-bound lover!

Grip. Thou very mercenary mistress!

Phæd. Thou most mercenary magistrate!


Grip. Thou seller of thyself!

Phæd. Thou seller of other people: thou weather-cock of government; that, when the wind blows for the subject, pointest to privilege; and when it changes for the sovereign, veerest to prerogative[9]!

Grip. Will you compound, and take it as my present?

Phæd. No; but I'll send thy rival to force it from thee.

Grip. When a thief is rival to his judge, the hangman will soon decide the difference.

[Exit Phædra.

Enter Mercury, with two Swords.

Merc. [Bowing.] Save your good lordship.

Grip. From an impertinent coxcomb: I am out of humour, and am in haste; leave me.

Merc. 'Tis my duty to attend on your lordship, and to ease you of that undecent burden.

Grip. Gold was never any burden to one of my profession.

Merc. By your lordship's permission, Phædra has sent me to take it from you.

Grip. What, by violence?

Merc. [still bowing.] No; but by your honour's permission, I am to restore it to her, and persuade your lordship to renounce your pretensions to her.

Grip. Tell her flatly, I will neither do one, nor t'other.

Merc. O my good lord, I dare pass my word for your free consent to both.——Will your honour be pleased to take your choice of one of these?


Grip. Why, these are swords: what have I to do with them?

Merc. Only to take your choice of one of them, which your lordship pleases; and leave the other to your most obedient servant.

Grip. What, one of these ungodly weapons? Take notice, I'll lay you by the heels, sirrah: this has the appearance of an unlawful bloody challenge.

Merc. You magistrates are pleased to call it so, my lord; but with us swordmen, it is an honourable invitation to the cutting of one another's throats.

Grip. Be answered; I have no throat to cut. The law shall decide our controversy.

Merc. By your permission, my lord, it must be dispatched this way.

Grip. I'll see thee hanged before I give thee any such permission, to dispatch me into another world.

Merc. At the least, my lord, you have no occasion to complain of my want of respect to you. You will neither restore the goblet, nor renounce Phædra: I offer you the combat; you refuse it; all this is done in the forms of honour: It follows, that I am to affront, cudgel you, or kick you, at my own arbitrement; and, I suppose, you are too honourable not to approve of my proceeding.

Grip. Here is a new sort of process, that was never heard of in any of our courts.

Merc. This, my good lord, is law in short-hand, without your long preambles, and tedious repetitions that signify nothing but to squeeze the subject: therefore, with your lordship's favour, I begin. [Fillips him under the chin.

Grip. What is this for?

Merc. To give you an occasion of returning me a box o' the ear; that so all things may proceed methodically.


Grip. I put in no answer, but suffer a non-suit.

Merc. No, my lord; for the costs and charges are to be paid: will you please to restore the cup?

Grip. I told thee, no.

Merc. Then from your chin, I must ascend to your lordship's ears.

Grip. Oh, oh, oh, oh!—Wilt thou never leave lugging me by the ears?

Merc. Not till your lordship will be pleased to hear reason. [Pulling again.

Grip. Take the cup, and the devil give thee joy on't.

Merc. [Still holding him.] And your lordship will farther be graciously pleased, to release all claims, titles, and actions whatsoever, to Phædra: you must give me leave to add one small memento for that too. [Pulling him again.

Grip. I renounce her; I release her.

Enter Phædra.

Merc. [To her.] Phædra, my lord has been pleased to be very gracious, without pushing matters to extremity.

Phæd. I overheard it all; but give me livery and seisin of the goblet, in the first place.

Merc. There is an act of oblivion should be passed too.

Phæd. Let him begin to remember quarrels, when he dares; now I have him under my girdle, I'll cap verses with him to the end of the chapter.

Enter Amphitryon, and Guards.

Amph. [To Gripus.] At the last I have got possession without your lordship's warrant.—Phædra, tell Alcmena I am here.

Phæd. I'll carry no such lying message: you are[94] not here, and you cannot be here; for, to my knowledge, you are above with my lady, in the chamber.

Amph. All of a piece, and all witchcraft!—Answer me precisely: dost thou not know me for Amphitryon?

Phæd. Answer me first: did you give me a diamond and a purse of gold?

Amph. Thou knowest I did not.

Phæd. Then, by the same token, I know you are not the true Amphitryon: if you are he, I am sure I left you in bed with your own wife. Now you had best stretch out a leg, and feel about for a fair lady.

Amph. I'll undo this enchantment with my sword, and kill the sorcerer.—Come up, gentlemen, and follow me. [To the Guards.

Phæd. I'll save you the labour, and call him down to confront you, if you dare attend him. [Exit Phædra.

Merc. [Aside.] Now the spell is ended, and Jupiter can enchant no more; or else Amphitryon had not entered so easily. [Gripus is stealing off.]—Whither now, Gripus? I have business for you: if you offer to stir, you know what follows.

Enter Jupiter, followed by Tranio and Polidas.

Jup. Who dares to play the master in my house?
What noise is this that calls me from above,
Invades my soft recess and privacy,
And, like a tide, breaks in upon my love?
Amph. O heavens, what's this I see?
Tran. What prodigy!
Pol. How! two Amphitryons!
Grip. I have beheld the appearance of two suns,
But still the false was dimmer than the true;
Here, both shine out alike.
Amph. This is a sight, that, like the gorgon's head,
Runs through my limbs, and stiffens me to stone.
I need no more inquire into my fate;
For what I see resolves my doubts too plain.

Tran. Two drops of water cannot be more like.

Pol. They are two very sames.

Merc. Our Jupiter is a great comedian, he counterfeits most admirably: sure his priests have copied their hypocrisy from their master. [Aside.

Amph. Now I am gathered back into myself:
My heart beats high, and pushes out the blood, [Drawing his sword.
To give me just revenge on this impostor.
If you are brave, assist me—not one stirs! [To the Guards.
What, are all bribed to take the enchanter's part?
'Tis true, the work is mine; and thus——
[Going to rush upon Jupiter; and is held by Tranio and Polidas.
Pol. It must not be.
Jup. Give him his way; I dare the madman's worst:
But still take notice, that it looks not like
The true Amphitryon, to fly out at first
To brutal force: it shews he doubts his cause,
Who dares not trust his reason to defend it.
Amph. Thou base usurper of my name and bed! [Struggling.
No less than thy heart's blood can wash away
The affronts I have sustained.
Tran. We must not suffer
So strange a duel, as Amphitryon
To fight against himself.
Pol. Nor think we wrong you, when we hold your hands:
We know our duty to our general;
We know the ties of friendship to our friend;
But who that friend, or who that general is,
Without more certain proofs, betwixt you two,
Is hard to be distinguished, by our reason;
Impossible, by sight.
Amph. I know it, and have satisfied myself;
I am the true Amphitryon.
Jup. See again,
He shuns the certain proofs; and dares not stand
Impartial judgment, and award of right.
But, since Alcmena's honour is concerned,
Whom, more than heaven, and all the world, I love,
This I propose, as equal to us both:—
Tranio and Polidas, be you assistants;
The guards be ready to secure the impostor,
When once so proved, for public punishment;
And Gripus, be thou umpire of the cause.

Amph. I am content: let him proceed to examination.

Grip. On whose side would you please that I should give the sentence?

[Aside to Merc.

Merc. Follow thy conscience for once; but not to make a custom of it neither, nor to leave an evil precedent of uprightness to future judges. [Aside.]—'Tis a good thing to have a magistrate under correction: your old fornicating judge dares never give sentence against him that knows his haunts.

Pol. Your lordship knows I was master of Amphitryon's ship; and desire to know of him, what passed, in private, betwixt us two at his landing, when he was just ready to engage the enemy?

Grip. Let the true Amphitryon answer first.

Jup. and Amph. together. My lord, I told him——

Grip. Peace, both of you:—'Tis a plain case they are both true; for they both speak together: but, for more certainty, let the false Amphitryon speak first.


Merc. Now they are both silent.

Grip. Then 'tis plain, on the other side, that they are both false Amphitryons.

Merc. Which Amphitryon shall speak first?

Grip. Let the cholerick Amphitryon speak; and let the peaceable hold his peace.

Amph. [To Polid.] You may remember that I whispered you, not to part from the stern one single moment.

Polid. You did so.

Grip. No more words then: I proceed to sentence.

Jup. 'Twas I that whispered him; and he may remember I gave him this reason for it, that, if our men were beaten, I might secure my own retreat.

Polid. You did so.

Grip. Now again he is as true as the other.

Tran. You know I was paymaster: what directions did you give me the night before the battle?

Grip. To which of the you's art thou speaking?

Merc. It should be a double u; but they have no such letter in their tongue. [Aside.

Amph. I ordered you to take particular care of the great bag.

Grip. Why this is demonstration.

Jup. The bag, that I recommended to you, was of tygers-skin; and marked Beta.

Grip. In sadness, I think they are both jugglers: here is nothing, and here is nothing; and then hiccius doccius, and they are both here again.

Tran. You peaceable Amphitryon, what money was there in that bag?

Jup. The sum, in gross, amounted just to fifty Attick talents.

Tran. To a farthing.

Grip. Paugh: Obvious, obvious.

Amph. Two thousand pieces of gold were tied up in a handkerchief, by themselves.


Tran. I remember it.

Grip. Then it is dubious again.

Jup. But the rest was not all silver; for there were just four thousand brass half-pence.

Grip. Being but brass, the proof is inconsiderable: if they had been silver, it had gone on your side.

Amph. Death and hell, you will not persuade me, that I did not kill Pterelas? [To Jupiter.

Jup. Nor you me, that I did not enjoy Alcmena?

Amph. That last was poison to me.—— [Aside.
Yet there's one proof thou canst not counterfeit:
In killing Pterelas, I had a wound
Full in the brawny part of my right arm,
Where still the scar remains:—now blush, impostor;
For this thou canst not show.
[Bares his arm, and shows the scar, which they all look on.

Omnes. This is the true Amphitryon.

Jup. May your lordship please——

Grip. No, sirrah, it does not please me: hold your tongue, I charge you, for the case is manifest.

Jup. By your favour then, this shall speak for me. [Bares his arm, and shows it.

Tran. 'Tis just in the same muscle.

Polid. Of the same length and breadth; and the scar of the same blueish colour.

Grip. [To Jup.] Did not I charge you not to speak? 'twas plain enough before; and now you have puzzled it again.

Amph. Good gods, how can this be!

Grip. For certain there was but one Pterelas; and he must have been in the plot against himself too; for he was killed first by one of them, and then rose again out of respect to the other Amphitryon, to be killed twice over.


Enter Alcmena, Phædra, and Bromia.

Alcm. No more of this; it sounds impossible
[Turning to Phædra and Bromia.
That two should be so like, no difference found.
Phæd. You'll find it true.
Alcm. Then where's Alcmena's honour and her fame?
Farewell my needless fear, it cannot be:
This is a case too nice for vulgar sight;
But let me come, my heart will guide my eyes
To point, and tremble to its proper choice. [Seeing Amphitryon, goes to him.
There neither was, nor is, but one Amphitryon;
And I am only his.— [Goes to take him by the hand.
Amph. Away, adultress! [Pushing her away from him.
Jup. My gentle love, my treasure, and my joy,
Follow no more that false and foolish fire,
That would mislead thy fame to sure destruction!
Look on thy better husband, and thy friend,
Who will not leave thee liable to scorn,
But vindicate thy honour from that wretch,
Who would by base aspersions blot thy virtue.
Alcm. [Going to him, who embraces her.]
I was indeed mistaken; thou art he!
Thy words, thy thoughts, thy soul is all Amphitryon.
The impostor has thy features, not thy mind;
The face might have deceived me in my choice,
Thy kindness is a guide that cannot err.
Amph. What! in my presence to prefer the villain?
O execrable cheat!—I break the truce;
And will no more attend your vain decisions:
To this, and to the gods, I'll trust my cause.
[Is rushing upon Jupiter, and is held again.
Jup. Poor man, how I contemn those idle threats!
Were I disposed, thou might'st as safely meet
The thunder launched from the red arm of Jove,—Nor
Jove need blush to be Alcmena's champion.
But in the face of Thebes she shall be cleared;
And what I am, and what thou art, be known.—
Attend, and I will bring convincing proofs.
Amph. Thou would'st elude my justice, and escape:
But I will follow thee through earth and seas;
Nor hell shall hide thee from my just revenge.
Jup. I'll spare thy pains. It shall be quickly seen,
Betwixt us two, who seeks, and who avoids.—
Come in, my friends,—and thou, who seem'st Amphitryon—
That all, who are in doubt, may know the true.

[Jupiter re-enters the house; with him Amphitryon Alcmena, Polidas, Tranio, and Guards.

Merc. Thou, Gripus, and you, Bromia, stay with Phædra:
[To Gripus and Bromia, who are following.
Let their affairs alone, and mind we ours,
Amphitryon's rival shall appear a god:
But know beforehand, I am Mercury;
Who want not heaven, while Phædra is on earth.

Brom. But, an't please your lordship, is my fellow Phædra to be exalted into the heavens, and made a star?

Phæd. When that comes to pass, if you look up a-nights, I shall remember old kindness, and vouch-safe to twinkle on you.

Enter Sosia, peeping about him; and, seeing Mercury, is starting back.

Sos. Here he is again; and there's no passing by him into the house, unless I were a sprite, to glide in through the key-hole. I am to be a vagabond, I find.

Merc. Sosia, come back.


Sos. No, I thank you; you may whistle me long enough; a beaten dog has always the wit to avoid his master.

Merc. I permit thee to be Sosia again.

Sos. 'Tis an unfortunate name, and I abandon it: he that has an itch to be beaten, let him take it up for Sosia;—What have I said now! I mean for me; for I neither am nor will be Sosia.

Merc. But thou may'st be so in safety; for I have acknowledged myself to be god Mercury.

Sos. You may be a god, for aught I know; but the devil take me if ever I worship you, for an unmerciful deity as you are.

Merc. You ought to take it for an honour to be drubbed by the hand of a divinity.

Sos. I am your most humble servant, good Mr God; but, by the faith of a mortal, I could well have spared the honour that you did me. But how shall I be sure that you will never assume my shape again?

Merc. Because I am weary of wearing so villainous an outside.

Sos. Well, well; as villainous as it is, here's old Bromia will be contented with it.

Brom. Yes, now I am sure that I may chastise you safely, and that there's no god lurking under your appearance.

Sos. Ay; but you had best take heed how you attempt it; for, as Mercury has turned himself into me, so I may take the toy into my head, and turn myself into Mercury, that I may swinge you off condignly.

Merc. In the mean time, be all my witnesses, that I take Phædra for my wife of the left hand; that is, in the nature of a lawful concubine.

Phæd. You shall pardon me for believing you, for all you are a god; for you have a terrible ill[102] name below; and I am afraid you'll get a footman, instead of a priest, to marry us.

Merc. But here's Gripus shall draw up articles betwixt us.

Phæd. But he's damnably used to false conveyancing. Well, be it so; for my counsel shall over-look them before I sign—Come on, Gripus, that I may have him under black and white.

[Here Gripus gets ready pen, ink, and paper.

Merc. With all my heart, that I may have thee under black and white hereafter.

Phæd. [To Gripus.] Begin, begin—Heads of articles to be made, &c. betwixt Mercury, god of thieves——

Merc. And Phædra, queen of gypsies.——Imprimis, I promise to buy and settle upon her an estate, containing nine thousand acres of land, in any part of Bœotia, to her own liking.

Phæd. Provided always, that no part of the said nine thousand acres shall be upon, or adjoining to, Mount Parnassus; for I will not be fobbed off with a poetical estate.

Merc. Memorandum, that she be always constant to me, and admit of no other lover.

Phæd. Memorandum, unless it be a lover that offers more; and that the constancy shall not exceed the settlement.

Merc. Item, that she shall keep no male servants in her house: Item, no rival lap-dog for a bedfellow: Item, that she shall never pray to any of the gods.

Phæd. What, would you have me an atheist?

Merc. No devotion to any he-deity, good Phædra.

Brom. Here's no provision made for children yet.

Phæd. Well remembered, Bromia; I bargain that my eldest son shall be a hero, and my eldest daughter a king's mistress.


Merc. That is to say, a blockhead, and a harlot, Phædra.

Phæd. That's true; but who dares call them so? Then, for the younger children—But now I think on't, we'll have no more, but Mass and Miss; for the rest would be but chargeable, and a burden to the nation.

Merc. Yes, yes; the second shall be a false prophet: he shall have wit enough to set up a new religion, and too much wit to die a martyr for it.

Phæd. O what had I forgot? there's pin-money, and alimony, and separate maintenance, and a thousand things more to be considered, that are all to be tacked to this act of settlement.

Sos. I am a fool, I must confess; but yet I can see as far into a mill-stone as the best of you. I have observed, that you women-wits are commonly so quick upon the scent, that you often over-run it: now I would ask of Madam Phædra, that in case Mr Heaven there should be pleased to break these articles, in what court of judicature she intends to sue him?

Phæd. The fool has hit upon't:—Gods, and great men, are never to be sued, for they can always plead privilege of peerage; and therefore for once, monsieur, I'll take your word; for, as long as you love me, you'll be sure to keep it: and, in the mean time, I shall be gaining experience how to manage some rich cully; for no woman ever made her fortune by a wit.

It thunders; and the company within doors, Amphitryon, Alcmena, Polidas, and Tranio, all come running out, and join with the rest, who were on the stage before.

Amph. Sure 'tis some god; he vanished from our sight,
And told us, we should see him soon return.
Alcm. I know not what to hope, nor what to fear.
A simple error is a real crime,
And unconsenting innocence is lost.
A second peal of Thunder. After which, Jupiter appears in a Machine.
Jup. Look up, Amphitryon, and behold, above,
The impostor god, the rival of thy love;
In thy own shape see Jupiter appear,
And let that sight secure thy jealous fear.
Disgrace, and infamy, are turned to boast;
No fame, in Jove's concurrence, can be lost:
What he enjoys, he sanctifies from vice,
And, by partaking, stamps into a price,
'Tis I who ought to murmur at my fate,
Forced by my love my godhead to translate;
When on no other terms I could possess,
But by thy form, thy features, and thy dress.
To thee were given the blessings that I sought,
Which else, not all the bribes of heaven had bought,
Then take into thy arms thy envied love,
And, in his own despite, triumph o'er Jove.

Merc. Amphitryon and Alcmena both stand mute, and know not how to take it. [Aside.

Sos. Our sovereign lord Jupiter is a sly companion; he knows how to gild a bitter pill. [Aside.

Jup. From this auspicious night shall rise an heir,
Great like his sire, and like his mother fair:
Wrongs to redress, and tyrants to disseize;
Born for a world that wants a Hercules.
Monsters, and monster-men he shall engage,
And toil, and struggle, through an impious age.
{  Peace to his labours shall at length succeed;
{  And murmuring men, unwilling to be freed,
{  Shall be compelled to happiness, by need.
[Jupiter is carried back to Heaven.

Omnes. We all congratulate Amphitryon.

Merc. Keep your congratulations to yourselves, gentlemen. 'Tis a nice point, let me tell you that; and the less that's said of it the better. Upon the whole matter, if Amphitryon takes the favour of Jupiter in patience, as from a god, he's a good heathen.

Sos. I must take a little extraordinary pains to-night, that my spouse may come even with her lady, and produce a squire to attend on young Hercules, when he goes out to seek adventures; that, when his master kills a man, he may stand ready to pick his pockets, and piously relieve his aged parents.—Ah, Bromia, Bromia, if thou hadst been as handsome and as young as Phædra!—I say no more, but somebody might have made his fortunes as well as his master, and never the worse man neither.

For, let the wicked world say what they please,
The fair wife makes her husband live at ease:
The lover keeps him too; and but receives,
Like Jove, the remnants that Amphitryon leaves.
'Tis true, the lady has enough in store,
To satisfy those two, and eke two more:
In fine, the man, who weighs the matter fully,
Would rather be the cuckold than the cully. [Exeunt.




I'm thinking, (and it almost makes me mad)
How sweet a time those heathen ladies had.
Idolatry was even their Gods' own trade:
They worshipped the fine creatures they had made.
Cupid was chief of all the deities;
And love was all the fashion, in the skies.
When the sweet nymph held up the lily hand,
Jove was her humble servant at command;
The treasury of heaven was ne'er so bare,
But still there was a pension for the fair.
In all his reign, adultery was no sin;
For Jove the good example did begin.
Mark, too, when he usurped the husband's name,
How civilly he saved the lady's fame.
The secret joys of love he wisely hid;
But you, sirs, boast of more than e'er you did.
You teaze your cuckolds, to their face torment 'em;
But Jove gave his new honours to content him,
And, in the kind remembrance of the fair,
On each exalted son bestowed a star.
For these good deeds, as by the date appears,
His godship flourished full two thousand years.
{  At last, when he and all his priests grew old,
{  The ladies grew in their devotion cold;
{  And that false worship would no longer hold.
Severity of life did next begin;
And always does, when we no more can sin.
That doctrine, too, so hard in practice lies,
That the next age may see another rise.
{  Then, pagan gods may once again succeed:
{  And Jove, or Mars, be ready, at our need,
{  To get young godlings; and so mend our breed.



——————hîc alta theatris
Fundamenta locant,—scenis decora alta futuris. Virg. Æn. 1.
Purpurea intexti tollant aulæa Britanni. Georg. 3.
——————Tanton' placuit concurrere motu,
Jupiter, æterna gentes in pace futuris! Æneid. 12.
——————Et celebrare domestica facta. Hor.


The Seventeenth century was still familiar with

——Whate'er resounds,
In fable or romance, of Uther's son,
Begirt with British and Armoric knights.

Fired by the splendid fictions which romancers had raised on the basis of Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Welsh traditions, Milton had designed the exploits of King Arthur for the subject of his lofty epic strain. What we have lost, in his abandoning the theme, can only be estimated by the enthusiastic tone into which he always swells, when he touches upon the "shores of old romance." The sublime glow of his imagination, which delighted in painting what was beyond the reach of human experience; the dignity of his language, formed to express the sentiments of heroes and of immortals; his powers of describing alike the beautiful and terrible; above all, the justice with which he conceived and assigned to each supernatural agent a character as decidedly peculiar, as lesser poets have given to their human actors, would have sent him forth to encounter such a subject with gigantic might. Whoever has ventured, undeterred by their magnitude, upon the old romances of "Lancelot du Lac," "Sir Tristrem," and others, founded on the achievements of the Knights of the Round Table, cannot but remember a thousand striking Gothic incidents, worthy subjects of the pen of Milton. What would he not have made of the adventure of the Ruinous Chapel, the Perilous Manor, the Forbidden Seat, the Dolorous Wound, and many others susceptible of being described in the most sublime poetry! Even when that sun had set, Arthur had yet another chance for immortality; for Dryden repeatedly expressed his intention to found an epic poem upon his history. Our poet, it may be guessed, was too much in the trammels of French criticism, to have ventured upon a style of composition allied to the Gothic romance. His poem would probably have been formed upon the model of the ancients, which, although more classical and correct, might have[110] wanted the force, which reality of painting and description never fails to give to epic narrative. Arthur, in such a poem, would, like Rinaldo, have reminded us of Achilles; and the sameness of a copy would have been substituted for the spirit of a characteristic original. But, had Dryden executed his intended plan, we should have found picturesque narrative detailed in the most manly and majestic verse, and interspersed with lessons teaching us to know human life, maxims proper to guide it, and sentiments which ought to adorn it. In the Knight's Tale, and in Dryden's other narrative poems, we see enough to induce us to regret the sordid negligence, or avarice, which withheld from him the means of decent support, while employed upon the promised task. But Arthur, as a sort of counterpoise to his extravagant reputation during the middle ages, was doomed, in the seventeenth century, to be reluctantly abandoned by Milton and Dryden; and to be celebrated by the pen of Blackmore.

It is probable, that, when Dryden abandoned all thoughts of a larger work, he adapted the intended subject to the following opera, and converted the Genii of the kingdoms, by whom the supernatural machinery of the epic was to have been conducted, into the lighter and simpler device of airy and earthy spirits, whose idea the Rosicrucian philosophy had long rendered popular and familiar. There is no attempt to avail himself of any fragments of Arthur's romantic renown. He is not, in this drama, the formidable possessor of Excalibar, and the superior of the chivalry of the Round Table; nor is Merlin the fiend-born necromancer, of whom antiquity related and believed so many wonders. They are the prince and magician of a beautiful fairy tale, the story of which, abstracted from the poetry, might have been written by Madame D'Aunois. At the same time, the obvious advantages of an appeal to the ancient prejudices, which our author has neglected, are supplied from the funds of his own genius. The incidents, being intended more for the purpose of displaying machinery, and introducing music and dances, than with any reference to the rules of the drama, are abundantly fantastic and extravagant; but the poet has supported them with wonderful address. The blindness of Emmeline, and the innocence with which she expresses her conception of visible objects, gives her character an interest often wanting in what may be called the heroine of a play, whose perfections generally raise her so far beyond mere mortal excellence, as to render superfluous all human sympathy. The scene in which Emmeline recovers her sight, when well represented, never fails to excite the most pleasing testimony of interest and applause. The machinery is simple, and well managed: the language and ministry of Grimbald, the fierce earthy dæmon, are painted with some touches which arise even to[111] sublimity. The conception of Philidel, a fallen angel, retaining some of the hue of heaven, who is touched with repentance, and not without hope of being finally received, is an idea, so far as I know, altogether original. Klopstock has since introduced a similar character into sacred poetry[10]. The principal incident in "King Arthur" is copied, in almost every circumstance, from the adventures of Rinaldo in the haunted grove on Mount Olivet[11], which makes also the subject of an Italian opera.

From what is mentioned in the author's preface, we may conceive the disadvantages under which "King Arthur" was finally brought forward. It was written originally for the conclusion of the reign of Charles II, and the political masque of "Albion and Albanius" was often rehearsed before him, as the prologue to "King Arthur." We may therefore conclude, that the piece, as originally written, had a strong political tendency, and probably abounded with these ingenious parallels, by which Dryden, with dexterity far exceeding that of every other writer, could draw, from remote or distant events, a moral directly applicable to those of his own time. But the Revolution, while it ruined our author's prospects, imposed a cautious restraint upon his muse; and therefore, as he himself states, he was obliged to deprive his play of many beauties, not to offend the present times, or displease a government by which he had hitherto been protected, or at least endured. Thus, our author was obliged to convert an ingenious, and probably highly poetical political drama, into a mere fairy tale, as totally divested as possible of any meaning beyond extravagant adventure. How much the drama must have suffered in this transformation is easy to judge, from the spirit with which all Dryden's political pieces are composed; and from recollecting with what reluctance he must have gone through alterations, that were to deprive the play of what was intended to have been its principal merit. This is the disadvantage of which the poet had already complained:

How can he show his manhood, when you bind him
To box, like boys, with one hand tied behind him?
This is plain levelling of wit, in which
The poor has all the advantage, not the rich.
The blockhead stands excused for want of sense,
And wits turn blockheads in their own defence.
Prologue to Amphitryon.

Under all these disadvantages, "King Arthur" was received with great applause, at its first appearance; was often repeated, and continues to be occasionally represented, being the only one of Dryden's numerous plays which has retained possession of the stage. Some part of its success was doubtless owing to the music, of which Dr Burney gives the following account in his "History of Music:"

"Of the music in "King Arthur," I shall say but little, as it has been lately revived, well performed, and printed. If ever it could, with truth, be said of a composer, that he had devancé son siecle, Purcell is entitled to that praise; as there are movements in many of his works which a century has not injured, particularly the duet in "King Arthur," "Two Daughters of this Aged Stream," and "Fairest Isle, all Isles excelling," which contain not a single passage that the best composers of the present times, if it presented itself to their imagination, would reject." vol. iii. p. 492.

The dances, which were composed by the famous Priest, did not disgrace the music and poetry; and the company, according to Downes, were well rewarded for the time and expence they had bestowed on "King Arthur."

This opera was acted and printed in 1691.



This poem was the last piece of service which I had the honour to do for my gracious master King Charles II.; and, though he lived not to see the performance of it on the stage, yet the Prologue to it, which was the opera of "Albion and Albanius," was often practised before him at Whitehall, and[114] encouraged by his royal approbation. It was indeed a time which was proper for triumph, when he had overcome all those difficulties which, for some years, had perplexed his peaceful reign: but,[115] when he had just restored his people to their senses, and made the latter end of his government of a piece with the happy beginning of it, he was on the sudden snatched away from the blessings and acclamations of his subjects, who arrived so late to the knowledge of him, that they had but just time enough to desire him longer, before they were to part with him for ever. Peace be with the ashes of so good a king! Let his human frailties be forgotten, and his clemency and moderation (the inherent virtues of his family) be remembered with a grateful veneration by three kingdoms, through which he spread the blessings of them. And, as your lordship held a principal place in his esteem, and, perhaps, the first in his affection, during his latter troubles, the success which accompanied those prudent counsels cannot but reflect an honour on those few who managed them, and wrought out, by their faithfulness and diligence, the public safety. I might dilate on the difficulties which attended that undertaking, the temper of the people, the power, arts and interest of the contrary party, but those are all of them invidious topics,—they are too green in our remembrance, and he, who touches on them, Incedit per ignes suppositos cineri doleso. But, without reproaching one side to praise another, I may justly recommend to both those wholesome counsels, which, wisely administered, and as well executed, were the means of preventing a civil war, and of extinguishing a growing fire which was just ready to have broken forth among us. So many wives, who have yet their husbands in their arms; so many parents, who have not the number of their children lessened; so many villages, towns and cities, whose inhabitants are not decreased, their property violated, or their wealth diminished,—are yet owing to the sober conduct, and happy results of[116] your advice. If a true account may be expected by future ages from the present, your lordship will be delivered over to posterity in a fairer character than I have given; and be read, not in the preface of a play, (whose author is not vain enough to promise immortality to others, or to hope it for himself,) but in many pages of a chronicle, filled with praises of your administration. For, if writers be just to the memory of King Charles II., they cannot deny him to have been an exact knower of mankind, and a perfect distinguisher of their talents. It is true, his necessities often forced him to vary his counsellors and councils, and sometimes to employ such persons in the management of his affairs, who were rather fit for his present purpose than satisfactory to his judgment: but where it was choice in him, not compulsion, he was master of too much good sense to delight in heavy conversation; and whatever his favourites of state might be, yet those of his affection were men of wit[13]. He was easy with these, and complied only with the[117] former. But in the latter part of his life, which certainly required to be most cautiously managed, his secret thoughts were communicated but to few, and those selected of that sort who were amici omnium horarum, able to advise him in a serious consult, where his honour and safety were concerned, and afterwards capable of entertaining him with pleasant discourse, as well as profitable. In this maturest part of his age, when he had been long seasoned with difficulties and dangers, and was grown to a niceness in his choice, as being satisfied how few could be trusted,—and, of those who could be trusted, how few could serve him,—he confined himself to a small number of bosom friends, amongst whom the world is much mistaken if your lordship was not first.

If the rewards which you received for those services were only honours, it rather shewed the necessities of the times, than any want of kindness in your royal master; and, as the splendour of your fortune stood not in need of being supported by the Crown, so likewise, in being satisfied without other recompence, you showed yourself to be above a mercenary interest, and strengthened that power which bestowed those titles on you; which, truly speaking, were marks of acknowledgement more than favour.

But, as a skilful pilot will not be tempted out to sea in suspected weather, so have you wisely chosen to withdraw yourself from public business, when the face of heaven grew troubled, and the frequent shifting of the winds foreshewed a storm. There are times and seasons when the best patriots are willing to withdraw their hands from the commonwealth, as Phocion, in his latter days, was observed to decline the management of affairs; or as Cicero, (to draw the similitude more home) left the pulpit[118] for Tusculum, and the praise of oratory for the sweet enjoyments of a private life; and, in the happiness of those retirements, has more obliged posterity by his moral precepts, than he did the republic in quelling the conspiracy of Catiline. What prudent man would not rather follow the example of his retreat, than stay, like Cato, with a stubborn unseasonable virtue, to oppose the torrent of the people, and at last be driven from the market-place by a riot of a multitude, uncapable of counsel, and deaf to eloquence? There is likewise a portion of our lives, which every wise man may justly reserve to his own peculiar use, and that without defrauding his native country. A Roman soldier was allowed to plead the merit of his services for his dismission at such an age; and there was but one exception to that rule, which was, an invasion from the Gauls. How far that may work with your lordship, I am not certain, but I hope it is not coming to the trial[14].

In the mean time, while the nation is secured from foreign attempts by so powerful a fleet, and we enjoy, not only the happiness, but even the ornaments of peace, in the divertisement of the town, I humbly offer you this trifle, which, if it succeed upon the stage, is like to be the chiefest entertainment of our ladies and gentlemen this summer. When I wrote it, seven years ago, I employed some reading about it, to inform myself out of Beda, Bochartus and other authors, concerning the rites and customs of the heathen Saxons; as I also used the[119] little skill I have in poetry to adorn it[15]. But, not to offend the present times, nor a government which has hitherto protected me, I have been obliged so much to alter the first design, and take away so many beauties from the writing, that it is now no more what it was formerly, than the present ship of the Royal Sovereign, after so often taking down and altering, is the vessel it was at the first building. There is nothing better than what I intended, but the music; which has since arrived to a greater perfection in England than ever formerly; especially passing through the artful hands of Mr Purcell, who has composed it with so great a genius, that he has nothing to fear but an ignorant, ill-judging audience. But the numbers of poetry and vocal music are sometimes so contrary, that, in many places, I have been obliged to cramp my verses, and make them rugged to the reader, that they may be harmonious to the hearer; of which I have no reason to repent me, because these sorts of entertainments are principally designed for the ear and eye; and therefore, in reason, my art, on this occasion, ought to be subservient to his. And, besides, I flatter myself with an imagination, that a judicious audience will easily distinguish betwixt the songs wherein I have complied with him, and those in which I have followed the rules of poetry, in the sound and cadence of the words. Notwithstanding all these disadvantages, there is somewhat still remaining of the first spirit with which I wrote[120] it; and though I can only speak by guess, of what pleased my first and best patroness the Duchess of Monmouth in the reading, yet I will venture my opinion, by the knowledge I have long had of her Grace's excellent judgment and true taste of poetry, that the parts of the airy and earthy spirits, and that fairy kind of writing which depends only upon the force of imagination, were the grounds of her liking the poem, and afterwards of her recommending it to the Queen. I have likewise had the satisfaction to hear, that her majesty has graciously been pleased to peruse the manuscript of this opera, and given it her royal approbation. Poets, who subsist not but on the favour of sovereign princes, and of great persons, may have leave to be a little vain, and boast of their patronage, who encourage the genius that animates them; and therefore, I will again presume to guess, that her majesty was not displeased to find in this poem the praises of her native country, and the heroic actions of so famous a predecessor in the government of Great Britain as King Arthur.

All this, my lord, I must confess, looks with a kind of insinuation, that I present you with somewhat not unworthy your protection; but I may easily mistake the favour of her majesty for her judgment: I think I cannot be deceived in thus addressing to your lordship, whom I have had the honour to know, at that distance which becomes me, for so many years. It is true, that formerly I have shadowed some part of your virtues under another name; but the character, though short and imperfect, was so true, that it broke through the fable, and was discovered by its native light[16]. What I[121] pretend by this dedication, is an honour which I do myself to posterity, by acquainting them, that I have been conversant with the first persons of the age in which I lived; and thereby perpetuate my prose, when my verses may possibly be forgotten, or obscured by the fame of future poets. Which ambition, amongst my other faults and imperfections, be pleased to pardon, in,

My Lord,

Your Lordship's most obedient servant,

John Dryden.




Sure there's a dearth of wit in this dull town,
When silly plays so savourily go down;
As, when clipped money passes, 'tis a sign
A nation is not over-stocked with coin.
Happy is he, who, in his own defence,
Can write just level to your humble sense;
Who higher than your pitch can never go;
And, doubtless, he must creep, who writes below.
So have I seen, in hall of knight, or lord,
A weak arm throw on a long shovel-board;
He barely lays his piece, bar rubs and knocks,
Secured by weakness not to reach the box[17].
{  A feeble poet will his business do,
{  Who, straining all he can, comes up to you:
{  For, if you like yourselves, you like him too.
An ape his own dear image will embrace;
An ugly beau adores a hatchet face:
So, some of you, on pure instinct of nature,
Are led, by kind, to admire your fellow creature.
In fear of which, our house has sent this day,
To insure our new-built vessel, called a play;
No sooner named, than one cries out,—These stagers
Come in good time, to make more work for wagers.
{  The town divides, if it will take or no;
{  The courtiers bet, the cits, the merchants too;
{  A sign they have but little else to do.
Bets, at the first, were fool-traps; where the wise,
Like spiders, lay in ambush for the flies:
{  But now they're grown a common trade for all,
{  And actions by the new-book rise and fall;
{  Wits, cheats, and fops, are free of wager-hall.
One policy as far as Lyons carries;
Another, nearer home, sets up for Paris.
Our bets, at last, would even to Rome extend,
But that the pope has proved our trusty friend.
Indeed, it were a bargain worth our money,
Could we insure another Ottoboni[18].
Among the rest there are a sharping set,
That pray for us, and yet against us bet.
Sure heaven itself is at a loss to know
If these would have their prayers be heard, or no:
For, in great stakes, we piously suppose,
Men pray but very faintly they may lose.
Leave off these wagers; for, in conscience speaking,
The city needs not your new tricks for breaking:
And if you gallants lose, to all appearing,
You'll want an equipage for volunteering;
While thus, no spark of honour left within ye,
When you should draw the sword, you draw the guinea.



King Arthur.
Oswald, King of Kent, a Saxon, and a Heathen.
Conon, Duke of Cornwall, Tributary to King Arthur.
Merlin, a famous Enchanter.
Osmond, a Saxon Magician, and a Heathen.
Aurelius, Friend to Arthur.
Albanact, Captain of Arthur's Guards.
Guillimar, Friend to Oswald.

Emmeline, Daughter of Conon.
Matilda, her Attendant.
Philidel, an Airy Spirit.
Grimbald, an Earthy Spirit.
Officers and Soldiers, Singers and Dancers.





Enter Conon, Aurelius, Albanact.

Con. Then this is the deciding day, to fix
Great Britain's sceptre in great Arthur's hand.
Aur. Or put it in the bold invader's gripe.
Arthur and Oswald, and their different fates,
Are weighing now within the scales of Heaven.
Con. In ten set battles have we driven back
These heathen Saxons, and regained our earth.
As earth recovers from an ebbing tide
Her half-drowned face, and lifts it o'er the waves,
From Severn's bank, even to this barren down,
Our foremost men have pressed their fainty rear,
And not one Saxon face has been beheld;
But all their backs and shoulders have been stuck
With foul dishonest wounds; now here, indeed,
Because they have no farther ground, they stand.
Aur. Well have we chose a happy day for fight;
For every man, in course of time, has found
Some days are lucky, some unfortunate.
Alb. But why this day more lucky than the rest?
Con. Because this day
Is sacred to the patron of our isle;
A christian and a soldier's annual feast.

Alb. Oh, now I understand you. This is St George of Cappadocia's day. Well, it may be so, but faith I was ignorant. We soldiers seldom examine the rubrick, and now and then a saint may happen to slip by us; but, if he be a gentleman saint, he will forgive us.

Con. Oswald undoubtedly will fight it bravely.

Aur. And it behoves him well, 'tis his last stake. But what manner of man is this Oswald? Have you ever seen him? [To Albanact.

Alb. Never but once; and that was to my cost too. I followed him too close, and, to say the truth, somewhat uncivilly, upon a rout; but he turned upon me, as quick and as round as a chafed boar, and gave me two licks a-cross the face, to put me in mind of my Christianity.

Con. I know him well; he's free and open-hearted.

Aur. His country's character: that speaks a German.

Con. Revengeful, rugged, violently brave;
And, once resolved, is never to be moved.
Alb. Yes, he's a valiant dog, pox on him!
Con. This was the character he then maintained,
When in my court he sought my daughter's love,
My fair, blind Emmeline.

Alb. I cannot blame him for courting the heiress of Cornwall. All heiresses are beautiful; and, as blind as she is, he would have had no blind bargain of her.

Aur. For that defeat in love, he raised this war;
For royal Arthur reigned within her heart,
Ere Oswald moved his suit.
Con. Ay, now, Aurelius, you have named a man;
One, whom, besides the homage that I owe,
As Cornwall's duke, to his imperial crown,
I would have chosen out, from all mankind,
To be my sovereign lord.
Aur. His worth divides him from the crowd of kings;
So born, without desert to be so born;
Men, set aloft to be the scourge of heaven,
And, with long arms, to lash the under-world.
Con. Arthur is all that's excellent in Oswald,
And void of all his faults. In battle brave,
But still serene in all the stormy war,
Like heaven above the clouds; and after fight,
As merciful and kind to vanquished foes,
As a forgiving God. But see, he's here,
And praise is dumb before him.

Enter King Arthur, reading a letter, with Attendants.

Arth. [Reading.] "Go on, auspicious prince, the stars are kind:
Unfold thy banners to the willing wind;
While I, with airy legions, help thy arms;
Confronting art with art, and charms with charms."
So Merlin writes; nor can we doubt the event, [To Conon.
With Heaven and you to friends. Oh noble Conon,
You taught my tender hands the trade of war;
And now again you helm your hoary head,
And, under double weight of age and arms,
Assert your country's freedom and my crown.
Con. No more, my son.
Arth. Most happy in that name!
Your Emmeline, to Oswald's vows refused,
You made my plighted bride:
Your charming daughter, who, like Love, born blind,
Unaiming hits, with surest archery,
And innocently kills.
Con. Remember, son,
You are a general; other wars require you,
For, see, the Saxon gross begins to move.
Arth. Their infantry embattled, square and close,
March firmly on, to fill the middle space,
Covered by their advancing cavalry.
By Heaven, 'tis beauteous horror:
The noble Oswald has provoked my envy.—

Enter Emmeline, led by Matilda.

Ha! now my beauteous Emmeline appears,
A new, but oh, a softer flame inspires me:
Even rage and vengeance slumber at her sight.
Con. Haste your farewell; I'll cheer my troops, and wait ye. [Exit Conon.
Em. O father, father, I am sure you're here;
Because I see your voice.
Arth. No, thou mistak'st thy hearing for thy sight:
He's gone, my Emmeline;
And I but stay to gaze on those fair eyes,
Which cannot view the conquest they have made.
Oh star-like night, dark only to thyself,
But full of glory, as those lamps of heaven,
That see not, when they shine!
Em. What is this heaven, and stars, and night, and day,
To which you thus compare my eyes and me?
I understand you, when you say you love:
For, when my father clasps my hand in his,
That's cold, and I can feel it hard and wrinkled;
But when you grasp it, then I sigh and pant,
And something smarts and tickles at my heart.
Arth. Oh artless love, where the soul moves the tongue,
And only nature speaks what nature thinks!—
Had she but eyes!
Em. Just now you said, I had:
I see them, I have two.
Arth. But neither see.
Em. I'm sure they hear you then:
What can your eyes do more?
Arth. They view your beauties.
Em. Do not I see? You have a face like mine,
Two hands, and two round, pretty, rising breasts,
That heave like mine.
Arth. But you describe a woman;
Nor is it sight, but touching with your hands.
Em. Then 'tis my hand that sees, and that's all one;
For is not seeing, touching with your eyes?
Arth. No; for I see at distance, where I touch not.
Em. If you can see so far, and yet not touch,
I fear you see my naked legs and feet
Quite through my clothes. Pray do not see so well.
Arth. Fear not, sweet innocence;
I view the lovely features of your face,
Your lips carnation, your dark-shaded eye-brows,
Black eyes, and snow-white forehead; all the colours
That make your beauty, and produce my love.
Em. Nay, then, you do not love on equal terms;
I love you dearly, without all these helps:
I cannot see your lips carnation,
Your shaded eye-brows, nor your milk-white eyes.
Arth. You still mistake.
Em. Indeed I thought you had a nose and eyes,
And such a face as mine: have not men faces?
Arth. Oh, none like yours, so excellently fair.
Em. Then would I had no face; for I would be
Just such a one as you.
Arth. Alas, 'tis vain to instruct your innocence;
You have no notion of light or colours. [Trumpet sounds within.
Em. Why, is not that a trumpet?
Arth. Yes.
Em. I knew it,
And I can tell you how the sound on't looks;
It looks as if it had an angry fighting face.[19]
Arth. 'Tis now indeed a sharp unpleasant sound,
Because it calls me hence from her I love,
To meet ten thousand foes.
Em. How do so many men e'er come to meet?
This devil trumpet vexes them, and then
They feel about for one another's faces;
And so they meet, and kill.
Arth. I'll tell you all, when we have gained the field.
One kiss of your fair hand, the pledge of conquest,
And so a short farewell.
[Kisses her Hand, and Exit with Aurelius, Albanact, and Attendants.
Em. My heart and vows go with him to the fight.
May every foe be that which they call blind,
And none of all their swords have eyes to find him!—
But lead me nearer to the trumpet's face;
For that brave sound upholds my fainting heart;
And, while I hear, methinks I fight my part.
[Exit, led by Matilda.



A Place of Heathen Worship. The Three Saxon Gods, Woden, Thor, and Freya, placed on Pedestals. An Altar.

Enter Oswald and Osmond.

Osm. 'Tis time to hasten our mysterious rites,
Because your army waits you.
Osw. Thor, Freya, Woden, all ye Saxon powers,
[Making three Bows before the three Images.
Hear and revenge my father Hengist's death!
Osm. Father of gods and men, great Woden, hear!
Mount thy hot courser, drive amidst thy foes,
Lift high thy thundering arm, let every blow
Dash out a misbelieving Briton's brains!
Osw. Father of gods and men, great Woden, hear!
Give conquest to thy Saxon race, and me!
Osm. Thor, Freya, Woden, hear, and spell your Saxons,
With sacred Runick rhymes, from death in battle;
Edge their bright swords, and blunt the Britons' darts!—[20]
No more, great prince; for see my trusty fiend,
Who all the night has winged the dusky air.—
Grinbald, a fierce earthy Spirit, arises.
What news, my Grimbald?
Grim. I have played my part;
For I have steeled the fools that are to die,—
Six fools, so prodigal of life and soul,
That, for their country, they devote their lives
A sacrifice to mother Earth, and Woden.
Osm. 'Tis well; but are we sure of victory?
Grim. Why askest thou me?
Inspect their entrails, draw from thence thy guess:
Blood we must have, without it we are dumb.
Osm. Say, where's thy fellow-servant, Philidel?
Why comes not he?
Grim. For he's a puling spirit.
Why didst thou chuse a tender airy form,
Unequal to the mighty work of mischief?
His make is flitting, soft, and yielding atoms;
He trembles at the yawning gulph of hell,
Nor dares approach the flame, lest he should singe
His gaudy silken wings:
He sighs when he should plunge a soul in sulphur,
As with compassion touched of foolish men.
Osm. What a half-devil is he!
His errand was to draw the lowland damps,
And noisome vapours, from the foggy fens;
Then breathe the baleful stench, with all his force,
Full on the faces of our christened foes.
Grim. Accordingly he drained those marshy grounds,
And bagged them in a blue pestiferous cloud;
Which when he should have blown, the frighted elf
Espied the red-cross banners of their host,
And said, he durst not add to his damnation.
Osm. I'll punish him at leisure.
Call in the victims, to propitiate hell.
Grim. That's my kind master: I shall breakfast on them.

Grimbald goes to the Door, and re-enters with six Saxons in White, with Swords in their Hands. They range themselves, three and three, in opposition to each other. The rest of the Stage is filled with Priests and Singers.



Woden, first to thee,
A milk-white steed, in battle won,
We have sacrificed.
Chor. We have sacrificed.
Vers. Let our next oblation be
To Thor, thy thundering son,
Of such another.
Chor. We have sacrificed.
Vers. A third, of Friesland's breed was he,
To Woden's wife, and to Thor's mother;
And now we have atoned all three,
We have sacrificed.
Chor. We have sacrificed.
2 Voc. The white horse neighed aloud.
To Woden thanks we render;
To Woden we have vowed;
Chor. To Woden, our defender.
[The four last lines in chorus.
Vers. The lot is cast, and Tanfan pleased;
Chor. Of mortal cares you shall be eased,
Brave souls, to be renowned in story.
Honour prizing,
Death despising,
Fame acquiring,
By expiring;
Die, and reap the fruit of glory,
Brave souls, to be renowned in story.
Vers. 2. I call ye all
To Woden's hall;
Your temples round,
With ivy bound,
In goblets crowned,
And plenteous bowls of burnished gold;
Where you shall laugh,
And dance, and quaff
The juice, that makes the Britons bold.[21]
[The six Saxons are led off by the Priests, in order to be sacrificed.
Osw. Ambitious fools we are,
And yet ambition is a godlike fault;
Or rather 'tis no fault in souls born great,
Who dare extend their glory by their deeds.—
Now, Britany, prepare to change thy state,
And from this day begin thy Saxon date. [Exeunt.

A Battle supposed to be given behind the Scenes, with Drums, Trumpets, and Military Shouts and Excursions; after which, the Britons, expressing their joy for the Victory, sing this Song of triumph.

Come, if you dare, our trumpets sound;
Come, if you dare, the foes rebound:
We come, we come, we come, we come,
Says the double, double, double beat of the thundering drum.
Now they charge on amain,
Now they rally again:
The gods from above the mad labour behold,
And pity mankind, that will perish for gold.
The fainting Saxons quit their ground,
Their trumpets languish in the sound:
They fly, they fly, they fly, they fly;
Victoria, Victoria, the bold Britons cry.
Now the victory's won,
To the plunder we run:
We return to our lasses like fortunate traders,
Triumphant with spoils of the vanquished invaders. [Exeunt.


Enter Philidel.

Phil. Alas, for pity, of this bloody field!
Piteous it needs must be, when I, a spirit,
Can have so soft a sense of human woes!
Ah, for so many souls, as but this morn
Were clothed with flesh, and warmed with vital blood,
But naked now, or shirted but with air!

Merlin, with Spirits, descends to Philidel, in a Chariot drawn by Dragons.

Mer. What art thou, spirit? of what name, or order?
For I have viewed thee in my magic glass,
Making thy moan among the midnight wolves,
That bay the silent moon; speak, I conjure thee.
'Tis Merlin bids thee, at whose awful wand
The pale ghost quivers, and the grim fiend gasps.
Phil. An airy shape, the tenderest of my kind,
The last seduced, and least deformed, of hell;
Half-white, and shuffled in the crowd, I fell,
Desirous to repent, and loth to sin;
Awkward in mischief, piteous of mankind.
My name is Philidel, my lot in air,
Where, next beneath the moon, and nearest heaven,
I soar, and have a glimpse to be received,
For which the swarthy dæmons envy me.
Mer. Thy business here?
Phil. To shun the Saxon wizard's dire commands,
Osmond, the awfullest name, next thine, below.
'Cause I refused to hurl a noisome fog
On christened heads, the hue and cry of hell
Is raised against me, for a fugitive sprite.
Mer. Osmond shall know, a greater power protects thee.
But follow thou the whispers of thy soul,
That draw thee nearer heaven;
And, as thy place is nearest to the sky,
The rays will reach thee first, and bleach thy soot.
Phil. In hope of that, I spread my azure wings;
And wishing still,—for yet I dare not pray,—
I bask in day-light, and behold, with joy,
My scum work outward, and my rust wear off.
Mer. Why, 'tis my hopeful devil. Now mark me, Philidel;
I will employ thee, for thy future good.
Thou know'st, in spite of valiant Oswald's arms,
Or Osmond's powerful spells, the field is ours.
Phil. Oh, master! hasten
Thy dread commands; for Grimbald is at hand,
Osmond's fierce fiend; I snuff his earthy scent.
The conquering Britons he misleads to rivers,
Or dreadful downfals of unheeded rocks;
Where many fall, that ne'er shall rise again.
Mer. Be that thy care, to stand by falls of brooks,
And trembling bogs, that bear a green-sward show.
Warn off the bold pursuers from the chace.—
No more; they come, and we divide the task.
But, lest fierce Grimbald's ponderous bulk oppress
Thy tender flitting air, I'll leave my band
Of spirits, with united strength to aid thee,
And force with force repel.
[Exit Merlin in his Chariot. Merlin's Spirits stay with Philidel.

Enter Grimbald in the habit of a Shepherd, followed by King Arthur, Conon, Aurelius, Albanact, and Soldiers, who wander at a distance in the Scenes.

Grim. Here, this way, Britons; follow Oswald's flight.
This evening, as I whistled out my dog,
To drive my straggling flock, and pitched my fold,
I saw him, dropping sweat, o'er-laboured, stiff,
Make faintly, as he could, to yonder dell.
Tread in my steps; long neighbourhood by day
Has made these fields familiar in the night.
Arth. I thank thee, shepherd;
Expect reward. Lead on, we follow thee.
Phil.   } Hither this way, this way bend,
sings. } Trust not that malicious fiend;
Those are false deluding lights,
Wafted far and near by sprites.
Trust them not, for they'll deceive ye,
And in bogs and marshes leave ye.
Chor. of Phil. Spir. Hither this way, this way bend.
Chor. of Grimb. Spir. This way, this way bend.
Phil.   } If you step, no danger thinking,
sings. } Down you fall, a furlong sinking:
'Tis a fiend, who has annoyed ye;
Name but heaven, and he'll avoid ye.
Chor. of Phil. Spir. Hither this way, this way bend.
Chor. of Grimb. Spir. This way, this way bend.
Philidel's Spirits. Trust not that malicious fiend.
Grimbald's Spirits. Trust me, I am no malicious fiend.
Philidel's Spirits. Hither this way, &c.
Con. Some wicked phantom, foe to human kind,
Misguides our steps.
Alba. I'll follow him no further.
Grimb. By hell, she sings them back, in my despite.
I had a voice in heaven, ere sulphurous steams
Had damped it to a hoarseness; but I'll try.
He sings. Let not a moon-born elf mislead ye
From your prey, and from your glory.
Too far, alas! he has betrayed ye:
Follow the flames, that wave before ye;
Sometimes seven, and sometimes one;
Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry on.
See, see the footsteps plain appearing,
That way Oswald chose for flying;
Firm is the turf, and fit for bearing,
Where yonder pearly dews are lying.
Far he cannot hence be gone;
Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry on.
Aur. 'Tis true he says; the footsteps yet are fresh
Upon the sod, no falling dew-drops have
Disturbed the print. [All are going to follow Grimbald.
Philidel sings. Hither this way.
Chor. of Phil. Spir. Hither this way, this way bend.
Chor. of Grimb. Spir. This way, this way bend.
Philidel's Spirits. Trust not that malicious fiend.
Grimb. Spirits. Trust me, I am no malicious fiend.
Philidel's Spirits. Hither this way, &c. [They all incline to Philidel.
Grim. Curse on her voice! I must my prey forego;—
Thou, Philidel, shalt answer this below. [Grimbald sinks with a Flash.
Arth. At last the cheat is plain;
The cloven-footed fiend is vanished from us;
Good angels be our guides, and bring us back!
Phil. singing. Come follow, follow, follow me.
Chor. Come follow, &c.
And me; and me; and me; and me.
Vers. 2 Voc. And green-sward all your way shall be.
Chor. Come follow, &c.
Vers. No goblin or elf shall dare to offend ye.
Chor. No, no, no, &c.
No goblin or elf shall dare to offend ye.
Ver. 3 Voc. We brethren of air,
You heroes will bear,
To the kind and the fair that attend ye.
Chor. We brethren, &c.

[Philidel and the Spirits go off singing, with King Arthur and the rest in the middle of them.

SCENE II.—A Pavilion.

Enter Emmeline, led by Matilda.

Em. No news of my dear love, or of my father?
Mat. None, madam, since the gaining of the battle.
Great Arthur is a royal conqueror now,
And well deserves your love.
Em. But now I fear
He'll be too great, to love poor silly me,
If he be dead, or never come again,
I mean to die. But there's a greater doubt,
Since I ne'er saw him here,—
How shall I meet him in another world?
Mat. I have heard something, how two bodies meet;
But how souls join, I know not.
Em. I should find him,
For surely I have seen him in my sleep;
And then methought he put his mouth to mine,
And eat a thousand kisses on my lips.
Sure by his kissing I could find him out,
Among a thousand angels in the sky.
Mat. But what a kind of man do you suppose him?
Em. He must be made of the most precious things;
And I believe his mouth, and eyes, and cheeks,
And nose, and all his face, are made of gold.
Mat. Heaven bless us, madam, what a face you make him!
If it be yellow, he must have the jaundice,
And that's a bad disease.
Em. Why then do lovers give a thing so bad
As gold to women, whom so well they love?
Mat. Because that bad thing, gold, buys all good things.
Em. Yet I must know him better: Of all colours,
Tell me which is the purest, and the softest.
Mat. They say, 'tis black.
Em. Why, then, since gold is hard, and yet is precious,
His face must all be made of soft, black gold.
Mat. But, madam,——
Em. No more; I have learned enough for once.
Mat. Here are a crew of Kentish lads and lasses
Would entertain ye, till your lord's return,
With songs and dances, to divert your cares.
Em. O bring them in;
For, though I cannot see the songs, I love them;
And love, they tell me, is a dance of hearts.

Enter Shepherds and Shepherdesses.

1 Shepherd sings.

How blest are shepherds, how happy their lasses,
While drums and trumpets are sounding alarms!
Over our lowly sheds all the storm passes;
And when we die, 'tis in each others arms.
All the day on our herds and flocks employing;
All the night on our flutes, and in enjoying.
Chor. All the day, &c.
Bright nymphs of Britain, with graces attended,
Let not your days without pleasure expire;
Honour's but empty, and, when youth is ended,
All men will praise you, but none will desire;
Let not youth fly away without contenting;
Age will come time enough for your repenting.
Chor. Let not youth, &c.
[Here the Men offer their Flutes to the Women, which they refuse.
2 Shepherdess.
Shepherd, shepherd, leave decoying,
Pipes are sweet a summer's day;
But a little after toying,
Women have the shot to pay.
Here are marriage-vows for signing,
Set their marks that cannot write;
After that, without repining,
Play, and welcome, day and night.
[Here the Women give the Men Contracts, which they accept.
Chor. } Come, shepherds, lead up a lively measure;
of all. } The cares of wedlock are cares of pleasure:
But whether marriage bring joy or sorrow,
Make sure of this day, and hang to-morrow.
[The Dance after the Song, and Exeunt Shepherds and Shepherdesses.
Enter, on the other side of the Stage, Oswald and Guillamar.
Osw. The night has wildered us; and we are fallen
Among their foremost tents.
Guil. Ha! what are these?
They seem of more than vulgar quality.
Em. What sounds are those? they cannot far be distant.
Where are we now, Matilda?
Mat. Just before your tent.
Fear not, they must be friends, and they approach.
Em. My Arthur! speak, my love; are you returned
To bless your Emmeline?
Osw. [To Guil.] I know that face:
'Tis the ungrateful fair, who, scorning mine,
Accepts my rival's love.—Heaven, thou art bounteous,
Thou owest me nothing now.
Mat. Fear grows upon me.—
Speak what you are; speak, or I call for help.
Osw. We are your guards.
Mat. Ah me, we are betrayed! 'tis Oswald's voice.
Em. Let them not see our voices, and then they cannot find us.
Osw. Passions in men oppressed are doubly strong.
I take her from king Arthur; there's revenge:
If she can love, she buoys my sinking fortunes:
Good reasons both: I'll on.—Fear nothing, ladies,
You shall be safe.
[Oswald and Guillamar seize Emmeline and Matilda.
Em. and Mat. Help, help! a rape, a rape!
Osw. By heaven, ye injure me; though force is used,
Your honour shall be sacred.
Em. Help, help! Oh, Britons, help!
Osw. Your Britons cannot help you.
This arm through all their troops shall force my way,
Yet neither quit my honour, nor my prey.
[Exeunt, the Women still crying. An Alarm within: Some Soldiers running over the Stage, "Follow, follow, follow."
Enter Albanact, Captain of the Guards, with Soldiers.
Alb. Which way went the alarm?
1 Sol. Here, towards the castle.
Alb. Pox o'this victory, the whole camp's debauched;
All drunk, or whoring.—This way; follow, follow.
[Exeunt. The Alarm renews: Clashing of Swords within for a while.
Re-enter Albanact, Officer, and Soldiers.
Offi. How sits the conquest on great Arthur's brow?
Alb. As when the lover with the king is mixt.
He puts the gain of Britain in a scale,
Which weighing with the loss of Emmeline,
He thinks he's scarce a saver. [Trumpet within.
Offi. Hark, a trumpet!
It sounds a parley.
Alb. 'Tis from Oswald then,
An echo to king Arthur's friendly summons,
Sent since he heard the rape of Emmeline,
To ask an interview, [Trumpet answering on the other side.
Offi. But hark! already
Our trumpet makes reply; and see both present.
Enter Arthur on one side attended, Oswald on the other with Attendants, and Guillamar. They meet and salute.
Arth. Brave Oswald! we have met on friendlier terms,
Companions of a war, with common interest,
Against the bordering Picts: but times are changed.
Osw. And I am sorry that those times are changed,
For else we now might meet on terms as friendly.
Arth. If so we meet not now, the fault's your own;
For you have wronged me much.
Osw. Oh you would tell me,
I called more Saxons in, to enlarge my bounds.
If those be wrongs, the war has well redressed ye.
Arth. Mistake me not; I count not war a wrong.
War is the trade of kings, that fight for empire:
And better be a lion, than a sheep.
Osw. In what, then, have I wronged ye?
Arth. In my love.
Osw. Even love's an empire too; the noble soul,
Like kings, is covetous of single sway.
Arth. I blame ye not for loving Emmeline:
But, since the soul is free, and love is choice,
You should have made a conquest of her mind,
And not have forced her person by a rape.
Osw. Whether by force, or stratagem, we gain,
Still gaining is our end, in war, or love.
Her mind's the jewel, in her body locked;
If I would gain the gem, and want the key,
It follows I must seize the cabinet.
But, to secure your fear, her honour is untouched.
Arth. Was honour ever safe in brutal hands?
So safe are lambs within the lion's paw;
Ungriped and played with, till fierce hunger calls,
Then nature shews itself; the close-hid nails
Are stretched, and opened, to the panting prey.
But if, indeed, you are so cold a lover,—
Osw. Not cold, but honourable.
Arth. Then restore her:
That done, I shall believe you honourable.
Osw. Think'st thou I will forego a victor's right?
Arth. Say rather, of an impious ravisher.
That castle, were it walled with adamant,
Can hide thy head but till to-morrow's dawn.
Osw. And ere to-morrow I may be a god,
If Emmeline be kind: but, kind or cruel,
I tell thee, Arthur, but to see this day,
That heavenly face, though not to have her mine,
I would give up a hundred years of life,
And bid fate cut to-morrow.
Arth. It soon will come, and thou repent too late;
Which to prevent, I'll bribe thee to be honest.
Thy noble head, accustomed to a crown,
Shall wear it still, nor shall thy hand forget
The scepter's use: from Medway's pleasing stream,
To Severn's roar, be thine;
In short, restore my love, and share my kingdom.
Osw. Not though you spread my sway from Thames to Tyber:
Such gifts might bribe a king, but not a lover.
Arth. Then pr'ythee give me back my kingly word,
Passed for thy safe return; and let this hour,
In single combat, hand to hand, decide
The fate of empire, and of Emmeline.
Osw. Not that I fear do I decline this combat;
And not decline it neither, but defer:
When Emmeline has been my prize as long
As she was thine, I dare thee to the duel.
Arth. I named your utmost term of life,—to-morrow.
Osw. You are not fate.
Arth. But fate is in this arm.
You might have made a merit of your theft.
Osw. Ha! theft! your guards can tell I stole her not.
Arth. Had I been present,—
Osw. Had you been present, she had been mine more nobly.
Arth. There lies your way.
Osw. My way lies where I please.
Expect (for Oswald's magic cannot fail)
A long to-morrow, ere your arms prevail.
Or, if I fall, make room, ye blessed above,
For one who was undone, and died for love. [Exit Oswald and his Party.
Arth. There may be one black minute ere to-morrow:
For who can tell, what power, and lust, and charms,
May do this night?—To arms, with speed, to arms. [Exeunt.


Enter Arthur, Conon, and Aurelius.

Con. Furl up our colours, and unbrace our drums;
Dislodge betimes, and quit this fatal coast.
Arth. Have we forgot to conquer?
Aur. Cast off hope;
The embattled legions of fire, air, and earth,
Are banded for our foes:
For, going to discover, with the dawn,
Yon southern hill, which promised to the sight
A rise more easy to attack the fort,
Scarce had we stept on the forbidden ground,
When the woods shook, the trees stood bristling up;
A living trembling nodded through the leaves.
Arth. Poplars, and aspen-boughs; a panic fright.
Con. We thought so too, and doubled still our pace;
But strait a rumbling sound, like bellowing winds,
Rose and grew loud; confused with howls of wolves,
And grunts of bears, and dreadful hiss of snakes;
Shrieks more than human; globes of hail poured down
An armed winter, and inverted day.
Arth. Dreadful indeed!
Aur. Count then our labour's lost;
For other way lies none, to mount the cliff,
Unless we borrow wings, and sail through air.
Arth. Now I perceive a danger worthy me.
'Tis Osmond's work, a band of hell-hired slaves:
Be mine the hazard, mine shall be the fame.
[Arthur is going out, but is met by Merlin, who takes him by the hand, and brings him back.
Enter Merlin.
Mer. Hold, sir, and wait heaven's time; the attempt's too dangerous.
There's not a tree in that enchanted grove,
But's numbered out, and given by tale to fiends;
And under every leaf a spirit couched.
But by what method to dissolve these charms,
Is yet unknown to me.
Aur. Hadst thou been here,—for what can thwart thy skill?—
Nor Emmeline had been the boast of Oswald,
Nor I, forewarned, been wanting to her guard.
Con. Her darkened eyes had seen the light of heaven;
That was thy promise too, and this the time.
Mer. Nor has my aid been absent, though unseen,
With friendly guides in your benighted maze:
Nor Emmeline shall longer want the sun.
Arth. Is there an end of woes?
Mer. There is, and sudden.
I have employed a subtle airy sprite
To explore the passage, and prepare my way.
Myself, mean time, will view the magic wood,
To learn whereon depends its force.
Con. But Emmeline!——
Mer. Fear not. This vial shall restore her sight.
Arth. Oh might I hope,—and what's impossible
To Merlin's art?—to be myself the bearer,
That with the light of heaven she may discern
Her lover first!
Mer. 'Tis wond'rous hazardous;
Yet I foresee the event, 'tis fortunate.
I'll bear ye safe, and bring ye back unharmed:
Then lose not precious time, but follow me.
[Exeunt, Merlin leading Arthur.

SCENE II.—A Deep Wood.

Enter Philidel.

Phil. I left all safe behind;
For, in the hindmost quarter of the wood,
My former lord, grim Osmond, walks the round,
Calls o'er the names, and schools the tardy sprites.
His absence gives me more security.
At every walk I passed, I drew a spell;
So that, if any fiend, abhorring heaven,
There sets his foot, it roots him to the ground.
Now could I but discover Emmeline,
My task were fairly done. [Walking about, and prying betwixt the Trees.
Enter Grimbald rushing out: He seizes Philidel, and binds him in a Chain.
Grim. O rebel, have I caught thee!
Phil. Ah me! what hard mishap!
Grim. What just revenge!—
Thou miscreant elf, thou renegado scout,
So clean, so furbished, so renewed in white,
The livery of our foes; I see thee through:
What mak'st thou here? thou trim apostate, speak.
Thou shak'st for fear, I feel thy false heart pant.
Phil. Ah mighty Grimbald,
Who would not fear, when seized in thy strong gripe!
But hear me, Oh renowned, Oh worthy fiend,
The favourite of our chief!
Grim. Away with fulsome flattery,
The food of fools; thou knowest where last we met,
When, but for thee, the Christian had been swallowed
In quaking bogs, and living sent to hell.
Phil. Ay, then I was seduced by Merlin's art,
And half persuaded by his soothing tales,
To hope for heaven; as if eternal doom
Could be reversed, and undecreed for me;
But I am now set right.
Grim. Oh, still thou think'st to fly a fool to mark.
Phil. I fled from Merlin, free as air that bore me,
To unfold to Osmond all his deep designs.
Grim. I believe nothing: Oh thou fond impostor,
When wert thou last in hell? Is not thy name
Forgot, and blotted from the infernal roll?
But since thou sayest, thy errand was to Osmond,
To Osmond shalt thou go: march, know thy driver.
Phil. [Kneeling.] Oh spare me, Grimbald, and I'll be thy slave,
Tempt hermits for thee, in their holy cells,
And virgins, in their dreams.
Grim. Canst thou, a devil, hope to cheat a devil?
A spy! why, that's a name abhorred in hell.
Haste, forward, forward, or I'll goad thee on
With iron spurs.
Phil. But use me kindly then.
Pull not so hard, to hurt my airy limbs;
I'll follow thee unforced: look, there's thy way.
Grim. Ay, there's thy way indeed; but, for more surety,
I'll keep an eye behind: not one word more,
But follow decently. [Grim. goes out, dragging Phil.
Phil. So, catch him, spell! [Aside.
Grim. [within.] Oh help me, help me, Philidel!
Phil. Why, what's the matter?
Grim. Oh, I am ensnared;
Heaven's birdlime wraps me round, and glues my wings.
Loose me, and I will free thee:
Do, and I'll be thy slave.
Phil. What, to a spy, a name abhorred in hell?
Grim. Do not insult!—Oh, Oh, I grow to ground;
The fiery net draws closer on my limbs.
Phil. Thou shalt not have the ease to curse in torments.
Be dumb for one half hour,—so long my charm
Can keep thee silent,—and there lie
Till Osmond breaks thy chain. [Philidel unbinds his own Fetters.
Enter to him Merlin, with a Vial in his Hand; and Arthur.
Mer. Well hast thou wrought thy safety with thy wit,
My Philidel; go meritorious on.
Me other work requires, to view the wood,
And learn to make the dire enchantments void.
Mean time, attend king Arthur, in my room;
Shew him his love, and with these sovereign drops
Restore her sight.
[Exit Merlin, giving a Vial to Philidel.
Phil. We must work, we must haste;
Noon-tide hour is almost past.
Sprites, that glimmer in the sun,
Into shades already run;
Osmond will be here, anon.
Enter Emmeline and Matilda, at the far end of the Wood.
Arth. O yonder, yonder she's already found;
My soul directs my sight, and flies before it.—
Now, gentle spirit, use thy utmost art,
Unseal her eyes, and this way lead her steps.
[Arthur withdraws behind the Scene; Emmeline and Matilda come forward to the Front; Philidel approaches Emmeline, sprinkling some of the Water over her eyes, out of the Vial.
Phil.     Thus, thus I infuse
These sovereign dews:
Fly back, ye films, that cloud her sight;
And you, ye crystal humours bright,
Your noxious vapours purged away,
Recover, and admit the day:
Now cast your eyes abroad, and see
All but me.
Em. Ha! What was that? Who spoke?
Mat. I heard the voice; 'tis one of Osmond's fiends.
Em. Some blessed angel sure. I feel my eyes
Unsealed; they walk abroad, and a new world
Comes rushing on, and stands all gay before me.
Mat. Oh heavens! Oh joy of joys! she has her sight!
Em. I am new-born; I shall run mad for pleasure. [Staring on Mat.
Are women such as thou? Such glorious creatures?
Arth. [Aside.] O how I envy her, to be first seen!
Em. Stand farther; let me take my fill of sight. [Looking up.
What's that above, that weakens my new eyes,
Makes me not see, by seeing?
Mat. 'Tis the sun.
Em. The sun! 'tis sure a God, if that be heaven:—
Oh! if thou art a creature, best and fairest,
How well art thou from mortals so remote,
To shine, and not to burn, by near approach!
How hast thou lightened even my very soul,
And let in knowledge by another sense!
I gaze about, new-born to day and thee;
A stranger yet, an infant of the world!—
Art thou not pleased, Matilda? Why, like me,
Dost thou not look and wonder?
Mat. For these sights
Are to my eyes familiar.
Em. That's my joy,
Not to have seen before; for nature now
Comes all at once, confounding my delight.
But ah! what thing am I? Fain would I know;
Or am I blind, or do I see but half?
With all my care, and looking round about,
I cannot view my face.
Mat. None see themselves
But by reflection; in this glass you may. [Gives her a glass.
Em. [Taking the glass, and looking.] What's this?
It holds a face within it:—Oh sweet face!
It draws the mouth, and smiles, and looks upon me,
And talks, but yet I cannot hear it speak;
The pretty thing is dumb.
Mat. The pretty thing
You see within the glass, is you.
Em. What! am I two? Is this another me?
Indeed it wears my clothes, has hands like mine,
And mocks whate'er I do; but that I'm sure
I am a maid, I'd swear it were my child. [Matilda looks.
Look, my Matilda: We both are in the glass.
Oh, now I know it plain; they are our names,
That peep upon us there.
Mat. Our shadows, madam.
Em. Mine is a prettier shadow far, than thine.
I love it; let me kiss my t'other self. [Kissing the glass, and hugging it.
Alas, I've kissed it dead; the fine thing's gone:
Indeed, it kissed so cold, as if 'twere dying.
[Arthur comes forward softly, shewing himself behind her.
'Tis here again;
Oh no, this face is neither mine nor thine;
I think the glass has born another child. [She turns and sees Arthur.
Ha! What art thou with a new kind of face,
And other clothes? a noble creature too;
But taller, bigger, fiercer in thy look;
Of a controuling eye, majestic make?
Mat. Do you not know him, madam?
Em. Is't a man?
Arth. Yes; and the most unhappy of my kind,
If you have changed your love.
Em. My dearest lord!
Was my soul blind; and could not that look out,
To know you, ere you spoke? Oh counterpart
Of our soft sex! Well are you made our lords;
So bold, so great, so godlike are you formed!
How can you love such silly things as women?
Arth. Beauty like yours commands; and man was made
But a more boisterous, and a stronger slave,
To you, the best delights of human kind.
Em. But are you mine? Is there an end of war?
Are all those trumpets dead themselves, at last,
That used to kill men with their thundering sounds?
Arth. The sum of war is undecided yet;
And many a breathing body must be cold,
Ere you are free.
Em. How came you hither then?
Arth. By Merlin's art, to snatch a short-lived bliss;
To feed my famished love upon your eyes
One moment, and depart.
Em. O moment, worth
Whole ages past, and all that are to come!
Let love-sick Oswald now unpitied mourn;
Let Osmond mutter charms to sprites in vain,
To make me love him; all shall not change my soul.
Arth. Ha! Does the enchanter practise hell upon you?
Is he my rival too?
Em. Yes, but I hate him;
For, when he spoke, through my shut eyes I saw him;
His voice look'd ugly, and breathed brimstone on me;
And then I first was glad that I was blind,
Not to behold damnation.
Phil. This time is left me to congratulate
Your new-born eyes; and tell you what you gain
By sight restored, and viewing him you love.—
Appear, ye airy forms!
[Airy Spirits appear in the shapes of Men and Women.
Man sings.   Oh sight, the mother of desires,
What charming objects dost thou yield!
'Tis sweet, when tedious night expires,
To see the rosy morning gild
The mountain-tops, and paint the field!
But when Clarinda comes in sight,
She makes the summer's day more bright;
And when she goes away, 'tis night.
Chor. When fair Clarinda comes in sight, &c.
Wom. sings. 'Tis sweet the blushing morn to view;
And plains adorned with pearly dew:
But such cheap delights to see,
Heaven and nature
Give each creature;
They have eyes, as well as we;
This is the joy, all joys above,
To see, to see,
That only she,
That only she we love!
Chor. This is the joy, all joys above, &c.
Man sings. And if we may discover
What charms both nymph and lover,
'Tis, when the fair at mercy lies,
With kind and amorous anguish,
To sigh, to look, to languish,
On each other's eyes!
Chorus of all Men and Women.
And if we may discover, &c.
Phil. Break off your music, for our foes are near. [Spirits vanish.
Enter Merlin.
Merl. My sovereign, we have hazarded too far;
But love excuses you, and prescience me:
Make haste, for Osmond is even now alarmed,
And, greedy of revenge, is hasting home.
Arth. Oh! take my love with us, or leave me here.
Merl. I cannot, for she's held by charms too strong,
Which, with the enchanted grove, must be destroyed;
Till when, my art is vain:—But fear not, Emmeline,
The enchanter has no power on innocence.
Em. [To Arth.] Farewell, since we must part: When you are gone,
I'll look into my glass, just where you looked.
To find your face again;
If 'tis not there, I'll think on you so long,
My heart shall make your picture for my eyes.
Arth. Where'er I go, my soul shall stay with thee;
'Tis but my shadow that I take away.
True love is never happy but by halves;
An April sunshine, that by fits appears,
It smiles by moments, but it mourns by years.
[Exeunt Arthur and Merlin at one door.
Enter Osmond at the other door, who gazes on Emmeline, and she on him.
Em. Matilda, save me from this ugly thing,
This foe to sight: speak; dost thou know him?
Mat. Too well; 'tis Oswald's friend, the great magician.
Em. It cannot be a man, he's so unlike the man I love.
Osm. [Aside.] Death to my eyes, she sees!
Em. I wish I could not; but I'll close my sight,
And shut out all I can.——It will not be;
Winking, I see thee still; thy odious image
Stares full into my soul, and there infects the room,
My Arthur should possess.
Osm. [Aside.] I find too late,
That Merlin and her lover have been here.
If I was fired before, when she was blind,
Her eyes dart lightning now; she must be mine.
Em. I pr'ythee, dreadful thing, tell me thy business here,
And, if thou canst, reform that odious face;
Look not so grim upon me.
Osm. My name is Osmond, and my business love.
Em. Thou hast a grisly look,—forbidding what thou askest,
If I durst tell thee so.
Osm. My pent-house eye-brows, and my shaggy beard,
Offend your sight, but these are manly signs;
Faint white and red abuse your expectations:
Be woman; know your sex, and love full pleasures.
Em. Love from a monster, fiend?
Osm. Come, you must love, or you must suffer love;
No coyness, none, for I am master here.
Em. And when did Oswald give away his power,
That thou presum'st to rule? Be sure I'll tell him;
For, as I am his prisoner, he is mine.
Osm. Why then, thou art a captive to a captive.
O'er-laboured with the fight, opprest with thirst,
That Oswald, whom you mentioned, called for drink:
I mixt a sleepy potion in his bowl,
Which he and his fool friend quaffed greedily:
The happy dose wrought the desired effect;
Then to a dungeon's depth I sent both bound;
Where, stowed with snakes and adders, now they lodge,
Two planks their beds, slippery with ooze and slime:
The rats brush o'er their faces with their tails,
And croaking paddocks crawl upon their limbs;
Since when the garrison depends on me.
Now know you are my slave.
Mat. He strikes a horror through my blood.
Em. I freeze, as if his impious art had fixed
My feet to earth.
Osm. But love shall thaw ye.
I'll show his force in countries caked with ice,
Where the pale pole-star in the north of heaven
Sits high, and on the frosty winter broods,—
Yet there love reigns: For proof, this magic wand
Shall change the mildness of sweet Britain's clime
To Iceland, and the farthest Thule's frost,
Where the proud god, disdaining winter's bounds,
O'erleaps the fences of eternal snow,
And with his warmth supplies the distant sun.
Osmond strikes the Ground with his Wand: The Scene changes to a Prospect of Winter in Frozen Countries.
Cupid descends.
Cup.   } What ho, thou Genius of the Clime, what ho!
sings. } Ly'st thou asleep beneath those hills of snow?
Stretch out thy lazy limbs; awake, awake,
And winter from thy furry mantle shake.
Genius Arises.
Genius. What power art thou, who from below
Hast made me rise, unwillingly, and slow,
From beds of everlasting snow?
See'st thou not how stiff and wond'rous old,
Far unfit to bear the bitter cold?
I can scarcely move, or draw my breath;
Let me, let me, freeze again to death.
Cupid. Thou doating fool, forbear, forbear;
What, dost thou dream of freezing here?
At Love's appearing, all the sky clearing,
The stormy winds their fury spare:
Winter subduing, and spring renewing,
My beams create a more glorious year.
Thou doating fool, forbear, forbear,
What! dost thou dream of freezing here?
Genius. Great Love, I know thee now;
Eldest of the gods art thou
Heaven and earth by thee were made;
Human nature
Is thy creature,
Every where thou art obeyed.
Cupid. No part of my dominion shall be waste;
To spread my sway, and sing my praise,
Even here I will a people raise,
Of kind embracing lovers, and embraced.
Cupid waves his Wand, upon which the Scene opens, and discovers a prospect of Ice and Snow to the end of the Stage.
Singers and Dancers, Men and Women, appear.
Man. See, see, we assemble,
Thy revels to hold;
Though quiv'ring with cold,
We chatter and tremble.
Cupid. 'Tis I, 'tis I, 'tis I, that have warmed ye:
In spite of cold weather,
I've brought you together:
'Tis I, 'tis I, 'tis I, that have armed ye.
Chor. 'Tis Love, 'tis Love, 'tis Love, that has warmed us;
In spite of cold weather
He brought us together:
 'Tis Love, 'tis Love, 'tis Love, that has armed us.
Cupid. Sound a parley, ye fair, and surrender;
Set yourselves and your lovers at ease;
He's a grateful offender
Who pleasure dare seize;
But the whining pretender
Is sure to displease.


Since the fruit of desire is possessing,
'Tis unmanly to sigh and complain;
When we kneel for redressing,
We move your disdain:
Love was made for a blessing,
And not for a pain.
A Dance; after which the Singers and Dancers depart.
Em. I could be pleased with any one but thee,
Who entertained my sight with such gay shows,
As men and women moving here and there,
That, coursing one another in their steps,
Have made their feet a tune.
Osm. What, coying it again!
No more, but make me happy to my gust,
That is, without your struggling.
Em. From my sight,
Thou all thy devils in one! thou dar'st not force me.
Osm. You teach me well; I find you would be ravished.
I'll give you that excuse your sex desires.
[He begins to lay hold on her, and they struggle.
Grim. [Within.] O help me, master, help me!
Osm. Who's that? my Grimbald? Come and help thou me;
For 'tis thy work to assist a ravisher.
Grim. [Within.] I cannot stir; I am spell-caught by Philidel,
And pursed within a net,
With a huge heavy weight of holy words
Laid on my head, that keeps me down from rising.
Osm. I'll read them backwards and release thy bonds.—
Mean time go in, [To Emmeline.
Prepare yourself, and ease my drudgery:
But if you will not fairly be enjoyed,
A little honest force is well employed. [Exit Osmond.
Em. Heaven be my guard, I have no other friend!
Heaven, ever present to thy suppliant's aid,
Protect and pity innocence betrayed!
[Exeunt Emmeline and Matilda.


Enter Osmond.

Now I am settled in my forceful sway;
Why then, I'll be luxurious in my love;
Take my full gust, and, setting forms aside,
I'll bid the slave, that fires my blood, lie down. [Seems to be going off.
Enter Grimbald, who meets him.
Grim. Not so fast, master, danger threatens thee:
There's a black cloud descending from above,
Full of heaven's venom, bursting o'er thy head.
Osm. Malicious fiend, thou liest; for I am fenced
By millions of thy fellows, in my grove.
I bade thee, when I freed thee from the charm,
Run scouting through the wood, from tree to tree,
And look if all my devils were on duty:
Had'st thou performed thy charge, thou tardy sprite,
Thou would'st have known no danger threatened me.
Grim. When did a devil fail in diligence?
Poor mortal, thou thyself art overseen.
I have been there, and thence I bring this news,—
Thy fatal foe, great Arthur, is at hand;
Merlin has taken his time, when thou wert absent,
To observe thy characters, their force, and nature,
And counterwork thy spells.
Osm. The devil take Merlin!
I'll cast them all a-new, and instantly,
All of another mould; be thou at hand.
Their composition was, before, of horror;
Now they shall be of blandishment, and love,
Seducing hopes, soft pity, tender moans:
Art shall meet art; and, when they think to win,
The fools shall find their labour to begin.
[Exeunt Osm. and Grimb.
Enter Arthur, and Merlin at another Door.
Scene of the Wood continues.
Merl. Thus far it is permitted me to go;
But all beyond this spot is fenced with charms;
I may no more, but only with advice.
Arth. My sword shall do the rest.
Merl. Remember well, that all is but illusion.
Go on; good stars attend thee.
Arth. Doubt me not.
Merl. Yet, in prevention
Of what may come, I'll leave my Philidel
To watch thy steps, and with him leave my wand;
The touch of which no earthy fiend can bear,
In whate'er shape transformed, but must lay down
His borrowed figure, and confess the devil.
Once more farewell, and prosper. [Exit Merlin.
Arth. [walking.] No danger yet; I see no walls of fire,
No city of the fiends, with forms obscene,
To grin from far on flaming battlements.
This is indeed the grove I should destroy;
But where's the horror? sure the prophet erred.—
Hark! music, and the warbling notes of birds! [Soft Music.
Hell entertains me, like some welcome guest.—
More wonders yet! yet all delightful too:
A silver current to forbid my passage,
And yet, to invite me, stands a golden bridge:
Perhaps a trap for my unwary feet,
To sink and whelm me underneath the waves.
With fire or water let him wage his war,
Or all the elements at once, I'll on.
[As he is going to the Bridge, two Syrens arise from the water. They shew themselves to the waist, and sing:
1 Syren. O pass not on, but stay,
And waste the joyous day
With us in gentle play:
Unbend to love, unbend thee:
O lay thy sword aside,
And other arms provide;
For other wars attend thee,
And sweeter to be tried.
Chor. For other wars, &c.
Both sing. Two daughters of this aged stream are we;
And both our sea-green locks have comb'd for thee:
Come bathe with us an hour or two,
Come naked in, for we are so;
What danger from a naked foe?
Come bathe with us, come bathe and share
What pleasures in the floods appear.
We'll beat the waters till they bound,
And circle, round, around, around,
And circle round, around.
Arth. A lazy pleasure trickles through my veins;
Here could I stay, and well be cozened here.
But honour calls;—is honour in such haste?
Can it not bait at such a pleasing inn?
No; for, the more I look, the more I long.—
Farewell, ye fair illusions! I must leave ye,
While I have power to say, that I must leave ye.
Farewell! with half my soul I stagger off,—
How dear this flying victory has cost,
When, if I stay to struggle, I am lost.


As he is going forward, Nymphs and Sylvans come out from behind the Trees. A Bass and two Trebles sing the following Song to a Minuet.

Dance with a Song, all with Branches in their Hands.

Song.   How happy the lover,
How easy his chain,
How pleasing his pain,
How sweet to discover
He sighs not in vain.
For love every creature
Is formed by his nature;
No joys are above
The pleasures of love.
The Dance continues, with the same measure played alone.
In vain are our graces,
In vain are your eyes,
If love you despise;
When age furrows faces,
'Tis time to be wise.
Then use the short blessing,
That flies in possessing:
No joys are above
The pleasures of love.
Arth. And what are the fantastic fairy joys,
To love like mine? false joys, false welcomes all.
Be gone, ye Sylvan trippers of the green;
Fly after night, and overtake the moon.
[Here the Dancers, Singers, and Syrens vanish.
This goodly tree seems queen of all the grove.
The ringlets round her trunk declare her guilty
Of many midnight-sabbaths revelled here.
Her will I first attempt.
[Arthur strikes at the Tree, and cuts it; Blood spouts out of it; a groan follows, then a shriek.
Good heavens, what monstrous prodigies are these!
Blood follows from my blow; the wounded rind
Spouts on my sword, and sanguine dies the plain.
[He strikes again: The Voice of Emmeline from behind.
Em. [from behind.] Forbear, if thou hast pity, ah, forbear!
These groans proceed not from a senseless plant;
No spouts of blood run welling from a tree.
Arth. Speak what thou art; I charge thee, speak thy being,
Thou, that hast made my curdled blood run back,
My heart heave up, my hair to rise in bristles,
And scarcely left a voice to ask thy name!
[Emmel. breaks out of the Tree, shewing her Arm bloody.
Em. Whom thou hast hurt, unkind and cruel, see;
Look on this blood; 'tis fatal still to me,
To bear thy wounds; my heart has felt them first.
Arth. 'Tis she; amazement roots me to the ground!
Em. By cruel charms dragged from my peaceful bower,
Fierce Osmond closed me in this bleeding bark,
And bid me stand exposed to the bleak winds,
And winter storms, and heaven's inclemency,
Bound to the fate of this hell-haunted grove;
So that whatever sword, or sounding axe,
Shall violate this plant, must pierce my flesh,
And, when that falls, I die.
Arth. If this be true,
O never, never-to-be-ended charm,
At least by me!—yet all may be illusion.
Break up, ye thickening fogs, and filmy mists,
All that belie my sight, and cheat my sense!
For reason still pronounces, 'tis not she,
And, thus resolved,—
[Lifts up his sword, as going to strike.
Em. Do, strike, barbarian, strike;
And strew my mangled limbs, with every stroke.
Wound me, and doubly kill me, with unkindness,
That by thy hand I fell.
Arth. What shall I do, ye powers?
Em. Lay down thy vengeful sword; 'tis fatal here:
What need of arms, where no defence is made?
A love-sick virgin, panting with desire,
No conscious eye to intrude on our delights:
For this thou hast the Syrens' songs despised;
For this, thy faithful passion I reward.
Haste then, to take me longing to thy arms.
Arth. O love! O Merlin! whom should I believe?
Em. Believe thyself, thy youth, thy love, and me;
They, only they, who please themselves, are wise.
Disarm thy hand, that mine may meet it bare.
Arth. By thy leave, reason, here I throw thee off,
Thou load of life. If thou wert made for souls,
Then souls should have been made without their bodies.
If falling for the first created fair
Was Adam's fault,—great grandsire, I forgive thee;
Eden was lost, as all thy sons would lose it.
[Going towards Emm. and pulling off his Gauntlet.
Enter Philidel running.
Phil. Hold, poor deluded mortal, hold thy hand,
Which, if thou giv'st, is plighted to a fiend.
For proof, behold the virtue of this wand;
The infernal paint shall vanish from her face,
And hell shall stand revealed.
Strikes Emmeline with a Wand, who straight descends: Philidel runs to the Descent, and pulls up Grimbald and binds him.
Now see to whose embraces thou wert falling!
Behold the maiden modesty of Grimbald!
The grossest, earthiest, ugliest fiend in hell.
Arth. Horror seizes me,
To think what headlong ruin I have tempted.
Phil. Haste to thy work; a noble stroke or two
Ends all the charms, and disenchants the grove.
I'll hold thy mistress bound.
Arth. Then here's for earnest.
[Strikes twice or thrice, and the Tree falls, or sinks: A Peal of Thunder immediately follows, with dreadful Howlings.
'Tis finished, and the dusk, that yet remains,
Is but the native horror of the wood.
But I must lose no time; the pass is free;
The unroosted fiends have quitted this abode.
On yon proud towers, before this day be done,
My glittering banners shall be waved against the setting sun.
[Exit Arthur.
Phil. Come on, my surly slave; come stalk along,
And stamp a madman's pace, and drag thy chain.
Grim. I'll champ and foam upon it, till the blue venom
Work upward to thy hands, and loose their hold.
Phil. Know'st thou this powerful wand? 'tis lifted up;
A second stroke would send thee to the centre,
Benumbed and dead, as far as souls can die.
Grim. I would thou would'st, to rid me of my sense:
I shall be whooped through hell, at my return
Inglorious from the mischief I designed.
Phil. And therefore, since thou loath'st etherial light,
The morning sun shall beat on thy black brows;
The breath thou draw'st shall be of upper air,
Hostile to thee, and to thy earthy make;
So light, so thin, that thou shalt starve for want
Of thy gross food, till gasping thou shalt lie,
And blow it back all sooty to the sky.
[Exit Philidel, dragging Grimbald after him.


Enter Osmond, as affrighted.

Osm. Grimbald made prisoner, and my grove destroyed!
Now what can save me——Hark, the drums and trumpets!
[Drums and Trumpets within.
Arthur is marching onward to the fort.
I have but one recourse, and that's to Oswald;—
But will he fight for me, whom I have injured?
No, not for me, but for himself he must.
I'll urge him with the last necessity;
Better give up my mistress than my life.
His force is much unequal to his rival;—
True; but I'll help him with my utmost art,
And try to unravel fate. [Exit.
Enter Arthur, Conon, Aurelius, Albanact, and Soldiers.
Con. Now there remains but this one labour more;
And, if we have the hearts of true-born Britons,
The forcing of the castle crowns the day.
Aur. The works are weak, the garrison but thin,
Dispirited with frequent overthrows,
Already wavering on their ill-manned walls.
Alb. They shift their places oft, and sculk from war;
Sure signs of pale despair, and easy rout:
It shews they place their confidence in magic,
And, when their devils fail, their hearts are dead.
Arth. Then, where you see them clustering most in motion,
And staggering in their ranks, there press them home;
For that's a coward heap.—How's this, a sally?
Enter Oswald, Guillamar, and Soldiers on the other side.
Beyond my hopes, to meet them on the square.
Osw. Brave Britons, hold; and thou, their famous chief, [Advancing.
Attend what Saxon Oswald will propose.
He owns your victory; but whether owing
To valour, or to fortune, that he doubts.
If Arthur dares ascribe it to the first,
And, singled from a crowd, will tempt a conquest,
This Oswald offers; let our troops retire,
And hand to hand let us decide our strife:
This if refused, bear witness, earth and heaven,
Thou steal'st a crown and mistress undeserved.
Arth. I'll not usurp thy title of a robber,
Nor will upbraid thee, that before I proffered
This single combat, which thou didst avoid;
So glad I am, on any terms to meet thee,
And not discourage thy repenting shame.
As once Æneas, my famed ancestor,
Betwixt the Trojan and Rutilian bands,
Fought for a crown, and bright Lavinia's bed,
So will I meet thee, hand to hand opposed:
My auguring mind assures the same success.—
[To his Men.] Hence, out of view; If I am slain, or yield,
Renounce me, Britons, for a recreant knight;
And let the Saxon peacefully enjoy
His former footing on our famous isle.
To ratify these terms, I swear——
Osw. You need not;
Your honour is of force, without your oath.
I only add, that, if I fall, or yield,
Yours be the crown, and Emmeline.
Arth. That's two crowns.
No more; we keep the looking heavens and sun
Too long in expectation of our arms. [Both Armies go off the Stage.
[They fight with Spunges in their Hands, dipt in blood: after some equal passes and closing, they appear both wounded; Arthur stumbles among the Trees, Oswald falls over him; they both rise; Arthur wounds him again, then Oswald retreats. Enter Osmond, from among the Trees, and with his Wand strikes Arthur's Sword out of his Hand, and exit. Oswald pursues Arthur. Merlin enters, and gives Arthur his Sword, and exit; they close, and Arthur, in the Fall, disarms Oswald.[22]
Arth. Confess thyself o'ercome, and ask thy life.
Osw. 'Tis not worth asking, when 'tis in thy power.
Arth. Then take it as my gift.
Osw. A wretched gift,
With loss of empire, liberty, and love.
[A concert of Trumpets within, proclaiming Arthur's Victory; while they sound, Arthur and Oswald seem to confer.
'Tis too much bounty to a vanquished foe;
Yet not enough to make me fortunate.
Arth. Thy life, thy liberty, thy honour safe,
Lead back thy Saxons to their ancient Elbe:
I would restore thee fruitful Kent, the gift
Of Vortigern for Hengist's ill-bought aid,
But that my Britons brook no foreign power,
To lord it in a land, sacred to freedom,
And of its rights tenacious to the last.
Osw. Nor more than thou hast offered would I take;
I would refuse all Britain, held in homage;
And own no other masters but the gods.
Enter, on one side, Merlin, Emmeline, and Matilda. Conon, Aurelius, Albanact, with British Soldiers, bearing King Arthur's Standard displayed. On the other side, Guillamar, and Osmond, with Saxon Soldiers, dragging their Colours on the Ground.
[Arth. going to Emm. and embracing her.
Arth. At length, at length, I have thee in my arms;
Though our malevolent stars have struggled hard,
And held us long asunder.
Em. We are so fitted for each other's hearts,
That heaven had erred, in making of a third,
To get betwixt, and intercept our loves.
Osw. Were there but this, this only sight to see,
The price of Britain should not buy my stay.
Mer. Take hence that monster of ingratitude:
Him, who betrayed his master, bear him hence;
And in that loathsome dungeon plunge him deep,
Where he plunged noble Oswald.
Osm. That indeed is fittest for me;
For there I shall be near my kindred friends,
And spare my Grimbald's pains to bear me to them. [Is carried off.
Mer. [To Arth.] For this day's palm, and for thy former acts,
Thy Britain freed, and foreign force expelled,
Thou, Arthur, hast acquired a future fame,
And, of three Christian worthies, art the first:[23]
And now, at once to treat thy sight and soul,
Behold what rolling ages shall produce:
The wealth, the loves, the glories of our isle,
Which yet, like golden ore, unripe in beds,
Expect the warm indulgency of heaven
To call them forth to light.—
[To Osm.] Nor thou, brave Saxon prince, disdain our triumphs;
Britons and Saxons shall be once one people;
One common tongue, one common faith shall bind
Our jarring bands, in a perpetual peace.
[Merlin waves his Wand: the Scene changes, and discovers the British Ocean in a Storm. Æolus in a Cloud above: Four Winds hanging, &c.

Æolus singing.

Ye blustering brethren of the skies,
Whose breath has ruffled all the watry plain,
Retire, and let Britannia rise,
In triumph o'er the main.
Serene and calm, and void of fear,
The Queen of Islands must appear:
Serene and calm, as when the spring
The new-created world began,
And birds on boughs did softly sing
Their peaceful homage paid to man;
While Eurus did his blasts forbear,
In favour of the tender year.
Retreat, rude winds, retreat
To hollow rocks, your stormy seat;
There swell your lungs, and vainly, vainly threat.

Æolus ascends, and the four Winds fly off. The Scene opens, and discovers a calm Sea, to the end of the House. An Island arises, to a soft Tune; Britannia, seated in the Island, with Fishermen at her Feet, &c. The Tune changes, the Fishermen come ashore, and dance a while; after which, Pan and a Nereid come on the Stage, and sing.

Pan and Nereid sing.

Round thy coasts, fair nymph of Britain,
For thy guard our waters flow:
Proteus all his herds admitting,
On thy greens to graze below.
Foreign lands thy fishes tasting,
Learn from thee luxurious fasting.
Song of three parts.
For folded flocks, on fruitful plains,
The shepherd's and the farmer's gains,
Fair Britain all the world outvies;
And Pan, as in Arcadia, reigns,
Where pleasure mixt with profit lies.
Though Jason's fleece was famed of old,
The British wool is growing gold;
No mines can more of wealth supply;
It keeps the peasant from the cold,
And takes for kings the Tyrian dye.
[The last Stanza sung over again betwixt Pan and the Nereid. After which, the former dance is varied, and goes on.
Enter Comus, with three Peasants, who sing the following Song in Parts.
Com.   Your hay it is mow'd, and your corn is reaped;
Your barns will be full, and your hovels heaped;
Come, my boys, come;
Come, my boys, come;
And merrily roar out harvest home;
Harvest home,
Harvest home;
And merrily roar out harvest home.
Chor.   Come, my boys, come, &c.
1 Man. We ha' cheated the parson, we'll cheat him again.
For why should a blockhead ha' one in ten?
One in ten,
One in ten;
For why should a blockhead ha' one in ten?
2 Man. For prating so long like a book-learned sot,
Till pudding and dumpling burn to pot, Burn to pot,
Burn to pot;
Till pudding and dumpling burn to pot.
Chor.     Burn to pot, &c.
3 Man. We'll toss off our ale till we cannot stand,
And hoigh for the honour of old England:
Old England,
Old England;
And hoigh for the honour of old England.
Chor.     Old England, &c.
[The Dance varied into a round Country-dance.
Enter Venus.
Venus. Fairest isle, all isles excelling,
Seat of pleasures and of loves;
Venus here will chuse her dwelling,
And forsake her Cyprian groves.
Cupid from his favourite nation
Care and envy will remove;
Jealousy, that poisons passion,
And despair, that dies for love.
Gentle murmurs, sweet complaining,
Sighs, that blow the fire of love;
Soft repulses, kind disdaining,
Shall be all the pains you prove.
Every swain shall pay his duty,
Grateful every nymph shall prove;
And as these excel in beauty,
Those shall be renowned for love.


She. You say, 'Tis love creates the pain,
Of which so sadly you complain;
And yet would fain engage my heart
In that uneasy cruel part;
But how, alas! think you, that I
Can bear the wound of which you die?
He. 'Tis not my passion makes my care,
But your indifference gives despair;
The lusty sun begets no spring,
Till gentle showers assistance bring;
So love, that scorches and destroys,
Till kindness aids, can cause no joys.
She. Love has a thousand ways to please,
But more to rob us of our ease;
For wakeful nights, and careful days,
Some hours of pleasure he repays;
But absence soon, or jealous fears,
O'erflow the joys with flood of tears.
He. By vain and senseless forms betrayed,
Harmless love's the offender made;
While we no other pains endure,
Than those, that we ourselves procure;
But one soft moment makes amends
For all the torment that attends.
Chorus of both.
Let us love, let us love, and to happiness haste.
Age and wisdom come too fast;
Youth for loving was designed.
He alone. I'll be constant, you'll be kind.
She alone. You'll be constant, I'll be kind.
Both. Heaven can give no greater blessing
Than faithful love, and kind possessing.
[After the Dialogue, a Warlike Concert: The Scene opens above, and discovers the Order of the Garter.
Enter Honour, attended by Heroes.
Merl. These, who last entered, are our valiant Britons,
Who shall by sea and land repel our foes.
Now, look above, and in heaven's high abyss,
Behold what fame attends those future heroes.
Honour, who leads them to that steepy height,
In her immortal song shall tell the rest.

Honour sings.

St George, the patron of our isle,
A soldier, and a saint,
On that auspicious order smile,
Which love and arms will plant.
Our natives not alone appear
To court this martial prize;
But foreign kings, adopted here,
Their crowns at home despise.
Our sovereign high, in awful state,
His honours shall bestow;
And see his sceptered subjects wait
On his commands below.
[A full Chorus of the whole Song: After which, the grand Dance.
Arth. [To Merl.] Wisely you have, whate'er will please, revealed:
What would displease, as wisely have concealed:
Triumphs of war and peace, at full ye show,
But swiftly turn the pages of our woe.
Rest we contented with our present state;
'Tis anxious to enquire of future fate.[24]
That race of heroes is enough alone,
For all unseen disasters to atone.
Let us make haste betimes to reap our share,
And not resign them all the praise of war;
But set the example, and their souls inflame,
To copy out their great forefathers' name. [Exeunt omnes.




I've had to-day a dozen billet-doux
From fops, and wits, and cits, and Bow-street beaux;[25]
Some from Whitehall, but from the Temple more;
A Covent-Garden porter brought me four.
I have not yet read all: But, without feigning,
We maids can make shrewd guesses at your meaning.
{  What if, to shew your styles, I read them here?
{  Methinks I hear one cry, "O Lord, forbear!
{  No, madam, no; by heaven, that's too severe."
Well then, be safe——
{  But swear henceforwards to renounce all writing,
{  And take this solemn oath of my inditing,—
{  As you love ease, and hate campaigns and fighting.
Yet, faith, 'tis just to make some few examples:
What if I shew'd you one or two for samples?
Here's one desires my ladyship to meet [Pulls out one.
At the kind couch above in Bridges-Street.
Oh sharping knave! that would have—you know what,
For a poor sneaking treat of chocolate.
[Pulls out another.
Now, in the name of luck, I'll break this open,
Because I dreamt last night I had a token;
The superscription is exceeding pretty,
—"To the desire of all the town and city."
Now, gallants, you must know, this precious fop
Is foreman of a haberdasher's shop:
One who devoutly cheats; demure in carriage;
And courts me to the holy bands of marriage;
But, with a civil innuendo too,
My overplus of love shall be for you.
"Madam, I swear your looks are so divine, [Reads.
When I set up, your face shall be my sign;
Though times are hard—to show how I adore you,
Here's my whole heart, and half-a-guinea for you.
But, have a care of beaux! they're false, my honey;
And, which is worse, have not a rag of money."
See how maliciously the rogue would wrong ye!
But I know better things of some among ye.
My wisest way will be to keep the stage,
And trust to the good-nature of the age:
And he, that likes the music and the play,
Shall be my favourite gallant to-day.







His armis, illâ quoque tutus in Aulâ.Juv. Sat. iv.


There has been occasion to remark, that Dryden seldom avails himself of national peculiarities, or national costume, in sketching his dramatic personages; the present tragedy forms, however, a remarkable exception to this general observation. Cleomenes, the last of the Spartans, is designed, not only as a hero, but as a Lacedemonian; and is a just picture of that extraordinary race of men, whose virtues were comprized in patriotism, and whose whole passions centered in a thirst for military glory. This character Dryden has drawn with admirable spirit and precision. It was indeed peculiarly suited to his genius; for, although sometimes deficient in the pathos and natural expression of violent passion, by which Otway, and even Southerne, could affect the passions of an audience, he never fails in expressing, in the most noble language, the sentiments of that stoical philosophy, which considers sufferings rather as subjects of moral reflection, than of natural feeling. Yet, lest a character so invulnerable to the shafts of adversity, so much the totus teres atque rotundus of the poet, should fail to interest the audience, (for we seldom pity those who shew no symptoms of feeling their own sorrows,) Dryden has softened the character of his Spartan hero by the influence of those chaste and tender domestic affections, which thrive best in bosoms rendered by nature or philosophy inaccessible to selfish feeling. The haughty and unbending spirit, the love of war, and thirst of honour proper to the Lacedemonian, and inculcated by the whole train of his education, complete the character of Cleomenes. The same spirit, which animates the father, is finely represented as descending upon the son. Cleonidas is a model of a Spartan youth; and every slight expression which he uses, tends to bring out that celebrated character. The idea of this spirited boy seems to be taken from the excellent character of Hengo, in the "Bonduca" of Beaumont and Fletcher; whom Cleonidas resembles in the manner of his death, and in his previous sufferings by hunger, as well as in his premature courage, and emulation of his father's military glory.[26] The[184] wife and mother of Cleomenes seem to be sketched after those of Coriolanus: the former exhibiting a mild and gentle disposition; the latter, the high-souled magnanimity of a Spartan matron. Of the other characters, little need be said. Ptolemy is a silly tyrant, Sosibius a wily minister, and Cleanthes a friend and confident; such as tyrants, ministers, and confidents in tragedies usually are. Judging from his first appearance, the author seems to[185] have intended Pantheus as a character somewhat in contrast to that of Cleomenes; but he soon tires of the task of discrimination, and Pantheus sinks into a mere assistant. Cassandra is not sketched with any peculiar care; her snares are of a nature not very perilous to Spartan virtue, for her manners are too openly licentious. Such, however, as are fond of tracing the ideas of poets to those who have written before them, may consider Cassandra,—in[186] her pride, her love, and her alternate schemes for saving and destroying Cleomenes,—as furnishing the original hint of the much more highly finished character of Zara in Congreve's "Mourning Bride."

The conduct of the piece, being calculated to evince the Spartan virtue, patience, and courage, contains a long train of hopes disappointed, seducing temptations resisted, sufferings patiently endured, and finally closed by a voluntary death. There is no particular object to which the attention of the audience is fixed,[187] as that upon which the conclusion of the piece necessarily depends. The liberation of Cleomenes from his Egyptian bondage is doubtless the consummation concerning which the poet meant that we should be anxious; but this event might be brought about in so many different ways, and, if accomplished, brings Cleomenes so little nearer to the restoration of Spartan liberty, that it is perhaps insufficient to excite that strong, concentrated, and vivid interest, which the plot of a drama ought properly to inspire. The mind is distracted among the various possibilities by which the desired catastrophe might be accomplished; and feels a consciousness, that even were Cleomenes dismissed with full sails from the port of Alexandria, it would be rather the beginning than the winding up of his history. For these reasons, the plot seems more deficient in interest than might have been expected, from the spirited delineation of the principal character.

It appears that Dryden was unable, from illness, to put the finishing strokes to "Cleomenes." That task he committed to Southerne, now his intimate friend, and who, as may be easily imagined, felt himself much honoured by the task imposed upon him.[27] The half of the fifth act was that upon which Southerne exercised this power of revisal and finishing; for that it amounted to no more, will, I think, be obvious to any who takes the trouble to compare that act with those which precede it. The rabble-scene, introduced, as the poet himself tells us, to gratify the more barbarous part of his audience, is indeed deplorably bad.

The play, when presented to the theatre, met with unexpected opposition from the government, then directed by Queen Mary, in[188] the absence of her husband. This was not very surprising, considering the subject of the play, and Dryden's well-known principles. The history of an exiled monarch, soliciting, in the court of an ally, aid to relieve his country from a foreign yoke, and to restore him to the throne of his fathers, with the account of a popular insurrection undertaken for the same purposes, were delicate themes during the reign of William III.; at least, when the pen of Dryden was to be employed in them, whose well-known skill at adapting an ancient story to a modern moral had so often been exercised in the cause of the house of Stuart. Besides, he had already given offence by his prologue to the "Prophetess," when revived, which contains some familiar metaphorical sneers, as Cibber calls them, at the Irish war, the female regency, and even the Revolution itself. This prologue had been forbidden; and a similar exertion of authority was deemed fit in the case of "Cleomenes." Accordingly, before the inoffensive nature of the piece could be explained, the court took alarm at the subject in the abstract, and the performance of the piece was prohibited by the Chamberlain.[28] It appears, the exertions of Lord Rochester, the maternal uncle of Queen Mary, and of his family, had been sufficiently powerful to guarantee the harmless nature of the play, and to procure a recal of the mandate, by which the acting of the piece, and the consequent profits of the author, had been for some time suspended.

When the play was performed, our author had the satisfaction to see the first character admirably represented by the well-known Mrs Barry, to whom he has paid, in the preface, the splendid compliment of saying, "that she had gained by her performance a reputation beyond any woman he had ever seen on the theatre."[29][189] If this expression, as Cibber seems to think, be a little over-stretched, it at least serves to prove to us, that the play was well received;[190] for, otherwise, the intercourse of civility between the author and performers is generally very slender.

Cleomenes was acted and published in 1692.


THE GARTER, &c;[30].

It is enough for your lordship to be conscious to yourself of having performed a just and honourable action, in redeeming this play from the persecution of my enemies; but it would be ingratitude in me, not to publish it to the world. That it has appeared on the stage, is principally owing to you: that it has succeeded, is the approbation of your judgment by that of the public. It is just the inversion of an act of parliament: Your lordship first signed it, and then it was passed amongst the Lords[192] and Commons. The children of old men are generally observed to be short-lived, and of a weakly constitution. How this may prove, I know not, but hitherto it has promised well; and if it survive to posterity, it will carry the noble fame of its patron along with it; or, rather, it will be carried by yours to after-ages. Ariosto, in his Voyage of Astolpho to the Moon, has given us a fine allegory of two swans; who, when Time had thrown the writings of many poets into the river of oblivion, were ever in a readiness to secure the best, and bear them aloft into the temple of immortality.[31] Whether this poem be of that number, is left to the judgment of the swan who has preserved it; and, though I can claim little from his justice, I may presume to value myself upon his charity. It will be told me, that I have mistaken the Italian poet, who means only, that some excellent writers, almost as few in number as the swans, have rescued the memory of their patrons from forgetfulness and time; when a vast multitude of crows and vultures, that is, bad scribblers, parasites, and flatterers, oppressed by the weight of the names which they endeavoured to redeem, were forced to let them fall into Lethe, where they were lost for ever. If it be thus, my lord, the table would be turned upon me; but I should only fail in my vain attempt; for, either some immortal swan will be more capable of sustaining such a weight, or you, who have so long been conversant in the management of great affairs, are able with your pen to do justice to yourself, and, at the same time, to give the nation a clearer and more faithful insight into those transactions, wherein [193]you have worthily sustained so great a part; for, to your experience in state affairs, you have also joined no vulgar erudition, which all your modesty is not able to conceal: for, to understand critically the delicacies of Horace, is a height to which few of our noblemen have arrived; and that this is your deserved commendation, I am a living evidence, as far, at least, as I can be allowed a competent judge on that subject. Your affection to that admirable Ode, which Horace writes to his Mecænas, and which I had the honour to inscribe to you, is not the only proof of this assertion[32]. You may please to remember that, in the late happy conversation which I had with your lordship at a noble relation's of yours, you took me aside, and pleased yourself with repeating to me one of the most beautiful pieces in that author. It was the Ode to Barine, wherein you were so particularly affected with that elegant expression, Juvenumque prodis publica cura. There is indeed the virtue of a whole poem in those words; that curiosa felicitas, which Petronius so justly ascribes to our author. The barbarity of our language is not able to reach it; yet, when I have leisure, I mean to try how near I can raise my English to his Latin; though, in the mean time, I cannot but imagine to myself, with what scorn his sacred manes would look on so lame a translation as I could make. His recalcitrat undique tutus might more easily be applied to me, than he himself applied it to Augustus Cæsar. I ought to reckon that day as very fortunate to me, and distinguish it, as the ancients did, with a whiter stone; because it furnished me with an occasion of reading my Cleomenes to a beautiful assembly of ladies,[194] where your lordship's three fair daughters were pleased to grace it with their presence[33]; and, if I may have leave to single out any one in particular, there was your admirable daughter-in-law, shining, not like a star, but a constellation of herself, a more true and brighter Berenice. Then it was, that, whether out of your own partiality, and indulgence to my writings, or out of complaisance to the fair company, who gave the first good omen to my success by their approbation, your lordship was pleased to add your own, and afterwards to represent it to the queen, as wholly innocent of those crimes which were laid unjustly to its charge. Neither am I to forget my charming patroness, though she will not allow my public address to her in a dedication, but protects me unseen, like my guardian-angel, and shuns my gratitude, like a fairy, who is bountiful by stealth, and conceals the giver when she bestows the gift; but, my Lady Silvius[34] has been juster to me, and pointed out the goddess at whose altar I was to pay my sacrifice and thanks-offering; and, had she been silent, yet my Lord Chamberlain himself, in restoring my play without any alteration, avowed to me, that I had the most earnest solicitress, as well as the fairest, and that nothing could be refused to my Lady Hyde.

These favours, my lord, received from yourself, and your noble family, have encouraged me to this[195] dedication; wherein I not only give you back a play, which, had you not redeemed it, had not been mine; but also, at the same time, dedicate to you the unworthy author, with my inviolable faith, and (how mean soever) my utmost service; and I shall be proud to hold my dependance on you in chief, as I do part of my small fortune in Wiltshire. Your goodness has not been wanting to me during the reign of my two masters; and, even from a bare treasury, my success has been contrary to that of Mr Cowley; and Gideon's fleece has then been moistened, when all the ground has been dry about it[35]. Such and so many provocations of this nature have concurred to my invading of your modesty with this address. I am sensible that it is in a manner forced upon you; but your lordship has been the aggressor in this quarrel, by so many favours, which you were not weary of conferring on me, though, at the same time, I own the ambition on my side, to be ever esteemed,

Your Lordship's most thankful,

And most obedient Servant,

John Dryden.


It is now seven or eight years since I designed to write this play of "Cleomenes;" and my Lord Falkland[36], (whose name I cannot mention without honour, for the many favours I have received from him) is pleased to witness for me, that, in a French book which I presented him about that time, there were the names of many subjects that I had thought on for the stage, amongst which this tragedy was one. This was out of my remembrance; but my lord, on the occasion of stopping my play, took the opportunity of doing me a good office at court, by representing it as it was, a piece long ago designed; which being judiciously treated, I thought was capable of moving compassion on the stage. The success has justified my opinion; and that at a time when the world is running mad after Farce, the extremity[197] of bad poetry, or rather the judgment that is fallen upon dramatic writing. Were I in the humour, I have sufficient cause to expose it in its true colours; but, having for once escaped, I will forbear my satire, and only be thankful for my deliverance. A great part of my good fortune, I must confess, is owing to the justice which was done me in the performance. I can scarcely refrain from giving every one of the actors their particular commendations; but none of them will be offended, if I say what the town has generally granted, that Mrs Barry, always excellent, has, in this tragedy, excelled herself, and gained a reputation beyond any woman whom I have ever seen on the theatre. After all, it was a bold attempt of mine, to write upon a single plot, unmixed with comedy; which, though it be the natural and true way, yet is not to the genius of the nation. Yet, to gratify the barbarous party of my audience, I gave them a short rabble-scene, because the mob (as they call them) are represented by Plutarch and Polybius, with the same character of baseness and cowardice, which are here described in the last attempt of "Cleomenes." They may thank me, if they please, for this indulgence; for no French poet would have allowed them any more than a bare relation of that scene, which debases a tragedy to show upon the stage.

For the rest, some of the mechanic rules of unity are observed, and others are neglected. The action is but one, which is the death of Cleomenes; and every scene in the play is tending to the accomplishment of the main design. The place is likewise one; for, it is all in the compass of Alexandria, and the port of that city. The time might easily have been reduced into the space of twenty-four hours, if I would have omitted the scene of[198] famine in the fifth act; but it pleased me to try how Spartans could endure it; and, besides, gave me the occasion of writing that other scene, betwixt Cleomenes and his suspected friend; and, in such a case, it is better to trespass on a rule, than leave out a beauty.

As for other objections, I never heard any worth answering; and, least of all, that foolish one which is raised against me by the sparks, for Cleomenes not accepting the favours of Cassandra. They would not have refused a fair lady! I grant they would not; but, let them grant me, that they are not heroes; and so much for the point of honour[37]. A man might have pleaded an excuse for himself, if he had been false to an old wife, for the sake of a young mistress; but Cleora was in the flower of her age, and it was yet but honey-moon with Cleomenes; and so much for nature. Some have told me, that many of the fair sex complain for want of tender scenes, and soft expressions of love. I will endeavour to make them some amends, if I write again, and my next hero shall be no Spartan.

I know it will be here expected, that I should write somewhat concerning the forbidding of my play; but, the less I say of it, the better. And, besides, I was so little concerned at it, that, had it not been on consideration of the actors, who were to suffer on my account, I should not have been at all solicitous whether it were played or no. Nobody[199] can imagine that, in my declining age, I write willingly, or that I am desirous of exposing, at this time of day, the small reputation which I have gotten on the theatre. The subsistence which I had from the former government is lost; and the reward I have from the stage is so little, that it is not worth my labour.

As for the reasons which were given for suspending the play, it seems they were so ill-founded, that my Lord Chamberlain no sooner took the pains to read it, but they vanished; and my copy was restored to me, without the least alteration by his lordship. It is printed as it was acted; and, I dare assure you, that here is no parallel to be found: it is neither compliment, nor satire; but a plain story, more strictly followed than any which has appeared upon the stage. It is true, it had been garbled before by the superiors of the play-house; and I cannot reasonably blame them for their caution, because they are answerable for any thing that is publicly represented; and their zeal for the government is such, that they had rather lose the best poetry in the world, than give the least suspicion of their loyalty. The short is, that they were diligent enough to make sure work, and to geld it so clearly in some places, that they took away the very manhood of it. I can only apply to them, what Cassandra says somewhere in the play to Ptolemy;

To be so nice in my concerns for you;
To doubt where doubts are not; to be too fearful;
To raise a bug-bear shadow of a danger;
And then be frighted, though it cannot reach you.

But, since it concerns me to be as circumspect as they are, I have given leave to my bookseller to print the life of Cleomenes, as it is elegantly and[200] faithfully translated out of Plutarch, by my learned friend, Mr Creech, to whom the world has been indebted for his excellent version of Lucretius, and I particularly obliged in his translation of Horace[38].[201] We daily expect Manilius from him, an author worthy only of such hands; which, having formerly revealed the secrets of nature to us here on earth, is now discovering to us her palace in the skies, and, if I[202] might be allowed to say it, giving light to the stars of heaven:

Ergò vivida vis animi pervicit, et extra
Processit longè flammantia mœnia mundi.[39]


But, to return to Plutarch: you will find him particularly fond of Cleomenes his character; who, as he was the last of the Spartan heroes, so he was, in my opinion, the greatest. Even his enemy, Polybius, though engaged in the contrary faction, yet speaks honourably of him, and especially of his last action in Egypt. This author is also made English, and will shortly be published for the common benefit[40].

What I have added to the story, is chiefly the love of Agathoclea, the king's mistress, whose name I have changed into Cassandra, only for the better sound; as I have also the name of Nicagoras, into that of Cœnus, for the same reason. Cratesiclæa, Pantheus, and Sosybius, are to be found in the story, with the same characters which they have in the tragedy. There is likewise mention made of the son of Cleomenes, who had resolution enough to throw himself headlong from a tower, when he had heard of his father's ill success. And for Cleora, whom I make the second wife of Cleomenes, (for Ægiatis was dead before) you will find a hint of her in Plutarch; for, he tells us, that after the loss of the battle at Sellasia, he returned to Sparta, and, entering his own house, was there attended by a free-born woman of Megalopolis.

The picture of Ptolemy Philopater is given by the fore-mentioned authors to the full. Both agree that he was an original of his kind; a lazy, effeminate, cowardly, cruel, and luxurious prince, managed by his favourite, and imposed on by his mistress. The son of Sosybius, whom I call Cleanthes,[204] was a friend to Cleomenes; but, Plutarch says, he at length forsook him. I have given him a fairer character, and made it only a seeming treachery, which he practised. If any be so curious to enquire what became of Cassandra, whose fortune was left in suspence at the conclusion of the play, I must first inform them, that, after the death of Cleomenes, (the hero of my poem) I was obliged by the laws of the drama, to let fall the curtain immediately, because the action was then concluded. But Polybius tells us, that she survived Ptolemy, who reigned about twenty-seven years; that, with her brother Agathocles, she governed Egypt in the minority of his son Ptolemy Epiphanes; and that, finally, for oppressing of the people, both the brother and sister were slain in a popular insurrection.

There is nothing remaining, but my thanks to the town in general, and to the fair ladies in particular, for their kind reception of my play. And, though I cannot retract what I said before, that I was not much concerned, in my own particular, for the embargo which was laid upon it, yet I think myself obliged, at the same time, to render my acknowledgments to those honourable persons, who were instrumental in the freeing it; for, as it was from a principle of nobleness in them, that they would not suffer one to want, who was grown old in their service, so, it is from a principle of another sort, that I have learned to possess my soul in patience, and not to be much disquieted with any disappointment of this nature.


[The following verses were sent me by a young gentleman, under twenty years of age, whose modesty would have concealed his name; but I learned it from another hand, and have taken the boldness to subscribe it without his leave. I presume that, on the reading of them, nobody can blame me for making Cleonidas speak above his youth, when you see an Englishman so far surpassing my Spartan.]


Has youth then lost its great prerogative?
And does the soul alone for age survive?
Like embryos sleeping in their seeds, seem nought,
'Till friendly time does ripen it to thought?
Judgment, experience, that before was theirs:
But fancy wantons still in younger spheres;
Played with some loose and scattered beams of light,
And revelled in an anarchy of wit.
Both youth and age unequally did charm;
As much too cold was this, as that too warm.
But you have reconciled their differing praise,
By fixing both to your immortal bays;
Where Fancy mounts, but Judgment holds the reins,
Not checks, but guides you to harmonious strains.
'Tis harmony indeed, 'tis all unite,
Like finished nature, and divided light:
{  Like the vast order, and its numerous throng,
{  Crowded to their Almighty Maker's song;
{  Where heaven and earth seem but one single tongue.
O wond'rous man! where have you learned the art,
To charm our reason, while you wound the heart?
Far more than Spartan morals to inspire,
While your great accents kindle Spartan fire?
Thus metals, heated to the artist's will,
Receive the impression of a nobler skill.
Your hero formed so regularly good,
So nicely patient in his want of food,
That it no more th' undress of death appears,
While the rich garment of your sense it wears,
So just a husband, father, son, and friend,
Great in his life, but greater in his end;
{  That sure, like Xenophon, you meant to shew
{  Not what they are, but what they ought to do;
{  At once a poet, and instructor too.
{  The parts so managed, as if each were thine;
{  Thou draw'st both ore and metal from the mine;
{  And, to be seen, thou mak'st even vice to shine:
As if, like Siam's transmigrating god,
A single life in each you made abode;
And the whole business of the tedious round,
To copy patterns which in each you found.
Sure you have gained from heaven Promethean fire,
To form, then kindle souls into desire:
Else why successive starts of hopes and fears,
A martial warmth first raised, then quenched with tears?
Unless this truth shines clearly through the whole,
Sense rules the world, but you command the soul.
Theophilus Parsons.







Thus fell Agis. His brother Archidamus was too quick for Leonidas, and saved himself by a timely retreat. But his wife then newly brought to bed, the tyrant forced her from her own house, and compelled her to marry his son Cleomenes, though at that time too young for a wife; for he was unwilling that any one else should have her, she being heiress to her father Gylippus's great estate; for person, the finest woman in all Greece, very good-natured, of an exemplary life; and therefore, they say, she did all she could, that she might not be compelled to this match.

Being thus married to Cleomenes, she hated Leonidas; but to the youth she showed herself a kind and obliging wife. He, as soon as they came together, began to love her very much; and the constant kindness that she still retained for the memory of Agis, wrought somewhat of concern in the young man for him; so that he would often enquire[208] of her concerning what had passed, and attentively listen to the story of Agis's designs. Now Cleomenes had a generous and great soul: he was as temperate and moderate in his pleasures as Agis, but not so very cautious, circumspect, and gentle; a spur of passion always galled him, and his eagerness to pursue that which he thought good and just, was violent and heady. To make men willing to obey, he conceived to be the best discipline; but likewise to break the stubborn, and force them to be better, was, in his opinion, commendable and brave. This disposition made him dislike the management of the city. The citizens lay dissolved in supine idleness and pleasures; the king minded nothing, designing, if nobody gave him any disturbance, to waste his time in ease and riot; the public was neglected, and each man intent upon his private gain. It was dangerous, now Agis was killed, to mention the exercising and training of their youth; and to set up for the ancient bravery and equality, was treason against the state. It is said also, that Cleomenes, whilst a boy, studied philosophy under Sphærus the Borysthenite, who, coming to Sparta, was very diligent in instructing the youth. Sphærus was one of the chief of Zeno the Citiean's scholars; and it is likely that he admired the manly temper of Cleomenes, and inflamed his generous ambition. The ancient Leonidas, as story saith, being asked, What manner of poet he thought Tyrtæus? replied, An excellent one to whet the courages of youth; for, being filled with fury by his poems, they daringly ventured on any danger. Now the Stoic philosophy is a dangerous incentive to hot and fiery dispositions; but being mixed with a grave and cautious temper, is very good to fix and settle the resolutions.

Upon the death of his father Leonidas, he succeeded;[209] and, observing the citizens of all sorts to be debauched, the rich neglecting the public, and intent on their own gain and pleasure, and the poor being cramped in their private fortunes, grown inactive, cowards, and not inclinable to the Spartan institution and way of breeding, that he had only the name of King, and the Ephori all the power, was resolved to change the present posture of affairs. He had a friend, whose name was Xenares, his lover, (such an affection the Spartans express by the word [Greek: empneithai],) him he sounded; and of him he would commonly enquire, What manner of king Agis was, by what means, and by what assistance he began and pursued his designs. Xenares at first willingly complied with his request, and told him the whole story, with all the particular circumstances of the actions. But when he observed Cleomenes to be extremely affected at the relation, and more than ordinarily moved at Agis's new model of the government, and begging a repetition of the story, he at first severely chid him, told him he was frantic, and at last left off all sort of familiarity and conversation with him; yet he never told any man the cause of their disagreement, but would only say, "Cleomenes knew very well." Cleomenes finding Xenares averse to his designs, and thinking all others to be of the same opinion, consulted with none, but contrived the whole business by himself. And considering that it would be easier to bring about an alteration when the city was at war than when in peace, he engaged the commonwealth in a quarrel with the Achæans, who had given them fair occasions to complain; for Aratus, a man of the greatest power amongst all the Achæans, designed, from the very beginning, to bring all the Peloponnesians into one common body. And to effect this, he undertook many expeditions, and ran through a[210] long course of policy; for he thought this the only means to make them an equal match for their foreign enemies. All the rest agreed to his proposals; only the Lacedæmonians, the Eleans, and as many of the Arcadians as inclined to the Spartan interest, refused. Therefore, as soon as Leonidas was dead, he fell upon the Arcadians, and wasted those especially that bordered on Achaia; by this means designing to try the inclinations of the Spartans, and despising Cleomenes as a youth, and of no experience in affairs of state or war. Upon this the Ephori sent Cleomenes to surprise the Athenæum, dedicated to Minerva, near Belbina, which is a pass of Laconia, and was then under the jurisdiction of the Megalopolitans. Cleomenes possessed himself of the place, and fortified it; at which action Aratus shewed no public resentment, but marched by night to surprise Tegea and Orchomenium. The design failed; for those that were to betray the cities into his hands, doubted the success; so Aratus retreated, imagining that his design had been undiscovered. But Cleomenes wrote a jeering letter to him, and desired to know, as from a friend, whither he intended to march at night? And Aratus answering, That having understood his design to fortify Belbina, he resolved to march thither to oppose him; Cleomenes returned, That he believed it, but desired him to give an account, if it stood with his convenience, why he carried those torches and ladders with him.

Aratus laughing at the jeer, and asking what manner of youth this was? Democrites, a Spartan exile, replied, "If you have any designs upon the Lacedæmonians, begin before this young eagle's talons are grown." Presently after this, Cleomenes being in Arcadia with a few horse, and 300 foot, the Ephori, fearing to engage in the war, commanded[211] him home; but upon his retreat, Aratus taking Caphuæ, they commissioned him again. In this expedition he took Methudrium, and spoiled the country of the Argives; and the Achæans, to stop his victory, and secure their friends, sent 20,000 foot and 1000 horse against him, under the command of Aristomachus. Cleomenes faced them at Palantium, and offered battle; but Aratus being dashed at his bravery, would not suffer the general to engage, but retreated; being cursed by the Achæans, and hooted at, and scorned by the Spartans, who were not above 5000, for a coward. Cleomenes, encouraged by this success, began to vaunt among the citizens, a sentence of one of their ancient kings, who said, "The Spartans seldom enquired how many their enemies were, but where they were." After this, marching to the assistance of the Eleans, upon whom the Achæans warred, and about Lycæum falling upon the enemy in their retreat, he routed their whole army, taking a great number of captives, and leaving many dead upon the place; so that it was commonly reported amongst the Greeks, that Aratus was slain. But Aratus making the best advantage of the opportunity presently after the defeat, marched to Mantinæa and, before any body suspected it, took the city, and put a new garrison into it. Upon this the Lacedæmonians being quite discouraged, and opposing Cleomenes's design of carrying on the war, he was eager to send for Archidamus, Agis's brother, from Messena; for he of the other family had a right to the kingdom: and, beside, Cleomenes thought, that the power of the Ephori would be abated, when the kingly state was filled up, and equally poised between the two families. But those that were concerned in the murder of Agis, understanding the design, and fearing that upon Archidamus's[212] return they should be called to an account, received him coming privately into town, waited on him, and presently after murdered him; but whether Cleomenes was against it, as Phylarchus imagines or whether he was persuaded by his friends, and winked at the contrivance, is uncertain; however, they were most blamed, as having forced his consent. But he still resolving to new-model the state, bribed the Ephori to make him general; and won the affections of many others by means of his mother Cratesiclea, who spared no cost, and was very zealous to promote the same interest; and though of herself she had no inclination to marry, yet for her son's sake she wedded one of the chiefest citizens for wealth and power. Cleomenes marching forth with the army now under his command, took Leuctra, a place belonging to Megalopolis; and the Achæans quickly facing him with a good body of men commanded by Aratus, in a battle under the very walls of the city, some part of his army was routed; but Aratus commanding the Achæans not to pass a deep hollow, and stopping the pursuit, Lydiadas the Megalopolitan, fretting at the orders, encouraging the horse which he led, and pursuing the routed enemy, fell into a place full of vines, hedges, and ditches; and being forced to break his ranks, was put into a great disorder. Cleomenes observing the advantage, commanded the Tarentines and Cretans to engage him, by whom, after a brave dispute, he was routed and slain. The Lacedæmonians, thus encouraged, with a great shout fell upon the Achæans, and routed their whole army. Of the slain, which were very many, some Cleomenes delivered upon articles; but the body of Lydiadas he commanded to be brought to him; and then putting on it a purple robe, and a crown upon its head, sent a convoy with it to the gates of[213] Megalopolis. This Lydiadas was the man that resigned his crown, restored liberty to the citizens, and joined the city to the Achæan interest. Cleomenes being very much raised by this success, and persuaded, that if matters were wholly at his disposal, he should quickly be too hard for the Achæans; he taught Megistones, his mother's husband, that it was expedient for the state to shake off the power of the Ephori, and to put all their wealth into one common stock for the whole body; that Sparta, being restored to its old equality, might be raised up to be mistress of all Greece. Megistones liked the design, and engaged two or three more of his friends. About that time one of the Ephori, sleeping in Pasiphae's temple, dreamed a very surprising dream; for he thought he saw the four chairs removed out of the place where the Ephori used to sit and hear causes, and one only set there; and whilst he wondered, he heard a voice out of the temple, saying, "This is best for Sparta." The person telling Cleomenes this dream, he was a little troubled at first, fearing that he used this as a trick to sift him, upon some suspicion of his design; but when he was satisfied that the relater spoke truth, he took heart again; and taking with him those whom he thought would be against his model, he took Eræa and Alcæa, two cities of the Achæans, furnished Orchomenium with provisions, besieged Mantinæa, and with long marches so harassed the Lacedæmonians, that many of them desired to be left in Arcadia; and he satisfied their request. With the mercenaries he marched to Sparta; and by the way communicated his design to those, whom he thought fittest for his purpose, and marched slowly, that he might catch the Ephori at supper. When he was come near the city, he sent Eurycleidas to the Sussitium, the eating place of the Ephori, under[214] pretence of carrying some message from him from the army; Threicion, Phæbis, and two of those who were bred with Cleomenes, whom they call Samothracæ followed with a few soldiers; and whilst Eurycleidas was delivering his message to the Ephori, they ran upon them with their drawn swords, and slew them. Agesilaus, as soon as he was run through, fell, and lay as dead; but in a little time he rose, silently conveyed himself out of the room, and crept undiscovered into a little house, which was the temple of Fear, and which always used to be shut, but was then by chance open; being got in, he shut the door, and lay close: the other four were killed, and above ten more that came to their assistance. To those that were quiet, they did no harm, stopt none that fled the city, and spared Agesilaus, who came out of the temple the next day. The Lacedæmonians have not only temples dedicated to Fear, but also to Death, Laughter, and the like passions. Now they worship Fear, not as they do those deities which they dread, esteeming it hurtful, but thinking their policy is chiefly kept up by law; and therefore the Ephori, (Aristotle is my author,) when they enter upon their government, make proclamation to the people, that they should shave their whiskers, and be obedient to the laws, that they might not be forced to be severe; using this trivial particular, in my opinion, to accustom their youth to obedience, even in the smallest matters. And the ancients, I think, did not imagine fortitude to be plain fearlessness, but a cautious fear of infamy and disgrace: for those that shew most fear towards the laws, are most bold against their enemies; and those are least afraid of any danger, who are most afraid of a just reproach. Therefore he said well,

A reverence still attends on fear.


And Homer,

Feared you shall be, dear uncle, and revered.

And again,

In silence fearing those that bore the sway.

For it is very commonly seen, that men reverence those whom they fear; and therefore the Lacedæmonians placed the temple of Fear by the Sussitium of the Ephori, having raised their power to almost absolute monarchy.

The next day Cleomenes proscribed eighty of the citizens, whom he thought necessary to banish, and removed all the seats of the Ephori, except one, in which he himself designed to sit, and hear causes; and calling the citizens together, he made an apology for his proceedings; saying, "That by Lycurgus the senate was joined to the kings, and that that model of government had continued a long time, and needed no other sort of magistrates to give it perfection. But afterward, in the long war with the Messenians, when the kings, being to command the army, had no time to attend civil causes, they chose some of their friends, and left them to determine the suits of the citizens in their stead. These were called Ephori, and at first behaved themselves as servants to the kings; but afterward, by degrees, they appropriated the power to themselves, and erected a distinct sort of magistracy. An evidence of the truth of this may be taken from the usual behaviour of the kings, who, upon the first and second message of the Ephori, refuse to go; but upon the third, readily attend them: and Asteropus, the first that raised the Ephori to that height of power, lived a great many years after their institution; therefore, whilst they modestly contained themselves within their own proper sphere, it was better to bear with them than to make a disturbance.[216] But that an upstart introduced power should so far destroy the old model of government, as to banish some kings, murder others without hearing their defence, and threaten those who desired to see the best and most divine constitution restored in Sparta, was insufferable; therefore if it had been possible for him, without bloodshed, to have freed Lacedæmon from those foreign plagues, luxury, vanity, debts, and usury, and from those more ancient evils, poverty and riches, he should have thought himself the happiest king in the world; having, like an expert physician, cured the diseases of his country without pain. But now, in this necessity, Lycurgus's example favoured his proceedings, who, being neither king nor magistrate, but a private man, and aiming at the kingdom, came armed into the market-place, and, for fear of the king Carileus, fled to the altar; but he being a good man, and a lover of his country, readily consented to Lycurgus's project, and admitted an alteration in the state. Thus, by his own actions, Lycurgus showed, that it was difficult to correct the government without force and fear; in using which, he said, he would be so moderate, as never to desire their assistance, but either to terrify or ruin the enemies of Sparta's happiness and safety." He commanded, that all the land should be left in common, and private claims laid aside; that debtors should be discharged of their debts, and a strict search made, who were foreigners, and who not; that the true Spartans, recovering their courage, might defend the city by their arms; and that we may no longer see Laconia, for want of a sufficient number to secure it, wasted by the Ætolians and Illyrians. Then he himself first, with his father-in-law Megistones, and his friends, brought all their wealth into one public stock, and all the other citizens[217] followed the example. The land was divided, and every one that he had banished had a share assigned him; for he promised to restore all, as soon as things were settled, and in quiet: and compleating the common number of citizens, out of the best and most agreeable of the neighbouring inhabitants, he raised a body of four thousand men; and, instead of a spear, taught them to use a sarissa (a long pike) with both hands, and to carry their shields by a string fastened round their arms, and not by a handle, as before. After this he began to consult about the exercising and breeding of the youth, many particulars of which, Sphærus, being then at Sparta, directed; and in a short time the schools of exercise, and their Sussitia, (common eating places,) recovered their ancient decency and order; a few out of necessity, but the most voluntarily applying themselves to that generous and Laconic way of living. Besides, that the name of monarch might give them no jealousy, he made Eucleidas, his brother, partner in the throne; and that was the only time that Sparta had two kings of the same family. Then understanding that the Achæans and Aratus imagined that this change had disturbed and shaken his affairs, and that he would not venture out of Sparta, and leave the city, now unsettled by so great an alteration, he thought it great and serviceable to his designs, to convince his enemies that he was eagerly desirous of a war; and therefore making an incursion into the territories of Megalopolis, he wasted the country very much, and got a considerable booty. And at last taking those that used to act in the public solemnities travelling from Messena, and building a theatre in the enemy's country, and setting a prize of L. 40 value, he sat spectator a whole day; not that he either desired or needed such a divertisement,[218] but as it were insulting over his enemies; and that by thus manifestly despising them, he might show, that he had more than conquered the Achæans. For that alone, of all the Greek or kings' armies, had no stage-players, no jugglers, no dancing or singing women attending it, but was free from all sorts of looseness, wantonness, and foppery; the young men being for the most part upon duty, and the old men teaching them at leisure time to apply themselves to their usual drollery, and to rally one another facetiously after the Laconic fashion; the advantages of which I have discovered in the life of Lycurgus. He himself instructed all by his example: he was a living pattern of temperance before every body's eyes, and his course of living was neither more stately nor more expensive than any of the commons. And this was a considerable advantage to him in his designs on Greece; for men, when they waited upon other kings, did not so much admire their wealth, costly furniture, and numerous attendance, as they hated their pride and state, their difficulty of access, and scornful commanding answers to their petitions. But when they came to Cleomenes, who was both really a king, and bore that title, and saw no purple, no robes of state upon him, no chairs and couches about him for his ease, and that he did not receive petitions, and return answers, after a long delay, by a number of messengers, waiters, or by bills, but that he rose and came forward to meet those that came to wait upon him, stayed, talked freely and graciously with all that had business; they were extremely taken, won to his service, and professed that he alone was the true son of Hercules. His common every-day's meal was in a mean room, very sparing, and after the Laconic manner; and when he entertained ambassadors, or strangers, two more beds were added,[219] and a little better dinner provided by his servants; but no fricasees, no dainties, only the dishes were larger, and the wine more plentiful; for he reproved one of his friends for entertaining some strangers with nothing but pulse and black broth, such diet as they usually had in their Phiditia; saying, that upon such occasions, and when they treat strangers, it was not requisite to be too exact Laconians. After supper, a stand was brought in with a brass vessel full of wine, two silver pots, which held almost a quart a piece, a few silver cups, of which he that pleased might drink, but no liquor was forced on any of the guests. There was no music, nor was any required; for he entertained the company, sometimes asking questions, sometimes telling stories: and his discourse was neither too grave, and unpleasantly serious, nor vain and abusive, but merrily facetious; for he thought those ways of catching men by gifts and presents, which other kings use, to be mean and inartificial; and it seemed to him to be the most glorious method, and most suitable to a king, to win the affections of those that came near him, by pleasant discourse, and unaffected conversation; for a friend and mercenary differ only in this, that the one is made by conversation and agreeableness of humour, and the other by reward. The Mantinæans were the first that obliged him; for, getting by night into the city, and driving out the Achæan garrison, they put themselves under his protection; he restored them their polity and laws, and the same day marched to Tegea; and a little while after, fetching a compass through Arcadia, he made a descent upon Pheræ, in Achaia, intending to force Aratus to a battle, or bring him into disrepute, for refusing to engage, and suffering him to waste the country. Hyperbatus at that time commanded the army, but Aratus had all the power[220] amongst the Achæans. The Achæans marching forth with their whole strength, and encamping in Dumeæ, about Hecatombæum, Cleomenes came up, and thinking it not advisable to pitch between Dumeæ, a city of the enemy's, and the camp of the Achæans, he boldly dared the Achæans, and forced them to a battle; and routing the phalanx, slew a great many in the fight, and took many prisoners; thence marching to Lagon, and driving out the Achæan garrison, he restored the city to the Elæans. The affairs of the Achæans being in this desperate condition, Aratus, who was wont to continue in his government above a year, refused the command, though they entreated and urged him to accept it; and this was ill done, when the storm was high, to put the power out of his own hands, and set another to the helm. Cleomenes at first proposed fair and easy conditions by his ambassadors to the Achæans; but afterwards he sent others, and required the chief command to be settled upon him; and in other matters he promised to agree to reasonable terms, and to restore their captives and their country. The Achæans were willing to come to an agreement upon those terms, and invited Cleomenes to Lerna, where an assembly was to be held; but it happened that Cleomenes hastily marching on, and unseasonably drinking water, brought up abundance of blood, and lost his voice; therefore, being unable to continue his march, he sent the chiefest of the captives to the Achæans, and putting off the meeting for some time, retired to Lacedæmon. This ruined the affairs of Greece, which was just then ready to recover itself out of its disasters, and avoid the insulting and covetousness of the Macedonians: for Aratus, whether fearing or distrusting Cleomenes, or envying his unlooked-for success, or thinking it a disgrace for[221] him, who had commanded thirty-three years, to have a young man succeed to all his glory and his power, and be head of that government which he had been raising and settling so many years: he first endeavoured to keep the Achæans from closing with Cleomenes; but when they would not hearken to him, fearing Cleomenes's daring spirit, and thinking the Lacedæmonians' proposals to be very reasonable, who designed only to reduce Peloponnesus to its old model, he took his last refuge, in an action which was unbecoming any of the Greeks, most dishonourable to him, and most unworthy his former bravery and exploits; for he called Antigonus into Greece, and filled Peloponnesus with Macedonians, whom he himself, when a youth, having beaten their garrison out of the castle of Corinth, had driven from the same country; beside he declared himself an enemy to all kings, and hath left many dishonourable stories of this same Antigonus, in those commentaries which he wrote: and though he declares that he suffered considerable losses, and underwent great dangers, that he might free Athens from the power of the Macedonians, yet afterward he brought the very same men armed into his own country, and his own house, even to the women's apartment. He would not endure, that one of the family of Hercules, and king of Sparta, and one that had reformed the polity of his country, as it were a disordered harmony, and tuned it to the plain Doric measure of Lycurgus, to be stiled, head of the Triccæans and Sicyonians; and whilst he fled the pulse and short coat, and, which were his chief accusations against Cleomenes, the extirpation of wealth, and reformation of poverty, he basely subjected himself, together with Achaia, to the diadem and purple, to the imperious commands of the Macedonians and their Satrapæ. That he might not[222] seem to be under Cleomenes, he sacrificed the Antigonea, (sacrifices in honour of Antigonus,) and sung Pæans himself with a garland on his head, to the honour of a rotten, consumptive Macedonian. I write this not out of any design to disgrace Aratus, (for in many things he shewed himself vigorous for the Grecian interest, and a great man;) but out of pity to the weakness of human nature, which, in such a person, so excellent, and so many ways disposed to virtue, cannot attain to a state irreprehensible.

The Achæans meeting again at Argos, and Cleomenes descending from Tegea, there were great hopes that all differences would be composed. But Aratus (Antigonus and he having already agreed upon the chief articles of their league) fearing that Cleomenes would carry all before him, and either win or force the multitude to comply with his demands, proposed that, having three hundred hostages put into his hands, he should come alone into the town, or bring his army to the place of exercise, called Cillarabion, without the city, and treat there.

Cleomenes hearing this, said, that he was unjustly dealt with; for they ought to have told him so plainly at first, and not, now he was come even to their doors, show their jealousy, and deny him admission. And writing an epistle to the Achæans about the same subject, the greatest part of which was an accusation of Aratus; and Aratus, on the other side, ripping up his faults to the assembly, he hastily dislodged, and sent a trumpeter to denounce war against the Achæans, but not to Argos, but to Ægium, as Aratus delivers, that he might not give them notice enough to make provision for their defence. Upon this, the Achæans were mightily disturbed; the common people expecting a division of the land, and a release from their debts:[223] and the chief men being on many accounts displeased with Aratus, and some angry, and at odds with him, as the occasion of the Macedonians' descent on Peloponnesus. Encouraged by these misunderstandings, Cleomenes invades Achæa; and first took Pellene by surprise, and beat out the Achæan garrison; and afterwards brought over Pheneon and Pentelæon to his side. Now the Achæans suspecting some treacherous designs at Corinth and Sicyon, sent their horse and mercenaries out of Argos to have an eye upon those cities; and they themselves went to Argos to celebrate the Nemean games. Cleomenes advertised of this march, and hoping (as it afterwards fell out) that upon an unexpected advance to the city, now busied in the solemnity of the games, and thronged with numerous spectators, he should raise a considerable terror and confusion amongst them; by night, he marched with his army to the walls, and taking the quarter of the town called Aspis, which lies above the theatre, a place well fortified, and hard to be approached, he so terrified them, that none offered to resist, but agreed to accept a garrison, to give twenty citizens for hostages, and to assist the Lacedæmonians, and that he should have the chief command. This action considerably increased his reputation, and his power; for the antient Spartan kings, though they many ways endeavoured to effect it, could never bring Argos to be stedfastly and sincerely theirs. And Pyrrhus, a most experienced captain, and brave soldier, though he entered the city by force, could not keep possession, but was slain himself with a considerable part of his army. Therefore they admired the dispatch and contrivance of Cleomenes; and those that before derided him for saying that he imitated Solon and Lycurgus in releasing the people from their debts, and in equally dividing the[224] wealth of the citizens, were now persuaded, that he was the cause of the desirable alterations in the Spartan commonwealth. For, before, they were very low in the world, and so unable to secure their own, that the Ætolians invading Laconia, brought away fifty thousand slaves; so that one of the elder Spartans is reported to have said, that "they had done Laconia a kindness by unburdening it;" and yet, a little while after, applying themselves to their own customs, and antient institutions, they gave notable instances of courage and obedience, as if they had been under the eye of Lycurgus himself, and quickly raised Sparta to be head of all Greece, and recovered Peloponnesus to themselves. Whilst Argos was taken, and Cleonæ and Philius sided with Cleomenes, Aratus was at Corinth searching after some, who were reported to favour the Spartan interest. The news being brought to him, disturbed him very much; for he perceived the city inclining to Cleomenes, and the Achæans willing to be at ease; therefore he called all the citizens into the common hall, and, as it were undesignedly retreating to the gate, he mounted his horse that stood ready there, and fled to Sicyon; and the Corinthians made such haste to Cleomenes at Argos, that, (as Aratus says) striving who should be first there, they spoiled all their horses: and Cleomenes was very angry with the Corinthians for letting Aratus escape. And Megistones came from Cleomenes to him, desiring him to deliver up the castle of Corinth, which was then garrisoned by the Achæans, and offered him a considerable sum of money; and that he answered, that "matters were not now in his power, but he in theirs." Thus Aratus himself writes. But Cleomenes marching from Argos, and taking in the Træzenians, Epidaurians, and Hermioneans, came to Corinth, and blocked up[225] the castle, which the Achæans would not surrender; and sending for Aratus's friends and stewards, committed his house and estate to their care and management and sent Tritimallus the Messenian to him a second time, desiring that the castle might be equally garrisoned by the Spartans and Achæans, and promising to Aratus himself double the pension that he received from king Ptolemy; but Aratus refusing the conditions, and sending his own son with other hostages to Antigonus, and persuading the Achæans to make a decree for delivering the castle into Antigonus's hands, Cleomenes invaded the territory of the Sicyonians, and, by a decree of the Corinthians, seized on all Aratus's estate. In the mean time, Antigonus, with a great army, passed Gerania; and Cleomenes thinking it more advisable to fortify and garrison, not the Isthmus, but the mountains called Onia, and by a long siege and skirmishes to weary the Macedonians, than to venture a set battle, put his design in execution, which very much distressed Antigonus; for he had not brought victuals sufficient for his army, nor was it easy to force a way through, whilst Cleomenes guarded the pass. He attempted by night to pass through Lechæum, but failed, and lost some men; so that Cleomenes and his army were mightily encouraged, and so flushed with the victory, that they went merrily to supper; and Antigonus was very much dejected, being reduced to those miserable straits. At last he designed to march to the promontory Heræum, and thence transport his army in boats to Sicyon, which would take up a great deal of time, and be very chargeable. The same time, about evening, some of Aratus's friends came from Argos by sea, and invited him to return; for the Argives would revolt from Cleomenes. Aristotle was the man that wrought the revolt, and he had no hard task to persuade[226] the common people; for they were all angry with Cleomenes for not releasing them from their debts, as they expected. Upon this advertisement, Aratus, with fifteen hundred of Antigonus's soldiers, sailed to Epidaurus; but Aristotle, not staying for his coming, drew out the citizens, and fought against the garrison of the castle; and Timoxenus, with the Achæans from Sicyon, came to his assistance. Cleomenes heard the news about the second watch of the night, and, sending for Megistones, angrily commanded him to go and set things right at Argos. This Megistones was the man who passed his word for the Argives' loyalty, and persuaded him not to banish the suspected. This Megistones he dispatched with two thousand soldiers, and observed Antigonus himself, and encouraged the Corinthians; pretending, that there was no great matter in the stirs at Argos, but only a little disturbance raised by a few inconsiderable persons. But when Megistones, entering Argos, was slain, and the garrison could scarce hold out, and frequent messengers came to Cleomenes for succours, he,—fearing lest the enemy, having taken Argos, should shut up the passes, and securely waste Laconia, and besiege Sparta itself, which he had left without forces,—he dislodged from Corinth, and presently lost that city, for Antigonus entered it, and garrisoned the town. He turned aside from his direct march, and, assaulting the wall of Argos, endeavoured to break in; and having cleared a way under the quarter called Aspis, he joined the garrison, which still held out against the Achæans; some parts of the city he scaled and took, and his Cretan archers cleared the streets. But, when he saw Antigonus, with his phalanx, descending from the mountains into the plain, and the horse on all sides entering the city, he thought it impossible to maintain[227] his post; and therefore, with all his men, made a safe retreat behind the wall; having in a short time raised himself to a considerable height, and, in one march, made himself master of almost all Peloponnesus, and lost all again in as short a time: for some of his allies presently forsook him, and others not long after put themselves under Antigonus's protection. His army thus defeated, as he was leading back the relicks of his forces, some from Lacedæmon met him in the evening at Tegea, and brought him news of as great a misfortune as that which he had lately suffered; and that was the death of his wife, whom he doated on so much, that when he was most prosperous, he would ever now and then make a step to Sparta to visit his beloved Ægiatis.

This news afflicted him extremely; and he grieved as a young man would do for the loss of a very beautiful and excellent wife; yet his passion did not debase the greatness of his mind, but, keeping his usual voice, his countenance, and his habit, he gave necessary orders to his captains, and took care to secure the Tegeans. The next day he retired to Sparta; and having at home, with his mother and children, bewailed the loss, and finished his mourning, he presently appeared about the public affairs of the state. Now Ptolemy, the king of Egypt, promised him assistance, but demanded his mother and children for hostages. This, for some considerable time, he was ashamed to discover to his mother; and though he often went to her on purpose, and was just upon the discourse, yet still refrained, and kept it to himself; so that she began to suspect somewhat, and asked his friends, Whether Cleomenes had somewhat to say to her, which he was afraid to speak? At last Cleomenes venturing to tell her, she laughed heartily, and said, "Was this the thing that you had often a mind to[228] tell me, and was afraid? Why do you not put me on shipboard, and send this carcase where it may be most serviceable to Sparta, before age wastes it unprofitably here?" Therefore, all things being provided for the voyage, they went to Tænarus on foot, and the army waited on them. Cratesiclea, when she was ready to go on board, took Cleomenes aside into Neptune's temple, and embracing him, who was very much dejected, and extremely discomposed, she said thus: "Go to, king of Sparta; when we are without door, let none see us weep, or show any passion below the honour and dignity of Sparta, for that alone is in our own power; as for success or disappointments, those wait on us as the Deity decrees." Having said thus, and composed her countenance, she went to the ship with her little grandson, and bade the pilot put presently out to sea. When she came to Egypt, and understood that Ptolemy entertained proposals and overtures of peace from Antigonus, and that Cleomenes, though the Achæans invited and urged him to an agreement, was afraid, for her sake, to come to any, without Ptolemy's consent; she wrote to him, advising him to do that which was most becoming and most profitable for Sparta, and not, for the sake of an old woman and a little child, always stand in fear of Ptolemy. This character she maintained in her misfortunes. Antigonus having taken Tegea, and plundered Orchomenum and Mantinæa, Cleomenes was shut up within the narrow bounds of Laconia, and made such of the Helots, as could pay five Attick pounds, free of Sparta, and by that means got together 500 talents; and arming 2000 after the Macedonian fashion, that he might make a body fit to oppose Antigonus's Leucaspidæ, (white shields,) he undertook a very surprising enterprize. Megalopolis was at that time a city of itself, as big and as powerful as Sparta, and had the forces of[229] the Achæans and Antigonus encamping on its sides; and it was chiefly the Megalopolitans' doing, that Antigonus was called in to assist the Achæans. Cleomenes having a design upon this city, (no action was ever more sudden and more unexpected) ordered his men to take five days provision, and so marched to Sellasia, as if he intended to spoil the country of the Argives; but from thence making a descent into the territories of Megalopolis, and refreshing his army about Rhætium, he marched through Helicon, directly to the city. When he was not far off the town, he sent Pantheus with two regiments to surprise the Mesopyrgion, (the quarter between the two towers,) which he understood to be the most unguarded quarter of the Megalopolitans' fortifications; and with the rest of his forces he followed leisurely. Pantheus not only surprised that place, but, finding a great part of the wall without guards, he pulled down some places, and demolished others, and killed all the defenders that he found. Whilst he was thus busied, Cleomenes came up to him, and was got with his army within the city, before the Megalopolitans knew of the surprise. At last, as soon as it was discovered, some left the town immediately, taking with them what money they had ready; some armed, and engaged the enemy; and though they were not able to beat them out, yet they gave their citizens time and opportunity safely to retire: so that there were not above 1000 persons left in the town, all the rest flying with their wives and children, and escaping to Messena. A great number of those that armed and fought the enemy were saved, and very few taken, amongst whom were Lysandridas and Thearidas, two men of great power and reputation amongst the Megalopolitans; and therefore the soldiers, as soon as they were taken, brought them[230] to Cleomenes. And Lysandridas, as soon as he saw Cleomenes afar off, cried out,—"Now, king of Sparta, it is in your power, by doing a most kingly and braver action than you have already performed, to purchase a considerable glory." And Cleomenes guessing at his meaning, replied,—"What do you say, Lysandridas? sure you will not advise me to restore your city to you again?" "It is that which I mean," Lysandridas replied; "and I advise you not to ruin so brave a city, but to fill it with faithful and stedfast friends and allies, by restoring their country to the Megalopolitans, and being the saviour of so considerable a people." Cleomenes paused a while, and then said,—"It is very hard to trust so far in these matters; but with us let profit always yield to glory." Having said this, he sent the two men to Messena with a trumpeter from himself, offering the Megalopolitans their city again, if they would forsake the Achæan interest, and be on his side. Though Cleomenes made these kind and obliging proposals, yet Philopæmen would not suffer them to break their league with the Achæans; and accusing Cleomenes to the people, as if his design was not to restore the city, but to take the citizens too, he forced Thearidas and Lysandridas to leave Messena.

This was that Philopæmen, who was afterward chief of the Achæans, and a man of the greatest reputation amongst the Greeks, as I have made it appear in his own Life. This news coming to Cleomenes though he had before taken such strict care that the city should not be plundered, yet then being in a fury, and put out of all patience, he rifled them of all their coin, plate, and jewels, and sent their statues and pictures to Sparta; and demolishing a great part of the city, he marched away for fear of Antigonus and the Achæans; but they[231] never stirred, for they were in Ægium at a council of war. Aratus mounted the desk, wept a long while, and held his mantle before his face; and at last, the company being amazed, and commanding him to speak, he said,—"Megalopolis is ruined by Cleomenes." The assembly was presently dissolved; the Achæans being extremely surprised at the suddenness and greatness of the loss; and Antigonus intending to send speedy succours, when he found his army to gather very slowly out of their winter-quarters, he sent them orders to continue there still; and he himself marched to Argos with a considerable body of men. The second enterprize of Cleomenes seemed to be carried on by extreme boldness, and unaccountable madness; but yet, in Polybius's opinion, was done upon mature deliberation, and exact foresight; for, knowing very well, that the Macedonians were dispersed into their winter quarters, and that Antigonus, with his friends and a few mercenaries about him, wintered in Argos; upon these considerations, he invaded the country of the Argives, hoping to shame Antigonus to a battle upon unequal terms; or else, if he did not dare to fight, to bring him into disrepute with the Achæans. And this accordingly happened; for Cleomenes wasting, plundering, and spoiling the whole country, the Argives, vexed at the loss, run in troops to the palace of the king, and clamoured, that he should either fight, or surrender his command to better and braver men. But Antigonus, as became an experienced captain, accounting it dishonourable foolishly to hazard his army, and quit his security, not to be abused and railed at by the rabble, would not march out against Cleomenes, but stood fixed to the designs which he had laid. Cleomenes, in the mean time, brought his army up to the very walls, and having uncontrouledly spoiled the country,[232] and insulted over his enemies, drew off again. A little while after, being advertised that Antigonus designed for Tegea, and thence to make an incursion into Laconia, he hastily marched with his army another way, and appeared early in the morning before Argos, and wasted the fields about it: the corn he did not cut down with reaping-hooks and scythes, as men usually do, but beat it down with staves made like scymeters; and with a great deal of contempt and wanton scorn he spoiled the fields, and wasted the country in his march; yet when his soldiers would have set Cyllabris, the school of exercise, on fire, he hindered the attempt, reflecting, upon serious consideration, that the outrages committed at Megalopolis were the effects of his passion rather than his wisdom. He pretended to make such little account of, and so much to despise Antigonus, who first retired to Argos, and afterward placed garrisons on all the mountains round about, that he sent a trumpeter to desire the keys of Heræum, (Juno's temple,) that he might sacrifice to the goddess. Thus with a scoff, and bitter reflection on Antigonus, and having sacrificed to the goddess, under the walls of the temple, that was shut, he marched to Phlius; and from thence driving out those that garrisoned Hologountum, he marched down to Orchomenum. And these enterprizes not only encouraged the citizens, but made him appear to the very enemies to be an experienced captain, and very worthy of command; for, with the strength of one city, not only to fight the power of the Macedonians, and all the Peloponnesians; not only to preserve Laconia from being spoiled, but to waste the enemy's country, and to take so many and such considerable cities, is an argument of no common bravery. He that first said, "That money was the sinews of affairs," seemed chiefly in[233] that saying to respect war: and Demades, when the Athenians voted that a navy should be made ready, but had no money, said, "They should make bread before they thought of sailing:" and the old Archidamus, in the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, when the allies desired, that each party's share of contributions for the war should be determined, is reported to have said, "War cannot be kept to a set diet." For, as well-breathed wrestlers do in time weary and tire out the most active and skilful combatant; so Antigonus, coming to the war with a great stock of wealth, wearied out Cleomenes, whose poverty made it difficult for him either to provide pay for the mercenaries, or provisions for the citizens. For in all other respects the time favoured Cleomenes; for Antigonus's affairs at home began to be disturbed: for the Barbarians wasted and over-ran Macedonia whilst he was absent; and at that time a vast army of the Illyrians came down, to be freed from whose outrages, the Macedonians sent for Antigonus, and the letters had almost been brought to him before the battle was fought, upon the receipt of which he presently dislodged, and left the Achæans' affairs to themselves. But fortune that loves to determine the greatest affairs by a minute, in this conjuncture showed such an exact niceness of time, that immediately after the battle in Sellasia was over, and Cleomenes had lost his army and his city, the messengers reached Antigonus. And this made Cleomenes's misfortune more to be pitied; for, if he had forborne fighting two days longer, there had been no need of hazarding a battle, since, upon the departure of the Macedonians he might have had what conditions he pleased from the Achæans. But now (as I hinted before) for want of money, being necessitated to rely wholly on his arms, he was forced, with 20,000[234] (this is Polybius's account) to engage 30,000; and approving himself an excellent commander in this difficulty, his citizens showing an extraordinary courage, and his mercenaries bravery enough, he was overborne by the different way of fighting, and the weight of the armed phalanx. Besides, Phylarchus affirms, that the treachery of some about him was the chief cause of Cleomenes's ruin. For Antigonus gave orders, that the Illyrians and Acharnanians should march round by a secret way, and encompass the other wing, which Eucleidas, Cleomenes's brother, commanded; and then drew out the rest of his forces to the battle. And Cleomenes, from a convenient rising, viewing his order, and not seeing any of the Illyrians and Acharnanians, began to suspect that Antigonus had sent them upon some such design; and calling for Damoteles, who was to inspect and to provide against ambushes, commanded him carefully to look after, and discover the enemy's designs upon his rear.

But Damoteles (for some say Antigonus had bribed him) telling him, that he should not be solicitous about that matter, for all was well enough, but mind and fight those that met him in the front; he was satisfied, and advanced against Antigonus; and, by the vigorous charge of his Spartans, made the Macedonian phalanx give ground, and pressed upon them with great advantage about half a mile; but then making a stand, and seeing the danger which the surrounded wing, commanded by his brother Eucleidas, was in, he cried out, "Thou art lost, dear brother! thou art lost, thou brave example to our Spartan youth, and theme of our matrons' songs!"

Eucleidas's wing being thus cut in pieces, and the conquerors from that part falling upon his battle, he perceived his soldiers to be disordered, and unable to maintain the fight, and therefore provided[235] for his own safety. When he came into the city, he advised those citizens that he met, to receive Antigonus; and as for himself, he said, which should appear most advantageous to Sparta, whether his life or death, that he would chuse. Seeing the women running out to those that fled with him, taking their arms, and bringing drink to them, he entered into his own house, and his servant, who was a free-born woman, taken from Megalopolis after his wife's death, offering, as she used to do, to make necessary provision for him returning from the battle; though he was very thirsty, he refused to drink, and though very weary, to sit down; but, armed as he was, he clapped his arm side-way to a pillar, and leaning his forehead upon his elbow, he rested his body a little while, and ran over in his thoughts what course he should take; and then with his friends went presently to Gythium, where, finding ships fitted for the purpose, they embarked. Antigonus, taking the city, treated the Lacedæmonians courteously; and, neither affronting, nor ruining the dignity of Sparta, but permitting them to enjoy their own laws and polity, and sacrificing to the gods, dislodged the third day; for he heard that there was a great war kindled in Macedonia, and that the country was spoiled by the Barbarians; besides, he grew sick of a consumption, and continual defluxion on the lungs; yet he still kept up, that he might return and free his own country, and fall more gloriously upon an heap of slaughtered barbarians. As Phylarchus says, and it is probable, he broke a vein by shouting in the battle. In the plays, it was said, that after the victory he cried out for joy, "O fine day!" and presently bringing up abundance of blood, fell into a fever, and died in a short time. And thus much concerning Antigonus.


Cleomenes sailing from Cytheræ, touched at another island called Ægialia, whence, as he was about to depart from Cyrene, one of his friends, Therycion by name, a man of an haughty spirit in all enterprizes, and high and boasting in his talk, came privately to him, and said thus: "Sir, death in battle, which is the most glorious, we have let go, though all heard us say, that Antigonus should never tread over the king of Sparta, unless dead; and now, that which is next in bravery and glory, is presented to us. Whither do we madly sail, flying that which is near, and seeking that which is far removed? For, if it is not dishonourable for the race of Hercules to serve the successors of Philip and Alexander, we shall save a long voyage, by delivering ourselves up to Antigonus, who probably surpasseth Ptolemy, as much as the Macedonians do the Egyptians: but if we think it mean to submit to those whose arms have conquered us, why should we choose him for our lord, by whom we have not yet been beaten? Is it, that instead of one, we might appear meaner than two, whilst we fly Antigonus, and flatter Ptolemy? Or, is it for your mother's sake that you retreat to Egypt? It will indeed be a very fine, and very desirable sight for her to be shown her son by Ptolemy's women, now changed from a prince into an exile and a slave! Are we not still masters of our own swords? And whilst we have Laconia in view, shall we not here free ourselves from this disgraceful misery, and clear ourselves to those, who at Sellasia died for the honour and defence of Sparta? Or shall we sit lazily in Egypt, enquiring, what news from Sparta? and whom Antigonus hath been pleased to make governor of Lacedæmon:"—Thus spoke Therycion; and this was Cleomenes's reply:—"By seeking death, you coward, the most easy, and most ready[237] refuge, you fancy that you shall appear courageous and brave, though this flight is baser than thy former. Better men than we have given way to their enemies, having been betrayed by fortune, or oppressed by multitudes; but he that sinks under labour or afflictions, the opinions or reproaches of men, is overcome by his own effeminacy and softness: for a voluntary death ought not to be chosen as a relief from action, but as an exemplary action itself; and it is base either to live or die only to ourselves. That death, to which you now invite us, is proposed only as a release from our present miseries, but carries nothing of bravery or profit in it. And I think it becomes both me and you not to despair of our country; but when there are no hopes of that left, those that have an inclination may quickly die."—To this Therycion returned no answer; but, as soon as he could get out of Cleomenes's company, went toward the shore, and ran himself through. But Cleomenes sailed from Ægialia, landed in Lybia, and, being honourably conducted through the king's country, came to Alexandria. When he was first brought to Ptolemy, no more than common civilities, and usual ceremonies, were paid him; but when, upon trial, he found him a man of deep sense and great reason, and that his plain laconic way of conversation carried a free pleasantness with it; that he did nothing unbecoming the greatness of his birth, nor bent under fortune, and appeared a more faithful counsellor, than those who made it their business to please and flatter; he was ashamed, and repented that he had neglected so great a man, and suffered Antigonus to get so much power and reputation by ruining him. Therefore he heaped up honours and kindnesses on Cleomenes, and gave him hopes that he would furnish him with an army and a navy to[238] recover Greece, and reinstate him in his throne. Besides, he allowed him a yearly pension of four-and-twenty talents; a little part of which sum supplied his and his friends' thrifty temperance; and the rest was employed in doing good offices to, and in relieving the necessities of those that fled Greece, and retired into Egypt.

But the elder Ptolemy, dying before Cleomenes's affairs had received a full dispatch, and the successor being a loose, voluptuous, and effeminate prince, under the power of his pleasures and his women, his business was neglected: for the king was so besotted with his women and his wine, that balls, music, and dancing, were the only employments of his most busy and serious hours; and the greatest affairs of state were managed by Agathoclea, the king's mistress, her mother, and the pimp Oinanthes. Therefore, at the first, they seemed to stand in need of Cleomenes; for Ptolemy, being afraid of his brother Magas, who, by his mother's means, had a great interest among the soldiers, took Cleomenes into his cabinet council, and acquainted him with the design of taking off his brother. He, though all were for it, declared his opinion to the contrary, saying, "The king, if it were possible, should have more brothers, for the better security and management of his affairs." And Sosibius, the greatest favourite, replying, "That they were not secure of the mercenaries whilst Magas was alive;" Cleomenes returned, "That he need not trouble himself about that matter; for amongst the mercenaries there were above three thousand Peloponnesians, who were his fast friends, and whom he could command at any time with his nod." This discourse made Cleomenes for the present to be looked upon as a man of integrity and power; but afterwards (Ptolemy's weakness increasing his fear, as it usually[239] happens, where there is no judgment and wisdom at the bottom, placing his security in jealousy and suspicion) rendered Cleomenes suspected to the courtiers, as having too much interest with the mercenaries; and many had this saying in their mouths, "That he was a lion amidst a flock of sheep;" for such he seemed to be in the court, slily overlooking and taking notice of the management of affairs; therefore, when he desired a navy and an army from the king, his petition was rejected. But when he understood that Antigonus was dead, that the Achæans were engaged in a war with the Ætolians, and that the affairs of Peloponnessus, being now in very great distraction and distress, required and invited his assistance, he desired leave to depart only with his friends; but could not obtain that, the king not so much as hearing his petition, being shut up amongst his women, and wasting his hours in debauchery and frolics. But Sosibius, the chief minister of state, thought that Cleomenes, being detained against his will, would grow ungovernable and dangerous, and yet it was not safe to let him go, being an aspiring, daring man, and well acquainted with the diseases and weakness of the kingdom; for no presents, no gifts, could win him to compliance. But as the ox Apis, though revelling in all possible plenty and delight, yet desires to live as nature would provide for him, to be at liberty and frisk about the fields, and can scarce endure to be under the priests' keeping; so he could not brook their courtship, and tender entertainment, but, like Achilles,

Whilst there, his heart did waste with secret grief,
And he was eager for the noisy wars.

His affairs standing in this condition, Nicagoras, the Messenian, came to Alexandria: a man that[240] deeply hated Cleomenes, yet pretended to be his friend; for he had formerly sold Cleomenes a fair estate, but never received the money, because Cleomenes was either unable, (as it may be) or else, by reason of his engagement in the wars and other distractions, had no time to pay him. Cleomenes, seeing him landing, (for he was then walking upon the key) kindly saluted him, and asked, "What business brought him to Egypt?" Nicagoras returned his compliment, and told him, "That he came to bring some excellent war-horses to the king." And Cleomenes, with a smile, subjoined, "I wish you had rather brought pimps, whores, and pathics; for those now are the king's chief delight." Nicagoras at the present smiled at the conceit; but, a few days after, he put Cleomenes in mind of the estate that he had bought of him, and desired his money, protesting, that he would not have troubled him, if his merchandize had turned to that account, which he thought it would. Cleomenes replied, "That he had not a penny left of all that had been given him;" at which answer Nicagoras being nettled, told Sosibius Cleomenes' scoff upon the king. He caressed him for the discovery; but desiring to have some greater reason to excite the king against Cleomenes, persuaded Nicagoras to leave a letter written against Cleomenes, importing, that he had a design, if he could have gotten ships and soldiers, to surprise Cyrene. Nicagoras wrote such a letter, and left Egypt. Four days after, Sosibius brought the letter to Ptolemy, pretending it was just then delivered him, and with a bitter invective excited the fury of the youth. Upon this it was agreed, that Cleomenes should be invited into a large apartment, and treated as formerly, but not suffered to go out again. This usage was grievous to Cleomenes; and by this unlucky accident, his hopes, for[241] the future, seemed to be quite dashed. Ptolemy, the son of Chrysermas, a favourite of the king's, always carried himself fairly towards Cleomenes: they contracted a near acquaintance, and would talk freely together about the state. He, at Cleomenes's desire, came to him, had some discourse with him upon a few and inconsiderable subjects, to avoid suspicion, and made some excuses for the king; but as he went out again, not knowing that Cleomenes followed him to the door, he very severely reprimanded the keepers, for their carelessness in looking after so great and so furious a wild beast. This Cleomenes himself heard; and retiring before Ptolemy perceived it, told his friends what he had heard. Upon this they cast off all their former hopes, and determined for violent proceedings, resolving to be revenged on Ptolemy for his base and unjust dealing, to have satisfaction for the affronts, to die as it became Spartans, and not stay till, like fatted sacrifices, they were butchered; for it was both grievous and dishonourable for Cleomenes, who had scorned to come to terms with Antigonus, a brave warrior, and a man of action, to wait an effeminate king's leisure, till he should lay aside his fiddle, and end his dance, and then kill him. These courses being resolved on, and Ptolemy happening at the same time to make a progress to Canopus, they first spread abroad a report, that his freedom was ordered by the king; and it being the king's custom to send presents and an entertainment to those whom he would free, Cleomenes's friends made that provision, and sent it into the prison, thereby deceiving the keepers, who thought it had been sent by the king; for he sacrificed, and gave them large portions, and with a crown upon his head feasted and made merry with his friends. It is said, that he began the action sooner than he designed,[242] having understood that a servant of one of the accomplices lay abroad with a mistress that he loved. This made him afraid of a discovery; and therefore, as soon as it was full noon, and all the keepers drunk and fast asleep, he put on his coat, and opening the seam on his right shoulder, with his sword drawn in his hand, he issued forth, together with his friends, provided in the same manner, making thirteen in all. One of them, by name Hippotas, was lame; he followed the first onset very well; but when afterwards he perceived that they were more slow in their advances for his sake, he desired them to run him through, and not ruin their enterprise, by staying for an useless, unprofitable man. By chance an Alexandrian was then riding by the door; him they threw off, and, setting Hippotas on horseback, ran through the narrow lanes, and proclaimed liberty to the people; but they, it seems, had courage enough to praise and admire Cleomenes's daring, but not one had the heart to follow and assist him. Three of them fell on Ptolemy, the son of Chrysermas, as he was coming out of the palace, and killed him: another Ptolemy, the lieutenant of the city, advancing against them in a chariot, they set upon, dispersed his guards and attendants and pulling him out of the chariot, killed him upon the place. Then they made toward the castle, designing to break open the prison, and take the prisoners to their assistance; but the keepers were too quick for them, and secured the passages. Being baffled in this attempt, Cleomenes, with his company, roamed about the city, none joining with them, but all retreating from, and flying his approach; therefore, despairing of success, and saying to his friends, "That it was no wonder that women ruled over those men that fled liberty," he excited them all to die as bravely as became his followers,[243] and men of their glorious performances. This said, Hippotas was first, as he desired, run through by one of the young men, and then each of them readily and resolutely fell upon his own sword, except Pantheus, that Pantheus that first surprised Megalopolis. This man, being a very handsome person, and a better companion than any of the youth, the king loved, and bade him, when he had seen him and the rest fallen, die by their example. Pantheus walked over them as they lay, and pricked every one with his dagger, to try whether any was alive; when he pricked Cleomenes in the leg, and saw him turn upon his back, he kissed him, sat down by him, and when he was quite dead, covered his carcase, and then killed himself upon his body.

Thus fell Cleomenes, that great, brave man, after he had been king of Sparta sixteen years. The news of their fall being noised through the city, Cratesiclea, though a woman of a great spirit, could not bear up against the insupportable weight of this affliction, but, embracing Cleomenes's children, made grievous lamentations; but the eldest boy, none suspecting such a spirit in a child, threw himself headlong from the top of the house; he was bruised very much, but not killed by the fall, and was taken up crying, and expressing his resentment for not being permitted to destroy himself. Ptolemy, as soon as an account of the action was brought him, gave order, that Cleomenes's body should be flayed and hung up; that his children, mother, and the women that were with her, should be killed. Among those was Pantheus's wife, a very fair woman, and of a stately carriage, who had been but newly married, and suffered these disasters in the height of her love. Her parents would not let her embark with Pantheus presently after they were[244] married, though she eagerly desired it, but shut her up, and kept her by violence at home; yet a few days after, she got a horse and a little money, and, escaping by night, made speed to Tænarus, where she embarked for Egypt, came to her husband, and with him cheerfully endured to live in a foreign country. She led Cratesiclea, as she was going with the soldiers to execution, held up her train, and begged her to be courageous, who of herself was not in the least afraid of death, and desired nothing else, but only to be killed before the children. When they were come to the place of execution, the children were first killed before Cratesiclea's eyes, and afterwards she herself, with only these words in her mouth; "O children, whither are you gone?" But Pantheus's wife girding her garments close to her, and being a strong woman, without any noise or lamentation, looked after every one that was slain, and wound them up as well as her present circumstances would permit; and after all were killed, dressing herself, bound her clothes close about her, and, suffering none to come near, or be an eye witness of her fall, beside the executioner, she courageously submitted to the stroke, and wanted nobody to look after, or wind her up after she was dead. Thus, in her death, the modesty of her mind appeared, and set the guard upon her body, which she always kept when alive; and she, in the declining age of the Spartans, shewed, that women were no unequal rivals of the men, and was an instance of such a courage as would not sneak to the affronts of fortune. A few days after, those that watched the hanging body of Cleomenes, saw a very great snake winding about his head, and covering his face, so that no bird of prey should fly at it. This made the king superstitiously[245] afraid, and set the women upon several lustrations, as if he had been an extraordinary man, and one beloved by the gods, that had been slain. And the Alexandrians made processions to the place, and gave Cleomenes the title of Hero, and the Son of the gods, till the philosophers satisfied them, by saying, "That, as oxen breed bees, putrefying horses breed hornets, and beetles rise from the carcases of dead asses, so the humours and juices of the marrow of a man's body, coagulating, produce serpents." And this the antients observing, appropriated a serpent rather than any other creature to heroes.




I think, or hope at least, the coast is clear;
That none but men of wit and sense are here;
That our Bear-Garden friends are all away,
Who bounce with hands and feet, and cry, Play, Play;
Who, to save coach-hire, trudge along the street,
Then print our matted seats with dirty feet;
Who, while we speak, make love to orange-wenches,
And, between acts, stand strutting on the benches;
Where got a cock-horse, making vile grimaces,
They to the boxes show their booby faces.
A Merry-Andrew such a mob will serve,
And treat them with such wit as they deserve.
Let them go people Ireland, where there's need
Of such new planters to repair the breed;
Or to Virginia or Jamaica steer,
But have a care of some French privateer;
For, if they should become the prize of battle,
They'll take them, black and white, for Irish cattle.
Arise, true judges, in your own defence,
Controul these foplings, and declare for sense:
For, should the fools prevail, they stop not there,
But make their next descent upon the fair.
Then rise, ye fair; for it concerns you most,
That fools no longer should your favours boast;
'Tis time you should renounce them, for we find
They plead a senseless claim to womankind:
Such squires are only fit for country-towns,
To stink of ale, and dust a stand with clowns;
Who, to be chosen for the land's protectors,
Tope and get drunk before their wise electors.
Let not farce lovers your weak choice upbraid,
But turn them over to the chamber-maid;
Or, if they come to see our tragic scenes,
Instruct them what a Spartan hero means:
Teach them how manly passions ought to move,
For such as cannot think, can never love;
And, since they needs will judge the poet's art,
Point them with fescues to each shining part.
Our author hopes in you; but still in pain,
He fears your charms will be employed in vain.
You can make fools of wits, we find each hour;
But to make wits of fools, is past your power.



Cleomenes, King of Sparta.
Cleonidas, his Son by his first Wife.
Ptolemy, King of Egypt.
Sosibius, his Minister of State.
Cleanthes, Son to Sosibius, Friend to Cleomenes,
Captain of Ptolemy's Guard.
Pantheus, a Noble Spartan, the Favourite of Cleomenes.
Cœnus, a Messenian Lord.
Cratesiclea, Mother to Cleomenes.
Cleora, Cleomenes's second Wife.
Cassandra, Mistress to Ptolemy.
Priests of Apis. A Mariner. Egyptians. Guards



SCENE I.—The Sea-Port of Alexandria.

Enter Cleomenes.

Cleom. Dejected! no, it never shall be said,
That fate had power upon a Spartan soul:
My mind on its own centre stands unmoved,
And stable, as the fabric of the world,
Propt on itself; still I am Cleomenes.
I fought the battle bravely, which I lost;
And lost it, but to Macedonians,
The successors of those who conquered Asia.
'Twas for a cause too, such a cause I fought;
Unbounded empire hung upon my sword:
Greece, like a lovely heifer, stood in view,
To see the rival bulls each other gore,
But wished the conquest mine.
I fled; and yet I languish not in exile;
But here in Egypt whet my blunted horns,
And meditate new fights, and chew my loss.
Ah! why, ye gods, must Cleomenes wait
On this effeminate, luxurious court,
For tardy helps of base Egyptian bands?
Why have not I, whose individual mind
Would ask a nation of such souls to inform it,
Why have not I ten thousand hands to fight
It all myself, and make the work my own?
Enter Cratesiclea, Cleora, and Cleonidas.
Crat. Is this well done? or like the king of Sparta?
Or like my son? to waste your time in tears?
What have you done, that you avoid mankind,
And sculk in corners like a guilty slave?
Cleor. We have been seeking you, my dearest lord,
Through all the shady walks and dark retreats
Of secret care; that false deluding friend,
That only sooths and keeps you company,
To prey upon your last remains of life.
Cleom. I've heard you. [Sighs.
Crat. Hear her still; she tells you true.
This melancholy flatters, but unmans you.
What is it else, but penury of soul,
A lazy frost, a numbness of the mind,
That locks up all the vigour to attempt,
By barely crying,—'tis impossible!
Cleom. You both mistake me:—That I grieve, 'tis true;
But 'tis a grief of fury, not despair!
And if a manly drop or two fall down,
It scalds along my cheeks, like the green wood,
That, sputtering in the flame, works outward into tears.
Cleor. Why would you leave me then, and be alone?
Indeed it was a churlish kind of sorrow,
Indeed it was, to engross it all yourself,
And not permit me to endure my share.
Think you, because I am of tender mould,
I cannot suffer and partake your burdens?
Alas! I suffer more by not partaking.
Cleom. My wife! my mother! O, I'm so divided,
That I grieve most for both, and love both most!
Two twining vines about this elm, whose fall
Must shortly—very shortly, crush you both.
And yet I will not go to ground,
Without a noble ruin round my trunk:
The forest shall be shaken when I sink,
And all the neighbouring trees
Shall groan, and fall beneath my vast destruction.
Crat. That's something yet, an earnest of an action;
Another groan or two, and all goes well.
Cleom. Well, I will live.
Crat. Thou shalt.
Cleom. I'll try at least.
Crat. Do not go back, and beat off what thou saidst.
Cleon. Peace, peace, good grandmother; he lives already,
And conquers too, in saying he will try:
Nay, if the king of Sparta says he'll do't,
I ask no more than that;
For 'tis below a king to tell a lie.
Cleor. But where's the means?
Cleon. The means is in the daring:
Had my own mother lived, and asked that question,
I should have thought my father had begot me
Without her help, as Pallas sprung from Jove.
Cleor. Think'st thou, he can defend us all, alone?
Cleon. No; for I mean to help him.
Cleom. That's my boy, my hopeful lion's whelp.
[Takes and kisses him.
Cleor. So Hector hugged his young Astyanax;
Went out to fight, and never saw him more.
Cleon. But why did not Astyanax go with Hector?
Crat. Because he was a child, and could not go.
Cleon. Was he a Spartan child?
Cleor. Oh no! a Trojan.
Cleon. There's it, a Trojan child. But grant me this,
There are no Spartan children; we are born men;
And though you say, I have but fifteen years,
We Spartans take ten strides before our age,
And start beyond dull nature.
Cleom. Let me but live to shadow this young plant
From blights and storms, he'll soon shoot up a hero:
He must; I got him in the pride of conquest;
For, coming back from my first maiden battle,
Wherein I made the great Aratus fly,
And added all his laurels to my brow,
I well remember, that I spurred it hard,
And, like a meteor, shot before my troops,
To reach my love that night. I was bridegroom,
Or scarce had lost that name; and, stealing home,
According to my country's modest use,
I found my Ægiatis just undrest,
Wearying the gods with vows for my return.
My transport was so great, I could not stay,
But kissed, and took her, trembling, in my arms;
And in that fury of my love, I stampt
This image of my soul.—[41]
Enter Pantheus.
What, my Pantheus!
Where hast thou been this long long year of hours?
Panth. Where I have past a merry morning's walk,
With the best company.
Cleom. With whom?
Panth. Why with myself, in laughing at the world,
Making a farce of life, where knaves, and fools,
And madmen, that's all human kind, were actors.
Cleom. And what part acted you?
Panth. As little as I could; and daily would have less,
So please the gods, for that's a wise man's part.
Cleom. Would I could share thy balmy, even temper,
And milkiness of blood.
Panth. You may.
Cleom. As how?
Panth. By but forgetting you have been a king.
Cleom. Then must I rust in Egypt, never more
Appear in arms, and be the chief of Greece?
Now, by yon blue palace,
The mansion of my great forefather, Hercules,
I would lose o'er again Sellasia's field,
Rather than fight behind,
When proud Aratus led the Grecian van.
Cleon. What, when the lively trumpets sound a charge,
The word of battle may be Hercules,
And after our great grandsire's name, Aratus
Cries,—Cleomenes, bring you up the rear.
Panth. If fortune takes not off this boy betimes,
He'll make mad work, and elbow all his neighbours.
Cleon. My neighbours! Little: Elbow all the world,
And push off kings, like counters, from the board,
To place myself the foremost.
Panth. What wilt thou be, young cockeril, when thy spurs
Are grown to sharpness?
Cleon. Why, I'll be a Spartan;
For if I said a king, I should say less.
I mean a Spartan while I live on earth;
But when in heaven, I'll stand next Hercules,
And thrust between my father and the god.
Cleor. Do you not view, my lord,
As in a glass, your darling fault, ambition,
Reflected in your son?
Cleom. My virtue rather:
I love to see him sparkle out betimes,
For 'twas my flame, that lighted up his soul:
I'm pleased with my own work; Jove was not more
With infant nature, when his spacious hand
Had rounded this huge ball of earth and seas,
To give it the first push, and see it roll
Along the vast abyss.
Cleon. My mother would have had my youth brought up
To spin with girls in Sparta.
Crat. Well said, my boy; yet Hercules, they say,
Took up the distaff once.
Cleon. Yes, when he had been conquered by a woman.
Panth. [To Cleom.] One thing I have forgot, which may import you,—
You'll suddenly hear news from Greece.
Cleom. Thou wert
Indeed forgetful, not to tell me that;
For, from my first arrival on this coast,
This fatal Egypt, where I fled for refuge,
In three long months I have not heard from Greece.
What makes thee think I shall have news so soon?
Panth. As walking on the beach, I saw a ship
Just entering in the port, and on the deck
Stood Cœnus.
Cleom. Cœnus, saidst thou?
Panth. Yes, our Cœnus, the rich Messenian lord;
I saw and knew him; but, amidst the shouts
Of mariners, and busy care to sling
His horses soon ashore, he saw not me.
Cleom. Then shall I hear of thee once more, dear country!
I fear too soon: shall hear how proud Antigonus
Led o'er Eurota's banks his conquering troops,
And first to wondering Sparta shewed a king,
A king, that was not hers:
Then I shall hear of sacrilege and murders,
And fires, and rapes on matrons, and on maids.
Panth. Such news we must expect.
Cleom. O happy ghosts
Of those that fell in the last fatal fight,
And lived not to survive their country's loss!
Base as I was, I should have fallen there too;
But first have raised a mountain of the dead,
To choke their way to Sparta.
Panth. Thus I knew
Your blood would boil, and therefore I delayed
So long to tell you Cœnus was arrived.
Cleom. Go,
My mother, my Cleora, and my boy. [Stroking Cleon.
Your ears would be polluted with such ills,
Which I must try to mollify, before
They reach your tender hearing.
Cleor. I obey you.
But let not grief disorder you too much
For what you lost.
For me, while I have you, and you are kind,
I ask no more of heaven.
Cleon. I go too,
Because my king and father bids me go;
Else, I have sternness in my soul enough
To hear of murders, rapes, and sacrilege:
For those are soldiers' work; and I would hear them,
To spur me to revenge.
[Exeunt Crat. Cleora, and Cleon.
Panth. He's here already;
Now bear it like yourself.
Cleom. I'm armed against it.
Enter Cœnus; salutes Cleomenes.
Cœn. I heard, sir, you were refuged in this court,
And come to beg a favour.
Cleom. Good; a favour!
Sure, thou mistakest me for a king of Egypt,
And think'st I govern here?
Cœn. You're Cleomenes.
Cleom. No thanks to heaven for that. I should have died,
And then I had not been this Cleomenes.
Panth. You promised patience, sir.
Cleom. Thou art a scurvy monitor; I am patient:
Do I foam at lips,
Or stare at eyes? Methinks, I am wondrous patient:
Now, thou shalt see how I can swallow gall.—
I pr'ythee, gentle Cœnus, tell the story [Speaking softly.
Of ruined Sparta; leave no circumstance
Untold, of all their woes; and I will hear thee,
As unconcerned, as if thou toldst a tale
Of ruined Troy. I pr'ythee, tell us how
The victors robbed the shrines, polluted temples,
Ransacked each wealthy house:—No, spare me that;
Poor honest Sparta had no wealth to lose.
But [Raises his voice.] when thou com'st to tell of matrons ravished,
And virgins forced, then raise thy voice,
And let me hear their howlings,
And dreadful shrieks, as in the act of rape.
Panth. Again you are distempered.
Cleom. [Softly.] Peace! I am not.
I was but teaching him to grace his tale
With decent horror.
Cœn. Your sick imagination feigns all this:
Now hear a truth, and wonder.
Cleom. Has not the conqueror been at Sparta?
Cœn. Yes.
Cleom. Nay, then I know what follows victory.
Panth. You interrupt, as if you would not know.
Cœn. Then,—if you will imagine,—think some king,
Who loved his people, took a peaceful progress
To some far distant place of his dominions;
Smiled on his subjects, as he rode in triumph,
And strewed his plenty, wheresoe'er he passed.
Nay, raise your thoughts yet higher;—think some deity,
Some better Ceres, drawn along the sky
By gentle dragons, scattered, as she flew,
Her fruitful grains upon the teeming ground,
And bade new harvests rise.
Cleom. Do we dream, Pantheus?
Panth. No, sure; we are awake: but 'tis he, dreams.
Cœn. The soldiers marched, as in procession, slow,
And entered Sparta like a choir of priests,
As if they feared to tread on holy ground.
No noise was heard; no voice, but of the crier,
Proclaiming peace and liberty to Sparta.
At that, a peal of loud applause rang out,
And thinned the air, till even the birds fell down
Upon the shouters' heads: the shops flew open,
And all the busy trades renewed their tasks:
No law was changed, no custom was controuled;
That had Lycurgus lived, or you returned,
So Sparta would have shown.
Panth. If this be true,——
Cleom. If this indeed be true,
Then farewell, Sparta.
Cœn. Hear me out.—
He reaped no fruit of conquest but their blessings;
Nor staid three days in Sparta; summoned thence,
With sudden news, that a barbarian host
Was entered Macedonia,
And, like a mighty deluge rolling on,
Swept all before them. Thus alarmed, he left us;
Marched homeward; met, and fought them; nay, and lived
To say, the field is mine!
Panth. Died of his wounds?
Cœn. Not so; but, straining loud his feeble voice
To animate his soldiers, broke a vein,
And, in a purple vomit, poured his soul.
Panth. O blessed, blessed Cœnus, for this happy news!
[Embraces Cœnus.
Cleom. O, wretch! O, born to all misfortunes! cursed,
Cursed Cleomenes!
Panth. How's this!—Are these the thanks you pay the gods,
Who freed your Sparta, and removed, by death,
Your only fatal foe?
Cleom. O, blind Pantheus!
Canst thou not find, that, had I but deferred
Sellasia's fight three days, but three short days,
Fate then had fought my battle with Antigonus;
And I, not fighting, had been still a king?
Panth. That's true; but that you knew not when you fought.
Cleom. Why, therefore, once again cursed Cleomenes!
'Tis not to be endured,
That fate of empires, and the fall of kings,
Should turn on flying hours, and catch of moments.
Panth. Now, by my soul, 'tis lazy wickedness,
To rail at heaven, and not to help yourself;
Heaven's but too kind, in offering you the means.
Your fate, once more, is laid upon the anvil;
Now pluck up all the Spartan in your soul,
Now stretch at every stroke, and hammer out
A new, and nobler fortune;
Else may the peaceful ground restore the dead,
And give up old Antigonus again.
Cleom. I thank thee; thou hast added flame to fury.
The Spartan genius shall once more be roused;
Our household gods, that droop upon our hearths,
Each from his venerable face shall brush
The Macedonian soot, and shine again.
Panth. Now you confess the Spartan.
Cleom. Haste, Pantheus!
I struggle like the priestess with a god;
With that oppressing god, that works her soul.
Haste to Cleanthes, my Egyptian friend,
That only man that Egypt ever made;
He's my Lucina. Say, my friendship wants him,
To help me bring to light a manly birth;
Which to the wondering world I shall disclose,
Or, if he fail me, perish in my throes. [Exeunt.



Enter Cleomenes, Cleanthes, and Pantheus.

Cleom. The king sent for me, say'st thou, and to council!
Clean. And I was coming to you, on that message,
Just when I met Pantheus.
Panth. Good omen, sir, of some intended good.
Your fortune mends; she reconciles apace,
When Egypt makes the advances.
Cleom. Rise a prophet!—
For since his father's death, this Ptolemy
Has minded me no more
Than boys their last year's gewgaws.
Petition on petition, prayer on prayer,
For aid, or free dismission, all unanswered,
As Cleomenes were not worth his thought;
Or he, that god, which Epicurus dreamt,
Disclaiming care, and lolling on a cloud.
Panth. At length, it seems, it pleases him to wake.
Clean. Yes, for himself, not you; he's drenched too deep,
To wake on any call, but his own danger.
My father, his wise pilot, has observed
The face of heaven, and sees a gathering storm;
I know not from what quarter; but it threatens,
And, while it threats, he wants such hands as yours;
But when 'tis o'er, the thoughtless king returns
To native sloth, shifts sides, and slumbers on.
Panth. Sure, he'll remember to reward those hands,
That helped him from the plunge.
Clean. You dream, Pantheus,
Of former times, when gratitude was virtue.
Reward him! Yes, like Æsop's snake the wretch,
That warmed him in his bosom. We are tools,
Vile abject things, created for his use,
As beasts for men; as oxen, draw the yoke.
And then are sacrificed.
Cleom. I would not use him so.
Clean. You are not Ptolemy;
Nor is he Cleomenes.
Cleom. I'll press him home,
To give me my dispatch; few ships will serve
To bear my little band, and me, to Greece:
I will not ask him one of his Egyptians;
No, let him keep them all for slaves and stallions,
Fit only to beget their successors.
Clean. Excepting one Egyptian,—that's myself.
Cleom. Thou need'st not be excepted; thou art only
Misplanted in a base degenerate soil;
But Nature, when she made thee, meant a Spartan.
Panth. Then if your father will but second us—
Clean. I dare not promise for him, but I'll try.
He loves me: love and interest sometimes
May make a statesman honest.
Cleom. For the king,
I know he'll not refuse us, for he dares not;
A coward is the kindest animal,
'Tis the most giving creature in a fright.
Clean. Say the most promising, and there you hit him.
Cleom. Well, I'll attack him on the shaking side,
That next his fearful heart.
Enter Cœnus.
Cœn. I come to mind you of the late request,
You would not hear. Be pleased to engage this lord,
And then it may succeed.
Cleom. What wouldst thou, Cœnus?
Cœn. I brought along
Some horses of the best Thessalian breed,
High-spirited and strong, and made for war;
These I would sell the king.
Cleom. Mistaken man!
Thou shouldst have brought him whores and catamites;
Such merchandise is fit for such a monarch.
Clean. Wouldst thou bring horses here, to shame our men?
Those very words, of spirited and war,
Are treason in our clime.
Cleom. From the king downward, (if there be a downward,
From Ptolemy to any of his slaves,)
No true Egyptian ever knew in horses
The far side from the near.
Clean. Cleomenes told thee true: Thou shouldst have brought
A soft pad strumpet for our monarch's use;
Though, thanked be hell, we want not one at home,—
Our master's mistress, she that governs all.
'Tis well, ye powers, ye made us but Egyptians:
You could not have imposed
On any other people such a load,
As an effeminate tyrant and a woman.
Cleom. Sell me thy horses, and, at my return,
When I have got from conquered Greece the pelf
That noble Sparta scorns, I'll pay their value.
Cœn. Just as you paid me for the fair estate
I sold you there. [Aside.
Cleom. What's that you mutter?
Cœn. Nothing: That's what his hopes are worth—
[Aside. Exit Cœnus.
Panth. I fear he's gone away dissatisfied.
Clean. I'll make it up:—Those horses I present you;
You'll put them to the use that nature meant them.
Cleom. I burden you too much.
Clean. If you refuse, you burden me much more.
A trifle this:
A singing eunuch's price, a pandar's fee,
Exceeds this sum at court.
The king expects us.
Cleom. Come after us, Pantheus,
And bring my boy Cleonidas along.
I'll shew his youth this base luxurious court,
Just as in sober Sparta we expose
Our drunken Helots; only with design
To wean our children from the vice of wine. [Exeunt.

SCENE II.—The Apartment of Cassandra.

Enter King Ptolemy, Sosibius, with papers, after him.

Ptol. No more of business.
Sosib. Sir, the council waits you.
Ptol. Council! What's that? a pack of bearded slaves,
Grave faces, saucy tongues, and knavish hearts,
That never speak one word, but self's at bottom;
The scavengers that sweep state nuisances,
And are themselves the greatest—I'll no council.
Sosib. Remember, you appointed them this day.
Ptol. I had forgot 'twas my Cassandra's birth-day.
Sosib. Your brother Magas grows more dangerous daily,
And has the soldiers' hearts.
Ptol. I'll cut him off.
Sosib. Not so soon done as said. The Spartan king
Was summoned for advice, and waits without.
Ptol. His business is to wait.
Sosib. Be pleased to sign these papers; they are all
Of great concern.
Ptol. My pleasure is of more.—
How could I curse my name of Ptolemy!
For 'tis so long, it asks an hour to write it.
By Heaven, I'll change it into Jove or Mars,
Or any other civil monosyllable,
That will not tire my hand.
Sosib. These are for common good. [Shewing papers.
Ptol. I am glad of that;
Those shall be sure to wait.
Sosib. Orders to pay the soldiers, ripe for mutiny;
They may revolt.
Ptol. To whom?
Sosib. The man you fear,—
Your brother Magas.
Ptol. That's indeed the danger.
Give me the physic; let me swallow quick.—
There's Ptolemy for that: Now, not one more,
For every minute I expect Cassandra
To call me to the music.
If she should find me at this rare employment,
Of signing out her treasures!
Sosib. The rest are only grants to her you love,
And places for her friends.
Ptol. I'll sign them all, were every one a province.
Thou know'st her humour, not to brook denial;
And then a quarrel on her birth-day too
Would be of ill presage. [Signs more papers.
Enter Cassandra and Women.
Cas. I heard you waited; but you'll pardon me,
I was no sooner dressed.
Ptol. Thus I begin my homage to the day [Kisses her hand.
That brought me forth a mistress; and am proud
To be your foremost slave.
Cas. Our little entertainment waits; not worth
A longer ceremony; please to grace it?

The Scene opens, and discovers Cassandra's Apartment.[265] Musicians and Dancers. Ptolemy leads in Cassandra; Sosibius follows—They sit. Towards the end of the song and dance, enter Cleomenes and Cleanthes on one side of the stage, where they stand.


No, no, poor suffering heart, no change endeavour,
Chuse to sustain the smart, rather than leave her;
My ravished eyes behold such charms about her,
I can die with her, but not live without her;
One tender sigh of hers to see me languish,
Will more than pay the price of my past anguish:
Beware, O cruel fair, how you smile on me,
'Twas a kind look of yours, that has undone me.
Love has in store for me one happy minute,
And she will end my pain, who did begin it;
Then no day void of bliss, of pleasure, leaving,
Ages shall slide away without perceiving:
Cupid shall guard the door, the more to please us,
And keep out Time and Death, when they would seize us:
Time and Death shall depart, and say, in flying,
Love has found out a way to live by dying.
Cleom. [To Clean.] Is this the council of the Egyptian king?
And am I called upon the grave debate,
To judge of trilling notes, and tripping feet?
Clean. 'Tis of a piece with all the rest of Ptolemy;
A singing and a dancing government.—
O Egypt, Egypt! thou art grown the lees
Of all the world; the slime of thy own Nile.
Sure we had neither human sires, nor mothers;
The sun and Nile begot us: We're so cowardly,
And yet so proud; so many gods we have.
And yet not one!—
Cleom. No more:—they seem to gaze on me with wonder.
Clean. And well they may, to see a man in Egypt.
[King, Cassandra, and Sosibius, rise and come forward.
Ptol. Welcome, royal stranger!
Not only to my court, but to my bosom.
Cleom. I heard you sent for me; but on what business
Am yet to learn.
Ptol. The greatest in the world: to see the man,
Whom even his foes extol, his friends adore,
And all mankind admire.
Cleom. Say rather, sir,
A man forsaken of his better stars,
A banished prince, the shadow of a king.
Ptol. My father's friend.
Cleom. I must not think so vainly of myself,
To be what you have said; lest it upbraid you,
To let your father's friend for three long months
Thus dance attendance for a word of audience.
Cas. Now, by my soul, 'tis nobly urged: He speaks
As if he were in Sparta, on his throne;
Not asking aid, but granting.
How little looks our pageant prince to him!
This is the only king I ever saw. [Aside.
Cleom. By all the gods, when I have stood repulsed,
Before your gates, and could not gain admittance,
I have not sighed so much for my own sorrows,
As I have blushed for your ungenerous usage.
Clean. Not a word, Ptolemy?—
Ashamed, by all that's good, to be miscalled
A king, when this is present. [Aside.
Cleom. Think you 'tis nothing
For me to beg; that I constrain my temper
To sue for aid, which you should first have offered?
Believe me, Ptolemy, a noble soul
Does much, that asks: He gives you power to oblige him.
Know, sir, there's a proud modesty in merit,
Averse from begging; and resolved to pay
Ten times the gift it asks.
Ptol. I have been to blame;
And you have justly taxed my long neglect.
I am young, and am a lover; and how far
Fair eyes may make even kings forgetful, look,
And read my best excuse.
Clean. O miracle! He blushes!
The first red virtue I have ever seen
Upon that face. [Aside.
Cas. I am sorry, sir, you've made me your excuse;
As if I stood betwixt the good you meant,
And intercepted every royal grace.
Now, in my own defence, I must solicit
All his concerns, as mine:
And if my eyes have power, he should not sue
In vain, nor linger with a long delay.
Ptol. Well! I'll consider.
Cas. Say that word again,
And I'll consider too.
Ptol. Pr'ythee be satisfied; he shall be aided,
Or I'll no more be king.
Clean. When wert thou one!—For shame, for shame, ye gods,
That e'er you put it in a strumpet's power,
To do so good a deed! [Aside.
Cleom. I am a Spartan, madam, scarce of words;
We have but just enough to speak our meaning.
Be thanked; that's all I could have said to Jove,
Had Jove, like you, restored me to my crown.
Sosib. [To Cleom.] The gods have given you, sir, the speedy means
To satisfy your debt of gratitude.
Cleom. Oh, make me happy! tell me how this sword
(This and my heart are all that's left me now)
Can be employed to serve the crown of Egypt.
Clean. Well said, father; thou art a true statesman.
So much for so much is the way at court. [Aside.
Sosib. My king has in the camp a younger brother,
Valiant, they say, but very popular;
He gets too far into the soldiers' grace,
And inches out my master.
Cleom. Is the king
Assured of this, by any overt-act,
Or any close conspiracy revealed?
Ptol. He has it in his power to be a traitor;
And that's enough.
Sosib. He has it in his will too;
Else, why this ostentation of his virtues,
His bounty, valour, and his temperance?
Why are they thus exposed to public view,
But as a Venus set beside a monster,
To make an odious comparison;
As if his brother wanted what he boasts?
Ptol. What's to be done with him?
Cas. There needs no more, I think, but to contrive,
With secrecy, and safety, to dispatch him.
Clean. I thank thee, that thou hast not cozened me
In this advice; for two good deeds together
Had been too much in conscience for thy calling. [Aside.
Ptol. He dies, that's out of doubt.
Cleom. Your brother, sir!
Ptol. Why do you ask that question?
Cleom. Because I had a brother,
(Oh grief to say I had, and have not now!)
Wise, valiant, temperate; and, in short, a Spartan;
Had all the virtues, which your counsellor
Imputed to your brother as his crimes.
He loved me well; so well, he could but die,
To shew he loved me better than his life.
He lost it for me in Sellasia's field;
And went the greatest ghost of all our name,
That ever had a brother, or a king[42].
Sosib. Wipe off the tears that stand upon your eyes;
Good nature works too far. Kings have no brothers,
What men call such, are rivals of their crowns;
Yours timed his death, so as to merit grief.
Who knows, but he laid in, by that last action,
The means to have betrayed you, had he lived?
Cleom. I would say something; but I curb my passion,
Because thou art the father to my friend—
To you, sir, this: If you condemn your brother, [To Ptol.
Only because he's bounteous, great, and brave,—
Know, you condemn those virtues, own you want them.
Had you a thousand brothers, such as he,
You ought to shew you are above them all,
By daring to reward, and cherish them,
As bucklers of your crown in time of war,
And in soft peace, the jewels that adorn it.
Cas. I stand corrected, sir; he ought to live.
Ptol. I think so too.
Sosib. I do not wish his death,
Howe'er I seemed to give that rugged counsel.
Clean. Well said again, father! Comply, comply;
Follow the sun, true shadow. [Aside.
Sosib. I only wish my master may be safe;
But there are mercenaries in the army,
Three thousand Greeks, the flower of all our troops,
Like wolves indeed among Egyptian lambs;
If these revolt—(I do not say they will)
But if your brother please to take the crown,
And be not good enough to let you reign,
Those Greeks, where'er they go, will turn the scale.
Ptol. What think you, Cleomenes?
Cleom. He says true.
Ptol. Then Magas must not live.
Cleom. That does not follow.
Fear not those mercenaries: they are mine,
Devoted to my interest, commanded by my nod:
They are my limbs of war, and I their soul.
Were they in arms against you at your gates,
High in their rage, and fixed upon the spoil,
Should I say,—Hold!—nay, should I only frown,
They could not bear my eyes; but, awed and mastered,
Like lions to their keepers, would couch and fawn,
And disobey their hunger.
Ptol. Wondrous man! [Embraces him.
How I admire thy virtue!
Cas. And his genius.
Some are born kings,
Made up of three parts fire, so full of heaven,
It sparkles at their eyes. Inferior souls
Know them as soon as seen, by sure instinct,
To be their lords, and naturally worship
The secret god within them.
Sosib. Sir, I humbly beg
A word in private. [To Ptol.
Ptol. Madam?—
Cas. You may go.
Sosib. Cleanthes, follow me.
[Exeunt Ptol. Sosib. Clean.
Enter Cleonidas.
Cleon. Pantheus brought me hither to attend you.
Cleom. And thou art welcome; but thou comest too late.
Cas. Your page of honour?
Cleon. The mistake is easy in such a court as this,
Where princes look like pages.
Cleom. 'Tis my son.
Cas. I must have leave to love you, royal youth;
Above all nations I adore a Greek,
And of all Greeks a Spartan. [Looking on Cleom.
Cleom. What he is,
And what I am, are owing to your favour.
Cas. [To Cleon.] Shall I not be your mistress?
[Looking on Cleom.
Cleon. No; for I would not get Egyptians.
Cas. For what, sir, do you take us?
Cleon. For what you are.
When the gods moulded up the paste of man,
Some of their dough was left upon their hands,
For want of souls; and so they made Egyptians.
They were intended for four feet; and when
They come to run before our noble Spartans,
They'll curse the gods for the two legs they owed them.
Cas. Then, since you will not let me be your mistress,
Would I had been your mother! [Looking still on Cleom.
Cleon. So would not I:
For then I had not been all Spartan.
Cas. [Aside.] He answers not my glances, stupid man!
My tender looks, my languishing regards,
Are like mis-aiming arrows, lost in air,
And miss the flying prey.

[While she walks, Cleom. and Cleon. are looking on a picture hanging on the side of the Scenes. She takes out a pocket-glass, and looks in it.

These eyes, I thank the gods,
Are still the same. The diamonds are not dimmed,
Nor is their lustre lost in Ptolemy.
Small boast: Alas! Ptolemy has no soul;
'Tis what he wants I love in Cleomenes.
Perhaps he dares not think I would be loved;
Then must I make the advance, and, making, lose
The vast prerogative our sex enjoys,
Of being courted first.—Courted! To what?
To our own wishes: There's the point; but still,
To speak our wishes first;—forbid it, pride,
Forbid it, modesty!—True; they forbid it,
But nature does not. When we are athirst,
Or hungry, will imperious nature stay?
Not eat nor drink, before 'tis bid fall on?—
Well, sex, if this must be,
That I must not invite, I may at least be suffered
To lay some kind occasion in his way,
That, if he dare but speak, he may succeed.

[She turns round to them, and observes what they are doing. Cleom. turns and meets her; Cleon. looks still on the picture.

Cleon. I durst not have presumed to interrupt
Your private thoughts.
Cas. They wholly were employed in serving you.
But durst not, and presume, are words of fear;
I thought they were not in your Spartan tongue;
For my sake banish them.
On what were you so earnestly employed,
You would not look this way?
Cleom. A picture, madam.
Cas. View it again, 'tis worth a second sight;
Your son observes it still.—'Twere well to help
My lover's understanding. [Goes with him to the Picture.
Know you this piece, young prince?
Cleon. Some battle, I believe; and in that thought,
I gaze with such delight.
Cleom. Some rape, I guess.
Cas. That's near the true design, and yet mistaken;
'Tis Paris, bearing from your Spartan shore
The beauteous Helen. How do you approve it?
Cleom. Not in the least, for 'tis a scurvy piece.
Cas. And yet 'tis known to be Apelles' hand.
The style is his; you grant he was a master.
Cleom. 'Tis scurvy still, because it represents
A base dishonest act; to violate
All hospitable rites, to force away
His benefactor's wife:—Ungrateful villain!
And so the gods, the avenging gods have judged.
Cleon. Was he a Spartan king that suffered this?
Sure he revenged the rape.
Cleom. He did, my boy,
And slew the ravisher.
Cas. Look better, sir; you'll find it was no rape.
Mark well that Helen in her lover's arms:
Can you not see, she but affects to strive?
She heaves not up her hands to heaven for help,
But hugs the kind companion of her flight.
See how her tender fingers strain his sides!
'Tis an embrace; a grasping of desire;
A very belt of love, that girds his waist.
She looks as if she did not fear to fall,
But only lose her lover, if she fell.
Observe her eyes; how slow they seem to roll
Their wishing looks, and languish on his face!
Observe the whole design, and you would swear,
She ravished Paris, and not Paris her.
Cleom. Sparta has not to boast of such a woman;
Nor Troy to thank her, for her ill-placed love.
Cas. But Paris had. As for the war that followed,
'Twas but a fable of a Grecian wit,
To raise the valour of his countrymen:
For Menelaus was an honest wretch;
A tame good man, that never durst resent;
A mere convenient husband, dull and slavish,
By nature meant the thing, the lovers made him.
Cleom. His goodness aggravates their crime the more.
Had Menelaus used his Helen ill,
Had he been jealous, or distrusted both,
I would allow a grain or two for love,
And plead in their excuse.
Cas. There was their safety, that he was not jealous.
What would you more of him? he was a fool,
And put the happy means into their hands.
Cleom. I cannot much commend my countryman.
Cas. Indeed, my lord, your countryman was dull,
That did not understand so plain a courtship.
Have Spartans eyes for nothing, not to see
So manifest a passion?
Cleom. Yes, too well.—[Aside.
Madam, your goodness interests you too much
In Helen's cause. I have no more to urge,
But that she was a wife: that word, a wife,
In spite of all your eloquence, condemns her.
Cas. You argue justly; therefore 'twas a crime:
But, had she been a mistress, not a wife,
Her love had been a virtue, to forsake
The nauseous bed of a loathed fulsome king,
And fly into a sprightly lover's arms.
Her love had been a merit to her Paris,
To leave her country, and, what's more, her kingdom,
With a poor fugitive prince to sail away,
And bear her wealth along, to make him happy.
Cleom. You put your picture in the fairest light:
But both the lovers broke their plighted vows;
He to Oenone, she to Menelaus.
Cas. The gods, that made two fools, had done more justly,
To have matched Menelaus with Oenone.
Think better of my picture, it deserves
A second thought; it speaks; the Helen speaks.
Cleon. It speaks Egyptian then; a base dishonest tongue.
Cas. You are too young to understand her language.— [To Cleon.
[To Cleom.
Do not thank me,
Till I have brought your business to perfection.
Doubt not my kindness; nothing shall be wanting
To make your voyage happy.
Cleom. I only fear the excess of your full bounty,
To give me more than what my wants require.
[Exeunt Cleom. and Cleon.
Cas. Meaning, perhaps, my person and my love:
I would not think it so; and yet I fear,
And while I fear, his voyage shall be hindered.
No breath of wind
Can stir, to waft him hence, unless I please:
I am the goddess that commands the seas.
In vain he vows at any other shrine,
My heart is in his hands, his fate's in mine. [Exit Cassandra.


SCENE I.—The King's Apartment.

A Table set. Ptolemy, Sosibius, Cassandra sitting: Ptolemy at the upper end; Cassandra sitting on the one side, Sosibius on the other.

Ptol. I must confess, 'twas obvious.
Sosib. He said he could command them with his nod:
Can he do this with mercenaries, raised
Not at his charge, but yours? by you maintained?
What could he more, had they been Spartans born?
Cas. What would you hence infer?
Sosib. What you observed:
Some are born kings, and so is Cleomenes.
Cas. A great soul dares not call himself a villain.
He has that interest, and will use it nobly;
To serve, and not to ruin his protector.
Sosib. Is Egypt's safety, and the king's, and your's,
Fit to be trusted on a bare suppose,
That he is honest? Honest, let him be;
But on his own experiment, not ours.
Man is but man; unconstant still, and various;
There's no to-morrow in him, like to-day.
Perhaps the atoms rolling in his brain
Make him think honestly this present hour;
The next, a swarm of base, ungrateful thoughts
May mount aloft; and where's our Egypt then?
Who would trust chance, since all men have the seeds
Of good and ill, which should work upward first?
Cas. All men! then you are one; and by that rule,
Your wicked atoms may be working now
To give bad counsel, that you still may govern.
Sosib. I would the king would govern.
Cas. Because you think I have too much command.
Ptol. Would you would rule me both by turns, in quiet,
And let me take my ease!
Cas. Then my turn's first.
Sosib. Our master's safety, in sound reason, ought
To be preferred to both.
Ptol. So thinks Cassandra too.
Cas. No; court Sosibius, and cast Cassandra off.
Ptol. What have I said, or done,
To merit this unkindness?
Tell me but what you think of Cleomenes,
And be my oracle.
Cas. I know him grateful.
Sosib. To know him grateful, is enough for Jove.
Cas. And therefore not too much for me in Egypt:
I say, I know him honest.
Ptol. Then I know it.
Now may Sosibius speak?
Cas. He may; but not to contradict my knowledge.
Sosib. Then I concur, to let him go for Greece;
And wish our Egypt fairly rid of him.
For, as our Apis, though in temples fed,
And under golden roofs, yet loaths his food,
Because restrained; and longs to roam in meads,
Among the milky-mothers of the herd:
So, Cleomenes, kept by force in Egypt,
Is sullen at our feasts, abhors our dainties,
And longs to change them for his Spartan broth[43].
He may be dangerous here; then send him hence,
With aid enough to conquer all he lost,
And make him formidable to mankind.
Cas. He may be formidable then to us?
That thou wouldst say.
Sosib. No; for you know him grateful.
Cas. Would thou wouldst learn to speak without a double,
Thou Delphian statesman! [Rises.
Sosib. Would I could know your wishes, that I might!
I would but smooth their way, and make them easy. [Bowing.
Cas. Good old man! [Smiling.
A little over zealous, but well-meaning.
My wishes are the honour of my king;
That Ptolemy may keep his royal word,
And I my promise, to procure this aid.
If to be mistress signifies command,
Let this be done; if not, the king may find
Another beauty, worthier of his bed,
And I another lover, less ungrateful.
Ptol. Let Egypt sink before that fatal day!
No, we are one; Cassandra, we are one;
Or I am nothing; thou art Ptolemy.
Cas. Now you deserve to be the first of kings,
Because you rank yourself the first of lovers.
What can I do to show Cassandra grateful?
Nothing but this—
To be so nice in my concerns for you;
To doubt where doubts are not; to be too fearful;
To raise a bug-bear shadow of a danger,
And then be frighted, though it cannot reach you.
Sosib. Be pleased to name your apprehensions, madam.
Cas. Plain souls, like mine, judge others by themselves;
Therefore I hold our Cleomenes honest.
But since 'tis possible, though barely so,
That he may prove ungrateful,
I would have pledges given us of his faith;
His wife, his mother, and his son, be left
As hostages in Egypt.
Sosib. Admirable!
Some god inspired you with this prudent counsel.
Ptol. I thought so too, but that I durst not speak.
Sosib. Leave me to manage this.
Cas. My best Sosibius!
But do it surely, by the easiest means;
Infuse it gently; do not pour it down:
Let him not think he stands suspected here;
And, least of all, by me.
Sosib. He shall not, madam.—
Now, sir, the illumination feast attends you;
For Apis has appeared.
Ptol. Why then I must be formal;
Go to the temple.—
Come, my fair Cassandra,
That I may have an object worth my worship. [Aside.
Cas. The God that I adore is in my breast;
This is the temple; this the sacrifice.
But to the powers divine we make appeal,
With great devotion, and with little zeal. [Exeunt Ptol. and Cas.
Sosib. [Solus.] Yes, yes, it shall be done; but not her way.—
Call in my son Cleanthes.—This Cassandra
Is our enchanting syren; she that sings
Our Ptolemy into secure destruction.
In vain I counsel him to avoid his ruin:
These women-charmers, oh they have a devil
Too strong to dispossess.—Call in my son. [Goes to the door.
Enter Cleanthes.
Cleanthes, are you Cleomenes' friend,
Or only seem you such?
Clean. To seem to be, and not be what I seem,
Are things my honest nature understands not.
Sosib. But you must love your king and country more.
Clean. Yes, when I have a king and country,
That can deserve my love.
Egypt, as Egypt is, deserves it not:
A people baser than the beasts they worship;
Below their pot-herb gods, that grow in gardens:
The king—
Sosib. Go to; young man, whate'er he be,
I must not hear my master vilified.
Clean. Why did you name him then? Were I at prayers.
And even for you, whom as my soul I love,
If Ptolemy should come across my thoughts,
A curse would follow, where I meant a blessing.
Sosib. 'Tis well, 'tis well I am so fond a father;
Those words were death in any other mouth.
I know too much of you; you love the Spartan
Beyond your king and country.
Clean. 'Tis a truth
So noble, I would own it to the gods,
And they be proud to hear it.
Sosib. Confess, you love him better than your father.
Clean. No; but I love him equal with my father.
Sosib. Say better, and say true.
If we were opposite, and one must fall,
Whom wouldst thou save?
Clean. Neither; for both would die,
Before I could resolve.
Sosib. If I command thee
To break thy friendship with him, wouldst thou?
Clean. No.
Sosib. Why, then thou hast confessed, thou lovest him more.
Clean. Not so: for, should he bid me disobey,
Or not love you, thus would I answer him,
As I have answered you.
Sosib. Ungrateful boy!
Clean. You bid me tell you true, and this is my reward.
Sosib. Go from my sight!
Clean. I will; but would not go
Without your blessing.
Sosib. O, so well I love thee,
That I could curse thee for not loving me!—
Stay, I would send thee on a message to him,
But that I fear thy faith.
Clean. You wrong my piety.
Sosib. It much concerns my interest, which is thine.
Wouldst thou deliver what I have to say?
Wouldst thou induce his reason to comply?
Clean. Both; granting your proposals honourable:
If not, employ some mercenary tongue,—
The court affords you store,—and spare my virtue.
Sosib. I would have Cleomenes sent away
With royal aid.
Clean. You promised him he should.
Sosib. And would have thee persuade him to this voyage.
Clean. A welcome errand: Oh my dear, dear father!
Sosib. But on my terms, mark that; my terms, Cleanthes.
Clean. I feared the statesman in you.
Sosib. I would have Egypt safe; that's all my interest:
And therefore he must leave behind, for pawns,
His mother, wife, and son.
Clean. 'Tis clogging of a gift; 'tis base, mean counsel.
I hope you gave it not.
Sosib. No, 'twas Cassandra:
But she would have that odium cast on me;
I am her beast of burden, and must bear it.
Clean. I never can bely so good a father;
But this I'll do:
The message shall be faithfully delivered,
And all the strumpet stand exposed to shame.
Sosib. Thou hitst my meaning; but he must be secret,
Must seem to take the favour as from her,
And lay the hardship of the terms on me.
Clean. He shall.
Sosib. And thou wilt gild this bitter pill;
For there's no other way to go from hence,
But leaving these behind.
Clean. A beam of thought comes glancing on my soul.— [Aside.
I'll undertake it,
The pledges shall be left.
Sosib. My best Cleanthes! [Embraces him.
But haste, and lose no time.
Clean. I'm all on fire to serve my friend and father. [Exit Cleanthes.
Sosib. [Alone.] This Cleomenes ought to be dispatched;
Dispatched the safest way: he ought to die.
Not that I hate his virtue; but I fear it.
The mistress drives my counsels to the leeward.
Now I must edge upon a point, of wind;
And make slow way, recovering more and more,
Till I can bring my vessel safe ashore. [Exit Sosib.


Of a Temple with Illuminations. An Altar, Apis painted above; Priests and Choristers.


Ptolemy, Cassandra, Courtiers, men and women, all decently placed. Musick, Instrumental and Vocal. Then Ptolemy, taking Cassandra by the hand, advances to the Altar of Apis, bowing thrice, and gives the High Priest a purse. Soft Musick all the while Ptolemy and Cassandra are adoring and speaking.

Ptol. Soul of the universe, and source of life,
Immortal Apis, thou thrice holy fire,
Hear Egypt's vows and mine! If, as we dream,
Egyptian earth, impregnated with flame,
Sprung the first man,
Preserve thy primitive plantation here!
Then, for myself, thy type, and thy vicegerent,
Roll from my loins a long descent of kings,
Mixed of Cassandra's kindly blood and mine.
Mine be she only, and I only hers!
And when I shall resolve again to thee,
May she survive me, and be queen of Egypt:
Hear this, and firm it with some happy omen!
[An Augury portending good success arises from the Altar.
Omnes. Apis be praised for this auspicious omen!
[Ptolemy bowing retires, and seems pleased.
Cas. [Kneels.] Great power of Love! who spread'st thy gentle fire
Through human hearts, art every where adored;
Accept these vows, in show to Apis paid,
And make his altar thine! hear not that wretch,
Because his prayers were not addressed to thee;
Or only hear his last, that I may reign!
Make Cleomenes mine, and mine alone.
Give us a flight secure, a safe arrival,
And crown our wishes in each others arms.
Hear this, and firm it with some happy omen!
[A bad omen arises from the flames of the Altar.
Omnes. Avert this omen, Apis!
Cas. [Rises.] Accursed be thou, grass-eating foddered god!
Accursed thy temple! more accursed thy priests!
The gods are theirs, not ours; and when we pray
For happy omens, we their price must pay.
In vain at shrines the ungiving suppliant stands;
This 'tis to make a vow with empty hands:
Fat offerings are the priesthood's only care;
They take the money, and heaven hears the prayer.
Without a bribe their oracles are mute;
And their instructed gods refuse the suit.
[Exit Cassandra in a fury, King and Attendants follow. Scene closes.

SCENE III.—The Port of Alexandria.

Enter Cleomenes, and Cleanthes.

Cleom. The propositions are unjust and hard;
And if I swallow them, 'tis as we take
The wrath of heaven.
We must have patience, for they will be gods,
And give us no account of what we suffer.
Clean. My father much abhors this middle way,
Betwixt a gift and sale of courtesy.
But 'tis the mistress; she that seemed so kind,
'Tis she, that bears so hard a hand upon you;
She that would half oblige, and half affront.
Cleom. Let her be what she is: that's curse enough.
But such a wife, a mother, and a son!
Oh sure, ye gods! when ye made this vile Egypt,
Ye little thought, they should be mortgaged here!
My only comfort
Is, that I trust these precious pawns with thee;
For thou art so religiously a friend,
That I would sooner leave them in thy hands,
Than if I had security from heaven,
And all the gods to answer for their safety.
Clean. Yes, yes; they shall be safe;
And thou shall have a pledge,
As strong as friendship can make over to thee.
Deny me not, for I must go with thee,
And share what fate allots for thee in Greece. [Cleomenes looks discontentedly.
Nay, cast not on me that forbidding frown;
But let me be their pawn, as they are thine:
So I shall have thee wholly to myself,
And be thy wife, thy mother, and thy son,
As thou art all to me.
Cleom.Oh friend![Sighs, and wipes his eyes.
Clean. What wouldst thou say, my better part?
Cleom. No more, but this, that thou art too unkind,
When even in kindness thou wouldst overcome.
Clean. Let me be proud; and pardon thou my pride.
Base, worthless Egypt has no other pawn,
To counter-balance these, but only me.
'Twas on such terms alone I durst propose it.
Shalt thou leave these,
And I not leave a father, whom I love?
Come, come, it must be so.
We'll give each other all we have besides;
And then we shall be even.—Here they are!
I leave thee. Break those tender ties of nature,
As gently as thou canst; they must be broken. [Going, returns.
But, when thou seest Cassandra, curb thy spleen;
Seem to receive the kindness as from her;
And, if thou think'st I love thee, for my sake,
Remembering me, strive to forget my father. [Exit Clean.
Enter Cleora, Cratesiclea, and Cleonidas.
Cleom. But how can I sustain to tell them this, [Walking from them.
Even in the gentlest terms!
There are not words in any tongue so soft
As I would use: the gods must have a new one,
If they would have me speak.
Crat. How, king of Sparta! When your fortune smiles,
A glorious sunshine, and a gloomy soul?
The gods love chearfulness, when they are kind;
They think their gifts despised, and thrown away
On sullen thankless hearts.
Cleor. I hear, my dearest lord, that we shall go.
Cleom. Go!
Cleon. What a mournful echo makes my father!
By Mars, he stifles go upon his tongue,
And kills the joyful sound; he speaks so low,
That heaven must listen, if it hear his thanks.
Cleom. Yes, I shall go; but how?
Cleor. With Egypt's aid.
Cleon. With his own soul and sword, a thousand strong;
And worth ten Egypts, and their ten thousand gods.
Crat. There's something more in this, than what we guess;
Some secret anguish rolls within his breast,
That shakes him like an earthquake, which he presses,
And will not give it vent: I know him well.
He blushes, and would speak, and wants a voice;
And stares and gapes like a forbidden ghost,
Till he be spoke to first.—Tell me, my son!
Cleom. Mother, I will.—And yet I cannot neither. [Aside.
Mother! that word has struck me dumb again:
For, how can I say mother, and propound
To leave her here behind, who gave me life?
Mother! and wife! and son! the names that nature
Most loves to speak, are banished from my mouth.
Cleor. Tell us, my love, the king has changed his mind,
And has refused us leave; for we can bear it:
Egypt is Greece to me, while you are here.
Cleom. Oh I would speak! But, oh! you speak so kindly,
That you forbid my speech: You call me love.
Cleor. Was that too kind a word?
Cleom. It was to me: I am a mere barbarian,
A brute, a stock, for I have no relations,
Or shortly shall have none.
Cleor. Then we must die!
Cleon. We must; and welcome death.
Crat. To save his life.
Cleom. The gods forbid that you should die for me!
No, you may live; but I must die thrice over,
For I must leave you here, or must not go:
These are the hard conditions offered me.
Crat. Then Egypt would have pledges: Is this all?
Cleom. Yes, and a mighty all: 'Tis all I have.
But I propose it not; remember that.
Crat. I do; and therefore I propose it first,
To save this virtuous shame, this good confusion,
That would not let you speak.
Cleom. Oh! I could almost think you love me not,
You granted me so quick, so willingly,
What I,—bear witness, heaven,—was slow to ask,
And would be loth to have.
Cleor. I cannot leave you.
Cleom. I was but wishing thou wouldst draw me back,
And now, I cannot go.
Crat. Are you turned woman?
No more of this fond stuff.
Cleon. Shall I be left to gather rust in Egypt?
A glue of sloth to stick to my young pinions,
And mar their flight; habitual cowardice?
No; I must learn my stubborn trade of war
From you alone, and envy you betimes.
Cleom. But the conditions! Oh these hard conditions!
That such a spirit must be left behind,
Untaught, unfashioned by a father's hands!
A spirit fit to start into an empire,
And look the world to law.
Crat. No more debating, for I see the pinch.
He must be left, and so must she and I,
For we are but your softnesses, my son;
The incumbrances and luggage of the war.
Fight for us, and redeem us, if you please;
For there we are your clogs of virtue; here,
The spurs of your return.
Cleom. I thank you, mother;
Once more you have erected me to man,
And set me upright, with my face to heaven.
The woman and the boy be yours awhile:
The war be mine alone!
Crat. There spoke the Spartan king: Think not on us.
Cleom. I wonnot.
Cleor. Not in prayers!
Cleon. In prayers! That's poor,
As if the gods were thoughtless of their work.
Think on us, when you fight; and when you make
A lusty stroke, cry out,—That's for my boy.
Crat. Dispose this mouldering carcase as you please,
Ere lingering age or sickness wear it out,
Unprofitable then for Sparta's good.
Be chearful, fight it well, and all the rest
Leave to the gods and fortune.
Cleom. If they fail me,
Theirs be the fault, for fate is theirs alone:
My virtue, fame, and honour are my own. [Exeunt.


SCENE I.—An Antechamber of Cassandra's Lodging.

Enter Ptolemy, Sosibius, Cœnus, and Cassandra.

Sosib. So, so,—it works; now, mistress, sit you fast. [Aside.
Ptol. Humph, whores and catamites!
Were those his words?
Cœn. Upon my life they were.
Ptol. Whom should he mean by those unmannered terms?
Cassandra, can you guess?
Cas. 'Twas kindly asked.
Ptol. A foul-mouthed villain.
Sosib. So I should have thought,
But that this lady knows him good and grateful.
Cœn. Madam, I stand suspected without cause;
And, but I fear revenge from this great man,
I could say more.
Cas. I thought he was concerned.
Sosib. Who, I?
Cas. Speak boldly, Grecian, I protect thee.
Cœn. Cleanthes then was present, and he added——
Enter Cleanthes.
But he appears in time to hear his charge.
Sosib. My dear, dear son! [Aside.
I fear thy lavish tongue has ruined thee;
What can I do to save thee?
Cas. Well, proceed.
Cœn. Can you deny, my lord, that you were present,
When Cleomenes taxed the court, and king,
With brutal vices?
Clean. I remember somewhat
Of certain horses which he could not buy,
And saw thee go away dissatisfied;
Which to prevent, I meant to purchase them:
The rest I heard not, nor believe he spoke.
Cas. Cleanthes added farther; that thou saidst,—
Ptol. And we would know, ere tortures force it from thee.
Sosib. Now comes the fatal stroke. [Aside.
Cœn. He added farther,——
Clean. No, thou addest it all;
And I demand the combat.
Ptol. Let him speak.
Sosib. Think first, Cleanthes! Think before you hazard
Your life and honour in this bold appeal:
Somewhat you might have said, nay more, you ought,
Since I commanded you to be a spy
On Cleomenes' acts and close designs.
Clean. The good old liar would preserve my life,
And I must steer his course. [Aside.
[To the King.
I think——I farther added,——
Ptol. 'Tis forgiven;
So wholly pardoned, that I will not hear it;
Good spies are useful, and must be encouraged.
But what must next be done with Cleomenes?
Sosib. Dispatch him, as the source of all your fears.
Observe the mounting billows of the main,
Blown by the winds into a raging storm;
Brush off those winds, and the high waves return
Into their quiet first created calm:—
Such is the rage of busy blustering crowds,
Fomented by the ambition of the great:
Cut off the causes, and the effect will cease;
And all the moving madness fall to peace.
Ptol. Let him be seized, in order to his death;
I am in haste, you know it, for my progress.
A thousand pleasures wait me at Canopus,
And this poor trifling business of one life
Encumbers all.—Cassandra, are you ready?
We will be seen like Isis and Osiris,
Drawn in one chariot, for admiring eyes
To worship as we pass.
Cas. A word in private;—Cœnus, attend without. [Exit.
[Cassandra leads the King to a corner of the Stage; Sosibius takes his Son to the other.
Sosib. [To Clean.] Now I am twice your father, by preserving
The life I gave you, which your folly hazarded.
Break off all friendship with that Spartan king,
Or never see me more: His fate's resolved,
Nor can you stem the tide; avoid his ruins;
Reply not, but obey.
Clean. I know my duty. [Bowing.
Sosib. Thou overjoyest me: Follow, we'll talk farther.
[Exeunt Sosib. and Clean.
Cas. What think you of Sosibius and his son?
Ptol. As of two creatures zealous for my service.
Cas. Oh heavens! that I should love this king so well!
But that I doat—What can I see in him,
But dull good nature and simplicity?
Well, well! my little dear, I find the gods
Have given me here no business of my own,
But made me just your drudge, to love and save you.
Ptol. 'Protest I thought them honest; are they not?
Cas. Ye gods! why did you make this man your image?
And made him but an image?—You'll forgive me;
I love you so, that I am forced to rail.
You saw no close conveyance of the game
Betwixt the crafty sire and cunning son;
How slily one invented an excuse,
And t'other took it up as dexterously!
Ptol. Why, sure Cleanthes was his father's spy?
Cas. Yes, over you; but not on Cleomenes.
I fear you are betrayed, and the gods blind you,
To make your ruin sure.
Ptol. As how, Cassandra?
Cas. When you are absent——
Ptol. Well!
Cas. 'Tis in their power——
Ptol. To murder Cleomenes——
Cas. If they please;
Or else to set him free, and join with Magas.
Ptol. I will not to Canopus.
Cas. Yes, you must.
Ptol. But how shall I be safe, and take this journey?
Cas. Leave that to me.
Ptol. But you must go along.
Cas. No; I must stay here, in order to your safety,
To watch the growth of danger, and prevent it.
This cruel absence I must undergo,
Or else I love you not.
Ptol. Since I must go,
I'll cheat them of a day, and come before
My time, for love of thee.
Cas. To sum up all,—
For we are both in haste,—
Intrust your royal signet in my hands.
Ptol. Joined with Sosibius.
Cas. Would you trust a statesman
Before your own dear heart? You love him better,
You naughty man, in faith you do; and, now I think on't,
I will not have your signet: By this kiss,
And this, and this, I will not.
Ptol. By all three, thou shalt. [Gives her the Signet from his Finger.
But kill this Cleomenes quickly, he's dangerous.
Cas. He's in safe hands with me.
Ptol. One more embrace.
Cas. There, take it, and now go.
Thus, for your good, I thrust you from my arms.
Ptol. Farewell, my love. [Exit Ptolemy.
Cas. Farewell——I hope for ever.—
Now, Cleomenes, I will sound thy soul,
For life and death depend upon thy choice;
But for that easy wretch, him I comtemn.
Hard state of lovers, subject to our laws!
Fools we must have, or else we cannot sway;
For none but fools will womankind obey.
If they prove stubborn, and resist our will,
We exercise our power, and use them ill.
The passive slave, that whines, adores, and dies,
Sometimes we pity, but we still despise:
But when we doat, the self-same fate we prove,
Fools at the best, but double fools in love.
We rage at first with ill-dissembled scorn;
Then, falling from our height, more basely mourn;
And man, the insulting tyrant, takes his turn,
Leaves us to weep for our neglected charms,
And hugs another mistress in his arms;
And, that which humbles our proud sex the most,
Of all our slighted favours makes his boast. [Exit Cassandra.
Enter Cleomenes.
Cleom. Her words, her every look, confess she loves me;
And therefore she detains these hostages,
As pawns of my return to her and Egypt.
Thus far 'tis plain and obvious:—But the picture;
That Helen: There's the riddle of her love.
For, what I see, or only think I see,
Is like a glimpse of moonshine, streaked with red,—
A shuffled, sullen, and uncertain light,
That dances through the clouds, and shuts again:
Then 'ware a rising tempest on the main.
Enter Cassandra.
Cas. I would, but cannot speak.
The shame that should to womankind belong,
Flown from my bosom, hovers on my tongue. [Aside.
Cleom. 'Tis rarely seen, that gods from heaven descend,
But for some kind, some charitable end.
And yet your troubled looks ill news import,
Stops, or delays; but that's no news at court:
There's somewhat which your pity would disguise.
Cas. Would you could read that somewhat in my eyes!
But, as you are a Spartan and a king,
Undaunted hear whatever news I bring.
The favourite hates you; Cœnus has betrayed
The bitter truths, that our loose court upbraid.
Your friend was set upon you for a spy,
And on his witness you are doomed to die.
Cleom. I have been plunged already twice in woes,
And the third time above the waves I rose.
Still I have strength to steer me into port,
And shun the secret quick-sands of the court.
But when my friend, who should expecting stand
On the bare beach, to lend his helping hand;
When he defends the unhospitable shore,
And drives me thence, I sink for evermore.
But 'tis impossible, his faith is tried;
The man, who had defamed him thus, had lied.
Cas. Well! I forgive your blunt Laconic way;
It shall be seen, it shall this very day,
Who would preserve your life, and who betray.
The king incensed, the favourite your foe,
Yet on the same conditions you may go;
Your wife, your son, your mother left behind.
What think you now?
Cleom. 'Tis to be wonderous kind.
Cas. Suppose I add a farther bounty yet.
Cleom. It could but make your favours over weight.
Cas. What if I went myself to waft you o'er,
And left you when I saw you safe ashore?
For I should leave you, if you thought it fit,
Not to do more, than honour would permit.
Can I do less, to show you I am kind,
To comfort you for those you left behind?
Cleom. The world would think you kinder than you ought.
Cas. Why should I care what base Egyptians thought?
Cleom. Immoderate gifts oppress me, not relieve;
Nor dare I take what ruins you to give.
Cas. Leave me to judge of that; I could prescribe
An easy way of giving back my bribe.
Why would you force me farther than my part?
Look on my eyes, and you may read my heart. [Looks on her as by stealth.
Oh, there you met me with a guilty glance!
Now 'tis too late to plead your ignorance.
Cleom. I am so much below, and you above,
What can I say?
Cas. But one kind word,—I love.
Cleom. As far as gratitude that love can pay.
Cas. Oh, stop not there; for that's but half the way!
Would you to one poor narrow word confine
Your passion, when I put no bounds to mine?
Cleom. Cleora!
Cas. Now you speak too soon; forbear!
Nothing can please me, that begins with her.
Cleom. I must begin, where nature, void of art,
Directs my tongue,—with her, who rules my heart.
Cas. Let us together sail before the wind,
And leave that dull domestic drudge behind.
Cleom. What! to expose her helpless innocence
To the wild fury of an injured prince?
{  Cas. A vain surmise; their talents would agree.
{  The gods have made your noble mind for me,
{  And her insipid soul for Ptolemy:
A heavy lump of earth, without desire;
A heap of ashes, that o'erlays your fire.
Cleom. Virtue you must allow her, though a foe.
Cas. No more than what I would to ice and snow.
Yet those have seeds of heat; her shivering blood
Makes her, at best, but impotently good.
But neither I can save you, if you stay,
Nor save myself unless I go away;
For, if I stay behind, and set you free,
The fury of the king would fall on me.
Cleom. Then, to prevent your fate, I must not go;
Death is my choice, since heaven will have it so.
Cas. Heaven would preserve your life, and so would I;
But you are obstinately bent to die.
Cleom. Some men are made of such a leaky mould,
That their filled vessels can no fortune hold:
Poured in, it sinks away, and leaves them dry;
Of that unsusceptible make am I.
Yet think not, fair one, I your charms despise;
My heart's insensible, but not my eyes:
Respect and gratitude are all my store,
And those I give; my love was given before.
Cas. Thus break false merchants, with an honest show;
Rich to themselves, but bankrupts where they owe.
Cleom. If at this awful distance I remain,
Better be too devout, than too profane.
Cas. Flattery! such alms the priesthood give the poor;
They bless, and send them empty from the door.
Know you, that Death stands ready at the gate,
That I forbid him, and suspend your fate?
The king's short absence leaves me absolute;
When he returns, the inevitable ill
Is past my power, and may be past my will.
Unhappy man! prevent thy destiny;
Speak one kind word, to save thy life and me.
Cleom. Be answered, and expect no more reply.
Cas. Disdain has swelled him up, and choked his breath;
Sullen, and dumb, and obstinate to death.
No signs of pity in his face appear;
Look, if the ungrateful creature shed one tear!
Crammed with his pride, he leaves no room within
For sighs to issue out, or love to enter in.— [He turns away.
What! dost thou turn thy face in my despite?
Am I a toad? a monster to thy sight?
Farewell, fond pity, then: As thou from me,
So thy good fortune turns her face from thee.
Left, scorned, and loathed, and all without relief,
Revenge succeeds to love, and rage to grief.
{  Tempests and whirlwinds through my bosom move,
{  Heave up, and madly mount my soul above
{  The reach of pity, or the bounds of love.—
Approach, and seize the traitor.
Enter Guards.
Cleom. Now I can speak: thy kindness kept me dumb,
For that I could not answer. The false Syren,
No longer hiding her uncomely parts,
Struts on the waves, and shews the brute below.
Cas. Stop that foul mouth! Behold this royal signet,
The warrant of his death. [Guards go to seize him.
Cleom. Stand back, ye slaves, [He draws his Sword.
And put me not to stain a Spartan sword
With base Egyptian blood. [He advances upon them; they retire, with signs of fear.
Cas. Fall on!—Behold a noble beast at bay,
And the vile huntsmen shrink!—More aid: Who waits?—
Enter Cleanthes.
Now, sir, what brings you here?
Clean. My zeal to serve you.
Cas. That shall be tried; disarm him.
Clean. Cleomenes,
Deliver me your sword.
Cleom. How's this, Cleanthes?
Clean. It must be so.
Cleom. Is this a friend's advice,
To give me up defenceless to a crowd,
Whom, armed, I could resist?
Clean. Must he die, madam,
Or be reserved for further punishment,
At Ptolemy's return?
Cas. Why ask you that?
Clean. Because his destiny, for aught I find,
Depends on you. Think first, and then command.
Cas. Know then, that his last thread is on the distaff,
And I can cut it now.
Clean. And are resolved?
Cas. I only said I can, and I can save.—
Disarm, and hurt him not.
Clean. Once more, your sword.
Cleom. Stand off those villains;—though I fear them not,
Yet cowards are offensive to my sight;
Nor shall they see me do an act, that looks
Below the courage of a Spartan king.
Cas. Cleanthes, may I trust your faith?
Clean. You may.
Cas. Be gone, and wait my call. [Exeunt Guards.
Cleom. Cleanthes! Still my friend; for such I hold thee,
Though this bad woman says thou art my spy;
I cannot give a greater proof than this,
That I believe her not: [Gives him his Sword.
If thou art false,
'Tis in thy power to show it safely, now;
And compass that by treason, which, in arms,
Nor thou, nor any man alive, can force.
Remember still, I gave it to a friend;
For life and death are equal in themselves;
That, which would cast the balance, is thy falsehood,
To make my death more wretched.
Clean. Then you may think me that, which you call false;
But duty to my father—
Cleom. Say no more!
I would not curse thee, for thou wert my friend.
I think thee still as honest as thou couldst;
Impenetrably good; but, like Achilles,
Thou hadst a soft Egyptian heel undipt,
And that has made thee mortal.
Cas. Cleanthes, thou hast well approved thy faith;
And, as this palace is thy government,
On utmost peril of thy life secure him.—
One farther word— [Whispers.
[Exit Clean. looking concernedly on Cleom.
Cleom. So guilty as thou art, and canst thou look
On him thou hast betrayed?—Go, take thy hire,
Which thou hast dearly purchased, and be great.
Cas. For you, brave sir, as you have given my hopes
But air to feed on, air shall be your food;
No bread shall enter these forbidden doors.
Thin, hungry diet, I confess; but still
The liker Spartan fare. Keen appetites,
And quick digestion, wait on you and yours.
Cleom. O mix not innocence and guilt together!
What love have they refused, or how offended?
Be just, though you are cruel; or, be kind,
And punish me alone.
Cas. There nature works;
Then there I'll stab thee in thy tender part. [Shrieks of Women within.
Cleom. What dismal cries are those?
Cas. Nothing; a trifling sum of misery,
New-added to the foot of thy account:
Thy wife is seized by force, and borne away.—
Farewell; I dare not trust thy vengeance further. [Exit.
[Running to the Door, he is stopt by Guards with drawn Swords.
Cleom. Cleora!—There stands death, but no Cleora;
I would find both together.
Enter Cratesiclea, Cleonidas, and Pantheus with Blood on his Hands.
Crat. Oh king of Sparta!
Cleom. Peace, mother, peace;
I have had news from hell before you,—
Cleora's gone to death. Is there a door,
A casement, or a rift within these walls,
That can let loose my body to her rescue?
Panth. All closed; nothing but heaven above is open.
Cleom. Nay, that's closed too; the gods are deaf to prayers!
Hush then; the irrevocable doom's gone forth,
And prayers lag after, but can ne'er o'ertake.—
Let us talk forward of our woes to come.
Crat. Cleanthes! (Oh, could you suspect his faith?)
'Twas he, that headed those, who forced her hence.
Cleom. Pantheus bleeds!
Panth. A scratch, a feeble dart,
At distance thrown by an Egyptian hand.
Crat. You heard me not; Cleanthes is——
Cleom. He was——no more, good mother;
He tore a piece of me away, and still
The void place aches within me.—O, my boy,
I have bad news to tell thee.
Cleon. None so bad,
As that I am a boy. Cleanthes scorned me;
And, when I drove a thrust, home as I could,
To reach his traitor heart, he put it by,
And cried, as in derision,—Spare the stripling.
Oh that insulting word! I would have swopped
Youth for old age, and all my life behind,
To have been then a momentary man.
Cleom. Alas! thy manhood, like a forward spring,
Before it comes to bear the promised fruit,
Is blighted in the bud. Never, my boy,
Canst thou fetch manhood up, with thy short steps,
While, with long strides, the giant stalks before thee.
Cleon. Am I to die before I am a man?
Cleom. Yes, thou must die with me, and I with her,
Who gave me life; and our poor infant too, within,
Must die before it knows what dying means.
Three different dates of nature, one would think;
But fate has crammed us all into one lease,
And that even now expiring.
Panth. Yet we live.
Cleom. No, even now we die; death is within us,
And keeps our life; for nourishment is life,
And we have fed our last; hunger feeds death.
Crat. A lingering doom, but four days hence the same;
And we can shorten those, turn days to hours,
And hours to moments; death is in our call.
Panth. The sooner, then, the better.
Cleon. So say I.
Panth. While we have spirits left to meet him boldly.
Cleon. I'll hold my breath,
And keep my soul a prisoner in my body;
There let it creep and wander in the dark,
Till, tired to find no outlet, it retreats
Into my Spartan heart, and there lies pleased;
So, we two are provided.—Sir, your choice? [To Cleom.
Cleom. Not this dispatch, for we may die at leisure.
This famine has a sharp and meagre face:
'Tis death in an undress of skin and bone;
Where age and youth, their land-mark ta'en away,
Look all one common furrow.
Crat. Yet you chuse it,
To please our foes; that, when they view our skeletons,
And find them all alike, they may cry out,—
Look how these dull obedient Spartans died,
Just as we wished, as we prescribed their death,
And durst not take a nobler, nearer way!
Cleom. Not so; but that we durst not tempt the gods,
To break their images without their leave.
The moment ere Cassandra came, I had
A note without a name, the hand unknown,
That bade me not despair, but still hope well.
Then die not yet;
For heaven has means to free us; if not me,
Yet these, and you. I am the hunted stag,
Whose life may ransom yours.
Crat. No more of that:
I find your distant drift,—to die alone;
An unkind accusation of us all,
As if we durst not die; I'll not survive you.
Panth. Nor I.
Cleon. Nor I.
Cleom. But hear my reasons.—
Enter Cleora, in a black Veil.
Ha, what shadow's this! this, that can glide through walls,
Or pass its subtile limbs through bolts and bars!
Black, too! like what it represents, our fate.
Cleor. Too true a shadow I, and you the substance. [Lifts up her Veil.
Omnes. Cleora!
Cleom. Thus let me grow again to thee,
Too close for fate to sever!
Or let death find me in these dear, dear arms;
And, looking on thee, spare my better part,
And take me willing hence.
Crat. What! are you dreaming, son, with eyes cast upwards,
Like a mad prophet in an ecstacy?
Cleom. Musing on what we saw.
Just such is death,
With a black veil, covering a beauteous face.
Feared afar off
By erring nature; a mistaken phantom;
A harmless, lambent fire. She kisses cold;
But kind, and soft, and sweet, as my Cleora.
Oh, could we know
What joys she brings, at least, what rest from grief;
How should we press into her friendly arms,
And be pleased not to be, or to be happy!
Crat. Look, what we have forgot! The joy to see
Cleora here, has kept us from enquiring,
By what strange means she entered.
Cleom. Small joy, heaven knows, to be adopted here,
Into the meagre family of famine!
The house of hunger! therefore asked I not;
So am I pleased to have her company,
And so displeased to have it but in death.
Cleor. I know not how, or why, my surly gaoler,
Hard as his irons, and insolent as power
When put in vulgar hands, Cleanthes gone,
Put off the brute; and with a gloomy smile,
That showed a sullen lothness to be kind,
Screened me within this veil, then led me forth;
And, using to the guards Cassandra's name,
Made that my passport: every door flew ope,
To admit my entrance; and then clapt behind me,
To bar my going back.
Cleom. Some new resolve.
Cassandra plots, and then refines on malice;
Plays with revenge. With rage she snatched you hence,
And renders you with scorn: I thought to show you,
How easy 'twas to die, by my example,
And hansel fate before you; but thy presence
Has changed my mind, to drag this lingering life,
To share thy sorrows, and assist thy weakness.—
Come in, my friends, and let us practise death;
Stroke the grim lion, till he grow familiar.—
Cleora, thou and I, as lovers should,
Will hand in hand to the dark mansions go,
Where life no more can cheat us into woe;
That, sucking in each other's latest breath,
We may transfuse our souls, and put the change on death. [Exeunt.



Enter Cassandra and Sosibius.

Sosib. And what have you determined?
Cas. He shall die.
Sosib. A wholesome resolution. Have you fixed
The time?
Cas. He daily dies, by hours and moments;
All vital nourishment but air is wanting.
Three rising days and two descending nights
Have changed the face of heaven by turns,
But brought no kind vicissitude to him;
His state is still the same, with hunger pinched,
Waiting the slow approaches of his death;
Which, halting onwards, as his life goes back,
Still gains upon his ground.
Sosib. But ere fate reach him,
The mercy of the king may interpose.
You have the signet?
Cas. Yes, in your despite.
Sosib. Be not displeased,—suppose he should escape?
Cas. Suppose he should have wings: impossible!
Sosib. Yet, keepers have been bribed. To whom can Ptolemy
Impute that crime, but you?
Cas. He may; but let him if he dares.—
Come, statesman, do not shuffle in your pace;
You would expose me to the people's hatred,
By hurrying on this act of violence:
You know a little thing provokes the crowd
Against a mistress; she's the public mark:
Therefore content yourself; I will be safe,
Nor shall the prisoner die a speedier death,
Than what my doom decreed; unless the king
Reverse his orders, by my messenger.
Sosib. May I presume to ask you, whom you sent?
Cas. Thy son, unknown to thee; for so I charged him;
And this the promised hour of his return.—Nay, wonder not;
I chose him with design, that, whatsoe'er
The king ordains, you both should share the event,
And stand or fall with me. Ponder on that, and leave me!
Sosib. [Aside.] What can she mean? She neither kills, nor saves.
[Exit Sosibius.
Cas. Now tell me, heart, now answer for thyself!
What wilt thou do, and what dost thou desire?—
His life? No, he's ungrateful; or, his death?
I tremble at that word.—What then? His love!—
His love! my heart. What! by restraint and famine?
Are these the means to compass thy design?—
Revenge! My hand's so soft, his heart so hard,
The blow recoils, and hurts me while I strike.
Like the mad viper, scourged into a rage,
I shoot into myself my fatal sting.
Enter Mariner.
Mar. The ship is ready, when you please to sail,
And waits but your command: The wind stands fair.
Cas. Be secret, and attend my farther pleasure.—
[Gives him a Purse, and exit Mariner.
So; this was time well managed: In three days
To hire a vessel, put my wealth on board,
Send off the observing son, and fool the father.—
See him I will, to sound his last resolves,
If love can soften him, or fear can bow.
If both should fail, the ungrateful wretch shall find
Rage has no bounds in slighted womankind. [Exit.


SCENE II.—A Prison.

Enter Cleomenes.

Cleom. No food, and this the third arising sun!
But what have I to do with telling suns,
And measuring time, that runs no more for me?
Yet sure the gods are good: I would think so,
If they would give me leave;
But virtue in distress, and vice in triumph,
Make atheists of mankind.—
Enter Cratesiclea.
What comfort, mother?
Crat. A soul, not conscious to itself of ill,
Undaunted courage, and a master mind;
No comfort else but death,
Who, like a lazy master, stands aloof,
And leaves his work to the slow hands of famine.
Cleom. All I would ask of heaven,
Is, but to die alone, a single ruin;
But to die o'er and o'er, in each of you,
With my own hunger pinched, but pierced with yours!
Crat. Grieve not for me.
Cleom. What! not for you, my mother?
I'm strangely tempted to blaspheme the gods,
For giving me so good, so kind a parent;
And this is my return, to cause her death.
Crat. Peace! your misfortunes cause it, not your fault.
Enter Cleora.
Cleom. What! my Cleora?
I stretched my bounds as far as I could go,
To shun the sight of what I cannot help;
A flower withering on the stalk, for want
Of nourishment from earth, and showers from heaven,
All I can give thee is but rain of eyes. [Wiping his Eyes.
Cleor. Alas! I have not wherewithal to weep;
My eyes grow dim, and, stiffened up with drought,
Can hardly roll, and walk their feeble round.
Indeed I am faint.
Crat. And so am I, heaven knows! However, [Aside.
In pity of them both, I keep it secret;
Nor shall he see me fall. [Exit Crat.
Cleom. How does your helpless infant?
Cleor. It wants the breast, its kindly nourishment;
And I have none to give from these dry cisterns,
Which, unsupplied themselves, can yield no more.
It pulled, and pulled but now, but nothing came:
At last it drew so hard, that the blood followed;
And that red milk I found upon its lips,
Which made me swoon with fear.
Cleom. Go in and rest thee,
And hush the child asleep.— [Exit Cleora.
Look down, ye gods!
Look, Hercules, thou author of my race,
And jog thy father, Jove, that he may look
On his neglected work of humankind!
Tell him, I do not curse him; but devotion
Will cool in after-times, if none but good men suffer.—
What! another increase of grief?
Enter Cleonidas.
Cleon. O father!
Cleom. Why dost thou call me by so kind a name?
A father! that implies presiding care;
Cheerful to give; willing himself to want
Whate'er thy needs require.
Cleon. A little food!
Have you none, father? One poor hungry morsel;
Or give me leave to die, as I desired;
For, without your consent, heaven knows, I dare not.
Cleom. I pr'ythee stay a little:—I am loth
To say hard things of heaven!
Cleon. But what if heaven
Will do hard things, must not hard things be said?
You've often told me, that the souls of kings
Are made above the rest of human race;
Have they not fortunes fitted for those souls?
Did ever king die starved?
Cleom. I know not that;
Yet still be firm in this,—The gods are good,
Though thou and I may perish.
Cleon. Indeed, I know not,
That ever I offended heaven in thought;
I always said my prayers.
Cleom. Thou didst thy duty.
Cleon. And yet you lost the battle, when I prayed.
Cleom. 'Twas in the Fates I should: but hold thee there;
The rest is all unfathomable depth.
This we well know, that, if there be a bliss
Beyond this present life, 'tis purchased here,
And virtue is its price.
Cleon. But are you sure
Our souls shall be immortal?
Cleom. Why that question?
Cleon. Because I find, that, now my body starves,
My soul decays. I think not as I did;
My head goes round; and now you swim before me.
Methinks my soul is like a flame unfed
With oil, that dances up and down the lamp,
But must expire ere long.
Cleom. I pr'ythee try to hold it, while thou canst.
Cleon. I would obey you,
As I have always done, but I am faint;
And when you please to let me die, I'll thank you.
Cleom. Thou shall have food; I promise thee, thou shalt.
Cleon. Then you shall promise to have food for yourself too;
For, if you have it not, I would refuse to eat;
Nay, I would chuse to die, that you might feed on me.
Cleom. Mark, heaven, his filial love!
And if a family of such as these
Must perish thus, your model is destroyed,
By which you made good men.
Enter Pantheus, hastily.
Panth. Be cheerful, sir, the gods have sent us food.
Cleom. They tried me of the longest; but by whom?
Panth. Go in and see.
Cleon. Good father, do not stay to ask, but go.
Cleom. Go thou; thy youth calls fiercer than my age.
Cleon. But then make haste, and come to take your part:
Hunger may make me impious, to eat all,
And leave you last to starve. [Exit Cleonidas.
Panth. Sir, will you go?
Cleom. I know not; I am half seas o'er to death;
And, since I must die once, I would be loth
To make a double work of what's half finished;
Unless I could be sure the gods would still
Renew these miracles.[44]—Who brought this food?
Panth. He's here that can resolve you. [Exit Pantheus.
Enter Cleanthes, with a Sword in his Hand.
Cleom. How darest thou come again within my sight?
Thou art,—but 'tis no matter what thou art.
I'll not consider thee so far to think
Thee worth reproach.—Away, away, Egyptian!
That's all the name that's left thee.
Clean. Such I appear indeed.
Cleom. Why then for once, that which thou seem'st, thou art.—
Clean. Oh I have been too long away!
Cleom. Too soon thou art returned,
To triumph o'er my fate.
Clean. Forgive me, that I seemed your foe.
Cleom. Forgive me, heaven, for thinking thee my friend.—
No more; 'tis loss of time to talk.
Clean. Indeed it is,
When hunger calls so loud for sustenance.
But whether friend or foe, 'tis food I bring.
Cleom. 'Tis poison; and my mother, and my wife,
And my poor famished boy, are eating death.
Thou would'st not have me think, that thou repent'st?
Clean. Heaven knows, I do not!
Cleom. Well said, man! Go on; and be not bashful,
To own the merits of thy wickedness.
Clean. What need has innocence of a repentance?
Cleom. Shuffling again! Pr'ythee, be of a piece.
A little steadiness becomes a villain.
Clean. Oh, friend!—for yet I dare to call you so;
Which, if I were a villain, sure I durst not,—
Hear me, or kill me!
Cleom. So, by heaven, I would,
For thy profaning friendship's holy name;
But, for thou see'st no justice hanging here,
On this bare side, thou talk'st secure of vengeance.
Clean. Then, if you had a sword, my death's resolved?
Cleom. Thy conscience answers thee.
Clean. Without more evidence than bare surmise;
At most, appearance of a crime unproved;
And, while unproved, uncertain.
Cleom. Traitor, no more! 'tis fulsome.
Clean. Take the sword. [Throws it to him.
Cleom. I thank thee; draw thy own. [Takes it up.
Clean. No; take that too. [Draws his, and offers it.
Cleom. Fool! would'st thou die without defence?
Clean. I would not:
But you forbade me to defend myself,
Then, when you would not hear me.
Cleom. Can falsehood have a better argument,
Than force for its defence? Trust to that topic,
And bear thee like a man.
Clean. I think, I do.
Cleom. What kind of man is that, who dares not fight?
Clean. The man, who dares not when his honour calls,
Is what you mean, but what I never was;
For honour never summons without reason.
Force is the law of brutes: the dumb creation,
Where words and reason want, appeal to might.
I thought a king, and, what you boast, a Spartan,
Might have known this, without the Egyptian's telling.
Cleom. Come, come; thou dar'st not fight.
Clean. By heaven, I dare!
But first my honour must be justified,
If you dare be my judge;
For, in this crude and indigested quarrel,
If I should fall unheard, you kill your friend,
The man, who loved you best, and holds you dearest;
And should you perish in the unjust attempt,
The sword, that slew you, should revenge your death;
For I should soon o'ertake you in the way,
To quit myself before you reached the shades,
And told your tale to Minos.
Cleom. Then I must hear; but swear, swear first, I charge thee,
That, when I have pronounced, thou wilt no more
Prolong thy prattle with some new excuse;
And pr'ythee cut it short, because I faint,
And long to kill thee first—Oh, I am going!
A rising vapour rumbles in my brains,
I hear my words far off:—stand, stand, thou traitor,
And swim not thus before me;—'tis too late;
[Puts the Point upon the Ground, once or twice; leans on it, and staggers.
And I fall unrevenged.— [Offers to run at him, and is falling.
Clean. What ho, Pantheus! [Runs to him, and takes him in his arms.
The best of men is dying in my arms,
And I want power to save him.
Enter Pantheus.
Panth. O heavens! what means this direful object?
Clean. Ask not, with unassisting pity; bow him forward.
Rub his numbed temples, while I wipe the sweat
From his cold clammy face.
Panth. His mounting heart
Bounces against my hands, as if it would
Thrust off his manly soul.
Clean. Wrench ope his mouth,
While I infuse these sovereign drops, whose power
Will soon recall his wandered sense—
[He instills somewhat out of a Vial into his Mouth.
He stirs,
And stretches now, and seems to essay his limbs.
Cleom. Where am I? [Standing a while; they support him.
Clean. In his arms, who died with you,
And, now you live, revives.
Cleom. Art thou Pantheus?
Panth. Believe your eyes, I am.
Cleom. Speak then, and truly, (for I trust not him,)
Who brought me back to life?
Panth. Who, but he, who was left single with you,
Who caught you, falling, in his faithful arms;
And, not alone sufficient to restore you,
Called loud for my assistance.
I found him, propping you with trembling hands;
His eyes so hagard, I could scarce distinguish
Who was the living friend, and who the dead.
Cleom. All this, Cleanthes! This, what this Cleanthes?
Panth. Yes, your Cleanthes.
Clean. Your suspected friend,
Much wronged, but ever faithful.
Cleom. Art thou sure
I live? Or am I in the regions of the dead,
And hear the fables there, myself a fable?
Panth. Go in, and see your chearful family
Eating his bread, brought in their last distress;
And, with a good mistaking piety,
First blessing him, then heaven.
Cleom. When I hear this, I have no need of food;
I am restored without it.
Clean. Then, now hear me;
How I was forced into this seeming falsehood,
To save myself, the only means remaining
To save the man I love beyond myself,
And gain a needful credit with Cassandra:
And yet even then deceived, and sent far off
For three long days, unknowing of your wants,
Not thinking she, who loved, could use you thus.
By famishment to——
Cleom. O, no more! no more!
For now I understand, ere thou canst speak it half:
To thee I owed the seizing of my sword,
Lest I should fall by odds; my wife's return,
All, all to thee; and thou art more than all.
Canst thou forgive me? Canst thou, my Cleanthes?
Can I deserve thus to grow here once more? [Embracing him.
Let me embrace myself quite into thee.
Clean. Come, come as fiercely as thou wilt, I meet thee; [Embraces Cleom.
I close within thee, and am thou again.
Panth. Why, this is as it should be.
Cleom. I could not thus have taken to the death
Another's falsehood, but thine, only thine;
For infinitely, infinitely loving,
'Twas a wide gap thou mad'st within my bosom,
And as my soul rent from me.
Clean. But thy hunger!
This violent transport of my reconcilement
Makes me forget thy wants; when I embraced thee,
Thy spungy body dwindled in my arms,
And, like a ghost, fled from me.
Cleom. I could eat— [Going in.
Now my first appetite of love is served;
And that was much the keenest: Let us in,
For life looks lovely now, and worth preserving.
Clean. Not that way, friend;
It leads you to the women, and the boy.
Cleom. And why must I avoid those tender blessings?
Clean. Even such because they are, you must avoid them.
For I must tell you, friend, you have but time
To snatch a hasty morsel, and away:
Nothing of manhood must be clogged, or softened,
With womanish sighs and tears, and kind adieus,
And those ill-timed remorses of good nature,
When your whole soul is needful.
Panth. You tell us wonders!
Clean. At the king's return,
Which daily we expect, your death's resolved.
This hour's your own; take it, and tempt your fortune
Some few brave friends I hope to add;
If not, all Egypt's numbered in myself.
Cleom. I'm all on fire.—Now for a lucky pull
At fate's last lottery!
I long to see the colour, white or black:
That's the gods' work; and if I fall their shame,
Let them ne'er think of making heroes more,
If cowards must prevail.
Panth. The fewer hands,
The fewer partners in the share of honour.
Cleom. Come, my Pantheus;—lead, my best Cleanthes!
We three to all the world.
Clean. Magas, and liberty, let be the word:
Magas is loved, and liberty desired.
A short refection waits at the lieutenant's,
That honest friend, who sent you back your wife.
We'll drink a bowl of wine, and pour the rest,
Not to the dog Anubis, but to Jove,
The freer and avenger. [Exeunt.
Enter Cratesiclea, Cleora, Cleonidas.
Cleor. Gone, and without taking leave!
Crat. The better.
He bated me the forms, and you the fondness.
Cleon. Pantheus, too, and he, who brought the food,
The brave Egyptian, vanished altogether.
Cleor. Oh, my foreboding soul! he's gone to death!
And that Cleanthes, whom thou call'st the brave,
Has basely trained him to his destruction!
Crat. Suspect him not; when fate was in his power,
And by a method so secure as famine,
To save us then, shows he had little need
To trick my son to death.
I have a better prospect of the event.
Cleor. Dear mother! comfort me, and tell your thoughts;
For I see nothing but a gathering tempest,
Horror on horror, to the end of heaven!
Crat. No, no; you are not of a soul to bear
The mighty good and ill, that meet midway,
As from two goals; and which comes first upon us,
Fate only knows.
Cleon. Then speak to me, for I can stand the shock;
Like a young plant, that fastens in a storm,
And deeper drives the root.
Crat. Thy soul's too strong; thy body yet too weak,
To bear the crush. Be still, and wait thy doom.
[A cry within: Liberty, liberty! Magas, Magas!
To arms for Magas, and for liberty!
Cleon. What noble sound was that, so smart and vigorous,
A soul in every word?
Crat. Why, that was it,
I thought was doing; but I durst not tell,
Till now it shows itself.
The work's begun, my boy; the work's begun;
There was thy father in that warlike shout,
Stemming the tide of Egypt.
Cleor. O comfort me, my husband's mother! say,
My lord may live and conquer!
Crat. Possibly;
But still make sure of death; trust we to that,
As to our last reserve.
Cleor. Alas! I dare not die.
Crat. Come, come, you dare:
Do not belye your courage.
Cleor. Heaven help me, I have none.
Crat. Then dare you be a slave to base Egyptians?
For that must be, if you outlive your husband.
Cleor. I think, I durst, to save myself from death.
Crat. Then, as a slave, you durst be ravished too?
Cleor. The Gods forbid!
Crat. The Gods cannot forbid it
By any way but death.
Cleor. Then I dare die.
Crat. I told you so; you did not know your virtue.
Poor trembling thing, I'll warm thee in my bosom,
And make thee take death kindly.
[Another Shout within—Liberty and Magas!
Cleon. What must become of me?
Crat. More trouble yet about this paltry being?
For shame, no more such qualms!
Cleon. No more such vile mistakes! I would die warm,
And not in women's company, but men's.
Whether some god inspires me to this act,
Or fate inevitably calls me on,
I will not, cannot stay:
But, as a generous, unfleshed hound, that hears
From far the hunters' horn and chearful cry,
So will I haste; and, by the music led,
Come up with death or honour. [Exit.
Cleor. Stop him, dear mother; he may comfort us,
But cannot help his father.
Crat. The hero's blood is not to be controuled;
Even in a child 'tis madly masterful.
But wait we patient with our petty stakes,
Which on those greater gamesters must depend;
For, as they throw, our little lots must follow,
Like sweepings of their heap.
[Crat. and Cleora go in. Trumpets; a Shout within—Liberty, Liberty, and Magas!
Enter Cleomenes, Cleanthes, Pantheus, followed by some few Egyptians.
Cleom. What, is this populous city turned a desert?
The cry of "Liberty" runs on before us,
And yet none appears!
By Hercules, we drive them through their town:
They dare not stay to welcome their deliverers.
Clean. The cowards are afraid of what they wish;
And, could they be their own, they would be ours.
Cleom. They're gone; we talk to houses and to walls.
Panth. Not so; I see some peeping from their doors.—
What are you? friends, or foes?
Four Egyptians appear, peeping from the opposite Entrances of the Stage.
1 Egypt. Friends, friends; all honest men,
And hearty to the cause.
Clean. Explain what cause; and give the general cry.
1 and 2 Egypt. Liberty and Magas.
Cleom. [In their Tone.] Liberty and Magas!
The cowards whisper liberty so softly,
As if they were afraid the gods would hear it,
And take them at their word.
1 Egypt. No, friend: We vulgar never fear the
gods; but we whisper, for fear our o'erthwart
neighbours should hear us cry, Liberty, and betray
us to the government.
Clean. Of what side are you there? [To the opposite Egyptian.

3 Egypt. That's according as you succeed: of your side hitherto.

Panth. If you are men, come join with us.

4 Egypt. You are too few for us to join with you; but get the greater party of your side, and we'll be sure to help the common cry.

Cleom. Dare you do nothing to assert your freedom?

3 Egypt. Yes,—we'll pray devoutly for you.

Clean. The brave pray with their swords; that's a man's part.

4 Egypt. Praying with our swords, the law calls fighting; and fighting is bloodshed; and bloodshed is hanging; and hanging is the part of a dog, and not of a man, in my opinion.

1 Egypt. Every one for himself. [Egyptian Trumpets within.

The government is a coming. [They shrink back in a Fright, and clap the Doors.
Clean. Run! couch, you cowards, to your tyrant lords.
A dog you worship, and partake his nature;
A race of speaking spaniels.
Panth. Let them go; we'll do our work without them.
Clean. The comfort is, our foes are like our friends;
Holiday heroes, drawn out once a month,
At public charge, to eat, and to be drunk;
Mere mouths of war.

Enter Sosibius and Cœnus, at the Head of many Egyptians: They, who spoke before, bolt out of their Doors, and join with them.

Sosib. 'Twas what I always feared,—even when I saved thee,—
To find thee thus engaged among my foes:
But yet, submit; and I can yet forgive thee.
Consider,—for 'tis all I've time to say,—
Thou fight'st against thy father.
Clean. Against my father's cause, but not my father:
If you would needs become yourself a slave,
And get me such, I must redeem us both,
And will, or perish in the brave attempt.
Sosib. Withdraw thyself from ruin, I command thee.
Clean. Command I cannot; but I beg you, sir,
Engage not for an arbitrary power,
That odious weight upon a free-born soul.
Sosib. This is too much.—Fall on, but spare my son.
Enter Cassandra, attended.
Cas. Sosibius, hold! Withdraw your men to distance.
You know this signet: Obey your king in me. [Shews the Signet.
Sosib. Never more gladly; though my son's a rebel,
Yet nature works to save him.
Cas. Then rather than he should untimely fall,
[Cœnus draws off Sosibius's Men.
I would forgive the rest, and offer life
Even to that fugitive, if he please to treat.
Cleom. Be short; and, if you can, for once, sincere.
Cas. What can you hope from this unequal fight,
Where numbers rise from every foe you kill,
And grow from their defeat?
Cleom. We come resolved;
And to die killing, is a kind of conquest.
Cas. But are not life and freedom worth accepting,
When offered; and, with such conditions too,
As make them both more pleasing? Your friend's safety,
Your son, your mother, and that only she
Who loves you best, for your companion home:—
You know what she I mean. [Aside to him.
Cleom. No private parley; [Stepping back.
Spartans do all in public.
Clean. We know your reasons for these secret whispers;
And to your infamy—
Cleom. [Aside to him.] Peace, peace, my friend.
No injuries from women can provoke
A man of honour to expose their fame.—
Madam, we understand each other well:
My son, my mother, and my wife restored,
'Tis peace; if not, 'tis war.
Sosib. A fair proposal: Be it peace.
Cas. No, fool! 'tis war.—Know, heavy hero, know,
I gained this time for my secure revenge;
To seize thy wife and mother: and, to stab thee
On both sides of thy heart, they're gone to die,
To make thy death more painful. Farewell, traitor!
And thank thyself, not me. [Ex. Cas. and Sosib.
Cleom. Revenge, revenge,
And speedy death, or conquest!—Hold, Cleanthes!
Enter Cleonicas.
Poor boy!
By heaven, I'm pleased to see thee safe this moment,
Though I expect the next to lose thee.—Guard him,
Cleanthes: Set him safe behind the front.
Clean. Come, sir, you are now my charge.
Cleon. The gods forbid
That I should seek this danger, and not share it.—
[To Cleon.] Forgive me, sir, that once I disobey you,
To prove myself your son; living, or dying,
I'll not be less than man.
Cleom. Oh! I could chide thee;
But there's no time for love and anger both.
Fight by my side; and heaven protect thy courage.

[Cleomenes, Cleanthes, Cleonidas, and their Party go off the Stage, to fight the Egyptians. Trumpets, Drums, Shouts, and Clashings within.

Re-enter both Parties; the Egyptians first, driven by Cleomenes; Pantheus ready to kill Sosibius, as having him down: Cleanthes runs to him and interposes.

Clean. Pantheus, hold; or turn thy sword on me.

Panth. [To Sosib.] Rise, sir; and thank your son.

Clean. [To Panth.] Pursue the foes: I have no joy of conquest,
Till I have set my father safe.

Sosib. The gods reward thy pious care.

[Cleanthes leads off his Father; while Pantheus follows Cleomenes: The Egyptians are driven to the bottom of the Stage: They make a wheeling Fight; still retiring before[324] the Spartans: Cleomenes advances eagerly after the Egyptians, and, with Pantheus, drives them off: Cleonidas is left behind: So is Cœnus, who had skulked.

Cœnus. This was well watched: The boy is left unguarded.
[Thrusts at Cleon. behind.
Cleon. Oh! I am slain by treason!
Revenge me, royal father.
Re-enter Cleomenes.
Cleom. 'Twas sure his voice:— [Sees him on the ground.
Too sure!—Pity and rage
Distract my soul: But rage will first be served. [Runs at Cœnus, and kills him.
There's justice for myself, and for my son!—
Look up, sweet boy,
And tell me that thou livest.
Cleon. Fain I would live,
To comfort you! I bleed, and am ashamed
To say I faint, and call myself your son.—
O traitor Cœnus! What's become of him?
Cleom. Look, there he lies.
Cleon. I am glad on't:—
Forgive me, heaven: I hope 'tis no offence
To say I am glad, because he killed me basely.—
Still I grow fainter: Hold me, hold me, father.
Cleom. Chear up, and thou shalt live.
Cleon. No; I am just dying.
Cleom. What shall I lose?
Cleon. A boy; that's all. I might have lived to manhood;
But once I must have died.
Cleom. But not before thy father.
Cleon. Nay, then you envy me, that I'm first happy.
I go; and, when you come, pray find me out,
And own me for your son! [Dies.
Cleom. There went his soul!—Fate, thou hast done thy worst,
And all thou canst henceforth is but mean slaughter,
The gleanings of this harvest.
Enter Pantheus.
Panth. Sir, you're well found. Our enemies are fled:
I left our men pursuing, and made haste
To bring this joyful news.
Cleom. Look there, and, if thou darest, now give me joy.
Panth. Enough: you've stopped my mouth.—What? Cœnus killed?
I ask no questions then of who killed who;
The bodies tell their story as they lie.
Haste, and revenge!
Cleom. Where are our enemies?
Panth. Sculking, dispersed in garrets, and in cellars.
Enter Cleanthes.
Cleom. Not worth the seeking. Are these fit to atone
For Cleomenes' mother, son, and wife?
But what the gods have left us, we must take.
Clean. 'Tis all in vain: we have no further work.
The people will not be dragged out to freedom;
They bar their doors against it. Nay, the prisoners
Even guard their chains, as their inheritance,
And man their very dungeons for their masters,
Lest godlike liberty, the common foe,
Should enter in, and they be judged hereafter
Accomplices of freedom.
Panth. Then we may sheath our swords.
Clean. We may, Pantheus;
But, as brave men should, each in his bosom;
That only way is left us to die free.
Cleom. All's lost for which I once desired to live.
Panth. Come to our business then. Be speedy, sir,
And give the word; I'll be the first, to charge
The grim foe, death.
Cleom. Fortune, thou hast reduced me very low,
To do the drudgery of fate myself.
What! not one brave Egyptian! not one worthy
To do me manly right in single combat!
To fall beneath my fury?—for that's justice:
But then to drag me after:—for, to die,
And yet in death to conquer, is my wish.
Clean. Then have your wish: The gods at last are kind,
And have provided you a sword that's worthy
To match your own: 'Tis an Egyptian's too.
Cleom. Is there that hidden treasure in thy country?
The gods be praised, for such a foe I want.
Clean. Not such a foe, but such a friend am I.
I would fall first, for fear I should survive you,
And pull you after to make sure in death,
To be your undivided friend for ever.
Cleom. Then enter we into each other's breasts,
'Tis a sharp passage, yet a kind one too.
But, to prevent the blind mistake of swords,
Lest one drop first, and leave his friend behind,
Both thrust at once, and home, and at our hearts:
Let neither stand on guard, but let our bosoms
Lie open to each other in our death,
As in our life they were.
[Kiss and embrace.
Clean. I seal it thus.
Panth. And where's my part? You shut me out, like churls,
While you devour the feast of death betwixt you.
Cleom. Cheer up thy soul, and thou shalt die, Pantheus,
But in thy turn; there's death enough for all.
But, as I am thy master, wait my leisure,
And honestly compose my limbs to rest,
Then serve thyself.—Now, are you ready, friend?
Clean. I am.
Cleom. Then this to our next happy meeting.
[They both push together, then stagger backwards, and fall together in each other's Arms.
Clean. Speak, have I served you to your wish, my friend?
Cleom. Yes, friend——thou hast——I have thee in my heart——
Say——art thou sped?
Clean. I am,—'tis my last breath.
Cleom. And mine——then both are happy. [Both die.
Panth. So, this was well performed, and soon dispatched;
Both sound asleep already,
[Trumpets sound Victory within.
And farewell both for one short moment.
Those are the foes; our little band is lost
For want of these defenders. I must hasten,
Lest I be forced to live, and led in triumph,
Defrauded of my fate. I've earned it well,
And finished all my task: This is my place,
Just at my master's feet.—Guard him, ye gods,
And save his sacred corpse from public shame.
[He falls on his Sword, and lies at the foot of Cleomenes.—Dies.
Enter Sosibius, Cassandra, and Egyptians.
Sosib. 'Twas what my heart foreboded: There he lies,
Extended by the man whom best he loved!
A better friend than son.
Cas. What's he, or thou? or Ptolemy? or Egypt?
Or all the world, to Cleomenes lost?
Sosib. Then I suspected right. If my revenge
Can ease my sorrow, this the king shall know,
That thou may'st reap the due reward of treason,
And violated love.
Cas. Thy worst, old dotard.
I wish to die; but if my mind should change,
So well I know my power, that thou art lost.
Sosib. The king's arrival shall decide our fate.—
Mean time, to show how much I honour virtue,
Take up that hero's body, bear it high,
Like the procession of a deity:
Let his armed figure on his tomb be set,
And we, like slaves, lie grovelling at his feet,
Whose glories growing till his latest breath,
Excelled all others, and his own in death. [Exeunt.




This day, the Poet, bloodily inclined,
Has made me die, full sore against my mind!
Some of you naughty men, I fear, will cry,
Poor rogue! would I might teach thee how to die!
Thanks for your love; but I sincerely say,
I never mean to die, your wicked way.
Well, since it is decreed all flesh must go,
(And I am flesh,—at least for aught you know)
I first declare, I die with pious mind,
In perfect charity with all mankind.
Next for my will:——I have, in my dispose,
Some certain moveables would please you beaux;
As, first, my youth; for, as I have been told,
Some of you modish sparks are devilish old.
My chastity I need not leave among ye;
For, to suspect old fops, were much to wrong ye.
You swear you're sinners; but for all your haste,
Your misses shake their heads, and find you chaste.
I give my courage to those bold commanders,
Who stay with us, and dare not go for Flanders.
I leave my truth (to make his plot more clear)
To Mr Fuller, when he next shall swear[45].
I give my judgment, craving all your mercies,
To those that leave good plays, for damned dull farces.
My small devotion let the gallants share,
That come to ogle us at evening prayer.
I give my person——let me well consider,——
Faith e'en to him that is the fairest bidder;
To some rich hunks, if any be so bold
To say those dreadful words, To have and hold.
But stay—to give, and be bequeathing still,
When I'm so poor, is just like Wickham's will:
Like that notorious cheat, vast sums I give,
Only that you may keep me while I live[46].
Buy a good bargain, gallants, while you may;
I'll cost you but your half-a-crown a day.






——Quod optanti Divûm promittere nemo

Auderet, volvenda dies, en, attulit ultrò. Virg.



This piece, which concluded our author's labours as a dramatic poet, was unsuccessful when represented, and affords very little pleasure when perused. If we except "Amboyna," our author never produced a play, where the tragic part had less interest, or the comic less humour. For the faults of "Amboyna," Dryden pleaded the barren nature of the subject, chosen not with a view to dramatic effect, but to attain a political purpose, and the hurry of writing upon a temporary theme. But that he should have failed, in a play avowedly intended to crown his dramatic labours, where the story was of his own device, and the composition at his own leisure, can only be imputed to that occasional flatness, or cessation of the divine influence, as an ancient would have expressed it, from which men of the highest poetic genius are not exempted. In despite of all cold reasoning upon this subject, the fact is irresistible, that our capacity of exerting mental talents, is not more absolute than that which we possess over our bodily powers. We are in each case limited by a thousand external and internal circumstances, which occasion the greatest and most involuntary inequalities, between our happier and our inferior efforts, of mental abilities or of corporeal strength. It can only be to the temporary failure of the poetic inspiration, which, like the wind of heaven, bloweth where it listeth, and neither to want of labour, nor to impaired talents, that we are to attribute the inferiority of "Love Triumphant," to almost all Dryden's other compositions.

The plot is unhappily chosen. For, as we have had already occasion to notice, stories turning, or appearing to turn, upon incestuous passion, have seldom been successful upon the modern stage[47]. Davies, in his "Dramatic Miscellanies," attributes Garrick's renouncing his intention[334] of reviving the admirable old play of "King and no King," to the ardent passion which Arbaces conceives for his supposed sister; and which that excellent judge suspected would not be tolerated in our age. "Phædra and Hippolitus," though most powerfully supported, both by actors and admirers, failed for the same reason; and, according to Davies, even the various excellencies of "Don Sebastian" were unable to expiate the disgust, excited by the unpleasing discovery of his relation to Almeyda. While "Love Triumphant" labours under this capital and disagreeable defect, little ingenuity can be discovered in the story, abstracted from that consideration. The king of Castile suffers his sole and only offspring to remain in the court of a rival and hostile monarch, and even to head armies against him, supposing himself the son of his enemy. The virtuous Queen of Arragon cultivates and encourages a passion, having all the moral guilt of an incestuous attachment, between her own daughter and her supposed son. The tyrant Veramond is the only person who acts upon rational principles through the piece. He refuses the liberty of a rival king to the petulant demand of Alphonso; and not very unreasonably proposes to separate his son and daughter, before worse consequences arose from their infamous and impudently avowed passion. But by this very natural conduct, he gains the hatred of his wife, his children, and his subjects:

Miranda canit, sed non credenda, poeta.

After so many and such violent stretches of probability, the author does not deign to wind up the plot, otherwise than by a sudden change in the temper and resolutions of Veramond, a conclusion which he himself admits in general to be grossly inartificial, and which in the present case is peculiarly infelicitous. The ruling passion of Veramond seems to be a hatred of his rival Ramirez, and a sort of instinctive antipathy to Alphonso, even when he believes him to be his own son, just arrived from conquest in his behalf. This hatred and aversion was not likely to be abated, by the objects of them turning out to be father and son; nor much soothed, by the circumstance of their making him prisoner in his own metropolis. Yet, in this situation, moved by a few soft speeches from Celidea, who had taken a fancy to the intended husband of her sister, the tyrant of Arragon alters his whole family arrangements, and habits of mind; and takes his hated foes into his family and bosom, merely that the play may be concluded. The author of these inconsistencies can hardly escape the censure of Aristotle, against which he has pleaded in the preface.

With regard to the poetry of "Love Triumphant," it is somewhat remarkable, that, in the most laboured scenes of this last effort[335] of his tragic muse, Dryden has had recourse to his discarded mistress, Rhyme. As this could hardly arise from an alteration of his final opinion, it may have been owing to a consciousness, that there was some deficiency in the piece, which the harmony of numbers might veil, though it could not supply. The turn of the dialogue, also, is quite in our poet's early manner. The lovers, in the first scene of the second act, burning with a horrible passion, which they felt it death to conceal, and infamy and mortal sin to avow, communicate their feelings to each other in alternate couplets, like two contending Arcadians. Their horror evaporates in antithesis, and their passion in quaint prettinesses. Witness the speech of Alphonso:

Alph. Oh raging, impious, and yet hopeless fire!
Not daring to possess what I desire;
Condemn'd to suffer what I cannot bear;
Tortur'd with love, and furious with despair.
Of all the pains which wretched mortals prove,
The fewest remedies belong to love:
But ours has none; for if we should enjoy,
Our fatal cure must both of us destroy.
Oh dear Victoria, cause of all my pain!
Oh dear Victoria, whom I would not gain!
Victoria, for whose sake I would survive:
Victoria, for whose sake I dare not live.

If the tragic part of "Love Triumphant" have little merit, the comic has even less. The absurdity of the two gallants disguising themselves, in hopes to pass for the deceased Conde upon a mistress, who had borne him two children, is too gross for a puppet-show, or pantomime; and there is nothing in the dialogue to attone for the flatness, and extravagance of the plot. It may, however, be remarked, that Sancho, a tawdry and conceited coxcomb, the son of a Jewish usurer, and favoured by the father of his mistress, only for his wealth, has some resemblance in manners and genealogy to a much more pleasant character, that of Isaac in the "Duenna."

It is impossible to dismiss a performance of Dryden, without some tribute of praise. The verse, where it is employed, possesses, as usual, all the dignity which numbers can give to language; and the Song upon Jealousy, as well as that in the character of a Girl, have superior merit.

The play was received as ill as might be; so at least we are informed by a curious letter, preserved by Mr Malone, dated 22d March 1693-4, in which the writer, after chuckling over the failure of the "Double Dealer," and the absolute damnation of "Love Triumphant," concludes, that the success of Southerne's "Fatal Marriage" will encourage the minor poets, "and vex huffing[336] Dryden, and Congreve, to madness[48]." Dryden himself, it may be noticed, says nothing in the preface concerning the reception of the piece: all authorities, however, state it to have been unfavourable; and thus, as Dr Johnson has remarked, this great poet opened and closed his theatrical career with bad success; a fact, which may secure the inexperienced author from despondence, and teach him who has gained reputation, how little he ought to presume on its stability.

"Love Triumphant" was first acted and published in 1693-4.




This poem, being the last which I intend for the theatre, ought to have the same provision made for it, which old men make for their youngest child, which is commonly a favourite. They, who were born before it, carry away the patrimony by right of eldership; this is to make its fortune in the world, and since I can do little for it, natural affection calls upon me to put it out, at least, into the best service which I can procure for it; and, as it is the usual practice of our decayed gentry to look about them for some illustrious family, and their[338] endeavour to fix their young darling, where he may be both well educated and supported;[50] I have herein also followed the custom of the world, and am satisfied in my judgment, that I could not have [339]made a more worthy choice. It is true, I am not vain enough to think that anything of mine can in any measure be worthy of your lordship's patronage; and yet I should be ashamed to leave the stage, without some acknowledgment of your former favours, which I have more than once experienced. Besides the honour of my wife's relation to your noble house,[51] to which my sons may plead some title, though I cannot; you have been pleased to take a particular notice of me, even in this lowness of my fortunes, to which I have voluntarily reduced myself; and of which I have no reason to be ashamed. This condescension, my lord, is not only becoming of your antient family, but of your personal character in the world; and, if I value myself the more for your indulgence to me, and your opinion of me, it is because any thing which you like, ought to be considered as something in itself;[340] and therefore I must not undervalue my present labours, because I have presumed to make you my patron. A man may be just to himself, though he ought not to be partial; and I dare affirm, that the several manners which I have given to the persons of this drama, are truly drawn from nature, all perfectly distinguished from each other; that the fable is not injudiciously contrived; that the turns of fortune are not managed unartfully; and that the last revolution is happily enough invented. Aristotle, I acknowledge, has declared, that the catastrophe which is made from the change of will, is not of the first order of beauty; but it may reasonably be alledged, in defence of this play, as well as of the "Cinna," (which I take to be the very best of Corneille's,) that the philosopher, who made the rule, copied all the laws, which he gave for the theatre, from the authorities and examples of the Greek poets, which he had read; and from their poverty of invention, he could get nothing but mean conclusions of wretched tales: where the mind of the chief actor was, for the most part, changed without art or preparation; only because the poet could not otherwise end his play. Had it been possible for Aristotle to have seen the "Cinna," I am confident he would have altered his opinion; and concluded, that a simple change of will might be managed with so much judgment, as to render it the most agreeable, as well as the most surprising part of the whole fable; let Dacier, and all the rest of the modern critics, who are too much bigotted to the ancients, contend ever so much to the contrary. I was afraid that I had been the inventor of a new sort of designing, when, in my third act, I make a discovery of my Alphonso's true parentage. If it were so, what wonder had it been, that dramatic poetry, though a limited art, yet might be capable[341] of receiving some innovations for the better? But afterwards I casually found, that Menander and Terence, in the "Heautontimoroumenos," had been before me; and made the same kind of discovery in the same act. As for the mechanic unities;—that of time is much within the compass of an astrological day, which begins at twelve, and ends at the same hour the day following: that of place is not observed so justly by me, as by the ancients; for their scene was always one, and almost constantly in some public place. Some of the late French poets, and, amongst the English, my most ingenious friend, Mr Congreve, have observed this rule strictly; though the place was not altogether so public as a street. I have followed the example of Corneille, and stretched the latitude to a street and palace, not far distant from each other in the same city. They, who will not allow this liberty to a poet, make it a very ridiculous thing for an audience to suppose themselves, sometimes to be in a field, sometimes in a garden, and at other times in a chamber. There are not, indeed, so many absurdities in their supposition, as in ours; but it is an original absurdity for the audience to suppose themselves to be in any other place, than in the very theatre in which they sit; which is neither chamber, nor garden, nor yet a public place of any business, but that of the representation. For my action it is evidently double; and in that I have the most of the ancients for my examples. Yet I dare not defend this way by reason, much less by their authority; for their actions, though double, were of the same species; that is to say, in their comedies, two amours; and their persons were better linked in interests than mine. Yet even this is a fault which I should often practise, if I were to write again, because it is agreeable to the English genius.[342] We love variety more than any other nation; and so long as the audience will not be pleased without it, the poet is obliged to humour them. On condition they were cured of this public vice, I could be content to change my method, and gladly give them a more reasonable pleasure. This digression, my lord, is not altogether the purpose of an epistle dedicatory; yet it is expected, that somewhat should be said, even here, in relation to criticism; at least in vindication of my address, that you may not be desired to patronize a poem, which is wholly unworthy of your protection. Though, after all, I doubt not but some will liken me to the lover in a modern comedy, who was combing his peruke,[52] and setting his cravat before his mistress; and being asked by her, when he intended to begin his court, replied, "He had been doing it all this while." Yet thus it happens, my lord, that self will come into all addresses of this nature, though it is the most unmannerly word of the world in civil conversation, and the most ungrateful to all hearers. For which reason, I, who have nothing to boast of, but my misfortunes, ought to be the first to banish it; especially since I have so large[343] a field before me, as your inborn goodness, your evenness of temper, your humility in so ample a share of fortune as you possess, your humanity to all men, and your kindness to your friends; besides your natural and acquired endowments, and your brotherly love to your relations. Notus in fratres animo paterno, was the great commendation which Horace gave to one of his patrons; and it is that praise which particularly crowns your other virtues. But here, my lord, I am obliged, in common prudence to stop short, and to cast under a veil some other of your praises, as the chemists use to shadow the secret of their great elixir, lest, if it were made public, the world should make a bad use of it.[53] To enjoy our own quiet, without disturbing that of others, is the practice of every moral man; and, for the rest, to live chearfully and splendidly, as it is becoming your illustrious birth, so it is likewise to thank God for his benefits in the best manner. It is unnecessary to wish you more worldly happiness or content of mind, than you enjoy; but the continuance of both to yourself, and your posterity, is earnestly desired by all who have the honour to be known to you, and more particularly by,

My Lord,
Your lordship's
most obedient and
most humbly devoted servant,
John Dryden.




As when some treasurer lays down the stick,
Warrants are signed for ready money thick,
And many desperate debentures paid,
Which never had been, had his lordship staid:
So now, this poet, who forsakes the stage,
Intends to gratify the present age.
One warrant shall be signed for every man;
All shall be wits that will, and beaux that can:
Provided still, this warrant be not shown,
And you be wits but to yourselves alone;[54]
Provided too, you rail at one another,
For there's no one wit, will allow a brother;
Provided also, that you spare this story,
Damn all the plays that e'er shall come before ye.
If one by chance prove good in half a score,
Let that one pay for all, and damn it more.
{  For if a good one 'scape among the crew,
{  And you continue judging as you do,
{  Every bad play will hope for damning too.
{  You might damn this, if it were worth your pains;
{  Here's nothing you will like; no fustian scenes,
{  And nothing too of—you know what he means.
No double entendres, which you sparks allow,
To make the ladies look they know not how;
Simply as 'twere, and knowing both together,
Seeming to fan their faces in cold weather.
But here's a story, which no books relate,
Coin'd from our own old poet's addle-pate.
{  The fable has a moral too, if sought;
{  But let that go; for, upon second thought,
{  He fears but few come hither to be taught.
Yet if you will be profited, you may;
And he would bribe you too, to like his play.
He dies, at least to us, and to the stage,
And what he has, he leaves this noble age.
He leaves you, first, all plays of his inditing,
The whole estate, which he has got by writing.
{  The beaux may think this nothing but vain praise;
{  They'll find it something, the testator says;
{  For half their love is made from scraps of plays.
To his worst foes, he leaves his honesty,
That they may thrive upon't as much as he.
He leaves his manners to the roaring boys,
Who come in drunk, and fill the house with noise.
He leaves to the dire critics of his wit,
His silence and contempt of all they writ.
To Shakespear's critic, he bequeaths the curse,
To find his faults; and yet himself make worse;[55]
A precious reader, in poetic schools,
Who by his own examples damns his rules.
Last, for the fair, he wishes you may be,
From your dull critics, the lampooners, free.
Though he pretends no legacy to leave you,
An old man may at least good wishes give you.
Your beauty names the play; and may it prove
To each, an omen of triumphant love!



Veramond, King of Arragon.

Alphonso, his supposed Son.

Garcia, King of Navarre.

Ramirez, King of Castile.

Sancho, }

Carlos, } Two Colonels.

Lopez, an old Courtier.

Ximena, Queen of Arragon.

Victoria, eldest daughter to the King and Queen,

Celidea, her Sister.

Dalinda, Daughter to Lopez.

A Nurse with two Children.

SCENE,—Saragossa in Spain.



SCENE I.—A Presence-chamber.

At the drawing up of the Curtain, Veramond, King of Arragon, appears; Ximena, the Queen, by him; Victoria, their eldest Daughter, on the right Hand; and Celidea, their younger Daughter, on the left; Courtiers stand attending in File on each Side of the stage; The Men on the one Hand, the Ladies on the other. Amongst the Men, Don Lopez; amongst the Women, Dalinda, his Daughter.

Vera. Now the long wars betwixt Castile and Arragon
Are ended in the ruin of our foes;
And fierce Ramirez, the Castilian king,
Who tugged for empire with our warlike son,
In single combat taken, adds his laurels
To the young victor's brow: our tender maids,
And trembling children, shall with scorn behold
The haughty captive, who had made his vaunts,
To lay their dwellings level; and with salt
To sow the place, where Saragossa stood.
Xim. Processions, prayers, and public thanks to heaven,
Were fit to be decreed.
Vera. Your sex is ever foremost in devotion.
But for our brave confederate, young Navarre,
He shall receive the prize reserved within
My breast; and such a one,
His youth and valour have right well deserved.
Xim. I hear he comes along with our Alphonso,
And, next our son, did best.
Vera. Perhaps as well;
Alphonso's action was indeed more glorious,
To buckle with a king in single fight,
And take him prisoner; but his fiery temper
Still hurries him to daring rash attempts.
Xim. Alphonso is impetuous, but he's noble;
He will not take one atom from Navarre
Of what's his right, nor needs he.
Vera. If he should——
Xim. You take too bad impressions of your son.
Vera. No more, Ximena, for I hear their trumpets
Proclaim their entry; and our own their welcome.
[Trumpets from each side of the Stage.

Enter Alphonso and Garcia, hand in hand. After them, the Prisoner, King Ramirez, alone; then the two Colonels, Sancho and Carlos; after them, other Officers of the Army. Veramond advances to meet them; the Queen and the two Princesses follow him. Alphonso first kneels to his Father and Mother, and immediately runs to salute his Sister Victoria tenderly; then slightly salutes Celidea, and returns to Victoria. In the mean time Veramond embraces Don Garcia, who afterwards kisses the Queen's hand.

Vera. The triumphs of this day, auspicious prince,
Proclaim themselves your gift, to us and Arragon;
From you they are derived; to you return;
For what we are, you make us.
Gar. May heaven and your brave son, and, above all,
Your own prevailing genius, guard your age
From such another day of doubtful fate!
But if it come, then Garcia will be proud
To be again the foil of great Alphonso.
Vera. It might, and well it had become my son,
[Looking about for Alphonso.
To speak your words; but you are still before him,
As in the fight you were.
Xim. Turn to your father, and present your duty;
[Pulling Alphonso by the sleeve.
He thinks himself neglected, and observes ye.

[Here Garcia, after bowing to the King and Queen, goes to the two Princesses, and salutes them. After a little dumb courtship, he leads out Victoria and Celidea; the Ladies follow; Alphonso observes it with discontent, and then turns to his Father.

Alph. I saw you, sir, engaged in ceremonies,
And therefore thought I might defer this office,
To give you time for decent thanks to Garcia.
Vera. You rather went where more affection called you.
Alph. I may have been too slack in outward shew;
But when your service, and my honour called,
None was more forward in the fighting part.
Vera. The rugged business of the war is over;
Softness and sweetness, and a gentle air,
Would make a mixture, that would temper well
That inborn fierceness of your boiling mind.
Alph. I stand corrected, sir; and let me tell you now,
That sweetness, which so well you have advised,
Fortune has put in your own hand to practise
Upon this royal soldier; till we fought, [Showing Ramirez.
Your equal, now your prisoner of the war;
And once, (alas, that still it is not so!)
The partner of your thoughts, and bosom friend.
Xim. [Aside.] Heaven, that inspired thee with this pious thought,
Add virtue and persuasion to thy words,
And bend my stubborn lord!
Vera. Say, have you more to speak on his behalf?
Alph. Much more; his fair behaviour in the war,
Not plundering towns, nor burning villages;
His bravery of mind, his dauntless courage,
When, hand to hand, he made me stoop beneath
His weighty blows, and often forced to doubt
The fortune of my youth against his age.
Vera. Proceed, proceed; for this is but to say,
That thou wert almost worsted in the combat.
Alph. I have already said much more than needs,
To move a noble mind;
Such as my father's is, or ought to be.
Vera. Come, let me hear my duty from my son.
Alph. If more be wanting on so plain a theme,
Think on the slippery state of human things,
The strange vicissitudes, and sudden turns
Of war, and fate recoiling on the proud,
To crush a merciless and cruel victor.
Think, there are bounds of fortune set above,
Periods of time, and progress of success,
Which none can stop before the appointed limits,
And none can push beyond.
Xim. He reasons justly, sir.
Alph. Ramirez is an honourable foe;
Use him like what he is, and make him yours.
Ver. By heaven, I think,
That, when you coped with him in single fight,
You had so much ado to conquer then,
You fear to engage him in a second combat.
Alph. The world knows how I fought:
But old men have prerogative of tongue,
And kings of power, and parents that of nature.
Your pardon, royal sir.
Vera. I give it you;
Your battle now is paid at the full price.
[Ximena whispers Alphonso for a moment.
Alph. Fear not, I curb myself. [To Ximena.
Ram. [To Vera.] Your son has mentioned honourable terms;
Propose them, Veramond, and for his sake,
So much his valour and rare courtesy
Have wrought upon my soul, I will accept them.
Vera. Who gave you leave
To speak of terms, or even to speak at all?
Ram. And who should give me liberty of speaking,
But heaven, who gave me speech?
Vera. How dares my captive
Assume this boldness to his conqueror?
Ram. You have not conquered me; you could not, Veramond.
'Tis to Alphonso's arms that I am prisoner.
Vera. Under my auspices Alphonso fought;
He led my forces.
Ram. Yes, and made them too
By his example; else they ne'er had conquered.
Vera. A bargain! a plain compact! a confederacy,
Betwixt my son and thee, to give me part
Of what my better stars make all my own.
Alph. Sir, I must speak——
Vera. Dare not, I charge thee, dare not!
Alph. Not vindicate my honour?
By heaven I will, to all the world, to you:
My honour is my own, and not derived
From this frail body, and this earth you gave me;
But that etherial spark, which heaven inspired,
And kindled in my new-created soul.
You tell me, I have bargained with Ramirez,
To make his ransom cheap.
Vera. To make it nothing,
To rob thy father of his victory,
And, at my cost, oblige my mortal foe.
Fool, dost thou know the value of a kingdom?
Alph. I think I do, because I won a kingdom.
Vera. And knowest not how to keep it.
Ram. What claim have you? What right to my Castile?
Vera. The right of conquest; for, when kings make war,
No law betwixt two sovereigns can decide,
But that of arms, where fortune is the judge,
Soldiers the lawyers, and the bar the field
Alph. But with what conscience can you keep that crown,
To which you claim no title but the sword?
Vera. Then ask that question of thyself, when thou
Thyself art king. I will retain my conquest;
And if thou art so mean, so poor of soul,
As to refuse thy sword in keeping it,
Then Garcia's aid,—
Whose share of honour in that glorious day
Was more than thine,—during my life, shall guard it,
And, at my death, shall heir it.
Alph. Don Garcia is indeed a valiant prince;
But this large courtesy, this over-praise
You give his worth, in any other mouth,
Were villainy to me.
Xim. That was too much, Alphonso; shew the reverence
That sons should bear to fathers.
Alph. [To her.] Did I not say, in any other mouth,
The king excepted still?
Ram. Had I a son, a son like your Alphonso,
The pride of war, and darling of the field,
I should not thus receive him, nor detract
From such high actions. Let me tell you, sir,
(For I, who felt his arm, can best report him)
There lives not one, who breathes this vital air,
That e'er could boast, he made Ramirez bend,
Before Alphonso undertook the task.
Vera. Confederacy again! How they enhance
Their mutual worth, and bandy fame betwixt them,
Into each other's hand!— [Looks on Ramirez, and starts back.
What's this I see?
Nay, now I wonder not, the captive prates
With so secure presumption to his king.
Well may he brave me, while his murdering sword
Sits as before, insulting on his side.—
Who gave thee back that weapon?
Alph. I, who took it.
Vera. A careful son, to trust a foe with arms
So near his father.—Haste, disarm the prisoner.
Alph. Ere you dishonour me, first hear me speak:
I took his royal word, to be my prisoner;
And on his honour, I restored his sword,
Because I thought, that mark of sovereign justice,
And awful power, should not for one short moment
Be wanting to a monarch.
Vera. Then when he lost the power, he lost the claim,
And marks of sovereign right;
Nor without my consent, couldst thou dispose
Of him, or of his sword, or of his life—
Once more, disarm him:—What, am I betrayed? [Guards look amazed, but stir not.
Have I no subject left?
Xim. Submit, Alphonso.
I, who am partial to you, must condemn
This carriage, as unduteous to your father.
Ram. [To Alph.] Brave prince, too warmly you assert my cause,
Though 'tis indeed the common cause of kings.
But, to prevent what ills on my account
May hence ensue betwixt a son and parent,
Take here the sword, you trusted in my hands,
Which you alone could take.—Now, Veramond, [Presents his Sword to Alphonso.
Dispose of old Ramirez as thou pleasest:
[He presents it sullenly to Veramond, who puts it into the Hand of an Officer.
Secure thy hate, ambition, and thy fear,
And give Ramirez death, who scorns a life
Which he must owe to thee.
Vera. [To the Guards.] Go, bear him to the castle; at more leisure
His doom shall be decreed.
Ram. Whene'er it comes, 'tis welcome; only this,—
(If enemies be suffered to request)
Forgive the imprudent zeal thy son has shown
On my behalf, and take him to thy bosom;
A noble temper shines even through his faults,
And gilds them into virtues.
Vera. Take him hence.
[Ramirez is led off by Sancho and Carlos, and followed by the Guards; Alphonso looking frowningly. The rest stay.
Alph. [Aside.] How I abhor this base inhuman act!
But patience! he's my father.
Vera. Thus all his praises are thy accusations;
And even that very sword,—
Punish me, heaven, if I believe not so!—
Is far less dangerous in his hand than thine.
Xim. Forgive the hasty sallies of his youth.
Vera. He never loved me.
Alph. You never gave me cause.
Xim. [To Alph.] Come, you both loved,
But both were jealous of each other's kindness.
His silence shows, he longs to pardon you.—
And did not you, my lord, observe Alphonso, [Turning to Veram.
How, though at first he could not rule his passion,—
Not at the very first, for that's impossible
To hasty blood, like his, and yours, my lord,—
Yet in the second moment, he repented,
As soon as thought had leisure to be born?
Vera. For aught I see, you do him better office
Than he desires, Ximena.
Alph. [Kneeling.] Sir, your pardon;
And, if you please, your love.
Vera. Receive the first;
The last, as you deserve.
Re-enter Don Garcia, with Victoria, Celidea, and the Ladies. Veramond sees them at a distance.
Vera. This had not been thus easily o'erpast,
But that I see Don Garcia with your sisters.
A fair occasion offers you this hour
To cancel your offences; mark, and take it.
[The King, Queen, and Alphonso entertain Garcia in dumb show, while Victoria and Celidea speak at a distance.
Cel. What think you, sister, of this youthful hero?
Vict. Our dear Alphonso?
Cel. No, I mean Navarre.
Vict. As of a valiant prince; what would you more?
Cel. Methinks you give him a short commendation;
Yet all his applications were to you.
Vict. I minded not his words.
Cel. He made a warm beginning of a love.
Vict. It seems my thoughts were otherwise employed.
Cel. Neither your thoughts nor eyes could be employed
Upon a nobler object.
Vict. That's your judgment.
Cel. His every action, nay, his every motion.
Were graceful, and becoming his high birth.
Vict. All of a piece, and all like other men.
He seems to me a common kind of creature,
One that may pass among a crowd of courtiers,
And not be known for king.
Cel. Sure you forget the troops he brought our father,
Besides his personal valour in the fight.
Vict. You more forget Alphonso's greater actions,
When the young hero, yet unfledged in arms,
Made the tough age of bold Ramirez bend:
He fought, like Mars descending from the skies,
And looked, like Venus rising from the waves.
Cel. Navarre had done the same; 'twas fortune's fault,
That showed him not Ramirez.
Vict. You are too young to judge of men or merits;
You praise the vulgar flight a falcon makes,
When Jove's imperial bird, that bears the thunder,
Is towering far above him.
Re-enter Carlos, Sancho, and the rest of the Officers.
Vera. Are my commands performed?
Carl. With all exactness.
Vera. Approach, Victoria, and you, Celidea,
That in your presence I may pay some part
Of what I owe your brave deliverer.
Cel. We cannot show too much of gratitude.
Vera. Victoria, what say you?
Vict. He did the duty of a brave ally:
I do not know the war, nor dare I load
His modesty with larger commendations.
Gar. Even those are much too large, when given by you,
To whom my soul, with all my future service,
Are with devotion offered.
Vera. I have indeed disclosed to her alone
The important secret of the intended match;
And that, perhaps, has made her fear to praise
A prince, who shortly is to be her own.
Alph. [Aside.] Oh heavens! what bode these words?
[The Queen and Celidea shew amazement, Alphonso and Victoria discontent.
Vera. Now therefore I declare the wished alliance.
Ximena, you may give your daughter joy;
And you your sister, of the imperial crown, [To Cel.
Which Garcia put on our Victoria's head.—
Your share, Alphonso, in this happy day [To Alph.
Is not the least, nor will you be the last,
To applaud my worthy choice of such a son.
Alph. A sudden damp has seized my vital spirits;
I see but through a mist, and hear far off.—
Nay trouble not yourselves: a little time
Of needful rest, and solitary thought,
Will mend my health; till when, excuse my presence.
[Exit Alphonso, and looks back on Victoria.
Xim. [Aside.] He's much disturbed,—a sickness of the soul;
Or I mistake, he does not like this marriage.—
Assist us, heaven, if I divine aright,
And prosper thy own work!
Vera. [Aside.] I like not this,
But must dissemble, till I clear my doubts.—
Fortune, brave prince, has given us this allay; [To Gar.
Our joys were else too full:
An hour of sleep will bring him back restored;
Mean time we may withdraw.
Gar. [To Vict.] Come, my fair mistress, by your father's leave
I seize this precious gage.
Vict. Then thank my father;
He may dispose of all things but my heart,
And that's my own—[Aside.] Alas! I wish it were.

[Exeunt Ver. Xim. Cel. Gar. Vict. and all the Courtiers, Men and Women. The Guards follow: San. Carl. remain.

San. Good news; Carlos, the old Jew, is dead.

Carl. What Jew?

San. Why, the rich Jew, my father. He's gone to the bosom of Abraham his father, and I, his Christian son, am left sole heir. Now do I intend to be monstrously in love.

Carl. With whom, colonel?

San. That's not yet resolved, colonel; but with one of the court ladies. You may stand a man's friend, Carlos, in such a business.

Carl. You may depend on me, Sancho, because my dependance is on you. You got plunder in the battle; while I was hacked and hewed, and almost laid asleep in the damned bed of honour.

San. Nay, I confess I am a lucky rogue, for I was born with a caul upon my head.

Carl. I'm sure I came bare enough into the world, and live as barely in it.

San. Make me but lustily in love, and I'll adopt thee into my fortune; but thou standest—shall I, shall I, till all the ladies are out of sight. Here, take that billet-doux, which I have pulled out by chance from amongst twenty, that I always wear about me for such occasions.

Carl. But to which of them shall I deliver it?

San. Even to her thou canst first overtake.—Nay, do not lose thy time in looking on't, there's no particular direction, man. Fortune ever superscribes my letters to the fair sex: I let her alone to find me out a handsome mistress; and let me alone to make her kind afterwards.


Carl. But suppose I should happen to deliver it to my own mistress, for she was in the presence with her father.

San. Then I suppose thou wilt be the first that shall repent it; for she will certainly fall in love with me.

Lopez and Dalinda re-enter, and walk softly over the Stage.

Look, there's one of them already; my heart beats at the very sight of her. This must and shall be she, by Cupid.

Carl. And, by Venus, the very she I love!

San. Pr'ythee no more words then, for fate will have it so.

Carl. [Aside.] I know it's impossible for her father to receive him, or her to love him; and yet his good fortune, and my rascally, three-penny planet[56], make me suspicious without reason. But hang superstition! I'll draw such a picture of him as shall do his business.

San. Now will I stand incognito, like some mighty potentate, and see my own embassy delivered.

[Carlos overtakes Lopez and Dalinda, just going off, and salutes them.

Lop. Cousin Carlos, you are welcome from the wars; I think I saw you in the show to day.

Carl. The ceremony hindered me from paying my respects; but I made haste, you see——

Lop. I hope you'll no more be a stranger to my house, than you have been formerly. Your mistress here will be proud to entertain you; and then you shall tell me the whole expedition. I love battles[360] wonderfully, when a man may hear them without peril of his person.

San. [Aside.] Nothing of my letter all this while!—why when Carlos?

[Whispering aloud to him.

Carl. [Aside.] Now I dare not but deliver it, because he sees me.—Don Lopez, I have a foolish kind of petition to you. [To Lop.

Lop. Why do you call it a foolish petition?

Carl. Because I bring it from a fool. There's a friend of mine, of a plentiful fortune, that's desperately in love with your fair daughter, Dalinda; and has commanded me, by your permission, to deliver this letter to her.

Lop. A rich man's letter may be delivered. [Carlos gives her the Letter.

Dal. What's here? A note without a superscription [She seems to read.] As I live, a bill of exchange for two hundred pistoles, charged upon a banker, and payable to the bearer! An accomplished cavalier I warrant him; he writes finely, and in the best manner.

Carl. [Aside.] There's the covetous sex, at the first syllable! The fool's good planet begins to work already; but I shall stop its influence.

Lop. Good cousin colonel, what manner of man is my son-in-law that may be?

Carl. D'ye see that sneaking fellow yonder?

Lop. Who, that gallant cavalier?

Dal. I wish it were no worse.

Carl. Plague, ye make me mad betwixt ye. His outside's tawdry, and his inside's fool. He's an usurer's son, and his father was a Jew.

Dal. No matter for all that, he's rich.

Carl. He was begot upon the wife of a desperate debtor, out of pure good husbandry, to save something. He's covetous by the father's side, a blockhead by the mother's, and a knave by both.


Lop. I see nothing like your description of him, at this distance. Call him hither, I would fain speak with him.

Carl. Come hither, Don Sancho, and make good the character I have given of you.

[Sancho comes up, and salutes them awkwardly.

Lop. Cavalier, I shall be glad to be better known to you.

San. [To Carl.] You see I have luck in a bag, Carlos.

Carl. [Aside.] Ay, in a bag of money; I see it to my sorrow.—Try his wit, signior, you'll find it as heavy as lead. [Aside to Lopez.

Lop. [To Sancho.] So his money be silver, I care not.—Come, cavalier, what say you to my daughter?

San. Why, I say, I was resolved to love the first fair lady that I met.

Dal. Oh lord, sir!

Carl. [To Lop.] Do but mark his breeding.

Lop. I like him never the worse for his plain dealing.

Dal. Bluntness, methinks, becomes a soldier.

Carl. [Aside.] How naturally old men take to riches, and women to fools!

Lop. [To San.] You have made a noble declaration of your love, sir, with a handsome present of two hundred pistoles.

San. What, I hope I have not mistaken papers, and sent you my letter of exchange for two hundred pistoles, charged upon the banker Porto Carrero? Pray return that letter, madam, and I'll look out for another, that shall treat only of dry love, without those terrible appendixes.

Dal. Why, did not you intend this for me, cavalier?

San. No; you shall hear me rap out all the oaths[362] in Christendom, that I am wholly innocent of this accusation.

Dal. Come, you bely your noble nature. Look upon me again, cavalier, [She makes the doux yeux to him.] and then examine your own heart, if you meant it not to me.

San. Nay, I confess my heart beats a charge towards you;—and yet two hundred pistoles is a swinging sum for one kind look, Carlos!

Carl. A damnable hard penny-worth! hold you there, Don Sancho.

[Dalinda looks upon him again more sweetly.

San. She has two devils in her eyes; that last ogle was a lick-penny.—Well, madam, I dedicate those fair two hundred pistoles to your more fair hand; and, now you have received them, I meant them for you.

Dal. And, in requital, I receive you for my servant, cavalier.

Carl. [Aside.] Damn him for his awkward liberality; he's always covetous, but when 'tis to do me a mischief.

Lop. [To Dal.] He's come on again; my heart was almost at my mouth.—Now, Mrs Minion, let me take you to task in private. [Draws her aside a little.] What hope have you of the Conde Don Alonzo de Cardona?

Dal. Little or none; a bare possibility. You know what has passed betwixt us.

Lop. But suppose he should renew his love, had you rather marry that rich old Conde, or this poor young rogue, Don Carlos?

Dal. This poor young rogue, if you please, father.

Lop. I thought as much, good madam. But, to come closer to the present business, betwixt Don Carlos and Don Sancho, that is to say, a poor young[363] wit, and a rich young fool; put the case, gentlewoman, which of them would you chuse?

Dal. If it were not for mere necessity, I have a kind of a loathing to a fool.

Lop. The more fool you, madam.

Dal. Would you have a race of booby grandsons?

Lop. That's as your conscience serves you. I say only, that your husband shall be a fool; I say not, your children's father shall be one.

San. [To Car.] This is a plaguy long whisper, I do not like it. And yet, now I think on't, my left eye itches, some good luck is coming towards me.

Lop. [To them.] I'll be short and pithy with you. Don Sancho,—I think they call ye,—if out of my abundant love I should bestow my dutiful daughter on you, what kind of husband would you make?

San. Husband, sennor? Why, none at all. None of my predecessors were ever married; my father and my mother never were, and I will not be the first of my family that shall degenerate. I thought my two hundred pistoles would have done my business with Dalinda, and a little winking money with you.

Lop. What, would you make me a pimp to my own daughter?

Dal. And imagine my chastity could be corrupted with a petty bribe?

San. Nay, I am not so obstinate neither against marriage. Carlos gave me this wicked counsel, on purpose to banish me; and, in revenge to him, I will marry.

Lop. I hope you'll ask her leave first?

San. Pho! I take that for granted; no woman has the power to resist my courtship.

Lop. Suppose then, as before supposed; what kind of husband would you make?

San. Then, to deal roundly with you, I would[364] run a rambling myself, and leave the drudgery of my house to her management; all things should go at sixes and sevens for Sancho. In short, sennor, I will be as absolute as the Great Turk, and take as little care of my people as a heathen god.

Lop. Now, Don Carlos, what say you?

Carl. [Aside.] I'll fit them for a husband.—[To Lop.] Why, sennor, I would be the most careful creature of her business; I would inspect every thing, would manage the whole estate, to save her the trouble; I would be careful of her health, by keeping her within doors; she should neither give nor receive visits; nor kneel at church among the fops, that look one way, and pray another.

Dal. Oh abominable!

Lop. Why, thou ungrateful fellow! wouldst thou make a slave of my daughter? And leave her no business, that is to say, no authority in her own house?

Dal. Ay, and to call fine young gentlemen fops too? To lock me up from visitants, which are the only comfort of a disconsolate, miserable, married woman!

Lop. An' 'twere not for fear thou shouldst beat me, I could find in my heart to beat thee.—Don Sancho, I have an olla at home, and you shall be welcome to it.—Farewell, kinsman. [To Carl.

[Exeunt Lop. and San. leading out Dal.

Carl. Now, if I had another head, I could find in my heart to run this head against that wall. Nature has given me my portion in sense, with a pox to her, and turned me out into the wide world to starve upon it. She has given Sancho an empty noddle; but fortune, in revenge, has filled his pockets: just a lord's estate in land and wit. Well, I have lost Dalinda; and something must be done to undermine Sancho in her good opinion. Some pernicious[365] counsel must be given him. He is my prince, and I am his statesman; and when our two interests come to clash, I hope to make a mere monarch of him[57]: and my hunger is somewhat in my way to quicken my invention.

Wants whets the wit, 'tis true; but wit, not blest
With fortune's aid, makes beggars at the best.
Wit is not fed, but sharpened with applause;
For wealth is solid food, and wit but hungry sauce. [Exit.


A Bed-Chamber; a Couch prepared, and set so near the Pit that the Audience may hear.

Alphonso enters with a Book in his Hand, and sits; reads to himself a little while. Enter Victoria, and sits by him, then speaks.

Vict. If on your private business I intrude,
Forgive the excess of love, that makes me rude.
I hope your sickness has not reached your heart,
But come to bear a suffering sister's part;
Yet, lest I should offend you by my stay,
Command me to depart, and I obey.
Alph. The patient, who has passed a sleepless night,
Is far less pleased with his physician's sight.
Welcome, thou pleasing, but thou short reprieve,
To ease my death, but not to make me live.
Welcome, but welcome as a winter's sun,
That rises late, and is too quickly gone.
{  Vict. You are the star of day, the public light;
{  And I am but your sister of the night;
{  Eclipsed, when you are absent from my sight.
Alph. Death will for ever take me from your eyes;
But grieve not you, for, when I set, you rise:
{  Don Garcia has deserved to be your choice,
{  And 'tis a brother's duty to rejoice.
{  Vict. And yet, methought, you gave him not your voice.
Alph. You saw a sudden sickness left me weak;
I had no joy to give, nor tongue to speak:
And therefore I withdrew, to seek relief
In books, the fruitless remedies of grief.
Vict. But tell me what philosopher you found,
To cure your pain?
Alph. The fittest for my wound,
Who best the gentle passions knows to move;
Ovid, the soft philosopher of love.
His Love Epistles for my friends I chose;
For there I found the kindred of my woes.
Vict. His nymphs the vows of perjured men deplore;
One in the woods, and one upon the shore:
All are at length forsaken or betrayed;
And the false hero leaves the faithful maid.
Alph. Not all; for, Linus kept his constancy;
And one, perhaps, who more resembled me.
Vict. That letter would I view; in hope to find
Some features of the fair that rules your mind.
Alph. Read, for the guilty page is doubled down;
The love too soon will make the lover known. [Giving her the Book.
Read, if you dare; and, when the crime you see,
Accuse my cruel fate, but pity me.
Vict. [Aside.] 'Tis what I feared, the unhappy Canace!—
Read you; for, to a brother 'twas designed, [To him.
And sent him by a sister much too kind.
[Alphonso takes the Book, and reads.
Why did thy flames beyond a brother's move?
Why loved I thee with more than sister's love?
[He looks upon her, and she holds down her head. He reads again.
My cheeks no longer did their colour boast;
My food grew loathsome, and my strength I lost;
Still, ere I spoke, a sigh would stop my tongue;
Short were my slumbers, and my nights were long.
I knew not from my love those griefs did grow,
Yet was, alas! the thing I did not know.
[She looks on him, and he holds down his Head.
Forced at the last, my shameful pain I tell.
Vict. No more; we know our mutual love too well.
[Both look up, and meet each other's Eyes.
Alph. Two lines in reading had escaped my sight;
Shall I go back, and do the poet right?
Vict. Already we have read too far, I fear;
But read no more than modesty may bear.

Alphonso reading.

For I loved too, and, knowing not my wound,
A secret pleasure in thy kisses found.
[He offers to kiss her, and she turns her head away.
May we not represent the kiss we read?
Vict. Alphonso, no:—brother, I should have said!
Alphonso reading again.
When half denying, more than half content,
Embraces warmed me to a full consent;
Then, with tumultuous joys my heart did beat,
And guilt, that made them anxious, made them great.
[She snatches the Book, and throws it down, then rises and walks; he rises also.
Vict. Incendiary book, polluted flame,
Dare not to tempt the chaste Victoria's fame!
I love, perhaps, more than a sister should;
And nature prompts, but heaven restrains my blood.
Heaven was unkind, to set so strict a bound.
And love would struggle to forbidden ground.
Oh let us gain a Parthian victory!
Our only way to conquer, is to fly.
Alph. No more, Victoria; though my love aspires
More high than yours, and fiercer are my fires,
I cannot bear your looks; new flames arise
From every glance, and kindle from your eyes.
Pure are the beams which from those suns you dart;
But gather blackness from my sooty heart.
Then let us each with hasty steps remove;
Nor spread contagion, where we meant but love.
Vict. Hear, heaven and earth, and witness to my vows;
And Love, thou greatest power that nature knows!
This heart, Alphonso, shall be firmly thine;
This hand shall never with another join:
Or if, by force, my father makes me wed,
Then Death shall be the bridegroom of my bed.
Now let us both our shares of sorrow take;
And both be wretched for each other's sake.
Alph. By those relentless powers that rule the skies,
And by a greater power, Victoria's eyes,
No love but yours shall touch Alphonso's heart;
Nor time, nor death, my vowed affections part:
Nor shall my hated rival live to see
That hour which envious fate denies to me.
Now seal we both our vows with one dear kiss.
Vict. No; 'tis a hot, and an incestuous bliss!
Let both be satisfied with what we swore;
I dare not give it, lest I give you more.
[Exit Victoria, looking back on him, and he gazing on her.
Alph. Oh raging, impious, and yet hopeless fire!
Not daring to possess what I desire;
Condemned to suffer what I cannot bear;
Tortured with love, and furious with despair.
Of all the pains which wretched mortals prove,
The fewest remedies belong to love:
But ours has none; for, if we should enjoy,
Our fatal cure must both of us destroy.
Oh dear Victoria! cause of all my pain;
Oh dear Victoria! whom I would not gain;
Victoria, for whose sake I would survive!
Victoria, for whose sake I dare not live!
Enter Garcia with Attendants. The two Princes salute, but Alphonso very coldly.
Gar. I come to show my grief for your distemper;
For, if my noble brother saw my heart,
There should you find a plain, a holy friendship,
Unmixt with interest, equally partaking
Of what affects you, both of good and ill.
Alph. I thank you; but my malady increases
At your approach. I have no more to say;
But wish you better health than I can boast,
And to myself a lonely privacy.
Gar. I find I am not welcome to your sight;
But know not from what cause.
Alph. [Angrily.] My surest remedy is in your absence.
'Tis hard my lodgings cannot be my own,
But importuned with visits undesired;
And therefore, I must tell you, troublesome.
Gar. 'Tis an odd way of entertaining friends;
But, since I find you discomposed with sickness,
That shall excuse your humours; where I go,
I hope for better welcome.
Alph. Sir, I must ask, whom you pretend to visit?
Gar. My mistress, prince.
Alph. Your mistress! who's that mistress?
Gar. What need I name Victoria?
Alph. Who? my sister!
Gar. Whom else could you imagine?
Alph. Any other.
Gar. And why not her?
Alph. Because I know not if she will admit you.
Gar. Her father has allowed it.
Alph. But not she;
Or, if both have, yet my consent is wanting.
You take upon you in a foreign kingdom,
As if you were at home in your Navarre.
Gar. And you, methinks,
As if you had no father, or no king.
Farewell, I will not stay.
Alph. You shall not go:
Thus as I am, thus single, thus unarmed,
And you with guards attended—
Gar. You teach me to forget the rule of manners.
Alph. I mean to teach you better.
[As Garcia is going to pass by him, Alphonso runs to one of his Attendants, and snatches his Sword away, then steps between Garcia and the Door.
Enter Veramond and Ximena, attended.
Vera. What means this rude behaviour in my court?
As if our Arragon were turned to Thrace,
Unhospitable to her guests, and thou,
Alphonso, a Lycurgus.
Alph. He would pass,
Without my sister's leave, into her lodgings.
By heaven, if this be suffered to proceed,
The next will be to treat the royal maid
As coarsely, as she were some suburb girl.
Gar. [To Vera.] Had I not your permission, sir?
Vera. You had.
But these, Alphonso, are thy ruffian manners.
How dar'st thou, boy, to break my orders,
And then asperse thy sister with thy crime?
Alph. She said his presence was unpleasing to her.
Vera. Come, thou beliest her innocence and duty:
She did not, durst not say it.
Alph. If she did not,
I dare, and will maintain to all the world,
That Garcia is not worthy of my sister.
Vera. Not worthy!
Alph. No; I say once more, not worthy.
Gar. Not in myself; for who deserves Victoria?
But, since her royal father bids me hope,
Not less unworthy than another prince:—
And none, with your permission, sir, shall dare [To Ver.
To interpose betwixt my love and me.
Alph. Sure a less price, than our infanta's bed,
Might pay thee for thy mercenary troops.
Vera. Peace, insolent; too long I have endured
Thy haughty soul, untamed and turbulent:
But, if I live, this shall not pass unpunished;
Darkness and chains are medicines for a madman.
Xim. My lord, I humbly beg you, spare your son;
And add not fury to a raging fire.
He soon will recollect his scattered reason,
Which heat of youth, and sickness and fatigues,
Have dissipated in his boiling blood.
Give him but time, and then his temperate humour
Will soon return into the native channel,
And, unopposed, be calm.
Vera. No; never more.
The moon has rolled above his head, and turned it;
As peals of thunder sour the generous wine.—
Hence from my presence, thou no more my son! [To Alph.
Xim. If he be mad, be madness his excuse;
And pardon nature's error, not his own.
Vera. Ximena, you have fondled him to this:
I prophesied; and now 'tis come to pass.
Gar. Perhaps I interrupted him too rudely;
And, since I caused myself that ill reception,
Forgive our mutual faults.
Vera. You shall prevail;
Though he deserves not such an intercessor.—
[To Alph.] Retire, Alphonso, to your inmost lodgings,
And there inclose yourself, and mourn your crimes.
Be this your last relapse; the next is fatal.
Alph. I will retire:
But, if I am a madman, as you say,
And as I half believe, expect no cure
But in Alphonso's death. [Alphonso goes in.
Xim. [Aside.] It works apace;
But whither it will tend, heaven only knows.
[Vera. sees the Book upon the Ground, and takes it up.
Vera. This book he left; go bear it after him.—
Yet stay; I know not why, but somewhat prompts me
To read this folded page.—
[To Garcia.] Go, royal youth:
I would myself conduct you to Victoria,
But lovers need no guide to their desires;
And love no witness, but himself, requires.
[Exeunt the King and Queen one Way, with their Attendants; and Don Garcia with his, another.

SCENE II.—A Street.

Enter Carlos before Don Lopez's Door.

Carl. That is the door of Lopez, and Sancho must come out this way. Now, fool, sit fast, for thou shalt not want for pestilent advice: but first,[373] I must know how far thou hast proceeded with the father and the daughter, that I may know what drugs I must prepare for the present condition of my patient.—Oh, the door opens already, and he bolts out single, as I wished.

Enter Sancho, picking his Teeth.

San. What, Carlos, you have dined before me; but, it may be, you have not fared so well.

Carl. The best part of your entertainment, I suppose, was the desert of the fair Dalinda after dinner; and how, and how go matters?

San. Better than thou wouldst have them; thou wouldst have put a spoke in my wheel, I know it.

Carl. No; fortune always sets those of your admirable understanding uppermost. But, remember, Dalinda was once mine, however.

San. Thou wouldst not have me give the box away, when I have thrown seven? Come, set upon it what thou darest, and I'll give thee leave to do thy worst.

Carl. You are very confident of your good luck.

San. Thou knowest I have a perpetual ascendant over thee.

Carl. And you are sure to carry her?

San. She is fond of my person; she ogled me all dinner-time; she put her foot under the table, and trod upon mine; and if these are not certain symptoms of passion, the devil's in womankind.

Carl. And her father?

San. The goodest old man! he drank my health to his daughter; and I, to comply with my obligation, answered the challenge. There, I think, I was with her again.

Carl. You have no more to do but to take out a licence.

San. Indeed, I have her licence for it.


Carl. What, quibbling too in your prosperity? If you let another, I shall be enraged. But you have not told me that her father is consenting.

San. In a manner; but—

Carl. But what? is he not absolutely yours?

San. There is a small demur upon the matter: in short, he hit me in the teeth with a damnable rich old Conde; who, I find, has been dabbling with this covetous old hunks; but, bating him, Don Lopez tells me I shall be the welcomest man alive.

Carl. Do you know that Conde's name?

San. Don something de Cardona, whom the devil confound!

Carl. My old acquaintance; he charged with me in the battle, but what became of him I know not. If he be the man, despair betimes, Sancho; he'll revenge my quarrel, and carry her in spite of you.

San. I am cunning, you know; and I believe he named that cursed Conde, only to draw me on the faster.

Carl. And do you think a gentleman can succeed against a Conde with a woman?

San. Why not?

Carl. No more than a Conde against a duke, and so upwards;—abandon her, I say.

San. No; I am resolute.

Carl. To be the shoeing-horn for the Conde?

San. I confess I would not be the shoeing-horn, to draw him on.

Carl. No, for that's to be a pimp for him.

San. Right; therefore I will leave her.

Carl. Then go back, and quarrel with her and her father; go, I say, immediately, before your virtue cools.

San. I'll give them their own, I'll warrant them.[375] What, make a shoeing-horn of a man of honour? [Exit Sancho.

Carl. [alone] If the Conde be in love, then why should Lopez admit of Sancho for a suitor? if not, the fool is in the right, that it was only feigned, to draw him on. However, my advice will strike on both sides; for, if Sancho quarrels, he's discarded; and for the Conde—stay a little—what, if I should play this Conde? I know him, and can mimic him exactly; 'tis but a jest if I am discovered; and if the Conde loves her, and she him, then I marry her in his shape.—Oh, they are coming out to quarrel in the open air, for the house is grown too hot for them; but I dare not stay to see the battle, for fear of getting blows on both sides. [Exit Carlos.

Enter Lopez, Dalinda, and Sancho.

Lop. I'll wait upon you out of my house, however.

San. Father-in-law, that might have been, no more ceremonies; I'll be no shoeing-horn for any man.

Lop. You would not be my daughter's hindrance?

San. There's no more to be said on't; but either a bargain, or no bargain.

Lop. A bargain, if the Conde comes not on.

San. Then, as he comes on, I must go off, with a pox to you and to your daughter!

Dal. At least it shall not be a pox of your giving.

San. The Conde's pox take you then! that's an honourable pox, descended in a right line from Don Roderic the Goth, I'll warrant you.

Lop. Indeed, if your estate were as great as his—


San. Nay, for that matter, I can drop gold with him, as little as I care for her.

Dal. But then his title?

San. I have more gold yet, to weigh down his parchment: and then my wit against a Conde's wit; that's for overplus; for, though I say it—

Lop. Who should not say it—

San. Yet I do say it, and will say it, especially as lords go now. Come, there's no more to be said, Lopez; but take back your trumpery, I mean your daughter; or I'll send for the scavenger with a dung-cart.

Lop. This is insufferable; and by this honourable beard—

San. Which I'll pull off by handfuls, if you swagger—

Lop. [Aside, to Dal.] What shall we do with this madman, daughter?

Dal. You should send for an alguazil to order him, if I were sure that the Conde would come on again; but, since that's uncertain, go in, father, and let me alone with him: if I make him your son-in-law, that's punishment sufficient for him.

Lop. Well, cavalier, you may chance to hear of me. [Exit Lopez.

San. Yes, and of your daughter too, in the next lampoon, I doubt not.—[To Dalinda.] Why don't you follow him? What do you and I together, madam countess?

Dal. Nay, I know not.

San. Nor I neither.

Dal. I hope you will not beat me. [She looks languishingly upon him.

San. I can't tell that; thou hast a damnable kind of leer, that would provoke me to somewhat—I say not what.


Dal. Beat me with my own hand, if I deserve it; there 'tis for you.

[Gives him her hand, and squeezes his.

San. If I should beat thee now, as thou hast deserved richly, I could make thee satisfaction.

Dal. Indeed they say an old man should never beat a young woman, because he cannot make her satisfaction.

San. Abominable chuck! if I did not hate thee mortally, I could be content to love thee for a quarter of an hour or so.—Why, what's here to do? you are at your old tricks again. Pr'ythee, sweet devil, do not ogle me, nor squeeze my palm so feelingly; thou dear infernal, do not.

Dal. Why, do I hurt you?

San. No, but thou ticklest me to the very heart-strings, most wickedly.

Dal. You command me then to leave you? [Seems to be going.

San. Not command you neither, not absolutely.

Dal. I go then—

San. Then I do command thee. I mean to stay a little longer. Thou hast fired my blood most horribly with that squeezing: hast not thou the itch? speak, damnation! I think I have got the infection of thee. [He shakes his hands.

Dal. I'll go and comfort my old father for the affronts you gave him.

San. No, perverseness; I'll make thee stay: in very spite of thy proud sex, I'll humble thee.

Dal. But was not you a grievous man to use him so? you shall tell me, or I break your fingers.

San. Not a word, to save thee from perdition; I am as dumb as a heathen oracle.

Dal. Then I must squeeze it out of you. [Pressing his hand again.


San. Ah, ha! it runs through me like wild-fire. [Panting.

Dal. Did not Carlos give you this naughty counsel?

San. I should not answer thee, I know it. Hartlykins! this is just cramping a man when he's asleep, to make him tell his dream. Let go my hand, and Carlos did not advise me; but hold it, and he did:—now, will you be at quiet with me?

Dal. Not till you promise me to be friends with my father.

San. Well, confound thee, I am friends with him.

Dal. And to banish Carlos for an evil counsellor.

San. Upon condition you'll discharge the count from seeing you.

Dal. No conditions: either surrender upon discretion, or I'll put you to the sword.

San. Pox on thee for being so tyrannical; but I can't help myself, and therefore I totally submit.

Dal. Now, then, you shall perceive how gracious a princess I intend to be. My father doats upon this count, but I despise him.

San. That's a good girl; for love of me, I'll warrant you.

Dal. You think I coax you now.

San. No, I know my own merit too well for that.

Dal. Then do what I advise you. My father has not often seen this count; what if you should pass for him?

San. Hum! I do not apprehend thee.

Dal. A man of your wit, and be so stupid! you shall counterfeit the count.

San. Counterfeit the count! that's a pure quibble; but I can make no more on't.

Dal. He's an old fellow, and a fool: now, you shall take upon you to be this count, to deceive[379] my father; and I'll keep your counsel, and teach you how to represent him.

San. Oh, now I understand you! but 'tis impossible for me to counterfeit a fool.

Dal. I'll warrant you; trust nature.

San. A man of my sense can never hide his parts.

Dal. No, but you may shew them. Go back to your lodgings; I'll provide you clothes, and send you directions in writing how to behave yourself before my father.—One word more; be sure you manage this in private, and shut out Carlos, lest he should discover our intrigue.

San. Well, I will strive for once to get the better of my wit, and play the natural as naturally as I can: but you had better come yourself and teach me, for you have put me in a pure way of taking your instructions. [Exit Sancho.

Dal. [Alone.] When I consider what has passed between the count and me, there's little reason to believe a man should put on a foul shirt again, when he has put it off already, and has change of linen by him. However, my father shall know nothing of this disguise; for he, that sold my first maidenhead to the lord, may sell my second to the fool; and that would be too much in conscience, that a woman, once in twice, should not have the letting her own freehold. And therefore I will have the selling of myself, and Sancho shall have the refusal of the bargain.

Wise heaven, in pity to the sex, designed
Fools for the last relief of womankind.
Two married wits no quiet can enjoy;
Two fools together would the house destroy:
But providence, to level human life,
Made the fool husband for the witty wife. [Exit Dalinda.


SCENE I.—Victoria's Chamber.

Enter Alphonso, with Music.

A Song is sung; when it is beginning, Victoria enters.


What state of life can be so blest
As love, that warms a lover's breast?
Two souls in one, the same desire
To grant the bliss, and to require!
But if in heaven a hell we find,
'Tis all from thee,
O Jealousy!
'Tis all from thee,
O Jealousy!
Thou tyrant, tyrant Jealousy,
Thou tyrant of the mind!
All other ills, though sharp they prove,
Serve to refine, and perfect love:
In absence, or unkind disdain,
Sweet hope relieves the lover's pain.
But, ah! no cure but death we find,
To set us free
From Jealousy:
O Jealousy!
Thou tyrant, tyrant Jealousy,
Thou tyrant of the mind.
False in thy glass all objects are,
Some set too near, and some too far;
Thou art the fire of endless night,
The fire that burns, and gives no light.
All torments of the damned we find
In only thee,
O Jealousy!
Thou tyrant, tyrant Jealousy,
Thou tyrant of the mind! [Exeunt Musicians.
Alph. 'Tis true, my tyrant father has confined me;
But love, who traverses the world at will,
Who knows not awe, nor law, nor parentage,
Has broke my tedder, and enlarged my bounds.
Vict. Retire betimes; the court is full of eyes,
As eagles sharp, fatal as basilisks,
Who live on looking, and who see no death[58].
Alph. I come but to depart, and go for ever,
Because denied the common rights of nature,
Which the first brother and first sister had.
Why were not you and I that happy pair?
But nature doats with age.
Vict. Whate'er it be, 'tis past redress, Alphonso.
Alph. But, then, shall Garcia take thee in his arms,
Glutted with joys which I would die to taste!
No, let me stab the wretch in every vein,
And leave him dry of pleasure, ere we part.
Vict. Alphonso, no; you cannot kill Don Garcia,
But you declare the cause, and own your love.
Alph. And what care I, what after ages say
Alphonso did, to make Alphonso happy?
But oh, you love! and would preserve his life
To be for ever his.
Vict. My dearest brother,
I hate your rival, and I die for you:
All but my spotless honour shall be yours.
Alph. By heaven!—but that word heaven comes
cross my thoughts—
Vict. Beware: for by my own I guess your passion.
You would, I fear—
Alph. Enjoy my heaven one moment—
Vict. And part with it for ever: Think on that.
Alph. That moment were eternity in little:
A mighty sum, but taken on content,
To save the tedious telling o'er and o'er.
Vict. Oh, we are too long together.
Alph. Fear you that?
Vict. I ought to fear it, but I trust my virtue.
Depart, my soul,—I will not ask you whither,
For fear I should repent of my repentance,
And follow you to death.
Alph. I go, Victoria,
For love's cold fit of jealousy returns.
You must not be Don Garcia's; swear you will not.
Vict. I swear I will not, by my own consent.
Alph. You may be forced;—oh, cursed jealousy,
Thou bastard son of Love, unlike thy father,
Why dost thou still torment me?
Vict. Trust my honour.
Alph. That may be chafed into a warmth, Victoria.
Talk, seeing, touching, are incendiaries;
And these may mount your young desires like straw,
To meet the jett that draws you.
Vict. Trust my love.
Alph. I swear I trust it, but I fear your beauty:
'Tis a fair fruit that hangs upon the bough,
Tempts, and is tempted.
Vict. 'Tis indeed a fruit.
Seen and desired by all, while yet unpulled,
But can be gathered by one only hand.
Alph. That one is Garcia;—still the fit returns:
I wish my jealousy could quench my love.
Vict. It cannot, if I measure yours by mine;
Or, if extinguished, like a trail of smoke
From a wax taper, soon would light again.
Alph. 'Tis so; for when I say I will not love,
Then I love most. Farewell, my only joy!
I go to hide me from the world and you.
Vict. As, when the sun is down,
His light is clipt into a thousand stars,
So your sweet image, though you shine not on me,
Will gild the horror of the night, and make
A pleasing scene of solitary grief.
Enter Veramond and Ximena, he with an Ovid in his hand.
Vera. How darest thou, rebel, thus provoke my patience
Beyond all sufferance, and transgress thy bounds?
Alph. When kings and fathers, on their sons and subjects
Exact intolerable things to bear,
Nature and self-defence dispense with duty.
Vera. Oh, heaven! what horrid sin have I committed
That I was punished to beget this son?
Alph. I could ask heaven another question too,
But that 'tis not so decent. In few words;
Hither I came to take my latest leave
Of dear Victoria, then depart for ever;
And, buried in some solitary cave,
Forgetting and forgotten, end my days.
Vera. 'Tis what thou hast deserved: perform thy
Xim. So hard a sentence for so small a fault?
Are you a father, sir!
Vera. Is he a son?
Thou knowest not his offence.
But mark the glowing blood, the guilty flush
Upon Victoria's face, and read it there.
Xim. I know not what you mean.
Vera Victoria, speak,
And clear yourself:—she answers not a word.
Nay, then my fears are true, on both sides guilty.
Vict. 'Tis found, and we are lost. [Aside.
Vera. But what needs more conviction? know you this? [Shewing the Ovid to Alph.
This book, the tutor of incestuous love?
The page is doubled down, and points thee to thy crime.
I feared, before, from every rolling glance,
How quick they shot upon thy sister's face;
And she received them all, like smoking flax;
Confessed the fire, and answered to the flame.
Vict. I love my brother, and avow that fire!
His love to me has raised his noble thoughts
To brave achievements for your crown and you:
For love's the steel that strikes upon the flint;
Gives coldness heat, exerts the hidden flame,
And spreads the sparkles round, to warm the world.
Vera. Oh, heavens, she makes a merit of her crime!
Victoria, I would yet think better of thee,
And therefore dare I not enquire too far,
Willing to doubt the guilt I fear to find.
Depart, and answer not.— [Exit Vict.
For thee, whom I abhor to call my son, [To Alph.
And wish thou wert a stranger to my blood—
Xim. That was a happy hint, I must improve it. [Aside.
Vera. One way, and only one, remains to clear thee:
If with a holy fire thou lov'st thy sister,
Aspiring but to fame, not sinking down
Into the abyss of lust unnatural,
Consent that she may be Don Garcia's wife;
Else give the lie to all thy fair pretences,
And stand exposed a monster of mankind.
Foul as the fiends which fell from heaven's high towers,
Fall thou from empire so; and from my sight
Depart, accursed for ever.
Alph. Gladly I leave you, but shall go more lightly,
If eased of this your dreadful imprecation:
O let me go unloaded with your curse,
And I will bless you for my banishment!
Vera. So may that blessing or that curse o'ertake thee,
As thou obeyest or disobeyest my will.
Alph. Guiltless of sin, with conscience to my friend,
I go, to shun that fatal hour, that shews me
Victoria married, and Alphonso lost. [He is going.
Xim. Stay yet, Alphonso, for one moment stay:
For somewhat, if I durst, I have to speak,
Which would at least take half thy load away,
And free thy shoulders from the weight of sin.
Vera. Ximena, darest thou hope to palliate incest,
And gild so black a crime?
Xim. I gild it not; but, if I prove it none,
You may be kind, Alphonso may be happy,
And these domestic jars for ever cease.
Vera. Explain yourself.
Xim. Afford me then your patience.
A mighty secret labours in my soul,
And, like a rushing stream, breaks down the dam;
This day must give it vent. It rests in you
To make it end in a tempestuous night,
Or in a glorious evening.
Vera. No more preface.
Xim. You wonder at Alphonso's haughty carriage,
His fiery temper, and his awless mind.
Vera. Too true, Ximena.
Xim. And he wonders more
At your harsh nature, and your rugged usage,
On each side unbecoming son and father;
And yet the cause of both is to be found.
But, ere I farther shall proceed to speak,
Command your royal prisoner to be brought;
For I must be confronted with Ramirez,
And in his presence tell you wonderous things,
Which if he vouch not, let Ximena die.
Vera. I sent for him to hear his final doom,
And think he waits without.—
Admit the prisoner. [He goes to the door, and speaks.
Enter Ramirez, guarded.
Now, sir, is yet your haughty soul resolved
To quit your empty title for your freedom?
Xim. Ramirez, answer not to raise his passion:
For now the important secret of our lives
Must come to public view; and on that hinge
Depends thy crown, thy liberty, and life,
My honour, and thy son's.
Alph. What means my mother? [Aside.
Vera. A son, Ramirez!
Ram. Yes, a son I had.
Vera. He died an infant here in Saragossa.
Ram. A living son I have; and, since the queen
Is pleased to expose my life
Before a judge so prejudiced as you,
Undaunted, in the face of death, I speak,
And claim Alphonso mine.
Vera. There needs no more: I spare thee all the rest;
My wife's adultery, thy foul interloping,
My own dishonour, and that bastard's birth.
Xim. Injurious words, unfitting you to speak,
And me, my lord, and those concerned, to hear.
Alph. [To Ver.] Though I would give whate'er the sun beholds
Not to be yours, yet, when my mother's fame
Is questioned, none shall wrong her innocence;
Nor shall Ramirez go
Unpunished for that infamous aspersion.
Ram. Alphonso, peace; your father bids you peace.
Vera. Then, what am I?
Ram. His foster-father.
Vera. Impudently said;
And yet I hope 'tis true. So much I hate him,
That I could buy the public scorn, to be
An alien to his blood.
Xim. Have patience, sir,
And you shall have your wish on cheaper terms;
But hear me speak.
Vera. Good heaven, then give me patience!
Xim. When you and brave Ramirez, then your friend,
Me and my sister married, four full years
We passed in barren wedlock, childless both;
Ramirez, you remember, brought his queen
To Saragossa on a friendly visit;
Then, as we both were married on one day,
We both conceived together.
Vera. I observe it,—
That, when Ramirez came, you both conceived!
Mark that, and, if thou hast the face, proceed.
Xim. My lord, I dare:—
You took me once aside, and, as your rage
Inspired your soul, spoke thus: Ximena, know,
That, if the fruit thou bear'st be not a son,
Henceforth no more my queen, we part for ever.
The word was hard, I bore it as I could;
I prayed, and heaven, in pity, heard my vows:
Two boys, in one fair morning, were disclosed
By me, and by my sister;
And both the fathers equally were blest.
Vera. Say one was blest with two, and speak more truly.
Xim. Forbear this language, sir, or I am dumb.
It seems that you deserved not him you had,
For in seven days heaven ravished your Alphonso;
My sister's little Veramond survived,
And she's a living witness of this truth.
Great was my grief, but greater was my fear,
From your, alas! too much experienced anger.
Thus low reduced, and urged by anxious thoughts
Of what I might expect from your unkindness,—
Now, speak, Ramirez, and relate the rest;
For my tongue faulters, and denies its office,
So much I fear my lord should take offence.
Ram. Then, like or disapprove it, thus it was:
She told my wife and me this mournful story;
Her fears, for thy resentment of thy loss,
If, by misfortune, it should reach thy ears,
Begged secrecy, and then implored our aid
To substitute the living for the dead,
And make our Veramond pass for thy Alphonso.
A hard request, but, with compassion moved,
At length twas granted.
Vera. Is this true, Ximena?
Xim. So heaven and you forgive my pious fraud,
As what he says is certain.
Alph. O joyful news! Oh happy day! too good
To end in night—My father, and my king!
[Runs to Ramirez, kneels to him, and kisses his hand.
My soul foreknew you, with a sure presage
Of native duty, and instinctive love.
Ram. Arise, my son.
Vera. You own him, then?
Ram. I do.
Vera. A welcome riddance.
Meantime, in prospect of a double crown,
You gave the sparrow leave to brood upon
The cuckoo's egg.
Ram. The advantage was to you:
He proved his blood upon me, when we fought;
Fierce eagles never procreate fearful doves.
I sent him word he was my son before
The battle, but the hand of fate was in it,
The note miscarried, and we blindly met.
Xim. Past accidents embitter both your minds;
Think forward on your mutual interest.
Alphonso loves Victoria:
I saw it in the seeds, before disclosed
To other eyes; connived at it, approved it.
Vera. A most commodious mother!
Xim. Blame me not.
Guilt there was none, but in their apprehension;
And both their virtues barred ill consequences.
Now take the blest occasion by the foretop,
And on their marriage found a lasting peace.
Ram. A trivial accident begot this war;
Some paltry bounds of ill distinguished earth,
A clod that lay betwixt us unascertained,
And royal pride, on both sides, drew our swords:
Thus monarchs quarrel, and their subjects bleed.
Remove your land-marks, set them where you please;
Stretch out your Arragon on my Castile;
And be once more my brother.
Alph. I implore it;
And, prostrate, beg your pardon and your grace.
I have offended in my proud behaviour;
But make Victoria mine, and what your son
In duty wanted, by your son-in-law
Shall doubly be supplied.
Xim. What would you more?
Vera. [To her.] Are you the mediatrix of this peace?
Xim. It well becomes the softness of my sex
To mediate for sweet peace, the best of blessings;
And, like a Sabine wife, to run betwixt
Relations' lifted swords.
Ver. A rare chaste Sabine, you!
To save the adulterer of thy husband's bed.
See there, Alphonso's father, that old goat,
Who on two sisters propagated lust,
And got two children, for himself and me.
Suppose thee chaste,—a favourable guess
To any of thy sex,—these are my foes;
[To Ramirez.] Thou first, the former sharer of my sheets,
A king without a kingdom; Thine is conquered,
And Garcia with Victoria shall enjoy it.
Ram. So monstrously you wrong your wife and me—
Vera. No more, my will is law.
Ram. So tyrants say.
Vera. I will not hear thee speak.—Conduct him hence,
And stow him in the dungeon's depth with toads.
[The Guards carry off Ramirez.
[To Alph.] For thee, the worthy son of such a father— [Walks by himself.
Xim. [To Alph.] 'Tis desperate now; and I, with ill-timed zeal,
Have hastened your destruction.
Alph. [To her.] You have saved me.
Vera. [Aside.] Say I should put the ungrateful wretch to death;—
He's thought my son, and, whilst so thought, 'tis dangerous
To imprison him; the people might rebel.
He's popular, and I am ill beloved.—
Then banish him;—that's best, but yet unsafe:
He may with foreign aid reconquer all.—
I'll venture that, with Garcia to my friend;
He shall recall his troops, mine are at hand,
And ready prest for service.
[He comes to Alph. and Ximena.
Xim. Now the storm.
Vera. [To Alph.] Thy doom's resolved; too gentle for thy crimes.
I spare thy life, depart to banishment;
To-morrow leave the realm, this day the town,
And, like the scape-goat driven into the desart,
Bear all ill omens with thee.
Alph. Proud of my exile, with erected face,
I leave your court, your town, and your dominions.
Pleased that I love at least without a crime.
Lighter by what I lost, I tread in air,
Unhappy, but triumphant in despair. [Exit Alphonso.
Vera. Behold how haughtily he strides away,
Lofty and bold; as if not banished hence,
But seeking for some other place to reign.
I think he cannot hope; but, lest he should,
Victoria soon shall be Don Garcia's bride.—
[To Ximena.] Go, madam, for I know you are in haste,
To greet your daughter with this goodly news.
Tell her, Alphonso is no more my son;
But tell her too, he shall not be her husband.
Bid her prepare herself to wed Navarre;
Whether by force, or by consent, I care not;
To-morrow shall determine that affair.
Nor shall my will be frustrate, or delayed;
Kings are not kings, unless they be obeyed. [Exeunt.

SCENE II.—The Street before Lopez's House.

Enter Sancho, habited like Don Alonzo de Cardona, with a hunch-back, Dalinda meeting him.

Dal. I watched your coming at the window, and told my father. He's coming out to welcome you.

San. But if I chance to break out into a little wit sometimes, you'll excuse my frailty.

Dal. Pugh, you are so suspicious of yourself, and have so little reason for it. Be as witty as you can; I fear you not.

Enter Don Lopez, and salutes him.

Lop. Noble Conde, you are welcome from the wars. And who did best in the battle, I beseech your honour?

San. Why, next my honour, one colonel Sancho did best.

Lop. Who, Sancho? he's little better than a coxcomb.

San. Nay, he has too much wit; if he had as much grace, 'twould be better for him.

Lop. But he's your lordship's rival in my daughter.

San. Is he so? then make much of him, old gentleman.

Lop. You would not have me prefer him to your excellency?


San. Faith, you can hardly chuse amiss betwixt us two; he's my other self, man.

Lop. I make a vast difference betwixt you.

San. That shall be a very good jest between you and me another time.

Dal. [Aside.] The fool's too much a fool; he's going to discover himself, if I prevent it not.—[To Lopez.] Make haste, father, and put him upon the point, or he'll give me up to Sancho.

Lop. Let Sancho be no fool, since your lordship pleases; for he is not bound to make my daughter any satisfaction, as you are.

San. And satisfaction she shall have. What, I hope you don't think I am a eunuch?

Dal. [Aside.] Oh heaven! I shall be ruined between them; I forgot to instruct my father not to meddle with that point.—[To Lopez.] Say no more of it, I beseech you, sir.

Lop. [To her.] 'Tis for thy good; let me alone.— You know you have injured the poor girl, my lord.

San. Not to my remembrance, sennor. You and I may have quarrelled, I confess, and I think I may have given you some hard words to-day.

Dal. [Aside.] Now has he forgotten he's my lord, and is harping upon the quarrel he had with him as Sancho. This must end in my destruction.

Lop. Your lordship and I can have had no quarrel to-day, for I have not seen you this twelvemonth.

San. That's true; now I remember myself, you have not.

Lop. But that you have wronged my daughter is manifest.

Dal. [To Sancho.] Sir, I must needs speak a word with you in private. If you love me, confess you have enjoyed me; for I told my father so, on purpose to make him the more condescending to the match.


San. [To her.] A word to the wise, I understand you. Now you shall see me top upon the old fellow [To Lopez.] Well, sennor, I won't stand with you for a night's lodging with your daughter; I acknowledge I have been a little familiar with her, or so: but, to make her amends, I will marry her, and consummate with her most abundantly.

Lop. Then all shall be set right, and the man shall have his mare again.

Enter Carlos, habited like Sancho.

Lop. What, another Don Alonzo? this is prodigious!

Carl. [Aside, seeing Sancho.] Bless me, the post is taken up already, and the true count is here before me.

Dal. [Aside.] This is not my Conde; but some other counterfeit. [To Sancho.] You are as true a count as he: stand to your likeness.

San. Would I were out of my likeness! [Sneaking back.

Dal. Put forward, man, I'll second you.

San. But what a devilish high back he has gotten too? he'll carry me away a pick-a-pack, that's certain.

Carl. [Aside.] I find him now: by their whispering and by his aukwardness, this must be Sancho; and I'll out-face him. [To Lopez.] Sennor Don Lopez, I am come, by your permission, to renew my addresses to your fair daughter.

Lop. Your lordship is most welcome.

San. Whose lordship?

Lop. Why, one of your lordships; I know not which, for by your backs you are both my lords. That's as you two can agree the matter.


San. [To Carlos.] Sirrah, where did you steal that back of mine?

Carl. Sirrah, I was born with it; but what he-camel has your mother been dealing withal, that you are begotten in my resemblance?

San. What, I hope you wont pretend to pass for the true Conde?

Carl. I am Don Alonzo de Cardona.

San. And so am I.

Carl. If you stay a little longer, I'll stretch your bones, till you are as strait as an arrow.

San. Do not provoke me; I am mischievously bent.

Carl. Nay, you are bent enough in conscience; but I have a bent fist for boxing.

San. And I have a strait foot for kicking. [They come up to each other.

Lop. Here will be bloodshed immediately.—Hold, noblemen both; will ye be content that I should examine ye, and then stand to my award which is the true Conde?

San. Well, to save Christian blood, I will.

Carl. And, to save Jewish blood,—that is your blood, sirrah,—I am contented too.

Lop. [To Carlos.] What command had you, my lord, in the last battle?

Carl. I had none; I was a volunteer, and charged with honourable Colonel Carlos in the fight.

Lop. [To Sancho.] And what command had your lordship there?

San. I had none neither; and I charged with that rogue Carlos.

Lop. [Aside.] So far they are both right, as I have heard. [To Sancho.] And what became of you afterwards?

San. Now I am posed; for Carlos told me he knew nothing of the count afterward:—Sennor, I[396] do not well remember what became of me, for I was in a very great passion; but I did prodigious things, that is certain.

Carl. [To Lop.] Sennor, you may see he is a counterfeit, because he knows nothing of himself; but I, the true Conde, was trodden under the horses' feet, and lay for dead above half an hour.

San. Well, and now I remember myself, I was laid for dead too, for just about half a year.

Lop. [To Dal.] This is the wrong lord; he can say nothing but what the other lord has said before him.

Dal. Then he's the likelier to be the true Conde; for he's a fool, father.

Carl. You see, sennor, he does not remember what became of him, as I said before.

San. How would you have a man remember, when he was laid for dead?

Carl. But I recovered, rogue, and pursued the enemy.

San. And I recovered, and pursued them too, for above an hundred miles together, at full speed.

Lop. That's farther than you needed, by three-score miles; for 'tis but forty from the place of battle to the city.

Carl. Yes, at full speed upon the same horse, and never drew bit neither.

San. [To Dal.] Help me, dear Dalinda! I am bogged, you see.

Dal. [To him.] That's with pursuing your enemies too far; but I'll help you out again—[To Lopez.]—Pray, sir, let me examine them a little.

Lop. You'll make nothing of that first Conde.

Dal. Yes, a son-in-law, I warrant you.—[To them.] Which of you two promised me marriage?

Both. I did.

Dal. [To Carl.] And did you enjoy me?


Carl. Heaven forbid, madam! What, before marriage?

Dal. [To San.] And what did you?

San. I did enjoy her; so I did: and there I was before you, for a false Conde, as you are.

Carl. Speak for yourself, madam, and clear your reputation from that scandalous companion.

Dal. [With her Fan before her Face.] I must confess the true Conde has enjoyed me; the more my frailty.

Lop. The matter mends on that side.

San. Now, goodman Goose-cap, who's the most a man of honour, he, who has enjoyed a fair lady, or he, who has only licked his lips, and gone without her?

Carl. [Aside.] I see she takes his part; this is all a lie contrived betwixt them.

Enter a Messenger.

Mess. [To Dal.] Madam, I am sent to you on a sad errand from the late Conde Don Alonzo, who was killed in the last battle.

Lop. You are mistaken, friend; for here he stands alive and well. [Pointing to Sancho.] And, for fear of failing, here's a counterpart of him. [Pointing to Carlos.

Mess. Do not abuse yourself, sennor; neither of these is the true Conde: I took him from under the horses' feet, and he had only life enough to say, remember me to my fair Dalinda.

Lop. [To San.] What does your lordship say to this?

San. He was fairly killed, I must confess; but I can give you a better account of his lordship afterwards.

Lop. You? why, who are you?

San. Nay, I am he too.


Mess. You see he's a counterfeit; and so is the other.

Lop. 'Tis too true.

Dal. Did the Conde leave me nothing in his will?

Mess. Not a cross, madam.

Dal. There's the same payment for your news; be gone, poor fellow. [Exit Messenger.

Carl. At least I have the satisfaction, that he's discovered as well as I am. [Throwing off some part of his disguise.] Now, Sancho, you are welcome to the discovery of your fine intrigue.

Lop. Then, Sancho, I make good my word to you; since the Conde is dead, you stand fairest for my daughter;—and you, cousin Carlos, with your wit and your poverty, are in statu quo.—Come away, son-in-law, and leave the forsaken lover to make himself a willow garland.

[Exeunt Sancho, Lopez, and Dalinda.

Carl. Yet if I could hinder Sancho from marrying her, I should make myself some satisfaction. I'll think on't farther; and something comes into my head already.

[Stands musing.

Enter Alphonso.

Alph. Now, Carlos, what make you here in this disguise? I have been looking for you at least half an hour.

Carl. Only a masquerade, sir; an innocent diversion in times of peace.

Alph. No, Carlos, these are times of war, not peace.
I must abruptly tell you what is past:
I am Ramirez's son, not Veramond's;
I love Victoria, and for her am banished.

Carl. Just my own condition: I have had a revolution in my small affairs too; I am banished,[399] and going to look for the next commodious tree to make a wry face upon it.

Alph. I know you brave; and, if you love me still,
Follow my fortune: yours shall be my care.
Our army lies encamped without the walls;
Your regiment is quartered in the town:
I think I can with ease revolt the troops,
Because they love me; and, with their assistance
Release my father, and redeem my mistress;
While you and yours, at an appointed signal,
Procure me entrance.
Carl. Right; and force the gate——
Alph. That's all I ask: I think myself as worthy
To wed Victoria, as this foreign prince.
But, if you find reluctance to this action,
Now speak, that I may seek some other friend.

Carl. No, sir; I shall never break with you for so small a matter as a rebellion. I warrant you for my soldiers; they'll never flinch, when there's a town to plunder.

Alph. The signal and the time shall be concerted;
Victoria be the word——
That happy name our bold attempt shall bless,
And give an omen of assured success. [Exeunt severally.

SCENE I.—A Street, with a Temple at a distance.

Enter Garcia, with a Letter in his hand; Ximena, and Celidea.

Gar. May I believe you, 'tis Victoria's hand?
For 'tis a strange request.
Xim. So may it move your noble mind to pity,
As what the paper tells you is most true.
She gave it me; and, with a thousand sighs,
Begged me to recommend her life, her love,
And all her hopes of happiness, to you.
Gar. To break my marriage off, renounce her bed,
To stand excluded from my promised bliss,
And as my proper act to do all this?
Disdainful, faithless, and ungrateful maid!
Cel. Disdainful, and ungrateful; but not faithless.
Because she never vowed nor promised love,
But only to Alphonso.
Xim. They loved not as a brother and a sister,
But as the fair and brave each other love;
For sympathy of souls inspired their passion.
Gar. That sympathy, which made him love Victoria
Has caused the same effect of love in me.
Cel. But not in her: She loved him first, my lord;
And you besieged a town already his.
As you for her, others may die for you;
And plead that argument to hope your love,
If the same reason hold.
Gar. No doubt it would,
Were not my soul already prepossessed.
Cel. So is Victoria's soul for her Alphonso,
And that's her plea for constancy to him.
Gar. My reason is convinced, but not my passion;
For I must love, and, loving, must enjoy.
Cel. Others must not enjoy, and yet must love.
Xim. You cannot wed Victoria but by force;
And force can only make her person yours.
Think what a fatal doom you pass on her,
To make yourself half happy.
Gar. When she's mine,
I will pursue her with so dear a passion,
So chafe her coldness with my warm embraces,
That she shall melt at length, hard as she is;
And run like stubborn metal.
Cel. No, my lord;
Victoria is not formed of steel, but marble,
Which is not made to melt, but flies the fire,
And neither yields nor softens to the flames.
Gain her esteem at least, her love is hopeless.
Gar. Esteem! a scanty, mean reward of passion,
That pays not half the value of the loss!
Cel. Pay scorn with scorn, and make revenge a pleasure;
So generous minds should do, and so should I.
What needs there more?
You see who loves you not, and——
Xim. And she would say, you may behold who loves you;
But maiden bashfulness has tied her tongue:
Look on her eyes, they speak.
Cel. [Softly.] A language that they never spoke before.
Xim. Mark how she whispers, like a western wind,
Which trembles through the forest; she, whose eyes
Meet ready victory where'er they glance;
Whom gazing crowds admire, whom nations court,
And (did her praise become a mother's mouth)
One who could change the worship of all climates,
And make a new religion where she comes;
Unite the differing faith of all the world,
To idolize her face.
Gar. And well she may:
Her eyes, her lips, her cheeks, her shape, her features,
Seem to be drawn by Love's own hand; by Love,
Himself in love: but oh, 'tis now too late,
My eyes have drank a poison in before;
A former basilisk has seen me first.—
Yet know, fair princess, if there were a part
In all my breast, that could receive a wound,
Your eyes could only give it.
Cel. So, helpless friends, when safe themselves ashore,
Behold a vessel driven against a rock;
They sigh, they weep, they counsel, and they pray,
They stretch their unassisting hands in vain;
But none will plunge into the raging main,
To save the sinking passenger from death.
Xim. Already see the joyless bride appears.
Grief, rage, disdain, distraction, and despair
Are equal in my daughters' different fates;
In one, to be constrained to be your wife;
In one, to be refused.
Enter Veramond, and Victoria led as to Marriage: A Train follows; and after it a Guard.
Cel. Great nature, break thy chain, that links together
The fabric of this globe, and make a chaos
Like that within my soul! O heaven unkind!
That gives us passions strong and unconfined,
And leaves us reason for a vain defence;
Too powerful rebels, and too weak a prince.
[Garcia, Ximena, Celidea, mix with the Train, which walk, as in procession, towards the Temple.
Enter, on the sudden, Alphonso and Carlos, at the Head of their Party; the Soldiers attack the Guards and King, and drive them off the Stage: Alphonso fights with Garcia, grapples with him, and gets him under; in the mean time, Ximena, Victoria, and Celidea retire to a corner of the Stage: When Garcia is fallen, Celidea runs, and kneels to Alphonso.
Cel. Oh spare him, spare the noble Garcia's life,
Or take the forfeit in the loss of mine!
How happy should I be to die for him,
Who will not live for me!
Alph. [To Garcia.] Rise, and be safe;
If you have any thanks to pay, reserve them
To give this royal maid.
Gar. [Rising.] You'd been more kind
To take my life, for I would throw it off:
Dishonoured as I am, 'tis worn to rags,
Nor worth a prince's wearing. [Exit Garcia, followed by Celidea.
Re-enter Veramond, disarmed, and led by Carlos.
Vera. Ungrateful traitor!
Alph. Hold thy peace, old man!
I do not love to insult on thy misfortunes,
Though thou hast brought this ruin on thyself.
Vera. Avenging heaven——
Alph. I pr'ythee, curse me not,
Because I held thee for my father once.
Vera. Then would I were thy father, that my curse
Might take the surer place, and——
Alph. Guard him hence,
But use no violence to his royal person.—
Call back the soldiers, Carlos, from the spoil.
I have my wish in having my Victoria,
And would no more of him, nor what is his.
[Carlos restores Veramond his Sword with respect, and conducts him off; Ximena follows him: Alphonso waits on them to the Door, and returns.
Vict. What have you done, Alphonso?
Alph. What I ought;
Obtained the glorious prize for which I fought,
Redeemed you from a father's tyranny,
And from a hated rival set you free.
Remove, my fair, from this unhappy place;
The scene of sorrows, sufferings, and disgrace;
To my victorious camp with me remove,
The scene of triumph, and rewarded love.
Vict. Mars has been present with your arms to-day,
But Love and Hymen have been far away.
You forced me from a rival's power, I know;
But then you forced me from a father's too.
Alph. What words are these? I feel my vital heat
Forsake my limbs, my curdled blood retreat.
Too much amazed to speak, in this surprise,
With silent grief, on yours I fix my eyes;
To learn the reasons of your change from thence;
To read your cruel doom, and my offence.
Vict. Your arms, and glorious action, I approve;
Esteem your honour, and embrace your love.
Alph. My soul recovers, as a gentle shower
Refreshes and revives a drooping flower.
I'm yours so much, so little am my own,
Your smiles are life, and death is in your frown.
Vict. But oh! a hard request is yet behind,
Which, for my sake, endure with equal mind.
Your debt of honour you have cleared this day;
But mine, of duty, still remains to pay;
Restore my liberty, and let me go
To make a full discharge of all I owe.
Alph. What debts, but those of love, have you to clear?
Are you not free, are you not sovereign here?
And were you not a slave, before I broke
Your fatal chains, and loosed you from the yoke?
Vict. 'Tis true, I was; but that captivity,
Though hard to bear, was more becoming me.
A slave I am; but nature made me so,
Slave to my father, not my father's foe:
Since, then, you have declared me free, this hour
I put myself within a parent's power.
Alph. Cruel Victoria! would you go from hence,
And leave a desolate, despairing prince?
Is this the freedom you demand from me?
Are these the vows, and this the constancy?
Put off the mask; for I too well perceive
Whom you resolve to love, and whom to leave.
Go, teach me at my own expence, to find
What change a day can make in womankind.
Vict. Think not a day, nor all my life, can make
Victoria's heart her steadfast love forsake.
I plighted you my faith; and I renew
My vows once more, to love but only you.
Alph. You vowed no time our fortune should divide;
And well 'twas kept, like all your vows beside,
When e'en this hour you went to be a bride.
Vict. I went; but was securely first prepared;
For this was my redemption, or my guard. [Pulls out a Dagger.
Let this your causeless jealousy remove;
And learn no more to doubt Victoria's love.
Alph. That fatal proof I never did desire.
Vict. And yet a proof more fatal you require,
Which would with infamy my name pursue;
To fly my father, and to follow you.
Alph. Your love you forfeit, if you go away.
Vict. I forfeit my obedience, if I stay.
Alph. You may transfer your duty, and be mine.
Vict. Yes, when my father shall his claim resign;
For, when the nuptial knot our love assures,
All, that was his before, is, after, yours.
Alph. Then, when you vowed your love, you falsely swore.
Vict. I love you much, but love my honour more.
Alph. You hate my rival, yet you take the way
To make you his inevitable prey.
Vict. Beasts fear not more to be the hunters' spoil.
Alph. Then, sure, you would not run into the toil.
How ill your actions with your words agree!
Vict. This friend is still at hand to set me free. [Holding up the Dagger.
Alph. Let me not live to see that fatal hour!
Rather return into your father's power;
Rather return into his arms again,
For whom your lost Alphonso you disdain.
If one must die, to set your honour free,
You have already cast the lot on me.
Death is the only way to clear my fame,
Which must be branded with a coward's name,
If basely I resign Victoria's charms,
And tamely give you to my rival's arms.
Vict. To give me to my father is no crime.
Alph. 'Tis still the same; your father gives you him.
Ungrateful woman!
Vict. More ungrateful man!
More than I ought I give, and all I can;
But if my duty I prefer to you,
Be satisfied with all that love can do.
Alph. Not satisfied; but yet your will shall be
Like fate's inviolable law to me.
Since my unhappy stars will have it so,
Depart from hence, and leave your father's foe.
Go then; but quickly go; for, while you stay,
As on a rack I find myself decay,
And every moment looks a part of me away.
Vict. I wish I with my duty could dispense;
Heaven knows how loth I am to part from hence.
So, from the seal is softened wax disjoined;
So, from the mother plant, the tender rind.
But take the latest pledge that love can give;
Have courage, and for your Victoria live.
[She offers him her hand, he kisses it. Exit Victoria, he looking after her.
Enter Ramirez, attended by Carlos; Ramirez embraces Alphonso.
Ram. Prop of my age, and pattern of my youth,
But such as far excels the original,
Ten thousand blessings on thee for this deed!
Alph. Heaven and my fate speak other language to me.
No blessings, none, but millions of their curses,
Like burning glasses, with contracted beams,
Are pointed on my head.
Ram. What words are these, on this auspicious day?
Alph. Oh, fly me, fly me, sir;
Lest the contagion of my woes
Pollute my father's joys; Victoria's gone,
And with her went Alphonso's life and soul.
Ram. You had her in your power, and were too easy.
Alph. Or, rather, she too cruel.
Her duty forced her hence, in scorn of love.
Ram. You must resume your arms,
And force her father's will, to make her yours.
Why, like a woman, stand you thus complaining,
Born to the strength, and courage of a man?
Rouse up your spirits to a just revenge,
Like lightning wasteful, and like thunder loud.
Rivers of blood shall run about the town,
For which you were so lavish of your own.
Garcia shall die, and by his death remove
The cause of jealousy, and injured love;
The king himself, the ungrateful king, shall fall;
Of all our ills the curst original.
Alph. Beseech you, sir, no more.
Ram. Your reason, son?
Alph. For you have given my soul so large a swing,
That it bounds back again with double force,
Only because you carried it too far.
You've set an image of so vast destruction
Before my sight, that reason shuns the approach,
And dares not view the fearful precipice.
Ram. Is vengeance, which is said so sweet a morsel,
That heaven reserves it for its proper taste,
Is it so soon disrelished?
Alph. What have the people done, the sheep of princes,
That they should perish for the shepherd's fault?
They bring their yearly wool, to clothe their owners;
And yet, when bare themselves, are culled for slaughter.
Should I do this, what could the wolf do more,
Than what the master did?
Ram. Then Garcia, must he 'scape?
Alph. 'Tis true, I had him at my mercy once;
I should have killed him then, or, once forgiven,
Should spare him now.
Ram. [Aside.] His noble soul relents.
Alph. But then I give Victoria to his arms;
And make my own destruction my own act.
That fires my blood again—yet if she loves him,
Is killing him she loves, the way to gain her?
No, let him live—but Veramond shall die;
Who, when he was my father as he thought,
When I deserved his love, then hated me.
Ram. Oh, now the tempest drives another way. [Aside.
Alph. No more deliberation,—there it goes;
I'll kill him first, to satisfy my vengeance,
And then, to atone her anger, kill myself. [Seems going hastily.
Ram. Hold, hold, Alphonso! heaven, and earth, and I,
Who have a father's title to your life,
Forbid that parricide.
Alph. Would you refuse a madman leave to sleep?
'Tis sleep must cure me, and that sleep is death.
Ram. A madman must be cooled, to make him sleep.
I have prepared a gentle opiate for you;
One moment's patience, and I will infuse it.
You see me dispossessed of all my state?
Alph. Yes, to my grief; and, to enhance that grief,
'Tis to my sword my father owes his ruin.
Ram. And 'tis that only sword that can restore me.
It must, and ought; you owe it to your duty.
Alph. Duty was what Victoria urged to me:
I hate that fatal word, because she used it,
And, for a cruel father, left her love.
Ram. Could she do that for Veramond, a tyrant,
Which you refuse to me?
The conquering troops of Arragon are yours;
You are their life, their idol, and their soul.
Conduct me home, and, with their aid, restore me;
And, that once done, we shall not need to treat:
For Veramond himself will send, and sue
For that alliance, which his pride now scorns.
Alph. Long ere that time, Victoria will be Garcia's:
Her father will not lose one moment's space,
To gratify his vengeance with my ruin,
If I would force him, this must be the time;
Which, since I now refuse, 'tis lost forever.—
Hear then, and take it as my last resolve:
Lead you the troops; you need not fear their faith,
The guilt of their rebellion makes them yours.
With them, and with your own, restore yourself.
Ram. Then what becomes of you?
Alph. No matter what.
Provide yourself of some more worthy heir,
For I am lost, beyond redemption lost.
Farewell the joys of empire, from this moment!
Farewell the honours of the dusty field!
Here I lay down this instrument of death, [Ungirds his Sword, and lays it down.
And may it gird some happier soldier's side;
For nothing, it could gain, can countervail
To me, the loss of my Victoria's love.
Your blessing, and farewell! [Kneels.
Ram. Alas! I fear some fatal resolution
Is harboured in your soul: If thus you leave me,
My mind forebodes, we never more shall meet.
Alph. Give not so black an omen to this parting,
For we may meet again, if heaven thinks fit:
A beam of comfort, like the moon through clouds,
Gilds the brown horror, and directs my way.—
Blast not my purpose, by refusing leave,
Nor ask the means; but know, I will not die,
Till I have proved the extremest remedy.
And if, unarmed, I go to tempt my fate,
Think my despair is from Victoria's hate. [Exit Alphonso.
Ram. I might have used the power heaven gives to parents,
And hindered his departure;
But somewhat of divine controuled my tongue:
For heroes' souls, irregular to us,
Yet move like planets in their proper sphere;
Performing even course,
In paths uneven to beholders' eyes.— [Pauses a little.
[To Carlos.] His words, mysterious as they were, imported
Some desperate design, which I must watch,
And therefore dare not lead the forces far;
But, camped without the town, at some small distance
To expect the issue, and prevent his death.
Carl. Sir, what orders give you? for you are now our general.
Ram. Follow, and you shall know. [Exit Ramirez.

Carl. Follow! whither? No plunder, when the town was fairly taken! there's a hopeful general to follow. The son and father are both gone away, without providing for me, who betrayed the city to them; a fine encouragement for virtue! Well, these monarchs make no more of us soldiers, when their turn is served, than we make of our old battered horses. To put us off for stallions, is the best that can become of us; and those indeed are my present circumstances. Dalinda will none, and Sancho is just mounting, if I get not between, and thrust him off; for which purpose I have insinuated to him that I have left Dalinda for his sake, and am upon another scent.——Yonder he comes: this, and another lie which I have ready coined, will go near to spoil his market.

Enter Sancho.

San. Well, Carlos, the hurly burly's quite over. I met Ramirez marching off the army; and just afterwards appeared a fellow in a fool's coat, on horseback with three trumpets. Herod, I think they called him; some such Jewish name.

Carl. A herald at arms you mean.

San. It may be so; but I should have taken him for some pardonner, for he scattered indulgences, by handfuls, to the people; but only they paid nothing for them.

Carl. But did he proclaim nothing?

San. Oh, yes; and now I remember, he began his[412] speech with, O yes, too: he proclaimed a general pardon to all rebels, of which number, you know, you and I, Carlos, were two ring-leaders.

Carl. Then farewell Ramirez; even trudge on by yourself, for there is an end of my expedition. I will lay down my arms like a dutiful subject, and submit to his majesty, when I can rebel no longer.

San. Very good; and try the other touch for Dalinda, will you?

Carl. You know I have quitted her for your sake, and now am altogether for—let me see, what lady am I for?

San. Pump, pump, Carlos, for that's to be invented yet.

Carl. Only out of my head a little:—'tis the dead Count's sister; a great fortune since her brother died, but somewhat homely: she has already made some advances to me, or else I lie.

San. And will you say To have and to hold, with an ugly woman?

Carl. Yes, and For better for worse,—that is, for virgin, or for whore; as you will, Sancho, who are listing yourself into the honourable company of cuckolds.

San. What, a hero as I am, to be a cuckold?

Carl. Do not disdain your calling; Julius Cæsar was one before you. The Count has had her by her own confession; so she's a nobleman's dowager, for your comfort.

San. Pugh, she denied it afterwards; that was but a copy of her countenance.

Carl. What if it prove a copy of the Conde's countenance? do you think she had not a bastard by him?

San. That was only a plot betwixt us, to cheat her father.

Carl. Did her father know nothing of it?


San. Not a syllable.

Carl. Then, when he believed you to be the Count, how came he to charge you with enjoying her?

San. That is something to the purpose;—but now I think on't, 'tis nothing neither; 'tis but asking her the question, and I know she'll satisfy me.

Carl. And you are resolved to take her word?

San. Rather than yours; for you may have a mind to have a lick at the honey-pot yourself.

Carl. Farewell; you know I have other business upon the stocks. [Seems going out.

San. Stay, Carlos; I am afraid you know something more of this bawdy business than you confess.

Carl. Fecks, not I.

San. Fecks! what a sneaking oath is that for a man of honour? swear me bloodily like a soldier, if you would be believed.

Carl. Without swearing, I believe her honest; therefore make sure of her immediately.

San. That is, take a rival's counsel, and make sure of being an antedated cuckold.

Carl. If you won't believe me, I cannot help it. But marry Dalinda, and be happy; for I may prevent you, if you make not haste.

San. Thou hast cheated me so often, that I cannot credit one syllable thou sayest.

Carl. [Going out.] Then take your fortune.—

[Carlos pulls out his handkerchief to wipe his face, and drops a letter.

Yonder comes Dalinda; I know her by her trip. I'll watch their greeting. [Exit.

San. The rogue's malicious, and would have me marry her in spite; besides he is off and on at so devilish a rate, a man knows not where to have him. Well, I am resolved, in the first place, not to[414] follow the rogue's counsel. I will not marry her, because he advised me to it;—and yet I will marry her, because he counselled me not to marry her.—Hey-day! I will marry her, and I will not marry her! what's the meaning of this, friend Sancho? That's taking the rogue's advice one way or t'other. [Sees the letter and takes it up.] What, has he dropt a letter! To whom is it directed? to Don Carlos D'Ybarra;—that is himself. [Mutters, as reading to himself.

Dalinda's fair, and a fortune; but marry her not; for to my knowledge (pox confound him for his knowledge) she has had a——(What a——Mr Friend? why—) a bastard, by the late Conde: (Ay, I thought as much.) But his sister Leonora is in love with you.

Damn it, I will read no more: it agrees with what he first told me; and therefore it must be all orthodox. Here she comes, too, just in the nick of my revenge; but I shall be very laconic with her.

Enter Dalinda.

Dal. Now, servant.

San. Now, cockatrice.

Dal. You're pretty familiar——

San. So have you been——

Dal. With your mistress.

San. With the Conde, of whoring memory.

Dal. A fine salutation!

San. A final parting.

Dal. What's the meaning of this? will you come in?

San. Will you go in?

Dal. Come, look upon me. [She makes the doux yeux to him.

San. I have no eyes.

Dal. Then I must take you by the hand. [She offers, and he pulls back.


San. I have no hands neither.

Dal. How's this? I have been but too kind——

San. Yes, to the Conde.

Dal. Pugh, that was a jest, you know.

San. 'Tis turned to earnest.

Dal. You know 'twas of my conception.

San. And of your bringing forth too.

Dal. What did I bring forth?

San. A bastard.

Dal. O impudent!

San. Woman.

Dal. What proof have you of that scandal?

San. This, with a pox t'ye. [Throws her the letter.
Patience, oh ye gods! [Exit.

[She takes up the note, and, as she is reading it, re-enter Carlos.

Carl. Much good may do you with your note, madam; now I think I am revenged at full: your cully has forsaken you.

Dal. Well, I did not expect this from you, cousin Carlos.

Carl. What did you take me for? King Log in Æsop's Fables, for you to insult me, and play at leap-frog over me? Did not you forsake me for a fool?

Dal. But was not this a terrible revenge of yours? must you needs shew him the letter, which has ruined my reputation, and lost my fortune? Am I the first frail creature, that had the misfortune of two great bellies, and yet afterwards was decently married, and passed for a virgin?

Carl. Nay, do not aggravate the matter: consult your note, and you will find but one bastard charged upon you; you see I was not for laying loaders.

Dal. A great courtesy, to bate me one, as if that[416] was not enough to do my business.

Carl. Well, suppose I should discover this contrivance of mine, and set all right again?

Dal. [Aside.] Contrivance! oh heaven! I have undone myself, by confessing all too soon.

Carl. If I should prove you innocent, you would prove ungrateful?

Dal. No, you know I always loved you.

Carl. You have shown it most abundantly, in choosing Sancho.

Dal. You speak more truly than you think. I have shewn it; for, since I must confess the truth to you, I am no fortune: my father, though he bears it high, to put me off, has mortgaged his estate: we keep servants for shew; and when we should pay their wages, pick a quarrel with their service, and turn them off pennyless. There is neither sheet nor shirt in the whole family; the lodging-rooms are furnished with loam; and bare mattresses are the beds. The dining-room plays the hypocrite for all the house; for all the furniture is there. When strangers dine with us, we eat before the servants, and then they fast; but when we dine alone, 'tis all a muss[59]: they scramble for victuals, before 'tis served up, and then we fast.

Carl. The spirit of famine comes upon me, at the very description of it.


Dal. Now, since neither you nor I have fortunes, what should we do together, unless we should turn canibals, and eat up one another? But if you would make up this foul business, and help me to that rich fool Sancho, I say no more, but——

Carl. But thou wouldst be kind to me? speak out, for I dare not trust thee, thou art such a woman.

Dal. You should——

Carl. What should I?

Dal. Why, you should——

Carl. Well, well, I will believe thee, though my heart misgives me plaguily. And therefore, in the first place, I beg your pardon for the scandal I have laid upon you. In the next, I restore your virginity and take away your bastard.

Dal. And you'll tell Sancho 'twas a forged letter?

Carl. No doubt on't; for I wrote it to myself; and out of revenge invented the whole story.

Dal. But suppose, dear cousin, that Sancho should not believe all this to be your invention; and should still suspect the letter to be true?

Carl. I can easily convince him, by writing the same hand again, in which that letter was indited.

Dal. That's an excellent expedient; but do it now; for a woman can never be cleared too soon.

Carl. But when you are cleared, you will forget your promise to me——

Dal. But if I am not cleared, I cannot marry him; nor be put in a way to keep my promise. Come, I'll hold my hand; write upon it, I always carry pen and ink about me.

Carl. Let me seal my affection first. [Kisses her hand.] Now, what should I write?

Dal. Only these words at the bottom of the note, in the same character:—This letter was wholly forged by me, Carlos. [He kneels and writes.


Carl. There 'tis.—— [Gives it her, she puts it in her pocket.

But now tell me truly, what made you confess a couple of bastards? have you indeed been dabbling?

Dal. Who, I confess it! Oh thou impudent fellow! I only soothed thee up in thy villainy, to make thee betray thy own plot. I confessed seemingly, to make thee confess really. Heaven and thy own conscience know I did. [Seems to weep.

Carl. But when you're married, you'll remember your promise?

Dal. What promise?

Carl. That I should——

Dal. Should what?

Carl. Must I tell you?

Dal. No, I'll tell you; I said you should,—and so you shall,—be cozened in your expectation.

Carl. I foreboded this, and yet was fool enough to trust thee. Give me back my letter.

Dal. What, deliver up my evidence, that's the testimony of my virtue, and thy wickedness?

Carl. I'll search your petticoat.

Dal. Dare but touch my petticoat, and I'll cry out a rape against thee.

Carl. Oh thou Eve of Genesis! thou wouldst have tempted the serpent, if thou hadst been there.

Dal. The next news you hear is of my wedding; be patient, and you shall be invited to the dinner.

Carl. I say no more; but I'll go home and indite iambics: thou shalt not want for an epithalamium; I'll do thy business in verse. [Exit.

Dal. My comfort is, I have done your business in prose already.

The wittiest men are all but women's tools;
'Tis our prerogative, to make them fools.
For one sweet look, the rich, the beaux, the braves,
And all mankind, run headlong to be slaves.
Ours is the harvest which those Indians mow;
They plough the deep, but we reap what they sow. [Exit.

SCENE I.—Lopez's House.

Enter Sancho, Lopez, Dalinda. Carlos meeting them.

Carl. Give you joy, Mr Bridegroom and Mrs Bride; you see I have accepted your invitation.

San. And thou art welcome, as a witness of my triumph.

Carl. I could tell tales that would spoil your appetite, both to your dinner and your bride.—You think you are married to a vast fortune.

Dal. A better, perhaps, than you imagine.

Lop. For, if Sancho looks into his writings, he'll find that my estate was mortgaged to his father.

San. Then would I had looked into my writings, before I had looked so far into your daughter.

Dal. My father's fortune will be yours at last; and I have but redeemed it for you.

San. I'm sure I'm married without redemption!

Carl. You must take the good and the bad together; he that keeps a tame cat must be content to be scratched a little.

Dal. The count's sister, I hope, has claws for you too.

Carl. That was invented only in hopes of you, Dalinda; though now I thank my stars that I have missed you: for two wits without fortunes would be like two millstones without corn betwixt them; they would only grind upon one another, and make a terrible noise, but no meal would follow.


Enter a Nurse, leading a Boy and Girl.

Nurse. Madam, here are two poor orphans, that, hearing you are married, come to dine with you.

Dal. [Aside.] My two bastards! I am undone: what shall I do with them?

Lop. [Aside.] The devil take my damned grand-children for their unseasonable visit.

San. Welcome, welcome: They're come a mumming[60] to grace my wedding, I'll warrant you.

Carl. I begin to suspect they come to sup and lodge, as well as dine here.

Lop. [To Nurse.] There's two pistoles for you; take them away, and bring them again to-morrow morning.

Nurse. Thank your honour.—Come away, children; but first I must deliver a note to this gentleman.—Don Carlos, I am sure you remember me. [Gives him a Note.

Carl. Did not you wait on Donna Leonora, the Conde's sister?

Nurse. Have you forgotten Ynez, the faithful trustee of your affection? Read your letter; there's better news than you deserve. [Carlos reads his Letter to himself.

Dal. [To Nurse.] Steal away, dear nurse, while he's reading, and there's more money for you:—fear not, you shall be duly paid; for I am married to one who can provide for them.

Nurse. [To her.] Well, I'll keep your credit; but remember. [Exit Nurse, with the Children.

Carl. [After Reading.] Poor loving creature, she is e'en too constant; I could never have expected[421] this from her.—Look you here, you shall see I have no reason to envy your fortune, Sancho.—[Looks about him.] How now, what's become of the nurse and the two children?

Dal. They would have been but too troublesome guests, and are gone away.

Carl. By your favour, I shall make bold to call them back again. [Exit Carlos.

Dal. [To Lop.] Oh barbarous villain! he'll discover all.

Lop. The best on't is, you're already married.

Dal. But we have not consummated. I could have so wheedled Mr Bridegroom to-night, that ere to-morrow morning he should have forgiven me.

Re-enter Carlos, with Nurse and Children.

Carl. Come, nurse, no more mincing matters; your lady's orders in my letter must be obeyed: I must find a father and mother for the children in this company.

San. Whose pretty children are these, Carlos, that you are to provide for?

Carl. E'en your bride's, Sancho, at your service.— Children, do your duty to your mother.

Children. [Kneeling.] Mamma, your blessing.

San. Hey day, what's here to do? Are these the issue of your body, Madam Bride?

Carl. Yes; and they are now your children by the mother's side. The late Conde presents his service to you, with these two pledges of his affection to your wife.

San. Is it even thus, Dalinda?

Lop. Christian patience, son-in-law.

San. Christian patience! I say pagan fury. This is enough to make me turn Jew again, like my father of Hebrew memory.

Carl. You may make your assault, colonel, without[422] danger; the breach is already made to your hands.

San. Ay, the devil take him that stormed it first!

Carl. Speak well of the dead.

Dal. [Kneeling.] And forgive the living!

San. Oh Dalinda! no more Dalinda, but Dalilah the Philistine! Could you find none but me to practise on?

Carl. Sooner upon you than upon any man; for nature has put a superscription upon a fool's face, and all cheats are directed thither.

Lop. There's no recalling what's past and done.

San. You never said a truer word, father-in-law; 'tis done, indeed, to my sorrow.

Carl. If you could undo it, Sancho, it were something; but, since you cannot, your only remedy is to do it again.

San. That's true; but the memory of that damned Conde is enough to turn one's stomach to her. Do you remember what a devilish hunch back he had, when you and I played him?

Carl. For that reason you may be sure she'll loath the thought of him.

San. Do you think so, Carlos?

Dal. How can I do otherwise, when I have in my arms so handsome, so sweet, and so charming a cavalier as you?

San. Well, I am—I know not howish; she has a delicious tongue of her own, and I begin to mollify.

Carl. Do, Sancho: Faith, you've held it out too long, in conscience, for so slight a quarrel; this is nothing among great ladies, man. How many fathers have I known, that have given their blessings to other men's children? Come, bless them, bless them, honest daddy—Kneel down, children.

Children. [Kneeling.] Your blessing, papa. [Children cry.


San. It goes against the grain to give it them.

Carl. For shame, Sancho, take them up; you'll break their pretty hearts else: 'twould grieve a man's soul to see them weep thus.

San. Ay, they learnt that trick of their mother; but I cannot be obdurate, the fault was none of theirs, I'm sure. [Crying.] Heaven e'en bless you, and I'll provide for you; nay, and it shall go hard but I'll get you some more play-fellows, if your mother be as fruitful as she used to be.

Lop. Why this is as it should be.

Dal. Heaven reward you; and I'll study obedience to you.

San. They say, children are great blessings; if they are, I have two great blessings ready gotten to my hands.

Carl. For your comfort, marriage, they say, is holy.

San. Ay, and so is martyrdom, as they say; but both of them are good for just nothing, but to make an end of a man's life.

Lop. Cheer up, son-in-law: your children are very towardly, you see they can ask blessing already.

Dal. If he does not like them, he may get the next himself.

Carl. I will not trouble the company with reading my letter from the dead count's sister; 'tis enough to tell you, that I loved her once, and forsook her, because she was then no fortune. But she has been kinder to me than I deserve; and has offered me her brother's estate in dowry with her.

Dal. Which I hope you will accept.

Carl. Yes, and release you of a certain promise to me, without explaining.—She only recommended to me her brother's children by Dalinda: and I think I have taken a decent care in providing them a rich father.


San. I always loved a harlot, and, now I have one of my own, I'll e'en take up with her; for my youth is going, and my days of whoring, I mean emphatical whoring, are almost over. But for once, we'll have a frolick; come, offspring, can either of you two dance?

1 Child. Yes, forsooth, father, and my sister can sing too, like an angel.

San. Then foot it featly; that you may say hereafter you remember when your mother was first married, and danced at her wedding.

Carl. Hold a little;—you may remember too, Madam Bride, that I promised you an epithalamium. 'Twas meant a satire; but fortune has turned it to a jest. I have given it to the musicians, and brought them along with me; strike up, gentlemen.

[The Dance is first, then the Song, the last Words of which are sung while the Company is going out, and the Musick plays before them.




How happy's the husband, whose wife has been tried!
Not damned to the bed of an ignorant bride!
Secure of what's left, he ne'er misses the rest,
But where there's enough, supposes a feast;
So, foreknowing the cheat,
He escapes the deceit,
And, in spite of the curse, resolves to be blest.


If children are blessings, his comfort's the more,
Whose spouse has been known to be fruitful before;
And the boy that she brings ready made to his hand,
May stand him instead, for an heir to his land,
Should his own prove a sot,
When he's lawfully got,
As whene'er 'tis so, if he don't I'll be hanged.




Young I am, and yet unskilled
How to make a lover yield:
How to keep, or how to gain,
When to love, and when to feign.


Take me, take me, some of you,
While I yet am young and true;
Ere I can my soul disguise,
Heave my breasts, and roll my eyes.


Stay not till I learn the way,
How to lie, and to betray:
He that has me first is blest,
For I may deceive the rest.


Could I find a blooming youth,
Full of love, and full of truth,
Brisk, and of a jaunty mien,
I should long to be fifteen. [Exeunt.


A Royal Chamber is discovered by drawing the former Scene; Veramond, Garcia, Ximena, Victoria Celidea, with a full Train of Courtiers and Guards: amongst the Crowd, Ramirez disguised with some of his Party.

Vera. [To Vict.] No more delays, but go.
Xim. This is inhuman,
To press her to a marriage made by force.
At least allow yourself and her this day,
That each of you may think, and one may change.
Vera. You mean, the times or accidents may change,
And leave her for Alphonso.
Xim. Your enemies are but without your gates,
And soon they may return: Forbear for fear.
Vera. The sooner then
I must prevent the effect of their return.
What now remains, but to complete my vows,
And sacrifice to vengeance!
Xim. Your own daughter!
Vera. Even her, myself, and all the world together.
Vict. Can you refuse me one poor day to live?
Vera. Obey me, and be blest; if not, accurst.
A father's curse has wings, remember that;
Through this world and the next it will pursue thee,
And sink thee down for ever.
Vict. 'Tis enough,
I know how far a daughter owes obedience;
But duty has a bound like other empires:
It reaches but to life, for all beyond it
Is the dominion of another world,
Where you have no command.—
For you, Don Garcia,
You know the power a mistress ought to have;
But, since you will be master, take your hour,
The next is mine.
Gar. I grant the debt of service which I owe you;
But 'tis a sum too vast to pay at sight.
If now you call it in, I must be bankrupt
To all my future bliss.
Vict. I find by you,
The laws of love are like the laws of heaven;
All know, but few will keep them.—To the temple,
Where I myself am victim.
Enter Alphonso, unarmed; all seem amazed.
Alph. Stay, Veramond.
Vera. Alphonso here! then all my hopes are blasted;
The town is his, and I once more a slave. [Aside.
Alph. Dismiss thy fears, and tremble not, old man;
I neither come with purpose, nor with power,
To avenge my wrongs, but single, and unarmed.
This head is necessary to thy peace,
And to Victoria's violated vows,
Who, while I live, can never be Don Garcia's.
Take then this odious life; securely take it,
And glut thy vengeance with Alphonso's blood.
Behold the man, who forced thee in thy strength,
In thy imperial town made thee a captive.
Now give thy fury scope; revenge the affront,
And show more pity not to spare my life,
Than I, in sparing thine.
Xim. [To Cel.] Oh boundless courage, or extreme despair!
Cel. [To her.] I tremble for the event; see, the king reddens.
The fear which seized him at Alphonso's sight,
And left his face forsaken of his blood,
Is vanished now;
And a new tide returns upon his cheeks,
And rage and vengeance sparkle in his eyes.
Vera. [Aside.] All things are hushed; no noise is in the streets,
Nor shouts of soldiers, nor the cries of matrons,
To speak a town in plunder.—Then I take
A traitor's counsel once, and thou shalt die. [To Alph.
Condemned by thy own sentence, go to death;
Nor shall thy seeming generosity,
And feigned assurance, save thee: 'tis despair,
To see thy frustrate hopes, that brought thee hither,
To meet my just revenge.
Alph. Yes, I will die, because I chuse to die;
Which had I not desired, I had not come
Unarmed, unguarded, and alone, to tempt
Thy known ingratitude, and barbarous hate.
Boast not the advantage which thou hold'st of me,
But know thyself for what thou art,—no more
Than the mean minister of my despair.
Vera. Whether to heaven's justice, or thy choice,
I owe this happy hour of sweet revenge,
I'll not be wanting to the wished occasion.
Vict. You shall not die alone, my dear Alphonso,
Though much I blame this desperate enterprize.
You should have staid, to see
The event of what I promised to perform;
For, had I been so base to be another's,
That baseness might have cured your ill-placed love.
But this untimely rashness makes you guilty,
Both of your fate, and mine.
Alph. While I believed
My life was precious to my dear Victoria,
I valued and preserved it for her sake:
But when you broke from your deliverer's arms.
To put yourself into a tyrant's power,
I threw a worthless, wretched being from me.
Abandoned first by you.
Vict. Oh cruel man!
Where, at what moment did that change begin,
With which you tax my violated vows?
I left your lawless power, to put myself
Into a father's chains, my lawful tyrant.
If this be my upbraided crime, even this,
On that occasion, would I do once more:
But could I, with my honour, safe have staid
In your dear arms, bear witness, heaven and earth,
Nor threats, nor force, nor promises, nor fears,
Should take me from your love.
Alph. Oh, I believe you.—
Vanish my fears, and causeless jealousies!
Live, my Victoria, for yourself, not me,
But let the unfortunate Alphonso die;
My death will glut your cruel father's rage.
When I am gone, and his revenge complete,
Pity, perhaps, may seize a parent's mind,
To free you from a hated lover's arms.
Cel. [To Xim.] Speak, mother, speak; my father gives you time;
He stands amazed, irresolute, and dumb,
Like the still face of heaven before a storm;—
Speak and arrest the thunder, ere it rolls.
Xim. I stand suspected; but you, Celidea,
The favourite of his heart, his darling child,
May speak, and ought: your interest is concerned;
For, if Alphonso die, your hopes are lost.
I see your father's soul, like glowing steel,
Is on the anvil; strike, while yet he's hot:
Turn him, and ply him; set him strait betimes,
Lest he for ever warp.
Cel. I fear, and yet would speak; but will he hear me?
Xim. For what is all this silence, but to hear?
Bring him but to calm reasoning, and he's gained.
Cel. Then heaven inspire my tongue!——
Sir, royal sir!——
He hears me not; he lifts not up his eyes,
But, fixed upon the pavement, looks the way
That points to death.— [She pulls him.
Oh hear me, hear me, father!
Have you forgot that dear indulgent name,
Never before in vain pronounced by me?
Vera. Ha! who disturbs my thoughts?
Cel. [Kneeling.] 'Tis Celidea.—
Alas, I would relieve you, if I durst:
If ever I offended, even in thought,
Or made not your commands
The bounds of all my wishes and desires,
Bid me be dumb, or else permit me speech.
Vera. Oh rise, my only unoffending child,
Who reconciles me to the name of father!
Speak then;—but not for her, and less for him.
Cel. Perhaps I would accuse them, not defend;
For both are guilty, dipt in equal crimes,
And are obnoxious to your justice both.
Vera. True, Celidea; thou confirm'st my sentence.
'Tis just Alphonso die.
Xim. Forgive her, heaven! she aggravates their faults,
And pushes their destruction. [Aside.
Cel. Speak, Alphonso:
Can you deny, when royal Veramond,
Then thought your father, and by you so deemed,
When he required your captive, old Ramirez,
And ordered his confinement; did you well
Then to controul the pleasure of that king,
Under whose just commands you fought and conquered?
Alph. I did not well; but heat of boiling youth,
And ill weighed honour, made me disobey.
Vera. That cause is gained; for he confesses guilt.—
Proceed, most equitable judge, proceed.
Cel. [To Alph.] Next, I reproach you with a worse rebellion:
The king's first promise, to Don Garcia made,
You dared to oppose; forbade his fair addresses;
Then made a ruffian quarrel with that prince;
And, last, were guilty of incestuous love.
I will not load my sister with consent;
But, in strict virtue, listening to a crime,
And not rejecting, is itself a crime.
Vict. Is this a sister's office? peace, for shame!
We loved without transgressing virtue's bounds;
We fixed the limits of our tenderest thoughts;
Came to the verge of honour, and there stopt:
We warmed us by the fire, but were not scorched.
If this be sin, angels might love with less,
And mingle rays of minds less pure than ours.
Our souls enjoyed; but to their holy feasts,
Bodies, on both sides, were forbidden guests.
Cel. Now help me, father, or our cause is lost;
For much I fear their love was innocent.
Vera. With my own troops Alphonso seized my person,
In my own town, to my perpetual shame.
Pass on to that, and strike the traitor dead.
Cel. Yes, proud Alphonso, you were banish'd hence;
Your father was confined, and doomed to death;
The beauty you adored was made another's.
How durst you, then, attempt to avenge your wrongs,
And force your mistress from your rival's arms,
Rather than die contented, as you ought?
Alph. Even for those very reasons you allege.
Xim. At last I find her drift. [Aside.
Vera. Thou justifiest, and not accusest him.
Cel. Patience, good father, and hear out the rest. [To Alph.
Thought you, because you bravely fought and conquered
For royal Veramond, nay, saved his life,
And set him free when you had conquered him,
Only because he was Victoria's father;
Thought you for such slight services as these,
That he should spare you now? O generous madman,
To give your head to one, who ne'er forgave.
Vera. Oh, she stings me. [Aside.
Cel. And you, Don Garcia, witness to this truth:
You were his hated rival, fairly vanquished,
And yet he spared your life.
Gar. At your request:
I owe it to you both.
Cel. That he dismissed my sister, 'twas her fault;
I charge it not on him, but 'twas his folly:
A capital fool he was, in that last error,
For which he justly stands condemned to death.
Your sentence, royal sir?
Vera. That he should live;
Should live triumphant over Veramond,
And should live happy in Victoria's love.—
Oh, I have held as long as nature could;
Convinced in reason, obstinate in will:
I saw the pleader's aim, found her design,
I longed to be o'ercome, and yet resisted.—
What have I done against thee, my Alphonso?
And what hast thou not done for Veramond?
Xim. Oh fortunate event!
Vict. Oh happy day!
Alph. Oh unexpected bliss, and therefore double!
Vera. [To Alph.] Can you forgive me? yes, I know Alphonso can forgive Victoria's father.
But yet, in pity, pardon not too soon;
Punish my pride a while,
And make me linger for so great a good,
Lest ecstasy of joy prevent this blessing,
And you, instead of pardon, give me death.
[He offers to kneel to Alphonso: Alphonso takes him up, and kneels himself.
Alph. Oh, let me raise my father from the ground!
Vera. [Rising.] 'Tis your peculiar virtue, my Alphonso,
Always to raise me up.
Alph. Here let me grow, till I obtain your grace.
My life has been one universal crime;
And you, like heaven, accepting short repentance,
Forgive my length of sins.
Vera. [Raising him.] Let us forget from whence offence began.
But since, to save my shame, thou wilt be guilty,
Impute thy hate for me to sure instinct,
That showed thee thy true father in my foe;
Now grafted on my stock, be son to both.—
[Turning to Gar.] To you, Don Garcia, next——
Gar. Before you speak,
Permit me, sir, to assume some little merit
In this day's happiness; your promise made
Victoria mine——
Alph. What then?
Gar. Nay, hear me out.
He kept his royal word; he gave her me:
I lost her, when I fell beneath your sword;
Or, if I have a title, I resign it,
And make her yours.
Alph. I take her, as your gift.
Gar. [To Ver.] Make me but blest in Celidea's love;
She saved my life, and hers it is for ever.
'Tis pity she, who gained another's cause,
Should lose her own.
Vera. [Presenting Cel.] She's yours.
Cel. My joys are full.
Vict. And mine o'erflow.
Alph. And mine are all a soul can bear, and live.
Vera. Then seek we out Ramirez,
To make him partner of this happy day,
That gives him back his crown and his Alphonso.
Ram. Behold me here, unsought, with some few friends. [Taking off his vizard.
Resolved to save my son, or perish with him,
Thus far I traced, and followed him unknown;
And here have waited, with a beating heart,
To see this blest event.
Vera. Just like the winding up of some design,
Well-formed, upon the crowded theatre;
Where all concerned surprisingly are pleased,
And what they wish see done. Lead to the temple:
Let thanks be paid; and heaven be praised no less
For private union, than for public peace. [Exeunt.




Now, in good manners, nothing should be said
Against this play, because the poet's dead[61].
The prologue told us of a moral here:
Would I could find it! but the devil knows where.
If in my part it lies, I fear he means
To warn us of the sparks behind our scenes.
For, if you'll take it on Dalinda's word,
'Tis a hard chapter to refuse a lord.
The poet might pretend this moral too,—
That when a wit and fool together woo,
The damsel (not to break an antient rule)
Should leave the wit, and take the wealthy fool.
{  This he might mean: but there's a truth behind,
{  And, since it touches none of all our kind
{  But masks and misses, 'faith, I'll speak my mind.
What if he taught our sex more cautious carriage,
And not to be too coming before marriage;
For fear of my misfortune in the play,
A kid brought home upon the wedding day?
I fear there are few Sancho's in the pit,
So good as to forgive, and to forget;
That will, like him, restore us into favour,
And take us after on our good behaviour.
Few, when they find the money-bag is rent,
Will take it for good payment on content.
But in the telling, there the difference is,
Sometimes they find it more than they could wish.
Therefore be warned, you misses and you masks,
Look to your hits, nor give the first that asks.
Tears, sighs, and oaths, no truth of passion prove;
True settlement, alone, declares true love.
For him that weds a puss, who kept her first,
I say but little, but I doubt the worst.
{  The wife, that was a cat, may mind her house,
{  And prove an honest, and a careful spouse;
{  But 'faith I would not trust her with a mouse.



Our Author's connection with the Theatre only ended with his life. The pieces, which follow, have reference to the performance of "The Pilgrim," a play of Beaumont and Fletcher, which was revived in 1700. Vanburgh, a lively comic writer, who seems to have looked up to Dryden with that veneration which was his due, added some light touches of humour, to adapt this play to the taste of the age. The aged poet himself furnished a Prologue and Epilogue, a Song, and Secular Masque; and, with these additions, the piece was performed for the benefit of Dryden. It seems dubious, whether the kind intentions of Vanburgh and the players actually took effect in favour of our author himself, or in that of his son. It is certain, that, if he did not die before the representation, he did not survive it many weeks, as the play[62] was not published till after his death.


But his lamp burned bright to the close. The Prologue and Epilogue, written within a few weeks of his death, equal any thing of the kind which he ever produced. He combats his two enemies, Blackmore and Collier, with his usual spirit; but with manliness concedes, that they had attacked him in one vulnerable and indefensible particular, where he lay open, less from any peculiar depravity in his own taste, than from compliance with the general licence of the age.

Cibber informs us, that Sir John Vanburgh, who cast the parts, being pleased with the young actor's moderation, in contenting himself with those of the Stuttering Cook, and Mad Englishman, assigned him also the creditable task of speaking the Epilogue, which, as it was so much above the ordinary strain, highly gratified his vanity. Dryden himself, on hearing Cibber recite it, made him the further compliment of trusting him with the Prologue also; an honourable distinction, which drew upon him the jealousy of the other actors, and the indignation of Wilkes in particular. This revival of "The Pilgrim" was also remarkable, as affording Mrs Oldfield, who had been about a year or more a mute on the stage, an opportunity of attracting public attention in the character of Alinda, which suited the want of confidence natural to her inexperience, and in which she afforded that promise of future excellence, which was afterwards so amply fulfilled.




How wretched is the fate of those who write!
Brought muzzled to the stage, for fear they bite;
Where, like Tom Dove[63], they stand the common foe,
Lugged by the critic, baited by the beau.
Yet, worse, their brother poets damn the play,
And roar the loudest, though they never pay.
The fops are proud of scandal, for they cry,
At every lewd, low character,—That's I.
He, who writes letters to himself, would swear,
The world forgot him, if he was not there.
{  What should a poet do? 'Tis hard for one
{  To pleasure all the fools that would be shown;
{  And yet not two in ten will pass the town.
Most coxcombs are not of the laughing kind;
More goes to make a fop, than fops can find.
Quack Maurus[64], though he never took degrees
In either of our universities[65],
Yet to be shown by some kind wit he looks,
Because he played the fool, and writ three books.
But if he would be worth a poet's pen,
He must be more a fool, and write again:
For all the former fustian stuff he wrote
Was dead-born doggrel, or is quite forgot;
His man of Uz, stript of his Hebrew robe,
Is just the proverb, and "As poor as Job."
One would have thought he could no longer jog;
But Arthur was a level, Job's a bog.
There though he crept, yet still he kept in sight;
But here he founders in, and sinks downright.
Had he prepared us, and been dull by rule,
Tobit had first been turned to ridicule;
But our bold Briton, without fear or awe,
O'erleaps at once the whole Apocrypha;
Invades the Psalms with rhymes, and leaves no room
For any Vandal Hopkins yet to come.
But when, if, after all, this godly gear
Is not so senseless as it would appear,
{  Our mountebank has laid a deeper train;
{  His cant, like Merry Andrew's noble vein,
{  Cat-calls the sects to draw them in again.
At leisure hours in Epic Song he deals,
Writes to the rumbling of his coach's wheels[66];
Prescribes in haste, and seldom kills by rule,
But rides triumphant between stool and stool.
Well, let him go,—'tis yet too early day
To get himself a place in farce or play;
We know not by what name we should arraign him,
For no one category can contain him.
A pedant, canting preacher, and a quack,
Are load enough to break an ass's back.
{  At last, grown wanton, he presumed to write,
{  Traduced two kings, their kindness to requite;
{  One made the Doctor, and one dubbed the Knight.[67]




In "The Pilgrim," as originally written by Beaumont and Fletcher, one scene is laid in a mad-house, where the humours of the different persons confined are described with some pleasantry. Amongst others is introduced a Scholar, who has solicited dismission from his confinement, and who, after having been carefully examined by two g