Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

You are not weary of your warrior friend.
Arax. Trust me, I would not mock you, fel-

low soldier, *
And you shall find, if ever circumstance
(As fortune seems to take me by the hand,)
Should bless me with the power to serve a friend,
You have not follow'd me in dangers only.
These public walls have ears-or I could tell you,
Oh! of such deeds, so bloody, pitiless,
That the worst chance of war is mercy to them:
We must be secret-till the hour of vengeance!
No-no-not here-Assur is at his prayers !

Exeunt.

“ I pray thee do not mock me, fellow student.”

(Hamlet.)

On a subject which Shakespeare has chosen for a play, which, if it is deformed with as many defects as any of his productions, is also perhaps adorned with more beauties, than any, it is impossible at all times to resist the pleasure of falling into his modes of expression. Indeed this submission, which confesses at once my admiration and my despair, is the only apology I can make to his memory for presuming to choose a subject resembling one of his.

END OF THE SECOND ACT.

ACT III.

SCENE I.-An Apartment in the Palace.

KING, QUEEN, AZEMA, ZAPHAN, SETHAR.

King
HAVE the ambassadors of hated Judah
Carried our message home?

Zaph. They wait, dread king,
Your last resolve, still ling'ring with the hope
Some after-counsels may incline to peace.
King. They have my last resolve: or war, or

tribute: All after-counsels but inflame my hate. But as they stay with some pacific prospect, Be a new idol in our temple plac'd, And swift proclaim our mandate through the

city, That all the pris'ners taken in our wars, Of ev'ry nation, bow and worship it. Should but a man refuse, then heat the furnace, And throw the stubborn visionary in.

Az. Yet cast an eye of pity on the weak, Who press’d by dangers, still uphold their faith, Sustain'd how long, through tedious sufferings,

Through ways untrod before, 'mid chains and

exile. King. Azema, peace! nor prove unfit for

empire. When they narrate our friendly resolutions, This fact will give new vigour to their words: We have no psalmist kings, but we adore, With fervor great as their’s, our country's gods.

Zaph. Your will shall be obey'd.

King. Observe it, Zaphan. Exit Zaph. (To the Queen.) See, madam, how our em

pire gathers strength !
Judea's messengers must speed their way,
Or will our armies overtake their steps,
And their proud capital, Jerusalem,
Salute their coming with its prostrate walls.

Queen. Under the guidance of the lord Araxes,
No prodigies that youthful valour owns,
May not illustrate and increase our power.

King. Araxes still? I loathe the very name: And while our valiant armies daily stretch Our iron frontier past it's usual bound, The people's loyalty our fortune equals. (look

ing at Sethar.) Seth. The kingly name, dread sir, is ever ho

nored ! Tyrant! that name is prostituted now. (Aside.) King. To-morrow fix we for our glorious tri

umph. Seth. Triumph indeed! and thou shalt bear

thy part. (Aside.)

King. Enthron’d in radiant car we draw the

homage Of rapturous Babylon, while in long train, Kings, princes, governors, with heads bow'd low, And hearts that almost bleed before our eyes, In chains at least, that make their bodies shrink, Shall form the glorious contrast of the day. (To Sethar, going out.) Sethar, observe! look,

you be there, old man, Or those gray hairs shall not protect their

master. Seth. I will be present at the triumph-sire.

Erit.

Enter MERES.

King. Now, Meres, what? your swift impa

tience seems To chide your steps as tardy in our service. Meres. Most gracious sovereign, and you,

great queen, Credit the warning of your faithful servant. All is not well, nor safe in Babylon. King. Treason at work? then, on my life,

old Sethar Is no weak plotter of the daring mischief. Meres. Oroes—my forward zeal offends my

queen. Queen. My sacred friend! and guardian of

Araxes?

Yet on my

Beware, my lord, his country owes him thanks.

King: Th' anointed servant of our holy faith, Or he had fed the lions long ago. (Aside.) For if I did not fear him, I should

hate him,
First for the cause that thus obtains respect.
Say on, right trusty Meres.

Meres. Though the grounds
Of my suspicions shrink from evidence,

life there's treason in the state, Aye, in the council, of no common size : Mark'd you how, 'mid the day's most holy ser

vice, E'en in the temple, men look'd vacant round, Nor fix'd one look on sacred majesty : Then when Mitranes enter'd, how they press'd To ask why lord Araxes was not there?

King. I do remember some strange whispering. Meres. Methought some demon clogg'd the

sacred hymn, As it ascended with it's proud thanksgiving. Then in the city all is out of course ; The dull mechanic pauses as he walks, Fixes his filthy finger on his forehead, And after deep laborious meditation, Proceeds, the fate of Babylon decided : In every street, wherever place is found Convenient for dispute, some four or five Collect, and probe each other for a meaning : One scarcely moves, as if he could not carry The mighty secret he is charg'd withal :

« ZurückWeiter »