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Another shoots before the aching eye,
As if his life was stak'd upon a moment:
Just now as I approach'd the palace gate,
A blacksmith pointed to these glorious towers,
Then looking at the skies, pronounc'd, Araxes !

King. Eternal curses fall upon his head!
The hated name's a death-blow to my ears :
Take the commission we have now prepar'd,
And tell him too the mandate of his king,
That if an hour from this we hear of him
Within the precincts of our capital,
His life is forfeit-execute our will.
Az. Oh thou that guard'st the brave-protect

him, heav'n! Meres. Ever the happy slave of your good

pleasure! King. And let our soothsayers and astrologers Be summon'd quick, to ascertain and say What is the secret cause of our alarm: If they should waver in the great account, Or fail in giving us one point minute, Each word they utter shall but prophecy Their own destruction :* now, Meres, away!

Erit Meres. Semiramis, our crown, that twice ten suns

* However extravagant this language may appear, it is perfectly weak and moderate, when compared with that which the kings of Babylon are recorded in the scriptures to have really used on similar occasions.

Have now illum'd, giving and borrowing splen

dor, Stands on a cold and barren eminence, And sheds no ray upon the time to come : Since our lov'd brother's e'er lamented death, And your dear boy's, whose cradle was his grave, (Alas that such sweet innocence should die) The race of Ninus perishes in us, Or finds alone collateral support: Azema, hear'st thou how on thee depends What yet remains of all thy country love?

Az. My thoughts have seldom dar'd to stray

so far

As to embrace the interests of a people.

King. Would it were needless!

Queen. Are you then amaz'd That such alarming signs should shake the city As Meres speaks, when the first barriers Break the full course of that unnumber'd race, Whose glory and their country's have been one? When you can boast but half the Ninian blood, And many distant stains pollute Azema's ? Oh, my dear boy, whose cradl'd beauty gave Such hopes of all a nation might adoreKing. (Aside.) She loves this pretty jargon !

self-deceiv’d, Weak, shallow woman! sooth, 'twas pitiful ! Queen. Hadst thou been present, thou hadst

fought our battles, And e'en Araxes' glory sunk in thine!

King. We'll try to find an easier mode, good

To bring this upstart to his proper

level :
Be it, howe'er, our most imperious aim,
To seek an heir that shall support the throne
As Ninus' sun descends—and you, Azema,
Shall find the great result of all our care
In a most noble husband : these affairs
Are fitter for the council than the closet :
For this sole object are our nobles summond,
That when the proud inheritance is fix'd,
Ambitious thoughts may perish in despair :
There we shall meet our ever loyal queen.

Erit. Queen. Now comes the hour by Oroes ap

pointed For me to hold in secret conference This young, this lov'd, this noble, brave Araxes: This hapless outcast-idol of his country, Child of my bounty-whom the world adore, This peasant slave—the image of great Ninus. He has I find some secrets to disclose That point directly at my throne and peace: My heart, I trust, will not play reckless truant, And teach me to betray both throne and peace.

Az. Oh! that my spirits could mount high as

your's !

But not my brilliant expectations save me
From grief contrasted with my rank, how


And ev'ry smile I would assume is false.
Queen. Think of the council's purpose, sweet

'Tis to confirm thy reign by added strength:
Follow the world and smile upon Araxes.
Had he but rank—come, smile, Azema, smile.


SCENE III.--A Hall in the Palace, with statues

ranged along it.


Arar. Here is my way: why should I trem

ble thus ? I go to plead with a maternal judge A cause to melt the very earth to pity : This palace is mine own, where high enthron’d, In royal state, my mighty fathers rul'd The eastern world, beyond man's memory : These images would give us back the dead, And in their faint and ineffectual lines Pourtray the warrior's fire : why should I fear? Here is my dwelling, for the people say I cast no shame upon a race of heroes : Who was the last-I've seen him in the tomb,*

• The Babylonian customs of sepulture were the sai as those of the Egyptians, by which the body was preserved a long time.

And twenty years have not effac'd the wound
That hurried him untimely to his grave,
Struck by the hand accurs'd that wields his

sceptre :
Were I the slave I am imagin'd here,
(Here in this palace mine by right undoubted)
The upstart creature of an envied rank,
Beggar of favors given in derision,
The hellish deed confirm'd as I have seen it,
Would urge me to gratuitous revenge.
But now—the son


Meres. Well met, my lord Araxes !
Arax. Ha! excellently well : in the first pa-

The world owns, sir : your smiling courtiers, ,
Your dazzling ladies : soldiers, lawyers, scholars,
Wise men, magicians, and astrologers,
Your governors of provinces that come

year to learn our better manners here, And then return to shew our worst at home; Your officers of state that slander tells Will unsay all they ever said for place, And saving principle will alter conduct, Or changing both laugh out poor honesty ; Your hypocrites, with conscience on their lips, The only place their conscience ever held, Who make the gods their instruments of power,

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