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Moral in words, most blasphemous in acts,
The hoary slave whose knees are grown so sup-

That you would think him half-way in his grave,
The youth whose stiffer joints acquire the trick
That sets his frame at variance with his hairs,
Your minister, your beau, gallant and sage
Are here well met.

Meres. The satire's keen, my lord !
Arax. Satire ? no, good my lords ! 'twere

black injustice ! I would not for a town pronounce a satire: 'Twere better-lords—to face embattl'd hosts. Meres. Such an employment we are come to

give you ! We bring you orders from our lord the king. Arar. Well met indeed! I pray, declare them

quick : The words of kings are fire, and must not cool Through messengers' delay !

Meres. (To Zaphan) Is he not mad ?
Zaphan-most gloriously mad ?

Zaph. Doubt it not.
There is no need to send him to the wars,
But swell his sails in port, he sinks at home.

Arax. My lords! I wait your message.

Meres. Thus it is. I bring you the commission that appoints you To a command beyond your warmest hopes, And with it this most absolute behest : That you leave Babylon e'en on the instant.

That my words fail as I address my queen,
And send me back a bankrupt in decorum.
Queen. A hero's manners lead, not follow

fashion ;
Where'er he goes, his fame prepares


way, And the weak forms of court are only left To serve the fools who have no better claim. Arar. I do rejoice to hear you speak of

claims : I have a claim to seize the coldest breast, Fix'd deep in nature's great primeval law. Queen. Oroes has school'd you, sir, in words

sublime, And the rude camp has fix'd his lessons deep: But we will teach you softer words at court.

Arax. The war I wage is not in camp alone, It rests not on the fury of the sword. Queen. Then let your words be softer than of

war, And change the storm for wooing zephyr's

breath. Arar. Madam, alas ! I never learnt the art To tread with care the winding path of pru

Or slowly calculate on consequences :
Set me a glorious point before my eyes
And I must grasp it as within


reach, Though, grasping, fall—it is the soldier's part. Queen. 'Tis not the soldier's part, my lord, to

fear; Trust me, th' affections are of pliant nature,

And mostly follow him whom fame elates :
The valiant deed pleads best for woman's love.
Arax. 'Tis nature's voice pleads best for na-

ture's law.
Queen. I will not play with you the reasoner's

game, Nor aim to win the prize the learned offer : And will Araxes change the camp for school? Arax. I change the camp, that cradle of my

fame, The crested plume, imagination raises To wave high-tow'ring in a people's eyes, The choral strain, that fir’d my youthful breast, And marshall'd to my busy memory All the great actions I had heard or read of; The soldier's confidence, my darling hope, The monarch's most imperious command, These vanish far, nor leave a trace to balance, The dread importance of this sacred hour. Queen. You take the heart as you would take a

town, And troops of armed words come thund'ring in: I love not Assur: were no cause but this, I should detest him, for he hates Araxes.

Arax. Yet Assur is your husband :

Queen. So was Ninus : Nor has my early love e'er left his tomb, To warm the nuptials of a second husband : The marriage vow was to the sceptre made, Too like that sceptre, splendid, heartless, cold. Arax. Your taste thus vindicated, pass we on



To try how far its force directs your actions :
For when I hear the voice of fame forbid
E’en to compare the living and the dead,
I will not think, you boast an idle feeling,
A gaudy sentiment, admir'd and useless.

Queen. You urge right earnestly a fruitless suit: Yet for the dead you should not sue in frowns. Arax. Oh that much better might a tear be

come That royal grave—that all dissolv'd in woe, I might but share the popular regret ! Queen. What then-Araxes ! shall we mourn

together O’er the lost Ninus ? tell how, had he liy'd, His virtues would have gather'd in the world ? Will not the tale repeated tedious grow? Where tends this grief but to consume the

mourner ? We pay our lives and bring no value back : The present moment is the wise man's care, For present moments make the whole of life : See what dexterity you give a woman, To win affection by fair argument : Come--leave this melancholy theme—my lord ! This sad eternity of helpless sorrow ! I cannot argue nor weep on for ever : I think of Ninus with true loyalty : I could love Ninus were he living still, And him most like to Ninus I will love. Arax. Now raise thy storms and hurl thy

thunder, heav'n !

Queen. What does the wild insensate mean or

dare ? Arax. Too wretched woman! hear me what I

mean! Too hapless mother ! hear me who I am. Queen. What is the sound that thus comes forth

in terror ? What is the name I must not hear and live?

Arar. Ninus was murder'd-I am Ninus' son. Queen. Ninus murder'd, say'st thou ?

Arax. In sleep profound,
The blessed consequence of virtuous toil,
And thoughts at peace with heav'n, (almighty

gods !
Why did ye not arrest the coward hand ?)
My royal father pour'd his life-blood forth
To an assassin's blow :

Queen. My thoughts perplex'd
Run back through endless circumstance and

find Th’accursed story true : support me, heaven!

Arax. Think'st thou, oh queen! that nature

made no pause

Between the solemn duties of a king,
A Ninus acted them, in camp or senate,
And the cold grave? think'st thou he fell at

From the meridian glory of his manhood,
Like the false meteor, to be seen no more,
Under the guidance of immortal powers ?
That no infernal monster cross'd his path,

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