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Made reason glitter in my

dazzled

eyes
Till I had seen the precipice before me:
That had been noble, that had shown the friend :
Clytus would so have done to save your

lives. Lys. When men shall hear how highly you were urged

Alex. No; you have let me stain my rising glory,
Which else had ended brighter than the sun.
Oh! I am all a blot, which seas of tears
And
my

heart's blood can never wash away :
Yet 'tis but just I try, and on the point
Still reeking, hurl my black polluted breast.

Heph. Oh, sacred sir! it shall not-must not be.

Lys. Forgive, dread sir !—forgive my pious hands, That dare in duty to disarm my master.

Alex. Yes, cruel men! ye now can show your strength : Here's not a slave but dares oppose my justice, Yet none had courage to prevent this murder : But I will render all endeavours vain That tend to save my life—here will I lie, [Falls on Clytus. Close to my murdered soldier's bleeding side; Thus clasping his cold body in my arms, 'Till death, like his, has closed my eyes forever.

Roxana, the first Queen of ALEXANDER, jealous of STATIRA, a Persian

Princess, beloved by ALEXANDER, joins a Conspiracy against the King, and determines to sacrifice her Rival to her jealousy and vengeance.

The Bower of Semiramis. -STATIRA discovered. Stat. Bless me, ye Powers above, and guard my virtue ! Where are you fled, dear shades ? where are you fled ! 'Twas but a dream, and yet I saw and heard My royal parents, who, while pious care Sat on my faded cheeks, pronounced with tears,

Tears such as angels weep, this hour my last,
But hence with fear-my Alexander comes,
And fear and danger ever fed from him.
Would that he were here!
For oh, I tremble, and a thousand terrors
Rush in upon me, and alarm my heart !
But hark ! 'tis he, and all

my

fears are fled : My life, my joy, my Alexander, comes ! Rox. [Within.] Make fast the gate with all its massy

bars : At length we've conquered this stupendous height, And reached the grove.

Stat. Ye guardian gods, defend me! Roxana's voice! then all the vision's true, And die I must.

Enter Roxana.

Rox. Secure the brazen gate. Where is my rival? 'tis Roxana calls.

Stat. And what is she who with such towering pride
Would awe a princess that is born above her?

Rox. Behold this dagger !—'tis thy fate, Statira !
Behold, and meet it as becomes a queen.
Fain would I find thee worthy of my vengeance;
Here, take my weapon then, and if thou dar'st-

Stat. Now little know'st thou what Statira dares !
Yes, cruel woman! yes, I dare meet death
With a resolve at which thy coward heart
Would shrink; for terror haunts the guilty mind;
While conscious innocence, that knows no fear,
Can smiling pass, and scorn thy idle threats.

Rox. Return, fair insolent ! return, I say :

Dar'st thou, presumptuous, to invade my rights !
Restore him quickly to my longing arms,
And with him give me back his broken vows,
For perjured as he is, he still is mine,
Or I will rend them from thy bleeding heart.

Stat. Alas, Roxana ! 'tis not in my power ;
I cannot if I would—and oh, ye gods !
What were the world to Alexander's loss !

Rox. Oh, sorceress ! to thy accursèd charms
I owe the frenzy that distracts my soul;
To them I owe my Alexander's loss :
Too late thou tremblest at my just revenge,
My wrongs cry out, and vengeance will have way.

Stat. Yet think, Roxana, ere you plunge in murder,
Think on the horrors that must ever haunt you;
Think on the Furies, those avenging ministers
Of Heaven's high wrath, how they will tear your soul,
All day distract you with a thousand fears ;
And when by night thou vainly seek’st repose,
They'll gather round and interrupt your slumbers,
With horrid dreams and terrifying visions.

Rox. Add still, if possible, superior horrors.
Rather than leave my great revenge unfinished,
I'll dare 'em all, and triumph in the deed;
Therefore

[Holds up the dagger

. Stat. Hold, hold thy hand advanced in air : I read my sentence written in thine eyes; Yet oh, Roxana ! on thy black revenge One kindly ray of female pity beam; And give me death in Alexander's presence. Rox. Not for the world's wide empire shouldst thou see

him.

Fool ! but for him thou mightst unheeded live;
For his sake only art thou doomed to die ;
The sole remaining joy that glads my soul,
Is to deprive thee of the heart I've lost.

Enter Slave.
Slave. Madam, the king and all his guards are come,
With frantic rage they thunder at the gate,
And must ere this have gained admittance.

Rox. Ha!
Too long I've trifled. Let me then redeem
The time misspent, and make great vengeance sure.

Stat. Is Alexander, oh ye gods! so nigh,
And can he not preserve me from her fury?
Rox. Nor he, nor Heaven, shall shield thee from my

justice. Die, sorceress, die, and all my wrongs die with thee !

[Stabs her.

[blocks in formation]

JAFFIER, - young Nobleman of Venice, of reduced Fortune, marries

BELVIDERA, Daughter of Priuli, a Senator of Venice, contrary to the wishes of her Father, who disinherits her. JAFFIER, in his destitution, solicits assistance from Priuli, and is repelled with scorn and contumely by the enraged Father. While smarting with the sense of his degradation, JAFFIER is met by his Friend Pierre, who has headed a Conspiracy to overturn the Government of Venice.

Priuli, JAFFIER.
Pri.... Home, and be humble ; study to retrench;
Discharge the lazy vermin of thy hall,

Those pageants of thy folly:
Reduce the glitt'ring trappings of thy wife
To humble weeds, fit for thy little state :
Then, to some suburb cottage both retire ;
Drudge to feed loathsome life ; get brats, and starve-
Home, home, I say !

[Exit. Faf. Yes, if

my

heart would let me-
This proud, this swelling heart : home I would go,
But that my doors are baleful to my eyes,
Filled and dammed up with gaping creditors. ...
I've now not fifty ducats in the world,
Yet still I am in love, and pleased with ruin.
O Belvidera! Oh! she is my wife-
And we will bear our wayward fate together,
But ne'er know comfort more.

Enter Pierre.

Pier. My friend, good-morrow ! How fares the honest partner of

my

heart? What, melancholy! not a word to spare me? Faf. I'm thinking, Pierre, how that damned starving

quality, Called honesty, got footing in the world.

Pier. Why, powerful villany first set it up, For its own ease and safety. Honest men Are the soft, easy cushions on which knaves Repose and fatten. Were all mankind villains, They'd starve each other ; lawyers would want practice, Cut-throats rewards : each man would kill his brother Himself; none would be paid or hanged for murde“: Honesty! 'twas a cheat invented first To bind the hands of bold, deserving rogues,

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