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We rush in madness forth to tear away
The veil that blinds us to the cause. In vain !
The hand of that Eternal Providence
Still holds it there, unmoved, impenetrable !
We can but pause, and turn away again
To mourn—to wonder—and endure.

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Damon, condemned to death by DIONYSIUS, the Tyrant of Syracuse, obtains

permission to take a Farewell of his Wife and Child, through the intervention of his Friend PYTHIAS, who consents to become a Hostage for Damon's return, at the hour appointed for his Execution. The time has arrived, and Damon has not returned. CALANTHE, betrothed Wife of Pythias, hurries despairingly to the place of Execu

tion. Scene—A Public Place in Syracuse. --A Scaffold, with

steps ascending to it, upon the right hand. In the back of the stage the Gates of a Prison.Executioner with an axe, and Guards discovered.

CALANTHE, ARRIA (her Mother).
Calanthe. There's no power
Shall stay me back! I must behold him die,
Then follow him !

Arria. My child !

Cal. I cannot hear thee!
The shrieking of the Furies drowns thy cries!

Arr. This is no place for thee—no place, Calanthe,
For such a one as thou !

Cal. No other place
Is fit for such a wretch! I am his wife,
Betrothed, though not married.

There's no place
For me but at his side: in life or death
There is no other.
There is the scaffold with the block on it!
There is the-Oh, good gods !

Arr. Come back, my child !
Good Damocles, give me your aid to bear
This wretched woman hence.

Cal. Oh, mother, mother,
I'll not be grudged that horrible delight !
I'll take one long and maddening look of him,
Whom in the morn I thought I should have waited,
Blushing within the chamber of a bride,
And with a heart all full of love and fear.
Now I await him in a different place,
And with a cheek that ne'er shall blush again;
Whose marble

may be spotted o'er with blood,
But not with modesty; Love yet remains,
But Fear, its old companion, 's fled away,
And made room for Despair !

Enter Dionysius, in disguise. Ha! are you come ? 'Twas

you

that told me so,
And froze the running currents in my bosom,
To one deep cake of ice ! You said too well
That Damon would

The selfish traitor ! The traitor Damon !

Dion. Hark thee, Calanthe !
It was an idle tale I told to thee!

not come,

Cal. Ha!
Dion. A mere coinage, an invention.

Cal. I do not ask thee why that tale was framed-
Framed in thy cold, deliberate cruelty-
But only this—one question :-May he yet-
May Damon yet return?

Dion. He may—he is
As free to come, or stay, as are the winds.

Cal. And Dionysius withholds him not?
Dion. He does not.

Cal. Whatsoe'er thou art, the gods,
For that one word, be unto thee and thine
Guardians forever! Oh, that ray of hope
That breaks upon my soul, is worth a flood
Of the sweet daylight of Elysium!
Damon may yet return! But, powers of Heaven !
Death is prepared already! What is the time?

Dion. Thou mayst perceive by yonder dial-plate
Against the temple, six poor minutes only
Are left for his return.

Cal. And yet he comes not!
Oh, but that temple, where the shade of time
Moves unrelentingly, is dedicate
To the great Goddess of Fidelity-
She will not, in the face of her high fane,
Let such a profanation hurl forever
The altars of her worship to the ground;
For who will offer incense to her name
If Damon's false to Pythias ? [Sound of chains and bolts

behind.] Ha! they unbar The ponderous gates! There is a clank of chains ! They are leading him to death!

Damocles. Bring forth the prisoner ! The gates of the prison are flung open, and Pythias is

discovered. He advances to the scaffold. Cal. Pythias ! Pyth. Calanthe here! [She rushes into his arms.)

My poor, fond girl !
Thou art the first to meet me at the block,
Thou'lt be the last to leave me at the grave !
How strangely things go on in this bad world-
This was my wedding-day; but for the bride,
I did not think of such a one as Death!
I deemed I should have gone to sleep to-night,
This very night-not on the earth's cold lap,-
But, with as soft a bosom for my pillow,
And with as true and fond a heart-throb in it
To lull me to my slumber, as e'er yet
Couched the repose of love. It was, indeed,
A blissful sleep to wish for!

Cal. Oh, my Pythias,
He yet may come!

Pyth. Calanthe, no! Remember, That Dionysius hath prevented it.

Cal. That was an idle tale of this old man,
And he may yet return !

Pyth. May yet return!
Speak !—how is this ? return !- life, how strong
Thy love is in the hearts of dying men !

[To Dionysius.] Thou’rt he didst say the tyrant

would prevent

His coming back to Syracuse ?

Dion. I wronged him.
Pyth. Ha! were it possible !—may he yet come?

lend every

Cal. Into the sinews of the horse that bears him, Put swiftness, gods !-let him outrace and shame The galloping of clouds upon the storm ! Blow breezes with m;

feeble aid
Unto his motion !—and thou, thrice solid earth,
Forget thy immutable fixedness-become
Under his feet like flowing water, and
Hither flow with him !

Pyth. I have taken in
All the horizon's vast circumference
That, in the glory of the setting sun,
Opens its wide expanse, yet do I see
No signal of his coming! Nay, 'tis likely-
Oh, no- he could not! It is impossible!

Cal. I say, he is false ! he is a murderer!
He will not come! the traitor doth prefer
Life, ignominious, dastard life! Thou minister
Of light, and measurer of eternity,
In this great purpose, stay thy going down,
Great sun, behind the confines of the world!
On yonder purple mountains make thy stand!
For while thine eye is opened on mankind,
Hope will abide within thy blessed beams-
They dare not do the murder in thy presence !
Alas! all heedless of my frantic cry,
He plunges down the precipice of Heaven!
Pythias-O Pythias !

Pyth. I could have borne to die,
Unmoved, by Dionysius—but to be torn
Green from existence by the friend I loved, -
Thus from the blossoming and beauteous tree
Rent by the treachery of him I trusted!

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