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SARDANAPALUS,

A TRA G E D Y.

TO

For the historical foundation of the coinTHE ILLUSTRIOUS GÖTHE. positions in question, the reader is referred

to the Notes. 4 stranger presumes to offer the homage of The Author has in one instance attempted

literary vassal to his liege-lord, the first to preserve, and in the other to approach of eristing writers, who has created the the unities ; conceiving that with any literature of his own country and illustrated very distant departure from them, there that of Europe. The unworthy production may be poetry, but can be no drama. He which the author ventures to inscribe to him is aware of the unpopularity of this notion is entitled SARDANAPALUS.

in present English literature; but it is not a system of his own, being merely an opinion, which, not very long ago, was the

law of literature throughout the world, PREFACE.

and is still so in the more civilized parts

of it. But “Nous avons changé tout cela," Ix publishing the T'ragedies of Sardana- and are reaping the advantages of the change. palus, and of The Two Foscari, I have only | The writer is far from conceiving that any to repeat that they were not composed with thing he can adduce by personal precept the most remote view to the stage.

or example can at all approach his regular, On the attempt made by the Managers or even irregular, predecessors: he is merely in a former instance, the public opinion giving a reason why he preferred the more has been already expressed.

regular formation of a structure, however With regard to my own private feelings, feeble, to an entire abandonment of all rules as it seems that they are to stand for no-whatsoever. Where he bas failed, the faithing, I shall say nothing.

llure is in the architect, and not in the art.

DRAMATIS PERSONE.
MEN.

WOMEN.
SARDANAPALUS, King of Niniveh and Assyria. ZARINA, the Queen.
ARBACES, the Mede who aspired to the Throne. MYRRHA, an Ionian female Slave, and the
BELESES, a Chaldean and Soothsayer.

Favourite of SARDANAPALUS. SALENENES, the King's Brother-in-law. Women composing the Harem of SARDANAALTADA, an Assyrian Officer of the Palace.

PALUS, Guards, Attendants, Chaldean
Priests, Medes.

PANIA. ZANES. SFERO. BALBA.

Scene—a Hall in the Royal Palace of

Nineveh.

years

ACT I.

| The blood of Nimrod and Semiramis

Sink in the earth, and thirteen hundred SCENE I.-A Hall in the Palace.

Of empire ending like a shepherd's tale; . Salemenės (solus). He hath wrong'd his He must be roused. In his effeminate heart

queen, but still he is her lord; There is a careless courage which corle hath wrong'd my sister, still he is my ruption brother;

Has not all quench'd, and latent energies, He hath wrong á his people, still he is their Represt by circumstance, but not destroy'd sovereign,

Steep'd, but not drown'd, in deep volupAnd I must be his friend as well as subject:

tuousness. e innst not perish thus. I will not see If born a peasant, he had been a man

To havo reach'd an empire; to an empire We'll meet again in that the sweetest hour, born,

When we shall gather like the stars aboveus, He will bequeath none; nothing but a name, And you will form a heaven as bright as Which his sons will not prize in heritage:

theirs; Yet, not all lost, even yet he may redeem Till then, let each be mistress of her time, llis sloth and shame, by only being that And thon, my own Ionian Myrrha, choose, Which he should be, as easily as the thing Wilt ihou along with them or me? He should not be and is. Were it less toil Myrrha. My lordTo sway his nations than consume his life? Sard. My lord! my life, why answerest To head an army than to rule a harem?

thou so coldly? He sweats in palling pleasures,dulls his soul, It is the curse of kings to be so answered And saps his goodly strength, in toils which Rulc thy own hours, thou rulest mineyield not

say, wouldst thon Ilealth like the chase, nor glory like the Accompany our guests, or charm away war

| The moments from me ? lle must be roused. Alas! there is no sound Myrrha. The king's choice is mine.

(Sound of soft music heard from within. Sard. I pray thce say not so: my To rouse him short of thunder. Hark!

chicfest joy the lute,

Is to contribute to thing every wish. The lyre, the timbrel; the lascivious I do not dare to breathe my own desire. tinklings

Lest it should clash with thine ; for thou Of lulling instruments, the softening voices art still of women, and of beings less than women, | Too prompt to sacrifice thy thoughts for Must chime in to the echo of his revel,

others. While the great king of all we know of Myrrha. I would remain : I have no earth

happiness Lolls crown'd with roses, and his diadem Save in beholding thine; yet Lies negligently by to be caught up | Sard. Yet, what yet? By the first manly hand which dares to Thy own sweet will shall be the only barrier snatch it.

| Which ever rises betwixt thee and me. Lo, where they come! already I perceive Myrrha. I think the present is the The reeking odours of the perfumed trains,

wonted hour And see the bright gems of the glittering of council; it were better I retire. girls,

Sal. (comes forward and says) The Ionian Who are his comrades and his council, flash

slave says well, let her retire. Along the gallery, and amidst the damsels, | Sard. Who answers! How now, brother! As femininely garb’d, and scarce less female,] Sal. The queen's brother, The grandson of Semiramis, the man-queen. | And your most faithful vassal, royal lord. He comes! Shall I await him ? yes, and Sard. (addressing his train) As I have front him,

said, let all dispose their hours And tell him what all good men tell each Till midnight, when again we pray your other,

presence. The court retiring. Speaking of him and his. They come, | (To Myrrha, who is going ) Myrrha!! the slaves,

thought thou wouldst remain. Led by the monarch subject to his slaves. Myrrha. Great king,

Thou didst not say so. SCENE II.- Enter SARDANAPALUS effeminate

Sard. But thou lookedst it; ly dressed, his Flead crowned with Flow

I know each glance of those Ionic eyes, ers, and his Robe negligently flowing,

Which said thou wouldst not leave me. attended by a Train of Women and young

Myrrha. Sire! your brotherStaves.

Sal. His consorts brother, ininion of lonia!

How darest thou name me and not blush? Sardanapalus (speaking to some of his Sard. Not blush! Aliendants).

Thou hast no more eyes than heart to Let the pavilion over the Euphrates

make her crimson Be garlanded, and lit, and furnish'd forth Like to the dying day on Caucasus, For an especial banquet; at the hour Where sunset tints the snow with rosy Of midnight we will sup there: see nought

shadows, wanting

And then reproach her with thine ova And bid the galley be prepared. There is

cold blindness, A cooling breeze which crisps the broad which will not see it. What, in tears, my clear river:

Myrrha ? Wo will embark anon. Fair nymphs, who Sal. Let them flow on; she weeps for deign

more than one, To share the soft hours of Sardanapalus, / And is herself the cause of bitterer

rer tears

Sard. Cursed be he who caused those Sard. Not know the word! tears to flow!

Never was word yet rung so in my earsSal. Curse not thyself-millions do that Worse than the rabble's shout, or splitting already.

trumpet; Sard. Thou dost forget thee: make me I've heard thy sister talk of nothing else. not reinember

Sal. To change the irksome theme, then, I am a monarch.

hear of vice. Sal. Would thou couldst!

Sard. From whom? Myrı ha. My sovereign,

Sal. Even from the winds, if thou couldst I pray, and thou too, prince, permit my

listen absence.

Unto the echoes of the nation's voice. Sard. Since it must be so, and this churl Sard. Come, I'm indulgent as thou has check'd

knowest, patient Thy gentle spirit, go; but recollect As thou hast often proved - speak out, what That we must forthwith meet: I had ratheri moves thee? lose

Sal. Thy peril. An empire than thy presence.

Sard. Say on.

(Exit Myrrha. Sal. Thus, then: all the nations. Sal. It may be,

For they are many, whom thy father left Thou wilt Jose both, and both for ever! In heritage, are loud in wrath against thee, Sard. Brother,

Sard, 'Gainst me! What would the slaves? I can at least cominand myself, who listen Sal. A king. To language such as this; yet urge me not Sard. And what Beyond my easy nature.

Am I then ? Fal. 'Tis beyond

Sal. In their eyes a nothing; but That casy, far too easy, idle nature, In mine a man who might be something still Which I would urge thee. Ob that I Sard. The railing drunkards! why, what could rouse thee!

I would they have? Though 'twere against myself.

Have they not peace and plenty? Sard. By the god Baal!

Sal. Of the first, The man would make me tyrant.

More than is glorious; of the last far less Sal. So thou art.

Than the king recks of. Thinkst thou there is no tyranny but that Sard. Whose then is the crime, Or blood and chains? The despotisın of vice But the false satraps, who provide no better? The weakness and the wickedness of luxury-Sal. And somewhat in the monarch who The negligence--the apathy- the evils

ne'er looks Of sensual sloth-produce ten thousand Beyond his palace-walls, or if he stirs tyrants,

Beyond them, 'tis but to some mountainWhose delegated cruelty surpasses

palace, The worst acts of one energetic master, Till summer-heats wear down. O glorious However harsh and hard in his own bearing.

Baal! The false and fond examples of thy lusts Who built up this vast empire, and wert Corrupt no less than they oppress, and sap

made In the same moment all thy pageant power A god, or at the least shinest like a god And those who should sustain it; so that | Through the long centuries of thy renown, whether

This, thy presumed descendant, ne'er beheld A foreign foe invade, or civil broil As king the kingdoms thou didst leave as Distract within, both will alike prove fatal:

hero, The first thy subjects have no heart to Won with thy blood, and toil, and time, conquer;

and peril! The last they rather would assist than For what? to furnish imposts for a revel, vanquish.

Or multiplied extortions for a minion. Sard. Why what makes thee the mouth- Sard. I understand thee, thou wouldst piece of the people?

have me go Sal. Forgiveness of the queen my sister's Forth as a conqueror. By all the stars wrongs;

Which the Chaldeans read! the restless A natural love unto my infant nephews;

slaves Faith to the king a faith he may need shortly, Deserve that I should curse them with their In more than words; respect for Nimrod's line;

wishes,
Also, another thing thou knowest not. And lead them forth to glory.
Sard. What's that?

Sal. Wherefore not?
Sal. To thee an unknown word. Semiramis- a woman only - led
Sard. Yet speak it,

| These our Assyrians to the solar shores I love to learn.

of Ganges. Sal. Virtue.

Sard. "Tis most true. And how return'd? Sal. Why, like a man—a hero; baffled, but And skirts of these our realms lie not, Not vanquish'd. With but twenty guards,

this Bacchus she made

Conquer'd the whole of India, did he not! Good her retreat to Bactria.

Sal. He did, and thence was deem'd a deity. Sard. And how many

Sard. Not so:- of all his conquests a Left she behind in India to the valtures ?

few colamns, Sal. Our annals say not.

Which may be his, and might be mine, if I Sard. Then I will say for them

Thought them worth purchase and conThat she had better woven within her palace

veyanco, are Some twenty garments, than with twenty The landmarks of the seas of gore he shed, guards

The realms he wasted, and the hearts he Have fled to Bactria, leaving to the ravens,

broke, And wolves, and men — the fiercer of the But here, here in this goblet is his title three,

To immortality -- the immortal grape Her myriads of fond subjects. Is this glory? From which he first express'd the soul, and Then let me live in ignominy ever.

gave Sal. All warlike spirits have not the To gladden that of man, as some atonement same fate.

For the victorious mischiefs he had done. Semiramis, the glorious parent of

Had it not been for this, he would have been A hundred kings, although she fail'd in A mortal still in name as in his grave; India,

And, like my ancestor Semiramis, Brought Persia, Media, Bactria, to the A sort of semi-glorious human monster. realm

Here's that which deified him - let it non Which she once sway'd—and thou mightst Humanize thee; my surly, chiding brother, sway.

Pledge me to the Greek god! Sard. I sway them

Sai. For all thy realms She but subdued them.

I would not so blaspheme our country's Sal. It may be ere long

crecd. That they will need her sword more than Sard. That is to say, thou thinkest him your sceptre.

a hero, Sard. There was a certain Bacchus, was That he shed blood by oceans; and no god, there not?

Because he turn'd a fruit to an enchantment, I've heard iny Greek girls speak of such. Which cheers the sad,revives theold, inspires they say

The young, makes Weariness forget his toil, He was a god, that is, a Grecian god, And Fear her danger; opens a new world An idol foreign to Assyria's worship, When this, the present, palls. Well, then, Who conquer'd this same golden realm of

I pledge thee
Ind

And him as a true man, who did his utmost Thou prat'st of, where Semiramis was in good or evil to surprise mankind. vanquish'd.

[Drinks Sal. I have heard of such a man; and Sal. Wilt thou resume a revel at this hour! thou perceiv'st

Sard. And if I did, 'twere better than That he is deem'd a god for what he did.

a trophy, Sard. And in his godship I will honour Being bought without a tear. But that is no him

| My present purpose: since thou wilt not Not much as man. What, ho! my cupbearer!

pledge me, Sal. What means the king ?

Continue what thou pleasest. Sard. To worship your new god (To the Cupbearer) Boy, retire. And ancient conqueror. Some wine, I say.

Erit Cupbearer Enter Cupbearer.

Sal. I would but have recall'd thee from

thy dream : Sard. (addressing the Cupbearer) Better by me awaken'd than rebellion. Bring me the golden goblet thick with gems, Sard. "Who should rebel? or why? What Which bears the name of Nimrod's chalice.

cause ? pretext? Hence!

I am the lawful king, descended from Fill full, and bear it quickly.

A race of kings who knew no predecessors

[Erit Cupbearer. What have I done to thee, or to the people, Sal. Is this moment

That thou shouldst rail, or they rise up A fitting one for the resumption of

against me? Thy yet unslept-off revels ?

Sal. Of what thou hast done to me, Re-enter Cupbearer, with wine.

speak not.

Sard. But Sard. (taking the cup from him) Noble Thou thinkst that I have wrong to kinsman,

queen : is't not so ? If these barbarian Greeks of the far shores! Sal. Think! Thou hast wrong'd her!

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