« PreviousContinue »
Theo. Ha! my brother here!
To see your nuptials: Yet my soul is with you,
As not to see my bride before you go?
Vara. You know I am disorder'd;
[Erit Theo. And give you joy of this auspicious fortune. And the gods know, since thou, my Athenais, Plough on your way, with all your streamers out; Art fled from these sick eyes, all other women With all your glorious flags and streamers ride To my pall'd soul seem like the ghost of beauty, Triumphant on ;— and leave me to the waves, And haunt my memory with the loss of thee. The sands, the winds, the rocks, the sure destruction
Enter ATHENAIS, Theodosius leading her. And ready gulphs that gape to swallow me. Theo. Behold, my lord, the occasion of my joy. Theo. It was thy hand that drew me from the Vara. O ye immortal gods! Aranthes ! oh! grave,
Look there, and wonder! Ha! is’t possible? Who had been dead by this time to ambition, Athen. My lord, the emperor says you are his To crowns, to titles, and my slighted greatness ;
friend; But still, as if each work of thine deserv'd He charges me to use my interest, The smile of heav'n,-thy Theodosius met And beg of you to stay, at least so long With something dearer than his diadem, As our espousals will be solemnizing: With all that's worth a wish, that's worth a life; I told him I was honour'd once to know you ; I met with that which made me leave the world. | But that so slightly, as I could not warrant
Vara. And I, O turn of chance!O cursed fortune, The grant of any thing that I should ask you. Have lost at once all that could make me happy. Vara. O heaven and earth! O Athenais! why, O ye too partial powers !—but now no more: Why dost thou use me thus ? Had I the world, The gods, my dear, my most lov’d Theodosius, Thou know'st it should be thine. Double all those joys that thou hast met upon thee; Athen. I know not that For sure thou art most worthy, worthy more But yet, to make sure work, one half of it Than Jove in all his prodigality
Is mine already, sir, without your giving.Can e'er bestow in blessings on mankind; My lord, the prince is obstinate, his glory And oh! methinks my soul is strangely mov'd, Scorns to be mov'd by the weak breath of woman; Takes it the more unkindly of her stars,
He is all hero, bent for higher game; That thou and I cannot be blest together : Therefore, 'tis nobler, sir, to let him go: For I must leave thee, friend ; this night must If not for him, my lord, yet for myself, leave thee,
I must intreat the favour to retire. To go in doubtful search of what perhaps
[Erit Atuen. I ne'er shall find, if so my cruel fate
Vara. Death and despair! confusion ! hell Has order'd it. Why then farewel for ever,
and furies ! For I shall never, never see thee more.
Theo. Heav'n guard thy health, and still preTheo. How sensible my tender soul is grown
serve thy virtue! Of what you utter! O my gallant friend! What should this mean? I fear the consequence, O brother! O Varanes ! do not judge
For 'tis too plain they know each other well. By what I speak, for sighs will interrupt me; Vara. Undone, Aranthes! lost, undone forever! Judge by my tears, judge by these strict embraces, I see my doom, I read it with broad eyes, And by my last resolve: Though I have met As plain as if I saw the book of fate: With whai in silence I so long ador'd,
Yet I will muster all my spirits up,
Yes, I will stand this shock of all the gods
Theo. You muse, my lord; and if you'll give Of all her health, of my imperial bride,
me leave And wander with thee in the search of that To judge your thoughts, they seem employ'd at On which thy life depends.
present Vara. If this I suffer,
About my bride- I guess you know her too. Conclude me then begotten of a hind,
Vara. His bride! O gods! give me a moment's And bred in wilds: No, Theodosius, no;
patience! 1 charge thee by our friendship, and conjure thee I must confess the sight of Athenais, By all the gods, to mention this no more :
Where I so little did expect to see her, Perhaps, dear friend, I shall be sooner here So grac'd and so adorn'd, did raise my wonder Than you expect, or I myself imagine: But what exceeds all admiration is, What most I grieve, is that I cannot wait That you should talk of making her your bride;
'Tis such a blind effect of monstrous fortune, Go then and take her, take her to the temple: That, though I well remember you affirm'd it, The gods too give you joy:-0 Athenais ! I cannot yet believe
Why does thy image mock my foolish sorrow? Theo. Then now believe me:
0 Theodosius, do not see my tears : By all thc pow'rs divine I will espouse her. Away, and leave me! leave me to the grave. Vura. Ha! I shall leap the bounds !--come, Theo. Farewell ; let's leave the issue to the come, my lord,
heav'ns ; By all these pow’rs you nam’d, I say you must not. I will prepare your way with all that honour Theo. I say I will;' and who shall bar my plea- Can urge in your behalf, though to my ruin. sure?
(Er. THEOD Yet more, I speak the judgment of my soul, Vara. O I could tear my limbs, and eat my flesh; Weigh but with fortume, merit in the balance, Fool that I was, fond, proud, vain-glorious fool! And Athenais loses by the marriage.
Damn'd be all courts, and trebly damn'd ambition! Vura. Relentless fates! malicious cruel pow'rs! Blasted be thy remembrance! curses on thee! O for what crime do you thus rack your creature? And plagues on plagues fall on those fools that Sir, I must tell you this unkingly meanness
seek thee! Suits the profession of an anchorite well ; Aranth. Have comfort, sirBut in an oriental emperor
Vara. Away, and leave me, villain ! It gives offence; nor can you, without scandal, Traitor, who wrought me first to my destruction, Without the notion of a grov'ling spirit, Yet stay and help me, help me to curse my pride, Espouse the daughter of old Leontine,
Help me to wish that I had ne'er been royal, Whose utmost glory is to have been my tutor. That I had never heard the name of Cyrus,
Theo. He has so well acquitted that employment, That my first brawl in court had been my last. Breeding you up to such a gallant height O that I had been born some happy swain, Of full perfection, and imperial greatness, And never known a life so great, so vain! That ev'n for this respect, if for no other, Where I extremes might not be forc'd to choose, I will esteem him worthy while I live.
And, blest with some mean wife, no crown could Vara. My lord, you'll pardon me a little freedom,
lose; For I must boldly urge in such a cause Where the dearer partner of my little state, Whoever flatters you, though ne'er so near With all her smiling offspring at the gate, Related to your blood, should be suspected. Blessing my labours, might my coming wait ;
Theo. If friendship would admitacold suspicion, where in our humble beds all safe might lie, After what I have heard and seen to-day, And not in cursed courts for glory die! Of all mankind I should suspect Varanes.
[Ereun!. Vara. He has stung me to the heart ; my groans will choke me,
SONG. Unless my struggling passion gets a vent.
Hail to the myrtle shade, Out with it then, I can no more dissemble.
All hail to the nymphs of the fields ; Yes, yes, my lord, since you reduce me to.
Kings would not here indade The last necessity, I must confess it ;
Those pleasures that virtue yields. I must avow my flame for Athenais. I am all fire ! my passion eats me up,
Chor. Beauty here opens her arms, It grows incorporate with my flesh and blood!
To soften the languishing mind; My pangs redouble, now they cleave my heart !
And Phillis unlocks her charms; o Athenais ! 0 Eudosia-oh
Ah, Phillis! ah why so kind ? Though plain as day I see my own destruction,
Phillis, thou soul of love,
Thou joy of the neighb'ring sæains;
Phillis that crowns the grote, Theo. Alas, Varanes! Which of us two the
And Phillis thut gilds the plains. heavens Have mark'd for death is yet above the stars : Chor. Phillis, that ne'er had the skill, But while we live, let us preserve our friendship
To paint, to patch, and be fine; Sacred and just, as we have ever done.
Yet Phillis whose eyes can kill, This only mean in two such hard extremes
Whom nature hath made divine. Remains for both: To-morrow you shall see her,
Phillis, zo hose charming song With all advantage, in her own apartment;
Makes labour and pains a delight; Take your own time, say all you can to gain her ;
Phillis that makes the day young, If you can win her, lead her into Persia; If not, consent that I espouse her here.
And shortens the live-long night : Vara. Still worse and worse! O Theodosius ! Chor. Phillis, whose lips like May, oh,
Still laugh at the sweets that they I cannot speak for sighs, my death is seald
bring; By this last sweetness; had you been less good,
Where love never knows decay, I might have hoped; but now my doom's at hand.
But sets with eternal spring.
The theatre is open'd too, where he
And the hot Persian mean to act their follies. Enter MARCIAN and LUCIUS, at a distance.
Gods! gods ! is this the image of our Cæsars ?
Is this the model of our Romulus? Marc. The general of the oriental armies O why so poorly have you stamp'd Rome's glory? Was a commission large as fate could give : Not Rome's but yours !- Is this man fit to bear it? 'Tis gone: why what care I? O Fortune, Fortune! This waxen portraiture of majesty, Thou laughing empress of this busy world; Which every warmer passion does melt down, Marcian defies thee now.
And makes him fonder than a woman's longing ? Why what a thing is a discarded favourite ! Luc. Thus much I know to the eternal shame He who but now, though longing to retire,
Of the imperial blood; this upstart empress, Could not for busy waiters be alone,
This fine new queen, is sprung from abject parents, Throng'd in his chamber, haunted to his closet, Nay, basely born: but that's all one to him ; With a full crowd, and an eternal court; He likes, and loves, and therefore marries her. When once the favour of his prince is turn'd, Murc. Shall I not speak ? shall I not tell him Shunn'd as a ghost the clouded man appears,
of it? And all the gaudy worshippers forsake him. I feel this big-swoľn throbbing Roman spirit So fares it now with me where'er I come, Will burst, unless I utter what I ought. As if I were another Catiline. The courtiers rise, and no man will sit near me;
Enter PULCHERIA with a paper in her hand, As if the plagues were on me, all men fly me.
and JULIA. O Lucius! Lucius! if thou leav’st me too,
Marc. Pulcheria here! why she's the scourge I think, I think, I could not bear it;
Spite of myself I blush, and cannot stir
While she is here What, Lucius, can this That e'er the noble Marcian condescend To ask of any but the immortal gods !
'Tis said Calphurnia had the heart of Cæsar : Nay, I avow, if yet your spirit dare,
Augustus doted on the subtile Livia: Spite of the court, you shall be great as Cæsar. Why then should I not worship that fair anger ? Marc. No, Lucius, no; the gods repel that Oh didst thou mark her when her fury liglıten'd? humour.
She seem'd all goddess; nay, her frowns became Yet since we are alone, and must ere long
her: Leave this bad court, let us, like veterans, There was a beauty in her very wildness. Speak out—Thou say’st, alas ! as great as Cæsar; Were I a man born great as our first founder, But where's his greatness? where is his ambition Sprung from the blood divine-but I am cast If any sparks of virtue yet remain
Beyond all possibility of hope. In this poor figure of the Roman glory;
Pulch. Come hither, Marcian; read this paper I say, if any be, how dim they shine,
o'er, Compard with what his great forefathers were ! And mark the strange neglect of Theodosius : How should he lighten then, or awe the world, He signs whate'er I bring; perhaps you've heard, Whose soul in courts is but a lambent fire, To-morrow he intends to wed a maid of Athens, And scarce, O Rome! a glowworm in the field: New made a Christian, and new nam’d Eudosia; Soft, young, religious-god-like qualities, Whom he more dearly prizes than his empire: For one that should recover the lost empire, Yet in this paper he hath set his hand, And wade through seas of blood, and walk'o'er And seal'd it too with the imperial signet, mountains
That she shall lose her head to-morrow morning. Of slaughter'd bodies, to immortal honour ! Marc. 'Tis not for me to judge; yet this seems Luc. Poor heart! he pin’d a while ago for love.
strange. Marc. And for his mistress vow'd to leave the Pulch. I know he rather would commit a murworld;
Without a view
-ha! but I had forgot :
to say ;
Julia, let's haste from this infectious person-
Enter MARCIAN with an Order.
A value on thy life, thus to presume
Marc. Mighty Cæsar,
[Er. Pulch. JUL. Nor can I doubt your mercy, when you know Marc. Farewel for ever! no, madam, ere I go, The nature of my crime. I am commission'd I am resolv'd to speak, and you shall hear me: From all the earth to give thee thanks and praises, Then, if you please, take off this traitor's head; Thou darling of mankind! whose conqu’ring arms End my commission and my life together. Already drown the glory of great Julius, Luc: Perhaps you'll laugh at what I am going Whose deeper reach in laws and policy
Makes wise Augustus envy thee in heav'n. But by your life, my lord, I think 'tis true, What mean the fates by such prodigious virtue, Pulcheria loves this traitor! did you mark her ? When scarce the manly down yet shades thy face, At first she had forgot your banishment, With conquests thus to overrun the world, Makes you her counsellor, and tells her secrets, And make barbarians tremble? O, ye gods! As to a friend, nay, leaves them in your hand, Should destiny now end thee in thy bloom, And says, 'tis pity that you are not honest, Methinks I see thee mourn'd above the loss With such description of your gallantry Of lov'd Germanicus ; thy funerals, As none but love could make: Then taking, leave, Like his, are solemniz'd with tears and blood. Through the dark lashes of her darting eyes Theo. How, Marcian ! Methought she shot her soul at every glance; Marc. Yes, the raging multitude, Still looking back, as if she had a mind
Like torrents, set no bound to their mad grief; That you should know she left her heart behind her. Shave their wives' heads, and tear off their own Marc. Alas! thou dost not know her, nor do I,
hair ; Nor can the wit of all mankind conceive her. With wild despair they bring their infants out, But let's away ; this paper is of use.
To brawl their parent's sorrow in the streets; Luc. I guess your purpose :
Trade is no more, all courts of justice stopp'd; He is a boy, and as a boy you'll use him- With stones they dash the windows of their There is no other way.
temples, Marc. Yes, if he be not
Pull down their altars, break their household gods; Quite dead with sleep, for ever lost to honour, And still the universal groan is this, Marcian with this shall rouse him. O, my Lucius! Constantinople's lost, our empire's ruin'd: Methinks the ghosts of the great Theodosius, Since he is gone, that father of his country, And thundering Constantine, appear before me ; Since he is dead, O life, where is thy pleasure? They charge me as a soldier to chastise him, O Rome! oh conquer'd world! where is thy glory! To lash him with keen words from lazy love, Theo. I know thee well, thy custom and thy And shew him how they trod the paths of honour.
Not for thy life!
Marc. What's life without my honour! THEODOSIUS lying on a Couch, with two Boys Or make that beardless face like Jupiter's,
Could you transform yourself into a gorgon, drest like Cupids, singing to him as he sleeps.
I would be heard in spite of all your thunder: SONG.
O pow'r of guilt! you fear to stand the test
Which virtue brings; like sores your vices shake Happy day! ah happy day!
Before this Roman healer. But, by the gods, That Cæsar's beams did first display ;
go I'll rip the malady, So peaceful was the happy day,
And let the venom flow before your eyes. The gods themselves did ali look down,
This is a debt to the great Theodosius,
The grandfather of your illustrious blood;
Theo. Presuming Marcian!
What canst thou urge against my innocence ? That made such goodness master of such pow'r; Through the whole course of all my harmless youth, For thus the gods declare to men,
Ev'n to this hour, I cannot call to mind No day like this shall ever come again. One wicked act which I have done to shame me.
Marc. This may be true; yet if you give the So they perform the drudgery they are fit for. sway
Why let 'em starve for want of their arrears, To other hands, and your poor subjects suffer, Drop as they go, and die like dogs in ditches. Your negligence to them is as the cause.
Theo. Come, you are a traitor.
Marc. Go to, you are a boy;
Theo. If arrogance, like this,
nish’d, They will despise your sloth, and backward ease, I'll write myself a coward—Die then, villain, More than they hate the others' cruelty. A death too glorious for so bad a man, And what a thing, ye gods, is scorn or pity! By Theodosius' hand. Heap on me, heav'n, the hate of all mankind;
(MARCIAN disarms him, but is wounded. Load me with malice, envy, detestation :
Marc. Now, sir, where are you? Let me be horrid to all apprehension,
What, in the name of all our Roman spirits, And the world shun me, so I ’scape but scorn. Now charms my hand from giving thee thy fate? Theo. Prithee, no more!
Has he not cut me off from all my honours? Marc. Nay, when the legions make compari- Torn my commissions, sham'd me to the earth, sons,
Banish'd the court, a vagabond for ever?. And say, thus cruel Nero once resolv'd
Does not the soldier hourly ask it from me? On Gaiba's insurrection, for revenge,
Sigh theirown wrongs, and beg me to revenge'em? To give all France as plunder to the armies, What hinders now, but that I mount the throne, To poison the whole senate at a feast;
And make to that this purple youth my footTo burn the city, turn the wild beasts out,
stool ? Bears, lions, tigers, on the multitude ;
The armies court me, and my country's cause; That so, obstructing those that quench'd the fire, The injuries of Rome and Greece persuade me. He might at once destroy rebellious Rome- Shew but this Roman blood which he has drawn,
Theo. O cruelty! why tell’st thou me of this? They'll make me emperor whether I will or no: Am I of such a bárbarous bloody temper? Did not for less than this the latter Brutus, Marc. Yet some will say, this shew'd he had Because he thought Rome wrong’d, in person a spirit,
Theo. Act as you please, I am within your power. To make you room among the emperors;
Marc. Did not the former Brutus, for the crime Whose utmost is the smallest part of Nero; Of Sextus, drive old Tarquin from his kingdom? A pretty player-one that can act a hero, And shall this prince too, by permitting others And never be one? O ye immortal gods! To act their wicked wills and lawless pleasures, Is this the old Cæsarian majesty ?
Ravish from the empire its dear health, Now, in the name of our great Romulus, Well-being, happiness, and ancient glory, Why sing you not, and fiddle too as he did ? Go on in this dishonourable rest? Why have you not, like Nero, a phenascus ? Shall he, I say, dream on, while the starved troops One to take care of your celestial voice? Lie cold and waking in the winter camp; Lie on your back, my lord, and on your stomach And like pin’d birds, for want of sustenance, Lay a thin plate of lead, abstain from fruits; Feed on the haws and berries of the fields ? And when the business of the stage is done, O temper, temper me, ye gracious gods ! Retire with your loose friends to costly banquets, Give to my hand forbearance, to my heart While the lean army groans upon the ground. Its constant loyalty ! I would but shake him,
Theo. Leave me, I say, least I chastise thee: Rouse him a little from this death of honour, Hence, begone I say !
And shew him what he should be. Mure. Not till you have heard me out
Theo. You accuse me, Build too, like him, a palace lin’d with gold, As if I were some monster, most unheard of: As long and large as that to the Esquiline: First, as the ruin of the army, then Inclose a pool too in it, like the sea,
Of taking your commission : But, by heav'n, And at the empire's cost let navies meet : I swear, O Marcian ! this I never did, Adorn your starry chambers too with gems, Nor e’er intended it: Nor say I this Contrive the plated ceilings to turn round, To alter thy stern usage; for with what With pipes to cast ambrosian oils upon you; Thou hast said, and done, and brought to my reConsume with his prodigious vanity,
membrance, perfumes and odorous distillations, I grow already weary of my life. Of sesterces at once four hundred millions ; Murc. My lord, I take your word: you do not Let naked virgins wait you at your table,
know And wanton Cupids dance and clap their wings; The wounds which rage within your country's No matter what becomes of the poor soldiers,