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Orest. Talk no more !
I cannot bear the thought! She must be mine!
Did: Pyrrhus carry thunder in his hand,
I'd stand the bolt, and challenge all his fury, Pyl. For Heaven's sake, sir, compose your Ere I resign'd Hermione. By force ruffled mind,
I'll snatch her hence, and bear her to my shipsi Ånd moderate your rage!
Have we forgot her mother Helen's rape? Orest. No, Pylades!
Pyl. Will then Orestes turn a ravisher, This is no time for counsel.- I am deaf.
And blot his embassy ? Talk not of reason! I have been too patient.
Orest. Oh, Pylades ! Life is not worth my care. My soul grows des- My grief weighs heavy on me :-'Twill distract
perate. I'll bear her off, or perish in the attempt.
O leave me to myself !--Let not thy friendship, I'll force her from his arms:-By Heaven I will ! Involve thee in my woes.
Too long already, Pyl. Well, 'tis agreed, my friend:-We'll force Too long hast thou been punished for my crimes. her hence,
It is enough, my friend !-It is enough!. But still consider, we are in Epirus.
Let not thy generous love betray thee farther : The court, the guards, Hermione herself, The gods have set me as their mark, to empty The very, air we breathe, belongs to Pyrrhus. Their quivers op me.-Leave me to myself. Good gods ! what tempted you to seek her here! Mine be the danger; mine the enterprise.
Orest. Lost to myself, I knew not what I did. All I request of thee is, to return,
Pyl. This violence of temper may prove fatal. Go, Pylades-
Let us bear off Hermione! No toil,
No danger can deter a friend :-Lead on! He tells me, that he weds Hermione;
Draw up the Greeks; summon your numerous. And will to-morrow take her from my hand !
train : My hand shall sooner tear the tyrant's heart.- The ships are ready, and the wind sits fair: Pyl. Your passion blinds you, sir; he's not to There eastward lies the sea; the rolling waves blame.
Break on those palace-stairs. I know each pass, Could you but look into the soul of Pyrrhus, Each avenue and outlet of the court. Perhaps you'd find it tortured, like your own. This very night we'll carry her on board.
Orest. No, Pylades! 'Tis all design-His pride, Orest. Thou art too good! I trespass on thy To triumph over me, has changed his love.
friendship, The fair Hermione, before I came,
But, oh! excuse a wretch, whom no man pities, In all her bloom of beauty, was neglected. Except thyself: one just about to lose Ah, cruel gods ! I thought her all my own! The treasure of his soul : whom all mankind She was consenting to return to Sparta : Conspire to hate, and one who hates himself. Her heart, divided betwixt rage and love, When will my friendship be of use to thee? Was on the wing to take its leave of Pyrrhus. Pyl. The question is unkind. But now reShe heard my sighs; she pitied my complaints;
member She praised my constancy; the least indif- To keep your counsels close, and hide your ference,
thoughts; Prom this proud king, had made Orestes happy. Let not Hermione suspect no more Pyl. So your fond heart believes.
I see her coming, sir Orest. Did I not see
Orest. Away, my friend; Her hate, her rage, her indignation rise
I am advised; my all depends upon it. Against the ungrateful man?
[Erit PEL Pyl. Believe me, prince, 'Twas then she loved him most. Had Pyrrhus
Enter HERMIONE and CLEONE. left her,
Orest. Madam, your orders are obeyed ; I've She would have formed some new.pretext to stay.
Take my advice :-Think not to force her hence ; Pyrrhus, my rival; and have gained him for you,
Are to dispose me for the intended marriage.
Orest. And are you, madam, willing to com•
Enter ANDROMACHE and CEPHISA. Her. Could I imagine Pyrrhus loved me still! Andr. Ah, madam, whither, whither do you fly? After so long delays, who would have thought Where can your eyes behold a sight more pleaHis hidden fames would shew chemselves at last,
sing And kindle in his breast, when mine expired ? Than Hector's widow suppliant and in tears? I can suppose, with you, he fears the Greeks ; I come not an alarmed, a jealous foe, That it is interest, and not love, directs him; To envy you the heart your charms have won : And that my eyes had greater power o'er you. The only man I sought to please, is gone; Orest. No, princess, no! It is too plain he killed in my sight, by an inhuman hand.
Hector first taught me love; wirich my fond heart Your eyes do what they will, and canno: fail Shall ever cherish, 'till we meet in death. To gain a conquest, where you wish they should. But, oh! I have a son !—And you, one day, Her. What can I do? Alas! my iaith is pro- Will be no stranger to a mother's fondness: mised.
But Heaven forbid that you should ever know Can I refuse what is not mine to give ?
A mother's sorrow for an only son, A princess is not at he choice to love ;
Her joy, her bliss, her last surviving comfort, All we have left us is a blind obedience: When every hour she trembles for his life! And yet, you see, how fa. I h.d complied, Your power o'er Pyrrhus may releve my fears. And made my duty yield to your
intreaties. Alas ! what danger is there in a child, Orest. Ah, cruel maid ! you knew-but I have Saved from the wreck of a whole ruined empire? done.
Let me go hide him in some desert isle:
Her. Madam, 'tis easy to conceive your grief:
[Erit ORESTES. 'Tis he who urges to destroy your son. Her. Cleone, could'st thou think he'd be so Madam, if Pyrrhus must be wrought to pity, calm ?
No woman does it better than yourself; Cleo. Madam, his silent grief sits heavy on If you gain him, I shall comply of course. him
(Ereunt HER. and CLEONE. He's to be pitied. His too eager love
Andr. Didst thou not mind with what disdain Has made him busy to his own destruction.
she spoke? His threats have wrought this change of mind in Youth and prosperity have made her vain; Pyrrhus.
She has not seen the fickle turns of life. Her. Dost thou think Pyrrhus capable of fear ! Ceph. Madam, were I as you, I'd take her Whom should the intrepid Pyrrhus fear? the
I'd speak my own distress : one look from you Did he not lead their harassed troop to con- Will vanquishPyrrhus, and confound the Greeksquest,
See, where he comes-Lay hold on this occasion When they despaired, when they retired from Troy,
Enter PYRRHUS and PHENIX. And sought for shelter in their burning fleets ? Pyr. Where is the princess ?-Did you not irr Did he not then supply his father's place ? No, my Cleone, he's above constraint;
Herrnione was here?
[To PHEN. He acts unforced; and where he weds he loves. Phæn. I thought so, sir.
Cleo. Oh, that Orestes had remained in Greece! Andr. Thou seest what mighty power my eyes I fear to-morrow will prove fatal to him.
have on him?
(To CEPH. Her. Wilt thou discourse of nothing but Pyr. What says she, Phænix ? Orestes ?
Andr. I have no hope left ! Pyrrhus is mine again !- Is mine for ever! Phæn. Let us be gone:Hermione expects Oh, my Cleone! I am wild with joy!
you. Pyrrhus, the bold! the brave ! the godlike Pyrr- Ceph. For Heaven's sake, madam, break this hus!
my tears are vain ! his doom is mache:
fixed! She weeps, and comes to speak her sorrows to Pyr. See, if she deigns to cast one look upas
you. Her. I would indulge the gladness of my heart! Proud woman! Let us retire : her grief is out of season. Andr. I provoke him by my presence.
Let us retire.
Pyr. Come, let us satisfy
Let me intreat you to secure his life! The Greeks, and give them up this Phrygian boy. Must I turn suppliant for him! Think, oh think, Ardr. Ah, sir ! recall those words--What have 'Tis the last time, you both may yet be happy!
I know the ties I break; the foes I arm: If you give up my son, oh, give up me!
wrong Hermione; I send her hence; You, who so many times have sworn me friend. And with her diadem I bind your brows. ship:
Consider well; for 'tis of moment to you! Oh, Heavens L-Will you not look with pity on Chuse to be wretchel, madam, or a queen.
My soul, consumed with a whole year's despair, Is there no hope? Is there no room for parılon? Can bear no longer these perplexing doubts;
Pyr. Phænix will answer you: my word is past. I know, if I'm deprived of you, I die: Ardr. You, who would brave so many dangers Eut oh, I die, if I wait longer for you! for me!
I leave you to your thoughts.
When I return, Pyr. I was your lover then: I now am free. We'll to the temple; there you'll find your son ; To favour you, I might have spared his life: And there be crowned, or give him up for ever. But you would ne'er vouchsafe to ask it of me.
[Erit PYRRHUS. Now, 'tis too late.
Ceph. I told youi, madam, that, in spite of Andr. Ah, sir, you understood
Greece, My tears, my wishes, which I durst not utter, You would o'er-rule the malice of your fortune. Afraid of a repulse. Oh, sir, excuse
Andr. Alas! Cephisa, what have I obtained ! The pride of royal blood, that checks my soul. Only a poor short respite for my son. You know, alas! I was not born to kneel,
Cepk. You have cnough approved your faith To sue for pity, and to own a master.
to Hector; Pyr. No! in your heart you curse me! you to be reluctant still would be a crime. disdain
He would himself persuade you to comply. My generous flame, and scorn to be obliged! Anur. How wouldst thou give me Pyrrhus This very son, this darling of your soul,
for a husband ? Would be less dear, did I preserve him for you. Cepk. Think you, 'twill please the ghost of Your anger, your aversion fall on me!
your dead husband, You hate me more than the whole league of That you should sacrifice his son? Consider, Greece:
Pyrrhus once more invites you to a throne; But I shall leave you to your great resentments. Turns all his power against the foes of Troy ; Let us go, Phenix, and appease the Greeks. Remembers not Achilles was his father; Andr. Then, let me die ! and let me go to Retracts his conquests, and forgets his hatred. Hector!
Andr. But how can I forget it! How can I Cepk. But, madam
Forget my Hector, treated with dishonour; Andr. What can I do more? The tyrant Deprived of funeral rites; and vilely dragged, Sees my distraction, and insults my tears. A bloody corse, about the walls of Troy?
[To CEPH. Can I forget the good old king his father, -Behold how low you have reduced a queen! Slain in my presence; at the altar slain, These eyes have seen my country laid in aslies; Which vainly, for protection, he embraced? My kindred fall in war; my father slain ; Hast thou forgot that dreadíul night, Cephisa, My husband dragged in his own blood; my son When a whole people fell? Methinks I see Condemned to bondage, and myself a slave: Pyrrhus, enraged, and breathing vengeance, enter Yet, in the midst of these unheard-of woes,
Amidst the glare of burning palaces: 'Twas some relief to find myself your captive; I see him hew his passage through my brothers; And that my son, derived from ancient kings, And, bathed in blood, lay all my kindred waste Since he must serve, had Pyrrhus for his master. Think, in this scene of horror, what I sufferedi! When Priam kneeled, the great Achilles wept: This is the courtship I received from Pyrrhus ; I hoped I should not find his son less noble; And this the husband thou wouldst give me! No, I thought the brave were still the most compas- We both will perish first ! I'll ne'er consent. sionate.
Ceph. Since you resolve Astyanax shall die, Oh, do not, sir, divide me from my child ! Haste to the temple, bid your son farewell. If he must die
Why do you tremble, mailam? Pyr. Phænix, withdraw a while.
dindr. O Cephisa !
[Erit PHOENIX. | Thou hast awakened all the inother in me. Rise, madam-Yet you may preserve your son.
How can I bid farewell to the dear child, I find whenever I provoke your tears,
The pledge, the inage of my much-loved lord! I furnish you with arms against myself.
Alas, I call to min i the fatal day, I thought my hatred fixed before I saw you. When his too-forward courage led him forth Oh, turn your eyes upon me, while I speak, To seek Achilles. And see, if you discover in my looks
Ceph. Oh, the unhappy hour! An angry judge, or an obdurate foe!
”Twas then Troy fell, and all her gods forsoo Why will you force me to desert your cause?
her. In your son's name I beg we may be friends; Andr. That morn, Ceplisa, that ill-fated mo
My husband bid thee bring Astyanax ;
But dost thou think he means the child shall die! He took him in his arms; and, as I wept, Can love rejected turn to so much rage? My wife, my dear Andromache, said he,
Ceph. Madam, he'll soon be here Resolve (Heaving with stifled sighs to see ine weep).
on something. Wbat fortune may attend my arms, the gods Andr. Well then, assure him Alone can tell. To thee I give the boy:
Ceph. Madam, of your love ? Preserve him as the token of our loves;
Andr. Alas, thou knowest it is not in my If I should fall, let him not miss his sire
power. While thou surviv'st; but, by thy tender care, Oh, my dead lord! Oh, Priam's royal house! Let the son see that thou didst love his father. Oh, my Astyanax! At what a price Ceph. And will you throw away a life so pre- Thy mother buys thee !
-Let us go. cious ?
Čeph. But whither? At once extirpate all the Trojan line?
And what does your unsettled heart resolve? Andr. Inhuman king! What has he done to Andr. Come, my Cephisa, let us go together, suffer?
To the sad monument which I have raised If I neglect your vows, is he to blame?
To Hector's shade; where in their sacred urn Has he reproached you with his slaughtered kin- The ashes of my hero lie inclosed ; dred?
The dear remains, which I have saved from Trof. Can he resent those ills he does not know? There let me weep, there summon to my aid, But, oh! while I deliberate he dies.
With pious rites, my Hector's awful shade; No, no, thou must not die, while I can save thee; Let him be witness to my doubts, my fears, Oh! let me find out Pyrrhus-Oh, Cephisa! My agonizing heart, my flowing tears : Do thou go find him.
Oh! may he rise in pity from his tomb, Ceph. What must I say to him?
And fix his wretched son's uncertain doom! Andr. Tell him I love my son to such excessen
A son, who grows no longer up in bondage, SCENE I.
A son, in whom a race of kings revive!
But, madam, you are sad, and wrapt in though, Enter ANDROMACHE and CEPHISA.
As if you relished not your happiness. Ceph. Blest be the tomb of Hector, that in- Andr. Oh, I must see my son once more, Cespires
phisa! These pious thoughts : or is it Hector's self, Ceph. Madam, he now will be no more a cap That prompts you to preserve your son ! 'Tis he
tive; Who still presides o'er ruined Troy; 'tis he Your visits may be frequent as you please. Who urges Pyrrhus to restore Astyanax, To-morrow you may pass the live-long dayAndr. Pyrrhus has said he will ; and thou hast Andr. To-morrow! Oh, Cephisa ! --But, ne heard him
more! Just now renew the oft-repeated promise. Cephisa, I have always found thee faithful:
Ceph. Already in the transports of his heart, A load of care weighs down my drooping heart. He gives you up his kingdom, his allics,
Ceph, Oh! that 'twere possible for me to ease And thinks himself o'erpaid for all in you.
Andr. I think I may rely upon his promise: Andr. I soon shall exercise thy long-tried And yet my heart is over-charged with grief.
faith. Ceph. Why should you grieve ? You see he Meanwhile I do conjure thee, my Cephisa, bids defiance
Thou take no notice of my present trouble: To all the Greeks; and, to protect your son
And when I shall disclose my secret purpose, Against their rage, has placed his guards about That thou be punctual to perform my will.
Ceph. Madam, I have no will but yours. My Leaving himself defenceless for his sake:
life But, madam, think, the coronation pomp Is nothing, balanced with my love to you. Will soon demand your presence in the temple : Andr. I thank thee, good Cephisa; ny As'Tis time you lay aside those mourning weeds.
tyanax Andr. I will be there; but first would see my Will recompence thy friendship to his mother.
But, come; my heart's at ease : assist me now Ceph. Madam, you need not now be anxious To change this sable habit.—Yonder comes for him;
Hermione; I would not meet her rage. (Exem". He will be always with you, all your own, To lavish the whole mother's fondness on him.
Enter HERMIONE and CLEONE. What a delight to train beneath your eye,
Iro. This unexpected silence, this reservez
This outward calm, this settled frame of mind, Know, prince, I hate him more than once I loved
The gods alone can tell how once I loved him!
If he should live, I may relapse—who knows, And seat her on a throne which you should fill? But I to-morrow may forgive his wrong? I fear this dreadful stillness in your soul !
Orest. First let me tear him piece-incal--le *Twere better, madam
shall die. Her. Have you called Orestes ?
But, madam, give me leisure to contrive Cleo. Madamn, I have; his love is too impa- The place, the time, the manner cf his death : tient
Yet I'm a stranger in the court of Pyrehus;
Her. But now,
This very hour, be weds Andromache;
throne At length attend you by your own commands ? Is now prepared; the joyful rites begin ; What can I do
My shame is public Öh, be speedy, prince ! Her. Orestes, do you love me?
My wrath's impatient-Pyrrhus lives too long! Orest. What means that question, princess ? Intent on love, and heedless of his person, Do I love you?
He covers with his guards the Trojan boy, My oaths, my perjuries, my hopes, my fears, Now is the time! assemble all your Greeks; My farewell, my return, all speak my love. Mine shall assist them; let their fury loose : Her. Avenge my wrongs, and I'll believe them Already they regard him as a foc. all.
Begone, Orestes-kill the faithless tyrant : Orest. It shall be done-my soul has caught My love shall recompense the glorious deed. the alarm.
Orest. Consider, madam-
And not attest your love by onc brave action ? Let us depart.
Go, with your boasted constancy! and leave Her. No, prince, let us stay here!
Hermione to execute her own revenge ! I will have vengeance here, I will not carry I blush to think how my too easy faith This load of infamy to Greece, nor trust
Has twice been baffled in one shameful hour! The chance of war to vindicate my wrongs.
Orest. Hear me but speak !Ere I depart, I'll make Epirus mourn.
die to serve you ! If you avenge me, let it be this instant;
Her. I'll go myself: I'll stab him at the altar; My rage brooks no delay-Haste to the temple, Then drive the poniard, reeking with his blood, Haste, prince, and sacrifice him!
Through my own heart. In death we shal? Orest. Whom !
unite: Her. Why, Pyrrhus.
Better to die with him, than live with you ! Orest. Pyrrhus ! Did you say, Pyrrhus ?
Orest. That were to make him blest, and me Her. You demur!
more wretched : Oh, fly, begone! give me no time to think! Madam, he dies by me:
a foe, Talk not of laws-he tramples on all laws And shall I let him live? My rival, too? Let me not hear him justified-away!
Ere yon meridian sun declines, he dies : Orest. You cannot think I'll justify my rival. And you shall say, that I deserve your love. Mladam, your love has made him criminal. Her. Go, prince: strike home ! and leave the You shall have vengeance; I'll have vengeance
Let all your ships be ready for our flight. But let our hatred be profest and open :
[Erit ORESTES. Let us alarm all Greece, denounce a war;
Cleo. Madam, you'll perish in this boid alLet us attack him in his strength, and hunt him tempt. down
Her. Give me my vengeance, I'm content to By conquest: should I turn base assassin,
perish "Twould sully all the kings I represent.
I was to blame to trust it with another : 1 Her. Have I not been dishonoured ! set at In my own hands it had been more secure. nought!
Orestes hates not Pyrrlius as I hate him: Exposed to public scorn!—and will you
suffer I should have thrust the danger home ; hizm The tyrant, who dares use me thus, to live?
-you know I'IL
rest to me.