Page images


The tyrant curse me with his panting breath, Your bloody battles, your exploits, your slangtie And roll about his dying eyes, in vain,

ters, To find Andromache, whom I would hide. Your great atchievements, in her father's palace. Oh, would Orestes, when he gives the blow, She needs must love the man, who fought so Tell him he dies my victim !-Haste, Cleone;

bravely, Charge him to say, Ilermione's resentments, And in her sight slew half her royal kindred. Not those of Greece, lave sentenced him to Pyr. With horror I look back on my past death.

deeds! Haste, my Cleone! My revenge is lost,

I punished Helen's wrongs too far; I shed If Pyrrhus knows not that he dies by me! Too much of blood: but, madam, Helen's daughCleo. I shall obey your orders—But see

ter The king approach !-Who could expect himn Should not object those ills the mother caused. here?

However I am pleased to find you hate me: Hier. O fly! Cleone, fly! and bid Orestes I was too forward to accuse myself; Not to proceed a step before I see him. The man, who ne'er was loved, can ne'er be

(Exit CleoNE.


Obedience to a father brought you hither;

And I stood bound by promise to receive you: Pyr. Madam, I ought to shun an injured prin- But our desires were different ways inclined;

And you, I own, were not obliged to love me. Your distant looks reproach me: and I come,

Her. Have I not loved you, then? perfidious Not to defend, but to avow my guilt.

man! Pyrrhus will ne'er approve his own injustice; For you I slighted all the Grecian princes; Nor form excuses, while his heart condemns him. Forsook my father's house; concealed my wrongs, I might perhaps allege, our warlike sires, When most provoked; would not return to Unknown to us, engaged us to each other,

Sparta, And joined our hearts by contract, not by love: In hopes that time might fix your wavering heart. But I detest such cobweb arts; I own

I loved you when inconstant: and even now, My father's treaty, and allow its force.

Inhuman king, that you pronounce my death, I sent ambassadors to call you hither;

My heart still doubts, if I should love or hate Received you as my queen ; and hoped my

you: oaths,

But oh, since you resolve to wed another, So oft renewed, might ripen into love.

Defer your cruel purpose till to-morrow! The gods can witness, madam, how I fought This is the last request I e'er shall make youAgainst Andromache's too fatal charms !

See if the barbarous prince vouchsafes an anAnd still I wish I had the power to leave

swer! This Trojan beauty, and be just to you.

Go, then, to the loved Phrygian! Hence! beDischarge your anger on this perjur’d man!

gone! For I abhor my crime, and should be pleased And bear to her those vows, that once were To hear you speak your wrongs aloud: no terms,

mine: No bitterness of wrath, nor keen reproach,

Go, in defiance of the avenging gods ! Will equal half the upbraidings of my heart. Begone! the priest expects you at the altar-

Her. I find, sir, you can be sincere: you scorn But, tyrant, have a care I come not thither. To act your crimes with fear, like other men.

(Exit Her A hero should be bold; above all laws; Be bravely false; and laugh at solemn ties.

Enter PHENIX. To be perfidious shews a daring mind!

Phæ. Sir, did you mind her threats? Your life's And you have nobly triumphed o'er a maid.

in danger! To court me; to reject me; to return;

There is no trifling with a woman's rage. Then to forsake me for a Phrygian slave: The Greeks, that swarm about the court, all hate To lay proud Troy in ashes; then to raise

you; The son of Hector, and renounce the Greeks, Will treat you as their country's enemy, Are actions wortlıy the great soul of Pyrrhus. And join in her revenge: besides, Orestes Pyr. Nadam, go on: give your resentinents Still loves her to distraction: sir, I begbirth;

Pyr. How, Phænix ! should I fear a woman's And pour forth all your indignation on me.

threats? Iler. "Twould please your queen, should I up- A nobler passion takes up all my thought: braid your talsehood;

I must prepare to meet Andromache. Call you perlidious, traitor, all the names Do thou place all my guards about her son: That injured vigins lavish on your sex ; If he be safe, Pyrrhus is free from fear. I should ocitlow with tears, and die with grief,

[Eril Pir. And furnish out a tale to sooth her pride. But, sır, I would not over-charge her joys :

PHENIX alone. If you would charm Andromache, recount Oh Pyrrhus! oh, what pity 'tis, the gods,

Who filled thy soul with every kindly virtue, And will perform beyond what he has sworn. Formed thee for empire and consummate great- The Greeks will but incense him more; their ness,

rage Should leave thee so exposed to wild desires,

Will make him cherish Hector's son. That hurry thee beyond the bounds of reason ! Ceph. Ah, madam,

(A flourish of trumpets. Explain these riddles to my boding heart ! Such was Achilles; generous, fierce, and brave, Andr. Thou may’st remember, for thou oft Open and undesigning: but impatient,

hast heard me
Undisciplined, and not to be controuled. Relate the dreadful vision, which I saw,
I fear the whirl of passion, this career,

When first I landed captive in Epirus;
That overbears reflection and cool thought; That every night, as in a dream I lay,
I tremble for the event! But see, the queen, A ghastly figure, full of gaping wounds,
Magnificent in royal pride, appears.

His eyes aglare, his hair all stiff with blood,
I must obey, and guard her son from danger. Full in my sight thrice shook his head, and



I soon discerned my slaughtered Hector's shade; Enter ANDROMACHE and CEPHISA.

But, oh, how changed! Ye gods, how much unCeph. Madam, once more you look and move

like a queen!

The living Hector! Loud he bid me fly! Your sorrows are dispersed, your charms revive, Fly from Achilles' son ! then sternly frowned, And every faded beauty blooms anew.

And disappeared. Struck with the dreadful Andr. Yet all is not as I could wish, Cephisa.

sound, Ceph. You see the king is watchful o'er your I started and awaked. son;

Ceph. But did he bid you Decks him with princely robes, with guards sur Destroy Astyanax? rounds him.

Andr. Cephisa, I'll preserve him; Astyanax begins to reign already.

With my own life, Cephisa, I'll preserve him. Andr. Pyrrhus is nobly minded : and I fain Ceph. What may these words, so full of horWould live to thank him for Astyanax:

ror, mean? 'Tis a vain thought-However, since my child Andr. Know, then, the secret purpose of my Has such a friend, I ought not to repine.

soul : Ceph. These dark unfoldings of your soul per

Andromache will not be false to Pyrrhus, plex me.

Nor violate her sacred love to Hector. What meant those floods of tears, those warm This hour I'll meet the king; the holy priest embraces,

Shall join us, and confirm our mutual vows: As if you bid your son adieu for ever?

This will secure a father to my child : For Heaven's sake, madam, let me know your That done, I have no farther use for life: griefs!

This pointed dagger, this determined hand, If you mistrust my faith

Shall save my virtue, and conclude my woes. Andr. That were to wrong thee.

Ceph. Ah, madam! recollect your scattered Oh, my Cephisa! this gay, borrowed air,

reason; This blaze of jewels, and this bridal dress, This fell despair ill suits your present fortunes. Are but mock trappings to conceal my woe:

Andr. No other stratagem can serve my purMy heart still mourns; I still am Hector's widow.

pose: Ceph. Will you then break the promise given This is the sole expedient to be just to Pyrrhus,

To Hector, to Astyanax, to Pyrrhus. Blow up his rage afresh, and blast your hopes ? I shall soon visit Hector, and the shades Andr. I thought, Cephisa, thou hadst known Of my great ancestors : Cephisa, thou thy mistress.

Wilt lend a hand to close thy mistress' eyes? Could'st thou believe I would be false to Hector? Ceph. Oh, never think that I will stay behind Fall off from such a husband! break his rest,

you! And call him to this hated light again,

Andr. No, my Cephisa; I must have thee live. To see Andromache in Pyrrhus' arms?

Remember, thou didst promise to obey, Would Hector, were he living, and I dead, And to be secret: wilt thou now betray me? Forget Andromache, and wed her foe?

After thy long, thy faithful service, wili thou Ceph. I cannot guess what drift your thoughts Refuse my last commands, my dying wish? pursue;

Once more I do conjure thee, live for me. But, oh, I fear there's something dreadful in it! Ceph. Life is not worth my care when you are Must then Astyanax be doomed to die,

gone. And you to linger out a life of bondage ?

Andr. I must commit into ty faithful hands Andr. Nor this, nor that, Cephisa, will I bear; All that is dear and precious to my soul : My word is past to Pyrrhus, his to me;

Live, and supply my absence to my child, And I rely upon his promised faith.

All that remains of Troy; a future progeny Unequal as he is, I know him well :

Of heroes, and a distant line of kings, Pyrrhus is violent, but he's sincere,

In him, is all entrusted to thy care.



Ceph. But, madam, what will be the rage of Once shed a tear? Or speak one soft, kind word? Pyrrhus,

Did he so much as feign one inoment's sorrow, Defrauded of his promised happiness?

To calm my griefs, and mitigate his falsehood ?Andr. That will require thy utmost skill: Ob- Why am I still thus anxious for his life?

Why do I start at his impending fate? The first impetuous onsets of his grief;

Shall he then live? Shail the base traitor lise, Use every artifice to keep him stedfast.

To laugh at my distress? No, let him perish! Sometimes with tears thou may'st discourse of Be quick, Orestes ! Execute my orders! me;

Alas! My orders! Oh, preposterous guilt! Speak of our marriage; let him think I loved Can I decree the death of him I love?

Was it for this my soul delighted in him? Tell him my soul reposed itself on him,

Was it for this I left my father's court? When I resigned my son to his protection. Have I then crossed so many realms and seae,

Coph. Oh, for a spirit to support my grief ! To murder Pyrrhus?
Is there aught more before you go for ever?
Andr. Oh, my Cephisa! my swoln heart is


Iler. Oh, Cleone, help me! I have a thousand farewells to my son:

What have I done? Is Pyrrhus yet alive? But tears break in! Grief interrupts my speech- What sayest thou? Answer me: Where is the My soul o'erflows in fondness-let him know

king? I died to save him, and would die again.

Cleo. Madam, I saw the cruel prince set forSerson his mind with early hints of glory;

ward, Make him acquainted with his ancestors; Triumphant in his looks, and full of joy. Trace out their shining story in his thoughts; Still as he walked, his ravished eyes were fixt Dwell on the exploits of his immortal father, On the fair captive; while through shouting And sometimes let him hear his mother's naine.

crowds Let himn reflect upon his royal birth

She passed along with a dejected air, With modest pride; Pyrrhus will prove a friend: And seemed to mourn her Hector to the last. But let him know he has a conqueror's right. Her. Insulting tyrant! I shall burst with rage! He must be taught to stifle his resentments, But say, Cleone, didst thou mark him well? And sacrifice his vengeance to his safety. Was his brow smooth? Say, did there not apShould he prove headstrong, rash, or unadvised,

pear He then will frustrate all his mother's virtue, Some shade of grief, some little cloud of sorror! Provoke his fate, and I shall die in vain.

Did he not stop? Did he not look once back? Ceph. Alas! I fear I never shall outlive you. Didst thou approach him? Was he not confoundAndr. No more: thy tears, Cephisa, will be

ed? tray me;

Did he not

-Oh, be quick and tell me all! Assume a cheerful look, but still remember Cleo. Madam, the tumult of his joy admits

(Flourish within. No thought but love. Unguarded he marched on Hark how the trumpet, with its sprightly notes, 'Midst a promiscuous throng of friends and foes. Proclaims the appointed hour, and calls us hence. His cares all turn upon Astyanax, Hector, I come, once more a queen, to join Whom he has lodged within the citadel, thee !

Defended by the strength of all his guards. Thus the gay victim, with fresh garlands crown’d, Her. Enough! he dies !—the traitor!Pleased with the sacred fife's enlivening sound,

Where's Orestes ? Through gazing crowds in solemn state proceeds, Cleo. He's in the temple with his whole reAnd, drest in fatal pomp, magnificently bleeds.

tinue. (Ereunt. Her. Is he still resolute? Is he still deter

mined? SCENE II.

Cleo. Madam, I fear

Her. How! Ís Orestes false?
Hermione alone.

Does he betray me too?
What have I done? Where am I? Where is Cleo. A thousand doubts

Perplex his soul, and wound him with remorse : Ye gods! What mean these horrors? I am un His virtue and his love prevail by turns. done!

He told me Pyrrhus should not fall ignobly; My soul is on the rack! I cannot bear it: Pyrrhus, the warlike son of great Achilles. Vliv do I wander like some guilty ghost ? He dreads the censure of the Grecian states; What brought me to this place? What keeps me Of all mankind; and fears to stain his honour. here?

Her. Poor tim'rous wretch! 'tis false! he baseThe court of Pyrrhus has no room for me!

ly fears Do I still doubt if I should love or hate him? To cope with dangers, and encounter death; Hard-hearted man! How unconcerned he left 'Tis that he fears :-Am I bright Helen's daugh

ter? Did he once sigh? Bestow one pitying look? To vindicate her wrongs all Greece conspired;


sult me

For her confederate nations fought, and kings Begone! I know thee not! Thou fell barbarian ! were slain,

What had he done? What could provoke thy Troy was o'erthrown, and a whole empire fell.

My eyes want force to raise a lover's arm, To assassinate so great, so brave a man?
Against a tyrant that has dared to wrong me! Who set thee on?
Cleo. Madam, like Helen, trust your cause to Orest. Oh, grant me patience, Heaven !

With your own lips did you not curse the tyrant, Her. No; I'll avenge myself ! I'll to the tem Pronounce his death, and urge me to destroy ple!

him? I'll overturn the altar, stab the priest !

Her. What if, transported by my boundless P'll hurl destruction, like'a whirlwind, round me!

passion, They must not wed! they must not live ! they I could not bear to see him wed another, shall not !

Were you to obey a jealous woman's frenzy? Let me be gone! I have no time to lose ! You should have dived into


inmost thoughts: Stand off! hold me not! I am all distraction! My heart, though full of rage, was free from maOh, Pyrrhus! Tyrànt! Traitor! Thou shalt bleed!


And all my anger was excess of love.

Why did you take me at my word! You saw Orest. Madam, 'tis done; your orders are The struggles of my soul; you heard me rave; obeyed :

You should have questioned me a thousand times, The tyrant lies expiring at the altar.

Yet still have doubted, and still questioned on, Her. Is Pyrrhus slain?

Before you ventured on a life so precious. Orest. Even now he gasps in death :

Orest. Hear me but speak: Heaven knows, Our Greeks, all undistinguished in the crowd,

against my will Plocked to the temple, and dispersed themselves Her. Why did you not return? Why not conOn every side the altar. I was there; Pyrrhus observed me with a haughty eye,

A second time? And, undetermined still, And, proud to triumph over Greece in me, Again return, and still find new delays? From his own brows he took the diadem, What haw your rash officious Greeks, dire blood. And bound it on the temples of his captive;

hounds! Receive, said he, my crown; receive my faith; To do with my revenge? What drew you hither? Mine and my people's sovereign reign for ever. To bring on me the vengeful woes that haunt From this blest hour, a father to your son, I'll scourge his foes; henceforward be he styled Are these the fruits of your detested love? The Trojan king; I swear it at the altar, Your fatal embassy, your

hateful presence, And call the gods to ratify my vows.

Drove Pyrrhus to my rival; and destroys His subjects, with loud acclamations, shook Both him and me. He might have loved me still, The spacious dome. Our Greeks, enraged, cried Had you ne'er interposed-- Avaunt! Begone! out,

And leave me in Epirus. I renounce Revenge! revenge! broke through the thronging My friends, my country, Greece, and all manpress,

kind : And rashed, tumultuous, on the unguarded king; But chiefly I renounce thee! monster, thiec! Their eager fury left no work for me.

[Erit. Pyrrhus awhile opposed their clashing swords, Orest. Am I awake? Where am I? Soft, my And dealt his fatal blows, on ev'ry side,

soul; With manly firmness; till, opprest by numbers, Be not too rash. Was that Hermione ? Streaming with blood, all over gashed with Why should her anger thunder against me ? wounds,

Was not this blood shed all by her command?He reeled, he groaned, and at the altar fell. I am, indeed, a most outrageous monster ! -Haste, madam; let us fly! Haste to our ships ! A ruffian, murderer, a base assassin ! They lie unmoored: our friends attend us there. And all to please a false, ungrateful woman. Her. What have they done!

Henceforward let the laws of nations ccase; Orest. Madam, forgive their rage.

And let the pale, that severs right and wrong, I own your vengeance had been more complete, Things sacred and profane, be broken down; Had Pyrrhus fallen by me, and had he known Gods their temples, kings upon their thronez, Hermione chastised him by my arm.

Are not in safety, while Orestes lives! Her. Peace, monster! peace! Go tell thy hor- Oh! never more shall my torn mind be healeil, rid tale

Nor taste the gentle comfort of repose! To savages, and howl it in the desert.

A dreadful band of gloomy cares surround me, Wouldst thou impute to me thy barbarous guilt? And lay strong siege to my distracted soul! Me wouldst thou make the accomplice of thy crimes ?

Enter Pylades, attended by Greeks. Hence to thy Greeks, and boast thy foul ex Pyl. Haste, prince; let us be gone: 'tis deaths

ploits ! My soul ahhors them! I disclaim the deed ! Andromache reigns queen: she gives the alarm,


to stay.


And rows revenge npon the foes of Pyrrlius.
The people arm and muster in the streets:
Our (recks will not be able long to giard
The palace gates, and to secure our fliglit.
We must be speedy, sir.

Orest. You may depart,
My friends---Hermione and I remain-
Her cruclty has quite undone me ! Go,
and leave me to myself-l'll find her out.

Pyl. Alas, unhappy princess! she's no more; Forget her, sir, and save yourself with us.

Orest. Hermione no more!-Oh, all ye powers!

Pyl. Full of disorder, wildness in her looks, Tith hands expanded, and dishevelled hair, Breathless and pale, with shrieks she sought the

temple ; In the mid-way she met the corpse of Pyrrhus ; She started at the sight; then, stiff

' witli horror, Gazed frightful: waking from the dire amaze, She raised her eyes to heaven with such a look, As spoke her sorrows, and reproached the gods: Then plunged a poniard deep within her breast, And fell on Pyrrhus, grasping him in dleath. Orest. I thank you, gods--I never could ex

pect To be so wretched-You have bcen industrious To finish your decrees; to make Orestes A dreadful instance of your power to punish. I'm singled out to bear the wrath of Heaven.

Pyl. You hazard your retreat by these delays. The guards will soon beset us. Your complaints Are vain, and may be fatal.

Orest. True, my friend : And therefore 'twas I thanked the bounteous

My fate's accomplished-I shall die content.
Ol, bear ine hence-blow, winds !-

Pyl. Let us be gone.
Orest. The murdered lovers wait me-Hark,

they call ! Nay, if your blood still reeks, I'll mingle mine! One tomb will hold us all.

Pyl. Alas! I fear Ilis ravings will return with his misfortunes. Orest. I am dizzy!-Clouds !--Quite lost in

utter darkness. Guide me, some friendly pilot, through the storm. I shiver! Oh, I freeze !-So;-Light returns ; 'Tis the grey dawn!-See, Pylades - Behold! I am encompassed with a sea of blood ! The crimson billows !-Oh, my brain's on fire!

Pyl. How is it, sir ?—Repose yourself on me.
Orest. Pyrrhus, stand off! -Why wouldst

thou :- How he glares ! What cnvious hand has closed thy wounds :

Have at thee. It is Hermione that strikes-Confusion ! She catches Pyrrhus in her arms.-Oh, save

me! How terrible she looks! She knits her brow ! She frowns me dead ! She frights me into madl

ness! Where am I? -Who are you?

Pyl. Alas, poor prince ! Help to support him.-How he pants for breath!

Orest. This is most kind, my Pylades—Oh,

why, Why was I born to give thee endless trouble ?

Pyl. All will go well; he settles into reason. Orest. Who talks of reason? Better to have

none, Than not enough.-Run, some one, tell my

Greeks, I will not have them touch the king. Now, I blaze again! See there! Look where they come ; A shoal of furies-How they swarm about me! My terror! Hide me! Oh, their snakey locks ! Härk, how they hiss! See, see, their teaming

brands! Now they let drive full at me! How they grin, And shake their iron whips! My ears! What

yelling! And see, Hermione! She sets them onThrust not your scorpions thus into my bosom! Oh! I am stung to death! Dispatch me soon! There-take my heart, Hermione ! Tear it out! Disjoint me! kill me!-Oh, my tortured soul! Pyl. Kind Heaven restore him to his wonted

calm ! Oft have I seen him rave, but never thus : Quite spent! Assist me, friends, to bear him off; Our time is short : should his strong rage return, ”Twould be beyond our power to force him

bence. Away, my friends! I hear the portal open.

(Ercant. Enter Phenix, attended by Guards. Phæn. All, all are fled! Orestes is not here! Triumphant villains !-The base, giddy rabble, Whose hands should all have been employed with

fire, To waste the fleet, flocked round the dying prin

cess ; And, while they stand agaze, the Greeks embark. Oh, 'tis too plain !-this sacrilegious murder Was authorised. -The ambassador's escape Declares his guilt. Most bloody embassy! Most unexampled deed!- Where, where, yegods, Is majesty secure, if in your temples You give it no protection !-See, the queen.

(A flourish of trainpets. Enter ANDROMACHE and CEPHISA. Andr. Yes, ye inhuman Greeks! the time will When you shall dearly pay your bloody deeds! How should the Trojans hope for mercy frura

yoti, When thuis you turn yonr impious rage on Pyr

rhus; Pyrrhus, the bravest man in all your learne; The man whose single valour made you triumph?

(A dead inurch bound. Is my child there?

Cepli. It is ibe corpse of Pyrrhus. The weeping soldiers bear him on their shields

ndro Iil-fated prince! too negligent of life, And too unwary of the faithless Grieks!


« PreviousContinue »