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That oft had practis'd fraud, and oft detected,
The vetran courtier half reveal'd his project.
By his command, equipp'd for speedy flight,
Deep in a winding creek a galley lies,
Mann'd with the bravest of our fellow-captives,
Selected by my care, a hardy band,
That long to hail thee chief.
But what avails
So small a force ? or, why should Cali fly?
Or, how can Cali's flight restore our country?
DEMETRIUS. Reserve these questions for a safer hour; Or hear himself, for see the bassa comes.
DEMETRIUS, LEONTIUS, CALI.
Now summon all thy soul, illustrious christian !
Awake each faculty that sleeps within thee:
The courtier's policy, the sage's firmness,
The warriour's ardour, and the patriot's zeal.
If, chasing past events with vain pursuit,
Or wand'ring in the wilds of future being,
A single thought now rove, recall it home.-
But can thy friend sustain the glorious cause,
The cause of liberty, the cause of nations?
Observe him closely, with a statesman's eye,
Thou, that hast long perus'd the draughts of nature,
And know'st the characters of vice and virtue,
Left by the hand of heav'n on human clay.
His mien is lofty, his demeanour great ;
Nor sprightly folly wantons in his air ;
Nor dull serenity becalms his eyes.
Such had I trusted once, as soon as seen,
But cautious age suspects the flatt'ring form,
And only credits what experience tells.
Has silence press’d her seal upon his lips?
Does adamantine faith invest his heart?
Will he not bend beneath a tyrant's frown!
Will he not melt before ambition's fire?
Will he not soften in a friend's embrace?
Or flow dissolving in a woman's tears?
Sooner the trembling leaves shall find a voice,
And tell the secrets of their conscious walks ;
Sooner the breeze shall catch the flying sounds,
And shock the tyrant with a tale of treason.
Your slaughter'd multitudes, that swell the shore
With monuments of death, proclaim his courage;
Virtue and liberty engross his soul,
And leave no place for perfidy, or fear.
I scorn a trust unwillingly repos'd;
Demetrius will not lead me to dishonour;
Consult in private, call me, when your scheme
Is ripe for action, and demands the sword.
Forgive an old man's weakness,
And share the deepest secrets of my soul,
My wrongs, my fears, my motives, my designs.-
When unsuccessful wars, and civil factions
Embroil'd the Turkish state, our sultan's father,
Great Amurath, at my request, forsook
The cloister's ease, resum'd the tott'ring throne
And snatch'd the reins of abdicated pow'r
From giddy Mahomet's unskilful hand.
This fir'd the youthful king's ambitious breast:
He murmurs vengeance, at the name of Cali,
And dooms my rash fidelity to ruin.
Unhappy lot of all that shine in courts,
For forc'd compliance, or for zealous virtue,
Still odious to the monarch, or the people.
CALI. Such are the woes, when arbitrary pow'r And lawless passion hold the sword of justice. If there be any land, as fame reports, Where common laws restrain the prince and subject, A happy land, where circulating pow'r Flows through each member of th' embodied state; Sure, not unconscious of the mighty blessing, Her grateful sons shine bright with every virtue; Untainted with the lust of innovation, Sure, all unite to hold her league of rule Unbroken, as the sacred chain of nature That links the jarring elements in peace.
But say, great bassa, why the sultan's anger,
Burning in vain, delays the stroke of death?
Young, and unsettled in his father's kingdoms,
Fierce as he was, he dreaded to destroy
The empire's darling, and the soldier's boast;
But now confirm'd, and swelling with his conquests,
Secure, he tramples my declining fame,
Frowns unrestrain'd, and dooms me with his eyes.
DEMETRIUS. What can reverse thy doom?
The tyrant's death.
But Greece is still forgot.
On Asia's coast, Which lately bless'd my gentle government, Soon as the sultan's unexpected fate Fills all th' astonish'd empire with confusion, My policy shall raise an easy throne; The Turkish pow'rs from Europe shall retreat, And harass Greece no more with wasteful war. A galley mann'd with Greeks, thy charge, Leontius, Attends to waft us to repose and safety.
That vessel, if observ'd, alarms the court,
And gives a thousand fatal questions birth:
Why stor’d for flight? and why prepar’d by Cali?
This hour I'll beg, with unsuspecting face,
Leave to perform my pilgrimage to Mecca;
Which granted, bides my purpose from the world,
And, though refus’d, conceals it from the sultan.
How can a single hand attempt a life,
Which armies guard, and citadels enclose?
Forgetful of command, with captive beauties,
Far from his troops, he toys his hours away.
A roving soldier seiz'd, in Sophia's temple,
A virgin, shining with distinguish'd charms,
And brought his beauteous plunder to the sultan-
In Sophia's temple! - What alarm!Proceed.
The sultan gaz'd, he wonder'd, and he lov'd:
In passion lost, he bade the conqu’ring fair
Renounce her faith, and be the queen of Turkey:
The pious maid, with modest indignation,
Threw back the glitt'ring bribe.
Celestial goodness! It must, it must be she ;-her name?
What hopes, what terrours, rush upon my soul!
O lead me quickly to the scene of fate;
Break through the politician's tedious forms;
Aspasia calls me, let me fly to save her.
Did Mahomet reproach, or praise her virtue?
His offers, oft repeated, still refus'd,
At length rekindled his accustom'd fury,
And chang'd th' endearing smile, and am'rous whisper
To threats of torture, death, and violation.