« AnteriorContinuar »
The same Hall of the Palace. MYRRHA and BALEA. MYRRHA (at a window).
The day at last has broken. What a night Hath usher'd it! How beautiful in heaven! Though varied with a transitory storm, More beautiful in that variety!
How hideous upon earth! where peace and
So that we would not change their sweet rebukes
Of pain or pleasure, two names for one feeling.
You muse right calmly: and can you so watch The sunrise which may be our last?
Therefore that I so watch it, and reproach
To that which keeps all earth from being as fragile
As now he reigns in heaven, so once on earth Ho sway'd.
He sways it now far more, then; never Had earthly monarch half the peace and glory Which centres in a single ray of his.
These realms, of which thou wert the ornament,
Of thousands, tears of millions, for atonement
That's strange. I pray thee break that loyal silence Which loathes to shock its sovereign; we can hear Worse than thou hast to tell.
Proceed, thou hearest.
The wall which skirted near the river's brink
That's a black augury! It has been said For ages, "That the city ne'er should yield To man, until the river grew its foe."
I can forgive the omen, not the ravage. How much is swept down of the wail?
Place it beneath my canopy, as though
To my proper chamber.
Some twenty stadii.
SARDANAPALUS. And all this is left
The king lay there: when this is done, we will
[Exeunt Soldiers with the body of SALEMENES. Pervious to the assailants?
And bring me back, as speedily as full
Rage-not droop-it should have been. And fair investigation may permit,
[Gives a key.
It opens to a secret chamber, placed
Thence launch the regal barks, once form'd for pleasure,
With a heavy but true heart,
'Tis enough. Now order here Fagots, pine-nuts, and wither'd leaves, and such Things as catch fire and blaze with one sole spark; Bring cedar, too, and precious drugs, and spices, And mighty planks, to nourish a tall pile; Bring frankincense and myrrh, too, for it is For a great sacrifice I build the pyre; And heap them round yon throne.
And you have sworn.
Without a vow.
And could keep my
What mean you?
I have said it,
You shall know
Anon-what the whole earth shall ne'er forget.
PANIA, returning with a Herald.
HERALD (showing a ring).
Be sure that he is now In the camp of the conquerors; behold His signet ring.
'Tis his. A worthy triad! Poor Salemenes! thou hast died in time To see one treachery the less: this man Was thy true friend and my most trusted subject. Proceed.
They offer thee thy life, and freedom
Of choice to single out a residence
Thou at the least shalt learn the penalty
Commend me to Beleses;
And tell him, ere a year expire, I summon
[PANIA and the Guards seizing him. Him hence to meet me.
I never yet obey'd
Your orders with more pleasure than the present.
Put him to rest without.
A single word:
My office, king, is sacred.
And what's mine?
That thou shouldst come and dare to ask of me
To lay it down?
I but obey'd my orders, At the same peril, if refused, as now Incurr'd by my obedience.
So, there are
New monarchs of an hour's growth as despotic As sovereigns swathed in purple, and enthroned From birth to manhood!
My life waits your breath. Yours (I speak humbly)—but it may be-yours May also be in danger scarce less imminent: Would it then suit the last hours of a line
Such as is that of Nimrod, to destroy
A peaceful herald, unarm'd, in his office;
Holds sacred between man and man-but that
He's right.-Let him go free.-My life's last act
I thank you doubly for my life, and this
Most gorgeous gift, which renders it more precious. But must I bear no answer?
Higher, my good soldiers, And thicker yet; and see that the foundation Be such as will not speedily exhaust Its own too subtle flame; nor yet be quench'd With aught officious aid would bring to quell it. Let the throne form the core of it; I would not Leave that, save fraught with fire unquenchable, To the new comers. Frame the whole as if 'T were to enkindle the strong tower of our Inveterate enemies. Now it bears an aspect! How say you, Pania, will this pile suffice For a king's obsequies?