« PreviousContinue »
To bear alone, that we must mingle sorrows
I had half forgotten. Who have ceased to mingle love ?
And could have welcomed any grief save yours,
Which gave me to behold your face again.
Sar. The throne—I say it not in fear-but 't is
In peril; they perhaps may never mount it: Sal.
My sister! Courage: But let them not for this lose sight of it. Shame not our blood with trembling, but remember I will dare all things to bequeath it them; From whence wesprung. The queen is present, sire. But if I fail, then they must win it back Zar. I pray thee, brother, leave me.
Bravely—and, won, wear it wisely, not as I Sal.
Since you ask it. Have wasted down my royalty. [Exit SALEMENES. Zar.
They ne'er Zar. Alone with him! How many a year has Shall know from me of aught but what may honour pass'd,
Their father's memory.(2) Though we are still so young, since we have met, Sar.
Rather let them hear Which I have worn in widowhood of heart. The truth from you than from a trampling world. He loved me nol: yet he seems little changed- If they be in adversity, they 'll learn Changed to me only-would the change were mu- Too soon the scorn of crowds for crownless princes, tual!
And find that all their father's sins are theirs. He speaks nol-scarce regards me—not a word- My boys!- I could have borne it were I childless. Nor look-yet he was soft of voice and aspect! Zur. Oh! do not say so-do not poison all Indifferent, not austere. My lord!
My peace left, by unwishing that thou wert Sar.
A father. If thou conqueres!, they shall reign, Zar. No, not Zarina-do not say Zarina. And honour him who saved the realm for them, That tone-lhat word-annihilate long years, So lilile cared for as his own; and if And things which make them longer.
Sar. ”T is lost, all carth will cry out, thank your Sar.
'T is too late
father! To think of these past dreams. Let's not reproach— And they will swell the echo with a curse. That is, reproach me not-for the last time
Zar. That they shall never do; but rather honour Zar. And first. I ne'er reproach'd you. The name of him, who, dying like a king, Sar.
'T is most true; In his last hours did more for his own memory And that reproof comes heavier on my heart Than many monarchs in a length of days, Than-—But our hearts are not in our own power. Which date the flight of time, but make no annals. Zar. Nor hands; but I gave both.
Sar. Our annals draw perchance unto their close; Sar.
Your brother said But at the least, whate'er the past, their end It was your will to see me, ere you went
Shall be like their beginning-memorable. From Nineveh with- He hesitates.)
Zar. Yet, be not rash-be careful of your life, Zar.
Our children: it is true. Live but for those who love. I wish'd to thank you that you have not divided Sar.
And who are they? My heart from all that's left it now to love-(1) A slave, who loves from passion-I'll not say T'hose who are yours and mine, who look like you, Ambition-she has seen thrones shake, and loves; And look upon me as you look'd upon me
A few friends who have reveli'd till we are Once“-But they have not changed.
As one, for they are nothing if I fall; Sar.
Nor ever will. A brother I have injured-children whom I fain would have them dutiful.
I have neglected, and a spouse-
Who loves. Those infants, not alone from the blind love
Sar. And pardons ? Of a fond mother, but as a fond woman:
I have never thought of this, They are now the only tie between us.
And cannot pardon till I have condemn’d. Sar'.
Deeni not Sar. My wife! I have not done you justice: rather make them Zar. Now blessings on thee for that word! Resemble your own line than their own sire. I never thought to hear it more from thee. I trust them with you-to you: fit them for
Sar. Oh! thou wilt hear it from my subjects. throne, or, if that be denied- -You have heard
YesOf this night's lumults?
These slaves whom I have nurtured, pamper'd, fed,
(1) “ This delicate expression has reference to Byrou's having (2) “This is a sentiment which Byron knew, if his wise never les his daughter with her mother, and unfolds more of his secret expressed to him, she profoundly acknowledged in resolution to feelings on the subject than any lbing he has expressed more oslen- herself." Gall laliously elsewhere." Galt.
And swoln with peace, and gorged with plenty, till Than I have ever been, or thou, with all
I must part yeWhile the sew upon whom I have no claim
The moments, which must not be lost, are passing. Are faithful! This is true, yet monstrous.
Zar. Inhuman brother! wilt thou thus weigh out Zar.
Instants so high and blest? Perhaps too nalural; for benefits
Blest! Turn poison in bad minds.
He hath licen Sar. And good ones make
So gentle with me, that I cannot think Good out of evil. Happier than the bee,
Of quitting. Which bives not but from wholesome flowers.
Sal. Som this feininine farewell Zar.
Then reap Ends as such partings end, in no departure! The honey, nor inquire wlience'l is derived.
I thought as much, and yielded against all Be satisfied-you are not all abandon'd.
My better bodings. But it must not be. Sur. My life insures me that. How long, bethink
Zar. Not be? Were not 1 yet a kiny, should I be mortal; [you,
Remain, and perish--That is, where mortals arc, nol w:ere they must be?
With my husband Zar. I know not. But yet live for my—thal is, Sal. And children. Your children's sake!
Hear me, sister, like I am the very slave of circumstance
My sister ;-all's prepared to make your safety And impulse-borne away with every breath!
Certain, and of the boys too, our last hopes; Misplaced upon the throne-misplaced in life.
'T is not a single question of mere feeling, I know not what I could have been, but feel
Though that were much—but 'tis a point of state: I am not what I should be-let it end.
The rebels would do more to seize upon But take this with thee: if I was not form’d
The offspring of their sovereigh, and so crushTo prize a love like thine, a mind like thine,
Zar. Ah! do not name it. Nor dote even on thy beauty-as l’ve doted
Well, then, mark me: when On lesser charms, for no cause save that such
They are safe be; ond the Median's grasp, the rebels Devotion was a duty, and I haled
Have miss'd their chief aim—the extinction of All that look'd like a chain for me or others The line of Nimrod. Though the present king (This even rebellion must avouch); yet hear Fall, his sons live for victory and vengeance. These words, perhaps among my last—that none
Zar. But could not I remain, alone ? E’er valued more thy virtues, though he knew not
What! leave To profit by them (2)—as the miner lights
Your children, with two parents and yel orphansUpon a vein of virgin ore, discovering
In a strange land-so young, so distant ? That which avails him nothing: he hath found it,
NoBut 't is not his—but some superior's who
My heart will break. Placed him to dig, but not divide, the wealth
Now you know all-decide. Which sparkles at his feet; nor dare he lift
Sar. Zarina, he hath spoken well, and we
Remaining here, you may lose all; departing,
You save the beller part of what is left, Discover'd that my love is worth esteem,
To both of us,
and to such loyal hearts I ask no more-but let us hence together,
As yet beat in these kingdoms. And I-let me say we shall yel be happy.
The time presses. Assyria is not all the earth-we'll find
Sar. Go, then. If e'er we meet again, perhaps A world out of our own and be more bless'd I may be worthier of you—and, if not,
(1) “We are not sure whether there is not a considerable vio- plaining. And even in Greece,-in those times when Myrrha's lation of costume in the sense of degradation with which Myrrha character must have been formed, -to be a captive, and subject seems to regard her situation in the harem, no less than in the 10 the captor's pleasure, was accounted a misfortune indeed, but resentment of Salemenes, and the remorse of Sardanapalus, on the could hardly be regarded as an infamy. But where is the critic score of bis infidelity to Zarina. Little as we know of the domestic who would object to an inaccuracy which has given occasion to habils of Assyria, we have reason to conclude, from the habits such sentiments and such poetry?" Heber. of contemporary nations, and from the manners of the East in
(2) “It is impossible to read this speech without a conviction every age, that polygamy was neither accounted a crime in itsell, that it was written at Lady Byrou.” Gall. nor as a measure of which the principal wife was justified in com
Remember that my faults, though not atoned for, I must pay dearly for the desolation
Now brought upon thee. Had I never loved
Sar. You here! Who call d you ?
No one--but I heard Zar Oh, God! I never shall
Far off a voice of wail and lamentation, Behold biin more!
And thought Sal. (striving to conduct her). Nay, sister, 1 Sar.
It forms no portion of your duties must be obey'd.
(me. To enter here till sought for. Zar. I must remain--away! you shall not hold
Though I might, What, shall he dic alone?--I live alone?
Perhaps, recall some softer words of yours Sal. He shall not die alone; but lonely you
(Although they too were chiding), which reproved Mave lived for years.
Because I ever dreaded to intrude;
That's false! I knew he lived, Resisting my own wish and your injunction And lived and upon his image–let me go! To heed no time nor presence, but approach you Sal. (conducting her off the stage). Nay, then, Uncali'd for:-1 retire. I must use some fraternal force,
Yet stay-being here. Which you will pardon.
I pray you pardon me: events have sour'd me, Zar.
Never. Help me! cli! Till I wax peevish-heed it not: I shall Sardanapalus, wilt thou thus behold me
Soon be myself again. Torn from thee?
I wait with patience
What I shall see with pleasure.
Sar, If that this moment is not gain’d.
Scarce a moment
your entrance in this ball, Zarina, My brain turns
Queen of Assyria, departed hence. My eyes fail-where is he?
į he faints.
Myr. Ah! Sar. (advancing.) No-set her down
Sar. Wherefore do you start ? She's dead--and you have slain her.
Did I do so? Sal.
'Tis the mere Sar. ’T was well you enter'd by another portal, Faintness of o'erwrought passion: in the air Else you had met. That pang at least is spared her. She will recover. Pray, keep back.-[Aside.] I must
Myr. I know to feel for her. Avail myself of this sole moment to
That is too much, Bear her to where her children are embark'd, And beyond nature-'t is nor mutual (2) l'the royal galley on the river.
Nor possible. You cannot pity her, (SALEMENES bears her off (1) Nor she aught bul-Sar. (solus.)
Despise the favourite slave! And this too must I suffer-1, who never
Not more than I have ever scorn'd myself. Inflicted purposely on human hearis
Sar. Scorn'd! what, to be the envy of your ses, A voluntary pang! But that is false-
And lord it o'er the heart of the world's lord ? She loved me, and I loved her.-Fatal passion! Myr. Were you the lord of twice ten thousand Why dost thou not expire at once in hearts
worldsWhich thou hast lighted up at once? Zarina! As you are like to lose the one you sway'd
(1) “This scene has been, we know not why, called 'useless,' justice of delineation, as, in the midst of his deepest regrets for • unnatural,' and 'lediously wrillen." For ourselves, we are not Zarina, chiefly engrossed with himself and his own sorrows, and ashamed to own that we have read it with emotion. It is an in- inclined, immediately afterwards, 10 visit on poor Myrrhia the terview belween Sardanapalus and his neglected wife, whom, painful feelings which his own reproaches of bimself have occawith her children, he is about to send to a place of safety. Here, sioned" Heber. too, however, be is represented, with much poetical art and (?) For mutual, the MS. in our hands has natural; but we are I did abase myself as much in being
not quite sure that there has been merely a misprint in the foreThese expressions occurred in the Edinburgh Heview.-E. going editions.-E.
An era of sweet peace 'midst bloody annals, Your paramour, as though you were a peasant- A green spot amidst desert centuries, Nay, more, if that the peasant were a Greek. On which the future would turn back and smile, Sar. You talk it well
And cultivate, or sigh when it could not Myr.
Recall Sardanapalus' golden reign. Sar.
In the hour I thought to have made my realm a paradise, Of man's adversity all things grow daring
And every moon an epoch of new pleasures. | Against the falling; but as I am not
I took the rabble's shouts for love--the breath Quile fallen, nor now disposed to bear reproches, Of friends for truth-the lips of woman for Perhaps because I merit them too oflen,
My only guerdon-so they are, my Myrrha : Let us then part while peace is still between us.
(He kisses her. Myr. Part!
Kiss me. Now let them take my realm and life! Sar. Have not all past human beings parted. They shall have both, but never thee! And must not all the present one day part?
No, never! Myr.
Why ? Man may despoil his brother man of all sar. For your safety, which I will have look'd to, That's great or glittering-kingdoms fall-hosts With a strong escort to your native land;
yield And such gifts as, if you had not been all
Friends fail-slaves fly—and all betray—and, more A queen, shall make your dowry worth a kingdom. Than all, the most indebted—but a heart Myr. I pray you talk not thus.
That loves without self-love! 'T is here-now prove Sar. The queen is gone:
it. You need not shame to follow. I would fall Alone-I seek no partners but in pleasure.
Enter SALENENES. Myr. And I no pleasure but in parting not..
Sal. I sought you-How! she here again ? You shall not force me from you.
Return not Sar.
Think well of it Now lo reproof: methinks your aspect speaks It soon may be too late.
Of higher matter than a woman's presence.
Sal. The only woman whom it much imports me,
The queen's embark'd. Myr.
And well? say that much. Sar. You spoke of your abasement.
And I felt it Her transient weakness has pass'd o’er; at least, Deeply-more deeply than all things but love.
It seltled into tearless silence: her Sar. Then fly from it.
Pale face and glittering eye, after a glance Myr.
'T will not recall the past, Upon her sleeping children, were still fix'd 'T will not restore my honour, nor my heart, Upon the palace towers, as the swift galley
No–here I stand or fall. If that you conquer, Stolę down the hurrying stream beneath the starI live to joy in your great triumphs: should But she said nothing.
[light; Your lot be different, I'll not weep, but share it. Sar.
Would I felt no more You did not doubt me a few hours ago.
Than she has said! Sar. Your courage never-nor your love till now; Sal.
'Tis now too late to feel! And none could make me doubt it save yourself. Your feelings cannot cancel a sole pang: Those words
To change them, my advices bring sure tidings | Myr. Were words. I pray you, let the proofs That the rebellious Medes and Chaldees, marshall’d Be in the past acts you were pleased to praise By their two leaders, are already up This very night, and in my further bearing,
In arms again; and, serrying their ranks,
Prepare to attack: they have apparently
What! more rebels ? To peace—the only victory I covet.
Let us be first, then. To me war is no glory-conquest no
That were hardly prudent Renown. To be forced thus to uphold my right Now, though it was our first intention. If Sits heavier on my heart than all the wrongs By noon to-morrow we are join'd by those These men would bow me down with. Never, never l've sent for by sure messengers, we shall be Can I forget this night, even should I live
In strength enough to venture an attack, To add it to the memory of others.
Ay, and pursuit 100; but till then, my voice I thought to have made mine inoffensive rule Is to await the onset.
Though varied with a transilory storm,
So bright, so rolling back the clouds into Let me then charge.
Vapours more lovely than the unclouded sky, Sal.
You talk like a young soldier. With golden pinnacles, and snowy mountains, Sar. I am no soldier, but a man; speak not And billows purpler than the ocean's, making Of soldiership, I loathe the word, and those In heaven a glorious mockery of the earth, Who pride themselves upon it; but direct me So like we almost deem it permanent; Where I may pour upon them.
So fleeting, we can scarcely call it aught Sa!.
You must spare
Beyond a vision, 't is so transiently To expose your life too hastily; 't is not
Scaller'd along the eternal vault : and yet Like mine or any other subject's breath;
It dwells upon the soul, and soothes the soul, The whole war turns upon it-with it; this And blends itself into the soul, until Alone creates it, kindles, and may quench it- Sunrise and sunset form the haunted epoch Prolong it-end it.
Of sorrow and of love; which they who mark not, Sar. Then let us end both!
Know not the realms where those twin genii (2) 'T were better thus, perhaps, than prolong either;
(Who chasten and who purify our hearts, I'm sick of one, perchance of both.
So that we would not change their sweet rebukes [A trumpet sounds without. For all the boisterous joys that ever shook Sal.
The air with clamour) build the palaces Sar.
Let us Where their fond volaries repose and breathe Reply, not listen.
Briefly;—but in that brief cool calm inhale
Enough of heaven to enable them to bear
'T is bound— The rest of common, heavy, human hours, 'T is heal'd—I had forgotten it. Away!
And dream them through in placid sufferance; A leech's lancet would have scratch'd me deeper ;(1) Though seemingly employ’d, like all the rest The slave that gave it might be well ashamed Of toiling breathers, in allotted tasks(3) To have struck so weakly.
Of pain or pleasure, tico names for one feeling, Sal.
Now, may none this hour Which our internal restless agony
Would vary in the sound, although the sense
Escapes our highest efforts to be happy.
Bal. You muse right calmly: and can you so A task they might have spared their king. Upon
watch them! [Trumpel sounds again. The sunrise which may be our last ? Sal. I am with you.
eyes, which never may behold it more,
Without the reverence and the rapture due
l'o that which keeps all earth from being as fragile
As I am in this form. Come, look upon it,
The Chaldee's god, which, when I gaze upon,
I grow almost a convert to your Baal.
Bal. As now he reigns in heaven, so once on carth
He sway'd. Myr. (at a window.) The day at last has broken.
Myr. He sways it now far more, then; never What a night
Had earthly monarch half the power and glory (4) Hath usher'd it! How beautiful in heaven!
Which centres in a single ray of his.
(1) In the MS.
" A leecl's lancet would have done as much."-E, (2) In the MS.
“ Sunrise and sunset form the epoch of
(3) In the M$.
" Of labouring wretches in allotted tasks."-E. (4) Misprinted hitherto
“ Had earthly monarcb half the peace and glory." - E.