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guish at the loss of their liberty, and vainly shake those chains which they were unable either to break or to support.”
· These,” replied the young man, “ were feeble and inert minds, who imputed to the power of love what was merely the consequence of their own weakness ; generous souls are ever able to subject their passions to their duty.”
66 Araspes, Araspes,” said Cyrus, as he left him, “ beware how you see the princess too often."
To the beauties of her person, Panthea added qualities which her sorrows and misfortunes rendered still more attractive. Araspes thought it his duty to bestow on her every care and attention, and, without perceiving it, continually increased his assiduity towards her; and as she could not but return his kindness by civilities, he mistook the emotions of gratitude for the wish to please, and soon conceived for her so ungovernable a passion, that he could no longer refrain from declaring it. She rejected without hesitation the offer of his love, but did not inform Cyrus of what had passed, till Araspes threatened to proceed to the last extremities.
Cyrus then caused it to be signified to his favourite, that he expected he should only employ the methods of persuasion, and by no means have recourse to violence. This intimation was a thunderstroke to Araspes. He blushed at the remembrance of his conduct; and the fear of having displeased his master so overwhelmed him with shame and grief, that Cyrus, moved at his situation, sent for him into his presence.
“ Why,” said he, when he came, w do you fear to approach me? I know too well that love at once makes his sport of the wisdom of men and the power of the gods ! I myself am only able by avoiding him to escape his tyranny. I cannot impute to you a crime of which I was the first occasion ; for I, by confiding the princess to your care, exposed you to a danger superior to your strength.” “Oh, my sovereign !” exclaimed the young Median, “ while my enemies triumph over me, while my friends in consternation advise me to shun your anger, while all around me conspire to complete my ruin, do you offer me consolation ! Oh, Cyrus! you are ever the same! ever are you indulgent to frailties in which you do not participate ; and you pardon because you know mankind.” * 6 Let us profit,” replied Cyrus, “ by circumstances. I wish to be informed of the forces and projects of my enemies. Depart for their camp; your pretended fight will have all the appearance of a real disgrace, and you will obtain their confidence.” “I fly to obey your commands,” replied Araspes ; " too happy to expiate my fault by so trivial a service.” “ Butcan you,” answered Cyrus, cobear to absent yourself from the beautiful Panthea ?” “ I confess,” replied the young Median, “ that my heart is rent with the most cruel pangs; and I now feel but too forcibly that we have within us two souls, by one of which we are incessantly urged to evil, while the other inclines us to good. I have hitherto been under the dominion of the former ; but, strengthened by your assistance, the latter shall soon triumph over its rival.” Araspes having then received secret instructions, departed for the army of the Assyrians.
Panthea having been informed of the departure of Araspes, caused it to be signified to Cyrus, that she was able to procure him a more faith
ful, and perhaps a more useful, friend than that young favourite. The friend she meant was her husband Abradates, whom she proposed to detach from the service of the king of Assyria, with whom he had rea. son to be dissatisfied. Cyrus having consented to this negociation, Abradates arrived in the camp of the Persians, at the head of two thousand horse, and Cyrus immediately caused him to be conducted to the apartment of Panthea, who, with that confusion of ideas and feelings which a felicity long denied, and almost unexpected, occasions, related to him the history of her captivity, her sufferings, the attempts of Araspes, and the generosity of Cyrus. Her husband, impatient to express his gratitude, ran instantly to the Persian prince, and grasping his hand, exclaimed, “Oh, Cyrus ! for all that I owe you, I can only offer my friendship, my services, and my soldiers ; but he well assured, whatever may be your designs, Abradates will always exert his utmost powers to support and render them successful.” Cyrus received his offers with transport, and they immediately concerted together the dispositions of the approaching battle.
The troops of the Assyrians, Lydians, and a great part of Asia, were within sight of the army of Cyrus. Abradates was appointed to attack the formidable phalanx of the Egyptianş. This dangerous post had been assigned him by lot; he had himself solicited it, but the other generals had at first refused to resign it to him.
When he was about to mount his chariot, Panthea came to present him with the arms which she had privately caused to be made, and on which were seen the jewels that had sometimes adorned her person. 66 You have then sacrificed to me even your ornaments,” said the prince affectionately. * Alas !” replied she, “I wish no other ornament, than that you should this day appear to all beholders as you incessantly appear to myself.” Thus saying, she put on him his resplendent armour, while her eyes involuntarily shed tears, which she anxiously endeavoured to conceal.
When she saw him take the reips, she requested the attendants to step aside, and thus addressed him : 6 If ever a wife loved her husband a thousand times more than herself, that wife is doubtless yours; and my conduct has surely been a better proof of this than my words : yet, notwithstanding the ardour of my passion, I would rather choose, and I swear by the tender bonds by which we are united, I would rather choose to expire with you in the bosom of honour, than to live with a husband in whose shame I must participate. Remember the obligations we have to Cyrus; remember that I was a captive, and that he gave me liberty ; that I was exposed to insult and that he defended me; remember, in fine, that I have deprived him of his friend; and that relying on my word, he has believed that he shall find one more brave, and doubtless more faithful, in my beloved A bradates.”
The prince, delighted to hear these words, stretched forth his hand on the head of his spouse, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, “ Gracious gods !” cried he, “ grant that I may this day show myself worthy to be the friend of Cyrus; and, above all, worthy to be the husband of Panthea.” Immediately he leaped into his chariot, to which the anxious princess had only time to apply her trembling lips. In the agitation of her mind she followed him with hasty steps along the plain, till Abradates perceiving her, conjured her to retire, and arm herself with fortitude. Her eunuchs and women then approached, and withdrew her from the eyes of the multitude, which, constantly fixed on her, had been unable to pay the least attention either to the beauty of Abradates, or the magnificence of his dress and armour.
The battle was fought near the river Pactolus ; the army of Cresus was entirely defeated, the vast empire of the Lydians overturned in a moment, and that of the Persians raised on its ruins.
The day following the victory, Cyrus, astonished that he had not seen Abradates, inquired after him with solicitude, and was informed by one of his officers, that, deserted almost in the beginning of the action by a part of his troops, he had nevertheless attacked the Egyptian phalanx with the greatest bravery; that he had been killed, after having seen all his friends fall around him; and that Panthea had caused his body to be conveyed to the banks of the Pactolus, and was then employed in erecting a tomb.
Cyrus, overwhelmed with grief, immediately gave orders that the necessary preparatives for the funeral of the hero should be conveyed to that place. He himself preceded them, and when he arrived, beheld the unhappy Panthea seated on the ground, near the bloody corpse of her husband. His eyes overflowed with tears. He attempted to grasp that hand which had fought for him : it remained in his own; for the keen blade had separated it from the body, in the bloody conflict. The emotion of Cyras redoubled, and Panthea uttered the most piercing cries. She again took the hand ; and, after having covered it with a flood of tears and ardent kisses, endeavoured to rejoin it to the arm, and at length pronounced these words, which expired on her lips : “ Alas! Cyrus, you see the calamity by which I am persecuted, and why do you wish to be a witness to it? For me, for you, has he sacrificed his life. Wretch that I was, I wished he should merit your esteem; and, too obedient to my counsel, he regarded less his own safety than your service! He has died gloriously, I know; but he is dead, and I yet live.”
Cyrus, after having wept a while in silence, replied, “ Victory has crowned his life, and his end could not be more glorious. Accept these ornaments for his tomb, and these victims to be immolated in his honour. I will take care to erect a monument which shall eternize his memory. You also I will never forsake or forget ; I too much respect your virtues and your misfortunes : only point out to me the place to which you would wish to be conducted.”
Panthea having assured him that of this he should soon be informed, and Cyrus having taken his leave, commanded her eunuchs to retire, and sent for a woman who had attended her from her earliest years, to whom she thus spoke : 6 Be careful, as soon as my eyes are closed, to cover my body and that of my husband with the same veil.” The slave endeavoured to divert her from her purpose by her entreaties ; but as these only served to increase her too just affliction, she sat down, shedding a flood of tears, by the side of her mistress. Panthea then seized a poniard, and plunged it into her breast, and, when expiring,
still possessed sufficient strength to lay her head on the bosom of her husband.
Her women and all her attendants instantly uttered the most piercing cries of grief and despair. Three of her eunuchs sacrificed them. selves to the manes of their mistress ; and Cyrus, who had hastened to the place at the first report of this new calamity, again wept over the ami. able pair, and caused a tomb to be erected for them, in which their ashes were mingled.
From Cornwall's 66 Dramatic Scenes.”
I This sketch is founded partly on a fact in Italian History. Ludovico Sforza was the uncle of the young Duke of Milan, and was present at his marriage with Isabella, grand-daughter of the King of Naples. Sforza was much struck with the beauty of Isabella; and it was supposed that he caused his nephew, Galeazzo, to be poisoned. The last scene, which occurs after the lapse of a year, is imaginary.]
SCENE I.-A Street.
Sforza. Pure as the flame that burnt on Dian's altar,
Duke. What! have you done, my lord ?
Sforza. Extravagant boy,
'Round oaks and sparkling fountains,
Duke. And she
ISABELLA appears at a window. I
Duke. Uncle ! look upon her :-there-
Duke. My lord !
Sforza. I've heard, and some believe't, that when
ISABELLA leaves the window.
Sforza. I have, I have, no, no,-I wander, never.
And this is your bride, Galeazzo ?
Sforza. She's very fair. You knew her face before,
Duke. I was fearful lest
Sforza. 'Tis enough :
Duke. My sweetest Isabella ! you have rested